Featured News

New year, new me

By Luke Jennings, 2023-2024 State President of the Ohio FFA Association

As the clock struck midnight, the ball dropped, and we cheered for the start of 2024, many of us probably said this very saying, or at least thought it in our head. Even though it’s likely that most of us have forgotten about our New Year’s resolutions, maybe you’ve been able to beat the odds and stick with it.

While it’s always good to set new goals, 2023 will be a hard year to beat for Ohio FFA members. After closing out a record attendance at the 95th Ohio FFA Convention, dancing our way through Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum, and working all summer on SAEs, we kicked off what’s been a stellar school year.

Ohio FFA members took “stellar” to a whole new level at the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo. Our buckeye state was well represented with three American Star Finalists, three top 10 chapters, 19 national proficiency finalists, one chorus member, one talent act, 47 agriscience fair finalists, two VIP citation honorees, dozens of CDE and LDE competitors, and 457 American Degree recipients.… Continue reading

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Soybean Supply Chains and the Panama and Suez Canals

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

Each year the Soy Transportation Coalition holds one of their board meetings at a key supply chain location so that the farmer/board members can see first-hand some parts of the supply chain. Those key parts may include ports, or rail facilities, or inland waterway systems, or most recently, the Panama Canal. 

“There are some key parts of the soybean supply chain that are consequential to the farmer’s profitability,” said Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “In order to be an advocate, you need to understand it first.” 

The visit to the Panama Canal was eye-opening for many attendees. 

“Last year 600 million bushels of soybeans transited the Panama Canal in route to important customers in Asia,” Steenhoek said. “Board members visited the Panama Canal both on the Pacific and Atlantic side, as well as getting a briefing from the Panama Canal Authority.… Continue reading

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The Ins & Outs of Washington in 2023

By Brooke S. Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association

The last year has flown by, but a lot has happened over the year. As we get started with 2024, it is important to take time to reflect on the changes we’ve seen in the nation’s capital city during 2023. And that leads us to our annual Ins & Outs list, our fun but also serious list of what is en vogue and what’s passé. With no further ado, here is the list…

The House of Thin Margins 

As I write this column, the House has 221 Republicans and 213 Democrats. One vacancy was recently created when former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was ousted after an ignominious and short tenure in the lower chamber. The small margins have pitted the agendas of more moderate Republicans against those of members of the conservative Freedom Caucus. The intensity of the fractured House reached fever pitch in October when then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)… Continue reading

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Senate introduces black vulture bill

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recently hailed the introduction of the Senate version of the Black Vulture Relief Act introduced by Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), a companion bill to legislation introduced in the House of Representatives in 2023 that protects cattle producers from the devastating impacts of black vulture depredation.

“Black vultures are particularly nasty predators, and their attacks can be financially devastating to small, family-owned cattle operations,” said Gene Copenhaver, NCBA Policy Division Chair and a Virginia cattle producer. “The current system prevents cattle producers from effectively protecting their herd. Not only that, but black vultures are also an abundant species — millions-strong — that do not need federal protection. That’s why we urgently need legislation like the Black Vulture Relief Act. NCBA is extremely appreciative of Sen. Mullin’s work alongside Reps. John Rose (R-TN) and Darren Soto (D-FL) to stand up for the needs of cattle producers.”

Earlier in the year, the House Natural Resources Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee heard testimony from a Missouri cattle producer and NCBA member who had personally experienced attacks on his herd from black vultures.… Continue reading

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Unverferth offering new options on Pro-Force dry fertilizer spreaders

Unverferth Manufacturing enhances its lineup of Pro-Force dry fertilizer spreaders with two added, high-flotation undercarriage options for models 1850, 2250 and 2650; an Equalizer track system and in-line walking tandem dual wheels, and ISOBUS-enabled boundary control for optimal fertilizer placement.

The Equalizer track system features the ultimate in maintaining ground contact. Its patented cambering action pivots the track up to 20-degrees front to rear and up to 9-degrees side to side for smooth operation over rough terrain for maximum flotation. The 42-inch wide by 131-inch- long belt with 87 inches of ground contact provides up to twice the flotation of single wheels and tires. The one-piece, molded rubber belt design provides long-life and durability. An auto-greaser for lubricating pivot points is standard for making daily maintenance a breeze.

The new in-line walking tandem axle undercarriage features front to rear oscillation for maintaining ground contact and smoothing out the ride through the field.… Continue reading

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Hear Ohio Ag Net on WBZI AM/FM – Real Roots Radio

We continue our series highlighting the outstanding Ohio Ag Net radio affiliates carrying the best in Ohio ag news.

This week, we say thank you to WBZI AM 1500 and FM 100.3 serving Xenia, Dayton, and Springfield.Allen and surrounding counties. Tune in to hear the Ohio Ag Net Monday-Friday at 5:45 a.m., 8:00, 11:00, 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The best in Ohio ag news is easy to find! If your current station doesn’t feature the voice of Ohio Ag—turn the dial! Click here to view the complete affiliate listing, including air times.Continue reading

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Adam Heffron nominated for executive director of Ohio Expo Center and Ohio State Fair

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that from the candidates sent by the Search Committee of the Ohio Expositions Commission and State Fair, he is recommending the appointment of Adam Heffron to be the new executive director of the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair. Heffron will replace long-time General Manager Virgil Strickler, who is retiring.

Heffron comes to Ohio from his position as the Director of Dane County’s (Madison, Wis.) Alliant Energy Center, a multi-venue events center hosting agricultural and other large events in Wisconsin’s state capital.

“I am excited to welcome Adam Heffron back to Ohio to lead the next period of growth and development at the Ohio State Fair,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Adam has the experience and passion to make our state fair the best in the nation. He will lead the changes outlined in the Expo 2050 plan that will make our fairgrounds even better for fairgoers, exhibitors, and other visitors.”… Continue reading

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Winter weather dictates sweet rewards from the sugarbush

By Matt Reese

In a true blend of technology and tradition, Ohio typically ranks 4th or 5th nationally in maple syrup production, with Geauga County leading the way. The whims of increasingly unpredictable winter weather will set the stage for the 2024 maple syrup production season now underway in Ohio.

The 2023 season had its share of ups and downs for maple syrup producers around the state, who are increasingly tapping based on the specifics of the weather and not the traditional calendar. Ohio’s maple syrup season typically runs from January through March.

“I think everyone would agree the 2023 maple season was anything but normal. It started with a fierce snowstorm in late December and ended with a chaotic mixture of warm and cold days. If you are an Ohio maple syrup producer, how your season went seems to be a matter of location, location, location,” said Les Ober, Ohio State University Extension educator in Geauga County.… Continue reading

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Answering questions with early-stage soy-based materials research

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

“Can we do this?” The formation of Airable Research Lab was the result of Barry McGraw, founder and CLO of Airable asking that question. McGraw, a graduate of Shawnee State University with a plastics engineering degree, first became acquainted with soy-based materials product research when he worked for Battelle in their advanced materials group. Battelle is a global research and development organization in Columbus. McGraw started working on projects for the Ohio Soybean Council while he was at Battelle and that is where his interest in soy was born. “I became really interested agriculture and the different functionality of soy and bio-based products and what it could bring to the market. I learned more about the growth opportunities and challenges of that market. Petroleum kind of dominates it, but bio-based/soy-based solutions can penetrate the market and are making an impact”, said McGraw.… Continue reading

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OCJ-Corn-to-go January 2024

Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension Field Specialist, karhoff.41@osu.edu or 567-376-4019
Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension Field Specialist, labarge.1@osu.edu or 740-956-5047

Making sense of statistics
By Stephanie Karhoff

With harvest in the rearview mirror, it is time to evaluate yield differences and decide what products or practices worked, and more importantly, what did not work in 2023. So, how do we identify what significantly impacted yield or economic return? Proper use of experimental design and statistics allow us to isolate noise or environmental variation and determine if yield differences are real. Or, in other words, how probable is it that we will get these same results again?

The first step in evaluating yield is to verify that results are from replicated and randomized field trials. Why does this matter? In just one field, there can be a wide range of environmental conditions like soil type or topography. Without replication, it is impossible to know whether a yield difference was due to the treatment you applied or some other factor like disease pressure, varying fertility levels, or differences in management history.… Continue reading

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Ohio ag legislation to watch

By Ellen Essman, J.D., Ohio State University CFAES Government Relations, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

We will be carefully following several ag-related bills that progressed in committees but have not yet been passed by the full body, as the calendar turns to 2024. Here is a summary of some of the bills we’re watching. 

H.B. 162—Agriculture designations 

H.B. 162 was introduced by Representatives Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) on May 5, 2023, and was passed by the House in October, and had its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Dec. 5. The bill would designate the following days and weeks to honor Ohio Agriculture:

• March 21 of each year as “Agriculture day”

• The week beginning on the Saturday before the last Saturday of each February through the last Saturday in February as “FFA Week”

• October 12 of each year as “Farmer’s Day” and

• The week ending with the second Saturday of March as “4-H Week.”… Continue reading

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Virtual Corn College & Soybean School Feb. 2

The fourth annual virtual Corn College & Soybean School will be on Friday, Feb. 2. The webinar will begin at 9 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m. Speakers include OSU Extension state specialists.

The first-year results of “The Battle For The Belt: Corn vs. Soybean” will be presented, including 2023 growing season results. This research project addresses which crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting, adjusting management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting, and how insects, diseases, and weeds are affected by planting date. The field experiment included three locations, Clark County, Wood County, and Wayne County with five planting dates for both crops. Updates from the state climatologist, soil specialist, and weeds specialists will be included in this webinar. The CCA CEUs will be available during the live presentation. Please register no later than Feb. 1 at noon. Register with the following website go.osu.edu/cornsoy.… Continue reading

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“Hook & Bullet” sports a boon to Ohio’s economy

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

A recently released report from the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates showed that wildlife-based recreation contributed nearly $12.5 billion to Ohio’s economy in 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The study was conducted for the Division of Wildlife and surveyed Ohio residents to gauge their participation in outdoor recreation and the economic impact of those activities. The survey primarily focused on Ohioans’ involvement in hunting, fishing, target shooting, and wildlife viewing. Ohio residents ages 18 and older, including licensed hunters and anglers, completed telephone and email surveys.

Collectively, the four study activities provided nearly 80,000 jobs in Ohio and $4 billion in income, plus $1.1 billion in local and state taxes, as well as more than $600 million in federal taxes. The activities contributed a total of $6.7 billion to Ohio’s GDP in 2022. Of the $12.5 billion of economic activity created through these activities, residents contributed $12 billion.… Continue reading

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Food collected and lessons learned through innovative program

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

Junior fair members from around Ohio worked to gather more than 228,000 pounds of food to benefit more than 65 food banks as part of Fight Hunger, Stock the Trailer, a statewide food drive contest sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) and Rural 1st.

“In 2021, we had an idea to challenge the different junior fair boards from county fairs in southeast Ohio to raise canned goods and non-perishables during the county fairs as a way to support those communities. We offered prize money for the highest producing counties. That first year, eight counties raised 21,000 pounds of donations for 18 different local food banks. Fast forward a year to 2022 and we expanded it throughout the state. There were 54 county fairs and we got 170,000 pounds that year,” said Evan Hahn, regional vice president of ag lending for FCMA. “This year we expanded it out to all five regions throughout the state and we got 64 fairs that participated for a total of 228,000 pounds.… Continue reading

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Dynamic growing in controlled environment agriculture

By Mary Wicks and Peter Ling

We’re all looking for technologies that can help us do things smarter, and that includes growing crops in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) systems. Whether cultivated in a greenhouse or an indoor farm, different plants need different conditions at various growth stages for optimal growth and development. Managing the variations in lighting, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), and fertilizer needed for each species or cultivar can be daunting. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping growers to monitor conditions for different plant zones and to provide more precise control of inputs.

The use of dynamic lighting illustrates the potential for this technology. With dynamic lighting, the light intensity can be modulated based on crop needs as well as changing environmental conditions, such as day length and fluctuations in natural light levels. In addition, the light spectrum can be adjusted to fine tune growth, nutritional quality, and taste.… Continue reading

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ODA boosting local food supply chains with $12.6 million

From farm gate to the plate, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is offering financial support to businesses and producers who work in the middle of the food chain sector.

ODA has been awarded $12.6 million through the federal Resilient Food System Infrastructure (RFSI) Program to fund projects that support supply chain coordination activities, create more and better processing centers, and increase accessible, affordable, and efficient distribution of Ohio products. Projects may also include the construction, expansion, and modernization of supply chain facilities.

“A strong Ohio depends on a strong agriculture community,” said ODA Director Brian Baldridge. “The RFSI grant program will help ensure we’re thoroughly investing in local producers and supporting Ohio’s food system. These grants create more economic opportunities for our communities and the farmers who help feed our state.”

RFSI aims to support growth in the middle-of-the-food-supply-chain and strengthen local and regional food systems by creating new revenue streams for Ohio producers, keeping profits circulating in rural communities, and increasing diversity in processing options.… Continue reading

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Airable Lab, researching for future soybean demand

Barry McGraw, founder and CLO of Airable Research Lab joins Dusty for the first podcast of 2024. They discuss the idea behind this one-of-a-kind research facility housed at Ohio Wesleyan University and funded by Ohio Soybean Farmer’s Check-off.  Airable provides early-stage soy-based materials research and is responsible for a number of new soy-based products and patents.… Continue reading

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