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NOAA: Another Winter of Extremes in Store for U.S. as La Niña Strengthens

The Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also has the potential to bring weather extremes to parts of the nation.… Continue reading

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Urban agriculture grants at work in Cuyahoga County

Economic opportunity, beautification, new jobs and access to fresh, local produce are being wrapped into one pretty package for the Greater Cleveland community.

Ohio State University Extension in Cuyahoga County has received more than $840,000 in grants to help new farmers get started on small tracts of land in the city, with a special focus on training for women, minorities, refugees, immigrants and limited resource adults with developmental disabilities.

Projects supported by the grants will address several key city issues at once, said Marie Barni, director of the Cuyahoga County office for OSU Extension, including urban blight, food deserts, and unemployment.

The Beginning Entrepreneurs in Agricultural Networks (BEAN) and the Urban Agriculture Innovation District (UAID) projects will turn vacant tracts into lush, productive gardens and farms, Barni said.

“Many people in our county live without ready access to fresh produce. Infusing agriculture throughout our county provides healthy foods in our neighborhoods.… Continue reading

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TSC program supports 4-H

From now through November 21, 2010, Tractor Supply Company stores will support local 4-H youth and their families, volunteers, staff, and alumni with the exclusive TSC Clover Card, a loyalty card that gives periodic discounts to folks affiliated with 4-H and offers clubs the opportunity to win a monthly $500 TSC gift card. In addition, from November 5-14th, all TSC stores will be running a Paper Clover fundraiser in their stores to raise funds for their local 4-H programs. Can you help support 6 million 4-H youth by spreading the word about this exciting campaign?

In addition to the benefits for 4-H families to sign up for the excusive TSC Clover Card, all funds raised through this local TSC Paper Clover Promotion will be donated to 4-H, and will support local camps, after-school programs and other 4-H youth development program activities.

What is the TSC Clover Card?
As part of National 4-H Council’s partnership withTractor Supply Company (TSC), TSC has created a pilot loyalty card program for 4-Hers, their families, and staff involved in 4-H—it is called the TSC Clover Card!… Continue reading

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Study finds no “indirect land use change” with ethanol

A report prepared for the California Air Resources Board by a team of scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found corn ethanol contributed “minimal to zero” impact from the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) scheme.

The report was compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge lab at the request of CARB, which has appointed several teams of expert working groups to assess the methodology and data that went into California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That standard used a controversial ILUC formula which heavily penalized American grain farmers for carbon emissions theoretically produced by farmers overseas.

“This should put the stake into the heart of the bizarre ILUC scheme. Here are some of the best scientists in the country – scientists who have no stake in the game – who found that ethanol had little to no impact from ILUC,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “We must ask why California insists on going forward with a regulation that is based not just on controversial theory, but a theory that has been disproven.”… Continue reading

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Livestock Care Board Passes Civil Penalty Rule

Director Boggs recaps the October 19th meeting where they passed the civil penalty rule and discussed veal and non-ambulatory animals

Ohio (Oct. 19, 2010) – The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board today passed a vote on proposed civil penalty rules that will be used to enforce newly created livestock care standards. Proposed civil penalty rules will be filed with the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) to begin the rule-making process.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture, under its regulatory authority, has the responsibility to enforce the livestock care standards the board puts in place. The civil penalty rules provide guidance for major and minor livestock care standard violations, and the civil penalties apply to each set of livestock care standards the board creates.

“The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is making strides in its endeavor to do what Ohioans have asked of it: to create livestock care standards and civil penalties that will protect not only Ohio’s livestock but also consumers, producers and the livelihood of the state’s number one industry—food and agriculture,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs.… Continue reading

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High prices coming for cattle

The cattle industry is ready to set records for high prices this year and next, said Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt.

“Although this is positive news for finished cattle prices, calves and feeder cattle still face the price-depressing burden of high feed costs. In the longer run, current high feed prices will keep the industry in a liquidation phase, and smaller beef supplies in coming years will be positive for returns for years to come,” he said.

The cattle industry continues to adjust to high feed prices not only from the last three years, but also from the most recent increases in corn, distillers, and soybean meal costs. The longer-term adjustments continue to play out in the reduction of cow numbers, he said.

“The most recent surge in feed prices will likely keep producers from expanding until feed prices moderate. That will not be until the 2011 U.S. crops are assured, which is still at least 10 months away.… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff Supports the National FFA Organization in Development of Middle School Food and Agricultural Literacy Curriculum

The Pork Checkoff has teamed with the National FFA organization to create the Middle School Food and Agricultural Literacy Curriculum. It is a free resource — available at ffa.learn.com — that can be used by teachers as a year-long course or customized to fit a shorter timeframe to teach students to become savvy consumers.  The curriculum has more than 150 free pre-packaged, stand-alone lessons and eight units to choose from.

“This is a curriculum that will educate future generations of consumers,” said Karen Richter, a pork producer from Montgomery, Minn., and member of the Pork Checkoff Producer Services Committee. “The purpose is to let them know where their food comes from.”

The eight units include: 

  • Introduction to Agricultural Science
  • Food Science
  • Natural Resources
  • Plant Science
  • Animal Science
  • Agricultural Science and Technology
  • Agricultural Issues
  • Careers in Agriculture

A team of industry professionals, university educators and secondary agriculture educators developed the framework in which the key concepts, units and lessons objectives were determined and aligned to the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources standards.Continue reading

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EPA decision on E15 waiver is a good start but not the answer

The EPA’s decision on a partial waiver for E15 use (blend of 15% corn ethanol and 85% unleaded gasoline) in light-duty motor vehicles was announced last week. Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association were pleased that action had finally been taken following the March 2009 petition increase the blend level, but the ethanol supporters also feel that EPA missed an opportunity to spur growth for alternative fuels by failing to recognize E12 in 2010.

The current limit of corn ethanol blended with gasoline is 10 percent (E10), as set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is an arbitrary cap. All cars manufactured after 1980 can use E10 gasoline. Because of corn ethanol’s several advantages compared to petroleum, a proposal to increase corn ethanol limits at fuel stations nationwide is being considered. However, if approved, E15 will be approved for vehicles manufactured after 2007 only. This new arbitrary cap is not a mandate, but an allowable level of ethanol blended with gasoline.… Continue reading

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Corn residue management during combining

By Steve Butzen, Clyde Tiffany and Darren Goebel, Pioneer agronomists

Management of corn residue should begin at harvest with uniform distribution of chaff and stalks behind the combine.

Uniform distribution has advantages for growers in no-till, minimum-till or conventional-till systems, including better erosion protection, less plugging of tillage or seeding equipment, and improved stand establishment. Success in uniformly distributing crop residue this fall also can help eliminate tillage passes next spring.

Today’s combines, with wider grain platforms and corn heads, concentrate a larger volume of plant material into the same narrow band exiting the combine. This material then must be spread back onto the wide harvest swath, making uniform distribution more challenging.

Combines with header widths of 20 to 30 feet or more may not be adequately equipped to uniformly distribute large volumes of residue. In such cases, adding manufacturer options or after-market equipment to more aggressively manage residue may be needed.… Continue reading

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Soybean Checkoff helps achieve record U.S. soy exports

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. soy exports set a record for the fourth year in a row with exports of 1.9 billion bushels for the last marketing year. Soybean-checkoff funded international sales efforts helped to achieve these record-setting export numbers. The United Soybean Board (USB) continues to devote the largest percentage of its budget toward increasing U.S. soy sales abroad.

U.S. soybean farmers shipped out over 1.45 billion bushels of whole soybeans, up from the 1.24 billion bushels exported last year. Also, increasing in the 2009/2010 marketing year were exports of soybean meal totaling 428 million bushels. Soybean oil weighed in at 1.4 million metric tons. The USDA credited strong early season sales and a projected increase in global import demand — especially for China, which imported 825 million bushels — for the continued success of U.S. soy exports. 


Meanwhile, the U.S. soy sector started the new export marketing year with a considerable amount of soybean export commitments on the books.… Continue reading

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United Producers Inc. Opposes Proposed Rule by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration

United Producers Inc. (UPI), which operates livestock marketing facilities throughout the Midwest, has submitted written comments opposing a proposed rule by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

“We are extremely concerned about the proposed rule as it relates to regulations regarding livestock contracts, arbitration use in contracts, and establishing criteria for the Secretary to consider in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act,” said Dennis Bolling, president and CEO, United Producers Inc.

UPI’s concerns about the proposed rule focus on regulations that would negatively impact its members and its operations. These concerns include:

If the definition of competitive injury is changed, the ensuing frivolous lawsuits would be devastating and result in a one‐price‐fits‐all bid from packers. This type of pricing does not recognize variation between animals.

If alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) are restricted or eliminated, it will severely limit UPI’s members’ ability to manage risk, finance production and compete with one another to negotiate premiums.… Continue reading

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United Producers Inc. Opposes Proposed Rule by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration

United Producers Inc. (UPI), which operates livestock marketing facilities throughout the Midwest, has submitted written comments opposing a proposed rule by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

“We are extremely concerned about the proposed rule as it relates to regulations regarding livestock contracts, arbitration use in contracts, and establishing criteria for the Secretary to consider in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act,” said Dennis Bolling, president and CEO, United Producers Inc.

UPI’s concerns about the proposed rule focus on regulations that would negatively impact its members and its operations. These concerns include:

If the definition of competitive injury is changed, the ensuing frivolous lawsuits would be devastating and result in a one‐price‐fits‐all bid from packers. This type of pricing does not recognize variation between animals.

If alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) are restricted or eliminated, it will severely limit UPI’s members’ ability to manage risk, finance production and compete with one another to negotiate premiums.… Continue reading

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Legendary apple tradition preserved by family farm

By Matt Reese

Local legend tells of a visit from Johnny Appleseed to the home of Sarah Seine and her children among the rolling wooded hills of what is now eastern Fairfield County. If the legend is true, the Hugus family has maintained Johnny Appleseed’s apple tradition on that farm since the early 1900s when Ray and Bernice Hugus planted peach and apple trees.

The fruit was a part of a general livestock and grain farm back in the early days, but became the main focus of the Hugus farm after World War II when the dairy was sold. The retail apple and peach business has been a family venture ever since.

“Direct marketing our apples has always been our main focus,” said Ralph Hugus, the current owner of the farm and the third generation of his family on the land. “We’re not a big enough operation to do well with wholesale and the logistics of doing u-pick in our orchard really do not work for us.… Continue reading

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Cross country meet held “Down on the Farm”

By Kyle Sharp

Hundreds of people gathered at the Ross County farm of Larry and Betsy Moore on Sept. 29, but it wasn’t for an early harvest party. They’d come to watch and participate in the 2010 “Down on the Farm Run,” a low-key cross country meet that has become quite popular among six area schools.

The event is the brainchild of the Moore’s daughter, Jennifer Johnston, who is an agricultural education teacher and cross country coach at nearby Zane Trace High School.

“I started coaching cross country at Zane Trace in fall 2000, and I would take some of our runners out to the farm to run as practice,” Johnston said. “It became tradition and the kids really liked it. Then one of them said it would be neat if we had a meet here. She thought it would be fun to run around the cow pasture.”

That got the creative juices flowing, and plans were soon underway to hold the first “Down on the Farm Run” in 2004.… Continue reading

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ASA member Kip Cullers breaks world soybean yield record

American Soybean Association (ASA) member Kip Cullers of Purdy, Mo., has once again broken the world record in soybean production with a yield of 160.6 bushels per acre, 6 bushels higher than the world record Cullers set in 2007, and 21 bushels higher than his world record in 2006. A typical Missouri soybean acre yields about 40 bushels. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited Cullers’ soybean fields to recognize the grower’s 2010 record yield.

Cullers’ attention to detail and proactive management style have continued to help him achieve higher yields and set a new record. He scouts his fields closely and on a daily basis to check for production challenges, such as disease and insects. He says selecting the right seed and a good crop protection program are critical elements to growing higher-yielding crops. The record-setting yield was planted April 14 and harvested Sept. 28, 2010.

“I’ve learned over the course of more than two decades of farming, that setting the stage for higher yield potential all starts with good genetics,” said Cullers.… Continue reading

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BASF announces Verdict herbicide

BASF announced that Verdict herbicide is now approved for use on soybeans. To highlight the newly expanded label, BASF has changed the Integrity herbicide name to Verdict herbicide. The additional use pattern in soybeans represents a growing change in management strategies for preemergence herbicides, as growers continue to seek products that help them get the most out of every acre through simple and effective weed management programs.

Verdict, powered by Kixor herbicide technology, is a corn preemergence herbicide product with the flexibility of use for soybeans. Verdict is a simple solution for preemergence burndown and residual control of 46 of today’s toughest weeds in corn, grain sorghum and soybeans, providing a foundation for maximum yield potential.

“Verdict herbicide offers a stronger option for broadleaf weed control in corn, with the simplicity and convenience to also be used in soybeans,” said Bryan Perry, Kixor Product Manager at BASF. “BASF developed Verdict in response to our customers’ need for uncomplicated, effective weed-management solutions that contribute to an efficiently-managed operation.… Continue reading

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OSA applauds new weight limits for containers bound for export

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) applauds the recent approval by Ohio’s Joint Committee on Rule Review (JCARR) of new weight limits for trucks hauling grain and other products in shipping containers bound for international markets.  The weight limit permits will be issued by the Ohio Department of Transportation and will allow a truck plus its cargo to weigh up to 94,000 pounds on state roadways, exceeding the current legal limit of 80,000 pounds. The new rules become effective October 28th.

The permits will cover the container’s travel between its loading location on a truck and an intermodal facility, where it would then be loaded on a train, barge or ship.  The permits require the loading location and intermodal facility to be located in Ohio.

OSA advocated for these new rules and OSA president, Jeff Wuebker, signed a letter of support, as part of an agricultural coalition including the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Ohio Corn Growers Association. … Continue reading

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Corn Growers Call Ethanol Decision a Good Start, but Incomplete

National Corn Growers Association recognized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision allowing higher blends of ethanol in vehicles from the 2007 model year and newer as a tentative first step that needs to be followed immediately with more action.

“We’re disappointed in the very limited scope of this approval, but pleased the EPA has finally taken action to partially approve the waiver request to allow higher blends of ethanol in some motor vehicles,” said NCGA President Bart Schott, a grower in Kulm, N.D. “We believe this bifurcation of the approval process, and the labels that are expected to be placed on higher-blend fuel pumps, can lead to general consumer confusion and therefore act counter to the original intent.”

By proceeding along this path, EPA’s decision casts an unnecessary shadow on all ethanol blend levels, Schott added. Blends up to E-15 and beyond have been tested and found suitable for a wide range of newer and older vehicles.… Continue reading

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Harvest update from Between the Rows

Here in Ohio you have been very busy with harvest and wheat planting. Corn harvest jumped 11% during the week to 47% complete. Corn mature is 95% and average is 83%.

Soybeans are now 60% harvested that is up 17% from last week and well ahead of the average 40%.  Soybeans mature are said to be 89%, up from 80% last week.

Winter wheat planting is now 56% complete up from last week’s 30% and 12% ahead of the average pace.

Kevin Miller

Williams County

“There has been a lot of progress in the last two weeks. We’ve only had a half-inch of rain in that time and everything is dry. The ground is dry and the crops are dry. We have a 40% chance of rain tonight and another chance tomorrow.”

The wheat crop needs rain. “My wheat is all in. The wheat I planted right after fly free is really nice.… Continue reading

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FCS helps rebuild grandstand at Defiance County Fairgrounds

Anyone who grew up or lives in rural America likely has a pretty good feel for how county fairs — complete with 4H Club members, livestock judging, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, elephant ears, and much more — are an integral part of the fabric of their local communities.

“County fairs are really an annual celebration of agriculture and rural America,” said Defiance County native Nick Sheets recently of his county’s fair at Hicksville.

Those annual celebrations are also an opportunity to share agriculture’s story with a population increasingly removed from farming traditions and practices. However, in Defiance County fewer people are attending than in years past, which has had some community leaders concerned.

“At one time this was a great county fair, but over the past few years interest and attendance have dwindled,” said Tom Breininger, a retired school principal and farmer who agreed to chair a foundation board to raise funds to help rejuvenate the fair.… Continue reading

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