Featured News

New bill helps agriculture participate in the carbon market

Legislation discussed in a recent Senate Agriculture Committee hearing creates important elements needed to support a private carbon credit offset market. The bill would reward the valuable current and future contributions by agriculture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act, introduced by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a program to provide transparency, legitimacy and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry related practices.

“The Growing Climate Solutions Act seeks to provide more clarity and guidance for farmers and ranchers who want to provide the ecosystem services that more and more consumers and businesses are demanding,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, in testimony to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bayer announces agreements to resolve major remaining Monsanto litigation

Bayer announced a series of agreements that will substantially resolve major outstanding Monsanto litigation, including U.S. Roundup product liability litigation, dicamba drift litigation and PCB water litigation.

The massive legal settlements total up to $10.9 billion to compensate roughly 125,000 people who have claimed to be harmed by products of its recently acquired subsidiary, the Monsanto Company. The company also is resolving dicamba drift litigation with a payment of up to $400 million. In addition Bayer is addressing most PCB water litigation exposure with a payment of approximately $820 million.

The funding for all of the measures will be sourced from free cash flow and Animal Health divestment. Cash payments related to the settlements are expected to start in 2020. Bayer currently assumes that the potential cash outflow will not exceed $5 billion in 2020 and $5 billion in 2021; the remaining balance would be paid in 2022 or thereafter. In order to finance these payments which are subject to tax treatment, Bayer can make use of existing surplus liquidity, future free cash flows, the proceeds from the Animal Health divestment, and additional bond issuances, which will provide flexibility in managing the settlement payments as well as upcoming debt maturities.… Continue reading

Read More »

Benefits of incorporating wheat in a three-crop rotation

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

Amber waves of grain (often pictured as fields of wheat, swaying in the summer breeze) are as much of Americana as baseball, hotdogs, and apple pie. Incorporating wheat in a cropping rotation, however, has more benefits than just a pretty summer picture.

“The farms we regularly raise wheat on have had slightly better yields in the

other crops,” said Brad Haas, Wood county farmer, and past president of the Ohio Wheat Growers Association. “Those farms have had a slightly better yield and also lower diseases levels.”

While Haas likes raising quality wheat, and has done so for the past several decades, the biggest challenge he has faced the last two years has been finding fields available to plant in the right window after the fly free date that were fit, and did not have late soybeans in them.… Continue reading

Read More »

New fact sheet series for specialty crop growers focuses on dicamba and 2,4-D drift

Dicamba-related drift is causing significant stress for agricultural regulators, and soybean farmers this year. For many specialty crop growers, though, this is familiar ground as their crops are especially sensitive to drift.

Since 2016, soybean farmers have quickly adopted dicamba- and 2,4-D-ready crops in their fight against herbicide-resistant weeds. However, the expanded use of these herbicides during the growing season has led to an increased threat of drift damage for specialty crop growers.

High-value crops such as grapes, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes can be damaged by concentrations of 1/300th the labeled rate or lower. While recent legal issues have limited the use of three dicamba products for this growing season, both dicamba and 2,4-D will continue to pose a risk in areas with diversified or organic production.

A new fact sheet series, co-written by agricultural specialists at The Ohio State University and Purdue University, is available to help specialty crop growers prepare for and respond to possible dicamba and 2,4-D drift.… Continue reading

Read More »

Watch for frogeye this season

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

Frogeye leaf spot is a disease that can impact soybean yields across this eastern Corn Belt. Typically, more prevalent in the southern growing regions, the disease can occur farther north as a result of weather favorable to its development.

The fungus that causes frogeye leaf spot (Cercospora sojina) survives in infected plant debris and can cause infections in growing plants when weather conditions are favorable. Frogeye leaf spot lesions produce spores that are easily transported by wind, acting as inoculum for leaf infections on other plants. The disease is promoted by warm, humid weather and will continue to develop on infected plants during patterns of favorable weather. With continued warm and wet weather patterns in the eastern Corn Belt during 2020, frogeye leaf spot could develop in some areas.

Frogeye leaf spot symptoms begin as small yellow spots that become larger lesions with gray centers and dark reddish-purple or brown borders.… Continue reading

Read More »

Grower coalition files amicus brief on behalf of soybean farmers

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

Soybean growers risk suffering significant harm if they cannot use existing stocks of dicamba products. This statement was the leading argument in the amicus brief filed by a coalition of agricultural commodity organizations, including the American Soybean Association (ASA), on Tuesday, June 16, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The brief was filed to inform the court that “granting the petitioners’ motion mid-growing season could have catastrophic consequences for growers and America’s agricultural community, which depend on being able to use the dicamba products for the next several weeks.  The Court should respect EPA’s expertise in managing existing stocks of formerly registered pesticide products and deny petitioners’ emergency motion,” the brief went on to say.

The grower coalition’s brief, makes a case for farmers caught in a highly frustrating and costly situation amid prime planting season and the narrow weed-control window.

Continue reading

Read More »

Distribution of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth in Ohio

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension weed specialist

The maps that accompany this article show our current knowledge of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth distribution in Ohio. These are based on information from a survey of OSU Extension County Educators, along with information we had from samples submitted, direct contacts, etc. We still consider any new introductions of Palmer amaranth to be from an external source (brought in from outside Ohio) — hay or feed, infested equipment, CRP/cover/wildlife seedings. Palmer is not really spreading around the state, and as the map shows, we have had a number of introductions that were immediately remediated. The number of counties where an infestation is being managed is still low, and within those counties, the outbreak occurs in only a few fields still.

Waterhemp is much more widespread in Ohio and is spreading rapidly within the state from existing infestations to new areas via equipment, water, animals, etc.… Continue reading

Read More »

OFBF mourns the loss of Yvonne Lesicko

Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau vice president of public policy, passed away suddenly on June 18 from an unexpected medical issue.

“This loss to our Farm Bureau family has hit us hard. Yvonne’s impact on our organization is immense,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president in a letter to members. “Her work literally helped tens of thousands of members, every day of the week. But of course Yvonne did this work with a dedicated team of Farm Bureau staff colleagues, board members, county leaders and indeed members everywhere. This is where she shined the most as a professional: connecting with people, communicating about our work and inspiring us all to do better.”

Calling hours will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, June 25 at Schoedinger Funeral Home, 6699 N. High St, Worthington, OH 43085. A private service for immediate family will take place Friday, June 26 at 10 a.m.… Continue reading

Read More »

Dry weather leading to early signs of drought stress

As dry weather continued, soil moisture decreased and crops began to show signs of drought stress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil moisture decreased from 75% adequate or surplus last week to 53% adequate or surplus this week. In addition to dry weather slowing the emergence of soybeans and corn, crop condition worsened. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 2 degrees below historical normals, and the entire state averaged close to zero inches of precipitation. There were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 21.

The drier weather did allow farmers to cut hay and continue other field activities, including planting, spraying herbicides, and sidedressing corn. Winter wheat was maturing, with reporters anticipating the start of harvest in one or two weeks. Armyworms continued to be a problem in wheat fields. Soybean planting progress reached 98%, ahead of the five-year average by 8 percentage points.

Continue reading

Read More »

Rain is a good thing

Willie Murphy

We had a pretty big rain the week of June 4 and since then it has been hit or miss. Since then, it has gotten really dry. This weekend where the corn was stressed it was starting to roll up a little bit. If we don’t get rain here relatively soon it is going to start being a problem for the crops. We did get around 2 tenths last night and there is more rain in the forecast today.

Once we got planting wrapped up, everything emerged well. Compared to the last couple of years that have been pretty stressful we are very happy with the way our crops look. We did finish sidedressing all of our corn this past Friday, so we are ready for it to set in rain for a little bit.

The wheat is getting close. We are hoping the first of next week we’ll be able to run it.… Continue reading

Read More »

Dicamba rules change (again)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted BASF’s emergency motion to intervene in the case vacating the registrations of three dicamba-based herbicides, including BASF’s Engenia herbicide. The court’s decision will permit the continued use of existing stocks pending further court proceedings.

“The EPA’s order, issued on June 8, 2020, allows growers and commercial applicators to continue to apply Engenia in a way that is consistent with the previously approved label until July 31, 2020. The EPA’s decision to allow the use of existing stocks will help to save this year’s crops and save farmers’ millions of dollars in their investment in our product,” said BASF in a statement. “However, as the Engenia registration remains vacated as a result of the Court’s original decision, we seek a recall and stay of the Court’s mandate until BASF has the opportunity to challenge that decision. We are committed to pursue all legal remedies available to ensure farmers have access to the safe and effective crop protection solutions they have come to rely on, including Engenia herbicide.… Continue reading

Read More »

Get your fair food fix

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietitian

Caution: What you are about to read is not healthy.

I am guessing the stay at home order found you along with me, with increased TV time. I love the game show Family Feud. I love the answers, the questions and Steve Harvey. It just hits my funny bone. Richard Dawson kicked off this popular game show when it first aired in 1976. It has been running for 19 seasons with six different hosts and close to 2,500 episodes. Paul and I love to see where our answers fall on the survey.

Summer is in full swing and one of the hot topics in the Ag world is: will fairs happen? The Ohio State Fair has cancelled, and fate of many county fairs is still up in the air. Fairs are communal, a social gathering of the local community to share in their love, passion and celebration of 4-H, food, agriculture, and down-home country entertainment.… Continue reading

Read More »

Armyworms may still be at work in fields

By Andy Michel, Curtis Young, CCA, Kelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

We received many reports of true armyworm infestations in wheat, barley, and corn. These are black or green caterpillars with stripes along the side and orange heads. In the spring, true armyworm moths migrate from the south and lay eggs in grasses such as forage and weed grasses, winter wheat and barley, and rye cover crops. When the eggs hatch, the larvae can significantly damage wheat and barley before then moving to young corn. Usually, moth flights occur in April, but we may have had a second peak the first or second week of May—it’s likely the caterpillars feeding now are from this later flight. Right now, wheat, barley, and corn should be inspected for true armyworm populations. Armyworms like to hide during the day and feed at night, so scouting should occur at dusk or dawn, and/or on cloudy days.… Continue reading

Read More »

Prop 12 challenged by farm groups

The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed an appeal, challenging California’s Proposition 12, which imposes arbitrary animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States. By attempting to regulate businesses outside of its borders, California’s Proposition 12 violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The appeals challenge, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asks the court to strike Proposition 12 as invalid. It is unconstitutional and seeks to allow a single state without any commercial hog production to regulate how farmers across the country operate, imposing prohibitive costs with no benefits.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than one percent of U.S.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio beef farmers stepping up to help those in need

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities across the state, the Ohio Beef Council (OBC) has established the Beef Families Care Fund (BFCF), a matching program to assist non-profit agricultural groups that are working to provide beef meals and nutrition education to Ohioans in need and encourage beef consumption in communities across the state.

“Ohio beef farmers are proud to help feed their local communities,” said Jamie Graham, chairman of the OBC Operating Committee. “We are firmly committed to caring for and supporting Ohioans struggling with food insecurity.”

BFCF is made possible through the Ohio Beef Checkoff Program and will continue through the remainder of 2020. This one-time program is a direct result of several pandemic-related event cancelations, including the 2020 Ohio State Fair.

“The goal of the checkoff is to promote Ohio beef and it has been very challenging with a lot of the face-to-face communication and the promotions we try to do with things being canceled,” Graham said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Watch for early-season crop development challenges

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

The 2020 growing season continues to be challenging for Ohio’s farmers. Wet spring conditions with large rainfall events have created some issues that will continue to impact Ohio’s crops throughout the growing season.

Adverse weather conditions have significantly impacted emergence and early crop development. In some areas of the state, fields were planted early and then exposed to weather extremes such as saturated soils and freezing temperatures below 28 degrees F. In other parts of Ohio, fields planted into tough conditions in mid-May struggled to develop and were eventually replanted. Anyone who has driven around the state in the last few weeks knows that poor emergence, variable emergence and thin plant stands are a common sight.

Not only have adverse spring field conditions impacted final plant stands, but some issues that exist as a result of the wet weather will linger throughout the season.… Continue reading

Read More »

Catch fish…and eat them

By Matt Reese

Catch fish…and eat them. Humankind has been doing it for millennia.

I am the oldest of four boys and while we were growing up we would make occasional trips to the family cabin with our parents. While there, my brothers and I would regularly request that our father facilitate the process of helping us not only catch fish of a suitable size and quantity for a meal for six, but also fillet and cook them. Anyone who thinks conducting such an endeavor with four young boys sounds simple has clearly not undertaken the task. Nonetheless, we did this a number of times while growing up and have many fond memories of it, even if we rarely got enough fish cleaned for a complete meal.

The plan was to continue this simple Reese tradition in June when we went back to the cabin for a week of family, fishing and boating.… Continue reading

Read More »

Declining farmland tax values expected

There’s a bit of good news for Ohio farmers to counter the ample bad news caused by COVID-19, as well as by last year’s historic rain.

In counties scheduled for property value updates in 2020 — about half of Ohio’s 88 counties — the average value of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program should be about 40% lower than 2017–2019, or about $665 per acre.

That’s according to projections by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The same projections say that in counties due for property value updates in 2021 —another quarter of Ohio’s counties — average CAUV values should be about 25% less than 2018–2020, or about $760 per acre. The declines should mean lower property taxes, on average, for most of the farmers in those counties.

The projections were published in a May report by postdoctoral researcher Robert Dinterman and Ani Katchova, associate professor and farm income enhancement chair, both of CFAES’ Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.… Continue reading

Read More »