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The Center for Cooperative, Business and Community Education and Development formed at OSU

A $645,000 donation to Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has established a new agribusiness cooperative center that already has been called a national model.

The gift comes from five founding partners: CHS Inc., CHS Foundation, CoBank, Farm Credit Mid-America, United Producers, Inc., Luckey Farmers and Ag Credit. The funding creates The Center for Cooperative, Business and Community Education and Development.

“We’re very excited about this cooperative business model and what it can offer the state of Ohio and what it can offer to Ohio State University,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization represents the nation’s cooperatives and other farm-owned enterprises.

“This is the model going forward for that connection between our co-ops and our research and education community,” he said. “We think that connection offers enormous benefits for a world of food production and a world of sustaining ourselves through the best possible food system that we can create on this planet.”… Continue reading

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Biotech policy and U.S. market access key concerns with China

The American Soybean Association joined other members of the U.S. Biotech Crops Alliance (USBCA) in a letter urging President Barack Obama to make U.S. market access and the Chinese biotechnology policy a top priority at the upcoming 2014 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit, hosted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

“The Chinese market for U.S. grains and oilseeds is incredibly important to the viability of the U.S. agricultural economy. China is the largest U.S. export market for soybeans, $14 billion in 2013 and corn and corn product exports were roughly $3.5 billion. Agricultural biotechnology is also important to U.S. farmers, with acreage for biotechnology varieties of corn and soybeans totaling over 90 percent in 2014; enabling U.S. farmers to increase yield while reducing their environmental footprint,” the groups stated, “However, the U.S. agricultural crop value-chain currently faces serious challenges in providing for predictable and stable trade to China due to the inability to secure timely import approvals for new biotechnology products and a growing concern that factors other than science are being used as justification to reject applications.… Continue reading

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Environmental groups drop case against Lois Alt

West Virginia farmer Lois Alt’s victory in court stands after the five environmental groups that sided with the Environmental Protection Agency against Alt took their cue from the agency and dropped their appeal.

“We are proud of Lois Alt for courageously standing by her convictions and defending her long record of environmental stewardship,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said. “Meanwhile, the EPA and its allies have simply slunk back. They know their position can’t survive in court.”

Both American Farm Bureau and West Virginia Farm Bureau joined alongside Ms. Alt in the suit.

In October 2013, the U.S. Court for the Northern District of West Virginia rejected EPA’s contention that the Clean Water Act requires a federal permit for ordinary rain water runoff from the farmyard (non-production areas) at large livestock or poultry farms known as “concentrated animal feeding operations” or “CAFOs”. An appeal in the case would have brought the issue to the appellate level, where another victory for Alt would have provided even broader protection for other poultry and livestock farmers.… Continue reading

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Pumpkin Field Night

As consumers head to the pumpkin patch and reach for their pumpkin spice lattes, growers can learn how to meet growing demand at a pumpkin production workshop Oct. 9.

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is hosting Pumpkin Field Night at its South Centers at Piketon.

Ohio growers planted 6,800 acres of pumpkins last year, according to Jim Collom with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service Great Lakes Region. Producers harvested 6,100 acres of pumpkins, with an average yield of 165 hundredweight per acre. The total value of Ohio pumpkins last year was nearly $15.5 million, Collom said.

The three-hour workshop will feature detailed information on the ins-and-outs of pumpkin production, including how to screen for resistance to powdery mildew, drip irrigation and how to evaluate which variety of pumpkins to grow, said Brad Bergefurd, a horticulture expert with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association offers unique opportunities for breeders and youth

The Best of the Buckeye Program, hosted by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) in conjunction with the Ohio Beef Expo and the Ohio State Fair, is gearing up for its second season.

The program provides Ohio seedstock breeders an additional marketing opportunity, creates a source for moderately priced show steers and heifers by providing a program with awards and prestige, and attracts new participants interested in showing at the Ohio Beef Expo and/or the Ohio State Fair. Breeders are encouraged to request a Best of the Buckeye logo for use in printed and digital promotion of Best of the Buckeye eligible cattle. Email to request the logo.

The Best of the Buckeye program will offer 20 $500 scholarship opportunities for Best of the Buckeye participants to offset the cost of purchasing, raising and exhibiting a Best of the Buckeye nominated calf. Scholarships will be awarded to less-experienced participants, ages 8 to 21, with consideration given to the applicant’s financial need.… Continue reading

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USDA announces funding for organic and regional food systems

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of over $52 million in support of the growing organic industry and local and regional food systems through five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs.

“Local and regional food systems are one of the pillars of our efforts to revitalize rural economies,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Consumers are increasingly demanding more local and organic options. Investing in local and regional food systems supports the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers, especially smaller operations, while strengthening economies in communities across the country. Today’s announcements also improve access to fresh, healthy food for millions of Americans.”

Most of the grants announced were authorized through the Agricultural Act of 2014, including the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Foods Promotion Program, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Community Food Projects (CFP) grant program.… Continue reading

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Fall grazing management

After clipping pastures throughout the growing season and managing pasture rotations to insure that plants are not overgrazed and that there is enough rest period between grazing passes, it can be tempting in the fall to let grazing management slide. There is fall crop harvest and any number of other fall tasks to get done before winter. However, from a plant health standpoint, overgrazing during the fall is more detrimental to the plant compared to overgrazing followed by rest in the early part of the growing season. Fall is the time when the perennial plant must store up carbohydrate reserves that will be used to survive the winter and generate new growth next spring.

In the fall of the year, environmental conditions are not favorable for rapid leaf growth and an overgrazed plant will not be able to generate a lot of new leaf growth. Although leaf growth is slow, if sufficient leaf area is maintained throughout the fall season, photosynthesis is not slowed down.… Continue reading

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Cattle at the crossroads

The year-long across-the-board rally in cattle prices has been driven by a combination of favorable supply and demand factors which have aligned to push prices to record levels. On the supply side, the starting point is cattle numbers. Beef cow numbers are the lowest since 1962, and last year’s calf crop was the smallest since 1949. Cows are the “factory” where beef production begins. Over the years, a combination of poor returns, weather problems in key areas, and strong cull cow prices to satisfy the demand for processing beef encouraged the industry to “tear down” much of its production capacity.

Obviously, this situation didn’t develop overnight, but it did set the stage for what has happened in the past 12 months. Rising carcass weights have partially offset the decline in cattle numbers, but the net result has been tight beef supplies.


Favorable supply, favorable demand

Supplies of competing meats have also been unexpectedly tight.… Continue reading

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More corn, less meat setting tone of markets from USDA numbers

Last month, USDA released the September Crop Production report along with the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. The market was closely watching to see what USDA thinks about what is shaping up to be a corn crop for the record books.

USDA’s national average corn yield estimate came in at 171.7 bushels per acre. This was right at a bushel higher than the average pre-report estimate. It will be, if realized, a record national average yield. A number of key states are expecting phenomenal yields this year. Most notable is Illinois, for which the state average yield estimate was pegged at 194 bushels per acre. Among major producing states, record yields are currently projected for Indiana (184 bushels per acre), Iowa (185 bushels per acre), and Nebraska (179 bushels per acre). These yields correspond to an aggregate production estimate of 14.395 billion bushels, which will be the second consecutive year of record-high corn production following last year’s 13.925 billion bushel crop.… Continue reading

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APHIS report shows source of unapproved GM wheat inconclusive, commercial supplies not affected

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) were notified Friday, September 26, 2014, that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed its investigation into the May 2013 discovery of an unapproved Roundup Ready (RR) trait in isolated volunteer wheat plants. APHIS has determined that the source of the RR trait is inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain. This is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea that has not identified a single event among all classes of U.S. wheat exported to those countries. APHIS also noted that in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed.

“As we have said before, nothing is more important than the trust wheat growers have earned with our customers,” said Paul Penner, NAWG President and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan.… Continue reading

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New U.S. Census of Aquaculture released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2013 Census of Aquaculture results. This report is the result of the third national census conducted by NASS to measure the U.S. aquaculture industry. The last Census of Aquaculture was conducted in 2005.

“The 2013 Census of Aquaculture expands on the data collected about aquaculture during the 2012 Agriculture Census and provides a more comprehensive picture of the aquaculture sector at the national and state levels,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “There is always a need for current industry-specific data and the results from the census of aquaculture will be used by federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and producers to make decisions impacting this specialized area of agriculture.”

The aquaculture census provides detailed information relating to production volume and methods, surface water acres and sources, sales, point of first sale outlets, and aquaculture distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreational purposes.… Continue reading

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Executive order addresses antibiotic issue

An executive order from the White House last week addressing the challenge of antibiotic resistant bacteria concluded that more research is necessary to move forward.

“In its executive order on combating antibiotic resistant bacteria, the White House acknowledged something that the National Pork Producers Council has been saying for years: More epidemiological research is needed to understand the key drivers of increased antibiotic resistance,” said Howard Hill, NPPC president. “NPPC is pleased that the administration agrees that more research is needed and looks forward to working further with FDA and USDA on determining the most informed and appropriate solutions for combating antibiotic resistant bacteria.”

The role of antibiotics in agriculture needs to be better understood by all of the key stakeholders in this complex issue.

“It is important to emphasize that raising farm animals is a 24/7 job, and the health and well-being of livestock is the top priority for farmers and ranchers.… Continue reading

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Causes and cures of ear droppage in corn

There are several reasons for ears falling off of corn plants. Ear droppage may be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Corn breeders try to discard the experimental hybrids with a tendency to drop ears and select hybrids with good ear retention.

• I had observed a lot of European corn borer damage in conventional corn fields this year in July. Larvae of second brood of borer can tunnel into the shank and weaken the attachment of ears to the shank.

• During crop scouting recently, I noticed several dropped ears in a corn field. Investigation revealed that corn borers were one of the causes of ear droppage in conventional hybrids.

• Check the shank attachment of each hybrid. Select those with strong attachment with good ear retention characteristics.

• Select hybrids with tolerance to Diplodia ear rot, the whitish fungus that usually starts at the base of ears, causes ear rot and can result in ear droppage as well.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals program winners selected

Kelly and Michelle Abfall of Albany have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2014 Outstanding Young Farmer Award.

The contest is designed to help young farmers strengthen their business skills, develop marketing opportunities and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Contestants are judged on the growth of their farm businesses and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community.

The Abfalls won 250 hours free use of an M-series tractor provided by Kubota, $1,000 in Grainger merchandise sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and an expense-paid trip to the 2015 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in San Diego, Calif.

Kelly and Michelle are members of Athens County Farm Bureau, with Michelle serving on the board of trustees. They operate a 1,030-acre grain farm, where they raise corn, soybeans and wheat. They also raise beef cattle. Both have bachelor’s degrees in agriculture from Ohio State University and are active members of St.… Continue reading

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Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide

Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide.

The pocket guide, released Sept. 22 is produced by Purdue University and the Midwest Cover Crops Council.

Growers plant cover crops for a variety of reasons and possible benefits. Cover crops can trap nitrogen left in the soil after cash-crop harvest, scavenging the nitrogen to build soil organic matter and recycling some nitrogen for later crop use. They also can prevent erosion, improve soil physical and biological characteristics, suppress weeds, improve water quality and conserve soil moisture by providing surface mulch.

The first cover crops guide was released in February 2012. The updated guide is in response to the increasing interest in cover crops in the Midwest and to requests for additional information.

“All this new information will help farmers better choose appropriate cover crops for their situation and better manage the cover crops they grow — all for greater potential benefit for their soils and cash crop growth,” said Eileen Kladivko, Purdue professor of agronomy.… Continue reading

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OSU tax workshops

Farmers, producers, tax preparers and anyone who wants to learn more about the potential changes in tax laws, including those that relate to expense deductions and bonus depreciation (Section 179), can participate in a day-long tax webinar and workshop Dec. 15 hosted by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The six-hour program will focus on special issues specific to farm tax returns related to agriculture and natural resources and is open to tax preparers as well as individuals who file their own farm taxes, said Larry Gearhardt, director of the Ohio State University Income Tax School Program of Ohio State University Extension.

The program, which is an intermediate-level course, will also look at what potential changes are made to the rules on expense deductions and bonus depreciation, Gearhardt said.

“We’re waiting to see what Congress does with section 179 expense deductions and bonus depreciation, which likely won’t see any movement until after the November election,” he said.… Continue reading

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Algal bloom meeting

In the wake of this summer’s Toledo water crisis, Jeff Reutter, head of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, will host a breakfast program focusing on how to prevent similar events from happening.

The breakfast, called Ohio’s Water Resources and Citizens at Risk: Ag-related Practices and Policies to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms, Post-Toledo, is scheduled for 7:15-10:10 a.m. Oct. 14 at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

The program is part of monthly public breakfast series sponsored by the Environmental Professionals Network, a service of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, or CFAES.

“We’re hoping this will be a significant discussion of key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms,” said David Hanselmann, coordinator of the network and a lecturer in Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.… Continue reading

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More ARC details released

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced new regulations related to the new revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage program and other risk management options designed to help growers facing sharp declines in commodity prices or significant production losses.

“Many farmers are facing a difficult harvest this year — a lot of corn coming in, but at a very low price,” said Martin Barbre, National Corn Growers Association president. “The end goal of our work on farm policy is to make sure growers get the help they need — when they need it. This key objective defined our leadership role in advocating for Ag Risk Coverage, and it’s coming just in time, when many farmers are seeing their incomes fall below the cost of production.”

Vilsack announced the online tools which will help farmers select whether ARC or PLC coverage provides the best risk management option for their operations under future scenarios. USDA helped create online tools that allow farmers to enter information about their operation and see projections about what each program will mean for them under possible future scenarios.… Continue reading

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NPPC on the TPP

The National Pork Producers Council thanks U.S. trade officials for diligently working to achieve an outcome in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that would benefit all sectors of our nation’s economy, including agriculture. At the same time, we must also express our deep disappointment in Japan’s continuing rejection of the fundamental terms of a successful TPP agreement, as agreed upon by leaders of all participating TPP nations prior to Japan’s entry into the negotiations last year.

Japan continues to demand exemptions from tariff elimination for an unprecedented number of agricultural products. Its negotiators have declared that products such as pork, dairy, beef, wheat, barley, sugar and rice are “sacred” and cannot be opened to free trade in the TPP. Japan has employed this or similar arguments in all of its prior free trade agreements, so it is not surprising that some in the United States might accept this as reality, submit to Japan’s demand and accept the crumbs from its table.… Continue reading

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Heritage holds grand opening for Kenton facility

Heritage Cooperative (Heritage) celebrated the grand opening of a $7 million expansion to its branch in Kenton, Ohio, during a ribbon cutting ceremony. The project includes a new state-of-the-art fuel station, located at 1305 S. Main St. in Kenton, which will provide increased services to Heritage’s local customers.

Among the project’s most important elements is a fuel station, which offers gasoline, E85, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). With four pumps for passenger vehicles, five pumps for commercial vehicles and three dedicated CNG pumps, the station is a valuable new resource for Kenton-area residents and for town and county businesses in public service, agriculture and transportation.

“What makes this new facility unique is the ability to offer unmatched access in this region of the state to a clean-burning, affordable fuel source like CNG,” said Eric Parthemore, CEO, Heritage Cooperative. “As the needs of our customers and members are changing, we know we must evolve to ensure we can deliver better solutions that incorporate the latest technologies, safety features and precautionary measures — this expansion reflects that commitment.”… Continue reading

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