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New OSA members get a chance to win MT600 Series Challenger

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) is once again partnering with Ohio Ag Equipment to offer new OSA members the chance to win 50 hours on an MT600 Series Challenger tractor. Kevin Kruger of Allen County won the contest in 2014 and received 50 hours with a Challenger tractor.

What do you have to do to win? Sign up at as a first time member by December 10th, 2015.

“The work that the Ohio Soybean Association does on behalf of Ohio soybean farmers is not possible without our members,” said Adam Graham, OSA president and Logan County soybean farmer. “It is vital that soybean farmers’ interests are represented at both the state and national level to promote effective policies. We ask that you help us continue that work by joining our organization as a new member and ensure your voice is heard.”

In addition to OSA’s partnership with Ohio Ag Equipment for new members, OSA offers a variety of membership incentives.… Continue reading

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Ohio AgriBusiness Association Annual Conference

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association will hold its annual Industry Conference Feb. 3-4, 2016 at the Columbus Marriott Northwest, providing education and networking opportunities for agribusiness professionals, including the OABA Industry Dinner and OABA Annual Meeting.

This will be the fourth year the Industry Conference has been held, with more than 300 industry professionals attending the 2015 event.

“The OABA Industry Conference continues to be an exceptional event that provides agribusiness professionals with access to experts on current agricultural issues in Ohio,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “This will be a valuable experience for attendees, with many opportunities to gain insight and perspectives to help tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Widely-respected speakers and industry professionals will share their expertise during the two-day conference. Topics include:

  • Nutrient stewardship
  • Custom application
  • Insect control
  • Nitrogen management
  • Updates from Ohio State University Extension, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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Turkey costs up for Thanksgiving

Consumers can expect below normal increases in the price of food for Thanksgiving dinner this year, with one exception: turkey.

Corinne Alexander, a Purdue University agricultural economist who follows food prices, said there has been only an 0.8% increase in grocery prices from September 2014 to September of this year. She attributes the slight increase to ample grain inventories and an expansion in livestock production.

But she expects turkey prices to be about 15-20% higher than last year.

“This price increase is much larger than typical as a result of the avian influenza outbreak that affected turkey flocks earlier this year,” Alexander said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts wholesale prices for Eastern market whole turkey to be between $1.31 and $1.37 per pound the last three months of this year, compared with $1.14 last year.

Alexander said the actual prices consumers will pay will vary. Affecting prices will be the differences between frozen and fresh turkeys, organic and nonorganic, brand names and the value of store coupons and price specials.… Continue reading

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OCA members to offer over 115 consignments in Replacement Female Sale

Several members of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will sell over 115 consignments in the OCA Replacement Female Sale on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, at 6 p.m. at the Muskingum Livestock Auction Company facility in Zanesville, Ohio. Consignments include approximately 30 mature cows, less than five years of age, and approximately 85 bred heifers.

Breeds represented will include Angus, Angus x Red Angus, Polled Hereford, Red Angus, Simmental, Simmental x Angus, Simmental x Red Angus, and crossbred. Service sires represented include Angus, Hereford, Maine-Anjou, Red Angus and Simmental.

“Now is an excellent time for producers to add quality replacement heifers to their herds,” says John Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator. “The economic forecast for the cow-calf segment of the beef industry is very good for the next few years. Feeder calf prices remain strong from a historical perspective and the future looks positive as well. This sale represents an excellent opportunity for cow-calf producers to add quality bred heifers to their herds and potentially take advantage of the positive economic outlook for the beef industry.”… Continue reading

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Nov. 20 MPP deadline approaching quickly for dairy producers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that almost half of all dairy farms in America have made their annual elections for 2016 coverage under the Margin Protection Program, and reminded producers who have not yet enrolled that they have until Nov. 20, to select coverage.

Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the program provides financial assistance to dairy producers when the margin — the difference between feed costs and the price of milk — falls below the coverage level selected by the applicant.

“This safety net is not automatic, so producers must visit their local FSA office to enroll before Nov. 20,” said Dolcini. “Despite the best forecasts, the dairy industry is cyclical and markets can change quickly. This program is like any insurance product, where investing in a policy today will protect against catastrophic economic consequences tomorrow.”

FSA estimates that based on current participation rates, had the program existed before the 2014 Farm Bill, producers in 2009 would have invested $73 million in premiums and received $1.44 billion in financial protection during that historically weak market period.… Continue reading

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Cover crops webinar

Growers who plant cover crops instead of tilling their soil will save money upfront and have healthier soils and better yields long-term, says a soil health and cover crops expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Farmers who add cover crops to their fields — such as oilseed radish, cereal rye, Austrian winter pea and crimson clover, among others — can also expect to reduce soil erosion, cut down on nutrient losses, cut input costs and improve water quality, said Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops, soil health and water quality issues.

Hoorman will discuss “Economics of Planting Cover Crops” during a Nov. 20 webinar from 1 to 2 p.m. The webinar is offered in conjunction with the Midwest Cover Crops Council and Michigan State University Extension. The Cover Crops Council includes researchers and educators from several universities, including Ohio State, Hoorman said.

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – November 9th, 2015

Harvest is virtually completed in Ohio according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending November 8th. Temperatures were well above normal, and limited precipitation yielded ample opportunity to wrap up harvest in most parts of the state. Moisture content of corn was unchanged at 16 percent. Winter wheat, hay, pastures and cover crops are looking better after a welcome rains fell last week throughout the state. On farm activities for last week included fall tillage, manure application, installing tile and fertilizer application.

The full report can be found hereContinue reading

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NAWG addressing declining wheat acreage

After watching U.S. wheat acreage and production slide steadily for 18 years, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) has had quite enough and is coming out swinging.

The counteroffensive, called simply the Wheat Action Plan, “right now is conceptual,” said NAWG President Brett Blankenship, a grower in eastern Washington State. “We’re reaching out to all parts of the industry,” he says. “The idea is … to raise productivity so that wheat no longer loses acreage to corn and soybeans.”

Blankenship points to Norman Borlaug’s work in the mid-20th Century to improve wheat yield and disease resistance.

“We had the first Green Revolution, and it revolutionized the production of wheat. We need another one. We need another step forward, and the Wheat Action Plan is the attempt to invigorate the investment we need … to go to the next level for wheat,” Blankenship said.

That task is broad, but he said it means, first, improving on-farm productivity so that wheat is a more attractive crop economically.… Continue reading

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Pumpkins pack a nutritious punch

With the season of delicious pumpkin dishes arriving for 2015, connesouirs can take heart in knowing that pumpkin offers significant nutritional benefits.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, even though a cup of canned pumpkin is primarily water and contains just 80 calories, it offers more than an entire day’s worth of vitamin A, as well as 7 grams of fiber. It’s also a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and manganese, and is a good source of potassium and many other nutrients.

Interestingly, canned pumpkin — even canned pumpkin labeled “100% pumpkin” — can be a mix of pumpkin and other types of winter squash. That’s nothing new. Back in 1957, the USDA said the canned product can be prepared from “clean, sound, properly matured, golden fleshed, firm shelled, sweet varieties of either pumpkins and squashes.” But most fans of canned pumpkin don’t mind.… Continue reading

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TPP poised to move forward

Numerous agricultural organizations, after reviewing the text of the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, expressed strong support for the TPP deal and called on the U.S. Congress to expeditiously pass the agreement.

Initiated in late 2008, TPP is a regional trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40% of global GDP.

“Past U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) have demonstrated the importance to our industry of opening international markets,” said Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and president of the National Pork Producers Council. “TPP will provide benefits to our producers that dramatically exceed those of prior trade agreements. I assure you that pork producers across this great nation will do whatever it takes to get TPP passed by Congress and implemented.”

Previous agreements have increased U.S. pork exports by 1,550% in value and almost 1,300% in volume since 1989 — the year the United States began using bilateral and regional trade agreements to open foreign markets — and now are valued at nearly $6.7 billion.… Continue reading

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ODNR approves more than $11 million for Ohio recreational projects

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently announced the grant recipients for the Clean Ohio Trails Fund, NatureWorks and Recreational Trails Program. ODNR has approved more than $11 million in funding to benefit local Ohio communities statewide.

“These three grant programs allow ODNR to invest in Ohioans and improve the quality of life by encouraging people to spend time outdoors here in the Buckeye State,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Whether that involves adding more trails, building shelters and playgrounds or improving restrooms, our focus is to keep moving forward with better facilities so Ohioans will have even more reasons to spend time outdoors.”

Clean Ohio Trails Fund

ODNR has approved $6.1 million in Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants in this 10th round of funding to be awarded through the program. ODNR has awarded 19 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grants for community projects that will build and maintain infrastructure allowing citizens to conveniently connect with nature.… Continue reading

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Pork exports up, beef exports struggling

U.S. pork exports showed modest improvement in September while beef exports endured the most difficult month in some time, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September pork export volume was up 6% from a year ago to 172,012 metric tons (mt). Export value was $456.1 million, down 11% year-over-year but the highest since May. Pork exports through the first nine months of the year declined 4% in volume (1.58 million mt) and 17% in value ($4.21 billion) compared to January-September 2014.

Beef export volume fell 21% from a year ago in September to 79,474 metric tons (mt) and value was down 28% to $456.6 million — the lowest since January. For the first nine months of 2015, exports were down 12% in volume (782,705 mt) and 8% in value ($4.8 billion).

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $46.90 in September, down $11.21 from last year.… Continue reading

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Effort to halt WOTUS failed in the Senate

In early November, the Senate failed to pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, that would have halted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineer’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The Senate voted 57-41, falling short of the necessary 60 votes to repeal WOTUS.

A broad coalition of agricultural organizations strongly oppose WOTUS and supported S. 1140.

“America’s farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, and we are committed to protecting it for future generations. But this rule is not based on science or law, does not clarify farmers’ responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and will not improve water quality,” said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “We supported S. 1140 because we believe the EPA, the Corps, farmers and other stakeholders must collaborate on a better rule we can all get behind. While that bill did not pass, we appreciate the Senate’s actions today, and we remain hopeful that cooperation and dialogue can win the day.… Continue reading

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Six-axle semis denied on nation’s interstates

During floor debate of Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act in early November, the House of Representatives voted to defeat the “Safe Trucking Act” amendment proposed by Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI). The legislation would have allowed states to permit six-axle, 91,000-pound semis on their interstate system. The final vote was 187 ayes, 236 nays, and 10 who did not vote.

More than 70 of the nation’s leading food and agriculture associations — including the American Farm Bureau, American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition, American Soybean Association, International Dairy Foods Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Grain and Feed Association, and the National Farmers Union — sent a letter urging Congress to include the Safe, Flexible and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act (H.R. 3488) as an amendment to the highway reauthorization legislation.

In the letter, the organizations wrote: “In the agriculture and food industries, our farms and businesses are growing and making products more resourcefully, but outdated federal transportation rules force trucks to leave the farm and our plants when they are partly empty.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance cuts stopped (maybe)

The U.S. House and the Senate have come to an agreement that would avoid the $3 billion in cuts to the nation’s crop insurance program as part of the budget package. The agreement follows a  fight over the bill’s inclusion of the proposal that would have accomplished the cuts by reducing the rate of return for crop insurance companies from 14% to 8.9%.

The cut remains in the version of the budget passed by the House and currently before the Senate, but House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership met with Congressional leaders and secured an agreement to eliminate the cuts as part of an omnibus spending bill later this year.

The American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association continue to monitor the situation closely.… Continue reading

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Ad campaign focused on environmental benefits of renewable fuels

Fuels America launched a seven-figure TV and digital ad campaign is the Beltway to highlight the environmental benefits of renewable fuels over petroleum. The campaign targets efforts of the oil industry to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“It’s absurd that oil companies are feigning concern over America’s climate after over a century of oil spills, pollution, and harm to our environment and public health,” said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “The truth is that slashing the amount of clean, domestic renewable fuel in our motor fuel supply would dramatically increase pollution and carbon emissions, while strengthening the RFS and building on the progress of the past 10 years would help in our efforts to combat climate change.”

The 30-second TV spot and digital ads in the campaign follow aggressive attempts by oil industry-funded special interest groups API and Smarter Fuel Future to discredit the climate benefits of renewable fuel-and as usual, their claims are false and wholly unsupported. … Continue reading

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Rail disruption avoided with PTC extension

Railroad companies have warned of potential service disruptions if the Dec. 31, 2015 statutory deadline for implementing positive train control (PTC) was not extended by Congress.

PTC is a GPS-based train electronic system designed to prevent collisions and over-speed derailments. The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 mandated that railroads implement PTC systems by Jan.  1, 2016 on lines that carry “toxic by inhalation” (TIH) materials, including anhydrous ammonia and chlorine, lines carrying 5 million or more gross tons every year, or any lines with “regularly scheduled intercity passenger or commuter rail services.”

None of the railroads were going to meet the Dec. 31 deadline and they made statements that absent an extension of the PTC deadline, they would not transport TIH materials after Dec. 31. Some of their statements have suggested they would also cease any grain shipments and possibly all train movements.

President Obama signed H.R. 3819, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2015, into law Oct.Continue reading

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EU vote on opt-out proposal a positive for biotech

The American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomes news of the European Parliament’s overwhelming rejection of a proposal that would allow individual European Union (EU) member states to opt-out of importing and using foods containing biotechnology for non-scientific reasons. The body voted 619-58 to approve a committee report recommending opposition to the controversial “opt-out” proposal.

“This is a much-needed action today by the European Parliament. ASA has repeatedly called on the EU to make science-based decisions on the issue of biotechnology, and we are very happy to see the Europeans do so this morning. One of the unifying principles of the EU is to provide a single market, both within Europe and as a partner in in global commerce.  Enabling each of its 28 member states to go rogue on GMO acceptance, based on societal or political concerns, is hardly a unifying strategy for success,” said Wade Cowan, ASA president. “Soybean farmers welcome today’s news as we look to expand our European markets for animal feed, edible oils, biodiesel and biobased products.… Continue reading

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Sideways price pattern to continue for corn

The corn market was relatively uneventful during the first two months of the 2015-16 marketing year. There were no large supply surprises and known consumption was somewhat lackluster. As a result, corn prices traded in a choppy, but mostly sideways pattern.

While market expectations about the magnitude of the U.S. average corn yield and size of the crop have varied over the past three months, USDA forecasts have been very stable. The USDA’s 2015 yield forecast has changed very little from the initial forecast of 168.8 bushels in August, dropping to 167.5 bushels in September and rebounding to 168 bushels in October. The production forecast declined by only 131 million bushels, slightly less than 1%, from August to October. In addition, the USDA estimate of September 1 stocks of old crop corn came in almost exactly as forecast. New yield and production forecasts will be released on Nov. 10. Changes from the October forecasts are expected to be modest.… Continue reading

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Written farmland lease agreements increasingly important

One piece of business that can be taken care of in the fall after harvest is completed is securing a cropland lease or rental agreement for the 2016 season. The purpose of this article is not to talk about what that rental price is, but rather the format of that agreement and lease/rental conditions included in that agreement.

A surprising number of cropland rental or lease agreements are nothing more than a verbal agreement. If you ask any agricultural law attorney they will tell you that lease agreements should be put in writing. According to Ohio’s “Statute of Frauds” a lease needs to be in writing and signed to be enforceable in a court of law. Of course very few, if any, persons enter a lease agreement intending to end up in court and many verbal agreements do work to the satisfaction of both parties. There are good reasons to put lease agreements in writing beyond the question of legal enforceability.… Continue reading

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