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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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2013 Farm Science Review Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

The Farm Science Review Hall of Fame will welcome its 24th class of inductees at the Vice President’s Luncheon on September 17 during the 2013 Review. Don Breece, Dan Kush and Marti Smith have been selected for induction in recognition of their contributions to the success of the Farm Science Review.

“The unique aspect of our show is that certain individuals take ownership of the Review, putting their heart and soul into changing things for the better,” said Chuck Gamble, Farm Science Review Manager. “Each of these inductees hold a special place in the show’s history and are very worthy of being recognized for their contributions to the Review.”

Don Breece 

Don retired from Ohio State University Extension in May after most recently serving as the Assistant Director of the Agriculture and Natural Resources program area. Don chaired both the Farm Science Review Program and Policy Committee and the Farm Science Review Steering Committee during his tenure as Assistant Director.… Continue reading

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“OH So Fresh” promoting Ohio’ specialty crops

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Grocers Foundation, Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association, and Ohio Department of Agriculture have partnered to launch a new initiative called “OH So Fresh.” The retail marketing campaign is designed to raise consumer awareness about Ohio grown specialty crops by giving Ohioans expanded opportunities to sample and purchase locally grown, farm fresh produce from their local grocers.

Nearly 100 independently owned grocery retailers are participating in the “OH So Fresh” initiative in 2013. Ohio has more than 2,000 specialty crop growers providing everything from asparagus to zucchini.

“Although Ohio grown produce is abundant at farmers’ markets, farm stands, and through community supported agriculture programs, the majority of Ohioans turn to their local grocery stores for the bulk of their grocery purchases. That’s why it’s critical that growers and grocers are working together to offer locally grown food at these stores,” said Milo Petruziello, OEFFA Program Associate.… Continue reading

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American Ethanol takes center stage with Dillon win at Eldora

American Ethanol sped into Victory Lane last night as spokesman Austin Dillon held off challengers during an exciting green-white-checkered finish to win the inaugural Mudsummer Classic at the Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

This was the first NASCAR® series race held on a dirt track in 43 years, featuring a mix of NASCAR Sprint Cup™ racers, dirt track veterans and rising stars. Dillon pulled out the impressive victory in front of a sold out crowd, overcoming a 19th place start.

“Last night was nothing short of a spectacular outing for American Ethanol and Austin Dillon,” said National Corn Growers Association NASCAR Committee Chair Jon Holzfaster. “Millions of fans watching the spectacle learned more about American Ethanol, already the race’s television entitlement sponsor, as Dillon’s win elevated the coverage of ethanol. This unprecedented opportunity to reach a broad, diverse audience highlighted how ethanol fuels champions on the track while providing real savings at the pump.”… Continue reading

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Soybeans highlighted at Ohio State Fair

Ohio soybean farmers invite everyone at the Ohio State Fair to experience the fun of driving a tractor, see soy-based products being made and find out why soybeans are one of the most versatile crops in the world.

“The fair is about fun and we are so excited to be able to give fairgoers the chance to have fun with some of the technology farmers use to grow their food,” said John Motter, Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) chairman and soybean farmer from Hancock County. “Soybeans are a versatile crop used for food, feed, fuel and more, yet many people don’t know much about them. We want to change that.”

Located in the Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort building, fairgoers have the chance to try out the tractor simulator and get a feel for the technology and equipment that soybean farmers use on their farms to grow and harvest.

Visitors of all ages will also enjoy the soy product demonstrations where Ohio high school students will be making soy lip balm and soy soap for people to take home with them.… Continue reading

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