Featured News

Warm winter weather and wheat

By Laura Lindsey, Ohio State University Extension

Across Ohio, the average air temperature was 8 to 10 degrees F warmer in January through Feb. 12. Due to these warmer winter temperatures, wheat may appear greener than usual and also raises the question, “Will the vernalization requirement be met?”

Winter wheat has molecular regulation preventing the transition to reproductive growth until a certain threshold of cold days has been reached. This regulation is called “vernalization.” In winter wheat, the vernalization period protects plants from breaking dormancy too early. The vernalization requirement varies among wheat cultivars and is temperature and day length dependent. In a study conducted on one winter wheat cultivar, it took 40 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 52 degrees F while it took 70 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 34 degrees F. Temperatures above 64 degrees F were ineffective for vernalization. Although winter wheat is green and the winter temperatures have been above average, the vernalization requirement will be met.… Continue reading

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Cover crops: Good and bad

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Farmers seem to either lover or hate cover crops.  Cover crops have many benefits, but they may be hard to see immediately.  First the bad or difficult things about cover crops will be discussed followed by the benefits.

Cover crops cost money for seed, planting, and sometimes termination.  It takes more knowledge and experience to plant cover crops and to use it with no-till (school of hard knocks), so its risky at first.  The timeliness factor, getting cover crops planted on time and established is difficult.  Herbicide carryover can be an issue and sometimes it requires different equipment (no-till, sprayers, spreaders) although less or no tillage equipment if used in a no-till system. 

Then there are the pests (slugs, voles, cutworms) that love a good feast.  Cover crop residue may have an allelopathic or negative growing effect on the grain crop.  It can be difficult to plant timely if soils stay cold and wet (sounds like a compaction problem) and sometimes planting is delayed and soil get hard and dry. … Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Congress highlights success

By Matt Reese

There was record attendance at the Ohio Pork Congress held in Lima in February. Visitors had the chance to hear from a wide array of speakers, visit a packed trade show and celebrate success with fellow pork producers. 

“Looking ahead to 2023, our industry faces challenges, however, the Ohio pork industry is filled with great leaders from top to bottom,” said Nick Seger, Ohio Pork Council president from Shelby County. “The big wins we’ve had don’t mean the fight to protect our industry is over, but I am confident we can use this momentum rise to the occasion to overcome and adapt.” 

Cheryl Day, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, provided an overview of priorities and successes for the organization including securing funding for meat processing grants and animal protein for foodbanks, supporting H2Ohio, pushing for science over emotion in the western Lake Erie Basin watershed, and addressing misconceptions about pork production.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 288 | Interworking’s of OAN, OCJ and Ohio Pork

This week on the podcast Matt and Dusty sit down to talk with Joe Everett, Ohio Ag Net Marketing Specialist, to talk about his role in the company and his farming operation. Next, Matt chats with Bryan Humphreys, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council, at the recent Ohio Pork Congress to discuss the pork industry from a national standpoint. Dr. Dennis Summers, Ohio State Veterinarian, visits with Joel to talk about foreign animal diseases related to HPAI and the swine industry. Lastly, Matt talks with John Hummel, farmer in Fairfield and Franklin Counties, about development pressures with farming near Columbus, Ohio. All this and more on this week’s podcast!   

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update  

04:55 Bryan Humphreys – NPPC CEO

08:31 Dr. Dennis Summers – Ohio State Veterinarian

20:09 John Hummel – Fairfield/Franklin Co. farmer

22:37 Back with Joe… Continue reading

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YAP 2023 grant recipients announced

Eight local Young Agricultural Professionals groups have been awarded $500 grants for educational programming or events.

The local grants are a part of Farm Credit Mid-America’s $100,000 donation to Farm Bureau young leader programs in their four-state region of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Farm Credit Mid-America proudly supports these local grant programs, as well as Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual statewide Young Ag Professionals contests and the YAP Winter Leadership Experience.

Ag Toy Drive

The Ashland & Wayne County Young Ag Professionals and the Medina County Young Farmers hosted their 6th Annual Ag Toy Drive Nov. 29 at Lincoln Way Vineyards. After sponsorships and individual contributions were counted, over $11,000 in agricultural toys were donated to Associated Charities of Ashland County, Medina Toys for Tots and Wayne County Toys for Tots for the holiday season. Both local business and individual cash donations were used to purchase ag-themed toys within each county.… Continue reading

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Planting depth critical to high yields

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

Planting is one of the most critical management practices of the year because it sets the stage for the entire growing season. There are several key aspects of planting, one of which is planting depth. Invariably, every year Seed Consultants’ agronomists come across problems that are caused by variable and improper planting depth. Planting depth is critical because it impacts germination, seedling development, crop root development, emergence, and ultimately crop yields.

For corn, seed needs to be planted no shallower than 1.5 inches below the soil surface. Typically, the suggested range is 1.5 to 2 inches, however, some studies and growers have seen success at depths up to 3 inches. It is important to make sure that corn is planted into adequate soil moisture for germination. In addition, corn needs to be at least 1.5 inches deep for the proper early development the root system.… Continue reading

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NCGA submits comments to EPA on renewable fuels

Higher renewable fuel volumes over the next three years would go a long way in improving energy security, lowering gas prices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent comments the National Corn Growers Association submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, requires that U.S. transportation fuel contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel each year. NCGA’s comments were in response to EPA’s proposed volume requirements for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

“NCGA supports EPA’s proposal of annual increases in volumes, including an implied conventional biofuel volume of 15.25 billion gallons, and recognition that ethanol plays a critical role in cutting GHG emissions and our energy security,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “With continued pressure on energy security and costs, and the need to accelerate GHG emission reductions, however, biofuels can contribute even more. We ask EPA to continue working with us on complementary policies to advance higher ethanol blends, enabling ethanol to do more to cut emissions and costs.”… Continue reading

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SCN management and seed protection

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

With the increased price of soybean seed in recent years, the discussion about planting “naked seed” or cutting back some component of the seed treatment to lower the cost has become more common among soybean growers. The risk of this decision is if the wrong treatment is removed, the plant is at greater risk depending on the environment. “One area of my research is evaluating soybean seed treatments and evaluating different environments with a combination of different pathogens,” said Lopez-Nicora. “We have a complex of pathogens that can interact synergistically and cause more damage to the plant.  Researching SCN is an objective of my program, but also other organisms that are threatening our soybeans and how they interact with these different pathogens.”

“We know that soybean cyst nematode management is not just the use of one tool, but the integration of multiple management tools,” said Horacio Lopez-Nicora, OSU Extension Soybean Pathologist and Nematologist.… Continue reading

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Reduced ethanol demand leads to higher corn ending stocks

By Krista Swanson, the lead economist for the National Corn Growers Association.

Projected corn ethanol use for the 2022/23 marketing year declined by 25 million bushels from last month, according to this week’s UDSA World Agriculture Supply & Demand Estimates report. As the only change on the supply or demand side of the corn balance sheet, it resulted in a corresponding increase of 25 million bushels in projected corn ending stocks for the current marketing year.

Despite a return to the post-COVID normal in 2022, fuel ethanol produced using corn trailed the years leading up to the 2020 COVID disruptions. From 2017 to 2019, the average annual fuel ethanol production was 15.9 billion gallons, calculated using data from the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA). After dropping to 13.9 billion gallons in 2020 and recovering to 15.0 billion gallons in 2021, production in 2022 was 15.4 billion gallons. This is 88% of the 17.4 billion gallon per year total of U.S.… Continue reading

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OSU ACT club helps students “Become tomorrow’s leaders today” at Night for Young Professionals

By ​Kylie Ramirez, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Ohio State University

Night for Young Professionals is a long-time tradition for students at The Ohio State University in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club organizes this event for an evening of networking and professional growth, thanks to its sponsors Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff. 

Seats were full at both the Columbus and Wooster campuses where students enjoyed a complimentary City Barbeque meal. 

Reagan Feldner, ACT leadership committee chair thanked everyone who showed up “dressed for success, and eager to learn,” during her welcome. Julia Brown, Ohio Soybean Council, and Bernadette Arehart, Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net, took the stage for a conversation about the contributions of Ohio’s soybean farmers to the success of the event.

“We see a need to encourage young people to get involved in agriculture,” said Brown when asked why Ohio Soybean Council wants to support the program.… Continue reading

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Pork Congress award highlights

At the awards luncheon held during the Ohio Pork Congress on February 8, 2023, several volunteers were recognized for outstanding contributions to the Ohio pork industry. The Ohio Pork Industry Excellence, Service, Pork Promoter of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Friend of Pork Industry awards were presented. 

“Looking ahead to 2023, our industry faces challenges, however, the Ohio pork industry is filled with great leaders from top to bottom. The big wins we’ve had don’t mean the fight to protect our industry is over but I am confident we can use this momentum rise to occasion to overcome and adapt,” said Nick Seger, Ohio Pork Council President Shelby County. 

Wendell Waters, West Lafayette, Ohio, received the Ohio Pork Industry Excellence Award. Given annually, this award recognizes a pork farmer, or farm family, for their willingness to go above-and-beyond to donate time, money, and talents on behalf of the industry at the state and national level. … Continue reading

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Soybean Cyst Nematode Management Research (Part 2)

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

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is the leading yield robber of soybeans in Ohio and across the nation. The challenge to SCN detection is that there are no above ground symptoms. “When we do our research, we always have different varieties and sources of resistance, and we go and we measure anything we can from these plants; height, branching, intensity of the color of the foliage,” said Lopez-Nicora. “We absolutely do not see any above ground symptomology when we have SCN. The nematode is reducing yield without any above ground symptoms.”

Lopez-Nicora reminds farmers to ask themselves if they know if they have SCN. “If the answer is no, then they should sample their fields for SCN to know if they have it or not. They should try to answer that question with data,” said Lopez-Nicora.… Continue reading

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Biofuels update

By Matt Reese

Biofuels are the subject of complex politics, controversy and confusion, but have, without a doubt, forever left their mark on crop markets and rural America. In this constantly evolving sector, what is next for biofuels? 

Paul Bertels is an Illinois-based agricultural leader and consultant at FarmGate Insights who closely follows ever-changing developments with biofuels.

“We’ve seen a number of advances in the last couple of years. We’ve largely hit a blend wall in ethanol with E10 blends, so the way around that is E15 or to work with the auto industry to where they’re designing engines that need a higher ethanol blend,” he said. “On the bio-based diesel side, most people think of biodiesel, which is a blend. What we’ve seen in the last few years is really a ramp up in renewable diesel. With renewable diesel, you’re actually making the exact equivalent of diesel fuel, you’re just doing it with biomass — soybean oil, used cooking oil, things like that.… Continue reading

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A century of conservation

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) marked 100 years of conservation in 2022, celebrating the anniversary of the creation of the Roosevelt Game Preserve. Known today as Shawnee State Park and Shawnee State Forest, the property was established in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1922. The area, now displaying a historic marker, was created to encourage the replenishment of natural resources and wildlife that had been depleted in Ohio’s past. 

From preserving the past to investing in the future, Shawnee State Forest was expanded by more than 1,200 acres thanks to a federal grant through the Forest Legacy Program. Visitors at Shawnee State Park will soon enjoy a new state-of-the-art campground, new bike trails, a splash pad, and dog park at the Shawnee Ohio River Park, Campground and Marina. The new and improved attraction is expected to be complete next year. 

Boaters and paddlers at Alum Creek State Park can now enjoy a brand-new marina building.… Continue reading

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Farm income expected to decline

While America’s families continue to deal with record-high grocery prices,farm familiescan expect to see a drop in income in 2023. American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed USDA’s Farm Sector Income Forecast in their latest Market Intel report. U.S. net farm income is forecast to fall almost 16% from last year, while costs are expected to increase more than 4%, on top of a record increase in production expenses last year.

Increased operating costs, lower prices for livestock and crops, and the end of pandemic-related assistance are among the factors that will contribute to a loss in farm income, down to $136.9 billion. While fuel and fertilizer costs are expected to decline somewhat from record highs, marketing, storage and transportation costs are forecast to increase 11%. Labor costs are projected to increase 7%. 

“The farm income forecast is a stark reminder that America’s farmers and ranchers are not reaping big benefits from higher prices at the grocery store,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president.… Continue reading

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CAUV changes in Lorain County

After several meetings with Lorain County Farm Bureau members, County Auditor Craig Snodgrass will be making some major changes in how his office applies Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Value program.

CAUV allows farmland devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture to be valued based on its value in agriculture, rather than the full market value, resulting in a lower tax bill for farmers and property owners.

At issue was a “residual” designation, which is given to uncultivated land that could potentially be cultivated. Land given that designation is given a higher tax rate than typical CAUV designations.

The changes mean that land previously classified as residual, such as areas with structures, waterways and fence lines, will now receive CAUV crop designations. Farmers and landowners will experience lower tax values for much more of their property used for crop production, pastureland and woods.

The auditor’s adjustments are being attributed in large part to a letter that was sent from the Lorain County Farm Bureau board to over 2,000 CAUV landowners in the county, creating a “Call to Action” to inquire with the auditor’s office about how CAUV acreage and values were being made.… Continue reading

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Meat exports holding strong

U.S. beef exports set annual records for both volume and value in 2022, according to year-end data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports finished lower year-over-year but export value was the third largest on record, trailing only the highs reached in 2020 and 2021. Pork exports continued to gain momentum in December, led by another outstanding performance in Mexico. While lamb exports slowed in December, 2022 shipments were sharply higher than the previous two years, approaching the pre-COVID levels of 2019.

Beef exports reach new heights in several key markets

Despite slowing toward the end of the year, beef exports reached 1.47 million metric tons (mt), up 2% from the previous high in 2021. Export value climbed to a record $11.68 billion, up 10% from 2021 and nearly 40% above the previous five-year average. The U.S. exported a record share of its record-large beef production in 2022, and at higher prices.… Continue reading

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Wendell Waters: A career of collaboration in Ohio agriculture

By Matt Reese and Joel Penhorwood

Farmers working together can accomplish big things — few have demonstrated this better than Wendell Waters of Coshocton County who has played instrumental roles in several significant collaborative accomplishments in Ohio agriculture. Recently, Waters was recognized with the Pork Industry Excellence Award at the Ohio Pork Congress held in Lima. 

“Working as a group for a goal — that always brings people together,” Waters said in a 2020 video for his induction into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame. “If you have a common cause, you can work together to accomplish your goals.”

From teamwork with his wife, Marsha, to collaboration with fellow farmers on various boards, to the creation of a vital cooperative, Waters has demonstrated a keen ability to leverage efforts of others to make positive progress. Along with row crops, and hogs, the Waters were also involved in berry production for many years.… Continue reading

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Carbon credit market assistance program through USDA

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Sometimes a legislative proposal stalls, appears dead, then emerges in another piece of legislation in a slightly different form. That’s exactly what happened with the Growing Climate Solutions Act and its plan to help farmers with carbon and environmental credit markets. First introduced in 2020, the bill gained some momentum and passed the U.S. Senate before coming to a standstill in the House. But Congress added the bill, with some negotiated changes, into the Consolidated Appropriations Act it passed in the final days of 2022. The USDA is now charged with implementing its provisions.

Purpose of the bill

The bill aims to reduce barriers for farmers, ranchers, and foresters who want to enter into voluntary markets that establish environmental credits for greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from agricultural or forestry practices (also known as carbon credits).… Continue reading

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