Featured News

Spring pasture walk

By Victor Shelton, Retired NRCS Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

I like to walk over the pastures in early spring for a number of reasons. First of all, to check plant density, diversity and soil cover. If there was extra soil disturbance in the past few months, it might mean that we have small gaps in the perennial plants that could give way for optimistic weeds to surface. Now is a good time to try and address that. Overseeding clover is probably one of the easiest and surest methods, especially if you lack sufficient legumes in the stand.

Gaps in the forage that are most optimistic for weeds are spaces where there is no cover and bare soil presents itself. If there are areas or spots that have been grazed tightly to the ground and only tolerable species are left, such as bluegrass and native white cover, it is generally a sign of a long-term issue and it stands out quite loudly when it’s adjacent to taller avoided forage species such as rank left-over summer growth of tall fescue.… Continue reading

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The search is on for 2024 Ohio Ag Net Student FFA Reporters!

The 2024 Ohio FFA State Convention is fast approaching, May 2-3, and Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net is looking for outstanding FFA members to help serve as student reporters for this year’s event. 

Ever wonder what it’s like to do our job? This is your chance!

Selected FFA members will get the opportunity to help cover the convention and work alongside our news staff. Reporters can expect to gain an early insight into a possible career in agricultural communication, and make some new connections along the way. 

The coverage of the Ohio FFA Convention will be posted on www.ocj.com and various social media outlets with reporters helping to host news coverage alongside our staff in addition to veteran student reporters. 

Students will assist in gathering information, shoot photos and video of newsworthy items and people, share their commentary of what happened in each session, and much more. 

To be considered: 

  • Applicants must be attending both days of the Ohio FFA State Convention May 2 and 3, 2024. 
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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 341 | Cultivating Capitol Connections: Farm Bureau County Presidents’ D.C. Trip

In this episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, host Matt Reese of Ohio’s Country Journal and Joel Penhorwood of Ohio Ag Net and Logan County Farm Bureau president talks with Ty Higgins, senior director of communications and Jack Irvin, vice president of public policy for Ohio Farm Bureau talk about the recent county presidents’ Farm Bureau trip to Washington, D.C. They talked about what policy was on the forefront for their time in D.C. such as the Farm Bill and tax reform. 

More in this week’s podcast:   

  • GrowNextGen: Dale talks with the folks at GrowNextGen about the program in their classroom.
  • Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president: Matt talks with Adam about the recent trip to Washington, D.C., and how Ohio Farm Bureau lobbies for Ohio farmers. 
  • Becca Waldo, Ashtabula County Farm Bureau president: She talked to Matt about the country farm bureau president trip to D.C.,
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Ohio’s farms continue to rebuild after tornado damage

Ohio farms are known for their resilience, which also holds true for The Ohio State University Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) annual Farm Science Review (FSR), after it was damaged by an EF2 tornado in the early morning hours of Feb. 28.

The aftermath of the storm left 46 of the 62 buildings on the grounds damaged or destroyed. This included 13 university-owned buildings and 33 privately-owned buildings. 

Like other local farmers impacted by the storm, the focus of the FSR and CFAES teams has been on recovery and rebuilding to ensure the show will continue as scheduled.

“We are fully committed to hosting this year’s show and coming back stronger than ever, which is in our nature as a farmer-focused facility and event. This is real life for farmers, and we’re right here experiencing it, too,” said Nick Zachrich, FSR manager.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Innovation Center to support value-added agriculture in Northeast Ohio

One of Ohio’s most vibrant agricultural regions will be the recipient of a “one-stop shop,” developed by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), to help food, fiber, and fuel value-added agriculture producers set themselves up for success.

The Northeast Ohio Agriculture Innovation Center (NEO-AIC) is the result of an almost $1 million new grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, with matching in-kind funds of nearly $500,000 from Ohio State. The 3-year investment was awarded through the USDA Agriculture Innovation Center Program.

“Northeast Ohio is a great agricultural region with rich prime soils and is home to a diversity of businesses and farms, including the highest concentration of women farmers and small and medium farms in Ohio,” said Shoshanah Inwood, CFAES program director and rural sociologist.

The NEO-AIC will hire four new staff members, including two new OSU Extension positions focused on value added agriculture business planning and market development in Northeast Ohio. The… Continue reading

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Your license to fun!

By Dan Armitage, outdoors writer

I recall when the first day that you could buy the coming season’s fishing license was, if not a big deal, at least circled on many Ohio anglers’ calendars. It usually fell on the first day in March, which was appropriate, seeing as a new season of angling was just over the horizon. You had to go to a bait store or ODNR offices to get the permit, which made it feel special for some reason. Then I would always head to a Kinko’s to make photocopies of the license to stash in wallets, tackle boxes and glove boxes to improve the odds of my having one available to show the authorities wherever I might be fishing.   

Licenses to enjoy both fishing and hunting in the Buckeye State during 2024-25 are available now and can be purchased without leaving your easy chair, at wildohio.gov, on the HuntFish OH mobile app, or at participating agents statewide.… Continue reading

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USB, Innovation and Technology Demand

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Check-off

The United Soybean Board (USB) accomplishes its mission by delegating projects to different working groups. The Innovation and Technology Demand Committee is one of those groups that is focused on making sure resources are directed to projects that create new uses and generate demand for soybeans. Dave Dotterer is an Ohio farmer from Wayne County and serves on the USB Innovation and Technology Demand Committee.

“One of our success stories is a new commercialized hardwood plywood that uses a soy-based adhesive instead of a formaldehyde-based product,” said Dotterer. “Another product is a new bio-based firefighting foam made from soybean meal flour. A lot of the firefighting foams currently in use seem to be causing cancer. This soy-based product will not cause cancer.”

“Other products include SYNlawn® artificial turf grass, which is made with a a soy-based backing.… Continue reading

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Deciding when to plant

By Mike Hannewald, CCA, Field Agronomist, Precision Farming Field Advisor, Beck’s Hybrids

As spring approaches, we’ll soon be entering one of the most exciting seasons on the farm. There is nothing quite like the anticipation felt on those first few warm days of spring as the soil dries out and we make the final preparations to our equipment so that we are ready to start planting. Along with that excitement comes some decisions: deciding when to start planting and what field and crop to plant first.

Some years, we are blessed with long stretches of beautiful weather that make those decisions easy. However, in Ohio, we are more often faced with narrow planting windows, challenging weather, and marginal soil conditions. And of course, we can’t forget the ever-important factor of being influenced by what the neighbor might be doing. Over the years, Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR) has conducted several studies that can help to navigate those challenging situations and make planting decisions at least a little bit easier.… Continue reading

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NCGA approved new strategic plan emphasizing building corn demand

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress recently ratified a new strategic plan for the organization, modernizing its objectives and positioning the organization to focus on increasing corn demand. The vote to approve the new plan came from Corn Congress at Commodity Classic in Houston, Texas.

After the vote, NCGA officials highlighted the plan’s importance to the organization’s mission.

“Controlling the future is impossible, but we can take steps to Shape the Future,” said Harold Wolle NCGA President and Minnesota farmer. “This plan, which represents hundreds of hours of work and input from growers, our state partners, the Corn Board and NCGA staff, will allow us to meet the needs of our farmers, not just today but well into the future.”

Driving demand for future U.S. corn production is a key focus of the plan, as projected yield trends show continued growth in production through the end of the decade and beyond.… Continue reading

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Addressing food insecurity

By Brian Duncan, president of Illinois Farm Bureau

Food insecurity forces families to make unimaginable choices each day, such as choosing between paying rent or putting food on the table. In a country known for its robust agricultural industry, it is disheartening to know just how many people struggle with hunger.

In the U.S., one in 10 people are currently facing hunger, according to Feeding America. That is why it is so important for us to come together as a community to support and uplift our most vulnerable populations through programs such as Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All campaign. 

Now wrapping up its 22nd year, Harvest for All seeks to fight hunger through donations of food, money and volunteer hours to local food banks and pantries across the country. Farmers continue to step up to address food insecurity and contribute to this nationwide effort by participating in county and state Farm Bureau campaigns.… Continue reading

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Beef Expo boasts big numbers

By Matt Reese

The current strong cattle markets were evident at the Ohio Beef Expo in many ways held in March at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. The multi-faceted event featured the final junior cattle show for the annual BEST show series, a huge trade show, breed sales, and the Genetic Pathway that featured some of the country’s best genetics and included live cattle displays, semen and embryos. Complete results can be found at www.ohiobeefexpo.com.

“It’s our 36th and it grows every year. This is one of the largest events here at the fairgrounds. This weekend is the second busiest weekend at the Expo Center, second only to the second Saturday of the Ohio State Fair. We’ve broken records this year. Because our sale cattle can actually show in the junior show, we were over 1,000 head there and we had 675 that were just competing in showmanship. We just saw tremendous numbers there and then in the judging contest we actually saw buses from a lot of different schools and that was up this year as well with 580 participants,” said Elizabeth Harshexecutive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.… Continue reading

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The $12.34 work of the United Soybean Board and Soybean Check-off

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Field Leader a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and Soybean Check-off

The United Soybean Board (USB) invests soybean check-off dollars to boost yields through innovation and production research, create new revenue streams, expand existing markets and add new ones to increase demand and drive sales.

The work of the board is divided into two separate action teams looking at supply and demand. Those are further broken down into infrastructure and connectivity, health and nutrition, and innovation and technology. “We are looking for new uses, and new ways to improve infrastructure and ways to improve the diets of animal agriculture,” said Steve Reinhard, Chairman of the United Soybean Board. “It all goes back to making the investments to help the farmer.  For every $1 from the check-0ff that we invest, it returns $12.34 back to the farmer.”

The USB is made up of a diverse group of farmers.… Continue reading

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Ohio Forestry Association holds annual meeting and selects new leadership

The Ohio Forestry Association (OFA) and Ohio Tree Farm Committee (OTFC) held their joint annual meeting and awards luncheon on March 7, 2024, at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. Loggers, manufacturers, and tree farmers from across the state gathered to hear important industry updates and present outstanding service awards.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of industry awards. OFA’s highest honor is reserved for the Outstanding Logger of the Year, and Tyke Lowery of Lowery Logging and Firewood (Circleville) was named for 2023. Lowery Logging was recognized for their technical expertise as a mechanized and hand felling operation, commitment to safety, protection of water quality and the surrounding environment, service to the Southeast Ohio Loggers Chapter, and efforts to educate the public through social media and working with their local high school.

Other awards included:

Outstanding Individual in Government Service Award – Director Mary Mertz (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Columbus)

Outstanding Individual in Industry Award – Eric Doll (Doll Lumber Co.,… Continue reading

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Thoughts regarding the hereafter

By Barb Lumley

The question as asked, “Have you given any thought to the hereafter?”

The reply was, “Oh, yes, I do it all the time. Wherever I am — upstairs, in the kitchen, or in the basement, I ask myself, ‘Now what am I here after?’”

As I stand with the refrigerator door open looking at the milk jug, the cheese, the carrots, I keep asking myself, “Now what am I here after?” And then I finally remember, the butter for my toast that is getting very cold as it waits.

There I am in the grocery store without my list, which is at home on the kitchen table. As I wander up and down the aisles asking myself  “Now what am I here after?” I keep dropping items in my cart, just in case they were on my list that I can’t remember. Pretty soon, I am pushing a cart out the door, full of groceries that cost almost $100 and I just hope in one of those bags is actually what I was “here after.”… Continue reading

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Power in numbers at Washington, D.C.

By Matt Reese

At first glance, the numbers can be daunting. 

There are 535 members of the legislative branch — 435 members of Congress and 100 senators. They’ve got 18,000 legislative staff helping them write between 200 and 600 bills in every session of Congress. There are roughly 13,000 federal lobbyists working to influence those pieces of legislation. Beyond that, there are 2 million non-military federal employees working to write and implement 3,000 to 4,500 new rule packages every year with close to 88,000 pages of total regulation. In addition, there is the Supreme Court, 94 federal district courts, 12 circuit courts and 13 appellate courts, along with the court systems in all 50 states.

“That’s a lot of noise up there. We have to be strong in carrying our voice to cut through all that noise and we’ve got to stay together to do that,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau after rattling off that list of government numbers.… Continue reading

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2024 Between the Rows farmers

This year’s Between the Rows farmers are Hannah and Josh Kiser, of Kiser Seed from Sandusky County; Jeff Rea from northwest Union County, John Settlemyre, current president of Ohio Corn & Wheat, from Clinton County; and Matt Spillman who farms with his family in Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

The first Between the Rows report for 2024 will be April 8.… Continue reading

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