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The Christmas choice

By Tim Reeves, the Country Chaplain

A little over a year ago, I spent two weeks in the Holy Land on a combination sabbatical and visitation. Two dozen other pastors who like me who had also never visited the Holy Land were my traveling companions. We spent one week in Galilee and one week in Jerusalem.

As part of the Jerusalem leg, we spent a day in Bethlehem, the city of the Christmas story. We learned a great deal more about the real Christmas story than what we in the Western world know and imagine. We learned that some of the cherished images and stories of that first Christmas, which we hold so dear, are simply not true. However, what we learned makes the story even that much more personal.

For one, the shepherds were not grazing their sheep out on the hillsides at night. Nighttime grazing was not the common shepherding practice of that day.… Continue reading

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Great Lakes Professional Cattle Feeding and Marketing Short-course

The 2011 Great Lakes Professional Cattle Feeding and Marketing Short-course will be held January 19 and February 2 at the Wood County Junior Fair Building in Bowling Green Ohio. This short course is a joint effort of Ohio State University Extension, Michigan State University, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture to enhance the cattle industry in the Eastern Corn Belt.

The industry is implementing programs to maintain consumer confidence in the product produced in our facilities. One of these programs is audits conducted by third party entities on animal care and environmental compliance. The first session will discuss the framework for an audit for your feedlot. Other topics for the first session include animal health, and maximum dietary levels of distiller’s grain with solubles. The impacts of globalization and projections of $10/bu corn have created uncertainty about the future trends in our industry. The second session will address these trends.

Registration and refreshments will be provided beginning at 6 p.m.… Continue reading

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Publication helps ag retailers improve customer service

Excellent customer service is invaluable in any business, and agriculture is no exception. Purdue Extension provides tips for maintaining good customer relations in “An Agricultural Retailer’s Guide to Customer Care.”

The publication is geared toward agricultural retailers who sell to growers and specifically to those who provide production supplies such as chemicals, seed and fuel for farm operations, said Scott Downey, associate director of the Purdue-based Center for Food and Agricultural Business.

“One of the things that’s hard for small organizations is finding resources that are prepared well and customized for their industry,” he said. “This is created with the agricultural retailer in mind. They don’t have to pick up a business book and try to tailor it toward their needs.”

In addition to discussing the relationship between agricultural retailers and farmers, the publication reviews the importance of being responsive to changes in farm operations and maintaining customer loyalty.

“Everybody within the organization is responsible for relationships with customers,” Downey said.… Continue reading

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Soil is an overlooked resource

Advances in genetics and traits promise to accelerate yield increases in U.S. corn and soybeans. Some even say yields will double by 2030. But what’s often missing from the conversation is the critical role of soils.
Soil scientists remind us that even the most elite crop varieties need well-managed soils to provide the nutrients and water essential for high yields.
“U.S. corn and soybean farmers already are feeding whole nations,” said Jennifer Shaw, head of sustainability with Syngenta. “As we coax even more yield from every acre, soil health will become just as important as crop health in our drive to double food, feed and fiber production.”
Soils in the Corn Belt are among the world’s most productive, but they are degrading at a rate that will affect productivity unless we reverse the trend, points out Kendall Lamkey, agronomy chair with Iowa State University. Despite major gains in soil conservation, Iowa leads the nation in soil loss by water.… Continue reading

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NCBA Opposes Nomination of Ohio Judge with Ties to Animal Activists

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today, Dec. 21, 2010, sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposing the nomination of Judge Benita Pearson to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said Pearson’s connections to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), an organization that advocates giving animals the same legal rights as humans, would make it difficult for her to be an impartial judge in cases regarding actions by animal rights activists.

“Beef cattle producers face enough challenges today from agenda-driven activist organizations whose sole purpose is to end animal agriculture and change the 234-year old fabric of our great nation. The last thing they need is a judge furthering this agenda for well-funded animal rights activist organizations like ALDF and the Humane Society of the U.S. by legislating from the bench,” Woodall said.… Continue reading

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2010 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest winners announced

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) announced the winners of the 2010 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest during the Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium in Lima. This was the first year for the statewide contest and entries surpassed expectations with more than 137 applicants.

There were six yield categories available and the quality category of the contest was based on highest percentages of oil and protein.

“We were very pleased by the response and excitement we received from Ohio farmers about the contest this year,” said Jeff Wuebker, president of OSA and Darke County soybean farmer. “We had some great yields and quality results from the entries and we hope to have even more entries next year.”

This year’s Overall State Yield Champion was Don Jackson from Preble County.  Jackson recorded a yield of 81.699 with Seed Consultants 9360 variety.

The complete list of yield and quality winners is listed below:

Yield Results

Conventional Tillage                                             Yield                           Variety

Don Jackson (Preble Co.)                           … Continue reading

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HSUS teams up with Forever 21

By Amanda Radke, Beef Daily

Christmas may be just around the corner, but agriculture advocacy never takes a holiday. This just in: Forever 21, a popular clothing store for teens and 20-somethings, is now supporting the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), the richest anti-animal agriculture organization in America. This is a call-to-action. I hope you will join me in writing to the company and letting them know how you feel.

This sign was discovered in New York by Dustin Homan, an agriculture leadership student at The Ohio State University. The photo was then posted on Facebook by his fellow classmate and Simmental breeder, Emily Brinkman. The sign reads, “With your purchase of this T-shirt, Forever 21 will make a $1.00 donation to HSUS. We and all our furry friends thank you!”

While I don’t think a boycott of the company is necessary, I do believe it’s critically important to educate this clothing store about the true agenda of HSUS, which is, of course, to abolish animal agriculture and eliminate consumers’ choice to put meat, dairy and eggs on the dinner table.… Continue reading

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Legitimacy of EPA Total Maximum Daily Load rule called into question

The Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council (ANPC), a coalition of agricultural groups, released a third party report last month conducted by LimnoTech that raises significant questions about the data used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule. In a report, “Assessment of the Effects of Conservation Practices on Cultivated Cropland in the Chesapeake Bay Region,” developed by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), very different estimates of pollutant loads to the Chesapeake Bay are reported compared to EPA’s data.

“Basically, we have two different agencies in this administration studying the same thing but yielding completely different results,” said Ashley Lyon, deputy environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “USDA’s report clearly shows that farmers and ranchers have already significantly surpassed EPA targets for reductions in sediment and phosphorus.”

The LimnoTech report found many discrepancies between USDA’s report and EPA’s data.… Continue reading

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Ohio farm projects receive waste to value awards

Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel has announced that 11 Ohio projects will receive $10 million in grant awards funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s State Energy Program

The funds will be used to convert feedstocks, such as municipal solid wastes, food and farm wastes, or other biomass or waste materials, to electricity, heat, fuel and/or other bio-products.

“These funds give businesses the ability to literally convert waste into economic value,” Patt-McDaniel said. “This program does more than offer businesses an opportunity to grow and prosper: it accelerates Ohio’s position as an advanced energy leader by enhancing energy efficiency.”

Proposals for the Transforming Waste to Value program were accepted beginning June 25, 2010. Projects submitted were selected through a competitive review process based on several criteria, including: a match investment of a minimum of 25% of total costs, project completion within 12 months, and direct economic impact to Ohio by creating and retaining jobs.… Continue reading

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No-till makes a difference where the rain meets the soil

When it comes to his no-till fields, Paul Kelly Jr. take a very keen interest in what is happening “where the rubber meets the road.” Though in this case, “where the water meets the soil” is more appropriate.

For this reason, when most farmers are parking their equipment in the barn and heading indoors due to a rainstorm, Kelly has been known to head out in the elements to observe his Clinton County fields.

“I’ve spent a lot of time walking my fields in the rain and comparing them to the conventional fields of my neighbors,” Kelly said. “I have collected jars of rainwater running off our fields and the others’ tilled fields and we never have nearly the soil loss. In the jars from my fields I would get floating crop residue. In the jars from the conventionally tilled fields there would be soil. That proved to me that the practices we are using are really performing.”… Continue reading

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Seven Ohio corn farmers recognized for outstanding yield numbers

Ohio farms are typically recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for having higher-than-average yield numbers each year. And each year, the Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and the National Corn Growers Association reward farmers whose yields have exceeded national and state averages.

Seven Ohio farmers, listed below, were recognized by OCGA December 16 during the 2010 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium in Lima, Ohio, as having outstanding yields:

AA Non-Irrigated


Steve and Tim Reinhard

293.891 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC62-54

Bucyrus, Ohio

AA No Till/Strip Till Non-Irrigated

Bill Putnam

285.5752 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC62-54

Conover, Ohio

No Till/Strip Till Irrigated

Jim Motycka

240.8185 Bushels Per Acre

Pioneer 33D14

Napoleon, Ohio

Ridge Till Non-Irrigated

Roger W.  Wolfe

253.3243 Bushels Per Acre

Pioneer 33W84

Baltimore, Ohio

Ridge Till Irrigated

Steven L. Meienburg

236.7612 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC61-19

Malinta, Ohio

Irrigated

Les Imboden

251.6672 Bushels Per Acre

Dekalb DKC61-69


Ashville, Ohio

“These seven individuals are a prime example of how Ohio farmers can do more with less,” said John Davis, OCGA President.… Continue reading

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Swine premises identification surpasses 90%

As of today, 92% of all U.S. swine premises now have a nationally standardized premises identification number (PIN). This milestone figure, calculated by the Pork Checkoff using USDA data, represents 65,907 premises. Nearly half of these farms were registered over the last three years in conjunction with a cooperative agreement between the pork industry and USDA.

“This achievement means that pork producers and the pork industry realize that premises identification is instrumental in helping to take the health of our herds into the 21st century and to protect our industry from long-term negative consequences of a foreign animal disease,” said Gene Nemechek, a swine veterinarian from Springdale, Ark., and president of the National Pork Board. “The nationally standardized PIN is the cornerstone for more rapid and accurate traceability, which supports a faster response to animal-health events from the farm level on up. It has already proven to be useful in states assisting pork producers in a weather disaster.… Continue reading

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ASA’s WISHH and USDA ship soy flour to Afghanistan

The American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) representatives participated today in the final preparations of a shipment of soy flour to Afghanistan. The 3,525 50-pound bags of soy flour shipped from the Port of Virginia will deliver the benefits of high-protein soy to 5,000 women and their families in Afghanistan.

ASA and state soybean leaders from Virginia, North Carolina and Illinois joined USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum at ARREFF Terminals in Portsmouth, Va. for loading of the soy flour. They then went to the Port of Virginia where the five containers were shipped. USDA purchased the soy flour as part of its cooperative agreement with ASA under the USDA Food for Progress Program. Cargill’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa facility produced the soy flour, which readily increases the protein content of traditional naan breads as well as makes soymilk and other foods.… Continue reading

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No-till reduces nitrous oxide emissions

Using no-till and corn-soybean rotation practices in farm fields can significantly reduce field emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, according to a Purdue University study.

Tony Vyn, a professor of agronomy, found that no-till reduces nitrous oxide emissions by 57% over chisel tilling, which mixes crop residue into surface soil, and 40% over moldboard tilling, which completely inverts soil as well as the majority of surface residue. Chisel plowing is the most widely used form of tilling before planting corn in Indiana, he said.

“There was a dramatic reduction simply because of the no-till,” said Vyn, whose findings were published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal. “We think the soil disturbance and residue placement impacts of chisel plowing and moldboard plowing modify the soil physical and microbial environments such that more nitrous oxide is created and released.”

During early season nitrogen fertilizer applications on corn, no-till may actually reduce nitrous oxide emissions from other forms of nitrogen present in, or resulting from, that fertilizer.… Continue reading

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Ag equipment outlook: strongest growth overall in export sales

In the just-released agriculture equipment “business outlook” survey of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM):

• Agricultural machinery manufacturers predict overall business in the United States to close out 2010 with 2.4% growth, then gain 3.7% in 2011 and 2.4% in 2012, followed by 2013 growth of 3.0%.

• Canadian business overall is expected to be 4.1% higher in 2010 than the previous year, but then flatten out, down 0.5% in 2011, up 1.0% in 2012 and up 1.5% in 2013.

• Industry business to the rest of the world is expected to increase the most through 2013 — up 2.8% in 2010, followed by 7.6% growth in 2011 and gains of 6.9% in 2012 and 5.9% in 2013.

For 2-wheel-drive tractors, the most growth through 2013 is predicted for machines with 40 to 100 horsepower (hp), in both the United States and Canada. For 4-wheel-drive tractors, strongest growth is seen for 2010 with double-digit sales increases — up 18.8% in the United States and up 14.8% for Canada.… Continue reading

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USDA announces availability of enhanced online tool to estimate farm-level greenhouse gas emissions

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the release of an enhanced and expanded online tool developed in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU) that helps producers estimate carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions associated with a variety of on-farm management practices.

“This is a user-friendly tool that any conservation-minded landowner can employ to evaluate their greenhouse gas emissions,” White said. “Once producers have a better sense of their carbon footprint, they can choose to make changes within their operations that will enhance the environment for their families as well as their local communities.”

The tool, officially known as COMET-VR 2.0, is housed on the CSU Web site at http://www.comet2.colostate.edu/. Similar to the first version, COMET-VR, Version 2.0 is easy-to-use and connected to state-of-the-art models that help farmers and ranchers evaluate on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration options. The online tool estimates carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with the implementation of conservation practices for cropland, pasture, rangeland, orchards and agroforestry.… Continue reading

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ASA hails Senate passage of tax legislation, urges prompt House passage

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds Senate passage of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” and urges prompt House passage of the legislation. The Senate bill makes the biodiesel tax incentive retroactive for 2010, and extends it through 2011.

“ASA thanks the Senate for passing this legislation, which is crucial to the economic viability of the U.S. biodiesel industry,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Biodiesel is a major market for U.S. soybean oil, and has been a key factor in supporting domestic soybean prices in recent years.”

The bill, which now moves on to the House for a possible vote later this week, provides for an expedited process for U.S. biodiesel producers to claim retroactive 2010 credits. In 2009, the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 545 million gallons of biodiesel. Based on August and September production levels, 2010 production is expected to be 345 million gallons, a decline of over 35 percent from the previous year.… Continue reading

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