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Checking In from The National FFA Convention

Indianapolis is once again hosting The National FFA Convention. The Ohio Ag Net is there as the blue jackets invade Indy and we have had the opportunity to visit with many State Officers. We asked them about some of the highlights of this week’s festivities that put the Ohio FFA in the spotlight.

Benjamin Nething, Ohio FFA State Secretary


Aaron Miller, Ohio FFA State Treasurer


District 7 President Sierra Jepsen


Leah Amstutz, Ohio FFA Executive Secretary

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Research on trees for biofuel production

Someday trees could provide more than just shade, scenery and building materials. Purdue University researchers are studying how poplars might be turned into liquid fuel.

In May a team of researchers led by Rick Meilan, associate professor of forestry and natural resources, began a five-year study to determine the viability of poplar species as an ethanol feedstock and cash crop for Indiana farmers. The study includes trial plots at Pinney-Purdue Agricultural Center east of Valparaiso and Southwest-Purdue Agricultural Center just north of Vincennes.

Findings from the research could help propel the fledgling cellulosic ethanol industry, Meilan said.

“For biofuel production we’re principally using the sugars in corn that are fermented to produce alcohol that’s then blended with petroleum products,” he said. “What we’d like to do is use cellulosic feedstocks, including not just corn stover but also wood chips.”

Cellulose is considered the next frontier in ethanol production. The process involves extracting sugars from the cell walls of plant material, or what is commonly known as biomass.… Continue reading

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Cutworm numbers on the rise

The number of adult moths of the western bean cutworm trapped by Ohio State University Extension professionals increased for the fifth straight year, but fortunately, larval infestations have yet to present an economic impact on Ohio farms.

“It’s definitely increasing, there’s no doubt about that,” said Extension entomologist Ron Hammond. “We caught about 1,000 more moths than we caught last year.”

Hammond said OSU researchers and Extension educators trap adult moths across the state in an effort to track the spread and growth of the cutworm population in Ohio.

Traps caught 3,751 moths this year, compared with 2,695 recorded in 2010. The northwestern and northeastern regions of the state saw the largest increases in trapped adults.

“We spend a lot of time searching for larval infestations,” Hammond said. “As with the previous years, we found very few egg masses, and very little larvae. The bottom line is we did not have the kind of populations we are expecting to see sooner or later.”… Continue reading

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Renewable Energy Workshop

Companies, farmers, and university and private researchers will converge in Wooster on Thursday, Nov. 10, to show the growth of Ohio’s renewable energy and products sector and explore new opportunities within this promising green industry. And they want you to be a part of it.

Registration is now open for the fourth annual Renewable Energy Workshop at Ohio State University’s OARDC. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster. Registration (including lunch and materials) costs $25 before Nov. 3 and $35 after that date.

The cost for college students is $10. To register, fill out the form available at or contact Mary Wicks, 330-202-3533,

This year, the workshop will focus on the production of biogas through anaerobic digestion and the conversion of agricultural feedstocks and waste to industrial products, said Yebo Li, a biosystems engineer with OARDC and OSU Extension.
… Continue reading

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Report shows HSUS shares very little with animal shelters

HSUS’s advertisements employ the images of downtrodden dogs and cats to tug at the heart strings and wallets of America’s pet lovers. But the Center for Consumer Freedom’s new analysis finds HSUS is a “Humane Society” in name only, sharing a meager $527,566, or 0.4 percent of its $120 million budget with sheltering organizations nationwide in 2010. In the same year, HSUS spent an astounding $47 million in fundraising-related costs (37 percent of its total budget) and parked $32 million in hedge funds.

“Not Your Local Humane Society” includes an accounting of all grants to pet shelters made by HSUS during the years 2008, 2009, and 2010. The data is drawn directly from the animal rights group’s tax returns. The full report can be viewed here:

“The Humane Society of the United States would like Americans to believe it provides significant monetary support to local hands-on shelters, but their financial records tell an inconvenient truth,” said Rick Berman, CCF’s executive director.… Continue reading

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For the fifth year Certified Angus Beef reports record sales

Certified Angus Beef LLC, for the fifth consecutive year, reported record sales for its signature brand of beef, with nine out of 12 months in fiscal 2011 hitting new heights. Efforts by the brand’s licensed partners led to sales totaling 807 million pounds, an increase of almost 4% over 2010’s previous record 777 million pounds.

The Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s sustained growth, particularly during a period of significant economic downturns and rising costs across all segments of the industry, shows its value to consumers and producers, said company president John Stika.

“The brand’s growth represents a wave of momentum that took more than 30 years to build,” said Stika. The success, he added, is a function of both demand and supply of the high-quality Angus beef.

Increased demand is not only proven by sales success, but also documented by new research from Kansas State University that shows since 2002, demand for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand has risen 56%, while demand for commodity Choice beef rose 20%.… Continue reading

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Department heads agree on 4R concept for water quality

In a meeting along the shore of Lake Erie, officials from the Ohio departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and the Environmental Protection Agency announced ongoing efforts towards reducing agriculture-related phosphorus from loading into the western basin, and encouraged farmers to immediately adopt updated best management practices for fertilizer application.

Based on recommendations from a diverse working group that includes research scientists, agribusiness leaders, and environmentalists, the three agencies also agreed to encourage farmers to adopt production guidelines known as 4R Nutrient Stewardship that is effective in reducing soluble forms of phosphorus from impacting waterways across the state.

The 4R concept promotes using the right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement. Recent studies indicate that the timing of fertilizer application, and how well it is incorporated into the soil layer, significantly reduces dissolved phosphorus runoff.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report issued on Oct.… Continue reading

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“Meat MythCrushers” campaign expanded

The American Meat Institute (AMI), in conjunction with the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), expanded its “Meat MythCrushers” campaign with the first of seven new myth-crushing videos that sets the record straight about myths associated with the use of ammonium hydroxide in some beef products.

“We’ve received tremendous feedback thus far on the campaign,” said AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Member Services Janet Riley.  “We want to keep the momentum going and continue to provide consumers with facts to make informed choices.”

The Meat Myth Crushers campaign is centered around the website,, and a companion Facebook page which feature science-based information and resources in response to some of the most popular meat and poultry myths held by consumers, covering topics such as food safety, production methods, nutrition and animal welfare.

“One of the more popular recent myths we’ve heard from consumers that has been spread by some movies and TV personalities is that ordinary household ammonia is used to make some hamburgers,” Riley added. … Continue reading

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EPA will not regulate farm dust

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has confirmed that EPA will not regulate farm dust.  In a letter sent to Senator Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, Jackson wrote: “based on my consideration of the scientific record, analysis provided by EPA scientists and advice from the Clean Air Science Advisory Council, I am prepared to propose the retention – with no revision – of the current PM10 standard and form when it is sent to the White House for interagency review.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Ag Committee, said, “we raised this issue of farm dust earlier in the year with the EPA Administrator and the Secretary of Agriculture, and I’m glad they listened to the serious concerns raised by the agriculture community about possible dust regulations.” Meanwhile, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, points out that “dust is a fact of life in rural America, and imposing new dust regulations on farmers and rural communities would stifle the agriculture industry and hurt rural economies.”… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Progress Report – October 17th


Fields are drying out from last week’s rain; producers are harvesting corn and soybean crops and planting winter wheat. Other field activities include manure application, light tillage, and mowing and baling hay. Producers in the West Central region report mold in corn and stock rot.

As of Sunday October 16th, corn mature was rated at 61 percent, compared to 99 percent last year and 90 percent for the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain was eight percent complete, compared to 62 percent last year and 29 percent for the five-year average. Corn silage was 81 percent harvested, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Ninety-one percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 100 percent for both last year and the five-year average. Sixty percent of soybeans were mature, compared to 97 percent last year and 94 percent for the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Ohio firm recalls beef and pork products

Fremont, Ohio-based E-Z Shop Kitchens, Inc., is recalling an undetermined amount of ready-to-eat, seasoned beef and shredded pork products because they were produced without the benefit of federal inspection, USDA announced.

The following products are subject to recall:

• 16-ounce and 4-pound tub containers of “E-Z SHOP KITCHEN SEASONED BEEF ” that bear the establishment number “EST. 19665” in the USDA mark of inspection.

• 16-ounce and 4-pound tub containers of “E-Z SHOP KITCHEN SHREDDED PORK WITH BBQ SAUCE ” that bear the establishment number “EST. 19665” in the USDA mark of inspection.

• 16-ounce and 4-pound tub containers of “E-Z SHOP KITCHEN SHREDDED BEEF WITH BBQ SAUCE ” that bear the establishment number “P-19665” in the USDA mark of inspection.

All of the products have unknown production dates and were distributed to retail and institutional customers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia between July 1 and Oct. 6.… Continue reading

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Mourning the loss of Dr. Judy Sanders

Champaign County and Ohio agriculture is mourning the loss of Dr. Judy Sanders, the wife of noted veterinarian Don “Doc” Sanders. She passed away with Doc at her side on the morning of Oct. 15, 2011.

With her husband, she served as the Champaign County Fair veterinarian for 37 years where she not only treated sick livestock projects and counseled young exhibitors, but also was an avid supporter of 4-H and its ideals.

She was born Oct. 2, 1944 to Elmer and Hazel (Foor) Sauerbrei in Amanda, Ohio. She grew up on the family farm with an avid interest in animals. She graduated valedictorian of her class at Amanda-Clearcreek High School in 1962.

Judy met Don upon entry into veterinary college and married him four years later on March 17, 1968. After graduating from the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University in 1968, the young couple started a practice at Urbana after graduation – a very unorthodox decision for the times.… Continue reading

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Waterfowl season is underway

Ohio hunters should have good opportunities to take some of the most popular species of waterfowl when the hunting season opens across much of the state Oct. 15, based on the findings of biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The spring pond index for the prairie pothole region of North America (Kansas to central Saskatchewan) and breeding duck surveys indicate a better than average reproduction year for most duck species. Ponds are housing above-normal numbers, and good production has been noted from most of the primary breeding range.

Closer to home, the Upper Great Lakes states and eastern Canadian provinces showed good to excellent mallard nesting and brood rearing habitat conditions, and breeding populations similar to 2010. The Upper Great Lakes are the primary breeding range for mallards harvested in Ohio.

Mallards are Ohio’s most harvested duck and can be found throughout the state. Wood ducks, which are the second most harvested duck in Ohio and the state’s No.… Continue reading

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DOT clarification of farm CDL requirements

When it comes to the need for farmers to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to haul farm products or inputs, no news is good news, according to the Agricultural & Resource Law Program at Ohio State University.

“There haven’t been any changes,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, director of the Ag Law Program. “There were rumors there would be some additional federal changes to the CDL provisions, but the U.S. Department of Transportation announced there would be no changes, and provided some additional advice to clarify what was happening.”

The Ag & Resource Law Program is a research, outreach and education center supported by Ohio State University Extension. Find out more on the Web at

Hall said the message that there would be no changes in federal regulations regarding on-farm CDL requirements was an important one because there was significant confusion in the agricultural community over potential changes to regulations governing the CDL.… Continue reading

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Loan limit for the Guaranteed Loan Program increasing

Steven Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced that the loan limit for the Guaranteed Loan Program will increase to $1,214,000. The limit is adjusted annually based on the “Prices Paid to Farmers Index,” compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

“Raising the guaranteed loan limit will allow FSA to better meet the financial needs of producers across the state,” said Maurer.  Another change to the guaranteed loan program will affect the one-time loan guarantee fee charged on all FSA loans obligated after October 1, 2011.  The one-time loan guarantee fee will increase from 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent of the guaranteed portion of the loan.

FSA guaranteed loans allow lenders to provide agricultural credit to farmers who do not meet the lender’s normal underwriting criteria.  Farmers apply for a guaranteed loan through a commercial lender, and the lender arranges for the guarantee.  FSA can guarantee up to 95% of the loss of principal and interest on a loan. … Continue reading

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New Report Shows Conservation Practices Work

A new USDA study shows that farmers using combinations of erosion-control and nutrient-management practices on cultivated cropland are reducing losses of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorous from farm fields and decreasing the movement of these materials to the Great Lakes and their associated waterways.

“The Great Lakes Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) study confirms that good conservation planning and implementation have reduced loadings of sediment and nutrients to waterways throughout the region,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today. “The Administration appreciates the actions of every farmer who is stepping up to implement conservation practices, protect vital farmlands and strengthen local economies. At the same time, we also see opportunities for even further progress.”

The CEAP study, prepared by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), estimates that the use of conservation tillage and other conservation practices has resulted in a 50 percent decline in sediment entering rivers and streams, along with 36 and 37 percent declines, respectively, in phosphorus and nitrogen loading.… Continue reading

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Motorists, Farmers Urged to Use Caution

As Ohio farmers prepare for this fall’s crop harvest, Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer and Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent Colonel John Born are asking motorists and farmers to use caution when driving in October and November.

Motorists are encouraged to be aware of increased numbers of tractors and farm equipment likely to be seen on state roadways, and farmers likewise are encouraged to put safety as their top priority.

“Despite the wet weather we had throughout planting season this past spring, a substantial amount of corn and soybeans were able to be planted,” said Zehringer. “As farmers begin to harvest those crops, I encourage them to use safety precautions along roadways and to make sure their tractors are both highly visible and well lighted.”

Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent, Colonel John Born, cautions motorists to “be aware that more tractors and slow moving vehicles will be on the roadway over the next couple of months‐ use extra caution and be patient.”… Continue reading

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Fall weed control can prevent cutworm problems

By Ron Hammond and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension entomologists

We like to remind growers that fall weed control of winter annuals in corn is an excellent preventive management tactic for black cutworm the following spring.  By providing a weed-free seedbed in the spring, the likelihood of black cutworm problems in the spring will be lower.  Adult moths migrate from the south each spring and lay their eggs on weeds, with chickweed perhaps the most well-known host for eggs.  Black cutworm caterpillars then move to corn when weeds are killed.  Thus, a fall herbicide application not only rids the field of the weeds, but also removes potential sites for egg laying.  When considering the benefits of a fall herbicide application, do not forget the added benefit of black cutworm management.… Continue reading

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Feed challenges continue to plague dairy farms

In a crop year full of uncooperative weather, dairy producers across the region are struggling with feed problems and rising prices, a Purdue Extension dairy specialist said.

Forages, corn silage and corn grain are low in yields and quality, but high in price after a wet spring followed by a summer-long drought, said Mike Schutz. The combination is tough on animal health and on the bottom lines of dairy farms struggling to stay profitable.

“Because of the drought, corn and forage yields are down and silage is lower quality, but the costs remain high,” Schutz said. “The per-ton value of silage is based on yields and corn prices. With corn trading above $6.50 per bushel, delivered silage prices are about $65 to $75 per ton despite the frequent lower quality. This is in comparison with the $30 to $40 per ton prices producers were paying in recent years.”

Purdue Extension dairy specialist Tamilee Nennich said the fluctuating corn prices can make it difficult to determine fair prices for corn silage.… Continue reading

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