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Ag lender survey reveals concerns

By Mike Estadt, Ag/NR Educator, Pickaway County and Chris Zoller, Ag/NR Educator, Tuscarawas County

The American Bankers Association is a membership association comprised of small, regional, and large banks that account for nearly $11 trillion in loans and $17 trillion dollars in deposits. Member banks working with Farmer Mac provide the agricultural industry with low-cost financing and risk management tools. Farmer Mac has been delivering capital to rural America for over 30 years.

The American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac have collaborated on a national survey of ag lenders since 2016 to gauge lender sentiment of the farm economy, expectations of land values and an outlook for the agricultural economy for the coming year.

Nearly 500 loan officers responded to a survey via email between August and September each year. Responses represent lending institutions that range in assets of less than $50 million to large institutions with assets in excess of $5 billion.… Continue reading

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AgCredit makes local food bank donations in Marion and Morrow counties

AgCredit, a cooperative lender to 18 counties in Northern Ohio, recently made a large donation to several food banks in Marion and Morrow counties as part of its ongoing corporate mission to help residents suffering from food insecurity. 

AgCredit’s “Sharing the Harvest by Giving Thanks” campaign is an initiative that provides canned and nonperishable food items to the region’s food banks to help address the hunger and nutritional needs of area residents. Deliveries went to St. Vincent DePaul and Salvation Army in Marion, Cardington Food Pantry in Cardington, Morrow County Job and Family Services in Mt. Gilead, and No Limits Outreach Center in Edison.

 “Our ‘Sharing the Harvest’ campaign enables AgCredit customers to help meet the basic needs of their neighbors at a time when many are struggling. We credit our local food banks for their tireless work and are delighted to support their efforts through our donations,” said Dusty Sonnenberg, AgCredit Board of Directors Chairman.… Continue reading

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Webinar on Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage for the 2021 Crop Year

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill. Producers must enroll  in ARC/PLC for the 2021 crop year through their local Farm Service Agency office. Producers can amend the program elections they made for the 2019 and 2020 crop years for the 2021 crop year. The signup period for the 2021 crop year is open now, and the deadline to enroll and make amendments to program elections is March 15, 2021.

If changes are not made by March 15, 2021 deadline, the election defaults to the programs selected for the 2020 crop year with no penalty. Producers will have the opportunity to amend program elections again for the 2022 and 2023 crop years.

Producers again have the option to enroll covered commodities in either ARC-County, ARC-Individual, or PLC. Program elections are made on a crop-by-crop basis unless selecting ARC-Individual where all crops under that FSA Farm Number fall under that program.… Continue reading

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Happy Thanksgiving!

By Robin Kinney, senior director, member engagement at the American Farm Bureau Federation

Nearly 40 years ago as I started my career in agriculture communications, the week leading up to Thanksgiving celebrated those who live on the land and care for critters (livestock), while recognizing the important partnership farmers have with consumers. Farm-City Week celebrated the harvest and the abundance of affordable and nutritious food available to American families and for export around the world. With that in mind, now is a good time to remember our blessings and celebrate what we have in common.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, shop and find entertainment. We miss meeting friends at the local foodie hot spot and enjoying a meal but have found ways to handle the disruption by adjusting our lives, applying new technology and simply being grateful. One positive outcome during this time of social distancing is that the food chain, from the field to the fork and the gate to the plate, has received some appreciation as Americans have been reminded that agriculture and all of those along the food chain are essential to everyday life.… Continue reading

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Climbing corn prices

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The corn market continues to trade at new high levels for the year. This is only the third time in 25 years that the December futures contract high occurred after September 15.

Why do corn prices keep going up?

A big rally this fast requires a “perfect storm” of unexpected events happening at the same time. In this case, carryout predictions among market participants for the 2020 crop have decreased from nearly 3.5 billion bushels in the spring to under 1.5 billion this month. A 2 billion-bushel drop in such a short time is unprecedented. The trade has been known to be a bit extreme with their prediction compared the USDA’s numbers, however even the USDA has shown a record drop this year as well from 3.3 billion in the May report to 1.7 billion earlier this month. For reference, in 2012 the USDA carryout reduction was only a 1 billion-bushel drop from spring until after harvest.… Continue reading

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Learning from 2020 to prepare for 2021

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Seed Consultants, Inc.

 2020 has provided Ohio’s producers with another challenging growing season. As Ohio’s growers wrap up harvest, it is important to begin planning for next year and work to minimize the impact of some of the lingering agronomic issues.

One area of concern that can significantly impact yields is soil compaction. Thanks to a pattern of wet spring and fall weather over the last several years, field work has been performed under marginal or wet soil conditions. Agronomists and growers have observed symptoms of compaction such as restricted root growth, stunted crops, deficiencies, and yield losses. Because soil compaction lingers for several years and is estimated to causes as much as 10% to 20% yield loss, Ohio’s growers should focus on alleviating and avoiding compaction in the future. Some compaction can be alleviated through tillage. Deep compaction should be alleviated in the fall with deep ripping.… Continue reading

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Healthy soils suppress pests

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers who improve soil health increase the amount of soil carbon being stored, and recycled. The increased carbon flow increases microbial numbers and efficiency leading to improved plant photosynthesis. The entire soil ecosystem functions at a higher level.  The overall effects are healthy plants that have less disease and insect issues and higher overall yields.

Soils high in soil organic matter (SOM) allow carbon to cycle in many different forms.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The soil microbial community adjusts to these changes in the quantity of recycled carbon and nitrogen and this has an effect on the amount of phosphorus, sulfur, and micro-minerals released in the soil.  Many of these trace minerals like manganese, iron, copper, and zinc are essential micro-nutrients needed to suppress disease.  Plants activate plant proteins into enzymes to fight diseases using these micro-nutrients as co-factors. All soils have pathogens but healthy soils can tolerate these pathogens because healthy plants have the ability to fight them off. 

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U.S. pork producers “Give-a-Ham”

The National Pork Producers Council launched the “Give-a-Ham” challenge, a national social media campaign encouraging hog farmers and those involved in the industry to donate pork to organizations serving the food insecure, and challenging others to follow suit. The “Give-a-Ham” challenge began Nov. 23 and runs through the end of the year.

“With so many Americans struggling with COVID-related financial challenges, this year’s ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge takes on special meaning,” said Howard “AV” Roth, NPPC president. “Giving back to our communities is a core value of hog farmers nationwide; it’s gratifying to come together as an industry this time of year to serve those in need.”

Throughout the COVID pandemic, U.S. hog farmers and numerous state associations that represent them have donated to local food banks, providing a collective 15.7 million pounds — or 222.8 million servings — of pork through Oct. 31.

“I’m proud to be part of an industry that has already made significant contributions this year to help those less fortunate and look forward to participating in the ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge, paying it forward with pork,” Roth said.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Fudge on USDA Secretary short list

Ohio Democrat Rep. Marcia Fudge is on the short list of contenders for Secretary of Agriculture in the Biden Administration.

Congresswoman Fudge, from Warrensville Heights, has served on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee since 2011, she has demonstrated her ability to tackle complex issues. In 2019, Fudge served as chair of House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations. She has long been a proponent of food aid programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). She is garnering support from consumer groups, environmental groups and the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA).

“Congresswoman Fudge is respected by her peers for her work ethic and ability to bring people together. Her openness and availability to producers and farm groups speaks volumes, and we look forward to working with her as Secretary of the USDA,” said Patty Mann, President of OCWGA. 

Rep. Fudge recently endorsed Georgia Democratic Rep. David Scott for chair the House Agriculture Committee, another position she could have pursued.… Continue reading

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Spotted lanternfly a growing concern in Ohio

A group of spotted lanternflies, which feed on grapevines, hops, and fruit trees, was recently discovered in Ohio, triggering concerns the pest could become established and spread quickly.

In October, adult lanternflies were found outside a business in Jefferson County, adjacent to the Pennsylvania border.

Adult lanternflies won’t be seen during the winter months because they die off as temperatures drop below freezing. But before dying, the females typically lay 30 to 50 eggs, and come spring, their offspring could begin feeding.

“If there’s anything I’m personally losing sleep over, it’s this insect,” said Maria Smith, outreach specialist in grape production at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Native to Asia, spotted lanternflies were first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania.

“It’s a ticking time bomb,” Smith said. “They’re taking out acres of grapevines in Pennsylvania. That’s why we’re so concerned about this insect.”… Continue reading

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United Producers, Inc. announces hiring of Beef on Dairy Manager

United Producers, Inc. (UPI), the Midwest’s largest livestock marketing cooperative, is pleased to announce that Clay Fredericks has joined its team as the beef on dairy manager.

The new position was created to expand services for UPI members following significant growth in breeding beef on dairy across the country. In 2020, approximately 2 million “beef on dairy calves” were born in the U.S., with 2021 estimates at 2.7 million.

“We are pleased to welcome Clay to our team while expanding new, services for our UPI members who are involved in, or interested in beef on dairy initiatives,” said Mike Bumgarner, UPI president & CEO. “Clay’s extensive experience in this specific area will be a great benefit to our members, and we look forward to seeing him put his skills to work.”

Fredericks’ responsibilities in his new role will include overseeing beef on dairy initiatives, creating new opportunities for dairies, growers and end-users.… Continue reading

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Corn, soybean harvest wind down

Harvest continued to approach completion as some farmers prepared for next spring, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 89 percent adequate to surplus by week’s end. Average temperatures for the week were 2.3 degrees above historical normals and the entire State averaged 0.52 inches of precipitation. There were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 22.

Soybeans were 96 percent harvested by week’s end, while soybeans moisture content was at 13 percent. Corn harvested was 2 percentage points behind the five-year average at 87 percent. Corn moisture content was at 19 percent, the same percentage as the previous week. Winter wheat emerged was virtually complete, ahead of the five-year average. Seventy-two percent of winter wheat was rated in good to excellent condition compared to 73 percent the previous week.

You can read the full report here.Continue reading

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A look back at 2020 from Between the Rows

Charlie Kail

No two growing seasons are alike. That’s the fun part of this game we play. We keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect the same result, but when it comes to rain it gives you a different result and sometimes you don’t like it. It was wet early so the root systems weren’t deep. Then it dried out in some places and the roots weren’t deep enough to chase the water.

A successful 2020 was about getting the rain. We planted the corn in ideal to too wet conditions. It stayed wet long enough to get the corn going and then it got dry. There is just nothing you can do to fight that.

We lost control of marestail in the beans late in the season around here. That was mainly because of a lack of residual, either not putting down residual at all or not putting down enough too early to survive the summer.… Continue reading

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Pandemic worsening food insecurity

Bringing higher rates of unemployment and poverty, the pandemic has also pushed more people into a struggle to buy the basics, including food. 

Grocery store food prices have gone up only about 5% since January 2019, but with so many people out of work, food banks have seen a surge in demand, said Zoë Plakias, an assistant professor of agricultural, environmental, and development economics at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

While facing an increasing demand, food banks have also received fewer food donations from grocery stores that give their excess products. When stores can’t keep their shelves stocked, there can be less available for donation, Plakias said.

With many incomes reduced during the pandemic, more people are taking advantage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as food stamps, and new food aid programs have been started. 

But that’s enough to meet the need, Plakias said.… Continue reading

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Illinois waterway system reopens to traffic

A major rehabilitation project on the Illinois River has been completed, allowing for the 12 million tons of food and ag commodities that leave the state to resume. This past summer, the Illinois River was shut down to go through necessary infrastructure upgrades with all of the newly completed work accompanied by a price tag totaling roughly $200 million. 

Back in September, corn growers and NCGA staff toured four active construction sites along the Rock Island District including LaGrange, Peoria, Starved Rock, and Marseilles. The inland waterways system is essential to getting U.S. corn to the export market, with more than 60% of the grain produced in the U.S. being transported by barge.

Illinois corn grower Terry Smith pointed out that waterways transportation isn’t just more efficient, it also makes the roads safer.

“If you know some of the numbers from just Illinois, Illinois in 2018 had a little over 83 million ton of product move up and down the river.… Continue reading

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Cornely inducted to farm broadcasting hall of fame

By Kolt Buchenroth

Joe Cornely is a name synonymous with Ohio farm broadcasting. Now, it’s a name “in its rightful place” among the rest of the greats in the industry association’s hall of fame. The National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention, usually held in Kansas City, MO, was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cornely gave his remarks virtually.

“NAFB has been the source of unbelievable friendships for me. The kind that last a lifetime. I think, too, one of the most important parts of about NAFB from a professional standpoint is the important work that farm broadcasters do. Your listeners and viewers know you, they trust you. To have that trust is something that all of us need to appreciate every single day,” Cornely said.

He says the helping young farm broadcasters get their start in the industry was the high point of his career.

Cornely cut his teeth in farm broadcasting at WKTN-FM in Kenton, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Trade Talk virtual style | NAFB 2020🎙

By Dale Minyo and Kolt Buchenroth

Each year, our broadcast team travels to Kansas City, Missouri to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention. It’s here we get to connect with and interview representatives from ag companies and organizations from across the country. We also get to catch up with our farm broadcasting colleagues from across the country and eat far too much food. The signature day is the “Trade Talk” trade show where the nation’s farm broadcasters carry their microphones and recorders to interview the different exhibitors. This year, we traded in our airplane tickets, luggage and Kansas City BBQ for our laptops as we attended the first ever virtual convention. We spent Thursday bouncing between Zoom calls to conduct nearly 30 interviews with companies across the country. While portions of these interviews will air on Ohio Ag Net radio programming in the coming days, the full interviews are posted here.… Continue reading

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2020 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference highlights – Day 4

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

The 2020 Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference concluded with topics focused on consumer demand and commodity outlooks. Zoe Plakias, Assistant Professor in Agriculture and Food Economics, presented an outlook on consumer demand heading into 2021.

Plakias shared that in light of COVID-19 there have been some notable changes in consumer spending habits.

“There have been some key changes in how people buy and shop since the onset of COVID-19,” Plakias said. “There have been key changes in how much people buy, and what they are buying. There have also been key changes in where and how people shop.”

Total food spending was down by 8.6% in the last year. Not surprisingly, total food spending was lowest in April, but rebounded slightly over the summer. The monthly food sales data comparison between food consumed at home versus food consumed away from home noted a dramatic decline in the sales of food consumed away from home, but a slight increase in sales of food consumed at home.… Continue reading

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Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program provides grant money to 14 Ohio grape growers

Fourteen grape growers in Ohio will receive up to $3,000 per acre in grant money to create new or expand existing vineyards, allowing for more wineries to use Ohio-grown grapes. The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program (VEAP) allows wineries to invest in and plant high-quality, high-value grapes onsite instead of purchasing them from other states. VEAP is an incentive program created and funded by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC).

The grant recipients are:

• Breezy Vines LLC, Bellaire, Belmont County
• Buccia Vineyard, Conneaut, Ashtabula County
• Clark Farms, West Milton, Miami County
• King Vineyard (name TBD), Lancaster, Fairfield County
• Das Weinhaus Vineyard and Winery, Litchfield, Medina County
• Five Roots Vineyard, Croton, Licking County
• Folck Family Farm, Mechanicsburg, Champaign County
• Overton Valley Vineyards, Burbank, Wayne County
• Quinstock Farm, Port Clinton, Ottawa County
• The Vineyards at Pine Lake, Columbiana, Mahoning County
• Vinoklet Winery, Cincinnati, Hamilton County
• White Timbers, Wadsworth, Medina County
• William White Family, Jackson, Jackson County

Ohio is the sixth largest wine producer in the country, with just over 1,500 acres of vineyards producing and selling 1.2 million gallons, or 500,000 cases, of wine annually.… Continue reading

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