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Enrollment begins for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for 2021

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened Tuesday, Oct. 13.  These key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety-net programs help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops, and more than $5 billion in payments are in the process of going out to producers who signed up for the 2019 crop year.

“Although commodity prices are starting to show a glimmer of improvement, recent depressed prices and drops in revenue compounded by the effects of the pandemic have seriously impacted the bottom line for most agricultural operations,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Through safety-net programs like ARC and PLC, we can help producers mitigate these financial stressors and keep the ag industry moving forward. Make time over the next few months to evaluate your program elections and enroll for the 2021 crop year.”… Continue reading

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Future even brighter for Lake Erie angling

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

Results from late summer surveys in the western basin of Lake Erie offer some more great news for Ohio anglers, where the 2020 walleye and yellow perch hatches are both above average and continue an exceptional era of fish production in the western basin of Lake Erie.

“Each August, Ohio contributes to lake-wide efforts to survey the hatches of walleye and yellow perch,” said Kendra Wecker, Division of Wildlife Chief. “Our fisheries biologists survey nearly 40 locations between Toledo and Huron. The information collected is compared to the results from previous years to gauge the success of the walleye and yellow perch hatches.”

The 2020 August walleye hatch index was 48 per hectare, a standard measure of catch per area. This is the eighth-highest value on record for Ohio’s waters of the western basin and well above the rapidly increasing prior 20-year index average of 32 per hectare.… Continue reading

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Be prepared for combine fires during harvest season

By Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University Extension

The combination of high temperatures and dry conditions are the perfect conditions for field fires and combine fires during harvest.

Dry grasses, crop residues, and woodland debris along many of our farm fields provide fuel for field fires. Likewise, leaked fuel, cracked hydraulic hoses, heated bearings, overheated belts and chains can provide the ignition for equipment fires.

The combine is a critical piece of equipment for fall harvest. Here are several precautions for protecting combines from fire this season.

Prevent combine fires from starting

Work crews should take extra precautions to prevent fires from starting.

  • Park a hot combine away from out-buildings. Keeping a combine out of barns, sheds, and away from other flammables is a common prevention strategy in case a hot spot ignites. Insurance claims can double when equipment fires are responsible for loss of farm structures.
  • Regular maintenance is priority. Check the machine daily for any overheated bearings or damage in the exhaust system.
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Planting cover crops late

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

As harvest progresses, its not too late to plant cover crops, but the options are becoming more limited.  Most cover crops need a minimum of 60 days of growth before cold freezing winter weather limits growth.  Rape seed, kale, and cereal rye are three cover crop varieties that can be planted later than most cover crops that are cold sensitive. The key is getting them planted as soon as possible.

Rape seed and kale are small seeded brassica cover crops that can be broadcast or drilled.  The seeding rate is generally 3-5 pounds per acre by themselves, requiring a .25 to .5-inch seeding depth, and they emerge in 4-10 days. These two brassicas can germinate at 410 F and grow quite rapidly in the fall and can still be planted in late October.  The biggest disadvantage to planting either rape seed or kale before corn is that they do not promote the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi  in the soil, so farmers may see a 5-10 corn bushel decrease.

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R-CALF USA has a “beef” with federal checkoff program

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

Earlier this month, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. R-CALF USA has filed a number of lawsuits involving the Beef Checkoff program over the years, including several that are on-going. 

Their argument, at its most basic, is that the Beef Checkoff violates the Constitution because ranchers and farmers have to “subsidize the private speech of private state beef councils through the national beef checkoff program.” In this new complaint, R-CALF USA alleges that when USDA entered into MOUs (memorandums of understanding) with private state checkoff programs in order to run the federal program, its actions did not follow the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). 

R-CALF USA argues that entering into the MOUs was rulemaking under the APA. … Continue reading

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Agritourism farms push through the pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Though there have been many challenges for agritourism in Ohio during the pandemic, it has also become very clear consumers are willing to support small, local businesses, and they’re looking for a reason to get out of the house. With strong local support, agritourism like Heban’s Field of Dreams and Riehm Produce Farm were able to weather the storm of 2020.

“It was like the onset of a hurricane,” said Chris Heban, who owns Heban’s Field of Dreams with her husband, Mike. “All of the elements of the hurricane have to get in place and everything is getting ready for that perfect storm, and then that storm hits. We were just not being able to do anything, our hands were tied. It was just too many unknowns.”

Some of the agritourism unknowns were addressed on Aug. 28 when Governor Mike DeWine released Phases 2 and 3 of the the State Agritourism COVID-19 Requirements.… Continue reading

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OPA accepting nominations for American Egg Board

The Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is accepting suggestions for nominations to serve on the 2021-2022 American Egg Board (AEB), which is U.S. egg farmer’s link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg. Members serve two-year terms on the national board.

“It is a prestigious honor to serve as a board member on the national level to help guide the egg community and further our commitment to provide a safe, affordable egg supply to Ohioans and the world,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “I encourage the state’s egg farmers to consider nominating themselves or another farmer to serve in this important role to help advance the AEB’s mission to increase demand for eggs and egg products.”

To be eligible for nomination, persons must be producers or representatives of producers and they must own 75,000 or more laying hens. Producers who own less than 75,000 hens are eligible provided they have not applied for exemption and are paying assessments to AEB.… Continue reading

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The art of disagreeing without being disagreeable

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last month at the age of 87. She famously advised “in every good marriage it helps to be a little deaf.” She attributed the advice to her mother-in-law. Ruth and Marty Ginsburg, a respected tax attorney, were married 56 years, until his death in 2010.

            Regarding marriage, Justice Ginsburg noted “if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.” She added that “Marty was an extraordinary person. Of all the boys I had dated, he was the only one who really cared I had a brain. And he was always, well, making me feel that I was better than I thought I was.”… Continue reading

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Environmental groups look to “Enlist” more judges to reevaluate decision

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

In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided it would not overturn the EPA registration for the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is meant to kill weeds in corn, soybean, and cotton fields, and is made up of 2,4-D choline salt and glyphosate.  Although the court upheld registration of the herbicide, it remanded the case so that EPA could consider how Enlist affects monarch butterflies. 

The court found that EPA failed to do this even though it was required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  On September 15, 2020, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other groups involved in the lawsuit filed a petition to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning that the case would be heard by a group of nine judges instead of just three. … Continue reading

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Are those mosquitoes on steroids…No, they are just crane flies

By Curtis Young, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Crane flies (a.k.a. daddy longlegs and mosquito hawks) belong to the insect Order Diptera (the true flies) in the Family Tipulidae. There are some 15,000 species of crane fly throughout the world. Crane flies and mosquitoes belong to a common subgroup of the flies and crane flies do look superficially like giant mosquitoes. Crane flies fortunately do not possess the mosquito piercing/sucking mouthparts for taking a blood meal. Therefore, they do not bite other animals for blood. Some adult crane flies do not eat in their short life span or feed on liquids from plants. Adults live for upwards of 10-14 days.

The larvae of crane flies are maggots called leatherjackets because of their tough, leathery outer covering (exoskeleton). Depending on the species of crane fly, the larvae may be aquatic, semi-aquatic or terrestrial living in soils that are high in organic matter and relatively moist for most of the year.… Continue reading

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OSU eFields Soybean Population Trial Harvest

Aaron Overholser a farmer in Darke County has been working with OSU Extension Educator Sam Custer for several years on a soybean planting population trial. This Fall cab cam is sponsored by Precision Agri Services Inc. Aaron has been finding lower populations are yielding right with higher populations. This year Aaron pushed the boundary of lower populations and was shooting for 40,000 plants per acre for the lowest treatment. Aaron’s planter was only able to get to 60,000 plants. The trial consisted of treatments of 160,000, 120,000, 80,000 and 60,000. The results of this trial my surprise you. Join Bart Johnson as he visits with Aaron and Sam about the results. You can also find out more about this on farm trial and many others when the 2020 OSU eFields report is published in early January 2021.… Continue reading

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Is the future of Ohio farmland preservation at stake in Union County?

By Matt Reese

Arno Renner predicted the future for his farm and he did not like what he saw. He decided to take action to preserve his farmland near Marysville in Union County and in the clear path of potential development. To protect his farm for perpetuity, Renner donated the development rights to his 231.25 acres of land valued at over $3.5 million on Nov. 5, 2003. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) accepted the donation. At the time, the ODA Office of Farmland Preservation entered into an agreement with the Union Soil and Water Conservation District to monitor the easement on the land.

The Agricultural Easement Donation Program (AEDP) is one tool for landowners to protect their farm’s soils, natural resource features, and scenic open space. It provides landowners the opportunity to donate the easement rights on viable farmland to the ODA. In addition to the donation program, the State also has an easement purchase program using Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.… Continue reading

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Trade talks

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

International trade discussions often take place thousands of miles away from the soybean fields of Van Wert County. That was not the case recently when U.S. Congressman, Bob Latta, hosted USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs, Ted McKinney, in Northwest Ohio. McKinney participated in a roundtable discussion with area farmers at the home of Ohio Soybean Council member Mike and Kendra Heffelfinger.

Congressman Bob Latta, Mike and Kendra Heffelfinger, and Under Secretary Ted McKinney

“Ted McKinney grew up on a family farm in Tipton, Indiana, and graduated from Purdue,” said Latta. “He was a state FFA Officer, and served as the Indiana Director of Agriculture under then Governor Mike Pence.”

The Under Secretary spent about an hour taking those in attendance for a trade “spin” around the world to discuss the current status of negotiations with key trade partners.

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Dairy Margin Coverage Program enrollment for 2021 opened Oct. 13

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began accepting applications for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 for 2021 enrollment.

“This year has been a market roller coaster for the dairy industry, and the Dairy Margin Coverage program is a valuable tool dairy producers can use to manage risk,” said Bill Northey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, during a roundtable at a dairy in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. “We were excited to roll out this new and improved program through the 2018 Farm Bill, and if you haven’t enrolled in previous years, we highly encourage you to check it out.”

Signup runs through Dec. 11, 2020. DMC is a voluntary risk management program that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. DMC payments triggered for seven months in 2019 and three months so far in 2020. … Continue reading

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Purple paint to warn trespassers?

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

SB 290 seems to be moving in the Ohio Senate again after a lengthy stall, as it was recently on the agenda for a meeting of the Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee. 

If passed, SB 290 would allow landowners to use purple paint marks to warn intruders that they are trespassing.  The purple paint marks can be placed on trees or posts on the around the property.  Each paint mark would have to measure at least three feet, and be located between three and five feet from the base of the tree or post.  Furthermore, each paint mark must be “readily visible,” and the space between two marks cannot be more than 25 yards.  You can see the text, along with other information about the bill here. … Continue reading

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Ohio Texas longhorns win big in Texas

The 30th Annual International Championship Texas Longhorn Show and Convention was held at Glen Rose, Texas Oct 8 – 10. Entries were competing for Championship awards from 19 states. The most entries were from Texas. A record of 581 entries came to capture the national awards.

The All Age ITLA Champion Halter female was exhibited by Kirk and Linda Dickinson of Barnesville, Ohio. The new champion is “Kookachex,” age 5, with a whopping horn spread of 87” tip to tip. Kookachex was judged by prominent Texas Longhorn producer Lana Hightower from Van, Texas. She was shown with her calf at side by Kara Dickinson and Doug Burris.

The All Age ITLA Champion Non-Halter female was exhibited by Dickinson Cattle Co, LLC (DCC) of Barnesville, Ohio. The new Champion Non-Halter was “Iron On” who was exhibited free range in the arena with no halter or special show techniques. She is age 6, weighs 1402 pounds and sports a 91.13-inch spread tip to tip.… Continue reading

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Corn harvest picks up, behind average

Seasonally warm and dry conditions helped push harvest progress but also increased the number of acres seeing moderate drought, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 41 percent adequate to surplus by week’s end, down 11 percentage points from the previous week. Approximately 43 percent of the state was abnormally dry or worse, according to the most recent Drought Monitor, up from 36 percent last week. Average temperatures for the week were 3.3 degrees above historical normals and the entire State averaged 0.14 inches of precipitation. There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 11.

Farmers harvested soybeans and corn, planted wheat, and applied lime. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 93 percent, ahead of the five-year average by 2 percentage points. Soybeans harvested was at 49 percent while soybeans moisture content was at 12 percent. Corn mature was at 77 percent, behind the five-year average by 3 points while corn moisture content was rated 23 percent.… Continue reading

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Fall agritourism operations: Safety and accessibility are key this season

By Dee Jepsen, Lisa Pfeifer, and Laura Akgerman

The fall agritourism season is in full swing — even during a pandemic. And while businesses of all kinds have met unprecedented challenges, there are recommended practices that will go a long way for agritourism operations to keep their doors open while remaining safe and accessible in this environment.

At first glance, agritourism may seem similar to fairs and festivals, but agritourism is quite different. Agritourism farms operate over a series of weeks, sometimes months. Many are open and operate pick-your-own activities or farm market/produce stands throughout the year. They are well staffed and have adopted effective tools to manage all types of customer situations, even engaging in emergency planning. Their livelihood depends on their ability to manage crowds and keep customers safe, be it a weather event or a national health crisis.

Staying safe during COVID-19

The state of Ohio requires all businesses, including farms open to the public, to follow safety protocols for preventing and managing COVID-19.… Continue reading

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Kubota partnership to aid ATI workforce development

The prevalent scarlet and gray most often seen at Ohio State ATI is being supplemented with a heavy dose of Kubota orange this fall.

Kubota Tractor Corporation is partnering with ATI to establish the Kubota Tech College training program. Students will be trained using high-tech Kubota equipment in areas such as diagnostics, preventative maintenance, and major repair.

“The two programs that will be impacted are the power equipment program and hydraulic power and motion control program,” said Robby Frutchey, ATI coordinator for both programs.

In the power equipment program, students learn about career preparation, electrical courses, engine diagnostics, mobile heating and air conditioning, welding, and power transmission.

Students in the hydraulic power and motion control program learn fundamentals of fluid power and components, hydraulic circuits, basic electricity, basic pneumatics, analog and digital electronics, power transmission, and computer-aided design.

“While Kubota Tractor Corporation has been a strong ally of ATI in the past, this new partnership will provide an impactful experience in the classroom and help us train the next generation of skilled technicians,” said Kris Boone, assistant dean and ATI director.… Continue reading

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