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Sorghum should be part of the bioenergy mix

Sweet and biomass sorghum would meet the need for next-generation biofuels to be environmentally sustainable, easily adopted by producers and take advantage of existing agricultural infrastructure, a group of researchers led by Purdue University scientists believes.

The scientists from Purdue, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Illinois and Cornell University believe sorghum, a grain crop similar to corn, could benefit from the rail system, grain elevators and corn ethanol processing facilities already in place. Their perspective article is published early online in the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining.

“The Midwest is uniquely poised to get the biorefining industry going on cellulose,” said Nick Carpita, a Purdue professor of botany and plant pathology. “As we move to different fuels beyond ethanol, the ethanol plants of today are equipped to take advantage of new bioenergy crops.”

The scientists argue that no single plant is a silver-bullet answer to biofuels, but sorghum should be a larger part of the conversation than it is today.… Continue reading

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Prevent heat-related work illness

As temperatures rise, so does the chance of those working in areas susceptible to high heat conditions of becoming ill.  To prevent heat-related work injuries and illnesses, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) suggests employers and employees take safety precautions now and be aware of factors that can lead to heat stress; the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke; ways to prevent heat stress; and, what can be done for heat-related illnesses.

Each year, thousands of outdoor workers experience heat illness, which often manifests as heat exhaustion. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, according to the U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which can be deadly.

“Heat and humidity are a serious safety threat to workers during the summer – from utility workers, to agriculture, construction,  firefighters, roadway workers and more,” ASSE President Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, of Long Beach, CA,  said today.… Continue reading

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Senate agrees to move forward with Farm Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement to move forward with the farm bill – a measure that affects 16-million American jobs. With that – the Senate is expected to begin debate on the legislation this afternoon. In addition to a Manager’s amendment – Senators will consider more than 70 amendments. Stabenow says her colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand it’s important to act as soon as possible to give farmers the certainty they need to keep growing the economy. She says this Farm bill is unlike any other – cutting spending, ending subsidies, improving accountability and strengthening healthy food systems.

Crop insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – or SNAP – are each the subject of several of the amendments. Senator Tom Coburn’s amendment to reduce MAP funding and Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment to make checkoff programs voluntary are also on the list.… Continue reading

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Grazing management in dry conditions

By Jeff McCutcheon, Extension Educator, Morrow County

Talk about extremes. Last year we were still talking about planting at this time. This year, first cutting hay is in the barn and we are wondering if there will be any more. According to the information in the Ohio Pasture Measurement Project (weekly reports can be found at forage growth has not been what we have come to expect the last few years. With no rain in the forecast what is a grazier to do? Relax. Remember, we have been here before — dry periods are expected, but not enjoyed. Of course, if you just started managing grazing in the last two wet years, consider this a crucial part of your education. Many experienced graziers refer to it as the school of hard knocks.

Rotations need to slow down. Grass is growing slower, it takes longer to start regrowth after being grazed and it takes longer to reach optimum grazing mass (height) for the next grazing.… Continue reading

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Ohio weekly crop progress report for June 18th

The average temperature for the State was 70.8 degrees, 1.3 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, June 17, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.26 inches, 0.73 inches below normal. There were 148 modified growing degree days, 12 days above normal.

Reporters rated 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 15, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 31 percent very short, 46 percent short, 22 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.


The state continued to experience warm and dry conditions. The heat is putting significant stress on livestock. The heat also hampered growth of corn, soybeans, and hay. Soybean emergence has been slow due to dry weather. Reporters commented that some areas have become too dry to replant soybeans or double crop soybeans. Insect infestation has been a problem in alfalfa fields. Field activities included side-dressing corn with nitrogen, spraying herbicides, and baling hay.

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Blackberry research seeks hardier cultivars

Researchers with Ohio State University Extension are in the midst of a three-year trial to determine which blackberry cultivars (varieties) can best thrive in Ohio’s colder climate. This is part of an effort to increase the varieties available to local growers in order to boost the state’s acreage of the increasingly popular fruit.

The major challenge of growing blackberries in Ohio is that the fruit lacks a large degree of winter hardiness, said Gary Gao, an OSU Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops at the OSU South Centers at Piketon.

“If the region experiences a mild winter, such as this winter, the plants will come through winter fine and produce a good crop,” he said. “But if the winter is too cold, as are many Ohio winters, the harsh weather can cause severe injuries to blackberry crops.

“If blackberry floral canes are damaged in the winter months and the blooms are killed, then growers won’t have a crop.… Continue reading

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Retail Farm Market Tour next month

Farmers, producers, business owners, farm market managers, consumers and others interested in learning more about local food systems, food direct marketing and agritourism can participate in a Retail Farm Market Tour in July.

Ohio State University Extension, along with Penn State University Extension, will sponsor the tour to several farm markets in Ohio and Pennsylvania to demonstrate successful operation of local food systems, said Julie Fox, OSU Extension direct marketing specialist at the OSU South Centers at Piketon.

The “Are You Crazy?” Retail Farm Market Tour will be held July 9-10 and will feature several farms, farm markets and farm businesses throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The two-day event features farms and businesses that offer seasonal or year-round produce, food, agritourism, value-added products, entertainment and educational farm direct-to-consumer marketing.

“The tour demonstrates how farms, farm markets and farm businesses are using direct marketing to promote their businesses in a hands-on way for participants to see how direct marketing strategies have helped make these businesses successful,” Fox said.… Continue reading

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OPGMA field day June 27

The Ohio Produce Growers & Marketers Association (OPGMA) invites fruit and vegetable growers and marketers to participate in its annual educational and networking event, the OPGMA Summer Tour & Field Day, June 27.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes stops at three locations in Sandusky and Huron counties.

The tour will begin at Eshleman Fruit Farm at 781 East Maple St., Clyde. A family-owned business since 1977, the farm features more than 200 acres of orchards. Tours of the farm will be from 8-11:30 a.m. At noon, OPGMA will host a brief session during lunch, which will be available for sale onsite. Average cost for lunch is $6 to $9, with only cash accepted.

Attendees can then drive approximately 30 miles to visit the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Muck Crops Agricultural Research Station at 4875 State Route 103 South and Buurma Farms at 3090 Kok Road, both in Willard.… Continue reading

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EPA moves E15 past final hurdle


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the final approval to move forward with the sale of E15 ethanol blends. The final issue preventing E15 from moving forward focused on residual fuel left in the hose of single hose pumps that would offer E15 and other fuels. Most importantly, this announcement knocks down the lone, significant regulatory hurdle standing in the way of getting E15 into the marketplace for passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. With guidance on that issue from the EPA, fuel providers and retailers wishing to sell E15 can do so provided they register with EPA and follow approved misfueling mitigation protocols.

“Today’s announcement is a victory for American consumers. Since filing the Green Jobs waiver three years ago, the ethanol industry has worked extensively with the EPA to meet the conditions they placed on the approval of the waiver last year. At each step along the way, the industry has done its part to meet these conditions to get E15 into the marketplace,” from a statement from the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy.… Continue reading

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Ohio to host international flour millers

A team of Spanish and Italian flour milling executives will visit the United States June 17 to 23 to learn more about the U.S. spring wheat, durum and soft red winter (SRW) wheat crops and the U.S. marketing system. U.S Wheat Associates (USW) is sponsoring this trade team with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, state wheat commissions in North Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio, and private exporters. “The United States and Canada compete in European spring and durum markets like Spain and Italy,” said Goris van Lit, USW European regional director. “These millers hope to learn more about what changes might happen after the Canadian Wheat Board loses its marketing monopoly on Aug. 1. In Ohio, the Spanish millers will learn more about the new soft red winter crop from farmers and the grain trade.” In northwest Ohio, the millers will get the chance to see a soft red winter crop only days before harvest and meet with local grain handlers and flour millers. 
… Continue reading

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Crop insurance reminders for fruit producers

An early warm up that brought on budding and pollination in many fruit crops was followed by freezing temperatures that damaged much of this year’s crop. Brian Frieden, USDA’s Risk Management Agency Director for the Springfield Region, offers a few basic reminders for producers with crop insurance.

If you have a crop loss, notify your crop insurance agent. Your crop insurance company will discuss your options and send a loss adjuster to work the claim. For producers contemplating whether to maintain the crop for harvest, keep in mind that to adjust the production for quality the crop must reach maturity. The company can establish representative areas or strips to determine production if you decide not to maintain the entire crop. These areas must be maintained as you would under normal conditions until harvest.

If you are considering removal of trees or vines, contact your insurance company before doing so to insure it doesn’t impact your claim.… Continue reading

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OCWGA pushing for a farm bill

The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) and Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) are urging their members and all agricultural stakeholders to contact Sen. Rob Portman (R-Terrace Park) today to encourage quick action and a yes vote for the Senate Agriculture Committee version of the Farm Bill.

“This bipartisan bill, which reduces the federal deficit more than $23 billion, is of utmost importance and it’s critical to move forward now,” said OCWGA President Mark Watchman. “Not only for the security of our state’s more than 26,000 grain farmers, but for the food security and food affordability of all Ohioans.”

OCWGA and OSA are in support of the revenue-based Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program currently in the Senate’s version, as it offers a true safety net for grain farmers. Both organizations advocate for the consideration of germane amendments only. Non-germane amendments could delay or derail passage of the bill. OCWGA and OSA are encouraging a confirmation vote for the Senate Agriculture Committee version of the Farm Bill.… Continue reading

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FSA seeking County Committee nominations

The State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Steve Maurer, announced that candidate nominations begin Friday for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. FSA is accepting nomination forms for eligible candidates to serve on the local FSA County Committees. The nomination period ends Aug, 1, 2012.

“I urge all farmers and landowners to participate in this year’s county committee elections by nominating candidates by the August 1 deadline,” Maurer said. “County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provide a voice to landowners and farmers so that they have an opportunity for their opinions and ideas to be heard.”

FSA County Committees have an important role in the decision making process for commodity price support loans and payments, conservation and disaster programs and other important agricultural issues in their farming community.

Almost anyone participating or cooperating in a local FSA program may be a candidate.… Continue reading

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CRP sign-up results

The USDA Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced that 7,963 acres were accepted during the 43rd Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up, bringing the total number of active CRP acres in Ohio to 337,713.

Nationwide, USDA accepted enrollment of 3.9 million acres bringing the total program enrollment to 29.6 million acres. For more than 25 years, CRP has protected natural resources in Ohio while providing economic and environmental benefits to rural communities throughout the state. The newly accepted CRP offers will continue the CRP legacy by improving water and air quality, increasing wildlife habitat and preventing soil erosion.

Landowners enrolled in CRP receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource conserving covers on eligible farmland. Accepted contracts will become effective October 1, 2012.

All CRP sign-up 43 offers were evaluated and ranked using the Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) that consists of the following five environmental factors plus cost: wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits and air quality.… Continue reading

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Rainfall data incorporated in yield estimates

Rainfall data collected by a network of radars operated by the National Weather Service will be integrated into an application that helps farmers forecast corn yields throughout the growing process.

The Optimizer 2.0 application, developed by Advanced Ag Solutions LLC, now includes a feature that accumulates Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) rainfall data for unique fields. NEXRAD is a system of high-resolution Doppler weather radar stations operated by the National Weather Service.

Daryl Starr, president of Advanced Ag Solutions, said integrating rainfall data into Optimizer 2.0 has been a company priority.

“Feedback indicated that users wanted rainfall data for every field, which we now can deliver,” he said. “We expected to launch the app with this feature, but we had to be certain how receptive growers would be to a site-specific yield model. The addition of more than 450 users since the spring 2012 launch indicated it was time to move forward with adding rainfall data.”… Continue reading

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NCBA concerned about animal care component in farm bill

Tom Talbot, chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Cattle Health and Well-Being Committee, is appalled that animal care could be taken out of the hands of experts and placed in the control of the federal government. Talbot, who is a veterinarian and California cattle rancher, specifically is referring to amendment 2252 to the 2012 Farm Bill offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). The amendment, which would mandate on-farm production practices, was also introduced as legislation, Egg Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (S. 3239 and H.R. 3298), by Sen. Feinstein and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.).

“The U.S. beef community has changed through the years, but the one thing that remains the same is our commitment to raising healthy cattle and providing our animals the best care possible,” Talbot said. “NCBA’s Cattle Health and Wellbeing Committee relies on the latest information from government officials, veterinarians and cattle health experts to ensure our policies reflect the latest science and ensure effective cattle care practices on cattle operations throughout the country.”… Continue reading

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Sustainability starts in the field

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

In early June BASF, industry leaders, growers and media met in Chicago to discuss “Innovation as the path to sustainability.”

This year’s event included discussions with BASF global agricultural leaders and a moderated dialogue titled “A growing conversation: Innovation and sustainability within the business of modern agriculture,” covering the challenges facing growers today.

Paul Rea is BASF’s vice president of crop protection for the U.S. and he said that the company’s definition of sustainability has been set. In its simplest form, sustainability is insuring that the resources used in agriculture such as land, water, nutrients and the like are there for future generations so that food can continue to be provided for an ever-growing world population.

“Growers are a great example of sustainability,” Rea said. “When the farm passes from generation to generation it often is in better shape than it was in the first place.… Continue reading

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Rapidly cooling eggs can double shelf life and decrease risk of illness

Taking just a few seconds to cool freshly laid eggs would add weeks to their shelf life, according to a Purdue University study.

The rapid-cooling process, developed by Kevin Keener, a professor of food science, uses liquid carbon dioxide to stabilize the proteins in egg whites so much that they could be rated AA — the highest grade for eggs — for 12 weeks. Earlier research showed that the same cooling technology could significantly reduce occurrences of salmonella illnesses.

Eggs cooled under current methods lose the AA grade in about six weeks, Keener said.

“There is no statistical difference in quality between eggs as measured by Haugh units just after laying and rapidly cooled eggs at 12 weeks,” he said. “This rapid-cooling process can provide a significant extension in the shelf life of eggs compared to traditional processing.”

Haugh units measure an egg white’s protein quality. Keener’s results, published in the journal Poultry Science, also show that membranes surrounding the eggs’ yolks were maintained for 12 weeks when eggs were rapidly cooled.… Continue reading

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Public Comment Period started for Statistical Reports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting public comment now through July 9, 2012 as part of its review of release times and procedures for several major statistical reports.  Due to recent changes in market hours by major commodity exchanges, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) – The USDA entities responsible for the reports — are reviewing release times and procedures of the following statistical reports:

  • World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates,
  • Acreage,
  • Cattle,
  • Cattle on Feed,
  • Crop Production,
  • Grain Stocks,
  • Prospective Plantings,
  • Quarterly Hogs and Pigs,
  • Small Grain Summary

The current USDA release times of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET will remain in effect until further notice.

You can submit your comments directly to the National Ag Statistics Service at reading

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