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Ohio Pork Rib-Off draws crowd while promoting pork

Savory smoke filled the air as 10 teams from across Ohio, gathered in Columbus for the 16th annual Ohio Pork Rib-Off. This event invites teams to prepare both ribs and pulled pork that are evaluated by a judging panel for taste, tenderness and appearance.

This year, those challenged with selecting Ohio’s top teams were Tristan Navera, Another Food Critic (blog); Matt Reese, Editor, Ohio’s Country Journal; Bethia Woolf, Columbus Food Adventures (blog); Virgil Strickler, General Manager, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair; and Paul Boyer, Columbus Foodie (blog).

Bob Nunnally of NBC 4 served as the competition emcee and announced the following award winners:

Grand Champion Ribs: Wally’s Great American BBQ, Tiffin, OH
Reserve Champion Ribs: Hickory River Smokehouse, Tipp City, OH
Grand Champion Pulled Pork: Wally’s Great American BBQ, Tiffin, OH Reserve Pulled Pork: Velvet Smoke BBQ, Hilliard, OH
People’s Choice Award Winner: Tony’s Restaurant, Findlay, OH
Best BBQ Sauce containing Soy: Wally’s Great American BBQ, Tiffin, OH

In addition to $3,000 in prizes, top teams received commemorative banners and silver serving trays.… Continue reading

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Farm Service Agency announces new Conservation Reserve Program continuous sign-up for highly erodible land

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced that continuous sign-up for the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) Initiative under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) started on July 23, 2012.  Ohio received a total allocation of 24,300 acres to enroll in the HEL CRP program.  Offers will be accepted until either the state acreage allocation limit is reached or September 30, 2012, whichever occurs first.

“CRP is a voluntary program that has protected environmentally sensitive land for more than 25 years,” Maurer said. “This initiative will accept offers with an erosion rate of at least 20 tons per acre per year for new cropland or CRP acres that expire on September 30, 2012; however, existing grass stands that are not expiring CRP will not be considered eligible.”

Producers can stop by their local FSA office to determine if their land qualifies for the Highly Erodible Land Initiative and to receive additional location-specific details.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review to highlight practices to benefit water quality

By Amanda Meddles, Steve Prochaska and Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

This year Farm Science Review is celebrating its 50th show. It is amazing how far agriculture has come in 50 years. One thing we have learned in those 50 years is how important nutrient placement is for crop production and environmental sustainability. Ohio lakes have been suffering the past few years from excess nutrient loading that has resulted in Hazardous Algal Blooms. Fertilizer and manure used in crop production are sources of nutrients transported to Ohio lakes and rivers via sedimentation, runoff and tile discharge.

In July, Directors of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) announced the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative. This initiative will start the following specific farm level recommendations: 1) Take soil tests and follow fertilization rates as found in the Tri-State Recommendations and/or OSU Recommendations; 2) No spreading of phosphorus on frozen or snow covered ground; 3) Maintain good nutrient application records; 4) As much as possible, incorporate nutrients into the soil layer or on a growing crop at the appropriate time; 5) Follow the 4R Nutrient Steward guidelines found at:… Continue reading

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American Farm Bureau opposes farm bill extension

The American Farm Bureau Federation said that a House proposal to extend the current farm bill for one year fails to move the nation any closer to securing a comprehensive, long-term farm bill and the organization would stand in opposition.

“A one-year extension offers our farm and ranch families nothing in the way of long-term policy certainty,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Farmers and ranchers always face decisions that carry very serious financial ramifications, such as planting a crop, buying land or building a herd, and we need clear and confident signals from our lawmakers.”

Late last Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the House “may consider a farm bill extension” this week. The legislation would provide for a one-year extension of current law governing farm programs, including commodity programs, crop insurance, conservation programs and federal nutrition programs, as well as reauthorize supplemental agricultural disaster assistance for the 2012 fiscal year, retroactively, and for the 2013 fiscal year.… Continue reading

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July 30th Ohio crop progress report

The average temperature for the State was 77.1 degrees, 4.1 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, July 29, 2012. Precipitation averaged 1.31 inches, 0.46 inches above normal. There were 164 modified growing degree days, 7 days above normal.

Reporters rated 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, July 27, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 40 percent very short, 41 percent short, 18 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

Conditions throughout the state remain hot and dry, however widespread rains and cooler temperatures last week have helped improve crop conditions. Central and Southern district reporters have observed spider mites in soybean fields and leaf hoppers in alfalfa fields. Field activities for the week were baling hay, harvesting oats, spraying, mowing CRP, and manure application.

As of Sunday July 29th, 93 percent of corn was silked (tasseled), which was 43 percent ahead of last year and 19 percent ahead of the five-year average.

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"Ohio Farmers for Romney" kicks off

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Monday, the Ohio State Fair was the setting for the kick-off of the Ohio Farmers for Romney movement. Former USDA Ag Secretary and current Senator from Nebraska Mike Johanns made an appearance along with U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs and State Senator Bob Peterson.

Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler greets Senator Mike Johanns at the first “Farmers for Romney” campaign stop.

“One of the things that has attracted me to Governor Romney is that he understands that Ag policy is so much more than a single piece of legislation,” said Johanns, who serves as a National Co-Chair for Romney’s Ag Policy effort. “Not long ago we hosted listening session around the country centered on the new farm bill. It was then that I realized that what farmers were talking to me about was so much more than a farm bill. They were talking about good farm policy being good tax policy.”

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“Ohio Farmers for Romney” kicks off

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Monday, the Ohio State Fair was the setting for the kick-off of the Ohio Farmers for Romney movement. Former USDA Ag Secretary and current Senator from Nebraska Mike Johanns made an appearance along with U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs and State Senator Bob Peterson.

Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler greets Senator Mike Johanns at the first “Farmers for Romney” campaign stop.

“One of the things that has attracted me to Governor Romney is that he understands that Ag policy is so much more than a single piece of legislation,” said Johanns, who serves as a National Co-Chair for Romney’s Ag Policy effort. “Not long ago we hosted listening session around the country centered on the new farm bill. It was then that I realized that what farmers were talking to me about was so much more than a farm bill. They were talking about good farm policy being good tax policy.”

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Mid-America Christmas Tree meeting at Timbuk Farms

The Mid-America Christmas Tree Association held a summer meeting last weekend at Timbuk Farms in Licking County.

Timbuk is amount the oldest and largest Christmas tree farms in the state with scenic rolling hills and rows of trees planted as far as the eye can see.

The meeting included an overview of problem insects, wreath making, small tree management, managing deer damage, pot-in-pot tree production and weed management. Farm owner gave several presentations in the program.

 … Continue reading

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Dailey: Kasich’s Fracking fee is “fair”

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

It was a who’s who of Ohio Agriculture joining Governor John Kasich at a mid-July press conference in Columbus. Alongside Ohio’s top official were three men who have served in the Director’s chair at ODA — Fred Daily, Jim Zehringer and current leader David Daniels.

The reason for the pow-wow was to show support of a plan that Kasich has put on the table for Ohio’s legislature to contemplate. This plan would lower the state’s income tax by raising taxes on shale drillers, ultimately creating a tax cut that could be worth $500 million annually.

“It’s a two-part program that would modernize Ohio’s 40-year old severance tax law that begs to be updated,” Dailey said. “Those funds would then be used reduce income tax for everybody in Ohio, across the board.”

Dailey said that will balance out the current “extremely low” severance taxes and “extremely high” income taxes.… Continue reading

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Tips to deal with drought-stressed forages

Put a plan of action in place to make the most of this year’s forages.

With extreme drought conditions affecting more than half of the U.S., and in excess of 30 percent of the corn crop rated at poor or very poor conditions – this year’s forages are likely to present some challenges.

“Unfortunately you can’t control the plant that’s presented for harvest,” says Martha Baker, dairy nutrition specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. “But you can control what you do with it.”

The upside to dealing with drought-stressed forages is that total plant digestibility tends to go up and they tend to be good quality feeds, because of higher stem to leaf ratios. “Improved digestibility offers some advantages and is something dairy producers and nutritionists need to keep in mind when formulating rations with this year’s crop,” she says.

To handle and feed drought-stressed forages, Baker offers the following advice:

Decide when to harvest.… Continue reading

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Spider mites worsening dry conditions

The prolonged extreme heat and rainfall shortages that have led to moderate and severe drought conditions across Ohio also have led to reports of twospotted spider mite — a pest that can cause severe soybean damage or death.

Many growers have already reported finding twospotted spider mites on soybeans, said Ron Hammond, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist who also has an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Spider mites, which feed on the underside of the foliage with sucking mouth parts and can be destructive when abundant, thrive on plants that are under stress, especially in hot, dry field conditions.

This is significant, considering that all of Ohio except for small portions of four counties near the West Virginia border is experiencing moderate drought, with areas near the Indiana and Michigan borders experiencing severe drought as of July 24, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor (http://www.droughtmonitor.unl.eduContinue reading

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Prepare for the battle with herbicide resistant weeds

By Matt Reese

There are weed control nightmares in the south due to herbicide resistance. Palmer pigweed, in particular, is a huge problem. Many farmers are hiring hand-weeding crews for as much as $100 an acre to go through fields to control the challenging plants.

“The weeds are evolving at an alarming rate and it is not just broadleaves any more,” said Ford Baldwin, with Practical Farm Research Partners LLC in Arkansas. “And when resistance occurs, that herbicide is lost forever. Roundup is the world’s greatest herbicide and it has become a surfactant in some fields. This miracle technology has been driven to redundancy in some cases and now farmers are going out of business because of pigweeds. Even 95% control is a failure because you are still building up your seed banks.”

Baldwin has seen many changes in weed control throughout his long career, first at the university level and now in the private sector.… Continue reading

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What are GMOs?


The term GMO, or genetically modified organism, refers to “a plant or animal altered using modern techniques of genetic modification,” commonly termed genetic engineering. Since crops have been genetically modified by classical methods for centuries, a more accurate term for the foods and crops created with the technologies used today might be GE or genetically engineered (from Best Food Facts).

U.S. commercially grown genetically modified crops (accurate for 2010) include corn, soybean, cotton, canola, sugar beets, papaya, squash, and alfalfa. In addition, small amounts of GE tomatoes and sweet peppers are grown in China. In terms of our diets, most of the GM crops that are consumed for food are used in making processed food ingredients included in cereals, soy cooking oil (vegetable oil) and other types of processed food products that contain soy or corn ingredients. In other words, if you see corn or soy ingredients included on the food label, chances are the product was partially made with GM-crop ingredients.… Continue reading

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Ag is Cool winners announced at Ohio State Fair

Governor John R. Kasich and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels announced the winners for the 2012 “Agriculture is Cool” visual arts contest.  Ohio school children enrolled in school or home schooled during the 2011-2012 academic year shared their personal interpretation of why Ohio agriculture is “cool” for their chance to win concert tickets at the Ohio State Fair.

Entries, which included an original video, photographs, drawings, and paintings, were judged in the four different age categories: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Ten entries were selected as winners in their respective categories.



K-2 Drawing:                                      Isabella Yandura, Delaware, Delaware County, age 5

K-2 Painting:                                       Sarah Konecny, Perrysburg, Wood County, age 6

K-2 Photograph:                               Asa DeMange, Versailles, Darke County, age 7

K-2 Drawing:                                      Luke Jennings, Felicity, Clermont County, age 8

3-5 Photograph:                               Emma Meagrow, Sandusky, Erie County, age 8

3-5 Drawing:                                       Brandon Barr, Xenia, Greene County, age 9

6-8 Photograph:                               Ross Black, Ashville, Pickaway County, age 12

6-8 Painting:                                       Samuel Stahl, Fostoria, Hancock County, age 12

6-8 Video:                                           Spencer Channell, Powell, Delaware County, age 14

9-12 Photograph:                             Sydney Black, Ashville, Pickaway County, age 14


A painting produced by 12-year old Samuel Stahl of Fostoria was chosen as the 2012 “Best in Show” entry.… Continue reading

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Kasich signs executive order to help farmers with drought

In response to severe heat and rainfall shortages across large areas of the state which are afflicting much of Ohio’s agriculture industry, today Governor John R. Kasich signed Executive Order 2012-11K instructing state agencies to help farmers reduce the negative impacts of the drought and to seek federal assistance.

The executive order says:

“Farmers are the foundation of Ohio’s $105 billion food and agriculture industry and taking steps to help them through this hot, dry weather is essential to their survival. We need to be taking the right steps so they don’t suffer devastating losses or aren’t forced to abandon their fields or herds. It’s in all Ohioans’ best interests for our hard-hit farmers to be able to come back next year and these measures can help make that happen,” said Kasich.

 … Continue reading

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Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association hires and promotes staff

Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) is developing its industry presence with the promotion of former director of research and community affairs, Jack Irvin, to director of government and industry affairs and introduces Brad Moffitt as its new director of market development and membership.

Moffitt has career experience as an educational instructor and a lifelong agriculturist. He was raised on and later managed a crop and livestock farm in Champaign County.
 Prior to OCWGA, he served state school systems as a high-school principal, superintendent, Ohio Department of Education consultant and area supervisor for the Ohio Agricultural Education Services. He was an agricultural education instructor for 14 years at Ridgedale High School in Marion County and Ripley High School in Brown County.

 He is a two-time National/Regional Agri-Science Teacher of the Year recipient and an Ohio Agricultural Education Teacher of the Year.

Moffitt is now responsible for managing the projects funded by the Ohio Corn Checkoff and Ohio Small Grains Checkoff programs.… Continue reading

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2012 Ohio Agriculture Women of the Year

Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich and Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels  announced four 2012 Ohio Agriculture Women of the Year Award winners.

“These Ohio women have had an incredible impact on our state’s largest industry,” said Mrs. Kasich, who announced the creation of the award during last year’s Ohio State Fair. “It is an honor to recognize them today for their strength, leadership, and outstanding contributions.”

Amy Sigg Davis (Lebanon)

Davis has successfully managed her family farm since 1987, growing soybeans, corn and wheat, and is a licensed real estate broker specializing in farm brokerage. Davis was instrumental in the development of the Ohio Soybean Council’s research program for new uses of soybeans, which has resulted in national awards and multiple patents. She has also worked to expand export opportunities to Japan, and played a pivotal role in the development of an Ohio trade office in China.

Stephanie Jolliff (Kenton)

Jolliff raises beef cattle, hogs and chickens on her family farm in Hardin County, and is an agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor at Ridgemont High School.… Continue reading

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Forage options after corn

A wide range of forage crops could help grain and livestock producers salvage some value from their fields once the drought-ravaged corn crop has been harvested — if soil moisture returns to a level that can support plant growth.

While damaged corn can be used as forage to feed livestock, it won’t be enough to thwart forage shortages. Several forage crops are available for growers to plant in late summer or early fall and that could serve as livestock feed in the spring.

“For the August seeding, an excellent consideration would be spring oat that will be harvested by machine, or a combination of spring oat and forage turnip if grazed by livestock,” said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage specialist. “Spring oat will not survive the winter. While the expectation is for turnips to winterkill, too, it has been observed that they can survive a mild winter.”

Another possible choice is annual ryegrass, but growers who go this route need to pay close attention to keep the crop from becoming a nuisance.… Continue reading

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House passes youth labor regulation

The Obama Administration’s Department of Labor (DOL), April 26, 2012, withdrew its proposed rule regarding youth in agriculture. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), along with an overwhelming majority of congressional leaders, doesn’t believe pulling back the proposed rule does enough to provide certainty to America’s farm and ranch families. Consequently, Congressman Tom Latham (R-Iowa) introduced the Preserving America’s Family Farm Act (H.R. 4157), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a voice vote.

NCBA President J.D. Alexander commended passage of the legislation. He said the administration’s proposed rule could have restricted, and in some instances totally prevented, America’s youth from working on family farms and ranches.

“This is a victory for farm and ranch families throughout the country. This ridiculous rule would have prevented the next generation of farmers and ranchers from acquiring skills and passion for this very noble profession. It also would have restricted urban kids from working on farms and acquiring a solid work ethic and enthusiasm for this very diverse industry,” Alexander said.… Continue reading

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USDA drought measures will help farmers

The American Farm Bureau Federation expressed appreciation for a series of emergency actions announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to provide much-needed assistance to America’s farm and ranch families suffering from the drought gripping much of the nation.

While the announcement will help many farmers and ranchers, there are areas of the United States that may require expedited assistance due to established grazing prohibitions. These prohibitions would prevent grazing until the nutritional value of the grazing plants has totally been diminished by the drought, according to AFBF.

For many farmers and ranchers, however, the USDA actions will result in immediate flexibility in the nation’s major conservation programs, related to haying, grazing and livestock watering. The actions will help provide crucial assistance to hard-hit livestock producers. Vilsack also said he has additional plans to call on crop insurance companies to provide “a short grace period” since some farmers may struggle to pay insurance premiums at the close of this crop year.… Continue reading

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