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Improving plant production efficiency in controlled environments

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

Everyone is looking to lower their energy costs, including those in controlled environment agriculture (CEA), which includes greenhouses and indoor farms. What is more important is the energy efficiency to improve profitability of crop production in heating seasons. CEA allows for better control and predictability of the growing environment, including temperature and light, and it can extend the growing season as well as expand food and ornamental crop production to urban areas and harsh environments. But CEA can be energy intensive, although energy needs vary depending on building design and materials, climate, and technology use. Heating, cooling and humidity control and electric lighting typically use the most energy.

Greenhouses have the advantage of natural light but provide little insulation for temperature control. Thus, they may need cooling in summer and heating in winter. They may also need supplemental lighting during seasons when sunlight intensity is diminished.… Continue reading

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Meristem serving more farmers in 2023

Stoutsville Seed Shed of Stoutsville and Meristem Crop Performance Group, LLC (www.meristemag.com) are moving into 2023 with Wade Rethmel representing them as a sales agronomist to serve more farmers in South Central Ohio.

“Sean Rittinger and Stoutsville Seed Shed have been quite successful in taking Meristem products to more farmers, and helping growers make the most of every seed they plant,” said Mitch Eviston, Meristem Founder and CEO. “Wade Rethmel’s energy and field knowledge will help both companies meet the needs of more customers.”

Rittinger, who owns and operates Stoutsville Seed Shed, also farms 1,000 acres of his own, says he’s building Stoutsville Seed Shed to meet his needs and those of his farmer neighbors. He views adding the Meristem portfolio — and teaming with Wade Rethmel — as steps to help improve return on investment (ROI) for every farmer he serves.

“Wade has proven himself across many years of working at field level with a farm business and an ag retail cooperative,” Rittinger said.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo coming in March

Ohio’s premier beef industry event, the Ohio Beef Expo, will celebrate 35 years for the 2023 event on March 16-19 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. The event will provide cattle enthusiasts from across Ohio and surrounding states with a unique experience that brings education, breed sales, youth shows, industry retail opportunities and more together all in one place.

This year’s schedule will be similar to the 2022 event. The Coliseum will be used for all junior show activities. The Junior Show will continue with the Market Animal Show on Saturday and the Heifer Show on Sunday. All Junior Show stalling will take place online, and viaducts will be reserved for OCA BEST sponsors. Remaining viaduct bays will be auctioned online in mid-February.

Nine breeds will host sales during the Expo on both Friday and Saturday.

The Expo Trade Show will continue to host vendors and retailers of all kinds to provide attendees with the opportunity to purchase everything from semen to trailers and from show supplies to insurance.… Continue reading

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Corn trade dispute addressed by Biden Administration

After President Biden met with his counterparts in Mexico and Canada, Secretary Tom Vilsack indicated that there would be no compromise on Mexico’s proposal to ban biotech corn. The secretary’s statement came as Biden met with Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The National Corn Growers Association weighed in on the developments.

“We appreciate Secretary Vilsack for taking a firm stand on this issue,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “We would encourage the Biden administration to keep this issue front and center and push for a quick resolution, as farmers have already made their purchasing decisions for the 2023 crop year. We also continue to urge the Biden administration to file a dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”
Talks between the two countries started in the fall of last year, as NCGA and state corn grower groups encouraged the Biden administration to act to prevent López Obrador from moving forward with a promise to ban shipments of biotech corn beginning in early 2024.… Continue reading

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Which direction are soybean prices heading?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

As the market moves into 2023, there are many reasons bean prices could go up or down. The following provides rationale for both.

Reasons the bean market may go lower

  • La Niña is forecasted to end in February, which could help stabilize southern Brazil’s crop that was just planted, and the balance of Argentina’s bean crop being planted right now.
  • Brazil is expected to produce 20% more beans than last year, which is the equivalent of 50% of Argentina’s entire production. Total South American production is expected to be a record with normal precipitation from this point forward.
  • World economy concerns may mean a decrease in grain demand globally.
  • While China’s economy may be coming out of lockdown, some people may continue to self-isolate, which could keep food and feed demand suppressed for several more months.
  • As China opens up there are concerns a new covid variant may emerge and quickly spread around the world, causing widespread demand issues.
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Tips for first time no-tillers

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, Adapted from article by Elizabeth Creech, NRCS.   

Veteran no-tillers know that no-till farming  offers several benefits including keeping soil in place, improved nutrient recycling; savings on labor and fuel; and improved water infiltration, water storage, and drought resiliency. No-till means that farmers plant into an undisturbed soil that is teaming with microbes.  Beneficial microbes prefer a stable environment to grow, so soil health improves over time.  

High fuel prices, high inputs costs for chemicals and fertilizer, labor shortages, and weather issues are starting to make no-till farming more appealing. Getting started in no-till can be challenging because it is a different system and it takes time to learn new skills.  Here are some tips for getting started.   

First, it helps to solve some of your existing problems.  Make sure you have adequate drainage, take care of the weeds, and soil tests to address fertility issues. … Continue reading

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Starting the year off on the right foot 

By Brian Ravencraft

We are now well into the first quarter of a new year. My wish for all of you is that 2023 is a healthy, happy and financially sound and successful year. The best way to set the tone for a great year is to start things off on the right foot. I asked some of my colleagues at Holbrook & Manter to share some of their best tips of setting the right tone for a successful year ahead. Enjoy their tips below.

Keep your accounting records up to date throughout 2023. If you don’t have the time as a small business owner, hire a bookkeeper or outsource it, but make sure the accounting records stay up to date at least on a monthly basis. If you wait too long to update your accounting records you won’t have real-time data to make management decisions and you will be scrambling at the end of the year to reconcile a years’ worth of activity to file a tax return.… Continue reading

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2023 Soil Health Webinar Series

Join the Ohio State University Extension Agronomic Crops Team 2023 Soil Health Webinar series for a Thursday morning series about soil health. You won’t want to miss out on this year’s line-up of farmers and academic experts covering a wide range of soil health topics as they dig below the surface to investigate new developments in soil health and soil management. 

Featuring a variety of speakers from Ohio and beyond, all sessions are 8:00-9:00 a.m. with time for Q & A:

Feb. 2, 2023.  Know your Biologicals and What They Can (or Cannot) Do for You by Dr. Mark Licht, Iowa State University. Separate fact from fiction and learn about the types and potential applications of biological crop inputs. CCA credits available: 1SW.

March 2, 2023.  Intercropping & Soil Health by Lucas Criswell, No-till Producer. Are you interested in relay cropping on your farm? Lucas Criswell will share his experience with relay cropping on his family’s operation in Lewisburg, PA. … Continue reading

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Vilsack provides USDA update

At the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced several major developments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will benefit farmers, ranchers and producers across the nation. 

“At USDA, our goal is to provide all farmers, including new and underserved producers, with the opportunity to receive the assistance they need to continue farming, to build and maintain their competitive-edge, and to access more, new, and better markets,” Vilsack said. “Working together we can ensure American agriculture is as resilient as ever and will do so by implementing a holistic approach to emergency assistance, by lowering input costs through investments in domestic fertilizer production, and by promoting competition in agricultural markets.” 

Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA continues to make progress in the following areas: 

  • Assisting producers facing high input costs to access domestic, innovative fertilizer capacity. 
  • Improving risk protection for underserved producers. 
  • Investing in new choices and meat processing capacity for livestock producers. 
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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 283 | Through Failure Rises the No-Till King

The podcast returns this week with Tim Norris who is the Outstanding No-Till Farmer. Matt and Dusty talk with Tim about his farming story and his journey to being named the honor. Jim Chakeres of the Ohio Poultry Association visits with Matt about HPAI and Feed Prices. Next up, Brad Bergfurd talks with matt about vegetables and specialty crops. Lastly, Matt chats with Doug Walton about auctions. All this and more on this weeks Podcast!

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update

11:08 Jim Chakeres – Ohio Poultry Association  

19:38 Brad Bergfurd – Vegetables & Specialty Crops

30:21 Doug Walton – Auctions

38:40 Back with Tim… Continue reading

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Japanese food in Ohio

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Honda of America’s first car rolled off the line in Marysville in 1982. Japanese engineers and executives have arrived and embraced central Ohio ever since. My first intro with the Honda wives was through edamame sales at the farm. The JNN, Japanese News Network as I like to call them, soon took over and our edamame business took off like a bonfire in high winds. These women were hesitant to speak English but full of smiles and gratitude for a familiar food. Five years ago, I got involved in “teaching” English at our church. These ladies are a sponge, soaking up not just English but everything they can about American food, culture and travel. 

Ayane, my Japanese friend, and I go on all kinds of foodie adventures from Fox in the Snow bakery to a robot ramen restaurant. Our most recent adventure was to the Japanese Marketplace to pick up some things for Japanese New Year.… Continue reading

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Pork Congress registration open

Ohio Pork Congress continues to deliver relevant information for everyone in the pork industry, from pig caretakers to farm team members to decision makers and allied industry partners. The event will take place Feb. 7 and 8, 2023, at the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center in Lima. The Ohio Pork Council invites all producers and members of the pork industry to attend. 

“Anyone who is involved in the pork industry is encouraged to attend Ohio Pork Congress,” said Nick Seger, Ohio Pork Council president and producer from Shelby County. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to network, discuss what is happening in our industry, and gain insightful knowledge from the educational seminars and our keynote speaker.”

Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center continues to allow Ohio Pork Congress the opportunity to expand its tradeshow space and offer even better educational seminars. 

“Our industry is full of amazing people and Ohio Pork Congress offers them the ability to gather at the state’s largest swine-specific tradeshow for networking and professional development opportunities,” Seger said.… Continue reading

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Anderson wins AFBF Excellence in Ag

Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professional Stacie Anderson of Wood County is the winner of the 2023 American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award. The contest was held as part of the 104th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award spotlights young Farm Bureau members who are agricultural enthusiasts but have not earned a majority of their income from an owned production agriculture enterprise in the past three years. Competitors are evaluated on their understanding of agricultural issues, leadership experiences and achievement, and their ability to communicate their agricultural story.

Anderson grew up on her family’s farm raising corn, soybeans, wheat, and specialty crops, while participating in 4-H and FFA. She is a graduate of Ohio State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in agribusiness and applied economics and a master’s degree in agricultural communications. She and her husband, Brian, grow corn, soybeans and wheat, as well as raise poultry for direct-to-consumer products and a small herd of beef cattle.… Continue reading

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Hannewald wins 2023 AFBF Discussion Meet

Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professional Mike Hannewald of Lucas County is the winner of the 2023 American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. The contest was held as part of the 104th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. Participants build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.

Hannewald developed a strong interest in farming while growing up on the family farm, just outside of Waterville, and became very active in 4-H and FFA. A Lucas County Farm Bureau member, he earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy from The Ohio State University. He is an agronomist and precision farming adviser for Beck’s Hybrids, covering northern Ohio and northeastern Indiana and remains actively involved on the family farm.… Continue reading

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Blending no-till, cover crops and technology for success

By Matt Reese

Tim Norris went from farmer, to tech guy, back to farmer, and now on to a new, unexpected title: Outstanding No-Till Farmer.

At the December Ohio No-Till Council Conference, Norris was recognized for his new title earned through his work with his successful blend of no-till, cover crops and technology on his Knox County farm.   

“We farm 800 acres of our own corn, soybeans, sunflowers and wheat and then we do about another 900 of custom planting and harvesting for neighbors. I grew up across the river on the farm that my dad had and it was a small corn, soybean, wheat, and oats farm — very diversified. And then we had a lot of cattle with some hogs, chickens, and sheep as well. By the time I was 18, I pretty much decided I wanted a grain farm. So my aunt’s farm, which was right across the Kokosing River, is where I started to grain farm in 1984,” Norris said.… Continue reading

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Rye Cover Crops in Organic No-till Soybeans

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off.

Rye cover crops bring benefits, and biomass. Both need to be managed.

“Take care of your rye biomass,” said Lea Vereecke, a certified crop advisor and consultant with the Rodale Institute. 

Vereecke has been conducting research on organic no-till soybeans for several years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison with Erin Silva. She now works as an organic crop consultant with the Rodale Institute. Adequate cereal rye biomass is a key component in the successful production of organic no-till soybeans.

“Many farmers like tillage because it aids in nutrient cycling. Tillage moves organic matter and nutrients to different layers of the soil profile. Tillage can improve weed control and reduce the germination of certain weed species. It allows the soil to warm quicker in the spring, resulting in improved germination and crop emergence. It also aids in residue management and plays a role in disease control by burying that residue and speeding up the decomposition,” Vereecke said.… Continue reading

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Climate collaboration with USDA and Central State University

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) is highlighting a new partnership with Central State University, part of a $325 million investment in 71 projects under the second funding pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities effort. In total, the investment from both funding pools is over $3.1 billion for 141 tentatively selected projects. Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is working to expand markets for American producers who produce climate-smart commodities, leverage greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart production, and provide meaningful benefits to producers, including small and underserved producers. 

“Expanding opportunities for small and underserved producers is a key goal of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities,” said Terry Cosby, Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief. “Small and underserved producers, including those here in Ohio, are facing the impacts of climate change head on, with limited resources, and have the most to gain from leveraging the growing market demand for agricultural goods produced in a sustainable, climate-smart way.… Continue reading

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National Association of State Departments of Agriculture hires Montoney-Crawford

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is excited to announce the hiring of Josie Montoney-Crawford as Manager of Public Policy. 
Montoney-Crawford will elevate the organization’s advocacy efforts through her experience in federal pesticide policy.  Montoney-Crawford will lead NASDA’s Food Systems and Nutrition Policy Committee and the Plant and Pesticides Policy Committee.
“I am thrilled to join the NASDA public policy team at a time when the agriculture industry faces both exciting opportunities and new challenges,” she said. “I look forward to working closely with our nation’s secretaries, directors and commissioners of agriculture to ensure we can continue to feed, clothe and fuel the world for generations to come.”
Montoney-Crawford holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in public management, leadership and policy and one in agricultural communication from The Ohio State University. Montoney-Crawford most recently served as Government Relations Coordinator and CLPAC Manager for CropLife America and holds consulting experience in government affairs from her former service at Byers, Minton & Associates in Columbus. … Continue reading

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Farmland preservation event in Navarre

On Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m., the Village of Navarre is hosting a public talk, “Preserving Our Farms.” Farmers, rural landowners, and local citizens are invited to learn more about preserving our rural landscape for future generations. Andy McDowell from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy will give a presentation on program areas of interest: donated and purchased conservation easements, related tax benefits and land acquisitions. We will also hear from a representative of the Wilderness Center, who will join us to talk about the role their organization plays in local land preservation. The event will take place at Navarre Village Hall (21 Canal St W, Navarre, OH 44662).
The Western Reserve Land Conservancy is the largest local land trust in Ohio, and has preserved working farms and natural areas in 29 counties across the state. The Wilderness Center is a nonprofit nature center encompassing 3,380 acres of agricultural land, forest, meadows, wetlands and prairie in seven counties.… Continue reading

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From family dairy to the big stage: Bolin-Ervin wins at the Big E

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

Growing up on a farm of any kind is bound to teach you valuable lessons and present experiences that stick with you for the rest of your life. For Abbi Bolin-Ervin, her upbringing has carried her far into her FFA career and contributed greatly to her future career plans. 

Located in Athens, Ohio, Ervin’s Dairy Farm is a multi-generation family farm that has been in operation for over 100 years. 

“My great grandparents started farming in 1917 and then my grandparents took over after them. Once my grandparents retired, my dad and his two brothers, Ronnie and Scotty took over the farm so it’s safe to say it’s always been a family thing,” Bolin-Ervin said. 

It didn’t take long for Bolin-Ervin to follow in the footsteps of the family members that came before her. As she became more involved on the farm, her passion for agriculture only grew stronger. … Continue reading

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