Top Headlines

Featured Posts (Posts shown below the “Top Posts” on the home page)

Expanded tax options give farmers more flexibility

New and expanded tax incentives for farmers and small businesses provide more flexibility in tax management this year, said Purdue Extension agricultural economist George Patrick.

The “Creating Small Business Jobs Act of 2010” offers a larger Section 179 expensing deduction of up to $500,000 for tax years 2010 and 2011.

“Section 179 allows a taxpayer to deduct or expense part or all of the cost of an asset in the year of purchase, rather than depreciating the cost over several years,” Patrick said. “The Section 179 deduction is typically limited by the amount of qualifying assets acquired or the taxable income of the taxpayer, but it provides great flexibility in managing taxes.”

Most depreciable assets qualify for the 50% additional first-year depreciation, which was extended to include qualifying property placed in service between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2010.

What this means, for example, is that farmers who purchased property for $50,000 can take $25,000 as additional first-year depreciation.… Continue reading

Read More »

ATI gets a new milking parlor to further an old work ethic

By Kyle Sharp

For years, I’ve heard about Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) in Wooster. I’ve driven past the teaching and residential campus while visiting the neighboring Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. I’ve known students who have gone there. I even wrote several stories about faculty and programs taking place there when I used to work for the OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences prior to joining Ohio’s Country Journal.

But the reality of the institution was really driven home to me this month when I visited ATI’s Apple Creek Farm to learn about ATI’s new dairy parlor and renovated facility that has been shaving milking time and labor costs, improving milk quality, and providing a brighter and more inviting work environment.

Here’s what I knew about ATI before: “ATI is ranked number one in the nation among two-year schools awarding associate degrees in agriculture and related sciences.… Continue reading

Read More »

Corn prices and ethanol

Corn prices continue to be supported by expectations that the USDA will reduce the forecast size of the 2010 U.S. crop and by a rapid pace of ethanol production. The rate of exports and export sales has been somewhat disappointing, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Reported expectations for the Nov. 9 USDA Crop Production report are for a slightly lower yield and production forecast, with the average yield guess reported at 154.4 bushels. The October forecast was 155.8 bushels. A smaller production forecast without any change in the consumption forecasts would further reduce the expectations for the size of year-ending stocks,” he said.

A 114-million-bushel reduction in the forecast of crop size, as implied by a yield of 154.4 bushels, would reduce the projection of year-ending stocks to 788 million bushels or 5.8 percent of projected consumption, he added.

Ethanol production during the first nine weeks of the 2010-11 corn marketing year averaged 36.344 million gallons per day.… Continue reading

Read More »

November 9th USDA Crop Report

Corn Production Down 1 Percent from October
Forecast Soybean Production Down 1 Percent

Corn production is forecast at 12.5 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the October forecast and down 4 percent from last year’s record production of 13.1 billion bushels. As of November 1, yields are expected to average 154.3 bushels per acre, down 1.5 bushels from the previous month and 10.4 bushels below last year’s record of 164.7 bushels. Forecasted yields decreased from last month throughout much of the Corn Belt, with the biggest decline forecasted in Missouri, down 7 bushels per acre. The expected yield in South Dakota declined 5 bushels from last month while the Nebraska yield dropped 4 bushels per acre. Record high yields are forecast in California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.38 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the October forecast but up slightly from last year.… Continue reading

Read More »

New weight limit for trucking containers levels the playing field for Ohio ag

By Matt Reese

As a result of its central location, access to major waterways and plenty of railways, Ohio has an abundance of empty shipping containers sitting around. More stuff comes in to be distributed than there is stuff that is going out.

Along with all of the empty shipping containers, Ohio is also blessed with abundant agricultural commodities including corn and soybeans that are in demand around the world. It is only logical that Ohio’s top commodity crops, especially high-end food-grade non-GMO crops, be shipped to the world via empty containers.

“A lot of the premium specialty soybean market is transported in containers. And when freight rates go up for overseas shipping, we start to see more of the commodity grains going into containers,” said Kirk Merritt, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Council (OSC). “We also see export buyers that do not want to buy in bulk, but are interested in a small number of containers instead of buying a tanker load.”… Continue reading

Read More »

4 months’ worth of electricity from … manure?

Ohio State University’s Nov. 18 Renewable Energy Workshop in Wooster includes a firsthand look at quasar energy group’s new anaerobic biodigester at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

Located in OARDC’s BioHio Research Park, the system turns unused waste — manure, food scraps, sewage sludge and the like — into clean, renewable, useful energy. It came on line in April.

It can process up to 33,000 wet tons of biomass every year. In
doing so it can produce and capture enough methane gas to generate 750 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power the OARDC campus for the equivalent of four months out of the year.

Quasar is headquartered in Cleveland. In addition to the biodigester, it has lab and engineering facilities on the OARDC campus.

The workshop features presentations by fifteen Ohio experts on wind power, solar power, biofuels, bioenergy and green transportation, including electric cars. It ends with a tour of the quasar system.

Continue reading

Read More »

JCB launches new generation skid steers and track loaders

JCB, one of the world’s largest heavy equipment manufacturers, has launched an exciting new line of highly productive and reliable skid steer loaders and compact track loaders. These “New Generation” machines are the first to not only be manufactured but also designed and engineered at the company’s North American headquarters in Savannah, Ga.
John Patterson Deputy Chairman of JCB said: “North America generates 60 percent of the worldwide demand for skid steers and compact track loaders, so developing and producing the new generation of machines in Savannah makes perfect sense and has enabled us not only to meet the unique needs of the North American market but also develop a machine range that will have universal appeal.”
JCB has introduced a range of seven new skid steers—four wheeled and three tracked—in a range that will eventually grow to 18 models. All seven machines are vertical lift, which allows for increased capacity and more reach at maximum lift height.
Continue reading

Read More »

2010 Agricultural Tax Issues Workshops

by David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator

Tax practitioners with an interest in farm income taxes will have an opportunity to attend a one day farm tax workshop scheduled for Monday, December 13, 2010 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in eight locations across Ohio. This workshop will be taught by Dr. Phil Harris, Professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin via tele-conference.

This program has been designed for tax practitioners who have a significant number of farm clients and therefore need a substantial amount of information on agricultural tax issues. Participants will hear an audiotape of a live lecture given by Phil Harris, supplemented with a showing of the slide presentation Dr. Harris used during his lecture. Dr. Harris will be available for questions during two conference calls during the day, and OSU faculty will be in the meeting rooms to answer questions. Registrants will receive a valuable 236 page supplemental book.Continue reading

Read More »

Staugler family has long, continuing legacy in Ohio poultry

If you ever work with Cooper Farms, a large integrated turkey operation in northwest Ohio that also is involved in egg and pork production, there’s a good chance you will run into a member of the Staugler family.

Tom Staugler is the manager at Cooper’s Fort Recovery feed mill, Chuck Staugler is in charge of meat sales and works out of St. Henry, Sandy (Staugler) Hastings is a human resources specialist at Fort Recovery, Jack Staugler is Cooper’s corporate director of human resources, Bill Staugler is the turkey production manager, and Dave “Chester” Staugler and Bob Staugler are in charge of support services, assisting with movement of turkeys, hens and hogs among Cooper’s contract producers.

It’s no coincidence. The Stauglers play a key role in the Cooper Farms story.

Nearly a century ago, Werner “Dick” Staugler began his career working at the St. Clair Mills, located in downtown Ft. Recovery, where 1,000 turkeys were raised.… Continue reading

Read More »

Elections favor continued federal commodity payments

Farmers who favor continuation of federal commodity payments should come away from Tuesday’s (Nov. 2) election feeling good, a Purdue University agricultural economist said.

While Republicans regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats held onto the majority in the Senate, the new agricultural committees in each chamber aren’t likely to touch farm subsidy programs, said Otto Doering, a farm policy specialist. There’s even a good chance both committees will abandon attempts by current House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson to eliminate direct payments, he said.

“Congressman Peterson’s desire is to back off direct payments and, instead, strengthen counter-cyclical payments to make agricultural subsidies more reasonable and fair to the public,” Doering said. “I think that’s dead meat at this point as farm groups rally again to preserve the direct payment, particularly in this time of high commodity prices.”

Counter-cyclical payments date back to 1933 and are traditional price support subsidies provided to qualifying crop farmers when the prices for their crops are lower than a specified level.… Continue reading

Read More »

2010 corn harvest wrap-up

By Matt Reese

Stark County farmer Earl Wolf got an early start with harvest and finished early — Oct. 25, specifically. Wolf was not alone in his early finish. It was downright spooky with most of Ohio’s corn and soybean crop out of the fields before Halloween this year.

By Nov. 1, Ohio corn harvest was 91% complete, compared to the five-year average of 50%, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Soybeans were 97% harvested, with a five-year average for early November of 85%. Winter wheat emerged in Ohio was at 80%, with the average normally at 67%. The winter wheat crop rating for Ohio is 65% good to excellent, better than last year’s 61%.

Nationally, corn harvest was 91% complete compared to 24% last year and the 61% average, according to NASS. Soybeans were almost wrapped up at 96% harvested. Last year, soybeans were just half done by the same time.… Continue reading

Read More »

Great opportunity for fall fertilizer applications

With corn and soybean harvest ahead of schedule in Ohio, farmers are encouraged to make their fertilizer applications now.

“This is a rare opportunity for farmers,” said Robert Mullen, an Ohio State University Extension fertility specialist. “With harvest about two weeks early, on average, they can get quite a bit of fertilizer applications down this fall and avoid that frozen ground application in the winter.”

Mullen, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said that phosphorus and nitrogen are the two main fertilizer inputs made to the soil and extra care should be taken with how both are managed.

“Soil test, soil test, soil test,” said Mullen. “Know what your nutrient status is. If you don’t need phosphorus, don’t apply it. Point blank. End of story. There is no agronomic benefit to applying more phosphorus than is needed.”

If a phosphorus application is required, specifically as an input from manure, Mullen encourages farmers to follow best management practice recommendations on application amounts.… Continue reading

Read More »

Tips for purchasing firewood

As winter quickly approaches and more Ohioans look to firewood to help heat their homes, the Ohio Department of Agriculture officials ask Ohioans to be aware of some basic tips to help when purchasing wood.

Prior to purchasing, the following firewood rules and regulations are helpful to know:

  • If firewood is advertised and sold as “seasoned,” it must have a moisture content of less than 50 percent. “Unseasoned” wood will only produce two-thirds of the heat of “seasoned” wood.
  • If the firewood is advertised and sold as a certain type of wood, the load must contain at least 90 percent of that species.
  • Non-packaged firewood must be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord. One cord, when properly stacked, should be 8 feet long by 4 feet high and 4 feet wide (128 cubic feet).
  • If sold in bulk, firewood must be purchased by the weight in ton measurements.
Continue reading

Read More »

How will Ohio's vote affect agricultural issues?

By Matt Reese

After the wild changes in Tuesday’s election, many Ohioans are left wondering how their new candidates will be able to shape important agricultural issues moving forward. Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, with John Kasich leading the way to beat Democrat Ted Strickland for Governor and Republicans dominating the list of winners in the Ohio Congress.

“Agriculture has a history of strong bipartisan support and I think we’ll continue to see that. We had some great folks elected and we lost some great folks on both sides of the aisle,” said Beth Vanderkooi, with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) public policy. “In Ohio, 80% of the elections in the Ohio Senate 85% in the Ohio House were won by Farm Bureau’s ‘friends of agriculture.’”

Also of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau is the success of Bob Peterson and Bob Gibbs, both former presidents of the organization.… Continue reading

Read More »

How will Ohio’s vote affect agricultural issues?

By Matt Reese

After the wild changes in Tuesday’s election, many Ohioans are left wondering how their new candidates will be able to shape important agricultural issues moving forward. Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, with John Kasich leading the way to beat Democrat Ted Strickland for Governor and Republicans dominating the list of winners in the Ohio Congress.

“Agriculture has a history of strong bipartisan support and I think we’ll continue to see that. We had some great folks elected and we lost some great folks on both sides of the aisle,” said Beth Vanderkooi, with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) public policy. “In Ohio, 80% of the elections in the Ohio Senate 85% in the Ohio House were won by Farm Bureau’s ‘friends of agriculture.’”

Also of interest to Ohio Farm Bureau is the success of Bob Peterson and Bob Gibbs, both former presidents of the organization.… Continue reading

Read More »

Syngenta Agrisure Viptera Trait wins Agrow Awards “Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology” honors

Syngenta has received a prestigious Agrow Award in recognition of the company’s new Agrisure Viptera corn trait in the Best Novel Agricultural Biotechnology category. The award was presented at the annual 2010 Agrow Awards ceremony in London, England, on Nov. 2. Agrow is a leading provider of news, analysis and data for the global crop protection industry.

The Agrisure Viptera trait is a novel insect management tool that protects corn crops against a variety of harmful pests, including corn earworm, black cutworm and Western bean cutworm. With this ability, the trait can help U.S. corn growers recoup an estimated 238 million bushels of corn and $1.1 billion in annual yield and grain quality losses due to damage from these pests(1). The trait is available in hybrids from Garst®, Golden Harvest® and NK® Seeds and will also be made available through licensing agreements.

“Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and is another validation of the global recognition of Syngenta’s success in delivering leading edge biotechnology solutions for growers’ problems,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of Syngenta Biotechnology R&D.… Continue reading

Read More »

Soybean aphids could be a threat in 2011

While 2010 was not a significant year for aphid infestation, that doesn’t mean growers can or should ignore this yield-robbing pest in 2011, according to experts from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. 

After 2009 presented a very widespread, severe year for aphid infestation, the 2010 growing season was more limited, with only pockets of serious aphid problems, largely in Minnesota. 

That said, researchers like Jessie Alt don’t see the problem lessening. 

“There’s no crystal ball, but aphids have gone from being an every-other-year threat to becoming a challenge every season,” says Alt, Pioneer research scientist. “So the probability is high that aphids will be an issue again in 2011.” 

As growers consider seed selection for next season, Pioneer experts suggest growers leverage antibiosis ratings and select soybean varieties with native tolerance as the first line of defense. Antibiosis refers to natural characteristics that discourage aphids from feeding and reproducing, and it provides some general protection from all biotypes.… Continue reading

Read More »

2010 election results

By Matt Reese

Nov. 2 was a momentous day for Republicans as they made great gains at the Federal level and re-gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most political pundits agree that the nation sent a clear message to its legislators that the current course of the federal government needs to be altered.

Few places saw more of a wild swing towards Republicans than the state of Ohio, a well-documented political battleground and an important state for determining the outcome of Presidential elections. In the two key statewide races, Republican John Kasich won a narrow victory for Governor and Republican Rob Portman won George Voinovich’s vacated Senate seat.

“Ohio needs a leader who isn’t afraid of tough decisions, has the strength to take on entrenched interests in both parties and is experienced in delivering the change our state desperately needs,” said Kasich in response to the question, “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?”… Continue reading

Read More »

Requests for Stink Bug Information Met With Overwhelming Response

With the help of homeowners, Ohio State University Extension entomologists have compiled plenty of statewide data on the brown marmorated stink bug, a relatively new pest to Ohio that not only damages crops but takes up overwintering residence in homes.

“From the data we’ve received so far, we know that Ohio is inundated with the stink bug,” said OSU Extension entomologist Ron Hammond. “At this time, we have enough data to work with, so we no longer need assistance. But we greatly appreciate the help we’ve received from homeowners in our research efforts.”

OSU Extension county offices have been overwhelmed with phone calls and e-mails the past week from homeowners reporting the presence of the brown marmorated stink bug in their homes.

Researchers are interested in tracking the range of the pest in order to develop ways to control the insect and prevent it from damaging crops or populating homes.… Continue reading

Read More »

Pork Checkoff Supports Return of McRib® Nationwide

For the first time since 1994, McDonald’s McRib® sandwich is available in all participating restaurants nationwide through November.

“The Checkoff was instrumental in the first national rollout of the McRib,” said Paul Perfilio, national foodservice marketing manager for the Checkoff. “This year the pork logo will be prominently featured on special McRib tray liners at all participating restaurants nationwide.”

The McRib is made with 100 percent USDA-quality pork and is served on a toasted, golden-brown home style roll. The boneless, seasoned pork patty is dressed with fresh slivered onions, two dill pickle slices and a one-of-a kind sweet, smoky, tangy, western barbeque style sauce.

“Each year the return of the McRib promotion in different regions of the country brings pork back to the top of consumers’ minds and that is great for everyone involved,” said Dianne Bettin, a pork producer from Truman, Minn., and chair of the Domestic Marketing Committee. “The McRib has had a lot of success as a limited-time menu item.”… Continue reading

Read More »