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Beef Cattle Schools coming soon

Cattle producers interested in learning more about increasing profits can participate in a discussion of the issues by experts from Ohio State University Extension and nationwide, during a Beef Cattle School Jan. 29, Feb. 26 and March 19 at several locations statewide.

Beef Cattle School kicks off Jan. 29 with presentations from two nationally known cattle experts who will discuss how crossbreeding can boost profits for producers and how genetic selection tools have contributed to the de-emphasis on heterosis by some commercial cow-calf producers, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for OSU Extension and a member of the OSU Extension Beef Team.

Lee Leachman of the Leachman Cattle Company of Colorado will discuss practical methods to adopt a crossbreeding program and making right-sized cows, Grimes said. Nevil Speer, a professor of animal science at Western Kentucky University, will discuss heterosis and how advanced genetic selection tools, an evolving genetic base, and the growth of quality-driven markets have contributed to this phenomenon, he said.… Continue reading

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Livestock producers get income tax relief after drought

Some Midwestern livestock producers might find themselves facing higher income tax bills if the drought forced them to cull and sell more animals than normal in 2012 — but help is available, two Purdue Extension agricultural economists said.

The lack of forages and the high cost of feed led many producers who might normally have carried livestock through the winter to instead sell them at weaning. More sales at weaning usually would mean more taxable income in 2012.

But there is help in the form of income deferment and averaging.

“Federal income tax law may allow farmers affected by weather-related conditions to defer reporting of this income, in some cases, to even out incomes and avoid potentially higher taxes,” said Michael Langemeier, who also is associate director for Purdue’s Center for Commercial Agriculture. “Farm income averaging, which was enacted after the weather-related provisions, is another alternative that could result in lower income taxes for producers in some situations.… Continue reading

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USDA finalizes new Microloan Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new microloan program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans.

“I have met several small and beginning farmers, returning veterans and disadvantaged producers interested in careers in farming who too often must rely on credit cards or personal loans with high interest rates to finance their start-up operations,” said Vilsack. “By further expanding access to credit to those just starting to put down roots in farming, USDA continues to help grow a new generation of farmers, while ensuring the strength of an American agriculture sector that drives our economy, creates jobs, and provides the most secure and affordable food supply in the world.”… Continue reading

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American Farm Bureau sets policy at annual meeting

Voting delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 94th annual meeting expressed support for a bipartisan, reform-minded farm bill, crafted around a broad, flexible, crop-insurance-based program, including risk-management protection for peanuts, rice, forage and specialty crops.

“After ending a long year of policy uncertainty culminating with an extension of the old bill, we will push hard, in cooperation with our congressional and administration allies, for a five-year farm bill that provides our farmers certainty and extends much-needed risk management tools across more acres and more crops,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas.

Delegates said AFBF would not only support a farm bill with a strong safety net and risk management programs to protect farmers from catastrophes, but they also would work for programs that provide emergency assistance for livestock and tree producers not covered by federal crop insurance programs.

Delegates reaffirmed policy supporting changes to the dairy safety net, consistent with the margin insurance programs included in versions of the farm bill approved by the House and Senate Ag Committees.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Federation wins top AFBF award

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) received the top honor for a state organization during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 2013 annual meeting this week in Nashville, Tn. OFBF was presented the Pinnacle Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in programming and membership.

Qualifying it for the Pinnacle Award, OFBF also received the President’s Award for superior programming in leadership development, member services and public relations and communications. Additionally, Ohio won the Award for Excellence in all five programming areas including the President’s Award categories plus education and outreach, and policy development and implementation.

Ohio competed against other state Farm Bureaus of similar size in the awards program.

“This shows what members working together can accomplish,” said John C. (Jack) Fisher, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Our members, staff, friends at Nationwide and all our partners should be very proud of their organization.”

Two Ohio county Farm Bureaus, Hamilton and Wayne, were among the top 25 county programs honored with AFBF’s County Activities of Excellence Award.  … Continue reading

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Ohio tobacco production update

By David Dugan, Ohio State University Extension

Tobacco production has been in a steady decline since the late 1990s in the United States, and Ohio has seen the same reduction in producers and acres of tobacco. The big change happened in 2004 when the mandatory “buyout” happened. The buyout ended the quota system that had been in place since the 1930s. The quota system was based on acres until the early 1970s when the quota was transitioned over to pounds. Quotas were tied to farms and considered an asset. Land owners who did not produce tobacco often leased their pounds to a producer wanting to grow more tobacco. Crop share production was very common, too. The “buyout” eliminated all of this. No more leasing, crop share or quotas.

The post buyout production is mainly direct marketing with tobacco companies. However, there are still some auctions in operation, which prior to the buyout was the standard method of marketing the crop.… Continue reading

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Vilsack urges AFBF to reach out beyond agriculture

Last year was a tough one for farmers and ranchers, and while many are anxious to put it behind them, a number of 2012’s key events will be driving the Agriculture Department’s efforts in 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told attendees at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 94th Annual Meeting.

Chief among those events was the drought and its continuing ramifications, like the significantly low Mississippi River levels. Key lessons Vilsack said he learned from the drought are “the extraordinary resilience of our producers” and the importance of a safety net for agriculture.

In that vein, Vilsack said he and the department will continue to push for passage of a five-year farm bill. Along with a strong and viable safety net, key components of the legislation are provisions related to reforming credit and conservation programs and continuing the country’s commitment to enhancing trade.  Research and biofuels will be important elements, too.… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff offers tools to help producers facing a crisis

The Pork Checkoff recently introduced two new tools to help pork producers in the event of a crisis or emergency on their farm. The Farm-level Crisis Response Plan template and Emergency Action Plan, provide customizable, step-by-step guides to help producers be prepared and stay on track in their commitment to providing a safe, quality product.

“Whether you have a large or small farm, you can never be too prepared for a crisis or emergency,” said Derrick Sleezer, a pork producer from Cherokee, Iowa, and member of the National Pork Board. “The two new Checkoff-funded tools allow producers to fill in the blanks and tailor each plan to his or her operation, providing a clear plan of action in an otherwise challenging time.”

The Farm-Level Crisis Response Plan template provides a framework for evaluating the risk of on-farm crisis situations, identifying prevention measures and responding effectively should a crisis occur. The electronic planning tool outlines five crisis response steps, as well as how to assess the intensity level of a crisis.… Continue reading

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FDA announces Food Safety Modernization Act standards

On January 4, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the long-awaited proposed standards for foodborne illness prevention and produce safety. Called the “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption,” the rules will be used to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2011.

This is the next step in the laborious process of standardizing strategies to minimize the potential of microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“OPGMA commends the FDA in its efforts to be inclusive of the various stakeholders, including Ohio’s produce growers. This was an unprecedented process and one welcomed by OPGMA,” said Lisa Schacht of Schacht Farm Market in Canal Winchester and president of OPGMA.

Early on, the FDA solicited advice from OPGMA in numerous ways, including an organized a tour of several farms by FDA representatives. The result is a comprehensive and robust set of proposed rules and guidelines to fulfill the vision of the FSMA.… Continue reading

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Global corn demand spurs historic shift in China

For the first time in history, China will produce more corn than rough rice, according to reports by the U.S. Grains Council. This change, first projected in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, comes as the growing affluence of the Chinese middle class spurs for a protein-rich diet.

The USDA report, which upwardly revised Chinese corn production projections by 300 million bushels, illustrate how the economic trends of the world’s most populous country could create opportunities for well-positioned corn producers.

“Dramatic shifts in corn production are taking place across the globe” said Kevin Roepke, USGC manager of Global Trade. “This is stark evidence that today’s corn producer is well poised to take advantage of growing global consumerism.”

Demand for meat in China experienced explosive growth over the past 20 years, with poultry consumption increasing by 300%.  During that period, pork consumption increased by 85%, and beef consumption has increased 155%.… Continue reading

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Wins and challenges highlighted at 94th Annual AFBF Meeting

Farm Bureau members faced the challenge of drought in 2012, but scored major policy victories, including permanent estate and capital gains tax changes. With a new five-year farm bill and needed reform in key areas such as fiscal, environmental and labor policy hanging in the balance, agricultural unity will be essential in 2013, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman.

“Lest anyone wonder why we need a farm bill, we should remember the drought of 2012,” Stallman told more than 6,000 Farm Bureau members who gathered in Nashville for AFBF’s 94th Annual Meeting. “More than half of the country was in a severe drought last summer. Crops withered, hay supplies disappeared, feed costs soared and wildfires blazed. Thankfully, our crop insurance program worked as intended and we lived to fight another day.”

Beyond the farm bill, Stallman said it is also time for America’s elected leaders to put political differences aside for the good of the nation. … Continue reading

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USDA report shows Ohio corn, soybeans and wheat stocks & corn yields all down in 2012

Per the January 11th USDA Report:

Ohio’s 2012 average corn yield is estimated at 123 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from the November forecast, and down 35 bushels from the previous year. Producers harvested 3.65 million acres for grain this past year, compared to 3.22 million acres in 2011. Total State production of 449.0 million bushels is 12 percent below the 2011 total. Acreage harvested for silage is estimated at 200,000 acres, up 60,000 acres from the previous year. The average silage yield is estimated at 16.0 tons per acre.

Ohio’s average soybean yield for 2012 is estimated at 45 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from the November forecast. Growers harvested 4.58 million acres of soybeans in 2012 from the estimated 4.60 million acres planted. Total soybean production is estimated at 206.1 million bushels, down 5 percent from the 217.9 million bushels produced in 2011.

Alfalfa yields averaged 2.80 tons of dry hay per acre in 2012, while all Other hay averaged 1.80 tons per acre.

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Algae farming technology boosts yields for renewable fuel

Right next to a commercial nursery and greenhouse operation on the outskirts of Wooster, paddlewheels keep water constantly moving in four 30-by-200-foot ponds shaped like automotive raceway circuits. The water is deep green and murky.

That’s just how Phil Lane likes it.

Lane is a program manager for Touchstone Research Laboratory, a West Virginia-based company that operates this unusual facility on a stretch of farmland where the remnants of corn and soybean fields are now buried under snow.

And the stuff making the ponds green is another type of crop that could one day grow alongside the more traditional fare occupying Ohio fields: algae.

“Algae can be grown just about anywhere, so we are not competing with farmland for growing food crops,” said Lane, who manages the Wooster algae pilot facility. “Algae can add value to marginal lands, generating a crop that can be turned into biofuel and a variety of bioproducts.”… Continue reading

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USDA releases most important report of the year

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Have you watched the grain markets in recent weeks with the same attitude as watching paint dry? It takes forever. Well it’s finally here. The long awaited January 11 USDA crop reports were released today at noon. Corn production for 2012 was estimated at 10.78 billion bushels with a yield of 123.4 bushels per acre. Soybean production was pegged at 3.015 billion bushels and a yield of 39.6 bushels per acre.

Traders had expected today’s price reactions to be violent, swift, and volatile. Traders viewed corn as bullish, soybeans negative to neutral, and wheat bullish.

The trade has been talking about this report heavily for the past month. Many view today’s report day as the most important one for the entire year. It consists of four major reports; final corn and soybean production numbers for 2012, Dec. 1, 2012 quarterly grain stocks, the normal monthly supply and demand report, and lastly, estimated 2013 U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio agriculture unites for water quality

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Dairy Producers Associations, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Farmers Union, Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Ohio Livestock Coalition, Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, Ohio Pork Producers Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, Ohio Soybean Association, Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio State University and United Producers, Inc. have joined forces for a common goal — water quality. These Ohio organizations recently co-wrote and endorsed the following statement emphasizing the importance of a proactive approach to nutrient management and water quality on the farms of the state.

As a farmer in Ohio you have a significant challenge bearing down quickly. Government, special interest groups, the media and the public all expect you to help clean up the state’s water resources.… Continue reading

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Gypsum could fight Lake Erie algae

An Ohio State University scientist says an abundant byproduct from coal-burning power plants, if spread on farmers’ fields, could help control Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms.

Warren Dick, a soil biochemist in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), said applying fluidized gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum to crop fields can keep soluble phosphorus, the main nutrient feeding the algae, from getting washed from the soil by heavy rains, then running off into streams and rivers and eventually into the lake.

“And FGD gypsum, which is a synthetic form of gypsum, can improve both the soil and the crops,” he said. “Naturally occurring, mined gypsum has a long history as a soil amendment and fertilizer for farming.”

A professor in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), Dick is part of a national program to develop agricultural uses for FGD gypsum, which comes from the air-emission scrubbers at coal-burning power plants.… Continue reading

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Update on Saflufenacil herbicides

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

There are some changes with regard to herbicides that growers should be aware of in the coming year. Here is an overview of Saflufenacil herbicides.

Major changes with saflufenacil products within the past year or so include the addition of higher soybean burndown rates and planting restrictions, and one new product. Sharpen can now be applied at rates up to two ounces per acre in soybean burndown programs, and higher rates can improve burndown and residual broadleaf weed control. As Sharpen rates increase above one ounce per acre, the minimum interval between application and soybean planting increases. For soils with more than 2% organic matter, the minimum delay between Sharpen application and planting: one ounce — anytime before emergence; 1.5 ounces — 14 days; two ounces 30 days. Similar changes have occurred for Verdict use rates in soybeans. The five-ounce Verdict rate can be applied anytime before crop emergence, while rates of 7.5 and 10 ounces per acre must be applied 14 and 30 days before planting, respectively.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting will be held Feb. 8, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg. The program focuses on “Adapting to our Changing Climate” featuring Dr. Chris Teutsch, the Forage and Livestock Specialist at Virginia Tech’s Southern Piedmont Research and Extension Center near Blackstone, Virginia. An Ohio native and an outstanding speaker, Dr. Teutsch has very practical advice on how to make pasture and forage systems more resilient to weather extremes.

Do you know how often we face water deficits for pasture production? Come and find out — the statistics may surprise you. Teutsch will discuss management that will improve pasture production by more than 33% while also increasing drought tolerance of pastures through a stronger plant root system.

You will also learn how to plan ahead for filling in the cool season grass summer slump and other periods of forage deficit with alternative forages.… Continue reading

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OABA Crop Production and Seed Technology Conference

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is excited to announce the new 2013 OABA Crop Production and Seed Technology Conference, which will take place January 29-31, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. This is the first OABA event of its kind, and combines two long-time successful events – the Crop Production Conference and the Seed Technology Seminar – with invaluable networking opportunities for agronomy and other agribusiness professionals.

This event provides valuable networking opportunities each day, including an Industry Networking Reception on Jan. 29, and an Industry Networking Reception and Dinner on Jan. 30. This three-day event provides 19 continuing education credits – almost half of the Certified Crop Adviser CEUs needed in a two-year period – at less than $16 per CEU, and four Pesticide Applicator Certification credits. By registering for this three-day event, participants will also receive complimentary admission to the Industry Networking Receptions and Dinner, and the breakfast panel discussion on Jan.… Continue reading

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Soy checkoff examines options for locks and dams

The U.S. shipping industry received a reminder of how much a lock closure can cost when Lock 27 on the Mississippi River closed for five days this fall due to emergency repairs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that an unscheduled closure at this lock can cost up to $2.8 million per day. Emergency fixes and unscheduled maintenance cost shippers and those using shippers to move products. Additionally, the inadequacies of the aging U.S. lock and dam system can add burden, time and costs due to inefficiencies.

A recent study funded by the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) Global Opportunities program in coordination with the Soy Transportation Coalition examined these inefficiencies and potential maintenance solutions for this vital part of U.S. infrastructure. The U.S. inland waterways serve as important and economical routes to transport U.S. soy to global markets. Nearly 60% of total 2011 soybean exports passed through Mississippi River ports in southern Louisiana.… Continue reading

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