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NCGA pleased with full deregulation of corn amylase

The National Corn Growers Association is pleased with the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to fully deregulate corn amylase (Event 3272) for all markets. APHIS had not found a plant pest risk associated with this event and reported a positive Environmental Assessment.

“Corn amylase is the first processing output trait to be scrutinized by our regulatory system,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president and a grower from Kulm, N.D. “The potential importance of output traits to growers and industry will only increase as other output traits are developed.”

Biotechnology has emerged as a key tool that allows growers and now processors to provide more food, feed, fuel and fiber to the world with fewer resources.

“All output traits will be valued-added crops that have the potential to allow growers to raise a product that could be beneficial to their farms in ways that are not possible right now,” said Chad Blindauer, chairman of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team and a farmer in Mitchell, S.D.… Continue reading

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Small farm conferences in March

Farmers who want new ways to grow, sell and stay in business can find them at two events coming next month. The “Opening Doors to Success” Small Farm Conference and Trade Show runs March 11-12 at Wilmington College in southern Ohio. The “Living Your Small Farm Dream” Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference and Trade Show takes place March 26 at the R.G. Drage Career Center in Massillon.

“‘Small’ is relative, almost a mindset,” said Mike Hogan, one of the organizers and an Ohio State University Extension educator in eastern Ohio. “It’s hard to draw a line to say what’s small and what isn’t.

“The main focus either way is to help farm families identify ways to become more profitable and sustainable — economically, environmentally and socially.”

Alternative enterprises, such as blueberries and freshwater shrimp, will be among the topics. So will alternative production systems — reduced tillage, grass-based livestock and others — and alternative marketing systems, including CSAs (community supported agriculture), farmers’ markets and direct online selling.… Continue reading

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Crop insurance considerations for 2011

By Matt Reese

Volatility is expected in the prices for corn, soybeans and their inputs. The weather is always an unknown. The risks, at the current high price levels, are tremendous.

With these things in mind, farmers need to make some important decisions in the weeks leading up to the March 15 crop insurance deadline.

“Prices are higher this year, the volatility in the markets is greater than ever, and input prices are high, so it is really important to keep crop insurance at high levels,” said

Keith Summers, agent and broker at Leist Mercantile. “With that, the cost of crop insurance is going to be higher as well. We’re seeing rates anywhere from 25% to 30% over last year.

“It is important for everyone to meet with their agent. There are a lot of dollars on the table this year and it is important to make sure you have the right coverage for your individual farm.… Continue reading

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Brown asks for assistance to rebuild OARDC

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to help rebuild the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) on the Ohio State University’s Wooster campus, which was partially destroyed by a tornado in mid-September.

“The OARDC has been a crucial link between agricultural producers and world-class researchers and scientists, [and] is a cornerstone of economic development for the region,” Brown wrote in the letter. “A recent study showed that OARDC annually contributes more than $142 million to the Ohio economy and generates more than 1,576 jobs in the state.

“Following the tornado, nearly every building on the campus sustained damage.  While most buildings have considerable roof damage, three buildings and seven greenhouses were completely destroyed,” Brown continued. “This past October, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan visited OARDC and surveyed the extensive damage. After inspecting the grounds, Deputy Secretary Merrigan reiterated the need to restore the facilities so that research activities could resume…Bringing these critical resources back to full capacity is critical for Ohio and for the advancement of agricultural research.”… Continue reading

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Natural gas drilling could be boon for landowners, but be cautious

Eastern Ohio landowners interested in leasing their land for natural-gas drilling into the rich resources of the Marcellus Shale need to be aware that such leases can carry some financial risk if they’re not cautious. And, potential risks to the environment could be serious.

The Marcellus Shale formation encompasses about 95,000 square miles from New York to West Virginia, swinging through the southeastern corner of Ohio. The ancient formation, lying 8,000 to 15,000 feet below the surface, is estimated to be capable of producing more than 363 trillion cubic feet of clean-burning natural gas — more than 15 times the natural gas used in the United States each year. The Utica formation, which lies beneath the Marcellus and reaches into parts of central Ohio, appears to have similar reserves.

These rich resources are fueling a “gas rush” in areas where drilling is taking place, but the rise of the new industry has also raised concerns about the possibility of contamination or depletion of groundwater reserves.… Continue reading

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Todd McDunn wins Taste of Elegance competition

Chef Todd McDunn of Lakeview Café at the Scotts Co. in Marysville recently took first place honors in the Ohio Pork Producers Council’s Taste of Elegance competition. The contest was held February 8th at The Capital Club, in Columbus. The contest honors chefs with the best original pork.

The event also provides an opportunity for pork producers to mingle with Ohio’s lawmakers that drop by from the nearby Ohio Statehouse. This year’s event was packed with legislators and provided a great showcase for the bounty of Ohio agriculture. Ohio wines were also featured at the event.

Chef McDunn was presented the title of “Chef Par Excellence,” $1,000 and a trophy. He prepared Pork and Apples. “Superior Chef” honors went to Chef Dave MacLennan of Latitude 41 in Columbus. Scott prepared Miso Glazed Pork Belly. “Premier Chef” went to Chef Michael Delligatta of Michael Anthony’s at the Inn in Versailles. He prepared Double Cut Brined Pork Chop and an apricot and onion chutney with Braised Red Cabbage and Bleu Cheese Polenta.… Continue reading

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Black, Regula & Zientek Honored at Ohio Pork Congress

Bryan Black was recognized with the Ohio Pork Industry Excellence Award at the 2011 Ohio Pork Congress held in Columbus on Feb. 9. Black was selected for his tremendous contributions representing Ohio’s pork industry on the local, state and national level.

“We are pleased to recognize Bryan with this year’s Pork Industry Excellence Award for his involvement and leadership in not only Ohio’s pork industry, but also on a national level as well,” said Dick Isler, Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) executive vice president. “He’s been instrumental to OPPC and his leadership remains of great value to our organization.”

Black has served as president of both the National Pork Producers Council and the Ohio Pork Producers Council. He has also been actively involved in numerous state and national committees, and currently serving as Chairman of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Swine Subcommittee.

He resides on the family swine operation outside Canal Winchester with his wife.… Continue reading

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Black, Regula & Zientek Honored at Ohio Pork Congress

Bryan Black was recognized with the Ohio Pork Industry Excellence Award at the 2011 Ohio Pork Congress held in Columbus on Feb. 9. Black was selected for his tremendous contributions representing Ohio’s pork industry on the local, state and national level.

“We are pleased to recognize Bryan with this year’s Pork Industry Excellence Award for his involvement and leadership in not only Ohio’s pork industry, but also on a national level as well,” said Dick Isler, Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) executive vice president. “He’s been instrumental to OPPC and his leadership remains of great value to our organization.”

Black has served as president of both the National Pork Producers Council and the Ohio Pork Producers Council. He has also been actively involved in numerous state and national committees, and currently serving as Chairman of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Swine Subcommittee.

He resides on the family swine operation outside Canal Winchester with his wife.… Continue reading

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USDA to release new long-term agricultural projections

The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release new 10-year agricultural projections Feb. 14 at 12:00 noon EST. The “USDA Agricultural Projections to 2020” report will be released on the Office of the Chief Economist Web site at www.usda.gov/oce. USDA publishes the projections each year in February.

The long-term projections are developed by interagency committees in USDA, with the Economic Research Service (ERS) having the lead role in the preparation of the report.  The new projections cover crop and livestock commodities, agricultural trade and aggregate indicators such as farm income, and food prices through 2020.  The projections do not represent a USDA forecast, but a conditional, long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about farm policy, weather, the economy and international developments.  Provisions of the 2008 Farm Act are incorporated into the projections and are assumed to remain in effect through 2020.  Normal weather also is assumed throughout the projection period.… Continue reading

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New requirements aim to improve Bt corn refuge compliance

In an effort to improve Bt corn refuge compliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  mandated new requirements as part of the Bt corn re-registration process this past fall. The Bt corn registrants are incorporating these new requirements (outlined below) into their Compliance Assurance Programs for the 2011 growing season:

•          On-farm refuge compliance assessments will be conducted by an independent third-party and will be focused on (i) areas of highest risk of insect pest resistance development and (ii) growers who did not buy sufficient refuge seed from the Bt corn registrant.

•          Growers found to be out of compliance with the refuge requirements (i) now have a higher probability of losing access to Bt corn if compliance is not established and maintained and (ii) will be checked more frequently by the Bt corn registrants.

•          Seed bag tags will better depict refuge size requirements

Under the Compliance Assurance Program, thousands of growers are surveyed about their IRM compliance practices each year through EPA mandated on-farm assessments. … Continue reading

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Flames Engulf Egg Farm Barn

A fire destroyed at least one barn early Saturday morning at an egg farm in Licking County.

Firefighters from several departments were called to the Ohio Fresh Eggs complex, located near the corner of Croton and Benner roads in Johnstown, at about 6:30am

Several residents captured pictures of flames engulfing a barn there. This picture is courtesy of Leslie BeVier.

A company spokeswoman said a heater inside one of the barns may have started the fire, according to Columbus TV station WBNS.

The spokeswoman said no chickens were inside the barn and no injuries were reported.… Continue reading

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NASCAR season powered by ethanol is almost here

As the 2011 NASCAR season launches with a new, greener fuel, the nation’s corn growers are joining forces with NASCAR to promote the use of corn-based American ethanol. As an Official Partner of NASCAR, The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) will leverage its relationship to spread the message to NASCAR fans around the country about the role American farmers play in the development of ethanol.

In December 2010, NASCAR unveiled its landmark partnership with American Ethanol just weeks after announcing a 2011 switch in its three major national series to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15% ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States. Growth Energy, a leading ethanol advocacy organization, created the American Ethanol partnership to push for broad acceptance of a renewable domestic fuel for all American motorists.

“We’re greatly excited about this opportunity to help educate NASCAR fans at the race tracks and around the country about the great work of our corn growers in feeding and fueling the world,” said Darrin Ihnen, NCGA Chairman, a family farmer from Hurley, S.D.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s King Recongized for Excellence in Communications

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recognized three communications professionals for their work in 2010 advocating for the U.S. beef industry. Specifically, NCBA awarded Jamie King, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) communications director, and Eric Grant, manager of Angus Publications, Inc., with the Excellence in Communications and Public Relations award and Ron Hays with the Radio Oklahoma Network with the Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award.

“Day in and day out, communicators like Jamie, Eric and Ron go to work to tell the story of the U.S. beef industry. Whether they are keeping producers informed about market shifts or policy changes, or educating consumers about the realities of modern beef production, our industry relies on timely and accurate delivery of information,” NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said. “While there are many folks deserving of recognition for their hard work, these three communicators have gone above and beyond in their efforts telling the true story about the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen's King Recongized for Excellence in Communications

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recognized three communications professionals for their work in 2010 advocating for the U.S. beef industry. Specifically, NCBA awarded Jamie King, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) communications director, and Eric Grant, manager of Angus Publications, Inc., with the Excellence in Communications and Public Relations award and Ron Hays with the Radio Oklahoma Network with the Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award.

“Day in and day out, communicators like Jamie, Eric and Ron go to work to tell the story of the U.S. beef industry. Whether they are keeping producers informed about market shifts or policy changes, or educating consumers about the realities of modern beef production, our industry relies on timely and accurate delivery of information,” NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said. “While there are many folks deserving of recognition for their hard work, these three communicators have gone above and beyond in their efforts telling the true story about the U.S.… Continue reading

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Record number of OSU talks at Ohio organic food, farm conference

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will hold Ohio’s biggest conference on organic and sustainable agriculture next month, and Ohio State University will be well represented there. Ohio State scientists, specialists and students will give 19 presentations –the most ever from the university — as part of the program.

OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference takes place Feb. 19-20 in Granville in central Ohio. “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities” is the theme.

“Our conference title says a lot about what we believe and what we’re trying to accomplish,” OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland said. “People who attend the conference are so moved by the inspiring examples of innovation and stewardship they learn from presenters and fellow participants.”

The Ohio State presenters are from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its research and outreach arms, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.

The college is home to such programs as the Sustainable Agriculture Team, the Agroecosystems Management Program, and the Organic Food and Farm Education and Research (OFFER) Program.… Continue reading

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Economic injury levels and economic thresholds

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

The concept of economic injury levels (EILs) is the critical idea in integrated pest management (IPM). The general definition of the EIL is that point when economic damage that occurs from insect injury equals the cost of managing that insect population.  In a word, it is the breakeven point.  Damage that occurs below that point is not worth the cost of preventing it; the cost of the insecticide application would be greater than the damage you would be preventing.

We determine EILs by taking into effect the value of the product (such as $ per bushel), the cost of insecticide treatment (such as $ per acre), and how much crop damage is caused by a certain amount of insect injury.   While the former two values are easy to determine or predict, the latter two, insect injury and damage, comes from many years of research.  … Continue reading

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USDA announces planting transferabilty pilot project

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Planting Transferability Pilot Project (PTPP) permits Ohio producers to plant approved vegetables for processing on base acres under the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) or Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE). Eligible producers have until March 1, 2011 to sign-up for the PTPP program. USDA will not accept any late filed applications.

“PTPP offers producers the opportunity to diversify their crop production and better use their base acres. This project supports state farmers with additional sources of revenue and the production of healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Steve Maurer, Ohio FSA State Executive Director.

PTPP allows producers to plant approved fruits or vegetables for processing on a farm’s base acres. Approved plantings include cucumbers, green peas, lima beans, pumpkin, snap beans, sweet corn or tomatoes. Without the PTPP, planting these crops on base acres would be prohibited. Base acres on a farm will be temporarily reduced each year on an acre-for-acre basis, for each base acre planted with an approved fruit or vegetable on that farm.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Association and Ohio Soybean Council proud of 2010 accomplishments

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) worked to improve profitability and awareness of the industry in 2010 and numerous successes were achieved.

OSC and the soybean checkoff focused on research, development, promotion and education initiatives, while OSA worked in areas that included producer education and policy development.  Because checkoff dollars cannot be used for legislative activities, this partnership will continue to play an important role in keeping Ohio’s 26,000 soybean farmers profitable in an increasingly competitive industry.

Below are some examples of their success in 2010:

Soy bioproducts: More than a decade ago, OSC and its partner, Battelle, began the development of a soy-based toner. In 2010, this technology made it to the campus of The Ohio State University (OSU). The toner was adopted into many of the printers on campus, making the university one of the leading users of soy-based toner in the nation.

OSC also launched a consumer-friendly, interactive website this year (www.soyinside.orgContinue reading

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Spring Beekeeping Workshop to be Held March 4-5 in Wooster

Ohio State University Extension and the Tri-County Beekeepers Association of Northeastern Ohio will hold their 33rd Annual Spring Beekeeping Workshop the evening of Friday, March 4, and all day Saturday, March 5, at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) Wooster campus. 

The largest one-day beekeeping workshop in the United States (over 900 people attended in 2010), this year’s event will have as its theme “Honey Bees-Back from the Brink.” All events will take place at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster.

Pre-registration fee is $35 per adult over 17; walk-in registration is $45; Tri-County Beekeepers Association members pay $30 for pre-registration; and youth, ages 17 and under, pay $5. Vendor registration is $75 per table and includes one person’s registration. A hot turkey lunch with mashed potatoes, vegetable and homemade pie or a boxed lunch will be offered for an additional charge with pre-registration only. 

Friday evening’s program begins at 7 p.m.… Continue reading

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Action alert from OFBF on Ohio's estate tax

Ohio Farm Bureau is encouraging members to contact their state legislators about Ohio’s estate tax. Elimination of the state estate tax, coupled with significant federal estate tax reforms, will allow additional generations to keep their land in farming, strengthen the rural economy and preserve Ohio’s agricultural heritage.

For more, visit: http://ofbf.org/news-and-events/news/1168/.… Continue reading

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