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New requirements aim to improve Bt corn refuge compliance

In an effort to improve Bt corn refuge compliance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  mandated new requirements as part of the Bt corn re-registration process this past fall. The Bt corn registrants are incorporating these new requirements (outlined below) into their Compliance Assurance Programs for the 2011 growing season:

•          On-farm refuge compliance assessments will be conducted by an independent third-party and will be focused on (i) areas of highest risk of insect pest resistance development and (ii) growers who did not buy sufficient refuge seed from the Bt corn registrant.

•          Growers found to be out of compliance with the refuge requirements (i) now have a higher probability of losing access to Bt corn if compliance is not established and maintained and (ii) will be checked more frequently by the Bt corn registrants.

•          Seed bag tags will better depict refuge size requirements

Under the Compliance Assurance Program, thousands of growers are surveyed about their IRM compliance practices each year through EPA mandated on-farm assessments. … Continue reading

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Flames Engulf Egg Farm Barn

A fire destroyed at least one barn early Saturday morning at an egg farm in Licking County.

Firefighters from several departments were called to the Ohio Fresh Eggs complex, located near the corner of Croton and Benner roads in Johnstown, at about 6:30am

Several residents captured pictures of flames engulfing a barn there. This picture is courtesy of Leslie BeVier.

A company spokeswoman said a heater inside one of the barns may have started the fire, according to Columbus TV station WBNS.

The spokeswoman said no chickens were inside the barn and no injuries were reported.… Continue reading

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NASCAR season powered by ethanol is almost here

As the 2011 NASCAR season launches with a new, greener fuel, the nation’s corn growers are joining forces with NASCAR to promote the use of corn-based American ethanol. As an Official Partner of NASCAR, The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) will leverage its relationship to spread the message to NASCAR fans around the country about the role American farmers play in the development of ethanol.

In December 2010, NASCAR unveiled its landmark partnership with American Ethanol just weeks after announcing a 2011 switch in its three major national series to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15% ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States. Growth Energy, a leading ethanol advocacy organization, created the American Ethanol partnership to push for broad acceptance of a renewable domestic fuel for all American motorists.

“We’re greatly excited about this opportunity to help educate NASCAR fans at the race tracks and around the country about the great work of our corn growers in feeding and fueling the world,” said Darrin Ihnen, NCGA Chairman, a family farmer from Hurley, S.D.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen's King Recongized for Excellence in Communications

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recognized three communications professionals for their work in 2010 advocating for the U.S. beef industry. Specifically, NCBA awarded Jamie King, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) communications director, and Eric Grant, manager of Angus Publications, Inc., with the Excellence in Communications and Public Relations award and Ron Hays with the Radio Oklahoma Network with the Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award.

“Day in and day out, communicators like Jamie, Eric and Ron go to work to tell the story of the U.S. beef industry. Whether they are keeping producers informed about market shifts or policy changes, or educating consumers about the realities of modern beef production, our industry relies on timely and accurate delivery of information,” NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said. “While there are many folks deserving of recognition for their hard work, these three communicators have gone above and beyond in their efforts telling the true story about the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s King Recongized for Excellence in Communications

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recognized three communications professionals for their work in 2010 advocating for the U.S. beef industry. Specifically, NCBA awarded Jamie King, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) communications director, and Eric Grant, manager of Angus Publications, Inc., with the Excellence in Communications and Public Relations award and Ron Hays with the Radio Oklahoma Network with the Excellence in Agricultural Journalism award.

“Day in and day out, communicators like Jamie, Eric and Ron go to work to tell the story of the U.S. beef industry. Whether they are keeping producers informed about market shifts or policy changes, or educating consumers about the realities of modern beef production, our industry relies on timely and accurate delivery of information,” NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said. “While there are many folks deserving of recognition for their hard work, these three communicators have gone above and beyond in their efforts telling the true story about the U.S.… Continue reading

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Record number of OSU talks at Ohio organic food, farm conference

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will hold Ohio’s biggest conference on organic and sustainable agriculture next month, and Ohio State University will be well represented there. Ohio State scientists, specialists and students will give 19 presentations –the most ever from the university — as part of the program.

OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference takes place Feb. 19-20 in Granville in central Ohio. “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities” is the theme.

“Our conference title says a lot about what we believe and what we’re trying to accomplish,” OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland said. “People who attend the conference are so moved by the inspiring examples of innovation and stewardship they learn from presenters and fellow participants.”

The Ohio State presenters are from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its research and outreach arms, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.

The college is home to such programs as the Sustainable Agriculture Team, the Agroecosystems Management Program, and the Organic Food and Farm Education and Research (OFFER) Program.… Continue reading

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Economic injury levels and economic thresholds

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

The concept of economic injury levels (EILs) is the critical idea in integrated pest management (IPM). The general definition of the EIL is that point when economic damage that occurs from insect injury equals the cost of managing that insect population.  In a word, it is the breakeven point.  Damage that occurs below that point is not worth the cost of preventing it; the cost of the insecticide application would be greater than the damage you would be preventing.

We determine EILs by taking into effect the value of the product (such as $ per bushel), the cost of insecticide treatment (such as $ per acre), and how much crop damage is caused by a certain amount of insect injury.   While the former two values are easy to determine or predict, the latter two, insect injury and damage, comes from many years of research.  … Continue reading

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USDA announces planting transferabilty pilot project

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Planting Transferability Pilot Project (PTPP) permits Ohio producers to plant approved vegetables for processing on base acres under the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP) or Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE). Eligible producers have until March 1, 2011 to sign-up for the PTPP program. USDA will not accept any late filed applications.

“PTPP offers producers the opportunity to diversify their crop production and better use their base acres. This project supports state farmers with additional sources of revenue and the production of healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Steve Maurer, Ohio FSA State Executive Director.

PTPP allows producers to plant approved fruits or vegetables for processing on a farm’s base acres. Approved plantings include cucumbers, green peas, lima beans, pumpkin, snap beans, sweet corn or tomatoes. Without the PTPP, planting these crops on base acres would be prohibited. Base acres on a farm will be temporarily reduced each year on an acre-for-acre basis, for each base acre planted with an approved fruit or vegetable on that farm.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Association and Ohio Soybean Council proud of 2010 accomplishments

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) and the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) worked to improve profitability and awareness of the industry in 2010 and numerous successes were achieved.

OSC and the soybean checkoff focused on research, development, promotion and education initiatives, while OSA worked in areas that included producer education and policy development.  Because checkoff dollars cannot be used for legislative activities, this partnership will continue to play an important role in keeping Ohio’s 26,000 soybean farmers profitable in an increasingly competitive industry.

Below are some examples of their success in 2010:

Soy bioproducts: More than a decade ago, OSC and its partner, Battelle, began the development of a soy-based toner. In 2010, this technology made it to the campus of The Ohio State University (OSU). The toner was adopted into many of the printers on campus, making the university one of the leading users of soy-based toner in the nation.

OSC also launched a consumer-friendly, interactive website this year (www.soyinside.orgContinue reading

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Spring Beekeeping Workshop to be Held March 4-5 in Wooster

Ohio State University Extension and the Tri-County Beekeepers Association of Northeastern Ohio will hold their 33rd Annual Spring Beekeeping Workshop the evening of Friday, March 4, and all day Saturday, March 5, at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) Wooster campus. 

The largest one-day beekeeping workshop in the United States (over 900 people attended in 2010), this year’s event will have as its theme “Honey Bees-Back from the Brink.” All events will take place at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster.

Pre-registration fee is $35 per adult over 17; walk-in registration is $45; Tri-County Beekeepers Association members pay $30 for pre-registration; and youth, ages 17 and under, pay $5. Vendor registration is $75 per table and includes one person’s registration. A hot turkey lunch with mashed potatoes, vegetable and homemade pie or a boxed lunch will be offered for an additional charge with pre-registration only. 

Friday evening’s program begins at 7 p.m.… Continue reading

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Action alert from OFBF on Ohio's estate tax

Ohio Farm Bureau is encouraging members to contact their state legislators about Ohio’s estate tax. Elimination of the state estate tax, coupled with significant federal estate tax reforms, will allow additional generations to keep their land in farming, strengthen the rural economy and preserve Ohio’s agricultural heritage.

For more, visit: http://ofbf.org/news-and-events/news/1168/.… Continue reading

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Action alert from OFBF on Ohio’s estate tax

Ohio Farm Bureau is encouraging members to contact their state legislators about Ohio’s estate tax. Elimination of the state estate tax, coupled with significant federal estate tax reforms, will allow additional generations to keep their land in farming, strengthen the rural economy and preserve Ohio’s agricultural heritage.

For more, visit: http://ofbf.org/news-and-events/news/1168/.… Continue reading

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New Dietary Guidelines help Americans make healthier food choices, including meats and dairy

It is no secret that Americans are overweight and out of shape, which makes guidelines for good nutrition more important than ever. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) team up every so often to revise the dietary guidelines for Americans that rely on science, and not health gimmicks or fads, to form the basis for a healthy lifestyle.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the HHS Kathleen Sebelius recently announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government’s evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.… Continue reading

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GROWMARK acquires S.H. Bell terminals

Bloomington, Illinois-based GROWMARK, Inc., today announced it acquired the Little England terminal in East Liverpool, Ohio from S.H. Bell Company. The property is located northeast of GROWMARK’s current operation and has direct access to the Ohio River.

The transaction includes a river unloading cell, storage facilities, an office, scale, and crane. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Rod Wells, director, agronomy sales and operations, said the acquisition will enhance current operations, provide additional storage capacity, and improve overall operational efficiency.

“This will also give us another option to offload barges at East Liverpool, which is a high volume facility. Additionally, this will enhance our service to customers and those who are responsible for shipping product by truck from East Liverpool,” he said.

Wells noted the purchase is an additional component of a major upgrade to the East Liverpool facility, which began two years ago with the addition of new unloading equipment at the original Ohio River site.… Continue reading

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Phosphorus in Lake Erie will likely mean changes for ag

By Matt Reese

Ohio is unbelievably fortunate to have Lake Erie, the richest, most productive and most biologically diverse of the Great Lakes.

“Lake Erie is one of the most important lakes in the world,” said Jeff Reutter, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie. “Lake Erie produces more fish for human consumption than the other four Great Lakes combined.”

Lake Superior has around 50% of the water and 2% of the fish of all the Great Lakes, while Lake Erie has 2% of the water and 50% of the fish. Reutter also pointed out that Lake Erie supplies drinking water for 11 million people, has more than 20 power plants, and a $1 billion sport fishery. In addition, Lake Erie is the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes, and the watershed is dominated by cities and agriculture, so it gets more sediment, more fertilizer and sewage and more pesticides.… Continue reading

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Do higher corn populations need more N?

By Robert Mullen and Greg LaBarge, Ohio State University Extension

We wrote an article discussing this issue last May, but we thought we would provide an update based upon information from the previous cropping season. As producers consider (or continue) pushing higher seeding rates for corn, the question often asked is, “Do I need to push higher N rates to exploit the higher seeding rates for more yield?”  Intuitively, it may seem logical that a higher population would require more N, but the scientific data being collected does not necessarily support the concept. Ohio State University has been conducting field research the last five years at the Northwest Research Station near Custar to determine if higher seeding rates require a higher N rate to achieve maximum yield.  Two different cropping rotations were evaluated – corn after corn and corn after soybeans. The two seeding rates used were 30,000 and 40,000 seeds/acre (in 2006 the highest seeding rate was 36,000).… Continue reading

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Wheat resistance genes failing, new approach needed to stop flies

Many of the genes that allow wheat to ward off Hessian flies are no longer effective in the southeastern United States, and care should be taken to ensure that resistance genes that so far haven’t been utilized in commercial wheat lines are used prudently, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture and Purdue University scientists.

An analysis of wheat lines carrying resistance genes from dozens of locations throughout the Southeast showed that some give little or no resistance to the Hessian fly, a major pest of wheat that can cause millions of dollars in damage to wheat crops each year. Others, even those considered the most effective, are allowing wheat to become susceptible to the fly larvae, which feed on and kill the plants.

Wheat resistance genes recognize avirulent Hessian flies and activate a defense response that kills the fly larvae attacking the plant. However, this leads to strains of the fly that can overcome resistant wheat, much like insects becoming resistant to pesticides.… Continue reading

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USDA announces decision to fully deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced its decision to grant non-regulated status for alfalfa that has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide commercially known as Roundup.

“After conducting a thorough and transparent examination of alfalfa through a multi-alternative environmental impact statement (EIS) and several public comment opportunities, APHIS has determined that Roundup Ready alfalfa is as safe as traditionally bred alfalfa,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “All of the alfalfa production stakeholders involved in this issue have stressed their willingness to work together to find solutions. We greatly appreciate and value the work they’ve done so far and will continue to provide support to the wide variety of sectors that make American agriculture successful.”

After releasing a final EIS in December 2010, USDA took another step to ensure that this issue received the broadest examination before making its final decision. USDA brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss feasible strategies for coexistence between genetically engineered (GE), organic, and other non-GE stakeholders.… Continue reading

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Improper cow nutrition proves costly for beef producers

Thin cows can be economically devastating as beef producers head into spring calving season, said Purdue Extension beef specialist Ron Lemenager.

“Spring calving cows need to be in moderate body condition at the time of calving because it has a pretty significant effect on how quickly these cows will return to estrus after calving, and subsequently, when or if they conceive,” he said. “If cows are thin at calving, producers can expect long postpartum intervals, which means they will calve later the following season.”

That means instead of having a 365-day calving interval, producers may face 13-14 month intervals and, ultimately, a loss of productivity.

Thin cows also tend to have lower colostrum quality, which means calves aren’t able to develop the passive immunity they need to protect them against disease, cold stress and other stress factors.

“In addition, these thin cows are going to have lower milk production, resulting in lighter weaning weights of their offspring,” Lemenager said.… Continue reading

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