Featured News

Food security important during the pandemic

On Friday, the United Nation’s World Food Program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The program was recognized for its role in addressing a growing food security challenge worldwide, including a surge in the number of victims of hunger caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related food supply chain disruptions.

According to Nobel Committee Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.”

Last week, Smithfield sent a letter to local, state and federal leaders calling for prioritization of COVID-19 vaccine distribution to food and agriculture workers, along with the country’s healthcare workers and first responders.

“Food and agriculture workers are heroes. They have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, ensuring Americans have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food, and they should be at the front of the line for a COVID-19 vaccine as well….This prioritization will ensure that our employees remain as healthy and safe as possible so that Americans continue to have food,” Smithfield wrote.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 175 | Feeding Farmers Fresh Shrimp

We have a treat this week as Bart, Dale, and Kolt host this week while Matt is with his family during their county fair over in Fairfield County! Interviews this week include one from Dale with McDorman Farms in Allen County, part of the Feeding Farmers in the Field series. Kolt has an interview with Charlie McCullough in Hardin County as part of the Cab Cam series. Madi Kregel has an interview with Jack and TJ Waldock from Buckeye Seafood Company in Wood County. And we have market analysis from John Scheve.… Continue reading

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Changes to Ohio drainage law considered in Senate


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

The Ohio Senate’s Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee continues to hold hearings on HB 340, a bill that would revise drainage laws.  The bill was passed in the house on June 9, 2020.  The 157 page bill would amend the current drainage law by making changes to the process for proposing, approving, and implementing new drainage improvements, whether the petition is filed with the board of the Soil and Water Conservation District, the board of county commissioners, or with multiple counties to construct a joint county drainage improvement.  The bill would further apply the single county maintenance procedures and procedures for calculating assessments for maintenance to multi-county ditches and soil and water conservation districts.  You can find the current language of the bill, along with a helpful analysis of the bill, here. … Continue reading

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COVID relief remains murky

COVID relief negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin remain ongoing, but an agreement remains uncertain. On Thursday, Pelosi objected to proceeding with a standalone measure to help airlines unless the administration also agreed to a broader aid package.

“I have been very open to having a single standalone bill for the airlines or part of a bigger bill, but there is no standalone bill without a bigger bill,” she said.

The Democrat-controlled House already passed a $2.2 trillion aid package, but its chances in the Senate remain uncertain and Mnuchin previously countered with a $1.6 trillion proposal. However, midday on Friday, the White House indicated it had a new $1.8 trillion proposal. Pelosi and Mnuchin were expected to discuss the proposal later in the day.

Meanwhile, earlier in the week, President Trump injected further uncertainty into the negotiations when he abruptly postponed talks until after the November election, but then reversed course on Thursday, noting negotiations have continued.… Continue reading

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Farmers taking full advantage of beautiful harvest weather

Willie Murphy

We finally got started on Oct. 1. We ran some of the very first corn that was planted on May 13. It was 105-day corn and it was 21% to 22% moisture, which is drier than we thought it would be. The yield was pretty good for being early corn. We ran that and moved to corn we’d planted on May 16 and it was a fuller season corn. We thought the moisture would be in the mid-20s and it was 30%. We ran about four loads of that and decided that was enough. That was a little too wet to handle.

We have been hearing around the area that a lot of corn moisture has been in the mid- to upper 20s. The ethanol plant in Bloomingburg is paying around $4 for dry corn because everyone is cutting beans, so there has been some corn run around here that is pretty wet.… Continue reading

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Neutral numbers for Oct. 9

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Will the bullish surprise of September 30 be matched with another bullish report today? There was a quick spike higher on soybeans with ending stocks down, but the yield is unchanged. The spike to 29 cents higher for soybeans quickly disappeared as traders realized the yield was unchanged.

That September report was a game changer as it erased months of negative moods for grain prices. Price activity that September day was unprecedented, closing prices had corn up 14 cents, soybeans up 30 cents, and wheat up 28 cents.

USDA projects the US corn yield at 178.4 bushels with the U.S. soybean yield at 51.9 bushels. Corn ending stocks were 2.167 billion bushels, down 336 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks were 290 million bushels, a decline of 170 million bushels. Grain imports into China has soybean imports of 100 million tons, up 1 million tons with corn imports of 7 million tons, unchanged.… Continue reading

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A local meat pandemic

By Dusty Sonnenberg and Matt Reese

Willie Murphy works with his family on their diverse Clinton County operation that includes crops, cattle and a booming 2020 freezer beef business.

“The freezer beef has had a huge increase in demand. Normally we do 50 to 60 a year and so far we have sent over 60 head to the butcher shop and have another 50 head yet this year and another 20 head sold into next year. It doesn’t matter what butcher shop you talk to, they are all booking into this time next year. We have appointments all the way through 2022 just to fill the demand. A lot of people who are buying are asking me to just put them down for next year. That is good for us and good for the people we are selling to so we can cut out the middle man and sell direct,” Murphy said.… Continue reading

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Ohio farm custom rates for 2020 released

By Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources, John Barker, Extension Educator Agriculture/Amos Program, Ohio State University Extension Knox County and Eric Richer, Extension Educator Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension Fulton County

Farming is a complex business and many Ohio farmers utilize outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform a task is more cost effective and saves time. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply, “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Ohio Farm Custom Rates

This publication reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 377 farmers, custom operators, farm managers, and landowners conducted in 2020.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation golf outing scores $70,000 for scholarships

The 2020 Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Golf Invitational, sponsored by Nationwide, raised over $70,000 for foundation scholarships, grants and programs that enhance agricultural communities.

“The success of this event exemplifies our agriculture community’s commitment to providing resources that enable our future young professionals to grow and develop their knowledge and leadership skills,” said Doug Miller, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation board member and co-chair of the event. “Participation by so many, including our sponsors, during the challenging times we find ourselves in, speaks volumes about our industry and the partnerships within it.”

With current CDC and state guidelines in place, foursome teams split between two flights competed against each other Sept. 28 at Pinnacle Golf Club in Grove City for low score and closest to average and individually for closest to the pin, longest drive and longest putt.

Dick Isler was the invitational honoree. A lifelong supporter of the agricultural community, Isler became the executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council in 1973.… Continue reading

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Ohio Court of Appeals confirms decision not to allow weddings on hay farm as “agritourism”

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

When does the business of hosting weddings on a farm qualify as “agritourism” under Ohio law? That was the question faced by Ohio’s Second District Court of Appeals in a legal battle between Caesarscreek Township and the owners of a farm property in Greene County. The answer to the question is important because local zoning can’t prohibit the hosting of weddings and similar events if they fall under Ohio’s definition of “agritourism.” Those that don’t qualify as “agritourism” are subject to local zoning prohibitions and regulations. According to the court’s recent decision, the determination depends largely upon the facts of the situation, but merely taking place on an agricultural property does not automatically qualify a wedding or event as “agritourism.”

The case regards the Lusardis, who own a 13.5-acre property in Caesarscreek Township containing a pole barn and outbuilding, a one-acre pond, several acres of woods, and an 8-acre hayfield on which the Lusardis had produced hay for several years.… Continue reading

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Waterhemp woes

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

Waterhemp is a weed that some Ohio farmers have not experienced on their farms. Other farmers in Ohio have joined the ranks of those across the country who know it all too well, and wish they did not. Waterhemp is a weed that Ohio State University Extension personnel have been warning farmers around the state about at numerous agronomy meetings. The impact of waterhemp on soybean yields is very real. “If left untreated, it will compete with soybeans all season long, and can reduce yield by 44%,” said Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension Educator in Auglaize County, and Weed Specialist. 

Waterhemp is an annual weed with enormous genetic diversity. It begins emerging in early May and continues to emerge until late July. Waterhemp is a prolific seed producer.

“Most plants will produce at least 100,000 seeds per plant.

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A common-sense approach to regulations

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

All too often the words “common sense” and “environmental regulations” have not been used in the same phrase when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Andrew Wheeler, Administrator for the U.S. EPA wants to change that perception. A native of Fairfield, Ohio, Administrator Wheeler recently visited Clardale Farms just outside of Canal Fulton. He was hosted by Frank Burkett and his family. Burkett is the current president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. While there, Administrator Wheeler toured the farm and shared comments regarding the EPA and a number of issues pertinent to agriculture.

“I hope you have seen in this administration, a change in the way that the EPA is working with the agriculture community,” Wheeler said. “I want to work cooperatively with farmers. Farmers are the first environmentalists and conservationists.… Continue reading

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Cover crops enhance soil health

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Fall harvest has started but farmers also need to think about planting cover crops.  USDA-SARE publication (10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health) states “Cover crops lead to better soil health and potentially better farm profits.”  Here is a 10-point summary.

Cover crops feed many soil organisms. Most soil fungi and bacteria are beneficial to crops, feeding on carbohydrates that plants exude (release) through their roots. In return, fungi and bacteria supply nutrients, such as nitrogen or phosphorous, to the crop roots. While cover crops directly feed bacteria and fungi, many other soil organisms eat fungi and bacteria, including earthworms and beneficial arthropods (soil insects). Cover crops support the soil food web throughout the year. Beneficial soil insects eat weed seed, devore crop predator eggs and larva, and consume or outcompete many crop disease organisms.  Good soil health means that all soil organisms are kept in balance so no one organism becomes a pest.

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Ear rots showing up in Ohio corn

By Pierce Paul and Felipe Dalla Lana da Silva, Ohio State University Extension

Over the last two weeks, we have received samples or pictures of at least two different types of corn ear rots — Gibberella and Trichoderma. Of the two, Gibberella ear rot (GER) seems to be the most prevalent. Ear rots differ from each other in terms of the damage they cause (their symptoms), the toxins they produce, and the specific conditions under which they develop. GER leads to grain contamination with mycotoxins, including deoxynivalenol (also known as vomitoxin), and is favored by warm, wet, or humid conditions between silk emergence (R1) and early grain development. However, it should be noted that even when conditions are not ideal for GER development, vomitoxin may still accumulate in infected ears.

A good first step for determining whether you have an ear rot problem is to walk fields between dough and black-layer, before plants start drying down, and observe the ears.… Continue reading

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Trumbull SWCD cover crop cost-share program

While the use of cover crops in local agricultural production is not new, recent interest is likely due to the economic and environmental benefits cover crops provide. Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District offered a cover crop cost-share program in 2019 that focused on drilling the seed but there can be challenges with timing. Trumbull SWCD set up a committee to plan the aerial seeding program that included Board supervisors, an associate supervisor and District staff members. Precision Aerial Ag Service worked with Trumbull SWCD and their Pymatuning/Shenango Watershed partner, Crawford County Conservation District in Pennsylvania to finalize the pilot program. Steve Zvara, with Precision Aerial Ag Service, provided the seeding service and would like to develop a regional effort for aerial seeding. Trumbull SWCD staff will continue working with him on that project.

With Trumbull SWCD’s aerial seeding program, participants were mainly focused on the benefit of erosion control. Cover crops can be used to reduce water and wind erosion and maintaining ground cover through the winter season will help reduce soil loss.… Continue reading

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Reaching retailers to foster the adoption of higher ethanol blends

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has been working with retailer education when it comes to utilizing and accessing higher blends of ethanol like E15 and E85. ACE’s Flex Fuel Forward website is a resource for retailers by retailers.

Ron Lamberty, Senior Vice President of Market Development, said the organization launched a new tool for retailers, helping them determine the compatibility of existing station equipment with E15.

“A huge number of retailers have E15 compatible equipment and could sell it tomorrow without a big investment,” Lamberty said. “But they don’t know, and most haven’t even checked, because API, AFPM, oil companies and petroleum marketer groups have been telling station owners their equipment isn’t compatible with E15 since it was approved, and replacing it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We just want them to check because a lot of them will be shocked to find out they can add E15 for next to nothing.”… Continue reading

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Tomatoes offer challenge and reward

By Matt Reese

As corn and soybean harvest efforts around Ohio are really starting to take off, the state’s tomato harvest is wrapping up. And, for Brian and Andy Stickel in Wood County, 2020 was a good tomato year.

“Tomato harvest has been underway now for several weeks and so far the crop looks pretty good. We went from one extreme to the other. It was a very wet year in Wood County last year and we did not get anything planted in 2019,” Andy said. “The 2020 spring was pretty favorable to get planted in a timely manner. We were really pretty dry all summer. We only really had significant rains in late August. Tomatoes like dry feet and that has been pretty favorable. It has kept disease pressure down so far.”

The diverse operation includes cattle, corn, non-GMO food-grade soybeans, wheat, hay, tomatoes, and cover crops. Andy and Brian are the fourth generation of their family on the farm.… Continue reading

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Is forward selling next year’s corn a good idea?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The USDA surprised everyone this past week with a 250-million-bushel carryout reduction in corn. In the last 20 years, this was the largest decrease on record, and only the third time carryout fell more than 50 million bushels.

Three factors likely impacted these carryout estimates — less acres were planted in 2019 than previously estimated, yields were probably lower than originally thought, and feed demand could have been higher than previously believed. This revised estimate drastically changes the upcoming 2020 carryout situation. While many were anticipating a record carryout only a week ago, now carryout may be within a “normal” range. A normal carryout could also mean “normal prices,” a welcome relief after so much “sub $3 futures fear” this summer.

The USDA supply and demand report in the next week should shed more light on where price ranges will be for the winter now that we have this new stock report.… Continue reading

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