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ODA receives grant in federal program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture received $703,287.81 through a USDA specialty crop block grant. The USDA program is investing in 55 specialty crop block grants that will fund 740 initiatives across the United States and its territories. The grants will help strengthen the market for specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

“Agriculture plays a vital role in the health and strength of our economy, and by investing in specialty crop growers and producers across the country, we can help spark new markets and job creation, while expanding production of healthy, safe and affordable food,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for fiscal year 2011 supports initiatives that:

• Increase nutritional knowledge and specialty crop consumption

• Improve efficiency within the distribution system and reduce costs

• Promote the development of good agricultural, handling and manufacturing practices while encouraging audit fund cost-sharing for small farmers, packers and processors

• Support research through standard and green initiatives

• Enhance food safety

• Develop new/improved seed varieties and specialty crops

• Control pests and diseases

• Create organic and sustainable production practices

• Establish local and regional fresh food systems and

• Expand food access in underserved/food desert communities.… Continue reading

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Webinar to discuss changes in child labor regulations

The OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program will present the webinar “Changes to the Agricultural Child Labor Regulations: What it could mean when hiring young people on the farm” on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 3-4 p.m. Jepsen will present the online seminar, which will outline the proposed changes and explain what the Department of Labor’s ruling could mean for Ohio farms and agricultural businesses that employ teens.

Topics will include:

1) Regulatory changes to the Child Labor Laws for Agriculture.

2) Changes to the training exemption — commonly known as the Tractor Certification Program, and

3) How to respond to this proposed ruling through the U.S. Dept of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

To attend the webinar session, go to and enter event number 661 872 503 and event password agsafety.

To attend via teleconference, call the toll-free number (US/Canada) 1-877-668-4493 or the toll number 1-408-600-3600 and enter the access code 661 872 503.… Continue reading

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U.S. unlikely to hit Renewable Fuel Standard for cellulosic biofuels

The biofuel industry will not be able to meet the cellulosic production requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard without significant advancements in technology or investment, according to a National Academy of Sciences study prepared for Congress.

Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, co-chaired a committee tasked by the National Academy of Sciences to produce the study. The Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production presented the report.

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol, 1 billion gallons of biodiesel and 16 billion gallons of cellulosic fuels be produced annually by 2022. According to the report, the corn ethanol numbers and biodiesel can be achieved, but the cellulosic goals probably cannot.

Tyner said that’s because the corn ethanol industry has been working for more than 30 years, while the cellulosic industry is still very young. There are no commercially viable biorefineries for cellulosic ethanol today.… Continue reading

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Social media seminar

Consumers regularly turn to the Internet as a trusted source of information to learn more about how and where their food is produced – and agribusiness professionals have taken note. Many involved in agribusiness have utilized social media to enhance their business,as well as strengthen relationships with existing customers.

To learn more about the benefits of social media, the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum will host Dan Toland, communications specialist, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, to present “Challenges, opportunities and the impact of social media on agriculture,” Thursday, Oct. 20 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, Ohio.

The presentation will share how and why social media has become a preferred communications tool, how it can be productivity used for any agriculture-related business, and ways the agriculture industry can immediately benefit.… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Progress Report – October 3rd

As of Sunday October 2nd, corn dented was 88 percent, compared to 100 percent last year and 98 percent for the five-year average. Corn mature was rated at 26 percent, compared to 89 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain was two percent complete, compared to 34 percent last year and 13 percent for the five-year average. Corn silage was 55 percent harvested, compared to 99 percent last year and 89 percent for the five-year average. Fifty-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 94 percent last year and 91 percent for the five-year average. Eleven percent of soybeans were mature, compared to 78 percent last year and 61 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat was one percent planted, 26 percentage points behind last year and 17 points behind the five-year average. Emerged winter wheat was rated at one percent, one percentage point behind last year and identical to the five-year average.Continue reading

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Wheat farmers urge quick approval of FTAs

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are pleased that the Obama Administration submitted implementing legislation for pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

The U.S. wheat industry strongly supports these bilateral agreements as critical steps toward competing on a level playing field in the global wheat market, and now urges Congress to pass them as quickly as possible. The Colombia agreement, in particular, is vital to the wheat industry’s efforts to maintain market share in what has traditionally been the largest market for U.S. wheat in South America.

Under trade agreements with Canada and Argentina, wheat from these origins enters Colombia duty free while U.S. wheat faces a 10% tariff. Colombian buyers want to import U.S. wheat, but they do not want to pay the extra cost associated with the tariff. U.S. wheat sales to Colombia have dropped 20 percent since June alone, a rate of loss that is likely to grow now that an FTA between Canada and Colombia is in place.… Continue reading

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AGCO to acquire GSI Holdings Corp

AGCO announced that it has agreed to acquire GSI Holdings Corp. (GSI) from affiliates of New York-based Centerbridge Partners, L.P. for $940 million. With annual revenue of over $700 million, GSI is a leading global manufacturer of grain storage and protein production systems. Headquartered in Assumption, Illinois, GSI sells its products globally through more than 500 independent dealers. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2011, subject to regulatory approval.

“GSI is an excellent fit with AGCO and will allow us to extend our reach in the agricultural industry and provide our customers with an even wider range of products and services,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “With its high quality products and services, recognized brands and global capabilities, GSI gives us strong positions in the grain storage and protein production segments and is well-positioned to benefit from increases in global grain and food demand.”… Continue reading

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Fall herbicide application later than normal

Fall herbicide applications are still a good idea this year, despite a later-than-normal harvest, according to Ohio State University Extension weed specialist Mark Loux.

“This is kind of a strange year for fall treatments because harvest is so late,” Loux said. “Any time we get a later harvest, we have the potential for things to get wet because we don’t have good drying weather. So there is some concern that farmers won’t be able to get across fields because they’ll run out of weather.”

Loux said fall applications have become standard practice for many growers because the season presents an ideal application window for control of many species of weeds that are problematic in no-till production.

“We have fields that develop fall weed populations that survive the winter and then present problems in the spring,” he said. “So if we have annual weeds that emerge from late summer into fall, and some biennial weeds and some perennial species, late fall is an ideal time to control them.”… Continue reading

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ASA releases a farm bill proposal

The American Soybean Association released its proposal for the 2012 Farm Bill: “Risk Management for America’s Farmers.”

“This proposal will help farmers manage the risks they face from adverse weather, crop disease, and volatile commodity markets,” stated ASA President Alan Kemper. “ASA believes the current farm program safety net can be made more effective, efficient, and defensible by reallocating baseline funding to this revenue-based program that improves risk management and complements crop insurance.”

Because the proposal would replace current farm programs, this proposal would also result in savings that help agriculture contribute its fair share to deficit reduction.

The “Risk Management for America’s Farmers” program, (RMAF) would partially protect revenue losses by farmers of soybeans and other program commodities that result from low prices or reduced yields for their crops. The program would establish commodity-specific revenue benchmarks for individual farmers based on historical yields and prices, and compensate them for part of the difference when current-year revenue for a commodity on their farm falls below a percentage of the benchmark.… Continue reading

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ASA expresses concern with Senate action

The American Soybean Association expressed concern with the U.S. Senate’s action of taking up a cloture motion on the Brown-Schumer currency bill (S. 1619 the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act) on Monday afternoon, October 3.

ASA feels that S. 1619 could undermine the entire U.S. commercial relationship with China, the 3rd largest export market for U.S. goods valued at $69.7 billion, and the top customer for U.S. soybeans valued at $11.2 billion. Over one half of U.S. soybean exports are destined for China.

In a statement ASA said, “S. 1619 is the wrong tool to incentivize China to move rapidly to modify its exchange policies. Rather, it would likely have the opposite effect of inviting retaliation against U.S. exports into the Chinese market, currently the fastest-growing foreign market for U.S. soybeans. Passage of S. 1619 would be counterproductive and will not get us closer to the goal of achieving a market-driven exchange rate.… Continue reading

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Farmland Policy Innovation Center announces Community-Based Agricultural Economic Development Grants

Six projects have been awarded grants through the Farmland Protection Partnership Program sponsored to support community-based agricultural economic development planning projects in Ohio.

The program is coordinated by Ohio State University’s Center for Farmland Policy Innovation, housed in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. According to Jill Clark, director of the center, relatively few Ohio communities have ascertained community priorities and interest in the food and agricultural economic sector through a formal planning process, and integrated these priorities into plans for future development.

“Agriculture has long been a cornerstone of Ohio’s economy, and it is our hope that these grants will be used to foster new and innovative approaches to agriculture that will serve as an engine for Ohio’s agricultural future,” Clark said. “Planning projects are important to building a roadmap for future economic vitality, and we were pleased with the many strong applicants who offered creative ideas worthy of support.”… Continue reading

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Characteristics of a successful business

By Matt Reese

No matter what specific industry, there are a select few businesses that rise to the top. What separates these businesses from the rest? What do they have in common? What characteristics do those business owners possess? These answers to these questions has been a project of speaker Tom Shay, owner of Profits Plus Solutions for Small Businesses who advises business and delivers seminars around the country. These same answers can be helpful for farms and agribusinesses seeking success and inclusion in that elite group of top businesses in their field.

“Many of these traits are linked to one another and dependent upon one another, but most definitely they are traits of a successful business,” he said.

Shay is a fourth-generation businessman. His great-grandfather started G. W. Brown’s 3-in-1 — Convenience, Groceries, Gas in Fort Smith, Arkansas in the 1920s. Shay grew up working with his parents and grandparents in the family business and learned volumes about the factors for success in business.… Continue reading

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Majority of small grain-producing states had limited head scab

The majority (but not all) of U.S. wheat- and barley-producing states enjoyed a calm year in terms of Fusarium Head Blight incidence and severity. As always, growing season weather played an important role in disease incidence and severity, or lack thereof.

Commonly referred to as “scab,” Fusarium Head Blight, caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum, can produce significant yield losses, as well as serious grain quality issues due to the presence of the mycotoxin known as “DON” (deoxynivalenol).

A recent survey of university small grains specialists by the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative (USWBSI) found growers had very few problems with the disease this year in eastern states like New York, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. The exception was Pennsylvania, where central and southern wheat counties in particular incurred very serious levels of infection.

Southern states (Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas) reported low incidence of scab this year in their wheat crops, as growing season weather was not conducive to its development

Ohio’s wheat producers suffered high scab levels in 2010.… Continue reading

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OFBF sees membership growth

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has reached statewide membership gain with 214,391 members. It is the 43rd time in the past 44 years that the state’s largest farming and food organization has achieved membership growth.

Ohio Farm Bureau is an advocate for farmers and consumers, working in public policy, food and animal issues and communications. The organization works alongside county Farm Bureaus to serve their local communities and provides a variety of savings and incentive programs to its members.

OFBF accomplishments this year that helped build membership included repeal of Ohio’s estate tax, preservation of key farm and food funding in the state budget, assured protections for farm animals and their owners and enhanced environmental assistance.

Membership increased among both farmer members and associate members. Associates are members who are gardeners, food enthusiasts, enjoy agricultural experiences and can take advantage of the savings programs.

“Everything we accomplish in Farm Bureau, including membership growth, is because of our dedicated member-volunteers,” said John C.… Continue reading

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OSU Judging Team performs well at contest

More than 250 young livestock enthusiasts participated in the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Judging Contests held on September 25, 2011 at the Sherman Berg Arena of the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The contest was hosted by the Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Stock Show for Senior College, Junior College, and 4-H participants.

Participants evaluated live classes of cattle, sheep, swine and goats for market and breeding. This is the first time that The Ohio State University Judging Team has attended this contest. Ohio State placed 4th overall as a team and 1st overall for class placings. A total of 10 universities from across the country competed in the event. Team members included John Heins, Sidney, OH; Katy Shircliff, Atwater, OH; Caitlin Bushman, Pemberville, OH; Lynette Sell, Hanoverton, OH; Tyler Lones, Somerset, OH; Arlis Young, Glenford, OH; and Ty McGuire, Eaton, OH.

Two Ohio natives did well in the junior college division. Jared Wynn of Ashland, OH was high individual for the sophomore’s.… Continue reading

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RMAP offers funding for small business

A critical economic development program that provides financial assistance for rural entrepreneurs and small business owners is available to Ohioans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) provides loans and grants to local organizations that re-loan money from USDA to small business owners and entrepreneurs in rural communities.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs play an important role in the local economies of Ohio’s rural communities,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said.  “This funding gives Ohio’s economic development organizations resources to continue providing valuable assistance to create and sustain jobs throughout our state.”

RMAP funding may be used to provide fixed interest rate microloans to rural microentrepreneurs for startup and growing microenterprises. Some examples of eligible projects are: 

Loans for:

• Working capital

• Purchase of furniture, fixtures, supplies, inventory or equipment

• Debt refinancing

• Business acquisitions

• Purchase or lease of real estate that is already improved and will be used for the location of the subject business only (construction of any type is strictly prohibited)

Technical Assistance Grants (provision of education, guidance, or instruction to one or more rural microentrepreneurs):

• prepare them for self-employment;

• improve the state of their existing rural microenterprises;

• increase their capacity in a specific technical aspect of the subject business;

• and assist a rural microentrepreneur in achieving a degree of business preparedness and/or functions that will allow them to obtain or have the ability to obtain business loans independently.… Continue reading

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Be on the lookout for stalk rots

By John Brien, AgriGold agronomist, CCA

Thanks to the ever-challenging growing environment in the Eastern Corn Belt in 2011, many fields are beginning to show symptoms of stalk rots. Pollination and grain fill puts a tremendous demand on the corn plant. Fields that have been put under a number of stresses are having a hard time keeping up with the photosynthetic demands of the ear. Plants that are unable to keep up with the demand will resort to pulling stored carbohydrates from the stalks and roots and moving it to the developing ears. The reallocation of carbohydrates is the driving factor to stalk rots moving into many corn fields.

The pathogens that cause stalk rots are weak and opportunistic pathogens. Being weak and opportunistic means that stalk rots very seldom affect healthy, non-stressed corn, but instead attack corn plants that have a weakened defense system or are under some other stress.… Continue reading

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OEFFA tour heads to Local Roots Market

The next stop on OEFFA’s 2011 farm tour  series will be in Wooster, Ohio (Wayne Co.) at Local Roots Market and South Market Bistro on Saturday, October 1 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Join market manager Jessica Eikleberry for a tour of Local Roots Market, a year-round local food market that innovatively connects consumers with producers. All products at Local Roots Market are produced in Ohio and sold on consignment with 90 percent of the  sales going to the producer. Expect to see fresh produce, baked goods, frozen meats, dairy, grains, and much more from over 100 local producers!

Then, join the tour group  for an afternoon treat at South Market Bistro, where special arrangements have been made for tour participants. The bistro sources Local Roots Market products for their menu, showcasing locally-grown ingredients.

This tour is free and open to the  public. No registration is necessary.

For a complete description of the farm tour, including directions and a map, go to reading

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Ohio Crop Progress Report – September 26th



The average temperature for the State was 63.0 degrees, 2.3 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, September 25, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.30 inches, 0.57 inches above normal. There were 85 modified growing degree days, 3 days below normal. Reporters rated 2.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, September 23, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 25 percent surplus.


Fields remain wet from continuing rains. Field activities included fall tillage, spreading manure, spraying lime, and installing field tile.

As of Sunday September 25th, corn dented was 84 percent, compared to 96 percent for the five-year average. Corn mature was 19 percent, compared to 83 percent last year and 53 percent for the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain was one percent complete, compared to 22 percent last year and eight percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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