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Growmark acquires Select Seed

Regional cooperative GROWMARK, Inc. today announced it finalized the acquisition of the assets of Select Seed, Camden, Ind. The transaction closed May 2, 2011; terms were not disclosed.

Select Seed will continue to operate as an independent brand within the GROWMARK family and Kevin Eggerling will continue to manage the company’s operations from their current headquarters in Camden, Indiana.

“Becoming part of the GROWMARK family of brands will enable Select Seed to continue to offer growers high-performing seed corn along with access to an even broader range of agricultural products and services to improve farm profitability – all with the level of quality and service growers expect from Select Seed,” said Kevin Eggerling.

GROWMARK Seed Division Manager, Ron Milby, agreed. “Select Seed and GROWMARK share a similar history of focusing on providing progressive growers exceptional products to increase their productivity and profitability.” He added the acquisition “supports GROWMARK’s strategies to grow in and from its core businesses, as well as to expand our marketing territory.”… Continue reading

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OPA announces award winners

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) recently announced its 2011 award recipients, named each year at the organization’s annual banquet in Columbus. These awards honor businesses, farms and individuals who have made significant contributions to Ohio’s egg, chicken and turkey sectors.

“I am honored to work with so many talented individuals, farms and businesses who continually seek to go and beyond what is expected of them,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “This year’s award winners are no exception.”

Awards and recipients at the 26th Annual Banquet included:

Environmental Stewardship Award: Paul Dahlinghaus

The OPA’s Environmental Stewardship Award is given each year in recognition of a farmer’s commitment to his or her neighbors and to the environment as a whole. This year’s recipient is Paul Dahlinghaus of New Bremen, Ohio. The farm has taken a number of actions to make their operation more environmentally friendly. Some of these projects include installing waterways and filter strips to keep fertilizers out of stream waters, and monitoring streams and wells on a regular basis.… Continue reading

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Beck’s Hybrids expands facilities

Due to continued 20% growth per year for the past 20 years, Beck’s Hybrids is expanding operations by adding a Research Building at the Atlanta, Ind., headquarters. The new research facility will allow for future growth in testing the latest innovative seed technologies and germplasm from suppliers worldwide.

“Our continued growth and expansion is driven by the increasing demands of our customers, who want more high-performing products suited for their acres,” said Sonny Beck, president of Beck’s Hybrids. “The new research building will provide the capacity to bring an increasing number of new, innovative seed products to our customers.”

The 100’ x 305’ Research Building is part of phase one of the $24.5 million expansion project. The facility will feature 13 offices, as well as the following areas devoted to research: a seed laboratory, climate controlled seed storage, automated processing equipment, and flat storage for equipment and experimental seed. A 400 person capacity meeting room will also be included in the facility.… Continue reading

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NCBA supports legislation to end ethanol subsidy, import tariff

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bill Donald said the Ethanol Subsidy and Tariff Repeal Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would end 30 years and more than $30 billion of taxpayer support for the corn-based ethanol industry and would finally level the playing field for all commodities relying on corn as a major input. The legislation would repeal both the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) and the tariff on imported ethanol by no later than June 30, 2011.

“NCBA supports the development of renewable and alternative fuels and we know ethanol plays a role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. However, we don’t support forcing taxpayers to prop up an industry that should be able to stand on its own two feet,” said Donald who is also a cattleman from Melville, Mont. “Senators Coburn and Feinstein should be commended for their leadership on this issue and for introducing this commonsense legislation that will not only level the playing field for a bushel of corn but will also save taxpayers more than $6 billion annually.”… Continue reading

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Maintain a strong burndown program even with a late start

By Ryan McAllister, CCA, Team Sales Agronomist, Beck’s Hybrids

So far this spring it has been quite the challenge to get in the field to get any work done. Very little herbicide has been applied to no-till or minimum till fields. Some of these fields are getting lush with winter annual weed growth. However, winter annuals are not the only weeds that are beginning to emerge. I have seen giant ragweed, lambsquarter, marestail (which is a winter annual but also continues to emerge in the spring and summer) and morninglory, rearing their ugly heads as well. By the time most of our fields in eastern Indiana and Ohio are dry enough to get back on them with spray equipment, weed density and height could be more than what we have seen the past several years. I am concerned about the temptation that may exist to take 2,4-D out of the recipe because of its planting restriction or ignoring the planting restriction all together.… Continue reading

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America's Farmers Mom of The Year

Once again, Monsanto is recognizing America’s Farm Moms with the 2011 Farm Mom of the Year program.

Do you know a farm mom who amazes you every day with her contributions to her family, farm, community and agriculture? Nominate her for the chance to win $7,500.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding farm mom. She can be your mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend or neighbor. She can even be you!

How to Enter: Tell in 300 words or fewer how the farm mom you are nominating contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Ready to nominate your mom? Tell us her story.

Timing: Nominations end May 8, 2011. Five regional winners will be announced in mid-May. An online vote here on will determine the national winner, which will be announced on May 27, 2011.

Prizes: American Agri-Women will select the five regional winners. Each winner will receive a $5,000 prize.

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America’s Farmers Mom of The Year

Once again, Monsanto is recognizing America’s Farm Moms with the 2011 Farm Mom of the Year program.

Do you know a farm mom who amazes you every day with her contributions to her family, farm, community and agriculture? Nominate her for the chance to win $7,500.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding farm mom. She can be your mother, sister, wife, daughter, friend or neighbor. She can even be you!

How to Enter: Tell in 300 words or fewer how the farm mom you are nominating contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Ready to nominate your mom? Tell us her story.

Timing: Nominations end May 8, 2011. Five regional winners will be announced in mid-May. An online vote here on will determine the national winner, which will be announced on May 27, 2011.

Prizes: American Agri-Women will select the five regional winners. Each winner will receive a $5,000 prize.

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May planting: What do I do now?

By Brian Essinger, DeKalb and Asgrow territory manager in northwest Ohio

It is natural for anxiety to increase a little each day as the rain drops hit our windows and windshields and yet the key to successful farming is to remain patient and stick to your plan. I have gotten some questions wrapped around what do to do while we wait. First and most importantly stay positive. There is still plenty of time and opportunity in this growing season as we begin May. Again, the key is to remain patient and stick to your plan. We will get a good opportunity to plant this crop. We will be ready when that time comes, and we need to enjoy doing it!

Best practices suggest not switching any maturities until Memorial Day (May 30).

1. Yield and drydown are greater functions of summer weather than planting timing. The key is getting the seed planted in as good shape as conditions will allow.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybean prices continue erratic movement

As expected, corn and soybean prices continue to move erratically in a very wide range. Just in the past week, both May 2011 corn and soybean futures had a 56-cent trading range. As the markets make the transition from old-crop to new-crop dominance, a lot of factors are influencing price expectations, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“For soybeans, the Census Bureau soybean crush report released on April 28 revealed that the March 2011 crush was about 10 percent smaller than that of March 2010. Through the first seven months of the 2010-11 marketing year, the crush was 7.4 percent smaller than the crush during the same period last year,” Darrel Good said.

For the year, the USDA has projected a decline of 5.8 percent. Last year, the crush was unusually large in the first half of the year and declined rapidly from April through August. The seasonal decline may be less pronounced this year.… Continue reading

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Ethanol reduced gasoline prices by $0.89 a gallon in 2010

The increased use of ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by an average of $0.89 per gallon in 2010, according to a new study conducted by economists at Iowa State University and the University of Wisconsin and released by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD). The new analysis, an update to a 2009 Energy Policy paper authored by professors Dermot Hayes and Xiaodong Du, also found that the growth in ethanol production reduced gasoline prices by an average of $0.25, or 16%, over the entire decade of 2000-2010. Further, the study determined that gas prices could double if ethanol production came to an immediate halt.

“This study confirms that ethanol is playing a tremendously important role in holding down volatile gasoline prices, which are currently inching closer to all-time record highs,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President Bob Dinneen. “As rising oil prices are contributing to higher retail costs for everything from gas to food to clothing, ethanol is clearly providing some real relief for American families.”… Continue reading

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CEO of Farm Credit Services of Mid America Retires

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America’s President and Chief Executive Officer Donnie Winters has retired effective May 1. He will continue as a consultant to Farm Credit through August.

“With over 40 years of experience at Farm Credit – the last 21 years as president – Donnie has provided this association with strong, trusted leadership and visionary thinking.  He truly represented the voice of our 93,000 customer-members across Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee,” said Ed Yanos, a Cambridge City, Indiana farmer and chair of the FCS Board of Directors. “He leaves us on a high note, with an incredible legacy that the board of directors will ensure continues.”

Winters served as president and CEO since 1989 and directed a staff of almost 900 employees. Prior to that time, he held a number of positions within the organization.

Under his leadership, the association has grown from less than $3 billion to over $17 billion in assets, lowered the cost of operations 70 percent and has provided the lowest-cost fixed-rate financing in the national Farm Credit System.… Continue reading

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Survey reveals conservation tillage practices in Lake Erie Watershed

A recently completed five-year study of conservation tillage practices in the 4.9 million acre Western Lake Erie Basin watershed reveals that most fields in the watersheds are either tilled conventionally or stirred with mulch tillage at least once every three to five years. Crop rotations including corn were the reason fields used conventional tillage periodically. Corn in a crop rotation was planted using conventional methods 80% of the time.

“There are varying degrees of conservation tillage,” explains Steve Davis, a watershed specialist contractor working for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The amount of crop residue cover on the field at planting and the degree of soil stirring determines the type of conservation tillage.

“There is a lot of no-till planting in the watershed,” Davis said, “but the percentage of long-term continuous no-till fields is still small.”

These findings are significant when considering the role conservation tillage plays in delivering phosphorous runoff to waterways in the Lake Erie drainage basin.… Continue reading

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Early foliar fungicide applications

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

Most of our wheat is now beyond Feekes 6, jointing, and spring N applications have been completed in most areas. Attention is now being shifted to foliar fungicide applications, with questions again being asked about what to apply, when to apply. Another question that should be asked is whether a fungicide should be applied. With current wheat prices and the wet conditions we have had so far this spring, producers are concerned about protecting their valuable wheat crop. When conditions are as wet as they have been this spring, foliar disease development is certainly a reason for concern.

Septoria blotch is usually one of the first to show up, and it already has been reported in some fields. This disease is favored by cool (50 to 68 degrees F), rainy conditions, and although it usually develops early in the season, it really does not cause yield loss unless it reaches and damages the flag leaf before grain fill is complete.… Continue reading

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Soybean seeding rates should be adjusted for cool, wet soils

As farmers take advantage of the extra time from a long spell of rain to tune up planting equipment, one Purdue Extension soybean specialist says growers need to pay attention to seeding rates – especially with the cold, wet weather in the Midwest.

“April 2011 has been much cooler and wetter than this time last year, so as farmers take advantage for final equipment tune-ups, I want to remind them that planting should be based on soil and environmental conditions,” Shaun Casteel said. “As farmers tune up their planters, drills and air-seeders, they need to consider seeding rates.”

Casteel said that many of the soybean lots planted in 2010 were large seeds. That isn’t the case this year.

“Soybean seeding rates need to be adjusted by seed size rather than weight,” he said. “Planter settings used last year will probably drop more seeds per acre with this year’s seed lots and germination scores fluctuate, as well,” he said.… Continue reading

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EPA Releases Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Guidance

The Obama administration yesterday, April 27, 2011, essentially rewrote two U.S. Supreme Court cases and ignored concerns from Congress and industry by issuing a guidance, which dramatically expands the regulatory authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley Lyon said the Obama administration has once again acted as an “activist” administration rather than simply implementing laws as intended by Congress and required under the U.S. Constitution.

“EPA and the Corps have attempted to make an end run around two Supreme Court decisions that limited their authority under the CWA by issuing a draft guidance document giving field staff a plethora of approaches to make jurisdictional determinations,” said Lyon. “Through vague definitions and broad interpretations laid out in this draft guidance, EPA and the Corps have once again shown little regard for the practical implications of their actions or Congress’ intentions under the CWA.… Continue reading

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Biomass Crops Assistance Program

Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, announced the deadline for project area proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).  To be considered, proposals must be submitted to the Ohio FSA State office by close of business, May 27, 2011.

“I encourage all those interested in participating in this program to contact the Ohio FSA State office for details,” said Maurer.

BCAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and provides payments to eligible farmers, ranchers and forest landowners for the establishment and production of biomass crops for heat, power, bio-based products and biofuels.  BCAP project areas are specific geographic areas where producers grow eligible biomass crops.  Producers then receive annual payments during the life of the contract period for those crops.

For more information, visit the USDA FSA website at: or contact the Ohio FSA State Office Conservation Section at 614-255-2447.… Continue reading

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Saturated soils can threaten drinking water

Heavy rains mean more than an increased risk of flooding. They also can pose a threat to drinking water, said Ohio State University Extension‘s water quality specialist.

Many residents in rural areas get their drinking water from wells rather than municipal systems, and have septic systems rather than sewers for household wastewater.

“Normally, soil does a fantastic job of removing pathogens and other pollutants from wastewater,” said Karen Mancl, who also is a scientist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

“But when it’s saturated, soil loses its ability to remove pollutants. If your well or your neighbor’s well is near your septic system, drinking water could be unsafe.”

Properly constructed and grouted wells protect drinking water against this type of problem, Mancl said. But it’s estimated that 40 percent of the nation’s well water is contaminated.… Continue reading

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Prevented planting reminder

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) would like to remind producers to report the acreage to your local FSA office within 15 days of the final planting date of the crop, when bad weather prevents planting or damages crops.  This applies to all crops, whether covered by crop insurance, not covered by insurance, or covered by FSA’s Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP).  Final planting dates vary among counties and crop types.

Producers who have their crops insured through a private crop insurance company should contact the insurance agent immediately and advise them of the damaged crops.  Additionally, for those crops covered under FSA’s NAP, producers should immediately contact their local FSA office to report the acres and file a CCC-576, Notice of Loss Application. “Producers with NAP coverage should report their losses within 15 calendar days of crop damage from natural disaster, so the loss can be appraised and production counted before the crop is put into another use, abandoned or destroyed,” said Maurer.… Continue reading

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How to spot, stop invasive species: May 13 workshop

You may have invasive species on your land and not even know it. Learn about the harm they do, how to spot them and how to fight them in a workshop in Dayton May 13.

The Ohio Woodland Stewards Program’s Invasive Species Workshop looks at such banes as purple loosestrife, common buckthorn and hemlock woolly adelgid — plants and pests that aren’t native to Ohio but are here now and causing problems.

“Invasive species come in all shapes and sizes and include insects, woodland plants and aquatic plants,” said Kathy Smith, coordinator of the Stewards Program and one of the workshop’s speakers.

“We’ll cover the identification of those species that are giving landowners the most difficulty along with some control options — from mechanical removal to the more complex chemical options,” Smith said.

Troublemakers also include common reed, tree-of-heaven, emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, Japanese honeysuckle and some looming new threats.… Continue reading

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