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Legal Lingo

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and an attorney

Many years ago, my Aunt Grace told me that if a cat sleeps with its nose in the air, then it would rain. Peanuts, my beautiful long-haired tortoise housecat, is more reliable than Doppler radar and more entertaining than the local weatherman. This has been one of the wettest springs on record, with old-timers recalling 1981 and 1967. And our barn cats have been sleeping with their noses in the air since February. Hoping to get a much-needed break from precipitation, I am now waking cats reclining with their noses pointing up.

Regarding felines, there’s a saying that you own a dog, but you feed a cat. Witty, but true. Recently, cats, which required a sitter to feed them when their owner went on vacation, led to an interesting case decided by Ohio’s Sixth District Court of Appeals. This matter is worth discussing because it upheld the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable search and seizure by the government and the state.… Continue reading

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Cover crops and prevented planting update for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio

An announcement made by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) states that producers are eligible for prevented planting on acreage where the cover crop was not timely terminated and the subsequent crop was prevented from planting due to an insurable cause of loss.

The statements in the Special Provisions of Insurance are relevant to insuring a spring crop (e.g. corn, soybeans, etc.) following a crop or small grain crop that has reached the headed stage. Producers who plant a crop after a cover crop that has headed, budded, or has been harvested in the same calendar year are required to request a written agreement through their crop insurance agent. Producers have until July 15th to request a written agreement request through their agent, but are encouraged to submit their request as early as possible because a crop inspection is required as part of the written agreement. The inspection must show a yield potential equal to 90 percent of the guarantee.… Continue reading

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USDA seeks applications for grants to help rural cooperatives and businesses create jobs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to help rural businesses create jobs through cooperative development centers.

“Cooperative development centers are business and job incubators. They support President Obama’s goal to bring increased economic opportunities to rural communities by assisting new businesses as they create sustainable jobs,” Vilsack said. “The Obama Administration is helping create economic opportunities for rural Americans, and these centers further that effort.”

Under the USDA Rural Development Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, grants of up to $225,000 may be awarded to colleges, universities and non-profit groups to create and operate centers that help individuals or groups establish, expand or operate rural businesses, especially cooperatives. Grants may be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, and help businesses develop new markets for their products and services.

Through this notice, USDA may award up to $7.4 million in grants. Funds may finance up to 75% of the cost of establishing and operating the cooperative centers.… Continue reading

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Silage techniques being research for the future of biomass

By Yebo Li, an assistant professor in the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Silos for storing lignocellulosic biomass

Farmers are familiar with storing high moisture forage crops as silage. Tall silos, horizontal or bunker silos, and more recently “shrink-wrapped” round bales are common examples of storing crops “wet” instead of “dry.”

Today, scientists are looking at “silage” techniques as a way of preserving lignocellulosic biomass. The most common “lignocellulosic biomass” on Ohio farms is corn stover. Storing the crop for use year ‘round is essential to the future success of a bio-refinery. Wet storage has been used since the 1800s for preserving green crops for livestock. Now it is being considered as a storage method for a new industry: bio-refining.

Dry vs. wet storage

For dry storage, lignocellulosic biomass is typically harvested dry at 20% to 25% moisture. For instance, after corn harvest, stover is chopped with a flail shredder, field dried, raked and finally baled with a large round baler.… Continue reading

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Food prices on the rise

Retail food prices at the supermarket increased during the second quarter of 2011, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.17, up $2.10 or about 4% compared to the first quarter of 2011. Of the 16 items surveyed, 14 increased and two decreased in average price compared to the prior quarter. The total average price for the 16 items was up about 8% compared to one year ago.

“The effects of continued raw energy cost increases are reverberating throughout the food industry and consumers are bearing the brunt of it,” said AFBF Economist John Anderson. “After food leaves the farm, costs for transportation, marketing, processing and storage come into play. As energy prices continue to run up, shoppers are feeling the pinch at the supermarket.”

Sirloin tip roast, Russet potatoes, sliced deli ham and bacon increased the most in dollar value compared to the first quarter of 2011.… Continue reading

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State of Ohio investigating outbreak of infections caused by Salmonella

State officials report that eight separate Salmonella illnesses in Ohio are part of a multistate outbreak associated with chicks and/or ducklings purchased this year at agricultural supply stores sourced from an Ohio hatchery. These birds were sold at numerous agricultural outlets across the state and with these confirmed reports of Salmonella infections health officials are encouraging any purchaser of baby chicks this year to use caution in their handling and care.

The eight ill individuals range in age from 3 months to 76 years and live in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Licking, Medina and Wood counties. Specimens obtained from chicks belonging to one of the Ohio cases yielded the outbreak strain of Salmonella Altona.

“I encourage anyone who purchases baby chickens or ducklings to use caution when handling the birds and to always thoroughly wash their hands after touching them, “said ODH Director Ted Wymyslo, M.D.

The Ohio Departments of Health and Agriculture are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S.… Continue reading

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Dairy industry receives $1.1 million to help producers benchmark and demonstrate their environmental stewardship practices

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $1.1 million Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to the Dairy Research Institute (formerly known as Dairy Science Institute, Inc.), an affiliate of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The funding will support the development of a Dairy Farm Stewardship Toolkit for dairy producers to evaluate their production techniques and identify potential improvements in management practices. These improvements could increase profitability or reduce costs on the farm.

“This grant will help take the industry’s heritage of dairy stewardship to a new business level,” said Bob Foster, owner, Foster Brothers Farm in Middlebury, Vt. “As dairy producers, we know that consumers want products that are not only nutritious and good-tasting, but also environmentally friendly. We have long been committed to stewardship, but have not had a science-based tool to identify and measure practices that reduce costs and environmental impact.”

The grant, awarded through a nationwide competitive process, is made available through the U.S.… Continue reading

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A conversation with… Chris Henney, President/CEO – Ohio AgriBusiness Association

OCJ: First, could you tell us a little bit about your background, particularly with regard to agriculture?

Chris: I have a broad background, having spent time in urban, suburban and rural environments. Most of my youth was spent on a small family farm in southeastern Delaware County, Ohio. I was involved in 4-H and FFA and raised, trained and showed POA ponies as a teenager. After graduating from Big Walnut High School and spending a year in France as a Rotary foreign exchange student, I attended The Ohio State University where I majored in agricultural education with a minor in animal sciences. Following graduation I went to work for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation as an Organization Director in eastern Ohio. After almost six years working in the field, I moved into OFBF’s state office where I served as the director of agricultural ecology programs. I later served as director of policy development and director of legislative relations.… Continue reading

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Use a “safety first” attitude to help avoid equipment-related youth accidents this summer

School may be out and classrooms may be quiet, but now is the perfect time to study up on tractor and equipment safety. Warmer weather, longer days, outdoor fun and visits to the country…these are the makings of childhood memories, and Kubota Tractor Corporation wants to help ensure those memories are happy ones by providing some important safety reminders.

“Playing and working around equipment is second nature for some older youth, but no matter how carefree they may feel, equipment is meant for experienced adult operators. Children of all ages need to be extremely careful around any type of equipment,” says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation. “June is the start of summer vacation for many, as well as the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month, and a great time to renew your commitment to safety and remind kids that tractors, lawn and garden equipment, and utility vehicles are tools and not toys.”… Continue reading

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Flood damaged wheat could be a total loss

By Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

The damage left by above-average rainfall is now showing up in parts of Ohio. Wheat fields that were under water for several days are now dying. Wheat can recover from a few days of excess water, once the water dries out quickly. But the frequent and heavy rains we have had left the crop under water for close to a week in some locations.

Excess water replaces the air in the soil and deprives the plant roots of much-needed oxygen. Roots that are deprived of oxygen for an extended period will die. This is soon followed by death of the stems, and eventually, the entire plant, and the dead plant tissue is quickly invaded by opportunistic organisms. While wet, saturated, and poorly aerated soils do favor some plant pathogens such as Pythium and could lead to root rot, the problems we are seeing in most of the flooded fields are not caused by diseases.… Continue reading

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Dairy cows and other livestock need to be monitored in extreme heat

With heat indexes soaring over 100 degrees this week, livestock need to be closely monitored to prevent health and production problems, said Ted Funk, University of Illinois Extension specialist in agricultural engineering.

“Dairy cows will especially be impacted by a hot week,” Funk said. “If producers don’t anticipate problems in hot weather, cows could go off feed, produce less milk and even experience reproductive failure.”

Funk said there are three priorities dairy producers should focus on: shade, air flow and water.

“Fortunately this week, despite the high air temperatures predicted in the mid-90s, the dew point is expected to remain around 68 or 69,” Funk said. “Dew point, or the measure of moisture in the air, doesn’t change very fast unless a weather front comes through. If you have a sustained period of stable weather like we should have this week, you can look at the morning dew point and determine if it’s going to be a dangerous or manageable day.”… Continue reading

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Late planting could cost Ohio ag

Ohio farmers stand to lose close to $1 billion in income from late planting of corn and soybeans this spring.

Barry Ward, production business management leader with Ohio State University Extension, said he has roughly figured that lower yields due to late planting could cost corn growers $720 million and soybean growers $260 million in gross income at the farm gate. The estimates are based on the acres of each crop that farmers said in March they expected to plant, and on the lower yields expected because of the late planting.

However, the estimates are just ballpark figures based on certain assumptions made at “a snapshot in time,” he said. He expects the losses to grow. Although a recent break in Ohio’s rainfall has allowed many Ohio farmers to get in their fields, planting is still far behind average, and the economic impact “continues to grow daily,” said Ward, who is also an assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE).… Continue reading

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NW Ohio now home to a world class distribution hub

With more than 200 employees, 500 developed acres, and the capacity for handling nearly two million containers each year, CSX’s new intermodal facility in North Baltimore is an eye catcher. These containers have the capacity for transporting nearly anything that can be bought at a local retailer – from household electronic equipment to clothing to thousands of other consumer products. This world-class freight distribution hub is the nerve center of the nationwide intermodal network for CSX.

CSX terminal superintendent Peter Craig will present an insider’s view of the new facility in northwest Ohio, Thursday, June 16, 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.

Like an air cargo hub, freight trains will arrive directly from across the nation and its ports, then quickly and efficiently redistribute to a network of double stack trains to speed final delivery across the eastern US.… Continue reading

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It is time to start scouting emerging crops

Now is the time for grain farmers to scout fields at risk for insect infestations and potential pest problems, according to a Purdue Extension entomologist.

Corn planted into grass and wheat in areas of dense growth poses a high armyworm risk. Corn where weedy growth existed could potentially face cutworm troubles, and soybeans first emerging could face bean leaf beetle pressures.

“Corn that has been no-till planted into an abandoned wheat stand or a grass cover crop should be inspected immediately for armyworm feeding,” said Christian Krupke. “Hatched larvae will move from dying grasses to emerging or emerged corn.”

Armyworm feed from the leaf margin toward the midrib and give corn a ragged appearance. In some cases damage may be extensive enough that most of the plant, except the midrib and stalk, is consumed.

“A highly damaged plant may recover if the growing point has not been destroyed,” Krupke said.

If growers find that more than 50% of the corn plants show armyworm feeding damage and there are numerous live larvae less than 1.25 inches long, Krupke said a control method may be necessary.… Continue reading

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A late start to corn planting – Agronomic challenges ahead

By John Brien, AgriGold Regional Agronomist

Planting corn in 2011 has continually been hampered by frequent rain events that have dumped varying amounts of water across the Ohio region. According to the June 5 USDA Ohio cropping report, Ohio had 58% of the corn planted compared to the historical average of 99%. Of the 58% planted, 21% had emerged.  The late start to corn planting is not ideal and will present some unique challenges to corn growers throughout the growing season, but the late planting does not constitute a crop failure. Corn plants adapt very well to challenges and will produce the most grain as possible; the key to success is limiting the amount of stress the corn plant endures.

Late planted corn is more susceptible to weather stress than corn planted earlier in the season. Late planted corn is more likely to experience hotter weather during pollination and more moisture stress during grain fill.… Continue reading

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Weekly Crop Progress Report – June 6th, 2011



The average temperature for the State was 72.9 degrees, 7.3 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, June 5, 2011. Precipitation averaged 0.40 inches, 0.56 inches below normal. There were 752 modified growing degree days, 87 days above normal. Reporters rated 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 3, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 35 percent surplus.


The weekly temperatures were above normal, but the welcome news is that precipitation was below normal throughout the state. This allowed many farmers to get in their fields and begin planting corn and soybeans. Some of those who didn’t were attending crop insurance meetings. They also tilled, cut hay, and sprayed herbicides.

As of Sunday June 5th, corn was 58 percent planted, which was 39 percent behind last year and 41 percent behind the five-year average.… Continue reading

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Farmers Market Promotion Program funding available

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced approximately $10 million in funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to help increase availability of local agricultural products in communities throughout the country.

“These grants will put resources into rural and urba n economies to create and support direct marketing opportunities for farmers” said Merrigan. “Consumer and farmer enthusiasm for direct marketing has never been greater. This year we will place emphasis on food deserts because America’s low income and underserved communities need greater access to healthy, fresh food.”

In fiscal year 2011, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will competitively award grants to projects that develop producer-to-consumer market outlets, including but not limited to farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and road-side stands. Priority status will be granted to those projects that expand healthy food choices in food deserts. AMS will continue to target 10 percent of grant funding toward new electronic benefits transfer projects at farmers markets.… Continue reading

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FSA updates

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is extending the deadline to submit 2010 Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) production reports for planted acres to September 1, 2011.

“Producers are reminded that the July 15th deadline is still in place to report the annual acreage and that the September 1st extension is only for reporting ACRE production reports,” said Steve Maurer, State Executive Director. “By following these deadline dates, compliance with current farm programs, and possible eligibility for future programs will be ensured.”

The production reports impact eligibility for potential ACRE payments in the current year and also impacts future years’ benchmark farm yields for covered commodities.

In addition, farmers are encouraged to report failed crop acreage that will not be brought to harvest to their local FSA office.  Failed acreage must be reported to FSA before destroying and replanting to allow time for a field check.

“It is very important that farmers report failed acreage that will not be brought to harvest to the FSA office prior to destruction,” said Maurer.… Continue reading

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E. Coli outbreak causing deaths in Europe

With 18 dead and 1,600 ill in Europe from an outbreak of what’s being called a “super-toxic” strain of E. coli bacteria, an Iowa State University professor who specializes in food-borne pathogens in livestock is stunned at the toll the rogue bacteria has taken.

“I don’t like to be alarmist, but this one’s off the charts,” said Dr. Scott Hurd, associate professor of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine. “I’m shocked and saddened by the deaths and serious illnesses that have resulted from this poisonous strain that frankly is surprising everyone.”

Hurd said the most notable E. coli outbreak in the U.S. occurred in the early ‘90s when four children died and hundreds of others became sick in western states after eating undercooked and contaminated meat from Jack in the Box restaurants. The European outbreak is remarkable in comparison, said Hurd, who believes this is a rare strain rather than new as some scientists believe.… Continue reading

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Syngenta signs agreement with Golden Acres Genetics, Ltd. to transfer sorghum seed inventory

Syngenta in North America announced an agreement with Golden Acres Genetics, Ltd., Waco, Tex., to transfer all existing Syngenta sorghum seed inventory to Golden Acres effective as of June 3, 2011. The agreement covers all Syngenta sorghum hybrids, including forage, grain and sudangrass products.

“We’re pleased that Golden Acres is acquiring Syngenta’s sorghum inventory and will continue to provide farmers with high-quality hybrid sorghum seed,” said Steve Sick, Syngenta sorghum product manager. “With our recently announced integrated business strategy, Syngenta remains fully focused on our products and technology platforms in core crops to fuel our company’s future growth through new and innovative crop solutions developed from our broad seeds, seed care and crop protection portfolio.”… Continue reading

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