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Lee takes new organization director role at Ohio Farm Bureau

Melinda Lee of Tipp City has been named Ohio Farm Bureau Federation organization director for Delaware, Franklin, Madison, and Union counties. Lee has spent the last three years serving in the same position for Champaign, Clark, Darke and Miami counties.

In her new territory, Lee will continue her work as a liaison between the county Farm Bureaus and Ohio Farm Bureau. She will assist the county groups as they develop and implement programs to strengthen their organizations and enhance their ability to serve members and affect positive change in their communities.

Lee is a 2013 graduate of Ohio State University where she majored in animal sciences and agribusiness. She received her American FFA degree in 2010. Previously she worked at Aldermere Farm in Maine helping plan and facilitate agricultural education programs and at the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center. She is a graduate of Ohio Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER Institute Class IX and currently serves as the chairperson for the Miami County Agricultural Leadership Fund.… Continue reading

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Farm groups partner to help farmers manage stress

Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union have partnered on a program to train individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers to recognize signs of stress and offer help.

“Farm Bureau is a family, and when a member is hurting, we all feel it and are eager to help. But we may not always know how to spot the warning signs that someone is overwhelmed,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “This training program will help our members recognize the warning signs and empower them to get help for their friends, family, neighbors or even themselves. We’re honored to partner with Farm Credit and Farmers Union to strengthen rural resilience in farm communities.”

Based on the farm stress program Michigan State University Extension developed for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency, this combination of online and in-person trainings is designed specifically for individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers.… Continue reading

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Honest conversations about opioids can save lives

By Matt Niswander, a first-generation cattleman from Tennessee who works full-time in his community as a family nurse practitioner and owns Niswander Family Medicine, a hometown, primary care family medical practice

Every week in our country, the equivalent of two jumbo jets full of people die from a preventable opioid epidemic, and those deaths are often rising the fastest in farm country.

For the last 15 years I have worked in the healthcare field in rural America, from the emergency room to my hometown primary care. One thing I have seen is that anyone can become addicted to opioids that are prescribed legally for a legitimate injury. It only takes three days to become addicted and for your body to crave the euphoria that opioids produce. If you think you are immune to the possibility of addiction, you’re wrong.

I often have people come into my medical office complaining of real pain, and they know a pain pill will help them get back to work.… Continue reading

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USMCA agreement reached, headed to floor

After months of anticipation, Congress has reached an agreement to consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which will huge huge implications for agriculture in Ohio and around the country.

“Today’s announcement gives us a glimmer of hope that, by the end of this year, Ohio’s farmers will see much needed certainty on the horizon. Growing markets and expanding trade opportunities for our members is a top advocacy priority for the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. This year we have lobbied hard for USMCA on behalf of our members and are encouraged by the support we’ve seen from Ohio’s congressional delegation to pass this critical deal,” said Tadd Nicholson, Ohio Corn & Wheat Executive Director. “However, our work is not done. We look forward to seeing Ohio’s members of Congress leading the way to final passage of this deal and the implementing legislation that will be required thereafter.”

Canada and Mexico are at the top of the list for U.S.… Continue reading

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Trade association leaders plead for Congress to Act on tax extenders

Executives from 11 national trade associations sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, highlighting the urgent need for Congress to extend the expired biodiesel tax incentive before the end of the year.

The association executives state in the letter, “There is broad bipartisan support for the biodiesel tax credit, and we believe that Congress can, and must, pass an immediate extension before returning home at the end of the year.”

“America’s farmers and rural communities are facing overwhelming economic uncertainty right now due to policy instability. They are waiting for Washington to complete work on trade deals and stabilize markets for U.S. agricultural output in China, Canada and Mexico. The economic hardships are spreading throughout the economy,” the executives write.

“One thing Congress can do before the end of the year to help rural economies and provide some policy stability is extend the expired biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive.”… Continue reading

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China fuels October pork exports, beef exports down

Strong demand from China bolstered U.S. pork exports in October, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Export Federation (USMEF), while October beef exports were below the very high totals posted a year ago.

October pork exports increased 8.5% year-over-year to 225,376 metric tons (mt), while export value climbed 10% to $592 million. January-October export volume was 5% ahead of last year’s pace at 2.13 million mt, while value increased 3% to $5.48 billion.

Pork export value averaged $48.13 per head slaughtered in October, up 4% from a year ago. For January through October, the per-head average was down 1% to $51.12. October exports accounted for 24% of total U.S. pork production and 20.9% for muscle cuts only, up from 23.6% and 20.7%, respectively, a year ago. January-October exports accounted for 26% of total pork production and 22.6% for muscle cuts, both up slightly year-over-year.

October beef exports totaled 108,017 mt, an 8% decline from last year’s large volume, while export value ($649.1 million) was down 11%.… Continue reading

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Stricter work requirements for SNAP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it would tighten work requirements for able-bodied Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants without dependents.

Under current regulations, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) can receive food assistance no more than three months out of every three years, unless they work at least 80 hours per month or meet other education or workforce training requirements. Previously, states could waive work requirements when jobs were unavailable or didn’t match workers’ skills, but the rule will make it more difficult to do so, causing an estimated 688,000 people to lose benefits.

The vast majority of the more than 140,000 comments submitted to USDA in response to the rule were written in opposition, including those submitted by National Farmers Union (NFU). In a statement, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew restated the organization’s objections and emphasized the value of nutrition assistance programs.… Continue reading

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OFBF Discussion Meet finalists announced

Three finalists have been named in Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2020 Discussion Meet. They are David Glass of Chillicothe, Micah Mensing of Millersburg and Kalyn Swihart of Lima.

The annual contest tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills. These young agricultural professionals will compete in the finals as part of the Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus Jan. 31.
The finalists were named after a preliminary competition at Ohio Farm Bureau’s 101st Annual Meeting in Columbus where they discussed topics impacting the agriculture industry.

“The Discussion Meet contest is a meaningful opportunity for young ag professionals to strengthen their skills in working together to solve issues facing agriculture today. I look forward to watching these finalists compete at the finals next year,” said OFBF Leadership Development Program Specialist Kelsey Turner.

The winner receives a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance, an expense-paid trip to the 2020 OFBF Annual Meeting in Columbus and an expense-paid trip to the AFBF Annual Convention in January 2021 in San Diego.… Continue reading

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Farm groups file legal challenge to California’s Prop 12

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation have filed a legal challenge to California’s Proposition 12, which imposes animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States and beyond.

“Proposition 12 revolves around a set of arbitrary standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis, and will only serve to inflict further harm on U.S. hog farmers,” said Jen Sorenson, NPPC vice president. “California represents approximately 15% of the U.S. pork market, and Proposition 12 will force hog farmers who want to sell pork into the populous state to switch to alternative housing systems, at a significant cost to their business. U.S. pork producers are already fighting to expand market opportunities overseas. We shouldn’t have to fight to preserve our domestic market too.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards.… Continue reading

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USDA to open signup for Conservation Reserve Program on Dec. 9

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is opening signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) on Dec. 9, 2019. The deadline for agricultural producers to sign up for general CRP is Feb. 28, 2020, while signup for continuous CRP is ongoing.

Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP receive a yearly rental payment for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is one of our nation’s largest conservation endeavors and a critical tool to help producers better manage their operations while conserving natural resources,” Secretary Perdue said. “The program marks its 35-year anniversary in 2020, and we’re hoping to see one of our largest signups in many years.”

CRP has 22 million acres enrolled, but the 2018 Farm Bill lifted the cap to 27 million acres.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic set to inspire

A decorated fighter pilot and best-selling authorwill be the keynote speaker during the Commodity Classic General Session.

The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. Commodity Classic is the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience. The Friday morning General Session is one of the most highly-rated experiences during the three-day farmer-driven event — and the 2020 version promises to be as well.

Keynote speaker will be Lt. Colonel Waldo Waldman, a decorated fighter pilot, highly-rated Hall of Fame Speaker and New York Times best-selling author. His message is designed to inspire farmers to collaborate and innovate with their fellow farmers and ag partners to maximize their potential in farming and in life.

The session will also include the nation’s commodity association leaders who will discuss the hottest issues facing the nation’s corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum producers. Additionally, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers will provide an update on the ag equipment industry. … Continue reading

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Trade deal with Japan approved

Both houses of Japan’s Parliament have now approved a trade deal with the United States, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

“Now that the final hurdle to a deal with Japan has been cleared, American farmers and ranchers can count on increased market access for their products — from beef and poultry to fruits, vegetables and nuts,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “This is a big win for farmers, and we hope it’s the first of many trade deals to be approved that will open markets and level playing fields for American agricultural exports. We thank the administration for its commitment to negotiating new trade deals and look forward to more progress soon.”

 … Continue reading

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Late planting leads to wetter harvested grain

More Ohio farmers invested extra time and fuel this year to dry their harvested corn and soybeans because both grains were planted several weeks late and had less time to dry in the field.

While drying harvested corn in a mechanical dryer is typical each year, some producers in the state dried soybeans this year for the first time ever.

“Soybeans dry a whole lot better outside when it’s 70 degrees and you can run around in short sleeves. Farmers are harvesting in winter coats,” said Eric Richer, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Fulton County, on the far northwestern border of the state. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

If grain stays in a dryer too long, fires can occur. Also, the longer that corn and soybeans sit in drying units, the greater chance the grains will turn brittle, crack, or break down into dust particles — all of which can decrease the price a grower gets for the grain.… Continue reading

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Rule proposed to level the playing field for organic dairies

A policy that allows a one-time transition of dairy cows from conventional to organic production has been inconsistently enforced, putting farmers who play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage and undermining the integrity of the organic label. However, a proposed rule would level the playing field by more clearly defining current regulations.

The Origin of Livestock proposed rule, which was originally published in 2015 but has not yet been finalized, would allow organic dairy farms to transition conventional replacement animals into organic production only once, prohibiting the continuous transition that some farms have incorrectly practiced. In comments submitted, National Farmers Union (NFU), a longtime advocate of fair and commonsense organic rules and regulations, voiced support for the rule and urged its immediate finalization and implementation.

“The organic label is only as meaningful as the enforcement of organic standards. But currently, the origin of livestock provisions are being applied inconsistently across the industry, allowing some farmers to repeatedly transition conventional replacement animals into organic production while others comply with the rules and only transition a single, distinct herd once.… Continue reading

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Cooperatives Working Together settlement lifts legal cloud

The National Milk Producers Federation announced it has reached a settlement agreement to end a class-action lawsuit concerning a herd retirement program that ended in 2010 and was administered through NMPF’s Cooperatives Working Together initiative. The settlement will safeguard ongoing efforts to aid U.S. dairy producers, lift a years-long legal cloud and allow NMPF member cooperatives and the current CWT program to move forward with greater legal and fiscal certainty.

The plaintiffs (generally larger retailers and companies who directly purchased butter and cheese from CWT member cooperatives) in First Impressions Salon, Inc. v. National Milk Producers Federation et al, (pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois), and defendant NMPF have agreed to a settlement of $220 million in exchange for a release from all claims. Based on antitrust rules that mandate a tripling of any damages, that amount is less than 6% of the damages sought by plaintiffs.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Council names Melissa Bell Interim Executive Vice-President

The Ohio Pork Council is pleased to name Melissa Bell as Interim Executive-Vice President, beginning December 16, 2019.

In this role, Bell will work alongside the board of directors to manage and execute OPC’s strategic goals, coordinate state checkoff programs, and continue the organization’s involvement in H2Ohio, in addition to the Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative. Bell has served as OPC’s Director of Membership Outreach since May 2018, in which she organized events and maintained relationships with key investors, members and partners of the organization.

“Melissa is a tremendous asset to the Ohio Pork Council, which is why we are pleased to offer her the opportunity to serve as Interim Executive Vice-President,” said Dave Shoup, President, Ohio Pork Council. “Given Melissa’s leadership experience in agriculture, coupled with her passion for the industry, we are confident she will excel in this role.”

Before joining OPC in 2018, Bell served as the Sponsorship Development Consultant at the Ohio FFA Foundation, and prior to that as the Executive Director for the Foundation.… Continue reading

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Bayliss appointed to USB

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appointed 19 new and 24 returning directors to serve on the United Soybean Board (USB), including Ohioan Charles “Bill” Bayliss from West Mansfield.

These farmer-leaders will be officially sworn in for service at the annual USB meeting on Dec. 11, and serve three-year terms.

“This year we are welcoming one of the largest classes of new directors USB has ever seen,” said USB Chair and Kentucky farmer Keith Tapp. “We have a strong group of new leaders who will join our ongoing work to innovate beyond the bushel. Each adds new perspective to the board and will help USB’s efforts to create new markets and opportunities for soybean farmers.”

Bayliss will join those already serving terms on the board to make a total of 78 directors. USB administers soybean checkoff funds to research, marketing and promotional efforts that maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Conference coming up this week

The Ohio No-Till Conference is coming up this Thursday, Dec. 5. at Der Dutchman Restaurant. 445 South Jefferson (US Route 42), Plain City, OH. Guests can register at the door for $60. Here is the schedule:

9:00 Welcome and Introductions: 
Jan Layman, Hardin County, President, Ohio No-Till Council

9:05 Managing Cover Crops in Spring 2020 Panel of no-till farmers, cover crop experts
Nathan Brause, Cody Beacom, David or Jay Brandt, Glenn Harsh, Eric Niemeyer

10:00 Healthy Soils, Healthy Waters, Healthy Life
Mark Anson, Vincennes, Indiana (19,000 acres of no-till with cover crops)

11:00 Break
11:15 Blanchard River Demo Network: Overview
Aaron Heilers, Manager

11:25 Soil Health, No-till and Cover Crops. Panel Moderator: Bret Margraf, Seneca Co.
Mark Anson, David Brandt, Jan Layman

12:05 Ohio No-Till Awards (Sponsored by Walnut Creek Seeds)
Educator/Researcher Award: Blanchard River Demo Farms Network. Aaron Heilers
Business/Industry Awards: Clary Farms; Walnut Creek Seeds; Bird Agronomics
Outstanding No-Till Farmer: Nathan Brause, Crawford County
Scholarship Awards: Jessica Monnier
Aubrey Margraf
Matt Roth (funded by Dr.… Continue reading

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A hunting we will go: laws landowners need to know

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

With archery season in full swing and deer gun season opening today, hunters will be out in full force across Ohio. That means it’s also high season for questions about hunting laws, trespassers, property harm, and landowner liability. Below, we provide answers to the top ten frequently asked questions we receive on these topics.

I gave them permission to hunt on my land, but do I have to sign something? Permission to hunt should be in writing. Ohio law requires a person to obtain written permission from a landowner or the landowner’s agent before hunting on private lands or waters and to carry the written permission while hunting. A hunter who doesn’t obtain written permission can be subject to criminal misdemeanor charges. ORC 1533.17. The ODNR provides a permission form at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/Portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/hunting/Pub8924_PermissiontoHunt.pdf. If a hunter uses another form, read it carefully before signing and ensure that it only addresses hunting and doesn’t grant other rights that you don’t want to allow on the land.… Continue reading

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Grassroots efforts of Farm Bureau take shape in Columbus this week

Embracing a New Century is the theme of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Meeting, Dec. 4 – 5 at the Columbus Convention Center and Hilton Columbus Downtown hotel.

More than 600 attendees will be on hand as the state’s largest and most influential farm and food organization establishes its policy on important state and federal issues, elects leaders and recognizes the accomplishments of individuals and the organization.

Ohio Farm Bureau delegates and members in attendance will hear from Gov. Mike DeWine at this year’s event. Among other topics of high interest to Ohio agriculture, Gov. DeWine will discuss plans for the newly unveiled H2Ohio water quality initiative.

Farm Bureau President Frank Burkett III and Executive Vice President Adam Sharp will address the delegates. They are expected to recap some of the organization’s achievements during its Centennial year including two of its highest priority issues: preservation of the business income tax deduction and a collaborative plan to address water quality challenges, which have been included in the state budget.… Continue reading

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