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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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NAWG seeks to stop federal ag research cuts

Wheat farmers, researchers, millers and bakers are in Washington, D.C. to deliver a simple message to Members of Congress: there is no more to cut from federal funding for agriculture research. 

The 35 wheat industry visitors, including a dozen growers and 10 milling and baking representatives, are spreading that message as part of an annual fly-in focusing on wheat research, sponsored by the National Wheat Improvement Committee, a group of wheat scientists and stakeholders, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), the North American Millers’ Association and the American Bakers Association.

Key facts they are sharing with policy makers on Capitol Hill key include:

  • Funding for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will be down 12% since the federal government’s 2010 fiscal year, assuming modest increases proposed in the Obama Administration’s FY2013 budget are adopted.
  • In FY2011 alone, $180 million was cut and not restored due to the elimination of earmarked spending.
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USDA warns of fraudulent letters and calls

USDA officials have been notified that additional fraudulent letters and at least one fraudulent phone call have been received by individuals in a number of states. The phone call was received by an individual in Indiana, and letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in a growing number of states.

The letters and call purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA’s logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as “Frank Rutenberg” using a title of “Senior Procurement Officer.”

Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General. USDA first learned that the letters were being circulated on March 16, 2012. If you suspect you have received such a letter or have been called by someone representing themselves as being from USDA seeking personal information, please contact USDA at:… Continue reading

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Anhydrous injury in corn

By John Brien, AgriGold agronomist

Each year, many corn growers that use spring applied, preplant ammonia find some degree of anhydrous ammonia injury within their corn fields. Severe injury can cause significant germination problems or root pruning, which leads to stand loss or uneven stands, which can ultimately lead to significant yield losses.  

As the spring of 2012 begins, much of the Corn Belt has found itself putting on a lot of ammonia and considering planting very soon. This means that the time between anhydrous ammonia applications and planting will most likely be very minimal in many cases. Injury from anhydrous ammonia can be easy to diagnose but somewhat difficult to prevent. Below are some precautions and preventative measures to take to avoid anhydrous injury in corn.

The first step in preventing anhydrous ammonia injury in corn is to understand how anhydrous moves in the soil. When anhydrous ammonia is applied to the soil, it can disperse approximately 3 to 4 inches away from the injection point. … Continue reading

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Photo proof of corn up in Illinois

Blake Roderick of the Pike & Scott County Farm Bureaus shared this photo of corn up in southern Illinois. Next Monday the first Weekly Crop Progress Report of the season comes out and we’ll learn what farmers have been up to in Ohio and across the Midwest.

This Friday USDA will release their Prospective Planting Report and we’ll see how much corn, soybeans and wheat everyone intends to plant this year.


 … Continue reading

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USDA creates opportunities for U.S. agriculture in China

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse will lead nearly 40 American businesses on a U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission to China March 23-28. U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown more than 80 percent in the past three years. The USDA trade mission aims to help American businesses strike new deals, strengthen business ties, expand their markets, and support jobs for Americans.

“This is the largest USDA trade mission to date,” said Scuse. “China and the United States share a special relationship, and we embrace this opportunity to demonstrate that our U.S. farmers, ranchers, and producers are reliable suppliers of the highest-quality food and agricultural products. At the same time, USDA and our federal partners will continue to aggressively work to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade.”

Also joining Scuse on the mission are leaders from six state departments of agriculture, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota.… Continue reading

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Soy checkoff looks at protein and oil

As some U.S. farmers enter the fields this spring, their center of attention likely won’t be on protein and oil. Meanwhile, that’s exactly the focus of U.S. soy customers when deciding what to buy.

According to a recent soy checkoff survey, nearly 70% of U.S. soybean farmers feel no need to worry about protein and oil content because they have no problem – at present – selling their soybeans.

“Most farmers see a price per bushel and see soy for the sum of its parts,” said Marc Curtis, immediate past chair for the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean farmer from Leland, Miss. “That value actually is calculated based on the value of meal and oil, minus the processing costs, but we don’t get that sort of transparency.”

The survey also helped measure soy farmers’ receptiveness to a component value system, being fairly reimbursed based on the value of protein and oil in their harvested soybeans.… Continue reading

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(Very) early planting negates replant coverage

With the amazing warm weather, planters are rolling in some parts if the state where the soils are dry enough. While this may prove to be a great early start for the planting season, Brian Frieden, USDA’s Risk Management Agency Director for the Springfield Region, reminds producers that crops planted before the earliest planting date are not eligible for replant payments, but the insurance guarantee is not impacted as long as producers follow good farming practices.

In Ohio, the earliest planting date for corn is April 6.  For soybeans, the earliest planting date is April 21. For more details on planting dates, or the impact early planting may have on crop insurance policies, contact a crop insurance agent.… Continue reading

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New ODNR employees focus on grazing management activities

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Soil and Water Resources has secured funds to directly train agriculture professionals and assist landowners in southern and eastern Ohio for grazing management activities. Four individuals recently started in these new positions.

When implemented on farms, grazing management practices improve soil health, reduce soil erosion, improve infiltration and help meet local water quality goals. Grasslands and grazing operations are an important sector in Ohio’s economy. The number of pasture-based livestock operations represents the largest number of livestock operations in Ohio. Grazing livestock can be both sustainable and profitable to reduce overhead, operating and feed costs.

This funding is available through ODNR partnering with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to add Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) funds to help provide technical assistance in the development and implementation of grazing management plans. The overall effort will be coordinated with ODNR, NRCS, local soil and water conservation districts and other partners to further enhance education and outreach activities.… Continue reading

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Farm Science Review changes golf cart rules

The Farm Science Review has announced that new for the 2012 show the only mode of transportation that will be allowed for attendees will be a golf cart, electric scooter, segway or approved disabled unit.

The Farm Science Review is a pedestrian show and therefore, pedestrians always have the right-of-way.  However, it is noted that some of our visitors may require physical assistance to visit the show by utilizing either disabled/handicapped approved transportation or a golf cart.  A golf cart should only be used by those who need physical assistance.  The Farm Science Review is a golf cart only facility.  The use of a golf cart at the Farm Science Review is deemed a privilege!  In 2012, the Farm Science Review will implement a new policy to address safety concerns for our pedestrians for those who require assistance with a golf cart.  One of two credentials will need to be produced by either the driver or passenger of the golf cart in order to bring their own golf cart whether owned or rented from another company or to rent a golf cart from the Farm Science Review designated vendor, Golf Car and Equipment Co.… Continue reading

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Distiller’s grain safe for pigs, even with sulfur content

University of Illinois research reports that swine producers can feed distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) to their pigs without concern for sulfur content.

“When you buy DDGS, you don’t have to be concerned about the level of sulfur it contains because there doesn’t appear to be any impact on pig performance,” said U of I animal sciences professor Hans Stein.

According to the researcher, DDGS, a co-product of the ethanol industry, is used as a feed ingredient in diets fed to swine.

To maintain a stable pH in fermentation vats, ethanol producers use sulfuric acid, which results in a sulfur content in the DDGS that varies according to how much sulfuric acid was used. Until now, the effect of low levels of sulfur in the diet on growth performance in pigs fed DDGS had not been determined, he said.

“Sulfur is toxic to cattle. If there is 0.4% sulfur in the diet, cattle start getting sick,” Stein said.… Continue reading

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Distiller's grain safe for pigs, even with sulfur content

University of Illinois research reports that swine producers can feed distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) to their pigs without concern for sulfur content.

“When you buy DDGS, you don’t have to be concerned about the level of sulfur it contains because there doesn’t appear to be any impact on pig performance,” said U of I animal sciences professor Hans Stein.

According to the researcher, DDGS, a co-product of the ethanol industry, is used as a feed ingredient in diets fed to swine.

To maintain a stable pH in fermentation vats, ethanol producers use sulfuric acid, which results in a sulfur content in the DDGS that varies according to how much sulfuric acid was used. Until now, the effect of low levels of sulfur in the diet on growth performance in pigs fed DDGS had not been determined, he said.

“Sulfur is toxic to cattle. If there is 0.4% sulfur in the diet, cattle start getting sick,” Stein said.… Continue reading

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Groups want comprehensive U.S.-EU FTA

An ad hoc coalition of 40 food and agricultural organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council in a letter sent today to the Obama administration and Congress expressed concern that a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union might fall short of long-established U.S. objectives for trade pacts.

“Some non-agricultural members of the business community have suggested that a U.S.-EU FTA negotiation should not be pursued as a ‘single undertaking’ with success in one area dependent on success in all the others,” said NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “The agriculture community, however, believes that, rather than creating a high-standard 21st century trade agreement that is central to the administration’s trade policy efforts, approaches other than a single undertaking would assure the perpetuation of trade barriers to many U.S. products and sectors, including agriculture.”

Had it embarked on any of its existing FTAs using the approach being suggested by some for an agreement with the EU, the United States would not have in place the comprehensive agreements it has today, according to the coalition letter, and the administration would not be pointing to the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks as the model for all future agreements.… Continue reading

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Time to re-enroll in CRP

The Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is now available and will continue through April 6. During the sign-up period, farmers and landowners may offer eligible land for CRP’s general sign-up at their local FSA office.

The CRP is Ohio’s most valuable conservation program, consisting of more than 300,000 acres. The CRP provides vital habitat for Ohio’s wildlife species, as well as providing the opportunity for wildlife observation and photography.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife supports the CRP because it creates quality grassland and wetland wildlife habitat and reduces the amount of sediment entering Ohio’s waterways, thus providing improved water quality in Ohio’s streams and lakes.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is a win-win for all Ohioans,” said Scott Zody, chief of the Division of Wildlife. “I encourage all landowners to take the time to consider enrolling all or a portion of their land into this ecologically important program.”… Continue reading

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New seed treatment for soybeans

BASF announced that it has reached an exclusive supply agreement with Monsanto Company for fungicide seed treatments for soybeans in North America.  Monsanto’s next generation Acceleron Seed Treatment Products for soybeans and cotton will contain F500— the same active ingredient found in Headline fungicide — and the innovation Xemium fungicide, which is expected to be registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012.

A new generation of the carboxamide class of chemistry, Xemium has shown to provide superior control of key soybean and cotton diseases.

“Growers know that yields can suffer without successful early-season crop development,” said Bob Yaklich, Market Manager for Seed Solutions for BASF in North America. “The combination of BASF fungicides, Xemium and F500, provides a new level of disease control, as well as healthier plants and improved crop quality, which can improve yield potential. This new agreement with Monsanto will give growers the opportunity to give seedlings a stronger start and their growing seasons a stronger finish.”… Continue reading

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GAP workshop next month

Farmers looking to learn how to prevent microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms can attend an April 14 workshop that will offer information from Ohio State University Extension experts on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for fruit and vegetable production.

The event will take place in Mahoning County from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm, McMahon Hall, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road, Canfield.

Participants will receive a resource workbook, paper handouts and a certificate of participation, said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, the program’s sponsor.

“The Food and Drug Administration will be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables later this year,” she said. “So it’s a good time to learn about GAPs.”

Attendees won’t actually become certified in GAPs by taking the course, Kulhanek noted. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.… Continue reading

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Ohio Livestock Care Board Meets; Goeglin named new director

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board held their first meeting since November. It was also the first meeting under new Ohio Director of Agriculture, David Daniels.

The board spent time reviewing the standards they set last summer.

“We went through all the areas and suggested a few small changes, primarily in the euthanasia area,” Jeff Weubker, a farmer who sits on the board said. “We’re waiting on a report on euthanasia that is coming out in the next month or two from the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

After reviewing that report the board will see if they need to make any significant changes to euthanasia standards. The goal will be to submit any changes to the care standards to the J-Carr process in November.

Dr. Tony reported their have been 38 investigations and 18 violations.

“None of those have resulted in any fines. ODA has worked with those in violation and then come back to make sure that they have been corrected,” Wuebker said.… Continue reading

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J D Equipment adds new store in Zanesville, Ohio

J D Equipment, of London, Ohio, has announced they will be expanding to their eighth John Deere store in Zanesville, Ohio. J D Equipment has worked with Finton Equipment to purchase their existing store in Zanesville, and became the new owners effective March 19, 2012. Due to John Deere’s dealership realignment, Finton Equipment will close their John Deere store in Coshocton, Ohio on the same date.

The new J D Equipment store sells agricultural, commercial and consumer equipment, offering products and services for farmers, commercial mowers, construction customers and homeowners. They sell and service multiple product lines including John Deere, Honda, Stihl, Generac and many more.

Finton Equipment has had had its doors open for over 45 years, with their home and base in Coshocton. Their decision to sell to J D Equipment was based upon J D’s ability and commitment to continue to serve the entire Finton customer base in Zanesville and Coshocton while only have facilities in Zanesville.… Continue reading

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