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Navy making largest biofuel purchase ever

U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) signed a contract to purchase 450,000 gallons of advanced drop-in biofuel, the single largest purchase of biofuel in government history. While the Navy fleet alone uses more than 1.26 billion gallons of fuel each year, this biofuel purchase is significant because it accelerates the development and demonstration of a homegrown fuel source that can reduce America’s, and our military’s, dependence on foreign oil.

The Defense Department will purchase biofuel made from a blend of non-food waste (used cooking oil) from the Louisiana-based Dynamic Fuels, LLC, a joint-venture of Tyson Foods, Inc., and Syntroleum Corporation, and algae, produced by Solazyme. The fuel will be used in the U.S. Navy’s demonstration of a Green Strike Group in the summer of 2012 during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), the world’s largest international maritime exercise.… Continue reading

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Container of Everris Micromax Micronutrients stolen

On November 22, 2011, police in Costa Mesa, California were notified by trucking company C.H. Robinson that one of their trucks had disappeared over the weekend.  According to Everris NA, Inc. based in Dublin, Ohio (formerly Scotts Professional) spokesperson Ryan Lewis, the truck was transporting a full container of its Micromax Micronutrients product. However, due to the bill of lading stating that the trailer’s contents were “fertilizers”, police were notified and subsequently the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security.

“While there was no danger of Micromax Micronutrients being used as an explosive we are extremely pleased to experience firsthand how well coordinated our law enforcement and homeland security agencies operated,” Lewis said. “We salute them for their vigilence.”

While the abandoned truck was quickly located using GPS tracking, as of December 5th the Micromax Micronutrients product had not been recovered.… Continue reading

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NTPA honors Ohio members and organizations at annual banquet

The National Tractor Pullers Association held their annual banquet on December 3, 2011 in Columbus. Several Ohio members were honored and recognized for achievements this year.

 WPI Higher Education Scholarship: Audrey Fisher, Wapakoneta

Unlimited Champion & Unlimited Puller of the Year: Kathy Schalitz of Marietta. Driver of Black Widow.

25th Anniversary Enderle Pull-Off Appreciation Awards:

Qualified every year for 25 years-Paul & Jim Homan, Wauseon

Qualified the most with the same vehicle: Rick Peters, Thornville

Super Semi Champion and Puller of the Year: J.R. Collins of Chardon. Driver of Buckeye Bulldog.

Regional National Pull of the Year: Fulton County Fair, Wauseon

Super National Pull of the Year: National Tractor Pulling Championship, Bowling Green

 

 

 

 

 … Continue reading

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AFBF responds to proposed child labor regulations

Responding to proposed child labor regulations, the American Farm Bureau Federation this week filed comments on behalf of more than 70 agricultural organizations in response to a proposal by the Labor Department that would limit youth employment opportunities on farms and ranches. AFBF also filed separate comments on its own behalf supplementing its views on the DOL proposal.

The coalition comments focused on what Farm Bureau and other agriculture organizations see as over-reaching regulatory efforts by DOL. Most prominent is the proposal’s potential impact on family farms. The coalition comments urged the department “to maintain the integrity of the family farm exemption approved by Congress.”

“Farmers and ranchers are more interested than anyone else in assuring the safety of farming operations,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We have no desire at all to have young teenagers working in jobs that are inappropriate or entail too much risk.”

Stallman added that families, family partnerships and family corporations own 98% of the approximately 2 million farms and ranches in the country, and “their right to operate their farms with family members is specifically permitted by Congress.… Continue reading

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Soybean checkoff celebrates 20 years

U.S. soybean farmers aren’t spending much time recognizing the first 20 years of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the national soybean checkoff. They’re too busy planning for the next 20 years.



As the national checkoff’s 20th anniversary passes, the board will meet Dec. 6-7 in St. Louis to set its sights on making sure the checkoff reaches its goals and helps maximize U.S. soybean farmers’ profit opportunities in the future.

 The 69 farmer-leaders who serve on USB will observe the national checkoff’s 20th anniversary during their December meeting; they will also continue their focus on the checkoff’s new Long Range Strategic Plan.



“Now is no time to sit on our laurels and focus only on the past,” said USB Chairman Marc Curtis, a soybean farmer from Leland, Miss., whose successor will be elected at the December meeting. “Instead, we are focused on meeting our strategic objectives aimed at supporting our fellow U.S.… Continue reading

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PUCO extended hours of service exemption for agriculture

Earlier this week, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio granted an extension of the hours of service exemption for agricultural operations until Jan. 1, 2012 to account for this year’s longer harvest.

The extension resulted from a request the Ohio Agribusiness Association (OABA) submitted on Nov. 18, 2011 and a similar request submitted by the Ohio Farm Bureau on November 23. In its request, OABA stated that extreme and unpredictable weather conditions, including a much wetter than normal spring that delayed planting and a wet fall, have compounded an already delayed 2011 crop harvest and could extend Ohio’s crop harvest into at least the first few weeks of December.

This posed a problem for Ohio farmers and agribusinesses, because under current hours of service rules, agricultural operations are only exempted from hours of service requirements during planting and harvesting seasons, which the state of Ohio defines as March 1 through Nov.… Continue reading

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RMA outlines changes for insurance and cover crops

An announcement made by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) outlines changes that will provide producers more flexibility when insuring a crop that follows a cover crop in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

Heavy spring rains last year delayed planting in parts of the Midwest raising concerns about the impact a cover crop may have on the insurability of a subsequent spring crop. Restrictions limited insurance coverage on crops that followed a cover crop that was harvested or reached the budded stage in the same crop year.

For 2012, crops planted following a cover crop are insurable as long as the cover crop is killed on or before June 5th. Whether the cover crop has headed, budded or has been harvested no longer effects insurability. These changes affect corn, popcorn, sweet corn, hybrid seed corn, pumpkins, soybeans, grain sorghum and processing beans. The cover crop practice is defined as a crop planted within 12 months of planting the insurable crop and is recognized as a sound agronomic conservation practice for the area.… Continue reading

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2012 Southern Ohio New and Small Farm Colleges

Are you a small farm landowner wondering what to do with your acreage? Are you interested in exploring options for land uses but not sure where to turn or how to begin? Have you considered adding an agricultural or horticultural enterprise but you just aren’t sure what is required, from an equipment, labor, and/or management perspective? Are you looking for someplace to get basic farm information? If you or someone you know answered yes to any of these questions, then the OSU Extension Small Farm College program may be just what you are looking for.

OSU Extension is offering a program targeted at the new and small farmer. The Southern Ohio New and Small Farm College is an 8-week program that introduces new and even seasoned farmers to a wide variety of topics. The program will teach participants how to set goals, plan, budget, and where to find resources available for them if they chose to start a small farming operation.… Continue reading

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FDA approves new BRD therapy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Pulmotil, an innovative Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) treatment for groups of cattle in the early stages of a BRD outbreak that provides 14 days of sustained in-feed therapy, a practice that reduces stress associated with cattle handling.

Pulmotil is approved for the control of BRD associated with Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida and Histophilus somni in groups of beef and non-lactating dairy cattle, where active BRD has been diagnosed in at least 10 percent of the animals in the group.

“This approval brings cattle veterinarians and producers a truly new management tool for controlling BRD,” said Jeff Simmons, president, Elanco. “With the introduction of Pulmotil, Elanco continues to bring the beef and dairy industries highly effective treatment solutions that provide more BRD management flexibility.”

BRD is the most common disease among feedlot cattle, accounting for approximately 75% of feedlot morbidity and 50 percent to 70% of feedlot deaths,costing the industry an estimated $800 to $900 million annually in economic losses due to reduced feed efficiency, treatment costs and deaths.… Continue reading

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Select Sires completes Calf Campus

Select Sires Inc. has completed the new Calf Campus facility located near Plain City, Ohio. During the summer of 2011, construction began to develop two state-of-the-art facilities that will foster bull calf health and growth at Select Sires. The bio-secure campus will be home to nearly 150 calves when it is fully occupied. 
 


The new calf facilities will promote vigor and fitness among the bull calves, enhancing the productivity of the bulls at a younger age for semen collection and enabling Select Sires’ customer-owners to have further success for many generations within their herd. Being mindful to environmental concerns, the facilities were created to self-contain all animal waste and water discharge, including a manure storage facility.
 


“This continued research, growth, development and investment from Select Sires demonstrates our commitment to creating a high-quality product for our customer-owners,” said David Thorbahn, president and chief executive officer of Select Sires. “With our latest expansion, Select Sires is anticipating earlier semen release on our most exclusive Program for Genetic Advancement bulls.… Continue reading

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Poinsettia care

Poinsettias represent 80% of all potted plant sales in the United States during the holiday season, said University of Illinois Extension educator Ron Wolford.

“There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today,” Wolford said. “And they come in a myriad of colors like red, white, pink and burgundy. Keeping your poinsettias healthy during the holiday season can be a challenge considering the dry indoor environments in many homes.”

Here are a few tips from Wolford to help you keep your poinsettia healthy.

— Purchase a poinsettia with fully colored bracts (modified leaves) and tightly closed flower buds. The plant will start to decline after the flower buds have completely opened.

— After you have purchased your poinsettia, make sure it is wrapped completely because exposure to cold temps below 50 degrees in just the short walk to your car can damage the bracts and leaves.

— Place the poinsettia near a south, west or east facing window.… Continue reading

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USDA announces dates for conservation initiatives

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the ranking dates for the On-Farm Energy, Organic, Seasonal High Tunnel and Air Quality conservation initiatives. All four initiatives offer technical and financial assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

“Producers tell us they want to apply for these initiatives, but many want more time to make sure they choose the one that’s right for their operation,” Vilsack said. “Moving to multiple ranking dates for each initiative is going to make it easier for more producers to apply and help them get started with implementing the practices they need to benefit the natural resources on their operations.”

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. There will be three ranking periods for the Organic, On-Farm Energy and Seasonal High Tunnel initiatives, all ending on February 3, March 30 and June 1, 2012. Ranking periods for the Air Quality Initiative end February 3 and March 30, 2012.… Continue reading

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SURE signup started

Steven Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), would like to remind producers that FSA is currently accepting enrollment for the 2010 crop losses under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program that began Monday, Nov. 14, 2011.

Eligible producers who suffered losses during the 2010 crop year are encouraged to visit their local FSA office to learn more about the SURE program. FSA also has SURE information available at www.fsa.usda.gov/sure.… Continue reading

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Locks and dams crucial for the future of ag

The National Corn Growers Association joined a well-timed effort to let the nation’s politicians know that farmers and their allies are paying attention to their positions on funding for essential lock and dam improvements along the Mississippi River. To determine how to best structure a strategic educational campaign on the issue, NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, NCGA staff and key industry stakeholders met in Quincy, Ill., for a discussion covering the importance of the actual improvements and the best way in which to move forward as a unified front.

“Our inland waterway system plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy, and we must act now to help our future leaders understand that funding improvements is critical to maintaining their viability,” said Niemeyer. “Acting together, we can magnify our voices, and thus our effectiveness, exponentially. Achieving our goal is not only important for farmers and shippers, our nation as a whole will benefit from the job creation and shipping efficiencies this project would generate.”… Continue reading

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SCI winter agronomy meetings

Seed Consultants, Inc. will be conducting winter agronomy meetings this January and February at select locations across the Eastern Corn Belt. Topics that will be covered include: lessons learned from the 2011 growing season; tips for a successful 2012 corn, soybean and wheat crop; how to interpret plot data; tips on improving planting and harvesting techniques; and much, much more. Please register in advance to attend one of these very informative agronomy meetings by calling 800-708-2676 or by going online at www.seedconsultants.com.… Continue reading

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Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium

The third annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium (OGFS) will be December 15 at the Roberts Centre and Holiday Inn in Wilmington, Ohio. Grain farmers throughout the state will have the opportunity to hear about the latest agricultural issues impacting their operations.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the early bird marketing report will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Topics discussed during the general session include a Washington outlook, overview of water-quality issues and consumer perceptions about farming. Attendees will also have a variety of breakout sessions to choose from with topics such as shale-gas issues in Ohio, planning for the 2012 markets and preparing for water-quality regulations.

Additionally, the annual OGFS trade show will have more than 30 companies that serve the agricultural industry on-site to speak with participants about their services.

The OGFS is held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) and the Ohio Soybean Association (OSA).… Continue reading

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2011 farm sector income forecast

The USDA Farm Income Forecast paints a bright picture for agricultural profitability this year. Net farm income is forecast at $100.9 billion for 2011, up $21.8 billion (28%) from 2010 while net cash income at $109.8 billion, is forecast up $17.5 billion (18.9%) from 2010, and $34.2 billion above its 10-year average (2001-2010) of $75.6 billion.

Net cash income reflects only the cash transactions occurring within the calendar year. Net farm income is a measure of the increase in wealth from production, whereas net cash income is a measure of solvency, or the ability to pay bills and make payments on debt.

“Today’s farm income forecast shows that the American brand of agriculture continues to be a bright spot in our nation’s economy. Following on a strong 2010, all three measures of farm sector earnings again experienced strong growth in 2011. According to today’s numbers, farmers are earning 28% more for their products than they made last year.… Continue reading

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World grain production is down

World grain production fell, exacerbating a global food situation already plagued by rising prices, according to new research published by the Worldwatch Institute, an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. Despite record rice and corn yields around the world, global wheat production dropped substantially enough to bring total grain output to just below 2008 levels.

Corn, wheat, and rice provide nearly two-thirds of the global human diet and serve as critical inputs for both animal feed and industrial products. The significance of these crops guarantees that a decline in production will produce ripple effects throughout the global economy, particularly as increased food prices continue to take a toll on the world’s neediest populations. Overall, rice and wheat production have tripled since the 1960s, and corn production has quadrupled, despite global acreage of these crops increasing by only 35%.

“Production increased worldwide, but there was greater reliance on irrigation, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides—-all of which take resources, can be costly, and may cause substantial environmental degradation,” said contributing researcher Richard Weil.… Continue reading

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National Cattlemen’s Foundation announces scholarship program

The National Catlemen’s Foundation is announcing an ongoing initiative to strengthen the future of the beef industry. Together with the NCBA and the CME Group, 10 $1,500 scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students who are pursuing careers in the beef industry. The 2012-2013 Beef Industry Scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors or full-time undergraduate students enrolled at two-year or four-year institutions for the 2012-2013 school year.

Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to a career in the beef industry through classes, internships or life experiences. Fields of study for potential scholarship recipients may include education, communications, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry. Interim Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the National Cattlemen’s Foundation John Lacey said the scholarship program is aimed at helping future industry leaders.

“The Beef Industry Scholarships will help ensure a bright future for deserving students and for the beef industry in the United States,” Lacey said.… Continue reading

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