Top Headlines

Featured Posts (Posts shown below the “Top Posts” on the home page)

Awareness key to preventing H3N2 illness, minimizing impact on pork industry

Minimizing the risk of human disease and any potential impact on the country’s pork industry from the outbreak of the influenza A H3N2 variant virus can best be accomplished through education about the nature of influenza viruses and how to prevent infection along with stepped-up efforts to keep sick pigs away from agricultural fairs, Ohio State University animal virologists say.

According to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H3N2v virus – called “variant” because it has some unique genetic changes compared with typical swine H3N2 viruses – has infected 153 people since July. All but two of the cases occurred in Ohio and Indiana. The majority of those who have contracted the virus had direct contact with pigs, mainly at state or county fairs. Most of the cases have been reported in children.

So far, no one has died from the virus. The severity of illnesses associated with it in humans has been similar to the severity of illnesses commonly seen with seasonal flu, the CDC reported.… Continue reading

Read More »

McPheron named Dean of OSU’s CFAES

Bruce McPheron, dean, College of Agricultural SciencesBruce McPheron, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, his undergraduate alma mater.

He will replace Dr. Bobby Moser and report directly to Joseph A. Alutto, executive vice president and provost. McPheron’s appointment is effective Nov. 1, pending approval by the board of trustees of Ohio State.

“Bruce brings a unique set of qualifications to his new position”, said Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and vice chairman of Ohio State’s Board of Trustees. “His Ohio roots are deep; he was raised here, graduated from Ohio State and served as an Ohio county Extension agent. His experience in higher education engaged him in research, teaching, Extension and the highest levels of administration. He has proven abilities in connecting with students, faculty and staff as well as colleagues across campus and throughout the nation.… Continue reading

Read More »

McPheron named Dean of OSU's CFAES

Bruce McPheron, dean, College of Agricultural SciencesBruce McPheron, dean of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, his undergraduate alma mater.

He will replace Dr. Bobby Moser and report directly to Joseph A. Alutto, executive vice president and provost. McPheron’s appointment is effective Nov. 1, pending approval by the board of trustees of Ohio State.

“Bruce brings a unique set of qualifications to his new position”, said Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and vice chairman of Ohio State’s Board of Trustees. “His Ohio roots are deep; he was raised here, graduated from Ohio State and served as an Ohio county Extension agent. His experience in higher education engaged him in research, teaching, Extension and the highest levels of administration. He has proven abilities in connecting with students, faculty and staff as well as colleagues across campus and throughout the nation.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn ethanol waiver's affect on corn prices uncertain

Corn prices pushed higher by the worst U.S. drought in half a century would not necessarily moderate if the federal government’s corn ethanol mandate were temporarily suspended, according to a report by Purdue University agricultural economists.

The report, “Potential Impacts of a Partial Waiver of the Ethanol Blending Rules,” suggests that corn prices could fall under some scenarios should the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant a partial waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s corn ethanol provision – but only under certain market conditions. The EPA received a request by a consortium of livestock industry organizations to waive part of the mandate that effectively requires corn ethanol be blended with gasoline.

The Purdue report will be available Aug. 15 on the Farm Foundation website at http://www.farmfoundation.org/.

Farm Foundation NFP is an Oak Brook, Ill.-based not-for-profit organization conducting public policy education for food, agriculture and rural communities. The authors will discuss their report during a live webcast.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn ethanol waiver’s affect on corn prices uncertain

Corn prices pushed higher by the worst U.S. drought in half a century would not necessarily moderate if the federal government’s corn ethanol mandate were temporarily suspended, according to a report by Purdue University agricultural economists.

The report, “Potential Impacts of a Partial Waiver of the Ethanol Blending Rules,” suggests that corn prices could fall under some scenarios should the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant a partial waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s corn ethanol provision – but only under certain market conditions. The EPA received a request by a consortium of livestock industry organizations to waive part of the mandate that effectively requires corn ethanol be blended with gasoline.

The Purdue report will be available Aug. 15 on the Farm Foundation website at http://www.farmfoundation.org/.

Farm Foundation NFP is an Oak Brook, Ill.-based not-for-profit organization conducting public policy education for food, agriculture and rural communities. The authors will discuss their report during a live webcast.… Continue reading

Read More »

2,4-D resistance found in weeds could limit the herbicide’s future usefulness

Even as crops resistant to 2,4-D herbicide are being developed, populations of weeds are also developing a resistance. A 2,4-D–resistant variety of the waterhemp weed has been found, and its spread could lessen the impact of an herbicide widely used in grassland and crop production. Despite worldwide use of 2,4-D since the 1940s, only 17 weeds were previously known to be resistant to it.

The journal Weed Science reports the discovery of 2,4-D–resistant waterhemp by a grower in Nebraska. Although scarce 30 years ago, waterhemp is now a major problem for crop production in the midwestern United States. This is the sixth mechanism-of-action herbicide group to which waterhemp has developed resistance.

After 10 years of treatment with 2,4-D, waterhemp was no longer effectively controlled in a Nebraska native-grass seed production field. The highest doses of 2,4-D that were used in an on-site field study, 33 lb ai/A, were insufficient to control 50 percent of the waterhemp population.… Continue reading

Read More »

National Corn Growers responds to RFS petition

National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer released the following statement in response to formal petitions filed this week with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“We are in the midst of a historic and devastating drought.  Its impact will be felt well beyond the farm sector.  We have great concern and empathy for not only our members who are suffering, but all who we supply.  This includes the domestic livestock sector, our export customers, the domestic food industry and the ethanol industry.  All are suffering because of the drought.

“We continue to believe in the value and efficacy of the open market system.  It is the most efficient and effective way of allocating resources.

“There currently is a lot of public discussion about the role and impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard.  Unfortunately most of this discussion is unencumbered by facts and reality. … Continue reading

Read More »

Little Seeds, Big Tractors takes over COSI

This week, COSI will once again host Little Seeds, Big Tractors. The annual event will run through August 19th. There is something for all ages at this exhibit. Come out and learn where our food comes from and how it is produced. There will be tractors to see upclose and other interactive exhibits!

Franklin County Farm Bureau’s Neal Webber gave Dale Minyo all of the details about the very popular event.

Neal Webber Little Seed and Big tractors at COSIContinue reading

Read More »

Insecticide restrictions important to note as harvest approaches

An early soybean harvest is fast approaching amid the worst drought in decades, making it that much more important for growers to pay attention to restrictions on use of insecticides as plants near maturity.

Even though soybean growers still are seeing spider mites and aphid emergence, a Purdue Extension entomologist warned against applying insecticides past the R5, or beginning seed, growth stage.

“Whether it’s due to spider mite damage or in combination with the drought and heat, maybe soybean fields are stressed this season and will likely see an early harvest,” Christian Krupkesaid. “Keep in mind that although active spider mite populations, or even bean leaf beetle leaf or pod feeding, might still be found, all insecticides have a pre-harvest interval that is stated on the label.”

Those intervals range from 18 to 45 days before harvest, depending on the insecticide.

Soybean plants begin to senesce or “shut down” once they reach the R5 growth stage, so insecticide applications are not enhancing yields at that point, Krupke said.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA meat purchases

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s intent to purchase up to $170 million of pork, lamb, chicken, and catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks. The purchase will help relieve pressure on American livestock producers during the drought, while helping to bring the nation’s meat supply in line with demand while providing high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs.

“President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America’s farmers and ranchers through this difficult time,” Vilsack said. “These purchases will assist pork, catfish, chicken and lamb producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions and the high cost of feed resulting from the widespread drought. The purchases will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA’s nutrition programs.”

USDA announced its intention to purchase up to $100 million of pork products, up to $10 million of catfish products, up to $50 million in chicken products, and up to $10 million of lamb products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA grants to boost renewable energy

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 106 projects in 29 states, Guam and Puerto Rico have been selected for funding to produce renewable energy and make energy efficiency improvements. Funding is made available through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.

“The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners across the country reduce their energy costs and consumption,” Vilsack said. “This is part of the President’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, which involves expanding support for traditional as well as alternative energy sources. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job growth in rural America.”

For example, in Washington County, Iowa, Andrew McCall is receiving a guaranteed loan to construct a 50 kilowatt (kW) wind turbine at his agricultural business. The turbine is expected to generate approximately 103,200 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually, enough to meet the annual requirements of nine homes.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beef Checkoff changes coming

A newly approved structure for joint beef checkoff committees endeavors to engage more cattle producers and beef importers who pay the checkoff in a more efficient decision-making process about investment of their hard-earned checkoff investments.

Adopted unanimously by both the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) and the Federation of State Beef Councils during the recent 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, the new structure effectively reduces the number of checkoff program committees — which are responsible for making recommendations to the Beef Promotion Operating Committee about programs to fund with checkoff dollars — from the current 13 to just four in 2013.

Each of those four new committees will be tied directly to core strategies identified in the 2011-2013 Beef Industry Long Range Plan, with subcommittees for the domestic market formed around the beef demand drivers identified in that same plan. As envisioned, committees will be flexible enough to change with adoption of a new long range plan, if those strategies and demand drivers change.… Continue reading

Read More »

Monthly crop report quantifies coffee shop conversations

Corn production will drop 13% to a six-year low, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in a recent report, confirming what many farmers already knew — they are having a very bad year, Ohio State University Extension economist Matt Roberts said.

In its monthly crops report, USDA today cut its projected U.S. corn production to 10.8 billion bushels, down 17% from its forecast last month of nearly 13 billion bushels and 13% lower than last year. Soybean production is forecast to be down as well, to 2.69 billion bushels, which is 12% lower than last year and as well as lower than the 3.05 billion bushels the USDA forecast last month.

The projections mean this year’s corn production will be the lowest production since 2006, with soybeans at its lowest production rate since 2003, Roberts said. The USDA said it expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 24 bushels from last year, while soybean growers are expected to average 36.1 bushels per acre, down 5.4 bushels from last year.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio's Crop Progress – August 13th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 71.7 degrees, 0.2 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 12, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.40 inches, 0.52 inches above normal.  There were 132 modified growing degree days, 17 days below normal.

Reporters rated 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 10, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 37 percent very short, 34 percent short, 28 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY AUGUST 12, 2012

This week’s multiple rain storms and cooler temperatures reduced stress on crops and livestock.  Field activities for the week included the beginning of corn silage and processing tomato harvest.  The fruit, vegetable, and potato harvest continues.  Observations of spider mites have been reported in west central region soybean fields.  Also, western corn root beetles have been identified in traps; however the incidence rate was low.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio’s Crop Progress – August 13th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 71.7 degrees, 0.2 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, August 12, 2012.  Precipitation averaged 1.40 inches, 0.52 inches above normal.  There were 132 modified growing degree days, 17 days below normal.

Reporters rated 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 10, 2012.  Topsoil moisture was rated 37 percent very short, 34 percent short, 28 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY AUGUST 12, 2012

This week’s multiple rain storms and cooler temperatures reduced stress on crops and livestock.  Field activities for the week included the beginning of corn silage and processing tomato harvest.  The fruit, vegetable, and potato harvest continues.  Observations of spider mites have been reported in west central region soybean fields.  Also, western corn root beetles have been identified in traps; however the incidence rate was low.… Continue reading

Read More »

More CRP haying and grazing options opened up

In response to the continued drought conditions, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Steve Maurer, announced the addition of 5 CRP practices that livestock producers and other participants in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will now be able to emergency hay and graze.

“Many of these additional acres have wetland-related characteristics and are likely to contain better quality hay and forage than on other CRP acres,” Maurer said.

The list of eligible practices has been expanded to include:

  • CP8A (grass waterways) – haying and grazing available
  • CP23 (wetland restoration) – haying and grazing available
  • CP23A (wetland restoration, non-floodplain) – haying and grazing available
  • CP25 (rare and declining habitat (oak savanna, wetland complexes, tall grass prairies)
    • Oak Savannas – haying only
    • Wetland Complexes – haying and grazing
    • Tall Grass Prairies – haying and grazing
  • CP27/CP28 (farmable wetlands pilot wetland and buffer) – haying and grazing available

Eligible producers who are interested in haying or grazing CRP under the emergency authorization, and current CRP participants who choose to provide land for haying or grazing to an eligible livestock producer, must first request approval from their local FSA office and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).… Continue reading

Read More »

West Nile Virus found in Shelby County horse

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in a horse from Shelby County. Samples were collected on August 1, 2012 and results were confirmed by the agency on August 6, 2012.

Mosquitoes can pick up the West Nile Virus from wild birds and may then transmit the infection to people and other animals. Studies show that cool, wet weather in early spring followed by very hot temperatures throughout the summer can result in increased mosquito activity.

Infection with West Nile Virus does not always lead to signs of illness in people or animals.  In horses that become clinically ill, the virus infects the central nervous system and may cause symptoms of encephalitis. Clinical signs of encephalitis in horses may include a general loss of appetite, depression, weakness in limbs, and possible fever.

“Animal vaccination is a primary key to preventing the spread of West Nile virus among animals.… Continue reading

Read More »

July the hottest month on record

With an average temperature of 77.6 degrees F in the contiguous U.S., the month of July surpassed the 20th century average by 3.3 degrees F. The previous warmest July was in 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4 degrees F.

The hottest locations in July were mostly stretched across the Midwest and central Plains, areas largely plagued by intense drought.

“Droughts tend to feed and sustain heat waves,” AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

July’s warmth may have been intensified by dry conditions, which has caused a devastating corn crop loss and the potential for a significant soybean loss.

“A lack of water in the ground has allowed the sun to heat the surface much more efficiently than it normally would, due to less water being evaporated,” AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. “Evaporation is a cooling process. In July, all the sun’s energy went into heating instead of evaporation and that likely added to the extremes a bit,” Anderson said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio State to hold first-ever training course on anaerobic digestion

Ohio State University will hold a first-of-its-kind training course on anaerobic digestion, a waste-management process that livestock farms and wastewater plants are increasingly using to produce biogas, a type of renewable fuel.

The course takes place Sept. 6-7 at the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster in northern Ohio.

“The (anaerobic digestion) industry is growing in Ohio, but there are no educational programs that provide an understanding of the scientific principles underlying the AD process or the daily management of an AD system,” said Yebo Li, the organizer of the course and an OARDC biosystems engineer.

“If the industry is to continue to grow successfully, training must be available for the workforce, including AD operators, regulatory personnel who will oversee permitting and operations, and investors who will provide funding.”

Li said the course is designed for people who already work in the anaerobic digestion industry; those who want to find out if anaerobic digestion is right for their operation, whether a farm, a wastewater plant or otherwise; and those who advise others on waste-management technologies.… Continue reading

Read More »

Perry County FSA to close Oct. 1

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that as of Oct. 1, 2012, the Perry County FSA offices will be officially closed.  A separate announcement will be made public for the other FSA offices that were approved for closure, once a date is determined.  From this date forward, all FSA program services will be provided by the Fairfield county FSA office unless a producer has elected to transfer his/her records to another county.

On May 29, 2012, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) received approval from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to proceed with the implementation of county office consolidation plan, including the five county offices in Ohio.

“Over the past three years, FSA has faced a variety of budget-related challenges,” said Juan Garcia, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency.  “Through a targeted office consolidation effort that includes 125 offices nationwide, FSA is striving to balance significant budget cuts, staff reductions and increasing workloads while focusing the efforts of our staff on high-quality service. … Continue reading

Read More »