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Prepare to weather the drought

While it is too early to assess the full extent of losses caused by the current drought, officials at Farm Credit Mid-America urge growers in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to contact their lenders and crop insurance advisors now to discuss short- and long-term drought effects on their operations.

“Farmers in our four-state area are facing drought conditions with the potential to surpass those experienced in 1988,” said Phil Kimmel, senior vice president-credit, Farm Credit. “Fortunately, the farm economy has generally been favorable for the last three years, so many farmers, especially those producing grain, have built liquidity and solvency, which will help them endure current conditions. But each farmer’s situation is different. That’s why at Farm Credit we focus on working with each customer to identify strategic scenarios that will help manage through the crisis without derailing future plans.”

Crop insurance is a financial tool many farmers use to help weather adverse conditions, but claims must be handled correctly, advises Tom Sloma, vice president-crop insurance, Farm Credit.… Continue reading

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Retail prices declining in second quarter

Retail food prices at the supermarket declined slightly during the second quarter of 2012 with protein staples — meats, cheese, milk and eggs — showing the greatest drops in price, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.91, down $1.56 or about 3% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Of the 16 items surveyed, 12 decreased and four increased in average price compared to the prior quarter. The cost for the overall basket of foods fell about one-half of 1% compared to one year ago.

Most of the quarter-to-quarter decrease in the marketbasket of foods was due to lower retail prices for sliced meats and dairy products.

“The decline in retail meat prices for the second quarter is not unexpected,” said John Anderson, an AFBF senior economist.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Crop Progress – July 16th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 75.2 degrees, 1.8 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, July 15, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.27 inches, 0.71 inches below normal. There were 155 modified growing degree days, 5 days below normal. Reporters rated 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, July 13, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 63 percent very short, 31 percent short, 6 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY JULY 15th, 2012

Conditions throughout the state are hot and dry, which has continued to put significant stress on both crops and livestock. There has been some rain this week, most has been spotty and duration short. Field activities for the week were baling hay, harvesting oats, spraying, mowing CRP, and manure application to wheat fallow acres.

As of Sunday July 15th, 67 percent of corn was silked(tasseled), which was 62 percent ahead of last year and 38 percent ahead of the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – July 16th, 2012

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 75.2 degrees, 1.8 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, July 15, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.27 inches, 0.71 inches below normal. There were 155 modified growing degree days, 5 days below normal. Reporters rated 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, July 13, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 63 percent very short, 31 percent short, 6 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY JULY 15th, 2012

Conditions throughout the state are hot and dry, which has continued to put significant stress on both crops and livestock. There has been some rain this week, most has been spotty and duration short. Field activities for the week were baling hay, harvesting oats, spraying, mowing CRP, and manure application to wheat fallow acres.

As of Sunday July 15th, 67 percent of corn was silked(tasseled), which was 62 percent ahead of last year and 38 percent ahead of the five-year average.… Continue reading

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EPA withdraws CAFO reporting rule

Late Friday afternoon, July 13, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew its proposed Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 308 CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) Reporting Rule. The rule sparked controversy within the agricultural community due to what was referred to as a serious overreach of EPA’s authority. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) primary concern was the likelihood the proposed rule could put the nation’s food system at risk of increased terrorist attacks. NCBA President J.D. Alexander said this move by EPA is a victory for cattlemen and women and illustrates the importance of the beef cattle community working together to educate government officials.

“Early on, we called for EPA to pull this rule. It turns out they listened. This really showcases the importance of cattlemen and women becoming engaged in the regulatory process and making sure their concerns are heard,” Alexander said. “We encourage the agency to redirect its focus to working with states and other partners to attain already publicly available information that would allow them to work toward their goal of improved water quality.… Continue reading

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Kenn-Feld Group Ag Focus Day

The Kenn-Feld Group is pleased to announce their First Annual Kenn-Feld Group Ag Focus Day.  All 10 Kenn-Feld Group John Deere Dealership locations are coming together to put on this event.

The Ag Focus Day will be held on Saturday, July 28, 2012 with a rain date of August 18, 2012.  The event will begin at 9 AM and will run through 3:00.  This 200-acre event is located on Charloe Trail (Road 138) just east of US 127 in Paulding, OH.  This is about a half mile northeast of the Liechty Farm Equipment location in Paulding.

Equipment will be on display along with factory field representatives from over 25 Venders offered by the Kenn-Feld Group in our show area. Field demonstrations of Tillage Tools including several strip and vertical tillage tools will be taking place along with other demonstrations which include Combine Guidance Systems and a dirt track where you can get in the seat and drive the new John Deere Gator Utility Vehicles.… Continue reading

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USDA to start testing meat for chemical residue

the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced new steps to safeguard the food supply and to protect consumers nationwide. Later this summer, the Department will launch a new approach to its testing to protect the public from exposure to harmful levels of chemical residues in meat, poultry, and egg products.

“The new testing methods being announced today will help protect consumers from illegal drug residues in meat products,” said Elisabeth Hagen, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. “By allowing us to test for more chemical compounds from each sample, these changes will enable USDA to identify and evaluate illegal drug residues more effectively and efficiently.”

Through its National Residue Program (NRP), FSIS tests for the presence of chemical compounds, including approved (legal) and unapproved (illegal) veterinary drugs, pesticides, hormones, and environmental contaminants that may appear in meat, poultry, and egg products. The new, modern, high-efficiency methods that FSIS is announcing today will conserve resources and provide useful and reliable results while enabling the Agency to analyze each sample for more chemical compounds than previously possible.… Continue reading

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Budget cuts may cause a short crop of ag professionals

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Big cracks in a ground trying to hold on to a withering crop are getting to be a common sight in fields all across Ohio. It is easy to see how important one component of a growing season can be, and the same can be said for cultivating the next set of ag professionals coming through colleges and universities all over America.

Just as crops needs rain to be productive, universities and Extension programs require funding — a resource necessity for churning out a bumper crop of great ag minds that is becoming as scare as rain in a drought. This is a growing problem in Ohio and around the country. Long time University of Illinois crop physiology professor Fred Below sees challenges for the future of Extension in general.

“We’ve taken at big hit at our Extension programs,” Below said. “It comes down to budget cuts with less and less money and trying to do more with less.”… Continue reading

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Fungicides in a dry year: Plant health gimmick or miracle of science?

By Matt Reese

Some think it’s bunk and some swear that it bolsters big yields. In the ongoing debate over whether fungicides in corn really provide plant health benefits beyond treating fungal diseases, university scientists can’t seem to find any clear conclusions that support the plant health argument, particularly in a dry year like 2012. Well, the fine folks at BASF seem to think otherwise and they have some pictures that they feel prove their point.

Brian Essinger, an Ohio-based BASF Innovation Specialist, recently sent this email:

“A friend and colleague of mine just sent me these pictures from NW Illinois.  They were taken at the request of the grower because he could not believe what he was seeing after it going through a week and a half of 95-100+ degree heat.  THIS CORN FIELD HAS NOT RECEIVED ANY RAIN SINCE FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND WHEN IT GOT A COUPLE OF TENTHS.… Continue reading

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Enter to win free tickets to the 2012 Ohio State Fair

The 2012 Ohio State Fair runs July 25-August 5 at the Ohio Expo Center. The Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal is looking forward to our time there for our live coverage of the major livestock shows and the Sale of Champions.

We want to see you there, so we are giving away 5 family prize packages!

To get entered to win, in the comments below tell us: What makes the Ohio State Fair Fairtastic?

The contest will close at 8 am Thursday, July 19th and we’ll randomly choose 5 of the comments below to win one of the following prize packs-

Pack #1
(4) general admission tickets to the Ohio State Fair
(4) tickets for $5 off a meal and a free sandwich from the Ohio Pork Producers in the Ohio Food Pavilion
(4) tickets for a free milkshake or ice cream from American Dairy Association Mideast
(4) tickets to The Band Perry concert!… Continue reading

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Differences between the House and Senate Farm Bills

Ag economists Carl Zulauf (Ohio State University), Gary Schnitkey (University of Illinois) and Nick Paulson (University of Illinois) compiled a list of the key agricultural differences in the final Senate bill and the discussion bill considered and passed by the House Agricultural Committee. Here is their summary:

1. It is important to first note that considerable agreement exists among the House Discussion Bill and the Senate passed Farm Bill.

• Both bills embrace risk management as the focus of the crop safety net, have a Supplemental Coverage Option for insurance, contain a county revenue option as a complement to insurance, eliminate direct payments, and retain marketing loans.

• Both bills also embrace as a foundation theme that it is not a viable policy option to have a single risk management program that is uniformly applied to all crops. This decision reflects the diversity of crops grown in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Attorney General called on to investigate HSUS

HumaneWatch.org , a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), petitioned Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to investigate the deceptive fundraising practices of the animal rights group Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HumaneWatch.org released a full report today exposing HSUS’s misleading telemarketing, direct mail, and television appeals. The new analysis reveals that the animal rights group’s fundraising activities might be more than just dishonest, speculating that these tactics could violate some charitable solicitation or consumer protection laws in the Buckeye State.

The new report delves into years of HSUS’s direct mail, telemarketing, and television appeals, which actively perpetuate the misperception that HSUS’s primary focus is to care for abandoned and abused cats and dogs. However, a look through the group’s tax returns reveals just 1 percent of its multi-million dollar budget goes to local hands-on shelters and rescues. That’s a surprise to many of HSUS’s own donors.… Continue reading

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USDA working with retailers to verify food safety

When buying produce, many consumers note food safety as one of the most important things they consider.  Consumers prefer produce backed by trustworthy verified and certified processes. As a result, more retail and foodservice sectors are requiring growers to undergo food safety audits.  In an effort to meet this demand, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fresh Products Division, which provides voluntary, audit-based programs utilizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP), recently reached an agreement with Wal-Mart.

The division will now provide auditing services to verify farmers are meeting the requirements of the Produce GAP Harmonized Food Safety Standards along with Wal-Mart-specific food safety requirements. The integration of our auditing services into retail purchasing processes helps local farmers meet the quality assurances needed to sell their fruits and vegetables to nationwide chains, such as Wal-Mart.

“Having the right tools and partners to ensure the safety of our food is critical,” said Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.… Continue reading

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USDA streamlines disaster designation process

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a package of program improvements that will deliver faster and more flexible assistance to farmers and ranchers devastated by natural disasters. Vilsack announced three significant improvements to decades-old USDA programs and processes related to Secretarial disaster designations: a final rule that simplifies the process for Secretarial disaster designations and will result in a 40% reduction in processing time for most counties affected by disasters; a reduced interest rate for emergency loans that effectively lowers the current rate from 3.75% to 2.25%; and a payment reduction on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands qualified for emergency haying and grazing in 2012, from 25 to 10%.
“Agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy and it is increasingly important that USDA has the tools to act quickly and deliver assistance to farmers and ranchers when they need it most,” Vilsack said. “By amending the Secretarial disaster designation, we’re creating a more efficient and effective process.
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USDA working with retailers to verify food safety

When buying produce, many consumers note food safety as one of the most important things they consider.  Consumers prefer produce backed by trustworthy verified and certified processes. As a result, more retail and foodservice sectors are requiring growers to undergo food safety audits.  In an effort to meet this demand, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fresh Products Division, which provides voluntary, audit-based programs utilizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP), recently reached an agreement with Wal-Mart.

The division will now provide auditing services to verify farmers are meeting the requirements of the Produce GAP Harmonized Food Safety Standards along with Wal-Mart-specific food safety requirements. The integration of our auditing services into retail purchasing processes helps local farmers meet the quality assurances needed to sell their fruits and vegetables to nationwide chains, such as Wal-Mart.

“Having the right tools and partners to ensure the safety of our food is critical,” said Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.… Continue reading

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