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Biodiesel carries momentum into 2013

Dale Minyo is in Las Vegas this week for the National Biodiesel Conference. Ohio Ag Net’s coverage is brought to you by the Ohio Soybean Council.


Joe Jobe is CEO of the National Biodiesel Board and his visits with Dale about the challenges his industry has overcome and the goals ahead.

Joe Jobe WEB

National Biodiesel Board Chairman Gary Haer talks with Dale about the momentum the industry has going into 2013.

Gary Haer WEB

Adam Ward is with the Ohio Soybean Association and Dale chats with him about the significance of the biodiesel industry.

Adam Ward WEB

John Deere’s Don Borgman updates Dale on the current happenings with Deere and biodiesel.

Don Borgman WEBContinue reading

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Shultz elected to American Sheep Industry Association Board

Susan Shultz of De Graff, Ohio, was elected to represent Region III on the American Sheep Industry Association’s (ASI) Executive Board at the 2013 ASI/National Lamb Feeders Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 24-26. Region III represents Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“I am humbled to be given the opportunity to be our region’s representative to ASI,” Shultz said. “The sheep industry has a very bright future and I am happy to do my part to help provide leadership as we move the industry forward.”

Susan and her husband, Bill, operate Bunker Hill Farm, a third-generation diversified family farm. After raising registered Rambouillet sheep for 25 years, they have transitioned to a production-oriented Suffolk flock. They are committed to genetic improvement through the use of objective measurements and the National Sheep Improvement Program. Performance criteria are centered on multiple weighings for growth and the use of ultrasounds for loin eye and fat determination.… Continue reading

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Top 2013 opportunities for U.S. meat exports

By Philip Seng, President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)

There are a multitude of factors that go into an annual export projection. Here are what I would consider the top five markets of opportunity for this year.

No. 1: Increased beef access to Japan

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor & Welfare (MHLW) has finally approved expanded access for U.S. beef — from the current 20-month cutoff to 30 months. While the specific logistical details on resolving access issues must be addressed, this single change, expected to be finalized in the first half of 2013, will provide a major boost to U.S. beef exports.

In 2000, U.S. exports to Japan reached 524,224 metric tons (1.16 billion pounds) valued at $1.77 billion — accounting for 43% by volume and 50% of the value of all U.S. beef exports that year. At the same time, the U.S. was supplying 53% of Japan’s beef imports.… Continue reading

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EPA releases RFS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2).

The proposal announced today will be open for a 45-day public comment period and EPA will consider feedback from a range of stakeholders before the proposal is finalized. EPA continues to support the use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector through the RFS2 program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.… Continue reading

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MILC payments announced

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently announced that beginning Feb. 5, USDA will issue payments to dairy farmers enrolled in the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for the September 2012 marketings. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the authorization of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) through 2013 for many programs administered by FSA, including MILC. The 2008 Farm Bill extension provides for a continuation of the MILC program through Sept. 30, 2013.

MILC payments are triggered when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight, after adjustment for the cost of dairy feed rations. MILC payments are calculated each month using the latest milk price and feed cost.

All dairy producers’ MILC contracts are automatically extended to Sept. 30, 2013. Eligible producers therefore do not need to re-enroll in MILC. MILC operations with approved contracts will continue to receive monthly payments, if available.… Continue reading

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Obama pushing for immigration reform

President Obama is pushing for Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration law in the first half of 2013. Obama will likely put forth his own legislation is Congress cannot put something together within that timeframe.

There is interest in this issue within Congress as well, and the American Farm Bureau is hoping for some action on this issue as well, according to AFBF president Bob Stallman.

“The time is long overdue for our nation to have a comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation. The American Farm Bureau Federation is encouraged by the immigration reform principles put forth by a bipartisan group of eight Senators,” Stallman said. “We are especially pleased the senators recognized that agricultural labor provisions must be part of any substantive effort to reform immigration policy. We are hopeful that this will provide the needed framework to move forward during the 113th Congress with a legislative solution for America’s agricultural labor shortage.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Council scholarships available

The Ohio Ag Council is offering up to six $1,000 scholarships to assist students pursuing agricultural-related studies and to help promote agriculture and agri-business as a growing field of career opportunities.

Scholarships are selected based on academic record, leadership qualities, community involvement and responses to application essay questions. Applicants will be reviewed and selected by a committee of individuals who are active members of the Ohio Agricultural Council.

The application deadline for the 2013-2014 school year is February 15, 2013.… Continue reading

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Farmers Market Conference

Ohio State University South Centers will host a statewide Farmers Market Conference March 11-12 to promote new ideas and best practices to Ohio’s farmers market vendors and managers.

The conference will provide updates on key food safety regulations, and tips for increasing customer bases and preparing for disasters. It will be held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on Ohio State’s main campus in Columbus.

OSU South Centers is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“As with programs we have offered in the past, one of the greatest benefits is networking with others who are passionate about farmers markets and local foods,” said Christie Welch, farmers market specialist at OSU South Centers at Piketon. “The conference is packed with practical information to assist Ohio producers and market managers to better their businesses.”

The theme for the conference, now in its fourth year, is “Keeping it Fresh: Celebrating Ohio’s Diverse Markets.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Agricultural Council seeking nominations for Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame

The Ohio Agricultural Council is seeking nominations for the 2013 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Induction into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame is Ohio’s highest recognition of an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the agricultural industry.  Each year up to four prominent agricultural leaders are honored and inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame for their superior service, dedication, leadership and contributions to agriculture.

Persons wishing to nominate an individual who he or she believes is deserving of consideration for this honor may secure a nomination form by writing to the Ohio Agricultural Council, 5950 Sharon Woods Blvd., Columbus, Ohio 43229, by calling 614-794-8970 or emailing

Nominations must be submitted by March 29, 2013 in order to be eligible for consideration in 2013.

The Ohio Agricultural Council includes organizations, companies and individuals who have an interest in the well-being and promotion of the agricultural industry in Ohio.… Continue reading

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Brown and Gibbs chosen for the Wheat Advocate Award

The National Association of Wheat Growers announced their choices for the 2012 Wheat Advocate Award, an award given annually to Members of Congress who have demonstrated support for the wheat industry above and beyond the norm. Two of the recipients of the 2012 award are U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs.

As chair of the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth, and Energy Innovation, Senator Brown fought for a sensible five-year farm package. He has continued his work to improve upon programs like ACRE and was a key supporter of developing a safety-net for farms during uncertain times like the drought that plagued the nation during 2012. He also openly challenged his colleagues to help bring the farm bill to the floor for a vote.

Congressman Gibbs was vocal in his support of a balanced five-year farm bill and continued to push for a compromise and final passage.… Continue reading

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Farm Tax Webinar

Due to the many changes made by the fiscal cliff legislation, OSU Extension will be hosting a Farm Tax Webinar on Wednesday, February 6 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  Farmers are encouraged to connect via the internet at their home to learn the latest on farm taxes and the impacts of the fiscal cliff legislation.

The following topics will be discussed during this two hour webinar:  Farm Bill Extension-what does it mean?; Acre & SURE Program Updates; New Income Tax Brackets (Income & Capital Rates); Section 179 Extension & Increase; Special Depreciation Increase; Payroll Tax Increase; Filing Status delay due to Form 4562; Crop Insurance and Disaster Payments; Weather Related Sales of Livestock; New Federal Income Tax Limitations; Elimination of Ohio Estate Tax; CAUV Tax Increase Explanation in Counties Across Ohio; Oil & Gas Lease & Royalty Income; Hunting Lease Income; Conservation Easement Deduction; and Taxation of Ag Commodities.

This program is being offered by the OSU Income Tax School Program of OSU Extension.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association celebrates an outstanding year

More than 250 producers and leaders in the beef industry assembled at the Columbus Marriott Northwest in Dublin, Ohio on Jan. 26, 2013 for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) annual meeting and awards banquet. The event featured policy development sessions, OCA’s annual meeting and the OCA’s award banquet. Annual meeting and banquet sponsors who contributed to the success of the event include COBA/Select Sires, CompManagement, Inc., Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc., Stark County Cattlemen’s Association and Steve R. Rauch.

During the annual meeting, Ohio cattlemen welcomed Kent Bacus, Associate Director of Legislative Affairs in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Washington, DC office, who gave an update on NCBA activities and discussed many of the issues NCBA is working on for the beef industry. Bacus shared with Ohio’s cattlemen the status of trade agreements with Japan, the outlook on Congress following the election and the current tax situation.

Bruce McPheron, Dean and Vice President for Agricultural Administration in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, discussed the importance of new livestock facilities to student success and the university.… Continue reading

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Drought is still a problem in some areas

While the drought no longer dominates headlines, it remains a serious concern for farmers across the U.S. Plains and western Midwest. Dry weather conditions persist and, with only light showers and snowfall on the immediate horizon for many, farmers may encounter fields suffering from depleted subsoil moisture when planting begins across the central United States in about 10 weeks.

“Once temperatures drop, public attention shifts away from the drought conditions that persist,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “News stories have begun speaking of the drought of 2012 as if it were in the past. But, for many farmers, the drought has not ended and there is no relief in sight. While facing the possibility of another dry year, farmers must focus on advocating for the risk management tools that they need by pushing their legislators to pass a new five-year farm bill.”

Forecasts from a variety of sources indicate that the drought may impact many farmers for the foreseeable future.… Continue reading

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American Sheep Industry Environmental Stewardship Award presented to Steffee Farms

At the 2013 American Sheep Industry Convention held in San Antonio, TX, Steffee Farms from Muskingum County was presented with the ASI Environmental Stewardship Award.

Steffee Farms has been an innovator in the area of environmental stewardship. The farm has been awarded the Muskingum County Resources Conservation award and the Steffee’s have been recognized for their work by the Ohio Livestock Coalition and the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association. They have been able to successfully integrate many practices on their farm to help protect the soil, water, and air.

In addition, Charles Parker was presented with the ASI Camptender Award for his extensive work with the U.S. Sheep Industry. Parker has worked as an educator, scientist, industry leader, promoter, and visionary for the past 50 years. Parker focused his research at the Ohio Ag Research Station in intensive management systems and genetic selection for reproductive growth efficiencies, his work then continued as the director of research at the U.S.… Continue reading

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The future of preserving Ohio farmland

By Matt Reese

The recent 13th annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit marked a decade of partnership between the state and local partners, which has resulted in the permanent preservation of 50,000 acres of productive farmland in 55 counties around the state.

Denise Franz King, executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation, delivered the keynote address at the event that covered a significant change in the future of preserving farmland in Ohio. King explained a new farmland preservation program where the Ohio Department of Agriculture will certify land trusts, local governments and soil and water conservation districts to partner with the Department to manage local programs to purchase agricultural easements from willing landowners with the state’s Clean Ohio bond funding. The program is expected to begin this spring.

“The program will be transitioning to a more local program, with local groups being certified to evaluate proposals and select recipients.… Continue reading

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USMEF praises expanded access for beef in Japan

A new agreement that will expand access for U.S. beef to Japan is being hailed by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) as a positive step for the American beef industry as well as the Japanese trade and consumers.

The change, which takes effect Feb. 1, will allow the United States to export beef from animals under 30 months of age to Japan with the exception of ground beef, which will be phased in after a surveillance period to ensure that the new export protocol is proceeding smoothly. In the aftermath of the discovery of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the U.S. in December 2003, only beef from animals 20 months of age or younger has been eligible for export to Japan.

“This is an extremely positive development that successfully addresses one of the longest standing issues between our two governments,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “The U.S. beef industry – from farmers and ranchers to exporters – will benefit from increased exports to this premium market.… Continue reading

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79th Ohio Farmers Union convention

After a number of challenges in recent years, the Ohio Farmers Union is back on track. At the 79thAnnual lOFU Convention, attendees got an update on the revitalization of the organization and in-depth overview of numerous key topics affecting agriculture in Ohio.

The meeting featured an Ohio legislative update for delegates from Joe Logan, OFU Executive Committee member and Ohio Environmental Council Director of Agricultural Programs and Ron Sylvester, OFU External Relations Director. OFU member also got an Ohio Grain Indemnity Fund Update from Matt Beal, Chief, Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry and updates on Oil and gas leasing.

Chandler Goule, V.P. of Government Relations, National Farmers Union, talked about the challenges of Washington politics for the farm bill and provided a breakdown of what 2013 may hold for agriculture at the federal level. Goule also outlined the political importance of the SNAP and nutrition programs in the farm bill.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA Video contest entries

We are excited to share the entries we received in our FFA video contest. Chapters were challenged to create a video with the theme Rocking Out With FFA and changing the the lyrics of a song to promote agriculture and FFA in general as well as what makes their chapter special.

The winning chapter will receive custom-designed t-shirts, a pizza party and the Ohio Ag Net midday broadcast from their school.

We will be announcing the winner later this week, but check out the entries we received:

 The Logan Elm FFA: FFA

South Central FFA Chapter: I Feel Like a Farmer

The Teays Valley FFA Chapter: Ag Yeah

Genoa FFA Chapter: Called All the Time

Genoa FFA Chapter: I Love This Farm

The Felicity FFA Chapter: Felicity Style

Genoa FFA: I Can Be Your Farmer

Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High Schools FFA: Something About Ag

Oak Harbor High School/Penta Career Center: Ag Shop

South Central FFA: Farmer Boy Swag

 … Continue reading

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Agreement further opens Japan’s market to U.S. beef

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions which pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan. Under these new terms, which enter into effect on Feb. 1, 2013, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, compared to the previous limit of 20 months, among other steps.

It is estimated that these important changes will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years. This agreement also goes a long way toward normalizing trade with Japan by addressing long-standing restrictions that Japan introduced in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

“This is great news for American ranchers and beef companies, who can now — as a result of this agreement — increase their exports of U.S.… Continue reading

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