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Animal Agriculture Alliance encourages people to prevent HSUS from capitalizing on Pepsi's generosity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is dismayed that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been deemed eligible to compete to win $250,000 in the online Pepsi Refresh Project.  

Pepsi began the project in January of 2010 with the goal of awarding grants to “innovative and inspiring causes”. Ideas are submitted by individuals, groups, non-profits and businesses with no more than $25 million in revenue. Each month, up to 10 grants are awarded for each denomination of $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Two grants of $250,000 are also given. Winners of the grants are selected by public votes on the Pepsi Refresh Project website and text messages. Each month, the projects and organizations competing change and voting restarts.

Past winners of $250,000 grants include the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, AIDS Research Alliance, Homes of Hope for Children, Inc., Teach for America and the American Legion.  Fourteen of the past 17 grants of $250,000 have specifically benefited children and eight of the 17 grants have gone toward medical research.

… Continue reading

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Animal Welfare Symposium

The 2nd annual Animal Welfare Symposium featured Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and well-known animal handling expert and autism advocate. In addition, attendees got practical advice and answers to commonly asked questions about how to best handle and manage compromised animals, learned the latest consumer research on perceptions of animal agriculture and the implications for the livestock industry and heard an update on the activities of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

For posted presentations from the program, visit: reading

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ASA pushing important issues in DC this week

American Soybean Association (ASA) farmer-leaders will be in Washington, D.C. this week to participate in two events involving legislation crucial to U.S. soybean farmers.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, ASA Executive Committee member Joe Steiner will be participating in a press conference at the National Press Club on the need for Congress to enact estate tax legislation before Dec. 31. On Jan. 1 of 2011, the estate tax rate will revert to the 2001 rate of up to 55% with only a $1 million exclusion.

If not addressed by Congress, the high estate tax rate of 55% and low exclusion level of $1 million will very negatively affect the ability to pass farms, ranches, and small businesses from one generation to another. Even small and very moderate-sized family farm operations would be negatively affected. With farmland in many regions of the country selling for $5,000 per acre, it takes only 200 acres of land to reach the exclusion value of $1 million.… Continue reading

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Ohio pumpkins could be seed of snack food industry

Most pumpkins grown in Ohio — one of the top producers of the gourd in the U.S. — are of the jack-o’-lantern type, but the state also produces pumpkins for pie. Now, Ohio could become famous for its pumpkin seeds.

Ohio State University researchers are working with growers and Innovative Farmers of Ohio to select pumpkin varieties that yield good seeds for roasting, which could lead to added income opportunities for farmers and a new niche market.

Supported by an Ohio Department of Agriculture specialty crop grant, the project began in 2009 with the planting of 15 pumpkin varieties. This year, the five varieties with the best traits for pumpkin seed production were selected and planted at the university’s Western Agricultural Research Station in South Charleston and at two grower sites in the area.

“We harvested the pumpkins and took them to the pilot plant (at the Food Industries Center on the Columbus campus), where the seeds were extracted, cleaned, dried, roasted and seasoned,” said Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator with the Integrated Pest Management Program.… Continue reading

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OARDC establishes tornado relief fund for graduate student losses, landscaping

The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has established a relief fund to assist graduate students affected by the Sept. 16 tornado that hit its Wooster campus and to help with landscaping and other beautification projects.

Individuals or businesses interested in contributing to this fund can mail their gifts to the Ohio State University Office of Development, 1625 Wilson Road, Wooster, OH 44691; or donate online at Please refer to the “OARDC Campus Tornado Relief Fund,” No. 313533. All gifts to the university are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

“We have been overwhelmed and pleased with the many offers of assistance we have received since the day of the tornado,” said OARDC Director Steve Slack. “This fund provides an opportunity for people at the university and in the community at large to help us get back on our feet.”

On Nov. 12, Newell Rubbermaid made the first gift to the fund, presenting OARDC with a $5,000 check.… Continue reading

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Poinsettias brighten greenhouses and homes for the holidays

For those that travel U.S. Route 33 on the southeast side of Columbus, Dill’s Greenhouse has been a landmark for decades with a big sign, a full parking lot and a reputation for quality nursery, garden and landscaping plants. And, this time of year, they are known for the red glow emanating from the 15,000 poinsettias filling the greenhouse.

“The only thing prettier than a greenhouse full of poinsettias is an empty one at Christmas,” said Jerry Dill, owner of Dill’s Greenhouse in Franklin County. “Poinsettias are one last push for the year before a nice break for us from after Christmas to around Jan. 15 or so when we start to get pretty busy again.”

Dill’s poinsettias range from 4-inch to 14-inch pots and there are around 50 different cultivars for customers to choose from, ranging from a standard red to pink and other novelty colors.

“Around 60% of our poinsettias are red and 40% are the novelty plants, and that is probably high compared to what most people sell,” Dill said.… Continue reading

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Ohio State University Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference

Corn University and Soybean School will once again headline sessions of conservation tillage topics at the 2011 Ohio State University Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference.

The event will be held Feb. 24-25 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. Sponsors include Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Northwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, and the Ohio No-Till Council.

Early registration is $50 for one day or $75 for both days. At the door, registration is $60 for one day and $85 for both days. Complete registration and program information will be available after Jan. 1, 2011 at

The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference is the largest, most comprehensive program of conservation tillage techniques in the Midwest. About 60 presenters (farmers, industry professionals, and university specialists) from around the country focus on cost-saving, production management topics.… Continue reading

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USDA issues wildlife habitat incentive program final rule

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued a final rule for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) that adds a new national priority for restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat.

“WHIP helps our nation’s landowners address one of the biggest challenges of our day — restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and benefitting at-risk species,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “In keeping with our new national priority, we’ll be focusing our efforts on filling in habitat areas to provide continuous habitat for migrating species.”

Read more about the WHIP final rule…Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

The 92nd annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) will take place Dec. 1 – 3 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Battelle Grand in Columbus. 341 delegates representing all Ohio counties will establish the organization’s policies and elect state leaders. Farm Bureau is Ohio’s largest farm organization and represents its members’ interests on economic, environmental, social and political issues.

Delegates are expected to establish policies on balancing the state budget, farm animal care, pollution abatement, education and other subjects important to all Ohioans.

Officers for 2011 will be elected during the meeting as well as nine members of the state board of trustees.

Guest speakers include Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, Ohio Director of Agriculture Robert Boggs and American Farm Bureau national policy expert Mary Kay Thatcher. OFBF President Brent Porteus and OFBF Executive Vice President John C. (Jack) Fisher will address the members and Nationwide CEO Steve Rasmussen will offer remarks.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension Tax Webinar available

Ohio farmers are invited to attend a free webinar on managing income taxes in a prosperous agriculture climate many may be currently experiencing.

Ohio State University Extension will host “Tax Management 2010” on Dec. 2 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The workshop will feature University of Illinois Extension tax specialist Gary Hoff. Host sites for the workshop include OSU Extension offices in Clinton, Fairfield, Fulton, Morrow, Muskingum, Portage, Putnam, and Shelby counties, plus Fisher Auditorium at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wayne County.

Hoff will focus on the “good, bad and ugly of 2010 tax legislation.” Tax issues that will be addressed include estate taxes, the impact of health care legislation, retirement benefits, preparing for an IRS audit, 1031 exchanges, concerns surrounding delaying farm income and prepaying expenses.

For more information, or to register log on to, or contact the OSU Extension office at which you plan to attend.… Continue reading

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Optimism for hog prices

Hog producers have been feeling the bite of losses once again this fall, but there is reason for some optimism, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University Extension economist.

“First, hog prices are probably at their seasonal lows in late November as consumers are buying their Thanksgiving turkey rather than pork. Second, lower corn and meal prices provide an opportunity to lock in feed prices at levels that were not available a few weeks ago,” he said.

The 2011 outlook also provides some optimism for a year of positive margins on average. Producers may want to consider taking some of those positive margins now, he said.

Live hog prices fell from near $60 per hundredweight in September to the mid-$40s by mid-November. With costs of production in the mid-$50s, this means losses near $15 per head in the final quarter, he said.

“The saving grace is that profits were strong last spring and summer.… Continue reading

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AgriGold customer wins lease on grain trailer at Farm Science Review

One lucky visitor to the AgriGold tent at the Ohio Farm Science Review was selected at random to receive a 9-month lease on a 40-foot hopper bottom grain trailer. Roger Yocom of Yocom Brothers Farm in Cable, Ohio was the prize recipient.

“I’ve been able to park one of my trailers for the season and use this top of the line trailer, which has been great,” said Yocom.

The Yocom Brothers Farm is located in central Ohio and have been a valued AgriGold customer for many years. The Yocom Brothers utilize twin-row corn planting technology on their operation, which is split 50:50 corn and beans. They’ve grown AgriGold products for several years and have been very pleased with their experience.

Visitors who were current AgriGold growers or new customers were able to enter for a chance to win the lease. Multiple entries could be made based upon their current order of corn for the spring.… Continue reading

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Get your copy of the history of animal sciences at OSU

By Matt Reese

In 2007, I had the opportunity to take on a new project documenting the history of the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. The project has been humbling and rewarding as I have gotten to interview and work with some truly fantastc people. The book has been completed just in time for the holidays and can be ordered by visiting and searching for “Matt Reese animal science.”  

Without the contributions of many, this document would not have been possible. Many fantastic people have assisted with this effort over the past few years. Dr. James Kinder first allowed me to take on this humbling and fascinating project and then spent many hours reviewing and editing the multiple drafts. Dr. Tom Turner, Dr. Vern Cahill and Dr. Maurice Eastridge made valuable suggestions for the final draft and many others reviewed and added to the document along the way.… Continue reading

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Thanksgiving spotlight shines on real farm families

Real Midwestern farm families, like the Matthews family, will be featured in upcoming holiday broadcast messages designed to thank the American farmer. These messages will be projected larger-than-life next week onto several downtown Cincinnati buildings.

“Thanksgiving is the perfect time to spotlight the real people behind the business of agriculture and to thank farming families throughout Ohio and the United States for the work that they do,” said Mark Halton, Monsanto’s Corporate Marketing and Communications Lead. “We look forward to showcasing modern American agriculture through the perspectives of the people who live it every day, and to using an innovative medium to reach new audiences.”

The Matthewes’ farm is featured in Monsanto’s Thanksgiving television message and will also be featured in an upcoming webisode series, which is available for download and viewing on This series will introduce viewers to several real farm families and tell their stories at key points throughout the farming season.… Continue reading

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Avoid distracted driving, on road and farm

By Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbiltiy program

Most Ohio farmers multi-task to increase productivity. Loading seed while re-fueling and planning the next day’s activities while waiting for the livestock water trough to fill are typical examples.

We tend to see this as a way to make more efficient use of our time. However, there is one place where trying to do two (or more!) things at the same time can have disastrous consequences, and that is behind the wheel of a car, truck or equipment. Any time a person drives a motor vehicle or equipment and engages in any activity that takes attention away from the job of driving, it is considered distracted


There are three main types of distraction recognized by the U.S. Department of


1) Visual Distraction — taking your eyes off the road

2) Manual — taking you hands off the steering wheel

3) Cognitive — taking your mind and attention away from driving

These classifications are not mutually exclusive, and any one activity (say, reaching for something or speaking to a passenger) can involve all three.… Continue reading

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Ohio State receives $1.1 million grant to support ag research, outreach in Senegal

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will partner with Senegal’s Université Gaston Berger (UGB) to build up that West African nation’s agricultural research and outreach capabilities, thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development (HED).

The project resulted from two highly competitive grant selection processes of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative — a collaborative effort started in 2007 by a number of higher education associations and other organizations and led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to advocate for increased engagement in African higher education development.

Last year, Ohio State successfully competed for a $50,000 planning grant (there were 20 recipients out of 300 applicants nationwide). In phase II of the initiative, the Ohio State-UGB partnership was one of 11 projects chosen out of 33 applications nationally. The $1.1 million award provides support for two years, with the possibility of an additional three-year renewal.

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Crawford County firefighters receive funding for grain rescue equipment

The Crawford County firefighters have taken a proactive role in farm safety with emphasis on grain handling and grain rescue issues.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor suffocation is the number one cause of death relating to grain handling on U.S farms.  The firefighters have recognized the urgency for better preparedness in assisting with grain rescue emergencies.

Local Bucyrus farmers, John and Norman Schiefer, applied for a grant on behalf of the Holmes Township Volunteer Fire Department from the Monsanto Fund, America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project, to acquire grain rescue equipment.  Local Monsanto DEKALB and Asgrow seed dealers Donovan Scott and Steve Reinhard assisted the Schiefers in the application process with the Monsanto Fund.

Under this pilot program, farmers throughout 298 eligible counties from seven states with heavy grain production could enter to win a $2,500 award for a local no-profit community group of their choice.  “We are pleased to present a check for $2,500 on behalf of the Monsanto Fund to the Holmes Township Volunteer Fire Department for their outstanding application with a worthwhile cause,” commented Keith Buckingham, Account Manager, Monsanto Company.… Continue reading

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HSUS, Missouri and Ohio’s new ag director: HumaneWatching with David Martosko

A conversation with … David Martosko, director of research, Center for Consumer Freedom

OCJ: What is the Center for Consumer Freedom and what interaction does CCF have with the Humane Society of the United States?

David: The Center is a nonprofit food-issues “action tank.” We weigh in on matters of public concern related to food and beverage production and marketing, and on all the various political issues that surround what we eat and drink. For too long, anti-agriculture and anti-industry activists have presumed to wear the white hats — mostly because nobody spoke up to challenge them. When they’re wrong (which is pretty often), we go on the offensive.

Our relationship with the Humane Society of the United States would best be described as “watchdog.” There’s no one else focusing with any serious energy on what this group is doing, who’s running it, and what its goals are.

Much of what HSUS does is, we would argue, wrong-headed in the same way that PETA’s endgame is wrong-headed.… Continue reading

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HSUS, Missouri and Ohio's new ag director: HumaneWatching with David Martosko

A conversation with … David Martosko, director of research, Center for Consumer Freedom

OCJ: What is the Center for Consumer Freedom and what interaction does CCF have with the Humane Society of the United States?

David: The Center is a nonprofit food-issues “action tank.” We weigh in on matters of public concern related to food and beverage production and marketing, and on all the various political issues that surround what we eat and drink. For too long, anti-agriculture and anti-industry activists have presumed to wear the white hats — mostly because nobody spoke up to challenge them. When they’re wrong (which is pretty often), we go on the offensive.

Our relationship with the Humane Society of the United States would best be described as “watchdog.” There’s no one else focusing with any serious energy on what this group is doing, who’s running it, and what its goals are.

Much of what HSUS does is, we would argue, wrong-headed in the same way that PETA’s endgame is wrong-headed.… Continue reading

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Free program to demonstrate livestock handling principles

Animal handling is an important component of an overall animal welfare strategy, and implementing low-stress practices are not only healthy for the animal, but also make things easier for the animal handler.

Ohio State University Extension will be offering a free livestock handling demonstration on Nov. 20 from 1:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Scott Pfeiffer Farm, 4315 Marion Johnson Road near Albany, Ohio. OSU Extension beef cattle specialist Steve Boyles will discuss the moving and handling of livestock and demonstrate some animal handling principles.

“In today’s social environment and with agriculture under increasingly close scrutiny, it’s important that livestock producers and animal handlers apply low-stress animal handling principles,” said Rory Lewandowski, an OSU Extension educator in Athens County. “Additionally, evidence clearly shows it is a more productive way of handling livestock.”

During the handling demonstration, a number of animal handling principles will be discussed, including:

• Flight zone: The flight zone is how close one can get to the animal before it begins to back away.

Continue reading

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