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Remember setbacks when applying manure in winter

By Glen Arnold, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Some Ohio livestock producers will be looking to apply manure to farm fields frozen enough to support application equipment. Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. Thus, this information is for manure from non-permitted livestock operations.

In the Grand Lake St Marys watershed, the winter manure application ban from Dec. 15 to March 1 is still in effect. Thus, no manure application would normally be allowed from now until March 1. The ban also prohibits surface manure application anytime the ground is frozen or snow-covered in that watershed.

In the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) watershed, the surface application of manure to frozen and snow-covered soils require there to be a growing crop in the field. This could be a pasture, alfalfa, clover, wheat, or a ryegrass crop.… Continue reading

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Ohio legislation updates laws for agricultural societies

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Ohio’s past fair season was mayhem thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but some help is on the way.  The Ohio General Assembly passed legislation on Dec. 22 aimed at updating laws and regulations governing agricultural societies and local fairs.  Major highlights of the bill include increasing the amount that a county or independent agricultural society receives for operation expenses from a county, removing the cap on the amounts that a county may transfer to an agricultural society for junior club expenses associated with operating fairgrounds, and increasing the total amount of debt that a society may incur. Here’s a more detailed summary of the provisions contained within House Bill 665.

County payments to county or independent agricultural societies

For county and independent agricultural societies, H.B. 665 increases, from $800 to $1,600, the max amount that a county treasurer must annually transfer to a society operating within the county.… Continue reading

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Farm Office Live winter edition!

By Barry Ward, David Marrison, Peggy Hall, Dianne Shoemaker – Ohio State University Extension

“Farm Office Live” returns virtually this winter as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis and other related issues from faculty and educators with the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Each Farm Office Live will start off with presentations on select ag law and farm management topics from our experts and then we’ll open it up for questions from attendees on other topics of interest. Viewers can attend “Farm Office Live” online each month on Wednesday evening or Friday morning, or can catch a recording of each program. The full slate of offerings for this winter are

Jan. 13 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Jan. 15 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Feb. 107:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Feb. 12 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.… Continue reading

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Top stories of 2020

What a year! The top web stories from 2020, as you may guess, took quite a departure from the norm. Web traffic expanded significantly in 2020 at but we did not have many of the normal events that typically drive our top posts, such as the Ohio State Fair and crop tours. Much of the resulting drama of not having these events showed up very clearly in the top stories of 2020. I will say there are some surprising results (to me anyway) from a 2020 that was never short on uncertainty and, quite frankly, insanity. Stay turned in the coming days as we count down the top stories of 2020. Here’s the tenth most viewed story online from the last year.

10. Ohio brothers make aquaculture dream a reality

Madi Kregel again in the top 10 with this great story about TJ and Jack Waldock in Wood County raising shrimp and tilapia in an effort to diversify the family vegetable operation.… Continue reading

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H2Ohio year of progress

In the first year of Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative, Ohio agriculture has gained an incredible amount of ground in implementing agriculture’s portion of this unprecedented statewide water quality program. 

Ohio farmers in the targeted 14 counties in the Maumee River Watershed showed overwhelming participation. In the first program year, 1,815 farmers enrolled 1,092,852 acres, or approximately 44% of the cropland in the targeted project area, in six proven, science-based conservation practices: voluntary nutrient management plans, variable rate application, sub-surface nutrient application, manure incorporation, conservation crop rotation, and overwintering cover crops.

In addition to these best practices to be implemented on cropland, producers have signed up for 681 drainage water management structures, which will be installed over the next calendar year in 13 of the 14 targeted counties, with the largest number in Wood, Henry, Putnam, Paulding, and Williams. Approximately 10,000 acres of cropland will be controlled by drainage water management structures.… Continue reading

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OPC members donated 4,800 pounds of ham to central Ohio residents

As members of the Ohio Pork Council (OPC), Ohio pig farmers representing Kalmbach Swine Management of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Hord Family Farms of Bucyrus, and Heimerl Farms of Johnstown, Ohio, are pleased to provide the Mid-Ohio Food Collective with a holiday ham donation.  

The Sugardale ham donation, which will feed approximately 9,690 people, is fully funded by a collaborative t-shirt fundraiser established by the farms, in partnership with the Ohio Pork Council and Decal Impressions of Cincinnati, Ohio. JH Routh Packing Company of Sandusky, Ohio, also contributed to the fundraiser. Each t-shirt sold raised enough money to feed a family through OPC’s Pork Power Program, which has provided more than 1 million meals since its inception in 2009. 

“Thanks to the success of our t-shirt fundraiser, the Ohio Pork Council, along with three Ohio pig farms, are able to put wholesome protein on the tables of those in need just in time for Christmas,” said Cheryl Day, Ohio Pork Council executive vice president.… Continue reading

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New COVID package helps farmers previously left out of aid

Congress agreed on a $900 billion COVID stimulus package, which will include up to $13 billion in funding that directly benefits agriculture. Nearly $1 billion will support a dairy donation program and supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage payments for small and medium-sized producers. More help will be made available to specialty and non-specialty crop growers, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be expanded, which will allow small farmers to continue operating and paying their employees.

Many farmers and ranchers who were previously left out of aid will now qualify for assistance, including growers who were forced to euthanize livestock during the initial wave of the pandemic.

The American Farm Bureau Federation worked for several months to ensure the needs of America’s farmers and ranchers were brought forward to lawmakers as they considered the latest stimulus package.

“We’re pleased that Congress understands the toll the pandemic continues to take on farmers, ranchers and rural Americans,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

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Maximizing basis

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

As the holidays approach, the market continues to watch South American weather and Chinese purchases. The Brazilian bean crop was planted later than usual, and precipitation has been lower than normal, but it could still turn out an average size crop. Argentina has been dry as was expected with La Niña present. Crucial crop development will be taking place next month. The export pace over the next couple of months to China will play a pivotal role in price directions.

Recently I set basis on 100% of my 2020 bean crop. With the news of low U.S. carryout, I had hoped basis would continue to rally. However, as the chart below shows, basis climbed until Nov. 1 and then went flat. The red X is the date and value I sold basis, picked up on my farm. The white line shows the best posted bids available since harvest in my area.… Continue reading

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Here are some blogs to get you in the holiday spirit:’t-look-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth/

Draft Horses in Snow1

 … Continue reading

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PrecisionU: Tackling spring operations with reduced working days

By John BarkerAmanda DouridasKen FordJohn FultonMary GriffithWill HammanElizabeth Hawkins

Precision University is going virtual this year! Due to the pandemic, the Digital Ag team will host a series of hour-long webinars each Tuesday in January at 10:00 AM to replace the annual in-person event.  The 2021 Precision U sessions will focus on “Tackling Spring Operations with Reduced Working Days.” Changing weather patterns have led to fewer days available in the spring to complete planting, spraying, and fertilizing. University and industry experts will share research results and technology available to help you work smarter and more efficiently. Please plan to join us for these sessions!

2021 Precision U: Tackling Spring Operations with Reduced Working Days 

  • January 5 – Gambling with Planting Decisions – Dr. Aaron Wilson (Ohio State University Extension) and Dr. Bob Nielsen (Purdue University)
  • January 12 – Improving Fertilizer Efficiency with the Planter Pass – Matt Bennett (Precision Planting Technology) and Dr.
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USDA and NASA working together

A new agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA strengthens their partnership. The goal is to more closely align NASA’s experience with technology development and USDA’s scientific experience and knowledge of agricultural production.

“Today, technology plays an ever-larger role in growing the food we eat, and this partnership between USDA and NASA will no doubt help to advance the goal we all share of feeding the world,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Many people don’t realize how applicable NASA’s technology is to agriculture and I applaud this commitment to breaking down walls and advancing innovation in agriculture. We look forward to working with both the USDA and NASA to inspire the next generation of agriculturalists.”

The memorandum will help both agencies explore research gaps of importance to the agricultural community. Another focus will be education to inspire youth in America to pursue careers in STEM and agriculture.… Continue reading

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Pastures for Profit series starts in January

This year between January and March in 2021, the Pastures for Profit curriculum will be offered as a virtual course. One live webinar will be offered per month along with “work at your own pace” videos and exercises that accompany each webinar. The Pastures for Profit program is a collaboration between Ohio State University Extension, Central State University, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio Forage and Grasslands Council.

Each webinar will be offered live on Zoom at 7 P.M. and feature three presentations in a 90-minute span. Attendees will be able to interact with the speakers and ask questions in real time. Once registered, attendees will be granted access to the online course including the webinars and complementary resources. Participants that attend all three webinars will have the opportunity to earn a certificate of completion. Registered participants will also receive their choice of a curriculum binder or USB drive by mail.… Continue reading

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Beef on Dairy a growing trend

By Dusty Sonnenberg,

There are roughly 10 million dairy (breed) milk cows in the U.S. Dairy Herd. The bull calves born from this dairy herd make-up a significant portion of the animals slaughtered for beef each year. Over the last several years, the idea of breeding dairy breed cows with beef breed bulls has gained momentum, and is known as “Beef on Dairy.”

“It is estimated that by the end of December 2020, nearly two million beef on dairy calves will have been born for the year,” said Bill Tom, Executive Vice President for Livestock Marketing at United Producers, Inc. “This is an increase over the 2019 numbers. Estimates are that just under three million beef on dairy calves will be born in 2021, and that number could increase to between five and six million beef on dairy calves born annually by 2025.”

To serve their members, and address this growing industry trend, United Producers, Inc.… Continue reading

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Household water use is on the decline

By Karen Mancl, Professor Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering, The Ohio State University

Household water use is on the decline, which is good news. This is reversing a trend started in the 1950s of families steadily increasing their water use. Household water use peaked in the late 1990s. The required use of low-flush toilets and the introduction of low-water using washing machines is making all the difference. Water use per person has decreased 15% over the 17-year period 1999 to 2016, from an average of 60 gallons to 51 gallons per person per day. The biggest reductions were in water used to flush toilets and wash clothes. Figure 1 shows the typical household water use.

Household water leaks remain a problem and have been found to increase water use by 9.5 gallons per household each day. Efforts to fix a leaking faucet or running toilet can have a big impact for both the water supply and the wastewater treatment system.… Continue reading

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December 2020 Ohio Make it with Wool report

By Daphne Hedgecock, Ohio Make It with Wool Coordinator

This year has been a real roller coaster and even though it has been a little crazy, the Make It with Wool contest was held on Nov. 7 at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Columbus Showcasing beautiful outfits and accessories using wool. Luckily, it was a beautiful day so that gave people the opportunity to go outside and enjoy a few minutes of sunshine and a moment without a mask. Joining us as commentators for the fashion show were Emma Preston the Ohio Wool Ambassador and Charlotte Waldron, National Senior Winner from Ohio. They both provided a presentation about their experiences over the past several months.

This year’s competition might have been smaller in number than we are used to, but the quality was everything you would expect of Ohio. We had four preteen contestants who made everything from skirts to jumpers to sweatshirts. They… Continue reading

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USDA to oversee gene-edited livestock

In an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, the Trump administration announced its intention for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to have primary oversight over gene-edited livestock.

The decision applauded by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Gene editing is a promising new technology that can help farmers breed healthier, more resilient animals. NPPC was the leading advocate for USDA regulatory oversight over the last two years when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was claiming jurisdiction.

Gene editing is used to make specific changes within an animal’s own genome. Gene editing will allow U.S. farmers to produce animals that are more disease-resistant, require fewer antibiotics and have a reduced environmental footprint. Many changes made through gene editing could be achieved through conventional breeding. However, the cost and timeframe for approval of these type of edits is prohibitive under the FDA. Notwithstanding its significant promise, U.S. agriculture had been in a holding pattern, as USDA and the FDA were locked in a regulatory tug of war over authority on gene editing in livestock.… Continue reading

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CDC agrees: Frontline meat and poultry workers
high priority for COVID-19 vaccination

Frontline meat and poultry workers should be amongst the first to be vaccinated after health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, according to federal guidance approved today by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Priority (ACIP).

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts applauded ACIP’s guidance and urged state governments to follow CDC’s decision.

“Priority access to vaccines is a critical step for the long-term safety of the selfless frontline meat and poultry workers who have kept America’s refrigerators full and our farm economy working,” Potts said. “Meat Institute members stand ready to support vaccination for our diverse workforce, which will also deliver wide-ranging health benefits in rural and high-risk communities. Meat and poultry leaders may also be able to aid vaccination for all Americans, for example by offering state-of-the-art cold storage for these precious vaccines.”

The 1.5 billion in COVID-19 preventions and supports implemented since the earliest days of the pandemic have reversed COVID-19’s impact on meat and poultry workers.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen concerns for Ohio?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

Let’s talk again about nitrogen management. It leaks, like everywhere. Up and down — up as a gas when the soils are saturated and down and out with rainfall. Even though 80% of the atmosphere is N, we still have to supply it for our grass crops. And we add more than we need, because we don’t want to be short. If you wonder why I bring this up again, it’s because the survey says — you aren’t listening.

So what can we do about managing nitrogen for corn? The current tool to make nitrogen recommendations for corn in Ohio is the CNRC. This stands for Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator — based on a model to give the Maximum Return To Nitrogen (MRTN). The tool is housed at Iowa State University and includes our Ohio data in the model for our Ohio recommendation. The calculator site also houses recommendations for the neighboring states of Indiana and Michigan — with a total of seven states involved in developing the model.… Continue reading

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Bio-stimulants for higher yields and carbon

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Bio-stimulants include both bacterial and fungal inoculants, various types of compost, and organic adjuvants that stimulate plant growth and improve yield.  Farmers have been using bacteria inoculants containing Rhizobia bacteria on legumes and clovers like soybeans, alfalfa, and red clover for many years. Each plant has a specific Rhizobia bacteria inoculant needed to maximize nitrogen production.  Rhizobia take atmospheric nitrogen and convert it to plant available forms of nitrogen in the nodules.  Inoculants for soybeans and alfalfa may last 1-2 years while cover crop inoculants are short lived, lasting only 12-48 hours.  Many farmers buy pre-inoculated seed but exposure to sunlight and temperatures above 500F often make them ineffective.  For best results, always inoculant cover crops legumes (winterpeas, vetches, cowpeas, Sunn Hemp) and clovers (crimson, Balansa, red, sweet) at planting and buy the right inoculant species.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Other inoculants are fungal. 

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