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USDA AgrAbility Grants expand access to farming for the disabled

Responding to the needs of a growing population of farmers and ranchers living with a disability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded 23 grants to organizations to help thousands of people with disabilities continue their chosen agricultural professions. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants, totaling $4.1 million, through the AgrAbility program. Fiscal Year 2011 grant recipients include Ohio State University that received $180,000
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“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all Americans devoted to agriculture, U.S. agriculture is a bright spot in our economy and provides a livelihood for 1 in 12 Americans,” said Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Nearly 2 million individuals working in agriculture in the United States live with a disability that affects their work and daily life. The AgrAbility program provides these producers with the training and resources they need to remain profitable, to maintain their quality of life, and to continue to contribute to our nation’s supply of food, feed, fiber and fuel.”… Continue reading

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Boosting the solar power of corn

By Dave Nanda, Seed Consultants, Inc.

These days we hear a lot about reducing the use of fossil fuels and producing more clean energy by solar panels or wind machines. However, I don’t know of a better system than the corn plant that not only captures sunlight efficiently and simultaneously reduces carbon dioxide and gives us oxygen so we can breathe. A very small percentage of the solar energy is captured by the plants; most of it is either wasted on the ground or is reflected back. So what can we do to make a more efficient use of this free energy?

Our corn breeders have been collecting germplasm from all over the world and developing superior hybrids for a long time. We have designed hybrids with upright leaves, which can capture more sunlight and also allow the lower leaves to receive and trap greater amounts of light. These hybrids may also be planted at higher populations.… Continue reading

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Zinc's role in corn production

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Zinc is a micronutrient, meaning it is needed in very small amounts by the corn plant. Actually the amount is measured in ounces per acre instead of the normal pounds per acre of other major nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium. A 150-bushel corn crop is known to remove only 0.25 pounds of zinc. Even though zinc is needed in small amounts, it has a huge impact on how a corn plant grows and ultimately how much yield is produced. In a study performed by the University of Nebraska on a low zinc testing soil showed a 53-bushel increase in yield by adding one pound of zinc to a starter.

Zinc plays a critical role in the following systems of a corn plant:

• Aids in the synthesis (production) of growth hormones and proteins.

• It is needed in the production of chlorophyll and carbohydrate metabolism.… Continue reading

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Zinc’s role in corn production

By John Brien, CCA, AgriGold regional agronomist

Zinc is a micronutrient, meaning it is needed in very small amounts by the corn plant. Actually the amount is measured in ounces per acre instead of the normal pounds per acre of other major nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium. A 150-bushel corn crop is known to remove only 0.25 pounds of zinc. Even though zinc is needed in small amounts, it has a huge impact on how a corn plant grows and ultimately how much yield is produced. In a study performed by the University of Nebraska on a low zinc testing soil showed a 53-bushel increase in yield by adding one pound of zinc to a starter.

Zinc plays a critical role in the following systems of a corn plant:

• Aids in the synthesis (production) of growth hormones and proteins.

• It is needed in the production of chlorophyll and carbohydrate metabolism.… Continue reading

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U.S. and EU reach agreement on organic trade

A historic new partnership between the United States and the European Union announced last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture means that organic foods certified in the U.S. can be sold in Europe for the first time — a move that could provide new market opportunities for Ohio growers.

The agreement, which now makes the $26.7 billion U.S. organic market functionally equivalent to Europe’s organic market, means organic growers nationwide no longer have to comply with often-contradictory rules setting different organic standards for each country.

This important step is built upon years of progress in organic agriculture.

“Ten years have passed since the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its National Organic Program (NOP). You may recognize the ‘USDA Organic’ seal on thousands of fruits, vegetables, meat or other goods you can buy at the local market. The program combines detailed organic standards with a rigorous oversight and enforcement system. It also provides access to the U.S.… Continue reading

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2011 Ohio corn and soybean yield numbers by county

The Ohio office of the National Ag Statistics Service has released the 2011 production yield report for Ohio by county.

The top corn producing counties:

1) Darke
2) Wood
3) Madison

The top soybean producing counties:

1) Wood
2) Putnam
3) Hancock

Where did your county rank? Check out the complete reports for rankings and production totals.

2011 Ohio corn yields by county

2011 Ohio soybean yields by countyContinue reading

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Weed resistance on the rise

Weeds resistant to individual families of chemistry are commonplace and have been for more than 20 years, but how can farmers best manage the challenge when a weed is resistant to more than one herbicide?

Multiple-mode-of-action resistance is a challenge farmers could be facing when it comes to tough weeds like waterhemp and ragweed. Whether it is ALS or glyphosate, farmers are finding weeds that are resistant to multiple herbicide modes of action, making management a bigger challenge.

When a herbicide is used on any given weed population, there may be a few plants that have a natural resistance to it. When a herbicide is used in a repetitive manner without other herbicides or management tactics, farmers may be selecting for the weeds carrying the resistance, even if they don’t know it at the time. Once this has developed, you have to manage around the issue as if it were a “new” weed requiring different control practices.… Continue reading

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Long-term world wheat demand projected to rise

In the next few months, wheat markets look gloomy, at best. Longer term, however, many experts are painting a brighter picture for world wheat demand. In the next 10 years, developing countries with rising incomes and growing populations will drive wheat industry growth, but U.S. market share is expected to decline due to rising Black Sea wheat production and trade, according to USDA’s Agricultural Long-term Projections Report. In the annual report, USDA predicts that annual world wheat imports will reach 157 MMT by marketing year 2021/22, which is 15% greater than the 2011/12 estimate of 137 MMT.

According to USDA’s projections, the 15 countries of the Economic Community of West African States will have the largest increase in wheat imports for any region, growing 31% to 8.2 MMT. The report projects imports by Middle East countries, excluding Egypt, will rise 24% to 19.6 MMT. Together, the West Africa and Middle East countries will account for 51% of the total expected increase in world trade in the next 10 years.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo coming soon

 

March 16marks the first day of the celebration of the 25th Ohio Beef Expo. The three-day event takes place March 16 – 18 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, and is the premier event of Ohio’s Beef Industry. This year’s schedule includes breed sales, shows, educational seminars, trade show and a highly competitive junior show. Attendees will also be able to take part in a silent auction and social hour on Friday and Saturday.

The trade show, kicking off the Expo at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, will run throughout the event and features more than 100 exhibitors from 15 states. An array of educational seminars will also begin on Friday morning. The seminars will be offered throughout the day on Friday and Sunday, giving producers an opportunity to gain useful knowledge from industry experts about advancements and current trends. Information provided will allow producers to better their own operations in areas such as marketing and herd management.… Continue reading

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OFBF seeking comments on child labor

For many, farming is a family tradition, involving two, three or more generations as well as extended family. But proposed Department of Labor requirements for farm employers and restrictions on what youth can do on the farm would put that tradition at risk. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Department of Labor’s proposed rules will:

• Severely narrow a decades old exemption that allows your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and neighbors to work on their family farm. The Department of Labor is trying to narrow the application of the parental exemption by preventing any family-owned corporation, LLC, or partnership from qualifying for the exemption.  Unfortunately, this limitation ignores how modern agriculture is structured.  Oftentimes, to keep the farm in the family, families will structure the farm in such a way so nieces, nephews, and siblings own a substantial share of the farm.

• Eliminate the opportunity for our youth to learn essential skills through 4-H, FFA, and cooperative extension training and certification programs.… Continue reading

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Expert panel reviews “hidden camera” video

Hidden camera investigations at livestock farms have heightened public attention on animal care issues. In an effort to foster a more balanced conversation and to provide credible feedback to promote continuous improvement in farm animal care, the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) has created an Animal Care Review panel.

The Panel, made up of recognized animal well-being experts, will examine video footage and report back to the public. The process has been established initially for the pork industry but CFI is willing to engage with other sectors of animal agriculture as they show interest.

The Panel will include an animal scientist, a veterinarian and an ethicist to assure various perspectives are represented. CFI is recruiting several experts to participate in the process, but for the video investigation at a swine operation in Iowa released last week by Compassion Over Killing, the panel is comprised of Dr. Temple Grandin, Colorado State University; Dr.… Continue reading

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Federal agencies seek to boost rural economy

Obama Administration officials announced three significant actions directed at rural America: expand the government’s purchase of biobased products, promote regional rural job creation efforts, and develop a rural healthcare workforce.

“My Administration is committed to using every tool available to promote economic growth and create good jobs in rural America,” said President Barack Obama. “Today’s announcements reflect our continued focus on expanding opportunity for rural Americans and all Americans, including supporting new and innovative businesses, and improving rural health care and education.”

The bioproducts portion of the announcement is a significant move to examine federal purchasing procedures to ensure the use of bio-based products. With the announcement, the Obama Administration is calling on federal agencies to follow Executive Order 1314, which requires sustainable acquisition goals and milestones to be reported annually and also requires agencies to ensure that 95% of new contracts for products and services advance sustainable acquisition.

Additionally, the announcement directs the Secretary of Agriculture to increase bio-based products in the program by 50% in one year and requires the U.S.… Continue reading

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Land conservation could get a boost from Congress

Richard and Nancy Montgomery and their son, Jeff Montgomery, have conserved 653 acres of productive farmland in Knox County’s Milford Township where they have been involved in dairying and productive row cropping since 1968. The Montgomerys worked with the Owl Creek Conservancy to develop land-protecting conservation easements for their four farms to assure the permanent use of their land for agriculture.

The Montgomerys granted conservation easements to the Conservancy on more than a square mile of productive farm fields in the past year.

“Our kids and grandkids cannot have the life we have had, if our productive agricultural land is used for houses,” Richard Montgomery said.

Similar efforts could be more viable in the future for Ohio farms with some help from the Conservation Easement Incentive Act that over 300 U.S. Representatives, including Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), have co-sponsored. H.R. 1964 makes permanent a recently expired tax incentive that helps land conservancies work with modest income landowners to conserve important natural resources in our community.… Continue reading

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Tips for contending with emergence issues this spring

As spring emerges, so can emergence issues if growers don’t focus on mitigating the stresses of early planting and high residue, according to experts from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. 


Early planting can be appealing to growers with many acres to plant who want to get ahead of spring rains like those in 2011. In addition, early planting can provide potential benefits, such as more time for crop development and the potential to help reduce the effects of mid-summer droughts in some years.

“Predicting the best time to plant can be tricky, as each growing season provides unique environmental challenges,” said Imad Saab, Pioneer research scientist in crop genetics, research and development. “Emergence can be delayed or reduced if planting conditions are less than ideal, and this commonly leads to yield loss for the grower.” 


To maximize emergence, Saab recommends growers avoid planting until soil temperatures are 50 degrees or more, and preferably with a near-term warming trend.… Continue reading

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IPM workshop for specialty crops

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ohio State University’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program are teaming up to offer a workshop on IPM conservation plan writing for specialty crop growers, March 14, in London.

“This workshop is designed for certified crop advisors, independent crop consultants and technical service providers who have an interest and preferably some experience working with vegetable, tree fruit or small fruit production,” said Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator and IPM specialist. “Once trained, these individuals will be hired by and work directly with the producer to develop a site- and crop-specific IPM conservation plan for that operation.”

For the past three years, specialty crop growers have been eligible to compete for NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funds, which provide financial assistance to help them adopt specific IPM practices on their farms. NRCS is encouraging more specialty crop growers to apply for these funds and have an IPM conservation plan written to accompany their EQIP applications.… Continue reading

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OEFFA recognizes Peach Mountain Organics

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has bestowed its highest honor, the Stewardship Award, to Doug Seibert and Leslie Garcia of Greene County. The announcement was made on Saturday, February 18 as part of OEFFA’s 33rd annual conference, Sowing the Seeds of Our Food Sovereignty. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community.”

Doug and Leslie have farmed organically at Peach Mountain Organics since 1992, growing certified organic mixed vegetables, microgreens, fresh-cut flowers, mushrooms, hay, and greenhouse plants. They sell their products at the Yellow Springs Farmers’ Market, local restaurants, and grocery and health food stores.

The Greene County-based Peach Mountain Organics currently has two farm sites and one half-acre greenhouse location in Spring Valley, Ohio. Altogether, the operation is 43 acres, more than 25 of which are certified organic.

“Leslie and Doug’s energy and skill with commercial-scale, organic growing is an inspiration for many of us,” said Steve Edwards, who serves on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees and presented the award at the Saturday

evening ceremony.… Continue reading

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OABA meets with nation’s lawmakers

Ohio AgriBusiness Association president and CEO Chris Henney and Board Chairman Herb Mayer joined other state and national organizations in Washington, D.C. for the 2012 State Agribusiness D.C. Fly-In.

Henney and Mayer joined other state and national organizations — including the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), CropLife America (CLA), National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) — in discussions with our nation’s elected leaders.

Henney and Mayer met personally with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, as well as senior majority and minority staff from the Senate Agriculture Committee. While in D.C., Henney and Mayer also participated in the ARA Board Meeting, during which U.S. Rep. Gibbs was awarded the Agricultural Retailers Association Legislator of the Year Award.

“We are really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with our U.S.… Continue reading

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OABA meets with nation's lawmakers

Ohio AgriBusiness Association president and CEO Chris Henney and Board Chairman Herb Mayer joined other state and national organizations in Washington, D.C. for the 2012 State Agribusiness D.C. Fly-In.

Henney and Mayer joined other state and national organizations — including the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), CropLife America (CLA), National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) — in discussions with our nation’s elected leaders.

Henney and Mayer met personally with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, as well as senior majority and minority staff from the Senate Agriculture Committee. While in D.C., Henney and Mayer also participated in the ARA Board Meeting, during which U.S. Rep. Gibbs was awarded the Agricultural Retailers Association Legislator of the Year Award.

“We are really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with our U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohioans win at National Farm Machinery Show tractor pull

At the tractor pulls at the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show three Ohio drivers won their classes.

On Thursday evening in the 6,200-pound 2-WD Super Modified Truck class Jeff Whitsel of Orient won with At It Again pulling 239.56. In the 9,300-pound Super Farm Tractors with a pull of 246.20, Julia Conny of Beloit took first place honors with Mac Daddy. They were each awarded $2,000 in prize money and a trophy.

On Saturday night Danny Schmucker of Louisville won the 10,200-pound Pro Stock Tractor Class with Rampage with a full pull of 248.15. He was awarded $4,200 and a crystal cup.

Others from Ohio placed well, which you can see in the complete results.Continue reading

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EPA decision on study clears hurdle for higher ethanol blend

The U.S. ethanol industry came one step closer today to seeing low-cost, renewable E15 sold into the American fuels marketplace with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s evaluation of the health effects of E15, as part of Growth Energy’s three-year-old petition to approve sale of the mid-level ethanol blend.


“For three years Growth Energy has led the effort to clear the way for consumers to have access to affordable, renewable and cleaner-burning fuel. Now it is up to the retailers and individual fuel companies to register for approval to sell E15. With ethanol selling an average of 76 cents a gallon cheaper than gasoline and $4 a gallon gasoline on the horizon, we’d encourage all Americans to ask their local filling station how soon they will see more-affordable E15,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

Growth Energy first filed its petition seeking federal approval to increase blends of ethanol in fuel from the current 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15) in March 2009.… Continue reading

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