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The market for club pigs: This little piggy sold online

By Brian Roe and Tim Wyszynski, Ohio State University

The performance of brick and mortar institutions relative to Internet alternatives is of increasing interest for agriculture.  With Internet penetration rising steadily among US farm households (59% in 2009 vs. 29% in 1999), online markets hold great promise for increasing market efficiency, particularly for items where local markets are thin and search costs are high.  However, online markets must overcome issues of trust (Does the item meet its description? Will the seller actually send it?).  Furthermore, Internet markets are newer and need to attract enough buyers and sellers away from traditional markets in order to have a liquid market.  Once these barriers are overcome, questions still remain about whether online prices are comparable to prices in traditional markets.  For example, Ohio State research found that used tractor prices on eBay were 30% lower than similarly described tractors sold in traditional auctions.

One place where Internet sales have developed a foothold is in the club pig market. … Continue reading

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Ohio Weekly Crop Progress Report for October 4th


This week was dry and cool throughout the state, except for a day of rain mid-week. Dry field conditions allowed producers to harvest grain, fruit and vegetable crops, and plant winter wheat.
As of Sunday October 3, 90 percent of corn was mature, compared to 43 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average. Thirty- six percent of corn for grain has been harvested in the State, compared to 4 percent last year and 8 percent for the five-year average. Ninety-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 86 percent last year and 93 percent for the five-year average. Soybeans were 80 percent mature, which was 32 percent ahead of last year and 17 percent ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were reported at 43 percent, up 34 percent from last year and up 23 percent from the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Renowned Corn Breeder Joins Seed Consultants

Dave Nanda joins Seed Consultants Inc. as Director of Genetics and Technology. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from around the world to the Eastern Corn Belt. Before coming to the United States, he worked with the Rockefeller Foundation in India collecting corn and millets germplasm.  He holds a PhD in Agronomy and Genetics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and also worked closely with Dekalb Seed Operations in Argentina, India and Europe.

Throughout his career he has focused on plant breeding, product development and selection. He looks forward to helping Eastern Corn Belt farmers with agronomics, corn genetics and new technologies. “With the fast changing world of genetics and technology, I think a company such as SCI needs personnel who can communicate with other scientists, seed consultants and farmers.” Dave has been communicating with farmers as a consultant to Prairie Farmer magazine since 2007 and he’s known as CornDoc1 on Twitter, a social network.… Continue reading

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The Man Behind the Mask, Hiding From Responsiblity

By Ken E. Knight (posted with special permission)

As the state and county fairs around the country complete a very successful year, for many, the first in several years, and for some a complete turn around from the brink of extinction to a new found hope, it gives us a chance to reflect back on a very pivotal time in the life of 4-H.

After completing a series of several 4-H articles that addressed the concerns of a program that wasn’t being funded or even supported, it was obvious that we had made considerable progress in bringing attention to the plight of 4-H. But, unfortunately there were several county commissioners in cooperation with state officials that had officially decided to discontinue 4-H at the end of this past year. These are the people that have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the importance of 4-H. This kind of decision making is irresponsible and falls into the category of hiding behind the mask.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Director Challenges to Eat Local

Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs today extended a challenge to all Ohioans to consume local foods during the week of Oct. 2 – 8. At a kickoff celebration at the Local Roots Market and Café in Wooster, Ohio, Boggs encouraged citizens to support Ohio agriculture.

“With an abundance of local food products readily available, everyone in Ohio should have access to fresh and healthy food,” said Boggs. “As the department kicks of its Eat Local Challenge Week, I encourage all Ohioans to plan and prepare one meal every day using foods that are made, grown or raised in Ohio.”

From dairy products to meats to fruits and vegetables, Ohio is home to a large variety of products and produce that are available in grocery stores and farm and farmers markets located across the state. Visit the department’s Ohio Proud website,, to search for market locations by county or by a specific product.… Continue reading

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Strickland Secures Federal Assistance for Ohio Farmers

Governor Ted Strickland today announced that farmers in 79 counties are now eligible to receive disaster assistance after U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack declared 41 Ohio counties to be primary natural disaster areas and the additional 38 as contiguous disaster counties.

Strickland requested a disaster designation from the USDA due to state agricultural losses caused by several natural disasters in 2010.

“Ohio farmers faced economic losses and personal hardship as a result of these weather disasters, and I saw how important it was to help secure available aid,” said Strickland. “I am grateful for Secretary Vilsack’s decision to provide some relief for the members of our agriculture community. This assistance will help our farmers make Ohio’s $98 billion food and agriculture industry even stronger.”

The available assistance includes Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in these eligible counties have eight months from the date of this disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance.… Continue reading

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What can we learn for next year by analyzing potential 2010 corn crop losses?

By Eric Anderson, Syngenta agronomist, CPAg

With summer over and fall in full swing, most growers have turned their attention toward harvest, which has started in earnest in some areas throughout the Great Lakes District. Looking back, spring planting was ideal (at least early on) and environmental conditions were mostly satisfactory, leading the USDA to predict near-record yields for much of the area. However, some growers who have begun harvest are finding a little different story, with lower than expected yields, especially for corn. Let’s look at the year and examine probable causes for potential corn yield loss in 2010 as well as possible solutions for future reference.

2010 Corn Crop

1.) Too much rain – One obvious cause for overall yield loss in 2010 was too much rain early on. Most areas had an over abundance of rainfall from mid-May through mid-July. Many growers experienced some flooding, at least in low-lying areas, and consequently had drowned out areas where corn was completely killed.… Continue reading

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County fair novel winning accolades for Ohio author

By Matt Reese

It is no secret that the general public is disconnected from agriculture and plenty has been said about the need for those involved with agriculture to share their farm-related stories with others. Michelle Houts did just that and her story has been published into an award-winning book — The Beef Princess of Practical County.

“This particular story came from my kids and their friends showing at the county fair. Not coming from a livestock background myself, I really had no idea how much time went into raising a market animal and how much emotion went into letting go of it,” Houts said. “I realized how much hard work, courage and dedication and guts went into getting out there and showing the animal and then parting with it at the end. Nobody has really told that story in a middle grade novel form. Charlotte’s Web is a great county fair story, but in the end, it doesn’t tell the story of raising livestock and what the kids learn when they raise market animals.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting

The Ohio Forages and Grasslands Council Annual Meeting will be February 11, 2011 from 8:30 to 4:00 p.m. The focus will be “The Plant and How It Grows”.  Dr.Glen Schmaker, Forage Specialist, Extension Assistant Professor from University of Idaho will do sessions on making hay, understanding how to maximize grazing based on the time of day and cool season plants. Dr. Marvin Hall, Penn State Professor of Forage Management will have sessions on plant growth and how animals utilize the plants. Besides the keynote speakers, Ohio producer panel will share their observations and experiences with plant production and harvesting practices.   The meeting will be held at Ohio Department of Agriculture at Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  For more information, call Leah Miller at 740.545.6349.… Continue reading

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VeraSun attorneys retract demands for farmer payments

Corn growers who faced a legal deadline to repay money from corn sold in 2008 to the bankrupt ethanol producer VeraSun received some good news — the attorneys are dropping their questionable claims for payment.

“This is great news for farmers at a time when we need to focus on bringing in our crops,” said National Corn Growers Association President Darrin Ihnen. “We’re glad the lawyers saw the light and realized they had no legal justification to go after us. We had an excellent team working on this to make sure we had the right information, and to present our case.”

Because of bankruptcy law, attorneys representing VeraSun creditors were able to seek repayment from farmers and others who received money from VeraSun within 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing.

In late August, hundreds of corn farmers received letters from attorneys threatening legal action. The letters offered to settle the matter with a payment equal to 80% of what the farmers received for their corn sales to VeraSun.… Continue reading

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Seed Consultants celebrates 20 years since “crazy” start

By Matt Reese

Sometimes, being a little crazy can be a good thing.

People in the seed business and on the farm thought Chris Jeffries and Dan Fox were a little crazy 20 years ago when they started a seed company from scratch.

“Nobody really knew what the heck we were doing. No one does that,” Fox said. “Everybody thought we were crazy. No one just starts up a seed company.”

No one except the founders of Seed Consultants, Inc., that is.

“Chris and I worked together at Super Crost Seeds. They did not have a line of beans and Chris actually started a line of beans and he called it ‘Seed Consultants,’” said Fox, the vice president of Seed Consultants. “In 1989, ICI bought Super Crost Seeds and Chris had always said that if something happened, he wanted to go on his own and start his own company. I told him that if he ever did that, I wanted to go with him.… Continue reading

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New option for multi-pest control available for 2011

Every year there are a host of pests that reduce the yield of Ohio’s corn crop. In the past however, many of these pests never received much attention simply because there was just not much that could be done about them.

Among the most damaging of these pests is the corn earworm. Damage from corn earworm (CEW) is caused by the larvae as they feed on leaves, silks and developing kernels. The pest was present in higher numbers than usual in some parts of Ohio this year and damage varied significantly throughout the state, according to Syngenta agronomists.

“CEW is a serious pest that is present in Ohio every year. The pest overwinters in some parts of Ohio and is present throughout the state on many crops including field corn, sweet corn, popcorn and many vegetable crops. Trapping data from Ohio State University indicates that while 2008 and 2009 were relatively low years for CEW, 2006 and 2007 were strong peak years in moth trapping programs,” said Jason Fettig, a Syngenta agronomist.… Continue reading

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NPPC Wants Restrictions On Cuba Trade Lifted

U.S. pork exports to Cuba will more than triple if restrictions on travel and export financing for products going to the Caribbean island nation are lifted, according to an Iowa State University analysis.
The National Pork Producers Council is urging House lawmakers to take up legislation (H.R. 4645) that would let U.S. citizens travel to Cuba and allow direct transfers of funds from Cuban to U.S. financial institutions for products authorized for sale under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. That law granted exceptions for agricultural and medical products to the unilateral trade embargo the United States placed on Cuba in 1960 after that country nationalized the property of U.S. citizens and corporations.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to mark up the bill tomorrow. In a letter sent today, NPPC asked the panel’s members to support H.R. 4645 and to oppose any amendments to it.
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Anaplasmosis Diagnosed in Ohio

By William Shulaw, Extension Veterinarian, Ohio State University

Anaplasmosis is a disease that does not get a lot of attention in Ohio although I have gotten calls about it about every 2-3 years since I have been in Veterinary Extension (1988). One of my colleagues indicated to me several years ago that he had diagnosed it in at least one Ohio herd as far back as the mid-1970s. We know very little about the prevalence or natural history of the disease in this state, however, it occurs in many states in the southeastern US, the Gulf Coast states, and some regions of the West.

Anaplasmosis is a disease affecting the red blood cells of cattle and is caused by a rickettsial parasite called Anaplasma marginale. Parasitized red blood cells are removed from the circulation and destroyed by the spleen and liver. When high levels of parasitized cells occur, usually shortly after a cow is first infected, severe anemia can result; sometimes resulting in deaths or abortions.… Continue reading

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Animal rights versus welfare to be discussed at forum

Ohio has always been known as a leader in agriculture, and that view was further enhanced when just last year the Center for Food and Animal Issues was launched by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. The center operates as an outreach and education department engaging the public about the importance of all animals and the contributions they make in society.

Leah C. Dorman, DVM, director of food programs, Center for Food and Animal Issues at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, will present “We’re not in Kansas anymore: Animal Rights versus Animal Welfare” on Thurs., Oct. 21 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. at the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, OH.

Dr. Dorman will discuss animal rights versus animal welfare, and the history behind the creation of the Livestock Care Standards Board – a board which sets standards for livestock and poultry care that take into account issues of food safety, local availability and affordability of food, and best farm management practices for animal well-being.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture Preserves 37 Farms 
Using Clean Ohio Funds

The Ohio Department of Agriculture today announces that nearly 6,200 acres from 37 farms are preserved through its Agricultural Easement Purchase Program using Clean Ohio funds.

The Clean Ohio Fund bond initiative won support from Ohio’s voters in 2008 to preserve farmland and green space, improve outdoor recreation and to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities by cleaning up brownfields.

This year, the Ohio Farmland Preservation Advisory Board reviewed 203 applications from 37 counties competing for the limited money available through the Clean Ohio Fund. Applicants had the opportunity to earn up to 150 points based on a two-tiered scoring system. Section one of the application focused on development pressure, soils, proximity to other agricultural land, use of best management practices and local comprehensive land-use plans. Section two included narrative questions regarding the farm and its unique appeal to the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program.

The following is a list of landowners selected to receive Clean Ohio funds, pending completion of a legal review, title search and any necessary review of third party interests:

Landowner NameFarm AcreageCounty
Thomas, Michael88.91Fairfield
Young, Helen140.28Fairfield
Young, Joe & Cathy125.01Fairfield




Thomas, Donald & Alesia110.58Knox

An agricultural easement is a voluntary and legally-binding restriction placed on a farm.… Continue reading

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Hot dry weather pushes fast 2010 harvest even faster

The week ending Sept. 26 was unseasonably hot and dry throughout the state. The National Agricultural Statistics Service report said that 85 percent of corn was mature, compared to 23% last year and 52% for the five-year average. Corn harvest was 24% complete in Ohio compared to 1% last year and 5% for the five-year average. Corn silage was 95% harvested, compared to 66% last year and 80% for the five-year average. Eighty-eight percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 73% last year and 80% for the five-year average. Soybeans were 66% mature, which was 40% ahead of last year and 29% ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were reported at 29%, up 24 percent from last year and up 20% for the five-year average. Winter Wheat planted was at 8%, compared to 1% last year and 5% for the five-year average. The 4th cutting of alfalfa hay was 77% complete, compared to 54% last year and 65% for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report Sept. 27


This week has been unseasonably hot and dry throughout the state. Producer’s main activities for the week were planting of winter wheat and harvest of corn and soybeans. Tobacco producers report that 95% of the tobacco crop is in the barn. Excessive hot and dry weather has caused the crop to dry rather than cure. Southern livestock producers report that they have begun feeding winter hay stocks, due to poor pasture conditions.

As of Sunday September 26, 85 percent of corn was mature, compared to 23 percent last year and 52 percent for the five-year average. Twenty-four percent of corn for grain has been harvested in the State, compared to 1 percent last year and 5 percent for the five-year average. Corn silage was 95 percent harvested, compared to 66 percent last year and 80 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Corn prices rising and hurting pork expansion opportunities

Hog producers were ready to expand this fall. That may have been appropriate when 2010 corn prices were expected to close at $3.50 in early July, but that is no longer an acceptable conclusion with expectations closer to $5.00, said Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt.

“Higher corn prices will cut margins over the coming 12 months, but hog producers can now avoid an expansion that would plunge margins deep into the red in late 2011 and 2012,” he said.

“The clear message for the industry is: Don’t expand and margins will be okay. The other important message is: The next two years will not be a repeat of the large losses of 2008 and 2009,” he added.

Fortunately, the September USDA survey indicates there are no signs of expansion yet. Producers report they have 2 percent fewer animals in the breeding herd than a year ago, he said.

The primary story is in North Carolina where breeding herd numbers were down 110,000 head over the past year.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog numbers down slightly

Ohio hog producers had 2.04 million hogs on hand September 1, 2010, down slightly from a year ago. The number of market hogs, at 1.88 million head, down 1 percent
from last year. Breeding stock, at 165,000 head, was unchanged from last quarter but up 3 percent from last year.
U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2010 was 65.0 million head. This was down 3 percent from September
1, 2009. Breeding inventory, at 5.77 million head, was down 2 percent from last year.  Market hog inventory, at 59.2 million head, was down 3 percent from last year.
Ohio pork production ranks ninth in the nation with 3,700 hog farms, the vast majority of which are family owned. With 10,860 jobs related to the pork sector in the state, which contribute more than 1.3 billion dollars annually to the economy.

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