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USDA needs tools to help farmers

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 41 other agriculture organizations are asking Congress to ensure the USDA has the tools necessary to help farmers in times of crisis. The group sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting they immediately provide replenishment for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) through the continuing resolution. Without immediate replenishment, funding for farm bill programs could run out while farmers struggle against low commodity prices, natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.

“For decades, CCC has been regularly replenished to fund programs integral to the farm safety net that Congress has worked tirelessly to craft,” the letter states. “Producers count on programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, Dairy Margin Coverage, Marketing Assistance Loans, conservation programs, and many others as they provide food, fuel and fiber for our nation. Without immediate CCC reimbursement, payments and programs would be significantly delayed, jeopardizing operations across the country.”… Continue reading

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The legalities of noxious weeds

The legalities of noxious weeds

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

We have been receiving many questions about noxious weeds lately. This is meant to be a refresher about what you should do if noxious weeds sprout up on your property.

What are noxious weeds?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is in charge of designating “prohibited noxious weeds.” The list may change from time to time, but currently, noxious weeds include:

  • Shatter cane (Sorghum bicolor)
  •  Russian thistle (Salsola Kali var. tenuifolia).
  • Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense ).
  •  Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).
  • Grapevines (Vitis spp.), when growing in groups of one hundred or more and not pruned, sprayed, cultivated, or otherwise maintained for two consecutive years.
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense ).
  • Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum).
  •  Cressleaf groundsel (Senecio glabellus).
  • Musk thistle (Carduus nutans).
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).
  • Mile-A-Minute Weed (Polygonum perfoliatum).
  • Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).
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Cover Crop Champions & Cover Crop Driving Tour

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Cover Crop Champions is an educational initiative funded through a grant from the National Wildlife Federation. There are two Cover Crop Champions programs in Ohio.  One is in the northwest corner of the state, and the other is located in west central Ohio.

The program in Northwest Ohio is being overseen by the Conservation Action Project (CAP). CAP was started in 1988 and serves the seven-county corner of Northwest Ohio which includes: Paulding, Defiance, Williams, Henry, Fulton, Wood, and Lucas. The governing board is made up of farmers, ag retailers, and agency personnel with the goal of working to help farmers and ag retailers implement conservation practices in an economically sustainable way.

Abby Wensink is the coordinator of CAP, and is administering the Cover Crop Champions grant. Cover Crop Champions utilizes the knowledge of area farmers who are experienced with cover crops.

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Fall harvest tips

By John Fulton (FABE Associate Professor) and Elizabeth Hawkins (Extension Specialist)

Fall harvest is here and is one of the more exciting times of the year on the farm. Spending time sitting in the combine cab or delivering grain can be fun. However, harvest also brings about the opportunity to collect yield and other data from fields that can be valuable when evaluating individual fields for the year. Today, there is a lot of data collected throughout the growing season that can be beneficial as one evaluates each field and the impactful variables on yield and profit.

We would all like to see over 300 bushels of corn and 80 bushels per acre of soybeans consistently displayed on the yield monitor across an entire field. This year that will not happen as yield variability within and between fields is likely to be quite high for the 2020 harvest. However, to work towards reaching yield and profit goals, it is important to collect data that is beneficial for the farm operation to use during post-harvest evaluation.… Continue reading

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Labor Day rains ease drought

By Aaron Wilson, Ohio State University Extension

Summer (June – August) 2020 ranks as the 11th warmest and 29th driest summer on record for the state of Ohio since 1895. Temperatures averaged 1-4 degrees F above average (1981-2010), with 5-10 inches of rainfall across the northwestern half of the state and 10-15 inches across the southeastern half. Particularly dry this summer has been the northwestern counties, a few counties in central and southwest Ohio (e.g., Madison, Pickaway, Ross, Fayette, and Greene), as well as Richland, Ashland, Wayne, and Stark Counties.

Though too late for most crops in the state, recent rainfall is helping to recharge soil moisture. A slow-moving boundary draped across the state on Labor Day brought significant rainfall to much of northern Ohio. Most locations along and north of about I-70 (except NW Ohio) received 2-7 inches of rain. There was also a confirmed EF0 tornado a few miles east of Delaware with estimated winds to 80 mph and a few reports of large hail across the state.… Continue reading

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Case IH adds new configurations to seeding and planting portfolios

Case IH is expanding the lineups of Precision Disk 500 series air drills and 2000 series Early Riser® planters with two new configurations. A new single-rank configuration with 15-inch spacing is available for the Precision Disk 500T single disk air drill — an ideal option for soybean seeding and other specialty crops in both no-till and conventional tillage fields. For the 2130 Early Riser stack-fold planter, a new 18-row configuration with 30-inch spacing will help producers cover more acres.

New configuration of Precision Disk 500T single disk air drill 

Built on Agronomic Design principles, Precision Disk 500 series air drills are known to deliver highly accurate seed placement regardless of tillage, residue or cropping practices to give each plant the best start possible. The new soybean special configuration available for the 500T model offers a single-rank design with a mounted tank, giving producers a simple, yet effective and efficient, seeding solution.… Continue reading

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GROWMARK announces 2021 Essay Contest theme

The theme for the 2021 GROWMARK Essay Contest is: “If you could invent a new technology to improve agriculture, what would it be?” The contest is open to all high school FFA members in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

This is the 28th year for the program, sponsored by the GROWMARK System and FS member cooperatives, in conjunction with state FFA leaders, to help young people develop their writing skills, learn about current issues affecting agriculture, and understand the unique role of cooperatives.

Students will describe a problem within the agricultural industry, and a creative way to provide a solution. Students are encouraged to be creative with their ideas, whether or not the solution they propose is currently possible.

Essays will be submitted online at www.bit.ly/GMKEssay2021. The deadline for all submissions is midnight Central time on Nov. 6, 2020. Additional program details have been sent to agriculture teachers and are online at growmark.com.… Continue reading

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New practices to improve water quality at work in Mercer County

By Matt Reese

Though it started with a focus on farms, ongoing efforts to improve water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys in Mercer County are now including additional practices to address the issue.

“We have had a slew of efforts over the last 10 years in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. It started with a lot of agricultural efforts. We expanded manure storage on farms, we covered feedlots, we wrote nutrient management plans for all the farms in the watershed,” said Theresa Dirksen, Mercer County Ag Solutions coordinator. “In the last 5 years or so we have done more innovative practices like installing wetlands and saturated buffers. We also restored about 2,000 feet of channel through the Mercer County Elks Golf Club. We have some really innovative things happening and we are trying to move further upstream in the watershed with these practices like wetlands, saturated buffers, stream restoration, and more filter strips to improve water quality in the lake.”… Continue reading

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Tips for harvest and planning for 2021

By Dr. Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension Plant Pathology, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2018-33

The 2020 Soybean harvest has started in Ohio.  The following items are things to keep track of as the combines run across the fields to help evaluate the 2020 crop and plan for 2021.

  • Make note of those low yield spots in soybeans to soil sample for soybean cyst nematode levels.
  • Did you leave unsprayed strips?  Harvest each of these first separately.  Yield is not even throughout a field so comparisons to the average of these unsprayed strips are a more accurate measure of what the baseline level of yield is within a field.  This is the number to compare yields for any treatments. Note: the outside borders of the field are usually not comparable since these have additional secondary factors such as shade from trees, compaction, old fence rows etc. which can impact yield.
  • Fields with Sclerotinia should be harvested last. 
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Western Ohio cropland values and cash rents 2019-20

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension

Ohio cropland varies significantly in its production capabilities and, consequently, cropland values and cash rents vary widely throughout the state. Generally speaking, western Ohio cropland values and cash rents differ from much of eastern Ohio and parts of southern Ohio cropland values and cash rents. The primary factors affecting these values and rates are land productivity and potential crop return, and the variability of those crop returns. Soils and drainage capabilities are the two factors that heavily influence land productivity, crop return and variability of those crop returns.

Other factors impacting land values and cash rents may include buildings and grain storage, field size and shape, field accessibility, market access, local market prices, field perimeter characteristics and potential for wildlife damage, previous tillage system and crops, tolerant/resistant weed populations, population density, USDA Program Yields, and competition for the cropland in a region.… Continue reading

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The foresight Genghis Kahn

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Mongolia in 1206 was inhabited by numerous tribes. They lived on the steppes (plains with virtually no trees), surrounded by the Altai, Khanghai and Khentii mountains on the Russian border. (I was on those steppes last winter while in Mongolia with the V.E.T. Net mission project of the Christian Veterinary Mission. The steppes are huge, surrounded by sky, mountains and, when I was there, -40degrees F air.)

Now back to the 13th century — or just before the turn of that century — when a boy named Temujin and his brother were growing up fatherless. Because of this, they and their mother were shunned from their Mongolian tribe. They scavenged for food, picking through garbage, digging root vegetables and hunting for game while trailing behind the nomadic Mongol warriors.

As a teenager, Temujin became a member of the Mongolian raiders on horseback. By the age of 40 he had worked his way up to major general.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau policy committee begins work

Twenty Ohio Farm Bureau leaders are serving on the 2020 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Policy Development Committee. The committee collects and organizes public policy recommendations from county Farm Bureaus and presents the final policy suggestions to be voted on by Ohio Farm Bureau’s delegates during the state annual meeting in December.

In its initial session, the committee heard from government leaders, subject matter experts and Farm Bureau staff on topics such as rural broadband, climate change, timber harvesting, alternative conservation funding, livestock processing capacity, state disaster response and sustainability.

The policy committee consists of 10 members from Ohio Farm Bureau’s board of trustees and 10 representatives of county Farm Bureaus.

The committee is chaired by Ohio Farm Bureau First Vice President Bill Patterson of Chesterland and includes OFBF President Frank Burkett III of Massillon and Treasurer Cy Prettyman of New Bloomington. State trustees on the committee are Wyatt Bates of Wheelersburg, Adele Flynn of Wellington, Katherine Harrison of Groveport, John Mossbarger of Washington Court House, Michael Videkovich of Ashville, Jesse Whinnery of Coshocton and Craig Pohlman of Venedocia.… Continue reading

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NFU urges FTC, USDA to strengthen meat labeling standards

For years, beef and pork that was born, raised, and slaughtered in another country but processed in the United States has legally been labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.,” a claim that misleads consumers and puts American ranchers at a disadvantage.

National Farmers Union (NFU) has long advocated clear and accurate labeling, for the sake of farmers and consumers alike. As part of those efforts, the organization supports a rule proposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that would strengthen voluntary U.S. origin claims on labels and penalize those who incorrectly label products. In comments submitted today and in a subsequent statement, NFU President Rob Larew urged the FTC to swiftly finalize the rule and “vigorously enforce it.”
“American consumers want to know where their food comes from — and farmers want to tell them. When mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) was the law of the land, it was easy to determine where meat had been born, raised, and processed, to the benefit of both parties.… Continue reading

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EPA denies of gap-year waiver petitions

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied 54 of 68 pending past-year (2011-2018) small refinery exemptions (SREs), or waivers, to oil refiners. An additonal 14 gap-year waivers remain under required review at the Department of Energy (DOE). The EPA also has 31 waivers under consideration for 2019 and 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance years.

“Asking for waivers for nearly ten years ago was a new low by the oil industry to undermine the RFS and rewrite history. Denying these petitions was the obvious answer and farmers are pleased to begin to move past this distraction. We thank our bipartisan supporters in Congress, including Senator Ernst, for their advocacy in upholding the RFS,” said the National Corn Growers Association in a statement. “While denial of these past-year waivers is obviously positive news for farmers and biofuel producers, we’re never going to have the certainty we need until the underlying waiver issue is fully resolved.”… Continue reading

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Challenges from limited rainfall continue

An ongoing increase in precipitation this week continues to slowly work towards reducing the effects of the dry weather that occurred in August, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture increased from 52 percent adequate or surplus last week to 67 percent adequate or surplus this week. Approximately 19 percent of the state was abnormally dry or worse, down from 37 percent last week, according to the most recent Drought Monitor. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 4 degrees above historical normals and the entire state averaged 1.49 inches of precipitation. There were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 13.

During the week, farmers harvested silage, made hay, and seeded
cover crops. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 33%, ahead
of the five-year average by 5 percentage points. Corn dough
reached 100%, ahead of the five-year average by 5
percentage points.… Continue reading

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Cool weather delaying early start to harvest

Willie Murphy

It had been 9 days since we had a measureable rain. Early Sunday morning we got some rain. That was the first time we went for more than 7 days right here on the south side of Wilmington without a measurable rain since we planted.

Our double-crop beans are still filling some pods and that rain probably helped them. A couple more rains this week will still help them along.

We are not quite done with third-cutting hay. We got a bunch of the alfalfa cut last week. We had a stretch of weather where we could bale hay for 7 days in a row, but we only got about 3 hours a day to bale by the time it got dry and then the dew started coming back up. We need to get the rain to get the alfalfa going again as we head into fall.

I think our crops around here are going to be really good, though I think there will be some pockets that were hotter and drier during pollination that won’t be so good.… Continue reading

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Soil moisture and 2020 corn

By Matt Reese

Ohio’s corn crop has faced everything from a little too wet to hot and dry this growing season and evidence of those challenges is likely going to be showing up in some fields during harvest, said Brad Miller, technical agronomist for DEKALB Asgrow.

“This spring we had some wet conditions after planting that persisted. The good news is that many of the places that were unable to plant last year were able to get a nice, early start and got their acres planted. In some of those instances, though, wet ground conditions persisted after planting which led to some stand establishment issues,” Miller said. “We have had some dry conditions through July, and for corn planted a little too wet, those root systems could be compromised. That may impact yield potential.”

High temperatures and long stretches with limited rainfall in July also set some fields up for pollination challenges.… Continue reading

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Scout now for cressleaf groundsel in hayfields, or pay the price in May

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension

Some hay producers have been unpleasantly surprised in the past when cressleaf groundsel infestations became evident in their hay fields in May prior to first cutting. Cressleaf groundsel in hay or silage is toxic to animals, and infested areas of the field should not be harvested and fed. Groundsel is a winter annual, emerging in late summer into fall, when it develops into a rosette that overwinters. Growth restarts in spring, with stem elongation and an eventual height of up to several feet tall. The weed becomes evident in hay fields when in becomes taller than the alfalfa/grass and develops bright yellow flowers in May. The problem with passively waiting until this point to discover that the hay is infested with groundsel is that: 1) it’s too late to control it with herbicides; and 2) hay from infested areas has to be discarded instead of sold or fed, and large plant skeletons are still toxic even if herbicides were effective on them.… Continue reading

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Victory Gardens program expands

A tremendous response to the just launched Victory Gardens campaign has resulted in an immediate expansion of the program. The program took off immediately and demand was so high for seed packets, four more counties were added: Fairfield, Licking, Mahoning, and Summit. Seed pick-up days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website. The collaboration between the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Offices has delivered more than 2,600 seed packets to 10 counties across the state.

Victory Gardens originated during World War I, an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism. Although there’s no food shortage now, ODA and OSU Extension are reviving the effort and once again encouraging people to plant seeds, realize the fruits of their labor, and share with others if inspired.… Continue reading

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