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Trade potential in Vietnam

As the entrepreneurial spirit in Vietnam continues its rapid growth, U.S. farmers see increasing potential in this rapidly growing market. During a recent mission to the country, organized by the U.S. Grains Council, participants saw first-hand the opportunities in this market while also learning the importance of a carefully nuanced approach to the expansion of U.S. agricultural exports in this region.

The nine team members, all of which represent state corn marketing groups, met with international customers and key foreign government officials with whom they shared insight into the U.S. corn supply and quality in 2011. Vietnam, which has the fastest growing corn market in Asia, currently fills its corn needs with domestically grown crop and imports from nearby countries, but the group left meetings encouraged that this market has the potential to import U.S. corn.

“The dramatically changing consumer habits will increase grain demand in Vietnam. We need to continue to educate Vietnamese buyers and farmers on benefits of buying from the United States,” said Corn Marketing Program of Michigan President Pat Feldpausch, who participated in the mission.… Continue reading

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Winter preparations reduce headaches for beef producers

With La Niña’s arrival, the forecast is for another winter colder and wetter than normal, something a Purdue Extension beef specialist said livestock producers need to prepare for.

Taking simple steps to prepare equipment, facilities and feed supplies can help reduce headaches for cattle producers, Ron Lemenager said.

“When the blizzard hits or the wind chills are below zero, tempers might flare, but that won’t thaw water or get the tractor started to feed cows,” he said. “A little planning when the weather is mild could make things go a lot easier for both producers and the livestock.”

Part of that means taking the time to do simple things, such as winterizing water sources by insulating them and making sure heating elements are in working order. Lemenager also recommended checking tractor batteries to make sure they can handle cold weather and making sure diesel tractors needed to move feed or snow are plugged in and ready to go.… Continue reading

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Prepare for late gestation nutrition

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension educator, Athens County and Buckeye Hills EERA

Recently a first cutting hay test crossed my desk that had a crude protein value of 8% and a TDN level of 55%. This is similar to many first cutting hay quality results across the state. This hay will work for a mid-gestation cow under decent environmental conditions. It is certainly not going to meet the nutrient needs of a cow in late gestation. So, as a livestock manager, what is your plan to meet the late gestation nutritional needs? Now is the time to prepare for those nutritional requirements.

As I thought about this topic, I went back to the handout of Francis Fluharty’s presentation at last winter’s Ohio beef school that was titled “Late Gestation and Early Lactation: The Most Important Stages of Production.” One of the themes of this presentation was fetal programming. Essentially, late gestation nutrition sets up or programs to some extent how that developing calf will respond to its world after birth.… Continue reading

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SWCS meeting to focus on water quality

Several Ohio State University Extension experts in soil and water quality, agricultural production practices and nutrient management will present research and facilitate discussion on the issue of managing dissolved reactive phosphorus levels in Ohio’s fresh water bodies during the winter meeting of the All Ohio Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS), Jan. 17 in Reynoldsburg.

“We have a lot of different agencies and organizations working on this issue,” said Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor with OSU Extension and one of the conference’s organizers. “A report of recommendations on how to manage this dissolved phosphorus situation is due to Gov. Kasich in early February, so all of these stakeholders will be represented at this meeting.”

Hoorman said Extension personnel have been involved in the multi-agency working group from its inception, along with experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), among others.… Continue reading

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Federal Judge favors ethanol with California ruling

A judge in Federal District Court in Fresno, California sided with America’s ethanol industry in ruling that the State of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is unconstitutional.  Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill agreed with the arguments that the LCFS is in violation of the Commerce Clause the U.S. Constitution.

In a joint statement, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said: “The state of California overreached in creating its low carbon fuel standard by making it unconstitutionally punitive for farmers and ethanol producers outside of the state’s border. With this ruling, it is our hope that the California regulators will come back to the table to work on a thoughtful, fair, and ultimately achievable strategy for improving our environment by incenting the growth and evolution of American renewable fuels.”

The groups filed their suit on December 24, 2009 and asserted that the California LCFS violates the Commerce Clause by seeking to regulate farming and ethanol production practices in other states. … Continue reading

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Lorain County 4-H saved

By Matt Reese

There will be Extension for another year in Lorain County thanks to some financial support from less-than-conventional sources.

A county probate judge decided to allocate $55,400 of the revenue from the sale of the former Green Acres orphanage to help fund the program. The donor of the property requested that the funds be used to support youth in the county. The $55,400, when combined with funding from a nonprofit group and a local recycling program, was enough to keep Extension for another year.

“It is wonderful and exciting here in Lorain County,” said Minnie Taylor, the 4-H educator in the county. “We’re alive and well and we are not going to let up. We’re already working on 2013.”

Taylor said the 4-H program in the northeast Ohio county is a blend of traditional rural youth and urban youth as well.

“We have a really good mix in this county and, through 4-H, we can work on a lot of partnerships between rural and urban areas,” she said.… Continue reading

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EPA finalizes RFS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). EPA continues to support greater use of renewable fuels within the transportation sector every year through the RFS2   program, which encourages innovation, strengthens American energy security, and decreases greenhouse gas pollution.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) established the RFS2 program and the annual renewable fuel volume targets, which steadily increase to an overall level of 36 billion gallons in 2022. To achieve these volumes, EPA calculates a percentage-based standard for the following year. Based on the standard, each refiner and importer determines the minimum volume of renewable fuel that it must ensure is used in its transportation fuel.

The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are:

Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91%)

Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21%)

Cellulosic biofuels (8.65 million gallons; 0.006%)

Total renewable fuels (15.2 billion gallons; 9.23%)

Last spring EPA had proposed a volume requirement of 1.28 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2013.… Continue reading

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American Angus Association to introduce PathfinderPlus

The American Angus Association will soon introduce a voluntary, inventory-based reporting system designed to capture additional reproductive trait data and to ultimately expand reproductive and lifetime productivity tools, such as longevity measures.

The new program, known as PathfinderPlus, will debut in early 2012 and provide Angus breeders and their customers with additional information to make effective selection decisions.

“The PathfinderPlus program is a unique system that will allow us to more effectively capture reproductive trait data while providing participants with additional information at weaning processing time, such as calving ease, birth weight and weaning weight EPDs for calves out of inventoried cows,” says Bill Bowman, Association chief operating officer (COO) and director of performance programs.

Breeders interested in participating in PathfinderPlus can enroll in the program through AAA Login, available at, beginning early 2012.

To begin, breeders provide an online inventory of breeding heifers and cows in their herd.… Continue reading

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Environmental lawsuits could make a difference in 2012

The National Corn Growers Association is currently involved in two major pieces of environmental litigation that will likely be decided in federal court in 2012. This could have major implications for future environmental regulations.

Earlier this year, NCGA joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay. The farm groups stated the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority, that the science used by the Agency is flawed and that the regulatory process lacked transparency. The case has been filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania.

The outcome of this lawsuit could establish significant precedent for future water quality regulations throughout the country. Many corn growers are concerned that the Chesapeake Bay TMDL could be used as a blueprint for addressing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff in the Mississippi River Basin and other watersheds.… Continue reading

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International Program Internship Announced

The Office of Export Assistance of The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) is seeking an International Program Intern to work closely with the Global Agricultural Program Manager. The intern will promote and recruit companies to participate in event-based programs through the Food Export Association-Midwest.

The intern may be an undergraduate student, recent graduate (six months or less) or graduate student who wants a challenging internship to prepare them for a full-time position in international business and marketing. The duration of this internship will be full-time or part-time from January 2012 to September 2012. The scheduled hours will be flexible according to school calendar.

This is a paid internship with an hourly range of $10-$13 based on year in school and experience. The successful candidate will be paid under contract by Food Export Association, however, will report to and be supervised by the Ohio Department of Development.

 Coordinate with ODOD staff to organize Food Export Association export seminars, buyers missions, and
other events for Ohio companies
 Develop communication tools for recruiting (i.e.… Continue reading

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Little earthworms offer big benefits for soils

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology for 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

Why are earthworms important to our soils and crops? Read below:

1. There are more than 3,000 species of earthworms. They are Nature’s recyclers.

2. Earthworms breakdown organic matter like dead plants and decaying animals and create valuable nutrients necessary for rich and fertile soils.

3. There are three types of worms: surface worms that feed on dead tissue, sub-surface types which feed below the top layers of soil and make horizontal tunnels and night crawlers that work deeper in vertical tunnels.

4. Earthworms have five hearts & may be an inch to more than 20 feet long. Good soils may have more than a million worms per acre.

5. They have both male and female organs but they copulate in pairs and hatch cocoons that are smaller than a grain of rice.

6. They don’t have any teeth but grind the organic matter with soil particles they swallow.… Continue reading

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USDA hog report

Ohio hog producers had 2,130,000 hogs on hand December 1, 2011, which was up 4% from a year earlier, and up slightly from last quarter. The number of market hogs, at 1,960,000 head, was up 5% from last year and up 1% from last quarter. Breeding stock, at 170,000 head, was the same as last year and last quarter.
The September-November pig crop numbered 892,000 head, which was up 5% from last year and up 4% from last quarter. The number of sows farrowed during the September-November 2011 quarter, at 91,000, was 2,000 head above last quarter and 1,000 head above last year. Pigs saved per litter during the September-November 2011 quarter averaged 9.8 and was up 4 percent from the same period last year and up 2 percent from last quarter.
Ohio producers intend to farrow 88,000 sows during the December-February 2012 quarter; down 1% from a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the spring quarter, March-May 2012, is 89,000; down 2 percent from the same quarter of 2011.… Continue reading

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OCMP officers announced

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program (OCMP) has announced new officers for 2012 who will collectively represent and promote the industry success of Buckeye State corn and work on behalf of the state’s corn growers.

2012 OCMP Officers:

•    Chairman Paul Herringshaw — Bowling Green
•    Vice Chairman Mark Schwiebert — Hamler
•    Secretary Brian Harbage — South Charleston
•    Treasurer Les Imboden — Ashville

“I’m confident that our new officers will help develop and expand markets for corn to financially safeguard Ohio’s corn producers,” said OCMP Interim Executive Director Tadd Nicholson.

The new officers are responsible for monitoring and taking action regarding issues about the education, transportation, risk-management and industrial demand of the sector.… Continue reading

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ASA pushes for biodisel tax credit extension

As the end of the year approaches and acrimony among Congress increases, it is unlikely that Congress will address a tax extenders package or the biodiesel tax credit before both expire on December 31. Congress appears to be at an impasse over legislation to extend the payroll tax break, and no action is likely on extensions of other tax incentives.

There is still the possibility that Congress, as it has done in the past, could enact a retroactive tax extenders package next year. The biodiesel tax credit lapsed in 2010, resulting in a significant drop in production, job losses and some plant closings. Eventually, it was extended retroactively for 2010 and through 2011.

Leaders in both parties have indicated a desire to consider a tax extenders package early in 2012. Another positive sign is that a draft package of tax extenders, recently circulated by Senate leaders, includes the biodiesel incentive.  For this reason, the American Soybean Association (ASA) will continue to urge Congress to come together on a bi-partisan basis to extend the biodiesel tax credit early next year.… Continue reading

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Ohio State researching ash tree resistance to EAB

The native North American ash tree’s future rests in the ability of researchers to create a new variety with the right genetic traits to withstand its greatest nemesis: the emerald ash borer (EAB).

Scientists with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) have received a three-year, $1.4 million grant to continue their groundbreaking work toward the development of a tree that can be used for preservation of ash in natural and urban forests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) provided the funds.

An accidental import from Asia, EAB is an invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the eastern U.S., the Midwest and Canada. It is so devastating that virtually all ash trees within 31 miles of the initial EAB infestation in southeastern Michigan are now dead. And the tiny beetle is predicted to cause an unprecedented $10-$20 billion in losses to urban forests over the next decade.… Continue reading

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Questions remain over LightSquared Spectrum usage

Over the past year, the National Corn Growers Association has monitored issues surrounding the wireless broadband company LightSquared. While the Federal Communications Commission considers approval of LightSquared’s proposed terrestrial based broadband network, NCGA remains concerned about the effects it would have on precision farming. GPS technology has become an important tool for farmers as they improve their efficiency in seed, fertilizer and fuel usage.

“Strong and speedy Internet access is important to our growers, so NCGA supports the expansion of broadband in rural America,” said Ethan Mathews, manager of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs for NCGA said. “However it must not come at the expense of high-precision GPS.”

Although LightSquared states that solutions to the interference problem have been developed by several independent companies, the company has yet to provide access to either the test results or the devices. Further, the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration are continuing their evaluation of the GPS interference issue.… Continue reading

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USGC follows up on new FTAs

An elite U.S. Grains Council delegation met with key officials in Panama and Colombia since U.S. passage of the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements (FTA).

USGC Chairman Wendell Shauman, National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott, were accompanied by Council staff, Floyd Gaibler, director of trade policy, Chris Corry, director of international operations, and Kirk Schultz, regional director in Latin America. The team explored the outlook for FTA implementation with government officials in both countries, with private sector grain customers, and with U.S. ambassadors and USDA staff.

“The Council has been committed to regaining unfettered access to markets in both Panama and Colombia,” Shauman said. “The FTA will go far toward reversing trade flow of South American corn and soybeans moving into the Caribbean Basin.”

The group’s purpose was to see how far Panama and Columbia have gone on implementing the FTAs.

“In Colombia, we met with a couple of big conglomerates, and they are very excited about the new FTA.… Continue reading

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Ohio's Crop Progress Report – December 19th



The average temperature for the State was 38.9 degrees, 6.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 18, 2011. There were 8 modified growing degree days, 5 days above normal. Reporters rated 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 16, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 83 percent surplus.


It was cold enough in the northern part of the state for the ground to freeze and for farmers to finish harvesting. However, it was still too wet in most parts of the state, and ten percent still remained unharvested. Pasture and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate due to the cool, wet conditions. As of Sunday December 18th, corn harvested for grain was 90 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – December 19th



The average temperature for the State was 38.9 degrees, 6.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 18, 2011. There were 8 modified growing degree days, 5 days above normal. Reporters rated 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 16, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 83 percent surplus.


It was cold enough in the northern part of the state for the ground to freeze and for farmers to finish harvesting. However, it was still too wet in most parts of the state, and ten percent still remained unharvested. Pasture and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate due to the cool, wet conditions. As of Sunday December 18th, corn harvested for grain was 90 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Shale may boost economy less than thought

A recent industry-funded study estimating that development of shale natural gas and oil could create or support 200,000 jobs in Ohio greatly overestimates the economic impact of the industry, according to a new Ohio State University analysis. Furthermore, the researchers say, focusing on jobs rather than other factors related to the growing industry is misguided.

The analysis, written by doctoral student Amanda Weinstein and Mark Partridge, Swank Chair of Rural-Urban Policy in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, is available online at

Partridge and Weinstein wrote “The Economic Value of Shale Natural Gas in Ohio” in response to various industry studies, such as the Kleinhenz and Associates study prepared for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, which was released in September. The Ohio State researchers’ analysis suggests that the state could expect a net gain of about 20,000 jobs over the next four years from shale gas development, just one-tenth of what the Kleinhenz study suggested.… Continue reading

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