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National Corn Growers set membership record

The National Corn Growers Association reached a new record high number of members, 37,231, at the end of March.  The previous record of 37,160 was set in August 2011.

“It is inspiring to see the level of support for our programs and activities that this new membership record suggests,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, who farms near Auburn, Ill. “This increased level of involvement makes obvious the value members believe NCGA staff and grower leaders provide to them and to the industry as a whole.”

NCGA membership offers many benefits, including leadership opportunities, academic scholarships and discounts.  Members play an active role in organizational leadership by shaping the direction of activities and influencing public policy that affects all farmers.  Additionally, membership provides valuable discounts with companies such as Office Depot, Dell, Cabela’s, Ford and Enterprise, and special access to official NASCAR information, including discounted tickets and merchandise.

In addition to representing individual members, NCGA is part of a federation in cooperation with  the many state-level grower associations and checkoff boards. … Continue reading

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Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is hosting a Seedstock Improvement Bull Sale scheduled for Saturday, April 14 at the Union Stock Yards Company in Hillsboro. The sale starts at Noon. This sale offers an affordable way to buy bulls from multiple breeds in one location and on one day. Buyers have the assurance of buying bulls with known genetics, a completed vaccination protocol and a breeding soundness exam. This year there are 51 bulls consigned to the sale at the Union Stock Yards.

Catalogs are now available for the sale at www.ohiocattle.org. The bulls in the sale range in age from one to two years and are all registered and have Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs.) The bulls are placed in sale order based on a within breed evaluation star system using EPDs for birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight, milk, marbling, and rib eye area. Breeds represented are Angus, Charolais, Limousin, Simmental, and Sim-Angus.Continue reading

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More pesticide concerns with bees

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

Over the past decade we have discussed the need for growers to be careful when applying foliar insecticides to their crops because of the potential for harming bees that might be foraging for nectar if the crop or nearby plants are in bloom, and to manage their applications carefully to reduce the possibility of drift.

Recent articles in the popular press and newspapers, including Saturday in the Columbus Dispatch, bring up another possible concern, that being the use of a relatively new class of insecticides, neonicotinoids, which are related to nicotine found in tobacco.  In field crops, their main use is as seed treatments, and includes the insecticides clothianidin (Poncho), thiamethoxam (Cruiser), and imidacloprid. Recent studies out of Purdue and labs in Europe suggest that the use of clothianidin as a seed treatment might impact bees, either by causing mortality or more likely affecting their behavior and preventing bees from returning to their hives.… Continue reading

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E15 takes the next step

At a time when gas prices are on the rise, the approval today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of E15 blended fuel, with 15% ethanol, is a good milestone of progress for the industry and a boon to the U.S. economy, according to the National Corn Growers Association. EPA approved the first applications for registering ethanol for use in making E15; however, there are other steps that must be taken at the federal, state and local levels before it will be seen in gas stations.

“We’ve been working for a long time to make E15 a real choice for drivers, and we’re happy to see this step forward,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. “We hope that within a matter of months we can get this important blend into vehicles to help decrease our nation’s reliance on foreign oil and help bring gas prices down.”

Click here for information from the EPA on E15 and an explanation of the thorough registration process.… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Progess Report for April 2nd

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

The average temperature for the State was 48.6 degrees, 2.9 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, April 1, 2012. Precipitation averaged 0.30 inches, 0.46 inches below normal. There were 43 modified growing degree days, 11 days above normal.

Reporters rated 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, March 30, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 29 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS WEEK ENDING SUNDAY APRIL 1st, 2012

Temperatures were above normal and precipitation below normal throughout the state; however a heavy freeze during the night of March 27 may negatively impact this year’s apple and peach crop. Other field activities for the week include field application of manure, anhydrous, and fertilizers. Fields are much drier than normal for this time of year, which allowed operators much earlier access to fields with farm machinery.… Continue reading

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Timely engagement important to good neighbor relations

By Dave White, with the Ohio Livestock Coalition

A recent, real-life Facebook conversation began with a post by a woman whose home butts up against a farm field near a medium-sized town in the Midwest. The early spring weather had farmers in the field sooner than usual and likewise, rural residents were happy to be able to open their windows to enjoy the fresh country air:

“Last night the person who farms the 10 to 20 acres behind us sprayed an ammonia substance that left us running to the windows to close them as quickly as possible. For hours my eyes were burning, my throat was sore, and every joint in my body ached. The kids were so miserable that we left for several hours.”

Friend #1 replied:

“I feel for you. You … can be the manpower behind protecting your kids. Get a petition going at minimum. Either for organic farming or to set specific spraying times so everyone can be prepared.”… Continue reading

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Sprayer calibration saves money and pesticides

Spring is a good time for corn and soybean growers to calibrate sprayers to avoid wasting money and applying the wrong amount of pesticides, says an Ohio State University agricultural engineer.

Approximately 66 to 77% of all growers who spray pesticides spray too much or too little, which not only can waste money, but also cause crop losses, said Erdal Ozkan.

He said growers need to inspect sprayers for proper gallons-per-acre application rates, and calibrate them early and often.

“If you don’t calibrate your sprayer frequently, it’s as if you were driving your car with a speedometer that doesn’t work,” said Ozkan, who also is a professor in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “You assume you know what speed you are traveling at from habit, but you are not really sure. The problem with a sprayer is that nozzles wear out with use, application rates change with different field conditions, and traveling speeds also change.… Continue reading

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Cover crops worth considering

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Associate Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc.

At a recent Conservation Tillage Conference, Dave Robison gave an interesting presentation about legume cover crops. While farmers are beginning to work with and see the benefits of cover crops, they may want to consider adding legumes into their mix of cover crops.

Legumes will fix N, can have a deep fibrous root system, and will cause an increase in soil biological activity. As one speaker at the conference said, cover crops can be like “giving your earthworms Red Bull.” For interesting information on the benefits of no-till and cover crops check out this article on Robison’s website.

Some legumes you may want to consider for cover crops are medium red clover, crimson clover, Austrian winter pea, cowpea, and hairy vetch. It is important for producers to select the right cover crops that will benefit their specific management practices. Below are some possible benefits of growing legume cover crops:

  • · Some legume cover crops can fix 90+ units of N
  • · Small top growth can still result in 20 to 30 in of root growth
  • · Deep fibrous root systems will improve soil quality and promote biological activity
  • · Other cover crops (such as radishes) will have better growth when planted along with a legume cover crop.
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Grant looks into naked oats

Scientists with Ohio State University have received a four-year, $896,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to study the feasibility of incorporating “naked oats” into organic farming rotations as a way to cut the cost of producing organic chicken.

The oats, which have a unique protein and amino acid balance, will be tested in the diets of pasture-raised organic broiler chickens. The chickens will be considered part of the crop rotation within a given year, where they’ll serve as both a product to sell and a source of manure to enhance soil fertility.

The goal of the study is to develop a way to reduce the cost of organic chicken feed by growing the cereal portion of the birds’ diet on the farm, thus making it more cost-effective to raise and sell organic chicken, said Mike Lilburn, an animal sciences professor at the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in northeast Ohio and the leader of the study.… Continue reading

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Ohio intends to increase corn acres

Based on a March 1 prospective plantings survey, Ohio farmers intend to increase the amount of corn and oat acreage in 2012 while decreasing the wheat and hay acreage. Soybean and tobacco acreage remains the same as last year.

Ohio corn producers intend to plant 3.80 million acres this spring, up from 3.40 million acres last year. Ohio soybean acreage is forecasted at 4.55 million acres for 2012, the same as last year.

Winter wheat acreage for 2012 is estimated at 580,000 acres, down 300,000 acres from the previous year. The State’s oat acreage increased 5,000 acres from last year to 55,000 acres.

Ohio hay producers expect to harvest a total of 1.05 million acres, down 6% from the previous year. This includes alfalfa, grain, and all other types of hay. Burley tobacco acreage is forecasted at 1,600 acres in 2012, the same as 2011.

U.S. corn growers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2012, up 4% from last year and 9% higher than in 2010.

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A Korea-China FTA?

By Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council Director in Korea

Not long after concluding free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States and the European Union (EU), Korea has now initiated discussions for an FTA with China. It’s been noted, however, that the Korea-China FTA is likely to impose significant costs on Korea’s agricultural industry, compared to the earlier agreements with the United States and the EU.

Not surprisingly, a public hearing on Feb. 24 to debate the ratification of the Korea-China FTA was disrupted by protestors from various agricultural groups. According to a recent report completed by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, within 10 years of a Korea-China FTA, Korea’s agricultural production will be reduced by almost 15%: fruit by $1.02 billion and vegetables by $977 billion.

The projected loss in total Korean agricultural production has been valued at about $2.8 billion a year, four times larger than the residual damage estimated from the Korea-U.S.… Continue reading

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Improvement of waterways remains crucial

 

With a wide variety of pressing issues facing the federal government over the coming months, funding for desperately needed lock and dam improvements remains a high priority for the nation’s corn farmers according to the National Corn Growers Association.  With the country’s inland navigation system moving more than a billion bushels of grain per year, about 60 percent of all grain exports, farmers understand the importance of a functional waterways system.

 

“Our inland waterway system plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy, and we must act now to help our leaders understand that funding improvements is critical to maintaining our industry’s viability,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer.  Achieving our goal is not only important for farmers and shippers, our nation as a whole will benefit from the job creation and shipping efficiencies this project would generate.”

 

The country’s inland navigation system plays an even more visible role in the economy also, moving more than a billion tons of domestic commerce valued at more than $300 billion per year. … Continue reading

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Grand Lake St. Marys gets another $1 million for water quality

The Grand Lake St. Marys watershed received national attention by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address the critical water quality issues facing residents in the watershed.

“NRCS Chief Dave White provided the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed with an additional $1 million through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to get conservation on the ground in this watershed,” State Conservationist Terry Cosby said. “There is a sizeable waiting list of producers with high quality EQIP applications in the watershed; those that result in the greatest conservation benefit will be chosen for funding.”

On the ground in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed, conservation measures impacted by the weather seem to be doing well.

“Plant growth is ahead of schedule due to the unusually mild winter and spring,” said Steve McDevitt, an NRCS conservation planner working with producers in the watershed. “Cover crops are looking good.”

Now, more farmers will have a chance to take advantage of the financial and technical assistance offered through EQIP to plant cover crops, build manure storage facilities, put in filter strips, and complete other conservation measures that keep phosphorus out of waterways.… Continue reading

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Reclassification makes easier transport for corn gluten

Last week, a key working group of the International Maritime Organization recommended approval of a U.S. proposal that corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal be reclassified in the official IMO code to make transport of these quality feed ingredients simpler, by eliminating a requirement that these cargoes be loaded on vessels with specialized fire suppression equipment.

The proposal was based on the results of tests organized by the U.S. Grains Council, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, in cooperation with a number of U.S. producers, marketers and shippers of CGF and CGM.

“For corn gluten to be loaded with these specifications, it would have significantly raised the cost of exporting U.S. corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal,” said Erick Erickson, USGC director of programs and planning. “This would reduce the attractiveness of these products to feed manufacturers.”

In 2010, the U.S. Grains Council organized an industry group to address this problem.… Continue reading

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The 2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Performance Barrow Division

The 2012 Ohio State Fair Junior Performance Barrow Division will allow exhibitors to showcase their junior barrows in a competition focused on growth rate, carcass composition and pork quality, along with the visual attributes that define a sound, functional market hog. In the Division, exhibitors both represent and are rewarded for exhibiting the “Best of Breed” in a breed or crossbred classes.

In additions, exhibitors can display their showmanship and pig handling skills in the showmanship competition and demonstrate their knowledge through the Skill-a-thon and Outstanding Market Hog Exhibitor Competitions. The competition come full circle with the chance to observe the pork produced and learn about pork carcasses and quality and finally, taste the resulting pork product.

To participate, exhibitors must complete the following:

  • Identify a purebred or crossbred pig from a herd or a pig provider.
  • Weigh and officially identify the pig at a nearby location between April 27 and April 30, 2012 or purchase a previously weighed and identified pig at a local sale or from a pig provider.
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First of its kind Ohio plant will turn manure into dry fertilizer

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

AG Conversions, LLC is building the first of its kind production plant that converts livestock manure into dry organic fertilizer in Mercer County.

The Ohio Grand Lake Watershed Facility will be located on St. Rt. 127 just north of St. Rt. 119. Amiran Technologies of Oak Creek, Wisconsin is the parent company of AG Conversions, LLC. The company specializes in taking physical and chemical waste that has no commercial value and breaking the bond at the fine partial level and separating it into usable products with no byproducts.

An aggressive timeline has been set for the construction project.

“We want to have fertilizer product available for row crop applications this fall. Our plan is to break ground in late April or early May and be producing product in August,“ said Paul Chadwick, Executive Vice President of Market Development for Amiran Technologies. “What that means as it relates to livestock manure is that for the first time ever, you can take raw animal manure and separate out the pathogens, e-coli, antibiotics and hormones, neutralize those, eliminate them and convert the manure into a high efficient organic fertilizer.”… Continue reading

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AgChat Foundation’s social media training set for August in Kansas City

In its third year, the AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 event is poised to be its most dynamic social media training opportunity yet. The conference will be held August 23-24 in Kansas City, Missouri, where farmers and ranchers from across the nation will convene to learn how to better support agriculture and engage with non-farm consumers.

Advocacy 2.0 is hosted by the AgChat Foundation, a primarily volunteer organization that aims to empower farmers and ranchers to “agvocate” by connecting consumers with accurate information about farming and food production using social media.

“Advocacy 2.0 is all about giving farmers and ranchers tools they need to share their stories and the story of agriculture with consumers through tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs,” says AgChat Foundation Executive Director Emily Zweber. “Only 2 percent of people in the United States are farmers, meaning 98 percent of our population is not actively involved in food production.… Continue reading

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FCS reports strong financial 2011

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, an agriculture lending cooperative serving more than 95,000 customers throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee reported strong financial results for 2011. The ag lender stated earnings of $278.6 million, a 30.2% increase over 2010 and owned and managed assets of $18.4 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2010.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Johnson, said strong farm earnings continue to bolster the  farm economy and that has had a positive impact on the earnings of the association.

“The farm sector continues to be a bright spot in an otherwise unpredictable economy,” Johnson said. “That, coupled with the low interest rate environment, allowed us to offer competitive interest rates to customers on loans so they are able to grow their operations.”

As an example, more than 24,000 Farm Credit loans representing $4 billion in volume were converted to lower rates in 2011 which will save customers an estimated $94 million over the next three years.… Continue reading

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Ohio State Fair greening up with soy

With soy biodiesel powering trams and carnival rides, soy-based paint freshening up show barns and soy-based cleaning products getting the fairgrounds ready, 13 fairs, including the Ohio State Fair, will be a little greener this year with the help of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soy checkoff.

“U.S. soy feeds the animals that provide the meat we eat, but soy does a lot more than that,” said Geno Lowe, a soybean farmer from Hebron, Md., and USB farmer-director. “U.S. soy is increasingly popular as a ‘green’ ingredient in everything from biofuel to paint to cleaning products and more.”

Lowe and his fellow USB farmer-directors selected the 13 fairs as part of a competitive application process. Through the Green Ribbon Fairs reimbursement program, now in its second year, the checkoff works with fairs across the country to promote the use of soy-based products such as biodiesel, paint, cleaners, hand sanitizers and more.… Continue reading

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The RFS battle continues

By Matt Reese

In a battle of contentious letters, the opposing sides of the Renewable Fuel Standard debate have been engaged in a war of words.

The National Chicken Council joined a diverse group of business, hunger and development, agricultural, environmental, budget, grassroots and free market organizations in urging Congress to reject any efforts to include continued or expanded federal support for corn ethanol in any legislation with a letter sent March 22 to Senate leadership.

The groups expressed their opposition to:

▪   Any renewal of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit or any other similar tax credit;

▪   Altering the requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard in a way that would open the definition of advanced biofuels to include corn-based fuels;

▪   Any expansion of current alternative fuel tax credits that would allow ethanol blends (E10, E15, or E85) or related infrastructure projects to qualify for the credit; and

▪   Funding for ethanol “blender pumps” or any other ethanol infrastructure projects.… Continue reading

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