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The death of Ohio’s estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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The death of Ohio's estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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New wholesale fertilizer company to serve region

Ag Distributors Inc. (ADI) and Waterway Ag Inc. have joined forces to form an LLC that will distribute wholesale fertilizer products in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio under the name Mid States Ag Sales. The new company will begin operations July 1.

ADI, headquartered near Nashville, Tenn., is a provider of bulk and bagged fertilizer to independent retailers across the Southeast. Waterway Ag Inc. is a wholesale fertilizer distributor that operates a river terminal in Metropolis, Ill. The newly formed Mid States Ag Sales will utilize the distribution system of both parent organizations along with other leased facilities.

“By working together, our two companies will be able to gain efficiencies, improve our distribution network, and expand our markets,” said Allen Aycock, operations manager for Mid States Ag Sales. “We are excited about the opportunities this partnership creates and the value we can bring to agricultural retailers and their customers.”

Mid States Ag Sales will service its trade territory with two dedicated salesmen, Jerry Purcell, who can be reached at (606) 679-5046 or

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EPA announces E15 pump labeling requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued fuel pump labeling and other requirements for gasoline blends containing more than 10 and up to 15% ethanol, known as E15.  These requirements will help ensure that E15 is properly labeled and used once it enters the market.

The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15. This label will help inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. This label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

Over the past year, EPA issued two partial waivers under the Clean Air Act that in sum allow E15 to be sold for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.  EPA based its waiver decisions on testing and analysis showing that these vehicles could continue to meet emission standards if operated on E15. … Continue reading

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Ethanol mandate means corn demand less responsive to price

Federal law that helped jump-start the ethanol industry in the United States also is shifting normal supply-and-demand forces within commodities markets, said a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Not quite four years after Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, markets are struggling to meet both the law’s renewable fuels standard and grain demands from the livestock, food and export sectors, said Wally Tyner, an energy policy specialist. About 27 percent of the nation’s corn crop must be devoted to ethanol this year to meet the federal mandate, leaving other corn users to compete for the remaining 73%.

“The renewable fuels standard requires 15 billion gallons of ethanol be consumed per year by 2015, regardless of what the price of corn is and regardless of what the price of crude oil is,” Tyner said. “Corn could be $2 a bushel or $10 a bushel, crude could be $50 a barrel or $100 a barrel and that 15 billion gallons has to be there.… Continue reading

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Progress on FTAs in the Senate

The National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association (ASA) is very pleased that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a “mock” markup of the draft implementing bills for the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) later this week. The ASA has been working for a number of years toward passage of these trade agreements because increased exports of U.S. soy and soy-fed meat and poultry will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies. Passage of these three trade agreements combined represents nearly $3 billion of additional agriculture exports to these trading partners.

“This is a critical step in the right direction,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Now that an agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance has been reached, we call on Congress and the Administration to quickly advance these trade agreements in order to boost our economy.”

The Finance Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a “mock” markup because Congress cannot offer amendments to the final implementing bills submitted by the Administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act – also known as “fast track” – procedures.… Continue reading

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USDA invites applications for value added producer grant to assist farmers

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that applications are being accepted for grants to provide economic assistance to independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives and agricultural producer groups through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program.

“By creating value-added products, farmers and ranchers can expand economic opportunities, create jobs and keep wealth in rural communities,” Merrigan said. “These funding opportunities will promote business expansion and entrepreneurship by helping local businesses get access to capital, technical assistance and new markets for their products and services.”

For example, in Caroline County, Md., Richard and Wenfei Uva owners of Seaberry Farm received a Value-Added Producer Grant to expand their processing capacity to produce beach plum jams and jellies, juice, and puree for retail and wholesale markets. The Beach plum, Prunus maritime, is a native fruiting shrub that grows in coastal sand dunes from southern Maine to Maryland. Seaberry Farm planted three acres of Beach plum in 2006 and will double the acreage in 2011.… Continue reading

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Time for scouting crops

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology, Seed Consultants, Inc.

One of the most difficult planting seasons is finally over. With high soil moisture and warm temperatures, crops could grow fast but the plant diseases will grow fast too. While scouting for insects, make sure to watch out for diseases also. This will not only help you in getting prepared for foliar fungicides if needed later, you might be able to take some control measures right away for certain pathogens.

Stewart’s wilt is one of those diseases that may be controlled if detected early. It is caused by bacteria carried by shiny black flea beetles, the size of a pin-head. The bacteria live the body of the beetles during winter and if the winters are mild, more beetles will survive. They cause bacterial wilt and leaf blight in the corn plants by feeding and injecting the bacteria into the plants.… Continue reading

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Pork outlook looks up as corn prices go down

Pork producers are maintaining the size of the breeding herd in the face of a very uncertain financial outlook. This cautious position is expected given the wide swings in both hog and feed prices evident this spring. In addition, little change should be expected in the hog herd until the feed supply situation is better known this fall, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist.

“The USDA’s June Hogs and Pigs report indicated that producers maintained the size of the breeding herd over the past year,” he said. “North Carolina continued to lead the states reducing their breeding herds. The national breeding herd has declined 5% in the past three years, and North Carolina alone accounts for about half of that total.”

The smaller sow herd remains very productive, however, as the number of pigs per litter reached 10 pigs for the first time ever this spring. This resulted in the number of market hogs being up by nearly 1% over levels of a year earlier, he said.… Continue reading

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Progress toward cellulosic ethanol from corn stover

DDCE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DuPont, has entered into an agreement to purchase a parcel of land in Nevada, Iowa, adjacent to Lincolnway Energy LLC’s conventional ethanol plant. It is DDCE’s next step toward building one of the world’s first commercial-scale biorefineries to produce fuel-grade ethanol from cellulose, in this case stover-dried cobs, stalks and leaves left after grain harvesting.

DDCE is successfully producing cellulosic ethanol at its pre-commercial facility in Vonore, Tenn., and is scaling up the process to globally license its end-to-end production system. 

“We’re producing cellulosic ethanol sustainably and economically today, and the market is ready and interested to deploy large-scale biorefineries,” said Joe Skurla, CEO of DDCE. “We are purchasing the site next to Lincolnway because it will meet the business needs for our project, and provides potential economic and environmental synergies for both facilities.”

The DDCE process is designed to make fuel from a variety of cellulosic biomass.… Continue reading

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Three species added to state fair sale of champions

This year’s Sale of Champions at the Ohio State Fair will have three new additions. Ohio State Fair General Manager Virgil Strickler said a block of Swiss cheese along with the grand champion meat goats and grand champion turkey have been added to the sale.

“The block of Swiss cheese will represent the youth exhibitors that win the six junior dairy breed champions,” Strickler said.

He said they have worked on this for years. These new additions help make the Sale of Champions a true reflection of Ohio Agriculture.

“We looked at what species bring money into our state,” Strickler explained.

The block of cheese will be capped at $3,000, the goat at $5,000 and turkey at $3,000. Anything above that will go to the Youth Reserve Program.

The Sale of Champions takes place August 7th at 2:00pm. It will be streamed live here on

The Ohio State Fair gets underway July 27th and runs through August 7th.… Continue reading

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The Ohio Crop Progress Report – June 27th



The average temperature for the State was 70.7 degrees, unchanged from normal for the week ending Sunday, June 26, 2011. Precipitation averaged 1.24 inches, 0.36 inches above normal. There were 146 modified growing degree days, 2 days above normal. Reporters rated 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 24, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 6 percent short, 68 percent adequate, and 26 percent surplus.


Temperatures across the state were average for this time of year, and precipitation was only slightly above normal. Most field activities included cutting hay, spraying herbicide and side-dressing corn. As expected, late planted corn is showing better stand counts that of early planted acres. The quality of the wheat crop is yet to be determined, however heavy rains in late may during flowering and pollination may have prevented some heads from producing grain.… Continue reading

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New Purdue Extension guide teaches hitch system safety

Motorists can reduce hitch-related truck and trailer accidents by following key safety steps offered in a new Purdue Extension guide.

“Keep the Trailer Connected to the Truck: Understanding the Hitch System” describes appropriate hitch system selection and use in an effort to decrease the number of highway accidents caused by detached trailers.

“Trailer accidents caused by faulty hitches aren’t just something we are saying could happen,” said Fred Whitford, lead author of the publication and Purdue extension safety specialist. “This is something that does happen every day across the nation, causing serious injuries, death and environmental hazards.”

The publication, PPP-92, is available through Purdue Extension: The Education Store at or by calling toll-free 1-888-398-4636. It is free if downloaded from the Web, or $5 in printed format. It’s also available at Purdue Extension county offices.

“Keep the Trailer Connected to the Truck” describes how to properly select and assemble a hitch mount for a trailer.… Continue reading

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ODA working to demonstrate that “Ohio Means Agribusiness”

By Matt Reese

If you ask the Governor, or the Director of Agriculture, in the state, they’ll tell you that “Ohio Means Agribusiness.” Since Governor John Kasich was elected the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), along with the Ohio Department of Development (ODD), has made concerted effort to work with attracting and expanding agribusinesses to Ohio to boost Ohio’s struggling economy.

“If you take a look, the ODD and the ODA are following about $1.3 billion of proposed new ag facilities and expansions in Ohio, and those are just the larger facilities that the ODD has identified for possible assistance,” said Rocky Black, ODA deputy director. “There are a number of different projects we are working on.”

One example is Pioneer Hi-Bred that set up a temporary research station in Plain City and is now looking for a site for a permanent facility in western Ohio.

“We are working with Pioneer Hi-Bred on bringing a permanent seed research facility to Ohio,” Black said.… Continue reading

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Three-Day West Ohio Grazing School in Sidney: Register by July 8

A three-day, intensive-grazing educational program designed for livestock producers in both Ohio and Indiana is scheduled for July 14, 21 and 23 at the Shelby County office of Ohio State University Extension in Sidney, Ohio.

This year’s West Ohio Grazing School will include two evening sessions (6-8 p.m. on July 14 and 21) and one morning-afternoon session (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) on July 23. The last session will take place at a local intensively managed pasture site.

 Early registration (which costs $50 per person and includes lunch on July 23) is due by July 8. Late registration (July 9-12) costs $60.

To register, download the form at, fax it to 937-547-6491, or mail it to OSU Extension Darke County, 603 Wagner Ave., Greenville, OH 45331.

The July 14 program includes sessions on “What is MiG (management-intensive grazing)?”, “How Soils Affect Grazing,” and “Environmental Considerations.”

July 21 topics include “Meeting Animal Nutritional Requirements,” “Mineral Supplementation,” “Forage Species Selection,” and “Pasture Weed Control.”

… Continue reading

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ASA pushes for resources to keep inland waterways functioning

The American Soybean Association (ASA) has joined with the National Grain and Feed Association, other producer groups, processors, and input suppliers, alerting the Congressional Appropriations Committees about the urgent need for additional resources to dredge and repair inland waterways that have been damaged by historic high water levels.

“Agricultural producers, processors and exporters rely on the entire Mississippi River system and share concern about the impact recent floods in the Midwest will have on the river system,” said ASA First Vice President Steve Wellman, a soybean producer from Syracuse, Neb. “More than 60% of U.S. soybean exports moved to world markets through the Port of South Louisiana via the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”

A modern and efficient inland waterways transportation system is vital to maintaining U.S. agricultural competitiveness in the world market. As the U.S. system continues to face delays and closures attributable to low drafts and crumbling locks and dams, competitors are increasing expenditures on their own transport infrastructures, thereby eroding the competitive advantage long enjoyed by the United States.… Continue reading

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2011 Beef Quality Audit underway, producer input needed

Cattle producers are being asked to provide their input to the 2011 National Beef Quality Audit by taking a short survey at The survey can be completed in approximately 10 minutes.

The 2011 NBQA, led by scientists from Colorado State University and Texas A&M University, is designed to collect and analyze information from cooler audits in the packing sector, face-to-face interviews with beef supply chain partners and for the first time cattle producers including feeders, stockers, cow-calf operators, and seedstock producers will be surveyed. According to Field, producer input is being sought to strengthen the measurement of quality-based practices implemented on farms and ranches that support consumer confidence in beef products and production systems.

The checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) has provided important benchmarks for the U.S. beef industry since 1991. According to Tom Field, Executive Director of Producer Education, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, the audit has been conducted approximately every four years with the historic focus centered on quantifying the performance of beef carcasses for a number of value enhancing characteristics.… Continue reading

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Ohio hog inventory down from last year

Ohio hog producers had 2.03 million hogs on hand June 1, 2011, down 3% from a year ago but up 2% from last quarter. The number of market hogs, at 1,865,000 head, was up 2% from last quarter but down 4% from last year. Breeding stock, at 165,000 head, was down 3% from last quarter but unchanged from last year.

The pig crop during the March-May 2011 quarter numbered 851,000 head, up 1% from last year and up 2% from last quarter. The number of sows farrowed during the March-May 2011 quarter, at 90,000, was up 1% from last quarter and from last year. Pigs saved per litter averaged 9.45, down slightly from last year but up slightly from last quarter.

Ohio producers intend to farrow 87,000 sows during the June-August 2011 quarter; down 4% from a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the fall quarter, September-November 2011, is 87,000 sows, down 3% from the same quarter of 2010.… Continue reading

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AEM calls on Congress and the Administration to stop plans for disruption of GPS signals

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has expressed concerns about a company’s efforts to move forward with plans to create a faster 4G wireless network by switching airwaves after tests showed its previous system interfered with GPS systems. Here is a statement from Dennis Slater,
AEM president, about the issue:

AEM is a founding member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, as well as a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC). AEM calls on Congress, Transportation Secretary LaHood, and the Federal Communications Commission to stop the threat in the U.S. to Global Positioning Systems (GPS) posed by LightSquared, the company planning to deploy a nationwide broadband internet infrastructure of 40,000 ground stations.

Not only would the 40,000 ground stations very likely render commercial and private GPS signals unreliable and in some cases useless, but implementing LightSquared’s plan would add unnecessary burdens to the U.S. economy.

A study just released by the Coalition to Save Our GPS reveals that the stakes in this issue are very high and very real for our struggling economy.… Continue reading

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