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Friends of Ohio Barns to hold 12th annual “Ohio Barn Conference” in Fairfield County

Come join barn enthusiasts, barn owners and maybe even a few barn “huggers” at Ohio’s only annual barn tour and conference to be held in the heart of beautiful Fairfield County Ohio on April 29 and 30.

Join Friends of Ohio Barns for another barn adventure starting Friday with a daylong bus tour through Fairfield County to see and explore many wonderful historic barns. One stop will be the recently restored Rock Mill, a gristmill originally built in 1824 located on the Hocking River gorge. Other stops include two working barns, unique double forebay barns and an example of adaptive re-use by converting a barn into a home. Rudy Christian, Larry Sulzer and other barn detectives will be there to explain the barn structures and the unique aspects of the barns chosen for the tour. Lunch will be prepared by the Bremen Area Historical Society and served at the Bremen Museum and Community Center.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo highlights

More than 30,000 cattle industry enthusiasts attended the Ohio Beef Expo held March 18 – 20, 2011, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio. In its 24th year, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association hosted the annual event.

The major attraction on Saturday, March 19 was seven breed sales. More than 325 lots were sold with an average price of $2,565 and a gross of $838,665. Individual breed sales results were as follows:

Lots             Sale            Gross                        Total                         Bull                               Female

Average                        Average                        Average

Angus              56             $132,275                  $2,364                         $2,481                         $2,289

Chianina        28             $58,650                   $2,094                         $2,395                         $2,018

Hereford         35             $82,185                    $2,348                         $2,458                         $2,243

Limousin        17             $32,450                    $1,838                         $1,765                         $1,834

Maine-Anjou 82             $252,025                 $2,972                         $3,407                         $2,467

Shorthorn       51             $139,130                  $2,450                         $3,365                         $2,135

Simmental      58             $141,850                 $2,445                         $2,360                         $2,541

TOTAL          327             $838,665            $2,565

ANGUS

Managed by: Al Gahler, Graytown, Ohio

Auctioneer: Ron Kreis, Adamsville, Ohio

Total Number of Lots: 56

Sale Gross: $132,275

Sale Average: $2,364

High Selling Bull: Rains Powerstroke PSNIFPN (Lot 6) sold for $5,000 to Frank Rihaly, Cadiz, OH

Consigned by Dale Rains, Mercer, PA

High Selling Female: SSC Blackbird (Lot 60) sold for $4,200 to James Fielding, Sunbury, OH

Consigned by Davin Sherman, Eaton, OH

CHIANINA

Managed by: Tyler Humphrey

Auctioneer: Ron Kreis

Total Number of Lots: 28

Sale Gross: $58,650

Sale Average: $ 2,094

High Selling Bull: LBG Top Gun 1CM (Lot 27) sold for $3,400

Consigned by Larry Garrett of Indiana

High Selling Female: BALD Penelope (Lot 1) sold for $3,600

Consigned by Jeremy Baldwin & Weber Show Cattle of Indiana

HEREFORD

Managed by: Lisa Keets, Berlin Heights, Ohio

Auctioneer: Dale Stith, Guston, Ky.… Continue reading

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Ohio Stair Fair Jr. Fair gets budget cut from state

Gov. John Kasich cut all of the Ohio State Fair’s Junior Fair funding from his proposed budget, generating concerns from fair supporters and Ohio’s agricultural community.. The cut of the $252,000 junior fair budget was used for the youth livestock, 4-H, FFA, band and choir programs and other youth activities. Fair manager Virgil Strickler said he will work with the Fair Board to maintain the vital youth programs at the Ohio State Fair. For a complete story from the Columbus Dispatch, click here Complete StoryContinue reading

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Overseas customers tour Wooster wheat breeding program

From Chinese steamed bread to Middle Eastern flat breads to Latin American galletas, soft red winter (SRW) wheat is used around the world for the largest variety of end products of any wheat class. However, each end product requires different quality specifications — meaning it can be difficult at times for a customer to find just the right amounts of protein, water absorption or gluten strength.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) brought several overseas customers to Wooster last week to discuss SRW wheat quality targets with domestic millers and wheat researchers as part of the Overseas Varietal Analysis (OVA) program. Each of the participants is a cooperator for USW’s OVA program, which utilizes international millers and bakers to extensively test new varieties of SRW wheat for use in specific end products. Results are used by state wheat commissions to develop recommended variety lists for farmers and set quality targets for U.S. wheat breeders.… Continue reading

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Volunteer corn challenges

Volunteer corn has proven to be more than just a nuisance, with major yield reductions to both corn and soybean crops, said Purdue Extension weed scientist Bill Johnson.

Problems with the weed arise when corn kernels that dropped during harvest persist in the soil, overwinter and grow in the spring. With most of the annual corn crop resistant to glyphosate, or Roundup Ready, volunteer corn has become increasingly difficult to control.

“We’re rotating Roundup Ready corn with our soybean crop, which is typically 95 percent Roundup Ready,” Johnson said. “With glyphosate being the primary herbicide used on soybeans, we simply are spraying it on a weed that it was not designed to kill.”

With heavy, untreated infestations, the weed can cause up to a 40% yield reduction in soybeans or up to 30% in corn.

“Volunteer corn is more frequently a problem in fields where farmers use fall tillage, because it buries the corn seed and allows it to overwinter,” Johnson said.… Continue reading

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Will the wheat crop make it this year?

By Justin Petrosino, OSU Extension Darke County

After last year’s wheat crop, many growers are wondering if this year’s crop will do any better. The crop this year was planted on time thanks to last year’s early soybean harvest, but suffered through somewhat dry fall conditions. This winter seemed very harsh and spring doesn’t seem to be going any easier on the wheat.

Thankfully over the winter we had good snow cover and wheat is a very resilient crop.

In early winter, wheat goes into a period of dormancy where metabolic processes are decreased, water content of leaves is decreased, and the plants ability to survive freezing temperatures increases. The growing point of wheat during dormancy and tillering is safely protected below the soil surface. It takes temperatures as low as -9 to -11 F to kill the growing point of wheat. A stress that may cause some losses this spring is ponding.… Continue reading

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NCGA disappointed in VEETC repeal amendment

National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott released the following statement in response to Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit in the small-business program reauthorization bill:

“We are disappointed that Senator Coburn is singling out the ethanol industry in his amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) while tax credits to the oil and gas industries remained untouched.  The American ethanol industry provides and supports 400,000 jobs here in the United States during a time of economic uncertainty. In addition, in the past year alone, ethanol added more than $50 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product and displaced the need for more than 360 million barrels of imported oil, valued at $16 billion.

“If this amendment passes, it could result in the ethanol industry reducing its production volume by 38 percent.  That is approximately 4 billion of the 10.75 billion gallons produced in 2009. … Continue reading

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U.S. pork producers provide assistance to Japan

U.S. pork producers are partnering with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to provide pork for victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern sections of Japan on March 11. Estimates are that more than a half million Japanese residents are without adequate food and shelter. Food shortages are expected to last into the summer months.

On behalf of U.S. pork producers and importers, the National Pork Board has allocated $100,000 from the Pork Checkoff to provide pork product and to help get it distributed to those in need in Japan, said Conley Nelson, a pork producer from Iowa and a member of the National Pork Board. USMEF, which represents the U.S. meat industry in Japan from its office in Tokyo, will work with U.S. pork packers and others who have established distribution networks in Japan to make sure the food gets to those who need it.

The goal of the outreach program is to ensure that food requiring little or no preparation – such as pre-made bento (lunch) boxes – can be provided to people who have been displaced.… Continue reading

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Farmers prevail in court decision on EPA livestock rules

In a major court victory for the American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm organizations, a unanimous federal court of appeals has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot require livestock farmers to apply for Clean Water Act permits unless their farms actually discharge manure into U.S. waters. The ruling was welcomed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Council and several other agriculture groups that filed suit against EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

“For the second time, a U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that EPA’s authority is limited by the Clean Water Act to jurisdiction over only actual discharges to navigable waters, not potential discharges,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We are pleased that the federal courts have again reined in EPA’s unlawful regulation of livestock operations under the Clean Water Act. The court has affirmed that EPA, like other federal agencies, can only regulate where it has been authorized by Congress to do so.”… Continue reading

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Who’s to blame for high food prices?

As prices continue to climb on the grocery store shelves, upset consumers are looking for someone to blame.

“Though several factors contribute to increased food costs, farm commodities continually receive the blame, but farm products represent only 19% of retail food prices. Prices of many agricultural commodities are still less than the levels that sparked 2008 food riots and real food prices have decreased 75% since 1950,” said Dwayne Siekman, CEO of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “Yes, grain prices are at increased levels. So, too, are the costs of supplementary root causes of increased grocery store prices including labor, energy, product marketing/packaging/shipping and speculation of the commodity markets. In fact, producer prices increased 3.6% throughout the past 12 months, according to a recent Bloomberg story. It also noted that growing economies in Asia and Latin America are boosting global demand for oil and other imported commodities, which increases input costs for American businesses.”… Continue reading

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Who's to blame for high food prices?

As prices continue to climb on the grocery store shelves, upset consumers are looking for someone to blame.

“Though several factors contribute to increased food costs, farm commodities continually receive the blame, but farm products represent only 19% of retail food prices. Prices of many agricultural commodities are still less than the levels that sparked 2008 food riots and real food prices have decreased 75% since 1950,” said Dwayne Siekman, CEO of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “Yes, grain prices are at increased levels. So, too, are the costs of supplementary root causes of increased grocery store prices including labor, energy, product marketing/packaging/shipping and speculation of the commodity markets. In fact, producer prices increased 3.6% throughout the past 12 months, according to a recent Bloomberg story. It also noted that growing economies in Asia and Latin America are boosting global demand for oil and other imported commodities, which increases input costs for American businesses.”… Continue reading

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USDA sets new standards for poultry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced implementation of revised and new performance standards aimed at reducing the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys. The standards will become effective in July 2011. With the new standards, FSIS is encouraging establishments slaughtering chicken and turkey to make continued reductions in the occurrence of pathogens – namely Salmonella and Campylobacter – in the products they produce.

After two years of enforcing the new standards, FSIS estimates that approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised Salmonella standards each year.

“These improved standards are a stronger buffer between foodborne illnesses and our consumers, especially our most vulnerable consumers – children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “There is no more important mission at USDA than ensuring the safety of our food, and we are working every day to lower the danger of foodborne illness.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Department given 8.8% cut in state budget

By Kyle Sharp

Ohio Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer and other Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) leaders discussed their plans to deal with an 8.8% budget cut in the coming year during a conference call held March 15 shortly after Gov. John Kasich announced his “Jobs Budget” proposal.

“We are going to be reduced in our general revenue funds by almost 9%, but we will continue to ensure the consumers of Ohio will have safe food,” Zehringer said. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is about food, animal and plant safety, and there are a lot of companies in Ohio producing food. The one thing we never want them to do is have a recall or have someone get sick.”

ODA’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 will be just under $48 million, with slightly more than $14 million of that coming from state General Revenue Funds. Federal funds, laboratory user fees and other sources make up the remainder of the budget.… Continue reading

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USDA releases study showing conservation practices protect water resources in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

America’s farmers and ranchers are being challenged by an onslaught of regulations, guidance and other requirements being issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

In testimony on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation before a House  Agriculture subcommittee, Shaffer said that nowhere is the impact of EPA activity more obvious than in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where EPA’s recently finalized Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) guidelines could push hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland out of production.

“EPA itself projects that roughly 20% of cropped land in the watershed (about 600,000 acres) will have to be removed from production and be converted to grassland or forest in order to achieve the required loading reductions,” said Shaffer, a member of the AFBF board and executive committee.

Shaffer said EPA’s over-reaching focus on agriculture is particularly troublesome because agriculture has worked successfully with the Agriculture Department to reduce its environmental impact on the Chesapeake Bay.… Continue reading

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OFBF Celebrates Ag Week In D.C.

As the Nation pays tribute to agriculture today for National Ag Day, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s County Presidents are in Washington D.C. meeting with lawmakers about issues important to farmers in Ohio and around the Country.

Ohio’s Country Journal’s Matt Reese and The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins are there to hear the message the OFBF is delivering to the Hill this week. The topics that are top of mind are energy and the environment, state and national budgets, estate tax and free trade agreements just to name a few.

Ohio Farm Bureau President Brent Porteus tells Ty why this trip is so important and what impact past trips have made.

The Senior Director of Legislative Policy for The Ohio Farm Bureau, Adam Sharp, talks to Ty about the issues that will be focussed on this week.

U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs from Ohio’s 18 talks about EPA’s overreach and other issues that he is tackling during his freshman year.Continue reading

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China opens to live swine

The National Swine Registry and purebred swine breeders breathed a collective sigh of relief after learning exports of live swine to China could resume pending H1N1 testing. China has been closed to U.S. swine since April 2009, following the discovery of H1N1 virus in humans in the U.S.

The opening followed a request from the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services to Chinese authorities, requesting acceptance of temporary testing for H1N1 in order to resume exports. Earlier this week, the Chinese Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine responded with a letter to the USDA, saying they had agreed to accept temporary health testing for H1N1 and, based on this protocol, trade for U.S.-origin live swine can resume.

“This is a tremendous announcement for our purebred swine breeders whose primary export market, before 2009, was China,” said NSR CEO Darrell Anderson, noting the impact of the lost access over the past 22 months has been devastating to NSR’s exporting members.… Continue reading

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ODA celebrates agribusiness during Ag Week

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director James Zehringer, in celebration of National Agriculture Week, announced the department’s commitment to promoting economic development in the state by declaring “Ohio’s doors are wide open for agribusiness.”

Director Zehringer also announced the release of a new video designed to showcase the department’s commitment to agribusiness in Ohio. The video, which can be downloaded on the department’s website at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/videos/kasich-zehringer.htm or viewed on our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/OhioDeptofAg, features Governor Kasich and Director Zehringer discussing the state’s pledge to foster agribusiness growth in Ohio.

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Corn and soybean prices: mission accomplished?

In the Jan. 18 Weekly Outlook, it was suggested that corn and soybean prices had the dual objectives of (1) allocating old-crop supplies so as to maintain pipeline supplies at the end of the year and (2) directing spring planting decisions.

“Specifically, these prices needed to ensure an increase in corn acreage and maintain soybean acreage at the 2010 level,” said University of Illinois economist Darrel Good.

For soybeans, the declining pace of both the domestic crush and exports, along with the prospects for a large increase in double-cropped acreage in 2011, suggested that soybean prices had increased enough by mid-January to accomplish the dual price objectives.

“That conclusion was reinforced by the improving condition of the Brazilian soybean crop and prospects for a record harvest in 2011. The USDA confirmed prospects for a record large Brazilian soybean crop last week,” he said.

Soybean prices increased another 40 cents from Jan.… Continue reading

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Kasich signs bill designating Ohio Ag Week

Gov. John R. Kasich signed House Bill 89 to designate the second full week of March as “Ohio Agriculture Week.” Gov. Kasich was joined by bill sponsor Rep. Timothy Derickson (R-Oxford), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. David Hall (R-Killbuck), Director of the Department of Agriculture Jim Zehringer, and representatives from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Future Farmers of America (FFA).

House Bill 89 was passed unanimously by the General Assembly and is intended to increase public recognition of the vitally important role agriculture plays in Ohio. Generating $98 billion per year and employing one out of every seven Ohioans, agriculture is the state’s leading industry. The 1,100 processing facilities across the state employ more than 60,000 workers, and each family farm in Ohio indirectly creates job opportunities for neighbors in and around their communities.… Continue reading

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OCWGA shapes national policy

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) delegates went to the Commodity Classic with a purpose of establishing a national set of guiding principles for policy development that will address changes to ethanol and farm policy. The OCWGA delegates introduced language during the Corn Congress for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) as well as during committee meetings for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). OCWGA has affiliation with both national trade organizations.

In addition to the specific policy pieces, OCWGA introduced a resolution for both national organizations to adopt as a core belief. The resolution stated, we believe the U.S. Government should balance the budget by reducing spending resulting in a reduction of the federal debt. NCGA delegates approved the language as part of the organization’s ‘What We Stand For’ section. NAWG has currently tabled the resolution in order for member states to allow for discussion at the state level across the country.… Continue reading

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