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Ohio State Fair seeking top high school musicians in Ohio

The Ohio State Fair is looking for talented young musicians for membership in the prestigious All-Ohio State Fair Band and the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, traditions that date back to 1925 and 1963, respectively.

Dedicated high school musicians in grades 9 through 12 are encouraged to apply for membership, which is granted based on a number of factors including student ability and recommendation from choral or band directors. Participating students gain a unique musical and educational experience, as well as an opportunity to build many lasting friendships during a two-week stay at the Ohio State Fair. Being a member of the Band or Choir offers a valuable challenge to learn and perform music of varied genres, as well as an opportunity to work with a staff of talented and motivational music educators from across Ohio.

Interested high school students may obtain an application from their local school band or choir directors, or download them from ohiostatefair.comContinue reading

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Beware of flooding potential as temperatures rise

After a long winter season filled with frigid temperatures across the state, this winter is starting to give way to a spring thaw. With this in mind, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) wants to remind landowners to consider potential problems that may accompany warmer weather as it moves into the state this week.

Ohio’s cold winter has led to the creation of many ice jams throughout the state. An ice jam is created when subfreezing temperatures create a blockage in a river or stream; the blockage can consist of several smaller chunks of ice called a “breakup” or a more solid appearing dam called a “freezeup.” Minor flooding has already occurred in some areas upstream of the jams. Though flooding and ice related damages may occur on rivers and streams of any size, currently affected major rivers in Ohio include the Maumee, Rocky, Chagrin, Grand, Scioto, Olentangy, Muskingum and Tuscarawas rivers.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance – Just the facts

As soon as the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law, questions quickly arose about how this new legislation affects crop insurance and the farmers who rely on it. A detailed analysis that will answer those questions is available online in the newly released version of “Crop Insurance – Just the Facts.”

“The 2014 farm bill represents a turning point in federal policy toward U.S. agriculture,” said Keith Collins, a former USDA chief economist who took the lead on the post-2014 Farm Bill update. “It moves away from the traditional income support programs of the past and into a risk management model that features crop insurance.Continue reading

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Giant ragweed offers challenges around the country

Weed scientists at OSU recently completed a survey of Certified Crop Advisors across the North Central region to determine the relative abundance of giant ragweed, and the factors influencing its spread.

Giant ragweed is one of a relatively few native plant species that is a major weed of grain crops in North America. We conducted a web-based survey of Certified Crop Advisors in the Corn Belt to determine the distribution of giant ragweed and gain insights into possible factors associated with its spread. The questionnaire asked participants to provide their perceptions and county-level estimates of giant ragweed related to its first occurrence as a problematic weed in crop fields, the proportion of crop acres infested, and habitats where found.

Based on the survey responses, giant ragweed was reported to appear in crop fields 20 years ago or longer in western Ohio, most of Indiana, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and eastern Iowa.… Continue reading

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Ohio couple named National Outstanding Young Farmers

Brian and Jennifer Harbage of South Charleston, Ohio, were selected national winners at the 58th annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held Feb. 13 to16 in Rapid City, S.D.

Four national winners were selected from a group of 10 finalists for the award based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state, and nation. The three other national winners for 2014 are from Louisiana, Michigan, and Wyoming. National winners received a savings bond from corporate sponsor John Deere and the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., during National Ag Week in 2015.

Brian and Jennifer Harbage raise corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and beef cattle. To diversify the operation, they have opened a “cow spa” to house dry cows for two local dairies. The barns used in this venture are registered with the state historical society, but they have been modernized for energy efficiency with the addition of solar panels.… Continue reading

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Sub-surface soil compaction

Compaction that occurs below the soil surface is even more important than surface crusting. It is hard to diagnose and can cause serious yield losses if not corrected. Soil compaction can occur throughout the growing season and can cause poor crop growth.

• If the soils are wet, tillage implements can cause soil compaction just below the depth of the operation.

• Large farm equipment like tractors, manure spreaders, trucks, planters and combines can cause compaction within the root- zone, especially, when the soils are wet.

• If tillage operations are always performed at the same depth, a hardpan can develop just below the depth of tillage operation. Weight of the tillage machines can cause compression of the soil particles causing compaction.

• Wet soils, especially those with higher clay content are more likely to develop a hardpan. The depth of the compacted layer can be determined by slowly digging and moving the soil with a shovel and exposing the top of the compacted layer.… Continue reading

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Cache Valley Virus showing up in Ohio sheep

Cache Valley virus causes infertility, abortions and congenital abnormalities in sheep. Sheep producers during lambing season should be aware of the potential for Cache Valley virus, or CVV, to potentially affect their lambing crop. This year there has been an increase in the number of cases diagnosed and reported by sheep producers in Ohio.

The virus is spread by mosquitoes during early breeding season, generally August through September. The virus is not spread from ewe to ewe, only through mosquitos. Abnormalities in lambs may include crooked joints, deformities of the skeleton, twisted necks or spines, weak muscles or an uncoordinated gait. Most lambs born with severe defects are usually stillborn, yet CVV can cause the birth of lambs that act drowsy, weak, or unsteady and typically all lambs within a set of twins or triplets are affected.

If the infection occurs at less than 28 days gestation, the embryos usually die and are reabsorbed.… Continue reading

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Japan demands ag exceptions in TPP

The National Pork Producers Council will oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement if Japan is included in the deal but doesn’t eliminate all tariffs and other forms of protection on pork.

Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exclusion from the agreement of certain “sensitive” products that includes pork. In addition to being the largest value market for U.S. pork exports ($1.89 Billion in 2013), Japan is the fourth largest market for the rest of U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of food and agricultural products to the island nation in 2013. The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Tariffs have been eliminated on pork in every other U.S. free trade agreement, and TPP should be no different. A final TPP agreement that does not eliminate all tariffs and non-tariff barriers on U.S.… Continue reading

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CAT tax changes in 2014

Most farm and agribusiness in Ohio are aware of the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) which is the annual tax imposed for the privilege of doing business in Ohio, measured by taxable gross receipts from most business activities. Businesses with Ohio taxable gross receipts of $150,000 or more per calendar year are subject to the tax.

The CAT was enacted in House Bill 66, passed by the 126th General Assembly in 2005. Most receipts generated in the ordinary course of business are included in a taxpayer’s CAT base. This tax applies to all types of businesses: e.g., retailers; service providers, such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors; manufacturers; and other types of businesses.

The CAT applies to all entities regardless of form, e.g., sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and all types of corporations. The tax does have limited exclusions for certain types of businesses such as financial institutions, dealers in intangibles, insurance companies, and some public utilities if those businesses pay other specific Ohio taxes.… Continue reading

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OEFFA recognizes winners

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) recognized the 2014 recipients for the Stewardship Award and Service Award.

Kip and Becky Rondy of Green Edge Organic Gardens in Athens County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Ed Perkins of Sassafras Farm in Athens County received the Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA.

The announcements were made at OEFFA’s 35th annual conference.


2014 Stewardship Award Winner — Kip and Becky Rondy

Kip and Becky Rondy own and operate Green Edge Organic Gardens, a 120-acre certified organic farm in rural Amesville. Migrogreens, salad mix, mushrooms, greens, and other seasonal produce are grown year-round using 10 high tunnels and sold at the Athens Farmers Market, two summer and winter community supported agriculture programs which serve more than 400 families, and at stores and restaurants in Athens and Columbus. The farm, primarily tended by hand, employs 13 people, in addition to interns.… Continue reading

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Two perspectives on China

Recent disruption in U.S. corn exports to China have focused renewed attention on the uncertainties surrounding the enormous potential of the world’s largest emerging market. Delegates who attended the U.S. Grain’s Council’s 11th International Marketing Conference and 54th Annual Membership Meeting devoted extensive attention to China and related issues in their sector and Advisory Team (A-Team) meetings.

They also heard from two key China experts — Scott Sindelar, the agricultural minister counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and Bryan Lohmar, USGC director in China — on the fast moving situation impacting trade today, as well as the long-term factors driving the evolution of China’s policy on self-sufficiency, corn imports and biotechnology.

“China’s leaders are acutely aware that, despite their success in increasing grain production,” Sindelar said. “China’s agricultural industry lags behind in the development and use of the latest technologies that increase agricultural productivity with less strain on the environment.”… Continue reading

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6-Horse Hitch $100,000 Invitational to air on RFD-TV

By Kim Lemmon, Ohio’s Country Journal

UPDATED AIR TIMES: RFD-TV changed the schedule. Saturday Feb. 22: The round one performance will not be aired live. On Sunday, Feb. 23, round two will air live at 11 a.m. eastern. Round one coverage will be part of a two-hour special on Wednesday, March 2.

Percherons, Belgians, and Clydesdales will meet up in Mesquite, Texas, in late February to compete for the largest premiums ever offered in 6-Horse Hitch competition.

Competitors from throughout the country were invited to attend the Gentle Giants $100,000 Invitational that will be held Feb. 22 and 23 in conjunction with “The American” which claims to be one of the richest rodeos in the sport.

For those that can’t attend the competition, the Gentle Giants $100,000 Invitational will be aired LIVE on RFD-TV Sunday, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. eastern. On March 2, RFD-TV will air a two-hour special of the event that includes coverage from round one.… Continue reading

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Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program announces research funding

The Ohio Vegetable & Small Fruit Research & Development Program (OVSFRDP) announced it will grant $39,750 in financial support to address production issues such as identifying disease and insect problems and effective management strategies, detection of phenoxy herbicide drift, and the evaluation of new varieties and cultural practices. Ten Ohio State University researchers were awarded grant money to conduct 10 research projects.

Sally A. Miller and Fulya Baysal-Gurel are focusing on providing cost-effective vegetable disease diagnosis to growers. Since 2009 when this effort was first funded, 1,291 vegetable samples from Ohio growers have been diagnosed in the OSU Vegetable Pathology Lab in Wooster at no charge to growers and gardeners. In addition, many additional digital samples have also been diagnosed. This grant, while it does not cover the full cost of diagnosis, helps to cover costs of consumables and staff time, providing significant value for Ohio vegetable growers.

Miller and Baysal-Gurel were also awarded grant money for research to optimize management of cucumber downy mildew.… Continue reading

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Zero waste offers big benefits through composting

Fred Michel sees less food getting dumped into landfills in the future, or even none at all, and he’s working to make it happen in a big way, literally.

A scientist with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Michel studies large-scale composting, such as by farms, cities and industry, and is a co-organizer of the upcoming Ohio Compost Operator Education Course.

“There’s a growing ‘zero-waste’ movement around the country and in Ohio,” said Michel, an associate professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. “Composting is an integral part of that movement since it can efficiently recycle organic wastes, such as food waste, into soil nutrients and soil amendments.”

Now in its 13th year, the course takes place March 25-26 at the college’s research arm, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster. The program is for people who work at or with commercial-scale composting facilities, he said — places that handle tons of waste and compost, rather than bushels, at a time.… Continue reading

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Climate Corporation offers precision technology for the farm

The crowds at the National Farm Machinery Show have been very strong so far, and the Climate Corporation has been a popular stop for the impressive precision farm technology.

The Climate Corporation is integrating its leading decision support tools, Climate Basic and Climate Pro, with Precision Planting’s leading hardware and software products to better help farmers optimize production. In addition to a unified account and data service, promotional offers of Climate and Precision Planting products and services will enable growers to drive more yield from their field through better monitoring, insights and control of production decisions.

“We aim to enable greater agricultural productivity through the combination of industry-leading hardware, software and services, and are taking a unique approach with pricing to ensure more farmers have access to these revolutionary capabilities,” said David Friedberg, CEO of The Climate Corporation. “This is just the first step in our effort to simplify how farmers can make technology from soil to cab work for them in a way that delivers tremendous value with real-time, actionable insights and execution capabilities delivered via a single service offering, accessible anywhere and on any device.”… Continue reading

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Turner elected to American Shorthorn Association Board of Directors

Tom Turner of Somerset, Ohio was elected to the American Shorthorn Association (ASA) Board of Directors (BOD) at their recent annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, held during the National Western Stock Show.

“We are excited to have someone of Dr. Turner’s background, training and experience to help lead this breed into the future,” said Montie Soules, Executive Secretary of the ASA said

The BOD consists of nine members, each serving a term of three years. Three directors are elected at the annual meeting of the membership each year.  The BOD meets five times per year and oversees standing committees including Youth Activities, Leadership and Scholarship, Shorthorn Junior Program Sustainability, Senior Membership Show Committee, Genetic Evaluation and Database Management, Appendix Shorthorn and Shorthorn Derivative Cattle, Promotion and Breed Image and Commercial Marketing.  Board members as well as Shorthorn breeders from across the country serve, making program recommendations for the betterment of the Shorthorn breed to increase profitability for breeders.… Continue reading

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Custom farming rates survey

Agricultural economists from Ohio State University are again surveying Ohio growers to learn how often they hire farm workers and machinery operators and at what pay rates.

The Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey is conducted biannually by Barry Ward, production business management leader for Ohio State University Extension, as a means of gauging farm work completed by others, which is often referred to as “custom farm work” or “custom work.”

The survey is targeted at both those who hired custom farm work and those who performed the work.

“Custom workers are often engaged due to a farm business owner’s lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation,” Ward said. “A ‘custom rate’ is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.”

The data gathered through the custom rate survey is published by OSU Extension and used by Extension professionals in their work with Ohio communities.… Continue reading

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DOL addresses grain bin inspection issue

The Department of Labor has decided to withdraw enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) small farm grain bin guidance in a step towards compliance with the small farm exemption as required by law.

“Farm safety is a top-of-mind priority for our farmers. Throughout the country, state and county Farm Bureaus conduct safety training programs and work to ensure that everyone who is working on a farm is trained and safe,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We not only appreciate OSHA’s concern with grain bin safety, we are committed to grain bin and farm safety. But we also believe that the key to improving farm safety is a collaborative, cooperative process that was not helped by OSHA’s enforcement under the just-rescinded 2011 guidance document that was not consistent with the law.”

The effort came a s result of a push from congressional leaders concerned about the potential overreach of OSHA on farms.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agribusiness Association announces new board of directors

Appointed members of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Board of Directors recently counted ballots for the election of directors for OABA. We had an exceptionally good slate of nominees this year and several of the races were very close.

The new board member(s) in each category are as follows:


  • Chris Williams, Rosen’s Inc.


  • Jackie Seibert, United Equity, Inc.


  • Brad Johnson, Kalmbach Feeds, Inc.


  • Tim Hockman, Farmers Elevator Grain and Supply Association


  • Larry Craft, Schlessman Seed Company

Other members of the 2014 OABA Board of Directors include:

  • David C. Barrett with Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth LLP
  • Jill Boyd with Morral Companies, LLC
  • Walter Burd with Town & Country Co-op Inc.
  • Doug Busdeker with The Andersons, Inc.
  • Jim Collins with Independent Ag Equipment
  • Greg Garman with Garman Feed & Supply Inc.
  • Nathan Louiso with AgriGold Hybrids
  • Paul Riehm with Bunge North America
  • Mark Sunderman with Legacy Farmers Cooperative
  • Andy Swerlein with Luckey Farmers, Inc.
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