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Ohio Supreme Court sides with winery in zoning case

By Matt Reese

Growing grapes — even just a few — is still considered agriculture when it comes to zoning exemptions. This is at the crux of a recent decision made by the Ohio Supreme Court that adds a bit of clarity to the often-confusing legalities of the agricultural zoning exemption in the state.

The case addresses a longstanding debate about the role of zoning in regulating agriculture.

“When Ohio legislators granted zoning authority to townships and counties years ago, agricultural interests expressed concern that agricultural land uses would be ‘zoned out’ of many rural areas. The agricultural exemption addresses those concerns by limiting local zoning authority over agricultural land uses,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, Ohio State University senior researcher in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. “The problem arises with the statute’s attempt to determine what is or is not an agricultural land use.”

This particular case revolves around the Sperry Family and their Myrddin Winery in Mahoning County.… Continue reading

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Determining the actual nutrient value of wheat straw

The question that is often asked is just how much nutrient is being removed with that baling of straw around the state?

From a pure fertilizer standpoint, wheat straw contains very little in terms of phosphorus (P2O5) but moderate amounts of nitrogen (N) and potassium (K2O), said Robert Mullen, director of agronomy, Potash Corp/PCS Sales. The actual amounts of N, P2O5, and K2O contained in a ton of wheat straw are 11, 3, and 20 pounds, respectively (or an analysis of 0.6-0.2-1 if it were printed on a fertilizer bag).

“These removal rates are based upon average nutrient removal estimates from various publications,” Mullen said.

Some estimates of nutrient removal can be based upon grain yield, but those estimates have an underlying assumption, he said. The Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations have a K2O removal of 0.91 pounds per bushel of grain.… Continue reading

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Care Board veal standards put on hold, for now

By Kyle Sharp

Standards of care for veal production approved by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) in April have been put on hold, at least temporarily, after intense questioning by members of Ohio’s Congressional Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) during a hearing on Monday, July 11. At the meeting, OLCSB and Ohio Department of Agriculture officials decided to pull the veal rules and re-file them at a later JCARR hearing after gathering and providing more supporting material.

“We have the chance to collect more information for the committee members, and our intent is to do that in the next couple of weeks and re-file at the Aug. 1 JCARR hearing,” said ODA spokesman Andy Ware. “The rules will be re-filed as submitted, and we are confident the committee will approve what we have submitted.”


Bob Cochrell, a Wayne County veal farmer and member of the OLCSB veal subcommittee, presented comments and information against the proposed standards at the hearing and does not believe JCARR will be so easily swayed.… Continue reading

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AFBF pushes for biofuels bill

The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging members of the Senate to support a bipartisan bill that would continue America’s transition to home-grown biofuels.

In a letter sent to senators, AFBF President Bob Stallman  called for passage of S. 1185, the Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act, sponsored by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that would end the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC).  Thune and Klobuchar, along with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), recently reached an agreement to end the VEETC on July 31, instead of the current date of Dec. 31.

“One-third of the savings resulting from this change would be used toward providing tax credits for cellulosic biofuel production and building blender pumps—efforts that should result in better security for our nation and lower prices at the pump for consumers,” Stallman wrote.

“Farm Bureau believes that our nation should be focused on energy independence. We support transitioning from the VEETC to a program that builds biofuel infrastructure, including blender pumps and biofuel pipelines.”… Continue reading

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Refuge-in-the-bag saved precious time in 2011 planting season

By Matt Reese

This spring, farmers around Ohio experienced one of the most delayed plating seasons in history. With such a limited planting window, farmers had to make every minute count. A few farmers around the state got to save some time and experience the convenience of the refuge-in-the-bag of Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete corn. Robert Earl, who farms in Huron County, was among them. He planted around 260 acres of the Channel Brand corn this spring.

“We started planting corn on June 2 and finished on June 7. I called in family members to help drive tractor,” he said. “The SmartStax made it easier. We didn’t have to worry about where we were planting the refuge. It was one thing we didn’t have to think about when we were busier than heck. We didn’t have to haul two different varieties out to the field, we just loaded it.”

The refuge-in-the-bag is also beneficial for preserving the insect resistance technology.… Continue reading

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Hog prices on the rise

Pork prices are on the rise as international exports increase and high feed costs are passed on to consumers, said a Purdue Extension agricultural economist.

Retail prices this year are averaging a record $3.35 per pound, up 14% from $2.93 per pound in early 2010.

Increases in exports to South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have led to stronger demand for U.S. pork, said Christ Hurt.  Meat designated for export comprised 22% of all U.S. pork in production this spring, and he said that is leaving less for U.S. consumers.

“While it now appears pork production will rise about 1% this year, the large sales to foreign customers mean tight supplies here at home,” Hurt said.

In recent weeks, corn prices have fallen after reaching a record high of more than $8 per bushel in some locations. Margins between hog revenues and feed costs are now positive, which is welcome news for the pork industry.… Continue reading

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Summer pasture management sets stage for extended grazing

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

Summer pasture management generally requires a different mindset compared to the spring season. As both air and soil temperature increase our cool season grasses will grow slower and recover from a grazing pass slower. Just how much slower that growth and recovery is depends upon rainfall and grazing management. Up to this point at the end of June our rainfall has been good and we have even had some stretches of cooler temperatures so our pasture growth has remained good. If we get our typical July and August weather this could change quickly. I think that summer management should focus on meeting two goals: do not over graze pasture paddocks and provide some paddocks to stockpile forage for winter grazing.

The first management goal is to insure that pastures are not over-grazed. During the spring flush, pastures are growing so rapidly that the management strategy generally is to just top the grass off and keep moving quickly through the paddocks.… Continue reading

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A conversation with…Steve Hirsch, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) president

OCJ: First, could you share some background on your family’s fruit farm in Ross County?

Steve: Hirsch Fruit Farm is a diversified, multi generational fruit and vegetable farm. I am the fourth generation to raise fruit on this farm and work with my father, cousin and brother. We raise tree fruit (apples, peaches, nectarines) and small fruit (strawberries, raspberries, grapes) as well as asparagus, pumpkins, tomatoes and peppers. We also have about 50 acres of hay (grass hay and alfalfa/grass mix) and we produce our own apple cider here at the farm. We market most of our products directly to the consumer from an on-farm market and an off-farm market as well as participating in 4 farmers markets throughout the summer and fall.

OCJ: What OFBF experience do you have?

Steve: I started in Farm Bureau by participating in the youth programs while growing up on the farm. After returning to the farm, I became active in the Ross Co.… Continue reading

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WASDE keeps supplies tight

U.S. wheat supplies are up, feed grain and corn supplies are up and soybeans are lower. Ethanol use predictions are up too, though, and supplies remain tight in the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Here are some excerpts from the July 12 report.

WHEAT: U.S. wheat supplies for 2011/12 are raised 90 million bushels as higher carryin and production more than offset reductions in imports and higher use. Beginning stocks are raised 52 million bushels mostly reflecting higher estimated carryout for 2010/11 as reported in the June 30 Grain Stocks report. Production for 2011/12 is forecast at 2,106 million bushels, up 48 million from last month as higher winter wheat production and higher forecast yields for durum and other spring wheat more than offset lower area as estimated in the June 30 Acreage report. Partly offsetting is a 10 million bushel reduction in projected imports with lower expected supplies in Canada.… Continue reading

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Porsche: The New Farm Vehicle?

A recent investigation by a San Francisco company in the US uncovered a worrying trend of motorists declaring their sports cars as farm vehicles on their insurance policies in order to reap discounts of up to 20% on their annual motor insurance policy.

Quality Planning was called in to verify the details on thousands of car insurance policies, the LA Times reported, and found that out of 80,000 policies it investigated, 8% so some 6,382 vehicles, were registered for farm use and yet they were registered to an address where less than 1% of the population in that area are engaged in agriculture.

One of the examples flagged up by the investigation cited an Audi A4 model which was registered to an inner city address in Brooklyn, New York City, however the owner had claimed on the insurance document that the car was for farm-use, saving the driver $389 a year on the cost of coverage.… Continue reading

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Corn market waiting on August production report

Corn prices have made a modest recovery following the sharp declines stemming from the USDA reports released on June 30, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“The recovery has reflected a combination of continued strong corn demand and a few concerns about yield potential,” he said.

Good said that July 2011 corn futures reached a high just below $8.00 on June 10 and declined to a low of $6.15 on June 30. The price of that contract moved about 55 cents higher in the first week of July.

Similarly, December 2011 futures reached a high near $7.23 on June 9, declined to $5.75 on July 1, and then moved about 60 cents higher by the close on July 8, he said.

“Corn prices continue to react to a number of factors, including general economic and financial developments. Much of the price strength in July, however, has been associated with indications of continued strong demand and some ongoing concerns about potential yield and production,” he noted.… Continue reading

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SURE disaster program deadline approaches for 2009 crops

Steven Maurer, the State Executive Director for the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) would like to remind producers that they have until Friday, July 29, 2011, to apply for assistance for 2009 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. The program provides crop disaster assistance payments to eligible producers on farms that have incurred crop production or quality losses.


“FSA wants to ensure that all eligible producers are aware of the approaching deadline,” said Maurer. “SURE covers producers on farms in disaster counties that incurred crop production, crop-quality losses or both, but in order to qualify, you need to file in a timely manner.  I encourage anyone with questions to visit their local FSA office.”

A producer interested in signing up for SURE for their 2009 crops must do so before close of business July 29, 2011, at the county FSA office servicing the producer. The sign-up for the SURE program for the 2010 crops will be announced at a later date.… Continue reading

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The Ohio Crop Progress Report – July 11th, 2011

Temperatures across the state were slightly above average for this time of year, and precipitation was below normal. Most field activities included winter wheat harvest, cutting and baling hay, spraying herbicide, and side-dressing corn. Vomitoxin does not seem to be a problem in the majority of State wheat fields, producers have actively scouted for this ailment in fields. Reporters have indicated that late planted corn fields need rain, these fields did not develop root systems deep enough to withstand periods of time without frequent rain fall. Vegetable producers in the South East district have begun harvesting of tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers and sweet corn. Sweet corn producers are late at getting products to roadside stands, because spring planting was delayed due to an extremely wet spring.

As of Sunday July 10th, 1 percent of corn was silked (tasseled), 39 percent behind last year and behind the five-year average by 16 percent.… Continue reading

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OSA pushing for free trade agreements

Ohio soybean farmers benefit greatly from international markets, and thousands of Ohio jobs depend on soybean exports. The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) supports the pending Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Panama, South Korea and Colombia, and urges their immediate passage and implementation. These trade agreements will result in increased exports of Ohio soy and soy-fed meat and poultry, and will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies.

When these trade agreements are passed and implemented, they will present the opportunity for $3 billion in additional U.S. exports, economic development and jobs.

“OSA asks our elected officials to support efforts to open new markets and allow America’s farmers to fairly compete for business from countries needing agriculture products, including soybeans and soybean products,” said Jeff Wuebker, OSA President and Darke County farmer.  “Inaction regarding these trade agreements has resulted in the loss of U.S. market share and slower economic growth.”

How Ohio’s soybean farmers will benefit:

• Soybeans imported into South Korea for use in cooking oil and livestock feed will enter duty-free.… Continue reading

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Does foliar fungicide increase yield?

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology for
Seed Consultants, Inc.

Plant breeders try to develop new varieties with highest yield potential and select for disease resistance at the same time. However, it is almost impossible to develop resistance to all of the prevalent diseases while developing new varieties or hybrids. We have created some excellent genetic traits for insect tolerance but disease organisms are constantly changing and by the time breeders develop varieties resistant to certain disease organism, the pathogen changes. Nature has its own “breeding program” for the survival of its species. In order to maximize the potential yield of our crops, we need to protect them from diseases also and use of fungicides is one way.

Different disease organisms become more prevalent in certain growing conditions, for example, gray leaf spot likes high humidity and high temperature. Conservation tillage has also increased the incidence of many diseases.… Continue reading

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Soybeans aphids on the move to Ohio

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

Back in April of this year, we wrote an article where we predicted that Ohio would see soybean aphids this summer, albeit that we could not say if any part of the state would actually experience outbreak conditions. We can report that the prediction of having aphids might become true. States and provinces to our north and northeast (Michigan, New York, Ontario) are starting to report seeing soybean aphids in numerous fields at low levels, and we can report that we know of at least a field each in Wayne and Wood Counties in Ohio (early planted soybean fields), that have small aphid populations.

Because we feel that most of Ohio’s problems in later summer come from aphids that migrate from northern areas, conditions are beginning to occur that might provide us with larger populations in a month or so. … Continue reading

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Ohio Sheep Day July 16

Ohio needs more sheep. That’s the conclusion of Ohio State Extension Sheep Specialist Roger High, coordinator of the annual Ohio Sheep Day slated for July 16 at Blue Heron Farm in Columbiana County.

“This year at the American Sheep Industry Association convention in Reno, we developed and implemented an expansion plan for the sheep industry,” High said. “One of things we’re going to focus on is expanding the flock in Ohio.”

High said the strategic plan, and renewed focus on expanding the Ohio flock, is a result of a significant imbalance in supply and demand of lamb. Demand for lamb is strong, and supplies to fulfill that market are very tight.

Naturally, a growth in demand without a corresponding result in supply leads to strong prices. The problem, however, is a long-term concern over having enough lamb to fill the market.

“If we don’t get some sheep numbers back into the industry, our infrastructure will not be able to stand those lower numbers,” High said.… Continue reading

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AFBF applauds FTA progress

Statement from Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president: “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased both the Senate and House committees have approved the Korea, Colombia and Panama free trade agreements through the mock markup process. The process toward finalizing these important trade deals is heading in the right direction.

“The next step is for the administration to send the implementing legislation to Capitol Hill for a Congressional vote. It is imperative that the process promptly move forward to ensure the agreements will be completed by August recess. Inaction on these trade agreements over the last four years has opened the door to our competitors in these markets. Further delay will only exacerbate the losses for U.S. agriculture and the U.S. economy.

“Combined, the three FTAs represent nearly $2.5 billion in new agriculture exports and could generate support for up to 22,500 U.S. jobs. These gains will only be realized if the three agreements are passed by Congress and implemented.”… Continue reading

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