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From the farm to the classroom (and back to the farm)

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

While students are the main focus of the project, a batch of hatching chicks in a third-grade classroom has captured the attention of many in Mayfield City Schools east of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County.

“When you tell an eight-year-old they’re going to hatch chickens, it really goes without saying they are excited. One of the perks of being an elementary school teacher is that the students love school and they want to do it. Every day they want to learn something new,” said Jennifer Hancock, a third-grade teacher at the school. “I livestream the eggs while they’re in the incubator and then after the chicks have hatched so that everyone can see. The whole school and the whole community get to watch. It’s a big thing. Kids that aren’t even in my class are asking to come see the chicks. Even the principal came in to see them.… Continue reading

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BASF unveils Nemasphere nematode resistance trait, the new standard of nematode management for soybean farmers

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, June 10, 2024 – BASF Agricultural Solutions has introduced Nemasphere™ nematode resistance trait, the most groundbreaking innovation in soybean cyst nematode (SCN) management in over 60 years. Nemasphere is the first and only biotechnology trait for SCN, the number one yield-robbing pest in soybeans in the United States. Harnessing a completely novel mode of action, Nemasphere will be stacked with the Enlist E3® technology and available in a full range of the top-performing and best-yielding soybean seed varieties, allowing farmers unmatched SCN resistance without compromising yield potential. 

Nematodes are the leading cause of soybean yield loss in the United States, costing growers an estimated $1.5 billion in yield annually.[1] Compounding the problem, the effectiveness of native SCN traits is declining significantly. To combat this problem, Nemasphere produces a novel Cry14 protein that is ingested by nematodes, interfering with nutrient uptake in their intestines and leading to the nematodes’ death.… Continue reading

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Sign up for USDA’s Grassland Conservation Reserve Program now open  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that agricultural producers and private landowners can now sign up for the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program (Grassland CRP). The signup runs through June 28, 2024. Grassland CRP, offered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is a voluntary working lands conservation program that enables participants to conserve grasslands and provide important conservation benefits for wildlife, soil health and carbon sequestration, all while continuing most grazing and haying practices. 

“Grassland CRP is a vital conservation tool that supports two of USDA’s top priorities: the wellbeing of American agriculture and the health of America’s grasslands, which provide critical environmental benefits for wildlife and carbon sequestration,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “Over the past three years, we have seen historic interest in the Grassland Conservation Reserve Program with producers signing up to conserve over 6.8 million acres. This historic interest from agriculture has proven that agricultural productivity and conservation priorities are not exclusive from one another, but can coexist and, more importantly, complement and enhance one another.” … Continue reading

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2024 Corn Yield Contest deadlines

The early entry deadline for the National Corn Yield Contest is June 30. The $75 early entry fee saves $35 per entry. The final deadline is Aug. 14.

Entering the National Corn Yield Contest automatically enters Ohio participants in the Ohio Corn Yield Contest. For those interested in the Nitrogen Management Class, the rules have been updated since last harvest season and are found in the contest link. All information on the Corn Yield Contest is at:

“We hope to significantly increase our entries in the contests this year and with the prizes and cooperation with our generous sponsors, these are great incentives to get involved,” said Brad Moffitt, ethanol specialist and yield contests Manager for Ohio Corn & Wheat.

Ohio prizes are:

State Winner: Unverferth Seed Tender free lease

State Runner-up: BASF Fungicide

300 Bushel Club Awards: Buckeye Crop Care.

In addition, Ohio Corn & Wheat will again host the “Celebration of Corn & Wheat” to recognize Ohio’s district and state champions plus growers hitting the 300 bushel-per-acre mark.… Continue reading

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Manure in a changing world

By Mary Wicks

It used to be that manure management technologies were a shovel, pitchfork, and wagon. And application was on the fields closest to the barn. But as the value of its nutrients and organic matter has become better understood, the focus has been on applying manure to best meet crop needs and capture more of the manure nutrients. Development of solid and liquid manure application equipment has allowed more even distribution, while toolbars that can inject manure minimize nitrogen loss from volatilization and protect the environment by reducing risks of nutrient runoff. The use of dragline hose systems that pump liquid manure from storage ponds or semi-trucks reduces manure tanker traffic on roads and in fields.

Recent technological advances in precision agriculture, which have focused on optimizing fertilizer use, are being applied to manure application. Grid mapping of soil test data, in conjunction with GPS and variable rate technology, allows manure to be applied at different rates across a field depending on soil characteristics, planned yields, and other factors.… Continue reading

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Messy legalities (Part 1)

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth     

Families are messy. Farming is messy. Litigation is messy. And on April 19, 2024, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling in a shareholder derivative action that involved all of the above. A shareholder derivative case is a lawsuit brought by a shareholder or group of shareholders on behalf of the corporation against the corporations’ directors, officers and other third parties who breach their duties. In this matter, two brothers sued their father and brother. Let’s take a look at the decision in Hora v. Hora.

The facts section actually begins with the Hora family tree. George and Marie Hora, of Washington County, Iowa, had three children, Keith, born in 1938, and his two siblings, Kathy and Kevin. Keith married Celeste in 1959, and from 1960 to 1968, they had six children, Gregg, Brian, Dana, Kurt, Daren and Heidi.

Upon Celeste’s death in 1989, the Celeste N.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau files brief with U.S. Supreme Court

Ohio Farm Bureau has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the highest court in the land to take on a case to help Ohio landowners.

The case, O’Connor v. Eubanks, takes on the question of whether a state can be sued in federal court for a “takings” claim. Specific to this case, the “taking” is about unclaimed funds that were being held by the state, which did not provide the plaintiff, Mr. O’Connor, interest on those funds when he claimed them.

According to Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis, this could set a precedent that goes well beyond unclaimed funds.

“We filed this brief in large part because of eminent domain and something called, ‘inverse condemnation,’ which is a claim you can make in court when the government takes your property but doesn’t go through the proper process to do so and doesn’t compensate you,” Curtis said.… Continue reading

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First-of-Its-Kind Research Identifies $400 Million in Unrealized Soybean Value

By the United Soybean Board, The Soy Hopper

In some instances, two heads are better than one. For a new multi-regional research effort, five organizations put their heads together to achieve full genetic yield potential of the soybean. A new partnership, the first of its kind in more than 40 years, aims to increase soybean flower and pod retention. This unrealized value could bring $50 per acre or $400 million in economic return for U.S. soybean farmers.

The collaborative focus will test how heat and drought impact flower bud retention. Flower production dictates the final pod number and, ultimately, yield in soybeans. The Atlantic Soybean Council, Mid-South Soybean Board, North Central Soybean Research Program, Southern Soybean Research Program and United Soybean Board all agree this is a priority issue impacting the entire industry.

“Farmer-leaders across the major soybean regions came together and asked: ‘What roadblocks do we face, and how can we combine research dollars to make the most impact?’”… Continue reading

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Ohio Christmas Tree Summer Meeting

As part of the annual summer meeting, the Ohio Christmas Tree Association will host the Mid-America Christmas Tree Association at Timbuk Farms in Licking County July 19 and 20. Session topic will include:  wreath decorating, home and event decorating, retail tips, online marketing and social media, business plan creation, shearing, new grower information and a tour of the farm. Registration starts at 7 a.m. Friday and programming runs through 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information visit:… Continue reading

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New program supports the use of composts as a conservation practice

By Frederick Michel, Jr.

Farmers have known for centuries, and research has demonstrated, that composts can provide multiple benefits to crop, pasture and forest soils. These include providing slow-release nutrients, increasing plant growth and health, enlivening soil microbial communities, increasing soil carbon content, aggregation and water holding capacity, and sequestering carbon to help reduce climate change. The composting process itself redirects valuable plant nutrients and carbon in organic wastes from landfilling, where they degrade anaerobically and emit powerful greenhouse gases like methane. These benefits fall well within the mission of the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA’s primary conservation agency, to “deliver conservation solutions so agricultural producers can protect natural resources and feed a growing world.”

In 2018, the NRCS introduced a new Interim Conservation Practice Standard called the Soil Carbon Amendment, that proposed guidelines for the application of compost, biochar and other organic materials. The purpose of the program is to improve or maintain soil organic matter, sequester carbon and enhance soil carbon (C) stocks, improve soil aggregate stability and improve habitat for soil organisms, all properties that composts provide.… Continue reading

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Summer is heating up beef demand

By Bernt Nelson, American Farm Bureau economist

Summer grilling season is underway, stimulating demand for all types of animal proteins, including beef.

Though the July Cattle Inventory has been discontinued by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, we can use other reports to piece together the cattle and beef market outlook. Three beef reports to tell the story of where markets and grocery store prices are headed.

Cattle on Feed

USDA’s monthly Cattle On Feed report, published on May 24, estimates that there were 11.6 million head of cattle on feed on May 1, up 1% from May 2023. Cattle placed on feed in April were estimated to be 1.66 million, down 6% from April 2023. Cattle marketed in April totaled 1.87 million head, up 172,000 head or 10% from 2023. Cattle on feed for 120-plus days was 4.72 million, down 4.5% from last month, but up about 5.5% from this time last year.… Continue reading

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Togetherall brings mental health awareness and support to agriculture

By Sarah Covington, a Farm Bureau member from North Carolina who works as a physician associate in oncology, and also owns Hawfields Cattle Company, specializing in registered Scottish Highland cattle 

Throughout the years I have seen our agriculture community come together during times of need. Wildfires, floods, droughts, tornadoes and hurricanes, for example, all bring the appropriate awareness from news headlines but what about the mental health crisis affecting the people in our industry? The chronic, sometimes daily struggles of farmers and ranchers, whether financial, family, weather, economic, or regulatory in nature all play a role in our daily lives. Often, we are left to absorb the hardships alone.  

That is why I’m thrilled that the American Farm Bureau and the Farm Family Wellness Alliance recently came together to unveil a new resource that can help all of us in agriculture remember we are not alone. It is an electronic platform called Togetherall, a tool developed to bring mental health awareness and support to others.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council announces Board of Trustees election

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) Board of Trustees has five district seats up for election this year. All eligible candidates interested in running for the OSC Board must obtain at least 15 valid signatures on the petition available at

All petitions must be submitted to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) by mail and must be postmarked no later than July 5, 2024, and received by July 12, 2024.

OSC is the Qualified State Soybean Board for Ohio and manages state soybean checkoff dollars. The OSC Board is made up of farmer volunteers who direct the investment of checkoff dollars to improve the profitability of Ohio soybean farmers.

Districts up for election are:

  • District 1 – Fulton, Henry, Lucas, and Williams counties
    • Incumbent Todd Hesterman is eligible to run for re-election 
  • District 2 – Erie, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Wood counties
    • Incumbent Nathan Eckel is term-limited 
  • District 5 – Allen, Hancock, and Putnam counties
    • Incumbent Jeff McKanna is eligible to run for re-election 
  • District 9 – Delaware, Marion, Morrow, and Union counties
    • Incumbent Mike Ralph is eligible to run for re-election 
  • District 13 – Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, and Warren counties
    • Incumbent David Clark is eligible to run for re-election 

To be eligible for election to the OSC Board, you must live in a county in the districts listed and be a soybean producer engaged in the growing of soybeans in the state of Ohio who owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss of soybeans at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding November 15 of the current year.  … Continue reading

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Hedging grain using futures in a hedge account versus HTAs

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC
I am often asked why I hedge my grain using a futures account instead of using HTA (Hedge To Arrive) contracts with an end user. The following are some of the pros and cons.   
Setting up a futures hedging account This is a one time “hoop” hedgers using futures must do that selling an HTA does not require. Including a hedge line with a bank to finance the hedge account is also a good idea.

Cost to finance a hedge account v. HTA fees
To compare HTA fees to the costs associated with selling through a hedge account, let’s assume you are holding your grain from now until October, or for 4 months. While HTA fees can vary, for a 4-month time period the cost would probably average around 4 cents per bushel based upon conversations I have had with farmers who have been using them. 
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Introducing Ohio’s Golden Owl

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA Reporter

Dena Wuebker, the agricultural educator and FFA advisor at Versailles High School, was named this year’s Ohio Golden Owl Award winner at the 96th Ohio FFA Convention. The award is among the most prestigious accolades in Ohio for agricultural education.

Inside Wuebker’s classroom, on her desk, sits a sign that reads, “Service is the rent we pay for living.” When Wuebker speaks about her tenure as an educator, she always points back to her guiding philosophy: service.

“My goal is that students leave with skills to last a lifetime,” Wuebker said. “I want them to be good leaders who can communicate and are passionate about the agricultural industry, natural resources, and the environment. My hope is that my students become servant leaders.”

With a service-oriented approach to teaching, Wuebker has taught agricultural education for 30 years — all of which have been at Versailles High School.… Continue reading

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Slug Management Considerations and Statewide Monitoring Update

By Dr. Kelley Tilmon, adapted from C.O.R.N. 2024-18

We have been receiving more reports this season than usual of slug damage in corn and soybeans, either through plant feeding or through seed feeding in open seed trenches.  Emerging corn plants are less susceptible to lasting damage than soybean plants because the growing point of corn is below the ground when the plant emerges, so the corn will continue to put out new leaves, even if defoliated.  In soybean, the growing point is within the emerging cotyledons – feeding here can damage the growing point, killing the plant.  On the other hand, soybeans can tolerate more stand loss than corn without losing yield, because the existing plants bush out and become larger, up to a point.  For advice on soybean replant decisions, visit

Not many treatment options are available for slugs in corn and soybean.  The most effective treatment to date is baited pellets containing metaldehyde. … Continue reading

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Winter wheat harvest has started

Warm, dry weather last week dried soils and allowed for farmers to nearly finish planting, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 10% very short, 37% short, 49% adequate, and 4% surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on June 16 was 67.4 degrees, 1.8 degrees below normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.11 inches of precipitation, 0.85 inches below average. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 16.

Farmers were side dressing corn and applied herbicides to corn and soybean fields. A few soybean fields were replanted due to slug damage. Winter wheat harvest began in earnest, and hay harvest was in full swing. Soybean planting reached 95% complete. Emergence reached 94% for corn and 85% for soybeans. Corn condition was rated 73% good to excellent while soybean condition was rated 70% good to excellent, each down from the previous week.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 352 |Cultivating Connection From Farm to Table

In this week’s podcast, host Matt Reese speaks with Gina Orr from FreshORR Farms in Perry County, highlighting their journey selling farm products through Lancaster’s Keller Market House. Erin Harvey, the general manager of Keller Market House, joins to discuss the local food economy and its impact on the community.

The episode features audio from Joel Penhorwood’s interview with Wendy Osborn, Director of Market Development for Ohio Corn & Wheat, providing updates and reminders about Ohio’s wheat crop and the wheat market.

Joel also speaks with Jerry and Reggie Regula of JNR Farms about a recent soybean train derailment on their property, offering insights into the challenges faced by local farmers.… Continue reading

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Pork donation to help fill Toledo area protein gap

When it comes to providing no- or low-cost meals to those in need in northwest Ohio, sourcing high-quality protein is an ongoing struggle as people there are facing food insecurity rates close to 16% — far above the national 13.5% rate. However, thanks to Ohio’s pig farmers annual Pork Power program, hundreds of patrons at Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank will have nutrient-dense, sustainably raised pork available to them.

On behalf of the state’s pork producers, the Ohio Pork Council (OPC) is once again partnering with Toledo’s SAME Café and the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, community-based nonprofits, to bring high-quality protein to those in need. For 2024, this means OPC has provided $3,000 worth of fresh pork or equivalent funds to each venue.

“A meat donation like this is beyond words,” said Courtney Schmidtke, Head Chef of SAME Café. “It is vital for our guests to have high-quality meat to give them the protein, iron, and vitamin B vitamins that they need to stay healthy and happy.… Continue reading

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HPAI webinar for backyard poultry

Penn State Extension’s poultry team will host a webinar to provide updates and biosecurity strategies related to highly pathogenic avian influenza — or HPAI — for owners of small poultry flocks.

“HPAI Updates and Biosecurity Strategies for Small Flock Poultry” is slated for 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 19.

Designed for small-flock owners and 4-H families who raise poultry, this webinar is aimed at helping participants safeguard their flocks against HPAI. Attendees will learn what avian influenza is, the latest on the current outbreak, clinical signs of the disease, steps to take if they have sick or dying birds, and practical biosecurity strategies.

Penn State Extension offers this event free of charge, but registration by 6 p.m. June 19 is required to access the webinar link. Registrants also will receive access to the webinar recording.

More information is available on the Penn State Extension website at… Continue reading

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