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USDA announces loan program and Organic Program Handbook

USDA announces loan program and Organic Program Handbook

USDA has made two recent announcements regarding tools to help U.S. farms.

The launch of a Conservation Loan (CL) program that will provide farm owners and farm-related business operators access to credit to implement conservation techniques that will conserve natural resources.

“This will give farmers who want to implement conservation measures on their lands a chance to do so by providing assistance with their up-front costs,” said Vilsack. “In return, these producers will help to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and promote sustainable and organic agricultural practices.”

CL funds can be used to implement conservation practices approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), such as the installation of conservation structures; establishment of forest cover; installation of water conservation measures; establishment or improvement of permanent pastures; implementation of manure management; and the adaptation of other emerging or existing conservation practices, techniques or technologies.… Continue reading

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Wind energy becoming a breeze

Wind energy could supply about 20% of the nation’s electricity, according to the federal research lab, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, which in turn could lessen dependency on fuels and reduce emissions in the air. Although much of the wind resources in the U.S. are still largely untapped, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that wind is the fastest growing energy source in the world – expanding at a rate of 25-30% every year.

Closer to northwest Ohio, wind energy remains a popular point of discussion. Homes, cabins, boats and farms are utilizing systems to produce electrical power for on-site use. Of course, there are numerous factors to consider before generating such power: different characteristics of wind turbines, net metering agreements, sizing the right turbine, permits needed, and even available grants to fund a turbine.

Glen Ginesi, president of Engineered Process Systems (EPS), will present “Understanding Distrbuted Wind Systems” on Thurs., Sept.… Continue reading

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CLARIFIDE now available from Pfizer Animal Genetics

CLARIFIDE, a new genomic test for comprehensive evaluation of dairy females, is now available from Pfizer Animal Genetics, a business unit of Pfizer Animal Health.

CLARIFIDE is a 3,000-marker (3K) DNA panel that was developed through collaboration between USDA-ARS and Illumina. CLARIFIDE delivers Genomic Predicted Transmitting Ability (GPTA) values for 30 production, health and type traits, and nine composite indexes. These predictions provide insights into animals’ future genetic potential early in an animal’s life.

“CLARIFIDE provides a cost-effective way for commercial dairy producers to take advantage of the many benefits of genomic testing,” says Nigel Evans, vice president of Pfizer Animal Genetics. “Genomics has been available in the dairy industry for the past few years, but has only been practical for a small number of elite animals. CLARIFIDE now puts genomic testing into the hands of commercial dairymen.”

With CLARIFIDE, commercial dairy producers can optimize selection, mating and management of Holstein, Jersey and Brown Swiss females.… Continue reading

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Trade safeguards would hurt, not help, developing countries

Allowing developing countries to increase import tariffs based on price and supply triggers under proposed World Trade Organization rules would actually harm those countries, according to a Purdue University economic analysis.

A major factor in the breakdown of the Doha Development Agenda, which aimed to set new rules for agricultural trade under the WTO, was disagreement over whether a special safeguard mechanism should be included to allow developing countries to increase tariffs if imports surged or world prices dropped past certain trigger points. Developing countries lobbied for those safeguards, believing the measures would protect producers from cheap commodities flooding their markets.

But Thomas Hertel, a Purdue distinguished professor of agricultural economics and executive director of the Global Trade Analysis Project, said those safeguards actually would increase price volatility with developing countries faring the worst.

“Rather than stabilizing domestic producers’ incomes, it could destabilize them. It would also raise food prices faced by the poor,” said Hertel, who ran an economic analysis on the effects of the proposed safeguards.… Continue reading

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Latest undercover “animal abuse” video more fabrication than fact

On Aug. 31, Mercy For Animals (MFA), the same group that released the footage from the Conklin Dairy in Plain City earlier this year, released hidden video taken from Buckeye Veal

Farm in Apple Creek. The animal rights group claimed the video showed “cruel” behavior and hoped it would prompt action by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

“As the appointed body to create minimal standards for Ohio’s agricultural

community, it is your responsibility to ensure that farmed animals in Ohio are not forced to suffer egregious cruelty; however, the Board has yet to implement a single standard,” said MFA in a letter sent to members of the OLCSB the day the Buckeye Veal footage was released. “MFA urges you to immediately implement standards phasing out crated veal production.”

MFA called on the OLCSB to honor an agreement reached in June by leaders of Ohio’s farm community, humane organizations and Governor Ted Strickland that would, among other

things, phase out the confinement of calves in veal crates by 2017.… Continue reading

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Harvest is here for some Ohio farms

If harvest has not already started, it is rapidly approaching on farms around the state. the dry conditions, early planting and heat through the summer really pushed the crops to early maturity. Here is what the farmers from between the Rows had to say:

Kevin Miller
Williams County
“It was really dry up until yesterday when we got between .75 and 1.25-inches of rain in certain places. It will help the late beans that were planted in late June. The earlier beans, I believe, will be OK too.”
Corn is maturing ahead of schedule and harvest is coming soon. “Of course, silage has been harvested. I will probably try shelling some corn next week. I hand shelled some the first of this week and it was at 22% moisture. I never have shelled corn this early.”
Yield could be highly variable based on the conditions this growing season. “I believe the yield is going to vary quite a bit in the field, but I think some fields will average 200 bushels.… Continue reading

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Consumers Are Key Focus of Proposed 2011 National Pork Board Budget

Consumer perspectives of pork and pork production are the central focus of the National Pork Board’s proposed 2011 budget that will be debated next week in Des Moines. More than 50 pork producers will gather from across the country to help guide the investment of Pork Checkoff dollars into consumer information, research, and producer education programs. The programs are designed to help pork producers provide consumers with safe, affordable, quality pork products.

The board’s planning and budgeting process began earlier this summer when producer-led committees identified action steps for achieving the board’s new five-year strategic plan. These objectives fall under one of three major goals:

• Refresh and reposition pork’s image to increase domestic and international consumer demand.

• Protect the rights and ability of U.S. farmers to produce pork in a socially-responsible and cost-competitive manner.

• Pursue strategies to enable U.S. pork producers to remain highly competitive, long term, on a global basis.… Continue reading

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Test Finds E. coli in Beef Faster, Could Better Trace Outbreaks

Infrared spectroscopy can detect E. coli faster than current testing methods and can cut days off investigations of outbreaks, according to a study at Purdue University.

Lisa Mauer, an associate professor of food science, detected E. coli in ground beef in one hour using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, much less than the 48 hours required for conventional plating technology, which requires culturing cells in a laboratory. Mauer said spectroscopy could be done in the same laboratories, just in much less time.

The spectroscopy method also differentiates between strains of E. coli 0157:H7, meaning outbreaks could be tracked more effectively and quickly. Current tests are multistep and take almost one week to get results.

“Even with all the other bacteria present in ground beef, we could still detect E. coli and recognize different strains,” said Mauer, whose findings were reported in the August issue of the Journal of Food Science.

Mauer demonstrated two methods for separating bacteria from ground beef for testing.… Continue reading

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MIchigan State Fair cancelled

The Michigan State Fair had been a state tradition for 160 years and held at Eight Mile and Woodward, within Detroit city limits, since 1905. But the fair had been running deficits and needed $360,000 from the state in 2008 to cover losses. Fewer than 220,000 people passed through last year. At its peak in 1966, the fair drew 1 million.… Continue reading

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Five-bean pods showing up in Ohio

With many farmers reporting five-bean pods in their Asgrow brand Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield fields last season, excitement has been building to see who would be the first to find a five-bean pod this season, and the wait is over! Bill Gartner of Lawrenceville, Ill., has become the first farmer to discover several five-bean pods in 2010.
Gartner planted about 425 acres of this advanced soybean technology, hoping to join the exclusive Team 5-Bean. Once a rarity, five-bean pods have now become a reality with the Asgrow brand Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield that gives farmers the opportunity to produce more soybeans per pod and more bushels per acre.
“Our Asgrow Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans were planted in mid-April so they have really taken off with the weather we have had,” said Gartner. “They are in full pod, and I have been seeing about 20 pods per plant already.”… Continue reading

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OSU ag professor honored for global commitment


On his way home from work every evening, Herbert Ockerman makes it a habit to stop at three outlets of Half-Price Books to purchase textbooks, literature or “anything that would fit into a school or university library.”

He boxes them up with other books he collects, including donations from retiring faculty members, and stores them in his garage, basement and living room. When he has enough for a shipment, he has a shipping container delivered to his neighborhood in northern Columbus and enlists the help of friends, family, students and other volunteers to fill it up. Then it’s ready to send overseas, primarily to universities where former international students are now faculty members or administrators. Ockerman, professor of animal sciences with Ohio State University’sCollege of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, has done this since 1984, coordinating more than 1,500 shipments to thousands of educational institutions in more than 350 locations around the world.… Continue reading

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Syngenta offers new blog and hybrids for 2011

Syngenta Seeds, Inc. has launched a new agronomy blog that gives growers local insights from nine Syngenta agronomists representing nine regions across the country. Posts will cover a broad range of corn producing states.

In addition, unlike many other existing grower blogs, encourages comments to posts that enable growers, farm managers, crop consultants and others involved in the industry to engage in an ongoing dialogue with each other and Syngenta agronomists.

“Syngenta prides itself on the relationships that we, as agronomists, have created with growers all across the country,” said Chris Cook, head of agronomy for Syngenta Seeds. “We hope this new blog will help strengthen and improve those relationships.”

American growers are increasingly going online to look for information to help them grow their operation. Syngenta Seeds is meeting this demand by bringing the expertise of the agronomy team, that has traditionally only been available in the field, and making it available online.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s President says agreement with HSUS was the right choice

By: Dave Felumlee, President Ohio Cattlemen’s Association

To all Ohio Cattlemen’s Association members and stakeholders,

After many phone calls, e-mails and discussions, I writing this to elaborate on the reasons why I believe the correct decision was made to reach an agreement with HSUS. There were many, many factors that contributed to this decision and it was made with much thought, and even some pain of conflict with my own emotions. I feel very fortunate that the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association was at the table to express our concerns and thoughts throughout the process.

From the beginning, the commodity groups and Farm Bureau agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest to work together and be unified as one voice. This began in the issue 2 campaign, and has remained this way even today. This is Ohio agriculture’s fight! Each individual at the table had an equal vote and an equal voice.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen's President says agreement with HSUS was the right choice

By: Dave Felumlee, President Ohio Cattlemen’s Association

To all Ohio Cattlemen’s Association members and stakeholders,

After many phone calls, e-mails and discussions, I writing this to elaborate on the reasons why I believe the correct decision was made to reach an agreement with HSUS. There were many, many factors that contributed to this decision and it was made with much thought, and even some pain of conflict with my own emotions. I feel very fortunate that the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association was at the table to express our concerns and thoughts throughout the process.

From the beginning, the commodity groups and Farm Bureau agreed that it was in everyone’s best interest to work together and be unified as one voice. This began in the issue 2 campaign, and has remained this way even today. This is Ohio agriculture’s fight! Each individual at the table had an equal vote and an equal voice.… Continue reading

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Southwest Landmark & Advanced Agri Solutions are now Trupointe

Trupointe Cooperative, Inc. is officially in operation today in 26 Ohio and 3 Indiana counties after the successful consolidation of two long-time area agriculture and energy cooperatives. Forty-five Advanced Agri-Solutions and Southwest Landmark branch locations throughout western and central Ohio and eastern Indiana make up the company.

“With the combined employee base, we are able to provide more resources and expertise for our more than 4,300 members,” said farmer and Chairman of Trupointe’s Board of Directors John Waymire. “It is not only a win for each of our companies, but for the customer as well.”

The cooperative will offer a full line of products, services and expertise in the areas of:
• Agronomy – fertilizer, crop protection and seed treatments
• Energy – propane and liquid fuel
• Farm and Home – lawn and garden, home and pet supply
• Feed – commercial, club livestock and horses
• Grain – marketing and risk management
• Turf – landscape and nursery

“It has been a smooth transition,” said Chief Executive Officer of Trupointe Larry Hammond.… Continue reading

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Southwest Landmark & Advanced Agri Solutions are now Trupointe

Trupointe Cooperative, Inc. is officially in operation today in 26 Ohio and 3 Indiana counties after the successful consolidation of two long-time area agriculture and energy cooperatives. Forty-five Advanced Agri-Solutions and Southwest Landmark branch locations throughout western and central Ohio and eastern Indiana make up the company.

“With the combined employee base, we are able to provide more resources and expertise for our more than 4,300 members,” said farmer and Chairman of Trupointe’s Board of Directors John Waymire. “It is not only a win for each of our companies, but for the customer as well.”

The cooperative will offer a full line of products, services and expertise in the areas of:
• Agronomy – fertilizer, crop protection and seed treatments
• Energy – propane and liquid fuel
• Farm and Home – lawn and garden, home and pet supply
• Feed – commercial, club livestock and horses
• Grain – marketing and risk management
• Turf – landscape and nursery

“It has been a smooth transition,” said Chief Executive Officer of Trupointe Larry Hammond.… Continue reading

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Win Your Community $2,500 Through Monsanto's Farmers Grow Communities Project

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project sponsored by Monsanto gives eligible farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their local community. If the farmer is selected as a winner, Monsanto Fund will make a $2,500 grant to the community nonprofit organization they choose, such as FFA, 4-H, schools, fire departments and other civic groups.

For every farmer who registers, Monsanto Fund will donate $1 to the local United Way to help food banks, food pantries, Meals On Wheels and other charitable organizations dealing with hunger in that farmer’s county.

Registration begins August 31, 2010, and ends December 31, 2010. Apply and see rues and eligibility at www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project Details

Eligible Counties

See previous Ohio winners

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Win Your Community $2,500 Through Monsanto’s Farmers Grow Communities Project

The America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project sponsored by Monsanto gives eligible farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their local community. If the farmer is selected as a winner, Monsanto Fund will make a $2,500 grant to the community nonprofit organization they choose, such as FFA, 4-H, schools, fire departments and other civic groups.

For every farmer who registers, Monsanto Fund will donate $1 to the local United Way to help food banks, food pantries, Meals On Wheels and other charitable organizations dealing with hunger in that farmer’s county.

Registration begins August 31, 2010, and ends December 31, 2010. Apply and see rues and eligibility at www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332.

America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project Details

Eligible Counties

See previous Ohio winners

Continue reading

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August 30th Weekly Crop Progress

Ohio Numbers

The average temperature for the State was 69.1 degrees, 2.0 degrees below normal for the week ending Sunday, August 29, 2010. Precipitation averaged 0.03 inches, 0.82 inches below normal. There were 128 modified growing degree days, 18 days below normal.

Reporters rated 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, August 27, 2010. Topsoil moisture was rated 9 percent very short, 39 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.

As of Sunday August 29, 96 percent of corn was in dough, compared to 81 percent last year and 86 percent for the five-year average. Seventy-two percent of corn was dented, compared to 32 percent last year and 45 percent for the five-year average. Corn was 7 percent mature, which was five percent ahead of last year and four percent ahead of the five-year average. Corn for silage was 28 percent harvested compared to nine percent last year and 11 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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