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Weekly cornbelt crop update {August 3, 2013}

The Snapshot Tour is a daily call hosted by Jay Calhoun of Colgan Commodities covering crop progress and weather updates across the Corn Belt.. This is a summary of this week’s conversations. 

Maumee, Ohio

NW Ohio believes they are on target for one of their best crops ever.  On a recent trip across a 10 county area, the evidence of dark green consistency and evenness across the entire crop just confirms that they are in the garden belt of the corn crop this year.

Henderson, KY

The crop both north and south of the Ohio river remained steady this week.  They could use some moisture, and they have a good crop, but not one of their best ever.Continue reading

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First Market Rabbit Barn Sale highlights exhibitors and success

Brad Wehrle, from Warren County, had both the Grand Champion and the Reserve Grand Champion junior rabbit market pens for the first ever Barn Sale auction at the Ohio State Fair. In fact, the six champion caliber rabbits in Wehrle’s top two pens were from the same litter.

The champion pen sold for $5,000 to Dennis Miller of Direct Feed Sales, Inc. and Hubbard/Showrite Feeds. Wehrle’s reserve champion pen sold for $3,000 to the Ohio State New Zealand Rabbit Breeders, ADR Energy, LLC, Turner Oil and Gas, Profit Energy Co., and Antero Energy Products. The event also recognized the top 15 junior rabbit exhibitors and checks were presented to each of them for their hard work.

Here are those results, starting with third place:

3. Kole Vollrath, Clark Co.

4. Baylor Green, Union Co.

5. Summer McKracken, Shelby Co.

6. Taylor Ramsey, Scioto CO.

7. Kaitlin Gilman, Shelby Co.

8. Samara Jones, Ross Co.… Continue reading

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U.S. beef will continue with EU market access

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the European Union (EU) will continue to provide U.S. beef producers with significant access, at zero duty, to the EU market for high-quality beef produced from non-hormone-treated cattle. The United States and the European Union are planning to extend for two years Phase 2 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2009 in connection with the United States’ long-running dispute with the European Union over its ban on beef from cattle treated with certain growth-promoting hormones.

In the year since Phase 2 began, U.S. beef shipments under the quota were an estimated $200 million, up 300% from the value of exports in the year before the MOU entered into force. Under the extension, the EU would maintain until August 2, 2015 its duty-free tariff rate quota for high-quality beef, established pursuant to the MOU between the United States of America and the European Commission Regarding the Importation of Beef from Animals not Treated with Certain Growth Promoting Hormones, at the Phase 2 quantity of 45,000 metric tons per year.… Continue reading

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Ag scientists encouraged to apply for aflatoxin mitigation research grants

For the third year, the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence Research Program will offer grants to researchers for projects focused on solving aflatoxin issues. These grants, which will be awarded to researchers focusing on seven priority areas, were designed by Southern corn checkoff boards to bring a unified approach to funding research projects across the region, and will thus favor research teams that include members from multiple states.

“The National Corn Growers Association, working with state affiliates, developed AMCOE to bring a unified approach to aflatoxin research that will yield results in a timely and more efficient manner,” said Don Glenn, NCGA Mycotoxin Task Force Chair, a corn grower in Alabama. “Working together, we can improve the tools available for aflatoxin control and get real results that farmers can see in their fields.”

Projects funded for 2014 should focus on one of these seven priority areas: biological control, especially atoxigenic strain development; deployment technology and increased utilization; transgenic modification for improved aflatoxin resistance, breeding for aflatoxin resistance; amelioration technology for aflatoxin-contaminated grain; best management strategies for reducing aflatoxin; improved testing procedures; and improved information transfer.… Continue reading

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Northwest Ohio cooperatives merge

The Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative and Deshler Farmers Elevator Company have agreed to merge their two agricultural cooperatives.

Work has started on determining how to best merge the operations under the name of Legacy Farmers Cooperative on March 1, 2014. The new company will initially operate under and 15-member board of directors and move to a nine-member board by 2017. The new president and CEO will be Mark Sunderman, who currently serves as president of Deshler Farmers Elevator Company. Mike Tobe, the current Agronomy Division Manager at Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative, will serve as vice president and agronomy manager.

“This merger will ensure an extremely positive future for both cooperatives, their stock holders and customers,” said Jerry Silveus, Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative general manager. “I sincerely believe that the combined boards of directors have chosen the right management team going forward and am very confident that the new CEO/president Mark Sunderman and vice president and agronomy manager Mike Tobe will not miss a beat as they work to grow this cooperative to the next level of success.”… Continue reading

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Smithfield Foods releases video outlining sow life on the farm

In 2007, Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced the goal of phasing out individual gestation stalls in favor of group housing for pregnant sows at all company-owned sow farms by 2017.

Smithfield Foods is on track to complete this goal and has created a video, which highlights group housing systems on their company-owned farms and also takes a specific look at what sows’ lives are like in Smithfield group housing.

“We think this is both an entertaining and informative look at how we are caring for pregnant sows, with actual footage from our sow farms that helps to explain how the group housing system ensures the safety, comfort and health of the sows during the gestation process,” said Dennis H. Treacy, Smithfield’s executive vice president and chief sustainability officer.

In 2007 Smithfield Foods made a business decision to convert to group housing for pregnant sows on all company-owned U.S. farms based on input from its customers.… Continue reading

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COOL controversy heating up

While Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) may have sounded like a great idea to everyone when first proposed several years ago, the ongoing debate and ultimate specifics have been very divisive.

This spring, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a final rule regarding the mandatory COOL, which once again stirred up the debate that has now reached the international stage.

“We are deeply disappointed with this short-sighted action by the USDA. Our largest trading partners have already said that these provisions will not bring the United States into compliance with our World Trade Organization obligations and will result in increased discrimination against imported products and in turn retaliatory tariffs or other authorized trade sanctions,” said Scott George, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president. “As we said in comments submitted to USDA, ‘any retaliation against U.S. beef would be devastating for our producers.’ While trying to make an untenable mandate fit with our international trade obligations, USDA chose to set up U.S.… Continue reading

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Japanese resume wheat purchases

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased that Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) will resume tenders this week for new purchases of U.S. Western White and soft white wheat. MAFF had suspended new purchases of Western White following the announcement in late May by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that volunteer wheat plants with an unapproved genetically modified (GM) trait had been discovered in a single field in Oregon.

The announcement from Japan comes as a result of a thorough, science-based review by MAFF of the ongoing APHIS investigation, as well as a sustained effort by the wheat industry, USDA and many others to provide the information MAFF needed to buy U.S. Western White and soft white wheat again. APHIS and MAFF have now tested hundreds of samples of U.S. wheat and found no evidence of any GM material in commercial supplies, which reaffirms the USDA conclusion that this was a limited, isolated incident. 

… Continue reading

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2013 Ohio State Fair Jr. Market Lamb Sale Results

Junior Market Lamb Sale results

The 138-pound Grand Champion Open Class Lamb shown by Logan Harvel of Mt. Sterling was purchased by Direct Sales Distribution, Shroyer Show Stock and Huffman’s Market for $3,100.

The 135-pound Reserve Grand Champion Open Class Lamb shown by Delanie Wiseman of London was purchased by Kroger for $1,400.

The 130-pound Champion Hampshire shown by Delanie Wiseman of London 
was purchased by Kroger for $1,100.

The 129-pound Champion Shropshire shown by Emily Johnson of Casstown was purchased by Stitzlein Club Lambs for $3,100.

The 127-pound Champion Southdown shown by Sarah Young of Leesburg 
sold to Kroger for $1,200.

The 134-pound Champion Suffolk shown by Morgan Hines of Mineral City sold to Kroger for $1,100.

The 123-pound Champion Dorset shown by Sarah Young of Leesburg 
sold to United Producers, Inc. and PNC Bank for $900.

The 134-pound Champion Montadale shown by Brock Martin of Attica sold to Kroger for $1,000.… Continue reading

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Ag groups pushing for House immigration reform

The American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 400 leading U.S. businesses and advocacy organizations called on the House to enact immigration reform legislation. The letter, sent today, was signed by a broad cross section of industries that includes agriculture, housing, retail, tourism, hospitality, technology, engineering, manufacturing, finance, venture capital, consumer electronics and others with a combined presence in every state in the United States.

The letter and all the groups signing on can be found at:

Following is the text of the letter that was sent to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:


“The undersigned organizations urge the United States Congress to enact legislation that would bring meaningful reforms to critical components of our nation’s immigration system. Reform of an outdated, broken immigration system is essential if we are to achieve a fully revitalized economy that provides rewarding and lasting jobs and opportunities for all Americans.Continue reading

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Farm blogger sets Panera Bread straight after they imply farmers are lazy

When Carrie Mess and her mother-in-law stopped in at Panera Bread for lunch, the restaurant chain did not see it coming. And, quite frankly, neither did Carrie, a.k.a. “Dairy Carrie,” a former city girl turned dairy farmer and blogger from Wisconsin.

She was aggravated with the antibiotic-free claims about the chicken on the menu for the almost $20 lunch for two. She shared her feelings about the menu through social media and found out that the menu was just the start of what she feels is anti-agriculture fear-driven marketing at Panera Bread.

“I snapped a photo and put it on my Dairy Carrie Facebook page as a conversation starter. I didn’t really expect much out of it, but within a couple hours I’d had a lot of conversation on it. Then one of my friends sent me a message asking if I had seen the ad campaign about the EZ Chicken.… Continue reading

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Porktastic day at the Ohio State Fair Rib-Off

I waited an entire year for it. I got up and went for a three-mile run and ate a very small breakfast in preparation. I got in the car and drove to the Ohio State Fair and it was finally time for me to once again serve as a judge at the Ohio State Fair Pork Rib-off.

Oh the magical sauces, the tender, smoky meat, the delicious smells and eye appeal of the ribs — it is nothing short of dazzling and well worth a year of waiting since I judged in 2012. I was joined in my enviable role by David Black

with the Ohio Soybean Council, Dave White of the Ohio Livestock Coalition, Joel Riley from 610 radio, and Virgil Strickler with the Ohio State Fair.The event that followed was nothing short of amazing. Wave after wave of delicious pork cooked up from some of Ohio’s top rib makers was set before us to enjoy.… Continue reading

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Corn pests to watch for

We have talked about corn leaf diseases and foliar fungicides in this space recently but we need to watch out for insects also. Some of the important insects that might “bug” us are discussed below:

• Corn rootworm beetles larvae attack the roots during June and early July and the adult beetles clip the silks and may interfere in the pollination process during July and early August. Watch out for these insects if you are growing GMO corn where the trait has failed or the non-GMO corn if you have not used insecticide.

• Japanese beetles have copper and green color and eat the green silks as well as leaf tissue. Adult may be found during July and August.

• European corn borer larvae are dirty white to tan with dark spots and a dark brown to black head. Young larvae feed on the leaves. Before tasseling the larvae feed deep inside the leaf whorl and produce shot holes.… Continue reading

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Farmers donate $65,000 to Ohio ag youth organizations

This year, through America’s Farmers Grow Communities, 26 Ohio farmers were able to fund the state’s 4-H and FFA programs.

Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, Grow Communities provides farmers the chance to win a $2,500 donation for a local non-profit organization of their choice. In Ohio, nine winning farmers directed their donations to 4-H programs and 17 winning farmers directed their donations to FFA chapters in their communities. In total, local farmers gave $65,000 to Ohio ag youth programs.

Randie Bolender, the winning farmer from Brown County, supported his local 4-H program because of the opportunities 4-H has given him and his family.

“My whole family was involved in 4-H, including my two children,” Bolender said. “Through 4-H, my daughter learned about food production and nutrition, which sparked her interest in becoming a dietician.”

Each 4-H club decided how the donation would be used based on needs for supplies, program funding and participation in local fairs.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress – July 29th, 2013

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There were four days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending July 28, according to the USDA, NASS, Great Lakes Region. Cool weather and spotty rains, especially in the more southern parts of the State, were generally beneficial to both corn and soybeans. Although there are a limited number of fields starting to show signs of yellowing due to continued rainfall, overall crop conditions are very good at the moment. In the northwest part of the State, vegetable crops have been suffering due to previous excesses in temperatures and moisture. Producers were able to make progress on oat harvesting and neared completion on the wheat harvest. Spraying of fungicides is underway statewide.Continue reading

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Farmer privacy protect law introduced

Driven by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of personal and private data on thousands of livestock and poultry farmers to activist groups, Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Tuesday introduced the “Farmer Identity Protection Act” (S. 1343), which would restrict the EPA from disclosing such records again.

The legislation would allow EPA to provide data to outside parties only in aggregate or with a farmer’s approval. It would allow EPA to release farm information only when all personally identifiable information is removed. A portion of the information EPA freely distributed earlier this year to three environmental groups included names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the farmers and ranchers, their spouses and farm employees.

The legislation would allow EPA to release farm information only when all personally identifiable information is removed. NPPC, along with the American Farm Bureau Federation, filed a lawsuit against EPA July 5, 2013, to prevent the agency from releasing information to additional groups.… Continue reading

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Cincinnati Reds hold FFA Day at the Ballpark Aug. 25

The Cincinnati Reds welcome FFA members, their families and friends, alumni and supporters to Great American Ballpark for FFA Day at the Ballpark on Sunday, Aug. 25.

The Reds take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 1:15 p.m.

Discount tickets specially offered to FFA members and supporters are being offered by the Reds organization. A View Level Box or Mezzanine seat is $17.50, regularly sold at $25 each, or a Field Box seat is $24.50, regularly sold at $36.

For every ticket sold, $2 is donated back to Ohio FFA.

To order tickets and support Ohio FFA, go to and enter promotional passcode “OHFFA.”

This summer, the National FFA Organization has partnered with the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Reds to stage FFA Day at the Ballpark events to benefit FFA. FFA Day at the Ballpark with the St. Louis Cardinals is Sunday, Aug. 11, in St.… Continue reading

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Tomato workshop Aug. 6

Tomato diseases, pests and weeds and how to control them will be among the topics discussed by experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences during a workshop Aug. 6 in Fremont.

The Northern Ohio Tomato Field Night will also teach participants how to make the most of their tomato crops by learning what’s new in tomato breeding and how to incorporate value-added markets in their operations, said Matt Hofelich, manager of the university’s North Central Agricultural Research Station.

The program will feature presentations from researchers and educators with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

As consumer demand continues to grow for healthier food options, tomato growers can take advantage of new plant breeds and learn more about where the industry is heading in terms of tomato varieties, said David Francis, an associate professor of horticulture who will be among the workshop presenters.… Continue reading

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The importance of good fencing

It wasn’t long ago that when a herd or flock out-smarted their fencing and made it into the neighboring farm field, a farmer would first round up whatever help he could find and then use his drafted army to wrangle up his livestock and move them back to where they belong. Today, in many cases, that neighboring farm field is now a housing development, apartment complex or even a strip mall. The fact is, fencing isn’t just for looks and the value of having a well-made fence is higher than ever.

That is exactly why the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council (OFGC) hosted a Fence Building Workshop in July, and they couldn’t have chosen a better farm. … Continue reading

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Funding available to improve the Great Lakes Basin

Michelle Lohstroh, Acting State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), announced that more than $1.5 million is available to Ohio agricultural producers and landowners to improve and protect the waters and resources in portions of the Great Lakes Basin. Applications to install specific conservation practices through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) will be accepted for priority ranking through August 9, 2013.

Interested landowners should contact their local USDA office before August 9, 2013, to apply.  Funding provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will be directed at accelerating conservation activities to address water quality and invasive species in specific watersheds in Ohio. The following are the priority watersheds in Ohio: Auglaize, Blanchard, Cedar-Portage, Lower Maumee, Ottawa-Stony, Raisin, Sandusky, St. Joseph, St. Marys, Tiffin, and Upper Maumee (see map of area below). NRCS specialists will provide farmers and ranchers with technical assistance to help determine the best conservation practices to improve and protect the resources on their land.… Continue reading

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