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Clean-up Continues at OARDC's Wooster Campus

WOOSTER, Ohio — Clean-up continues at Ohio State University’s Ohio
Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster following last Thursday’s (9/16) direct hit by an EF-2 tornado.

“We have made tremendous strides since last Thursday and will continue to do so throughout this week,” said OARDC Director Steve Slack. “I am always amazed at how people step up in times of emergency, and this situation has been no exception.

“We have received extraordinary assistance from the university and the state,” Slack said, “as well as more locally from the county and city.”

“We’ll overcome this,” Gov. Ted Strickland said on a tour of the devastated campus last Saturday (9/18). “We always bounce back. The people pull together. The very best in Ohio comes out.”

As of today (9/22):

• Workers have restored electricity to most of the campus’s buildings.

• Tree crews have removed most of the downed trees on the main part of campus, though that work continues, and have started to work in the campus’s heavily wooded Secrest Arboretum.… Continue reading

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USDA Report highlights Increased Energy Efficiency for Corn-based Ethanol

Harry Baumes, Acting Director of USDA’s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, says a report that surveyed corn growers in 2005 and ethanol plants in 2008 indicates the net energy gain from converting corn to ethanol is improving in efficiency. Titled “2008 Energy Balance for the Corn-Ethanol Industry,” the report surveyed ethanol producers about ethanol yield (undenatured) per bushel of corn and energy used in ethanol plants.

This report measured all conventional fossil fuel energy, 53,785 BTU used in the production of 1 gallon of corn ethanol. For every British Thermal Unit (BTU) (unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at one atmosphere) of energy required to make ethanol, 2.3 BTUs of energy are produced (energy output/energy input). The ratio is somewhat higher for some firms that are partially substituting biomass energy in processing energy (thermal and electrical energy required in the plant to convert corn to one gallon of ethanol).

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OCA and OBC offer winter internship opportunities

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Beef Council through their goal of providing great opportunities to young people interested in developing their potential for career success announce five winter internships beginning in January and continuing through the Ohio Beef Expo in late March. They will require approximately 20 hours per week and are flexible based upon course schedules. Each successful intern will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Interested applicants should forward a cover letter and résumé to the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Attn: Internship, 10600 U.S. Highway 42, Marysville, Ohio 43040 prior to Oct. 20, 2010. For further information call 614-873-6736.

Industry Relations Intern

The primary responsibility of this intern will include assisting with the preparation and implementation of the Ohio Beef Expo’s Trade Show. This intern will also assist with communications of the Ohio Beef Expo including advertising and event photography. This position will assist with preparation of the Ohio Cattleman magazine and the OCA Annual Meeting & Banquet including developing award winners’ press releases.

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Maintenance of farm equipment minimizes field fires

Farmers can greatly reduce the risk of starting field fires with proper, regular maintenance of combines and other equipment they use to harvest their crops, a Purdue Extension farm safety expert says.

Combines are especially vulnerable to fires because of the many hours they operate at a time and the dry crop fodder that can collect on them, said Gail Deboy.

“During hot, dry weather, very dry fodder provides an excellent source to fuel a flame whenever a fire is ignited,” he said.

This year’s early planting resulted in early maturing of crops and unusually dry foliage during harvest. The exceptionally dry weather has led to numerous field fires in recent days, and many counties have imposed restrictions on burning.

Combine fires can easily spread to crops or remaining corn stover, rapidly igniting acres of farmland. Field fires can spread to nearby farm equipment, trees and buildings, including homes. Smoke from fires can create health problems for nearby residents and reduce visibility on roads.Continue reading

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Wooster Campus Damaged by Storm; OARDC, ATI Closed Sept. 17

WOOSTER, Ohio – At about 5:30 p.m on Sept. 16, a severe storm went through the Wooster campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. One minor injury has been reported. One greenhouse and at least three buildings, including Research Services, Agricultural Engineering, and Stone House, were damaged.

Trees are down across the campus, including in Secrest Arboretum. The adjacent Agricultural Technical Institute did not sustain damage. Both OARDC and ATI are a part of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in The Ohio State University. All OARDC-Wooster and ATI offices will be closed Friday, Sept. 17.

Trees are down across the campus, including in Secrest Arboretum. Both OARDC and ATI are a part of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

It has not been confirmed that the storm was caused by a tornado. Officials continue to assess damages. “We are grateful that our faculty, staff and graduate students are safe,” said Bill Ravlin, OARDC associate director.… Continue reading

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Biodiesel tax incentive still stalled

The American Soybean Association (ASA) expressed extreme disappointment and frustration with the United States Senate for its inability to extend the Biodiesel Tax Incentive that expired on December 31, 2009.

The Senate voted 41-58 against a motion to suspend the rules and accept an amendment offered by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) to enact a retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax credit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the U.S. Senate would consider a motion to suspend the rules on the amendment to the Small Business Bill filed by Senator Grassley to retroactively extend the biodiesel tax incentive through 2010.

“Biodiesel has provided a significant market opportunity for U.S. soybean farmers, as well as jobs and economic development for rural communities,” said ASA President Rob Joslin, a soybean producer from Sidney, Ohio. “ASA appreciates the efforts of Senator Grassley to include the long overdue extension of the biodiesel tax credit in this Bill.”… Continue reading

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Ohio farm custom rates

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Ohio State University Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment or lack of time or expertise for a particular operation. Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work.” A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid from the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

The custom rates reported in this article are based on a statewide survey of 242 farmers, custom operators, farm managers and landowners conducted in 2010.… Continue reading

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Atrazine found safe, again

In a scientific meeting convened by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists for Syngenta presented data that more closely replicate real-world exposure, supporting the safety of the trusted herbicide atrazine.
One of the studies measured the potential effects of atrazine on animals using two delivery methods: 1) after distributed doses or 2) after a large, single dose. Because the rats received atrazine in distributed doses over time, data from this study are more applicable to how humans may be exposed to minute quantities of atrazine in reality. Doses delivered in a distributed manner showed no effects up to and including the highest dose given (500 parts per million in the diet).

“This highest dose was tens of thousands of times higher than the current EPA water standards for atrazine. People would never be exposed to this level in the environment,” said Tim Pastoor, Ph.D., principal scientist with Syngenta. “Yet even at this extreme dose, atrazine had no effect.”
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House approves legislation to reauthorize the law requiring price reporting

The National Pork Producers Council applauded the House for approving legislation to reauthorize the law requiring meat packers to report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the prices they pay producers for animals. The legislation, which previously was approved by the Senate, now goes to the president to be signed into law. It reauthorizes for five years the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act, which was set to expire Sept. 30, and includes new provisions requiring weekly reporting of pork exports – by price and volume – and of wholesale pork cuts. NPPC President Sam Carney said the addition of export and wholesale cuts reporting will further help producers like me make business and production decisions. “The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act is what provides transparency and certainty in the livestock markets and allows competition to thrive,” Carney said. “The new provision for wholesale pork reporting will make pricing data more fully reflect the marketplace today.… Continue reading

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CRP land signed up

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will accept 4.3 million acres offered by landowners under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. The selections preserve and enhance environmentally sensitive lands, including wetlands, while providing payments to property owners.

“Interest in this open enrollment period was high, and I’m pleased that producers and landowners across the nation continue to realize the environmental benefits of enrolling land in the CRP,” said Secretary Vilsack.

For this 39th general sign-up more than 50,000 offers were received on more than 4.8 million acres, nationwide. Enrollment of the 4.3 million acres will keep the program enrollment close to the 32 million acre statutory cap, which will maintain and enhance the significant environmental benefits the program has already achieved. CRP’s 39th signup will bring the total enrollment in the program to 31.2 million acres, leaving sufficient room under the 32 million acre cap to continue enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, continuous signup and other CRP initiatives through FY 2011.… Continue reading

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Time to Wrap Up the Last Cutting of Alfalfa

By Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension

It is time to take the last cutting of alfalfa and red clover in Ohio. Cutting this week will allow plenty of time for the stand to regrow and store energy and proteins in the taproots, which are important for winter survival and early growth next spring.

It may be tempting to wait to cut the alfalfa because of low yield due to the recent dry weather, in hopes that rains will come and more growth will occur. But delaying the last cutting of alfalfa to late September into mid-October can carry serious risk to the health of the stand. Cutting later will interrupt the process of storage of energy and proteins in alfalfa taproots. When cut during the fall rest period, the plants will regrow and utilize precious taproot energy and protein reserves without sufficient time to replenish them before a killing frost.… Continue reading

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Social media from the farm

A conversation with Mike “farmerhaley” Haley, a farmer and social media (Twitter and Facebook) user

OCJ: First can you tell us a little about your farm and your background?

Mike: I am a fifth generation farmer from Wayne County, Ohio. My father and I raise corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. My wife, Pam, and I are continuing my grandfather’s love of beef cattle by raising purebred Simmental cattle on our farm.

OCJ: How did you get started with using social media?

Mike: About a year and a half ago I attended an Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professional Conference where one of the sessions was talking about how social media can help connect with the growing amount of people wanting to learn more about how their food is raised. The importance of individual farmers telling their stories rather than leaving it to associations or critics really hit home. Pam and I both decided to get involved.… Continue reading

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Ohio Cattlemen’s Association sets membership record

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association closed its books for the 2010 membership year with a new membership record. Membership numbers for 2010 broke the previous record that was set in 2009. This new record was set thanks to the dedication of past members renewing their memberships as well as the 386 families that joined OCA for the first time in 2010.

“We are very excited that so many of Ohio’s beef producers have again recognized the importance of belonging to OCA,” said Dave Felumlee, OCA President. “Membership is the lifeblood of any organization and our members have done a great job ensuring that the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is a strong and viable organization for years to come.”

The membership committee is working on securing additional member benefits and incentives for 2011. The committee is proud to announce that the TSC coupon will be continued in 2011, which will give an OCA member 10 percent off a purchase at one of Ohio’s 68 TSC stores.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report, Sept. 13th

Cooler weather provided relief for livestock and crops. Farm activities included tillage, installing tile, hauling grain, hay bailing, and field application of fertilizer, lime and manure. Corn and soybeans are drying well throughout the state, the harvest has begun at some operations. Pest worms were reported in both corn and soybeans. There were also reports of corn stalk disease.

As of Sunday September 12, 90 percent of corn was dented, compared to 64 percent last year and 80 percent for the five-year average. Corn was 50 percent mature, which was 40 percent ahead of last year and 34 percent ahead of the five-year average. Three percent of the corn has been harvested throughout the state, this is the earliest recorded corn harvest in the past five-years. Corn for silage was 78 percent harvested compared to 29 percent last year and 43 percent for the five-year average. Fifty-two percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 22 percent last year and 33 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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September 10th USDA Crop Report

Ohio Report

Based on conditions as of September 1, Ohio’s average corn yield is forecast at 173 bushels per acre, down 3 bushels from the August 1 forecast and 1 bushel below last year’s state yield of 174 bushels per acre. Total production is forecast at 585 million bushels, up 7 percent from 2009. Growers expect to harvest 3.38 million acres for grain in 2010, 240,000 acres more than in 2009.

Soybean yield is forecast at 48 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels from the August 1 forecast but down 1 bushel from the 2009 state average. Total soybean production for Ohio is forecast at 224.6 million bushels, up 1 percent from the previous year. Harvested acreage is forecast at 4.68 million acres, up 150,000 from 2009.

National Report
Corn Production Down 2 Percent from August and Forecast Soybean Production Up 1 Percent

Corn production is forecast at a record 13.2 billion bushels, down 2 percent from the August forecast, but up from the previous record of 13.1 billion bushels set in 2009.… Continue reading

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Some Ohio Corn Ready for Harvest


Ohio’s corn crop may be ready for harvest sooner than anticipated.

Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist, said that a warmer-than-average summer has hastened the development of the crop. Add the dry spell parts of the state are experiencing and the crop has dried down to levels ready for harvesting.

“The crop is at moisture levels right now that we would have been dying for last year. Much of the corn is already in the low 20s,” said Thomison. “Growers should consider preparing for harvest now. We typically don’t like to drop below 20 percent moisture because of the risk of yield losses.”

According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 24 percent of the crop is mature, 17 percent higher than the five-year average and 21 percent higher than this time last year.

Thomison said that some growers are already harvesting their crop, but others may wait for the crop to dry down further.… Continue reading

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Certified Crop Advisors Can Earn Continuing Education Credit at Farm Science Review

The Certified Crop Adviser program at Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review is one way crop consultants can receive their yearly complement of continuing education credits.

The CCA College will be held on Sept. 23 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and will cover a wide variety of topics related to conservation programs, corn hybrids, fungicide applications, and nitrogen fertilizer management. Farm Science Review will take place Sept. 21-23 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

Registration is $80 and includes breakfast, lunch, program materials, an entry ticket to Farm Science Review and a parking pass. Registration deadline is Sep. 10. Registration is limited and there will be no registration the day of the event.

Harold Watters, an Ohio State University Extension educator, said that the CCA College is specifically tailored to CCAs not only in Ohio, but also across the Midwest.

“Things in agriculture are constantly changing. What new information was introduced five years ago may no longer be valid,” said Watters.… Continue reading

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Green policies may not create many jobs

Like many states, Ohio is banking on green energy technology to put residents back to work. Yet, a new Ohio State University analysis examining the economic development impacts of green policies suggests that the state’s current efforts are unlikely to generate large numbers of new jobs.

However, on a more positive front, the analysis also indicates that related proposals such as cap-and-trade are unlikely to be the massive “job killers” that opponents fear.

The analysis is laid out in a policy brief titled, “Green Policies, Climate Changes, and New Jobs: Separating Fact from Fiction.” In the document, Ohio State agricultural economist Mark Partridge and his colleagues Amanda Weinstein and J. Clay Francis discuss why environmental policies, such as green energy subsidies and cap-and-trade, do little to affect job growth.

“The overriding weakness for alternative energy to create jobs, even in the short run, is that virtually all green energy technologies are capital intensive, meaning that they require few workers to get started or maintain,” said Partridge, the Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy and a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.… Continue reading

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USDA announces loan program and Organic Program Handbook

USDA announces loan program and Organic Program Handbook

USDA has made two recent announcements regarding tools to help U.S. farms.

The launch of a Conservation Loan (CL) program that will provide farm owners and farm-related business operators access to credit to implement conservation techniques that will conserve natural resources.

“This will give farmers who want to implement conservation measures on their lands a chance to do so by providing assistance with their up-front costs,” said Vilsack. “In return, these producers will help to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality and promote sustainable and organic agricultural practices.”

CL funds can be used to implement conservation practices approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), such as the installation of conservation structures; establishment of forest cover; installation of water conservation measures; establishment or improvement of permanent pastures; implementation of manure management; and the adaptation of other emerging or existing conservation practices, techniques or technologies.… Continue reading

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