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Maple Bootcamp this June

Those who are new or new-ish to making maple syrup, can learn plenty at Maple Bootcamp: Ohio.

Set for June 22–24 at The Ohio State University at Mansfield, the event will provide “intensive hands-on training for beginner and intermediate maple producers.” 

Participants will get details on how to assess a sugarbush and all the steps that follow, from collecting sap to boiling, bottling, and selling. Classroom sessions will take place on the Ohio State Mansfield campus. Field trips and tours will visit local maple operations, including one located right on the campus.  

By the end of the program, participants “will gain the skills necessary for the safe, efficient, and profitable production of maple products,” said event co-organizer Kathy Smith of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Smith, who is forestry program director for the CFAES School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), looks at some of the bootcamp topics:

1.… Continue reading

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USDA renews People’s Garden Initiative

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack planted a tree to announce the reopening of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) People’s Garden Initiative. People’s Gardens across the country will grow fresh, healthy food and support resilient, local food systems; teach people how to garden using conservation practices; nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife and create greenspace for neighbors. The garden at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. will be joined by 17 flagship gardens located in urban communities nationwide, including Cleveland, Ohio.   

“The simple act of planting a garden can have big impacts — from building a more diversified and resilient local food system to empowering communities to come together around healthy food access, climate change, and equity,” said Secretary Vilsack, who unveiled the upgraded garden flanking the National Mall. “We’re committed to our priorities, and we are leading by example.”

School gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects in rural and urban areas can be recognized as a “People’s Garden” if they:  

• Benefit the community by providing food, green space, wildlife habitat, education space.  … Continue reading

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Winners of “The Voice” support local effort

By Dusty Sonnenberg

The organization famous for giving farmers a voice joined forces with the winners of “The Voice” for a night of music and celebration, all to benefit the 1920s Farm Bureau Office at Historic Sauder Farm Village in Archbold. 

A concert featuring the group Girl Named Tom, made up of siblings Caleb, Josh and Bekah Liechty, was held in the 1920s Sauder Village Theater for a group of Ohio Farm Bureau leaders and members as well as employees of Ken-Feld Group (the event sponsor). Along with the concert, tours were given of the 1920s Farm Bureau office, and snacks were available from the vintage 1920s ice cream parlor. 

The fundraising event was the idea of Fulton County Farm Bureau president, Mark Ballmer, and John Torres, Executive Director of the Maryland Farm Bureau, (former Fulton County resident) at a meeting in Washington, D.C. when they were talking about fundraising ideas, and also the incredible success of Girl Named Tom.… Continue reading

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Heritage Cooperative expands grain storage at Upper Sandusky location

Heritage Cooperative is excited to announce the construction of a new grain bin providing an additional 750,000 bushels of grain storage at our Upper Sandusky location, 520 W. Wyandot Ave., Upper Sandusky. 

The $3.4 million project will consist of building a steel Chief grain storage bin on the west side of the property, increasing the grain storage capacity to just over 4 million bushels. 

This additional storage will benefit Heritage growers in the Upper Sandusky and northern Ohio area. In addition, an enhanced staggered conveyer system and recently acquired land provides space and better efficiencies for Heritage and farmers for unloading and storing grain. 

“We are really excited about this project. It will provide immediate grain storage solutions for our growers and allow us to take their grain when they need to unload it during the busy harvest season.” said Jeff Osentoski, president and CEO of Heritage Cooperative. “This storage capability also positions us well for the future.” … Continue reading

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Farm Credit Mid-America announces Board of Directors and Nominating Committee candidates

Farm Credit Mid-America announces the candidates running for its Board of Directors and 2023 Nominating Committee. Customers with voting stock in the financial services cooperative that serves farmers and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee may cast their votes from May 5 at 12 a.m. through June 2, 2022 at 9 p.m. EDT. 

The eight candidates running for the Board of Directors are:

  • Kevin Cox – Brazil, Indiana
  • Stephanie Hopper – Macy, Indiana
  • V. Alan Meyer – Vincennes, Indiana 
  • Todd Clark – Lexington, Kentucky 
  • Chris Mitchell – Flemingsburg, Kentucky
  • Allen Armstrong – South Charleston, Ohio 
  • Lowell Hill – De Graff, Ohio  
  • Ellen Joslin – Conover, Ohio

“Voting in our elections is one of the most important ways our customer-owners can contribute to our overall strength and shape our future,” says Dan Wagner, Farm Credit Mid-America’s President and CEO.  “Our Board of Directors understands the challenges and opportunities that agriculture and rural communities face. Thanks to the guidance and direction set by the Board, we will continue to be a reliable source of credit for farmers and rural residents, today and tomorrow.” … Continue reading

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Ohio FFA State Convention returns to Columbus!

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

For many, spring time represents new beginnings, positive growth and excitement for the summer ahead. For FFA members across the state, however, it encompasses the celebration of the end of another year in the blue jacket. 

Each May, FFA members, advisors and supporters travel to Columbus to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments over the past year. State degrees are earned, proficiency awards are given and Career Development Event competition teams are recognized for their successes.

Although relatively short in length, the two days spent at state convention are often a defining moment in many FFA members’ careers. 

“If you ask FFA members, current or past, what the moment was when they got their initial spark for FFA, I think many of them would say it was either a state or national convention,” said Katy Endsley, Ohio FFA Program Manager. “The collective energy in the room, feeling the excitement from the people around you and seeing students recognized on stage really sets the tone for the rest of their FFA career.”… Continue reading

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Challenging nutrient management decisions for 2022

By Matt Reese

Planting season has finally arrived after a frustrating cold and soggy start to spring. Are there more frustrations ahead for corn and soybean farmers due to the ongoing supply challenges and high fertilizer cost scenarios?

“I don’t think the issue is going to be that we’re going to be short on supply domestically. The challenge that we face is how do we make sure that we as a retailer are in a good position to satisfy the needs of our customers,” said Robert Mullen, vice president of agricultural technology for Heritage Cooperative. “If you haven’t secured fertilizer, at this point you certainly need to start having that conversation so that we make sure we take a position on getting product into the bins so that we can satisfy your needs. And I can tell you on the retail side, that’s all we’re trying to do right now is make sure that we have product in place where we know we’re going to need it.… Continue reading

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Meet our student FFA reporters

We’re back with our 10th class of Student FFA Reporters after COVID-19 benched the program. They’ll be covering the Ohio FFA State Convention May 5-6 in Columbus. We asked them to introduce themselves to our readers below.

Devan Foster

Devan Foster, Allen East FFA

Hello everyone! My name is Devan Foster and I am a sophomore at Allen East High School. There, I am one of our two reporters for the Allen East FFA chapter. Along with the FFA, I love to stay involved in several other groups as well. I am part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council, French Club, French Honors Society, Varsity Cheerleading, Class President, and I am the treasurer of my 4-H club. Within my FFA Chapter, I love trying new things and partaking in as many contests as I can. My first two years in the FFA have provided me with more experience and memories than I could have ever imagined.… Continue reading

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OABA Impact and Connection for women in AgriBusiness

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association is pleased to announce new leadership development and networking opportunities for the Women Leading in Ohio Agribusiness Program. Through the Impact podcast series and Connection networking events, Ohio’s female leaders will have the opportunity to dive into leadership topics while also networking with their peers.

Impact podcast
Through the new, 8-month podcast series, Ohio’s agribusiness women will be inspired by the stories of other women in agriculture who have been successful in their various roles. Each episode will be 45 to 60 minutes long and consist of an interview with one guest. The first episode will be available in May with subsequent episodes releasing the first week of every month.
The Impact podcast kicks off with Chasitie Euler as the first guest, diving into the critical need for intentionality in your work life and family life. As a working mom who has spent her career in agricultural sales and business, Chasitie shares her experiences evaluating priorities and modeling expectations for her team and for her kids.… Continue reading

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To arbitrate or not?

By Jeffrey K. Lewis, Esq., Program Coordinator Ohio State University Income Tax Schools & ANR Extension

One of the core principles of the American legal system is that people are free to enter into contracts and negotiate those terms as they see fit.  But sometimes the law prohibits certain rights from being “signed away.”  The interplay between state and federal law and the ability to contract freely can be a complex and overlapping web of regulations, laws, precedent, and even morals.  Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on a case that demonstrates the complex relationship between Ohio law and the ability of parties to negotiate certain terms within an oil and gas lease.  

The background  

Ascent Resources-Utica, L.L.C. (“Defendant”) acquired leases to the oil and gas rights of farmland located in Jefferson County, Ohio allowing it to physically occupy the land which included the right to explore the land for oil and gas, construct wells, erect telephone lines, powerlines, and pipelines, and to build roads.  The… Continue reading

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Wet weather continues before a pattern shift

By Jim Noel, NOAA

April was a challenging month. It was a cold month with most of Ohio -1F to -3F below normal for temperatures. We saw late freezes and snow events. Because of the cold, precipitation was generally around or slightly below normal in the 60% to 120% of normal range. However, with limited evaporation and evapotranspiration, soils did not dry much.

Looking forward, May will start off challenging but improvements are forecasted. The first week of May will see a wetter period across Ohio with temperatures generally below normal. Rainfall will range from just under an inch to over 2 inches in places. As we move into the middle and end of May, expect a pattern change to warmer and drier than normal which should open the rapid window for planting.

It appears the chances for a hard freeze are pretty much over. There is still a low chance for some patchy frost especially in northern and eastern Ohio like this weekend but the freeze risk has decreased significantly.… Continue reading

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Will interest rates slow land prices?

By Matt Reese

While officials with the Federal Reserve have kept interest rates near zero since 2020, they approved a .25 percentage point increase in March, the first increase in more than three years, with additional increases expected in 2022.

Bart Sheridan

With a long, continued stretch of very strong farmland values, will the increasing interest rates slow things down?

“This will affect those who are in the residential side of things, and this will have an effect on the land, but it is hard to say what it will be. It always lags after the interest hikes,” said Bart Sheridan, of Sheridans, LLC based in Cedarville. “Those 25 basis point jumps — we are expecting to have as many as four this year. The first increase may be an impetus to go out and buy more land before it goes higher. The first one was in March and might propel some people to get out and do it before it really hits.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 252 | Ethanol Update

Tadd Nicholson of Ohio Corn and Wheat joins Matt, Dusty and Kolt on the podcast to give an update on the corn landscape in Ohio, the looming deadline for the wheat yield contest, corn prices and the update on year-round E-15 sales! USDA’s Gary Crawford has an interview with B.J. Johnson, the CEO of Clear Flame Technologies who is working on 100% ethanol semis. All of that and more thanks to AgriGold!

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Participate in a study to identify major barriers to precision agriculture technology adoption

By John FultonElizabeth HawkinsAmanda DouridasHanna Bond, Ohio State University Extension

The Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering (FABE) is looking for farmers, consultants, and other individuals who work alongside farmers to participate in a survey aimed at identifying major barriers that row crop farmers, consultants, and other personnel involved in crop production face when adopting precision agriculture technologies. Eligible participants must have row cropping operations in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas or preform consulting tasks or other tasks for famers who have row crop operations within the states stated above.  

Participants who are interested in participating are required to take the survey found with the link here: You will have six weeks from April 25, 2022 to June 15, 2022 to respond to the survey.… Continue reading

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Farmers finally able to move the needle on planting progress

Below-average temperatures and excess moisture continued to slow fieldwork activities, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 1 percent short, 69% adequate and 30% surplus. Temperatures for the week ending on May 1 averaged 3.1 degrees below historical normals and the State received 0.76 inches of precipitation, 0.14 inches below normal. There were 2.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 1.

Fieldwork activities included tile work, manure spreading, top dressing, and ground tillage. Livestock continue to do well in pastures. Cool temperatures and wet conditions have deterred many row crop producers from planting. Corn was 3% planted in comparison to 20 percent last year. Soybean planting progress was 2%, down from the previous year’s progress of 16%. Oats were 46% planted and 16% of the oats were emerged. Winter wheat jointing was 58% while the winter wheat crop was rated 66% good to excellent condition.… Continue reading

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Is a recession coming?

By Jeff Fichtelman, partner in JP2 Risk Management

If you polled the average American, most would agree we are likely to enter a recession. Thanks to the loose monetary policy from the Fed and the White House, we are now dealing with rapid inflation. This inflation has increased corporate costs, reduced their margins and is hurting consumer’s ability to spend. What does this translate to? Lower revenue and income for many corporations and therefore lower stock prices. 

Jeff Fichtelman

Why should the U.S. farmer care about the stock market? In most cases, the price of corn and soybeans move independent to fluctuations in equities. However, in those rare circumstances that the equity market is “in free fall” all markets suddenly move together. In the 2008/09 recession, the stock market fell 20% while corn and bean prices actually went higher. Then, equities fell another 30%, which ended up dragging corn and bean prices down sharply.… Continue reading

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Corn leaf diseases to watch for in 2022

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D. Director of Genetics for Seed Genetics Direct
It is almost impossible to develop resistance to all of the prevalent diseases while developing new varieties. The disease organisms are constantly changing and by the time breeders develop new varieties resistant to certain disease organism, the pathogens mutate and change. In order to maximize the potential yield of crops, farmers need to also protect them from diseases. Fungicides is one way to do so. 

Dave Nanda

Depending on the spring weather and past experience, there are leaf diseases which might develop and dominate in July and August, most of the which are caused by the fungal organisms.

Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB) can get started from the residue of previous crops which may provide the initial inoculum and is further spread by airborne spores. It likes cool, wet and humid weather. NCLB produces long, cigar shaped lesions which are grayish to tan in color.… Continue reading

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 Philippines pork tariffs being discussed

National Pork Producers Council applauded the recent recommendation of an advisory committee to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to extend through the end of the year the country’s reduced tariff rates on pork imports but also urged Manilla to reinstate its higher import quota. The cabinet-level Committee on Tariff and Related Matters approved extending the current 15% duty on imported pork within the country’s quota, known as the minimum access volume (MAV), and the 25% rate for imports above the MAV.

Last May, the Philippines reduced the tariffs to those rates from, respectively, 30% and 40%. Without an extension, the current tariff rates will revert to the old rates May 17. Also in May 2021, the country increased the MAV, raising the quota to 254,210 metric tons (MT) from just 54,210 MT in 2020. That expired Jan. 31. Under the lower tariffs and higher quota, U.S. pork exports to the Philippines increased by nearly 79% in 2021, topping $204 million compared with $114.5 million in 2020.… Continue reading

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