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Columbia FTA progresses

There are three free trade agreements that, if implemented, would represent nearly $2.5 billion in additional U.S. exports. The stalling trade agreements with Panama, Columbia and South Korea are costing U.S. agriculture huge losses in potential exports and lost market share. For this reason, there was cause for celebration with the recent progress in the FTA with Columbia.

President Barack Obama and his team of negotiators successfully completed an Action Plan to resolve the issues that have been holding up the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This will now allow Congress to move forward with consideration for approval. The FTA will create new opportunities for American farmers and ranchers in the Colombian market.

“U.S. farmers and ranchers have been losing market share in Colombia to our competitors who have trade agreements with the country. It’s time to turn the tide and recoup our losses. Colombia has duty-free access to the U.S.… Continue reading

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Maximizing wheat yield potential

By Jerron T. Schmoll, Agronomy Research Manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred

Much of the wheat in the state has been topdressed at this point, though applications were made a little later in the season than many producers would have liked. As long as the wheat was in the early stages of green-up there should not be any yield loss.

Actually, in many years we apply nitrogen (N) much earlier in the season than is ideal (January and February) in order to avoid rutting fields and to spread out the spring workload. Research indicates that March N applications are often the highest yielding as there is less time for leaching and run-off losses that may occur with early spring rains. Late N applications can still be made in early April, though yields may be reduced relative to March applications, especially if the wheat has already entered the stem extension phase of growth. The appropriate nitrogen rate can be calculated as follows: N rate = 40 + [1.75 x (yield potential – 50)].… Continue reading

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Get ready for scouting soybeans in 2011

It is important to be aware of the pests that will be working against plans for record-breaking yield this season. Each year, soybean yields are threatened by various insect pests that can cause significant damage and yield loss. Insect pests like soybean aphid, bean leaf beetle and stinkbugs are just a few of the pests that can quickly take over fields and reduce crop yields and quality as well as profits. For this reason, it is crucial for soybean growers to regularly scout and properly identify these destructive insects.

Soybean aphids have quickly become one of the greatest potential threats to soybean fields. According to the Ohio State University Extension, aphids can have up to 12 generations per year. When populations become large in size, a winged generation of female aphids occurs, which will spread across fields, counties and even states on wind currents. Researchers from the Midwest have established an action threshold of 250 soybean aphids per plant for when an insecticide treatment is warranted.… Continue reading

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Ag Credit borrowers celebrate record $14.5 million return

Ag Credit is distributing a record $14.5 million in profit sharing to stockholding borrowers.

The refunds amount to about 27 cents on every dollar of loan interest accrued last year. At an average rate of 5.29 percent, that would reduce a borrower’s interest for 2010 to 3.86 percent.

Ag Credit, part of the national Farm Credit System, is a financial co-op that provides loans to farmers, agricultural businesses and rural communities. As a cooperative, Ag Credit’s borrowers are its stockholders. When the cooperative earns a profit, it puts a portion back into the pockets of its stockholders. Each receives a check twice a year containing their share of annual profits.

“Profit sharing is a key part of the value proposition of our cooperative,” said Ag Credit President Neil Jordan. “By focusing on sound lending and strong capital we continue to be a reliable financial partner to farmers and agricultural community in 18 Ohio counties.”… Continue reading

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Volunteers needed for milk study

More people are choosing to drink raw milk these days, and Ohio State University researchers are hoping to find out why.

They are looking for people who live on farms who drink either raw or pasteurized milk to take part in a study. Volunteers will be asked to meet with researchers to complete a written survey, and take part in a 1.5-hour-long focus group session. They will be paid $25 for their time and trouble.

“We truly do not know very much about how farmers make the choice to drink raw or pasteurized milk — there’s just nothing in the literature,” said Lydia Medeiros, a scientist with the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension, and a professor of human nutrition in the College of Education and Human Ecology. The study of farm families is part of a broader project on raw milk consumption in Ohio.… Continue reading

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EPA registration approval for the Agrisure Viptera 3220 trait stack

Syngenta in North America announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted registration approval for the Agrisure Viptera 3220 trait stack, which offers corn growers dual modes of action against above-ground (lepidopteran) insect pests.

“With this approval, Syngenta offers growers more control of above-ground insects with a reduced five% structured refuge,” said David Morgan, Syngenta region director of North America and president of Syngenta Seeds, Inc. “Not only do growers enjoy greater productivity through reduced refuge, they also will get more yield benefits from the Agrisure Viptera trait and its superior control of the multi-pest complex.”

The revolutionary Agrisure Viptera 3220 trait stack includes the breakthrough Agrisure Viptera trait, a completely new mode of action in corn as the first Vip3A insect control protein. In 2010 Syngenta trials, triple stack hybrids with the Agrisure Viptera trait outyielded competitive triple stack hybrids by more than 9 bushels per acre on average.… Continue reading

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Care Board votes to put “turn around” language back in veal standards

By Kyle Sharp

In February, more than 30 Ohio veal farmers representing roughly half the veal production in the state presented a petition to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) stating they “do not anticipate continuing to raise veal in the State of Ohio” after 2017, if the drafted veal regulations at that time were made final. As a result, the Board voted March 1 to amend its proposed veal production standards by removing a requirement for veal calves to be able to turn around in their individual pens during their first 10 weeks of age after Dec. 31, 2017.

At the April 5 OLCSB meeting, more than 100 animal activists, many of them bused by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from Cleveland and Cincinnati, came to the meeting wearing shirts that read “Let Them Turn Around” and featured an image of veal calves. They called for the Board to overturn the March 1 amendment and restate the requirement for veal calves to be able to turn around.… Continue reading

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Hirsch Elected President of Ohio Farm Bureau

Steve Hirsch of Chillicothe has been elected president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF). He became the organization’s 23rd president during a special election by OFBF’s board of trustees April 5. He holds the highest elected office in the state’s largest farm organization.

Hirsch, 46, replaces Brent Porteus, who stepped down after three years as president in order to stand for election to the Nationwide board of trustees.

Hirsch has been OFBF’s first vice president for three years and has served on the board for 10 years as the trustee for District 15, which includes Fairfield, Hocking, Pickaway and Ross counties. He will remain the district’s board representative. He is an 18-year member of Ross County Farm Bureau and served as its president and chairman of the membership, public policy and safety committees.

Hirsch farms with his father, brother and cousin producing apples, peaches, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and other crops.… Continue reading

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AgChat celebrates one year of connecting through social media

AgChat Foundation celebrates one year of connecting consumers
with farmers and ranchers using social media

Americans may have noticed a new social media trend this past year: more Facebook posts from the farm, more tweets from the tractor and more blogs from the back forty.

The timing of this social media “stampede” couldn’t be better, says Jeff Fowle, president of the AgChat Foundation. Celebrating its one-year anniversary today, the AgChat Foundation is a 100-percent volunteer organization formed to empower farmers and ranchers to effectively tell their stories using social media. He says in one 2010 study1 conducted by the Hartman Group, 59 percent of consumers purchasing local said they wanted a “connection to the farmer.”

In just 12 months, AgChat Foundation has successfully inspired farmers to add tweets and posts to their daily chores. It even earned a coveted spot on the 2011 SXSW® Interactive Festival program, last month, presenting alongside the country’s brightest in emerging technology.… Continue reading

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Focus remains on corn demand

The USDA’s March 1 Grain Stocks report revealed a surprisingly small inventory of corn, said a University of Illinois Extension agricultural economist.
“The smaller-than-expected inventory implies that consumption during the second quarter of the 2010-11 marketing year was larger than expected. It appears that consumption is progressing at a rate that cannot be sustained by available supplies,” said Darrel Good.
At 6.523 billion bushels, the estimate of March 1 inventories was 1.171 billion bushels smaller than stocks of a year earlier and 165 to 170 million bushels smaller than the average trade guess, he said.
The ease of originating grain from producers at generally normal basis levels had led some to believe that March 1 stocks would be much larger. The report revealed that on-farm stocks were 1.164 billion bushels smaller than those of a year earlier. Off-farm stocks were only 7 million bushels smaller, he said.
“Producers have moved larger quantities of corn to market than they did last year in response to higher prices, not a stronger basis.
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Coverage of The Ohio Livestock Coalition Annual Meeting

On Monday, Ty Higgins took the Midday Report on the road to cover The 2011 Ohio Livestock Coalition Annual Meeting and Industry Symposium, emceed by The Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer shares the importance of The Ohio Livestock Coalition and about this week’s Care Board meeting with Ty.

The Center for Food Integrity’s Charlie Arnot talks with Ty about communicating with consumers.

Larry Antosch with The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation tells Ty about issues affecting some key Ohio watersheds.

OSU’s Peggy Kirk Hall and Ty discuss the legal issues behind animal welfare.

Dr. Joy Mench is from The University of California-Davis and her topic at The OLC Annual Meeting was a holistic approach to animal welfare.Continue reading

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OSU conference on state budget's impact on local government

As the ongoing debate about Ohio’s economy intensifies during the legislature’s budgeting process, Ohio State University is hosting a conference focusing on the budget’s impact on local government.

“Death by Deficit? Is the Future of Local Government Really All Bad?” is planned for Thursday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, the conference will be held at the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive.

“We are receiving many questions related to the impact of Ohio’s budget woes on local government, infrastructure and related programs,” said Stan Ernst, Ohio State University Extension outreach program leader for the department. “We thought this was a natural topic for our annual educational session about public policy and the economics behind it. We’ll be looking at the economic challenges to local government as well as to state programs.”… Continue reading

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OSU conference on state budget’s impact on local government

As the ongoing debate about Ohio’s economy intensifies during the legislature’s budgeting process, Ohio State University is hosting a conference focusing on the budget’s impact on local government.

“Death by Deficit? Is the Future of Local Government Really All Bad?” is planned for Thursday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, the conference will be held at the university’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive.

“We are receiving many questions related to the impact of Ohio’s budget woes on local government, infrastructure and related programs,” said Stan Ernst, Ohio State University Extension outreach program leader for the department. “We thought this was a natural topic for our annual educational session about public policy and the economics behind it. We’ll be looking at the economic challenges to local government as well as to state programs.”… Continue reading

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High feed prices not going away any time soon

High commodity prices appear to be here to stay indefinitely despite a U.S. Department of Agriculture report last week projecting increased U.S. corn acreage this year, a Purdue University agricultural economist said.

The Prospective Plantings report, projects that corn farmers will plant more corn acres and fewer soybeans. Corinne Alexander said the report, coupled with lower-than-expected U.S. grain inventories, offers little hope for relief from high commodity prices.

“U.S. grain stocks, or inventories, are very tight, and whether that is because of lower production or higher use, we don’t know yet,” Alexander said. “What we do know is that we need to have at least an average crop production year in 2011 to keep up with the current rate of use.”

The report, issued annually and based on farmer surveys nationwide, projects a 5% increase in corn acres, at 92.2 million, and a 1% decrease in soybean acres, at 76.6 million.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan unveils first products that consumers can purchase with new BioPreferred label

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan unveiled the first 60 products that consumers will soon see in stores throughout the country bearing the new USDA BioPreferred product label for certified biobased products.

The new BioPreferred label designates biobased products that are composed wholly or significantly of agricultural ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. This new label indicates that the product has been independently certified to meet USDA BioPreferred program standards for biobased content. Biobased products help add value to commodities, create jobs in rural communities, increase U.S. energy independence by reducing the use of petroleum in manufactured products and may also reduce the introduction of fossil carbon into the atmosphere, thus mitigating potential climate change impacts.

“When consumers see the BioPreferred label in a store, they’ll know that the product or its packaging is made from renewable plant, animal, marine, or forestry materials,” said Deputy Secretary Merrigan. “From bioplastics to plant-based cleaners, from industrial lubricants and construction products to personal care items, this ever-growing list of biobased products helps create jobs in rural communities by adding value to agricultural commodities and can reduce our dependence on imported oil.”… Continue reading

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USDA releases planting intentions for 2011

With commodity prices significantly higher than last spring, U.S. farmers plan to plant 3.99 million (4.5%) more corn acres, 3.89 million (8.2%) more wheat acres, and 1.59 million (15%) cotton acres than last year according to the Prospective Plantings report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). In all, farmers reported intentions of planting 323.8 million acres across the 21 major crops surveyed for this report, a 7.09 million (2.2%) increase from 2010 but still 1.21 million acres below the 2008 total.

“Despite increased plantings for most major field crops as reported in today’s Prospective Plantings report, the March 1 Grain Stocks report indicates continued strong demand and usage for these commodities. This suggests the current tight supply situation will continue into 2011 and 2012,” said Joseph Glauber, USDA Chief Economist.

The largest increase in corn-planted acreage in 2011 is expected in South Dakota where growers intend to plant an additional 850,000 acres compared to last year when wet field conditions during planting prevented many from getting all of their intended acreage seeded.… Continue reading

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Seven wonders – A ranking of the top seven factors that determine corn yields

By Fred E. Below, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois

To help farmers better understand the value of their crop management decisions, I developed the “Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World.” This is a tool to teach farmers (and students) the relative importance of management factors that can impact corn productivity.

The Seven Wonders ranks the top seven factors that can positively impact corn yields. It assigns an average bushel-per-acre value to each wonder. It’s based on a compilation of research conducted by the Crop Physiology Laboratory at the University of Illinois over the last 10 years.

Because the bushel-values are averages of ranges, farmers could experience different values. The research for this ranking was conducted mostly in Illinois, so the relative ranking or value of a particular wonder could change slightly with geography.

Defining a wonder
Some practices are clearly important, but I don’t consider them as yield wonders because they are either one-time improvements (tile drainage), they protect rather than increase yield (weed or pest control) or they involve decisions that don’t need to be made every year (soil pH and nutrient levels).… Continue reading

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New beginnings for the new Farm Bill

By Fred Yoder, Plain City corn grower who recently testified before the full Senate Ag Committee

As I reflect over the years as to what agriculture has meant to my state as well as my own family operation, I am reminded of that old commercial that used the phrase, “you’ve come a long way, baby.” Today’s agriculture is not my father’s agriculture. We have come through the years of excess production, using programs to curtail carryovers by limiting acres planted, to Freedom to Farm in 1996, which gave us full utilization of the potential our lands offered. However, we did not develop the demand for all of that volume, and soon had to rely once again on our government to help us dispose of that excess production through deficiency payments and market clearing measures.

Today, we have new technologies, and new markets, especially for corn. While traditionally we have always used corn for livestock feed, today we use roughly a third of our production to produce biofuels, without reducing the total bushels of corn and corn equivalent for the feed and export markets.… Continue reading

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Research helps producers use more distillers grains, reduce feed costs

Almost a third of the 146 million bushels of Ohio-grown corn used by the state’s growing ethanol industry ends up in a byproduct called distillers grains, which can be used as a cheaper feed alternative for cattle, sheep and swine.

In the past animal nutritional requirements and high fat, nitrogen and sulfur content of distiller’s grains (DGS) have limited the use of the byproduct to 25% of cattle diets. The restriction has led to a reduction in potential savings for producers as well as fewer employment opportunities and profits for ethanol plants. But, Ohio State University researchers are working to change that.

“Both the biofuels and livestock industries are jeopardized unless discoveries are made to allow increased use of DGS in animal rations as a viable and cost-effective substitute for corn grain,” said Steve Loerch, an animal scientist with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.… Continue reading

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Farm Safety Day camps

Spring has officially arrived and as planting season approaches, Ohio State Farm Safety Day camps will help rural youth learn the value of on-farm safety.

“Children tend to be curious by nature and often are unsuspecting of lurking danger,” said Kathy Henwood, agricultural safety and health program coordinator for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “These are two characteristics that can cause harm to young people on farms, whether they live there or are visitors, and in Ohio, incidents are more likely to occur to children during the spring and summer months.”

The day camps offer lessons about farm dangers with a focus on rural safety. Beginning April 12, seven Ohio locations will host the workshops:

* April 12-13: Putnam County, Ruth Gerding Farm. Contact Joan Kline, 419-523-5608.

* May 6: Morrow County Fairgrounds. Contact Becky Barker, 419-947-1070.

* May 10: Auglaize County, Four Seasons Recreation Complex & Park.… Continue reading

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