Featured News



City of Maumee caught after 20 years of sewage dumping 🎙

Unlike permitted livestock farms, such as CAFOs, that are not allowed to discharge an ounce of manure into Ohio’s waterways, municipalities have agreements with Ohio EPA to allow for a certain amount of sewage to be dumped directly into tributaries located in watersheds that flow into Lake Erie.

For Maumee, Ohio, that agreement is 25 million gallons per year. However, due to an outdated sewer infrastructure, the municipality has actually been adding as much as 150 million gallons of sewage into the Maumee River for each of the past 20 years.

City Law Director David Busick confirmed that Department of Public Service Sewer Division employees, who keep track of sewer discharge levels, did not comply with the law when they failed to self-report the incidences of annual sewer overflow in Maumee. The City Council has since approved an action plan that requires mandated maintenance upgrades and infrastructure replacement guidelines. The city has also been fined by Ohio EPA to the tune of $29,936, which can be applied to remediation steps.… Continue reading

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Holmes County Steam Engine Association announces 2021 show

Preparations are in the final stages for the Holmes County Steam Engine Association’s 2021 Show.  New this year is a dirt track that will be used for both the Horse and Antique Tractor Pull events. 

The 29th annual, three-day event will be held on the Mt. Hope Auction Grounds/Holmes County Event Center, in Mt. Hope, Ohio. Dates are Thursday, Aug. 5, Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, August 7. 

Each year features a brand and make of tractor, with 2021 the year of Case IH/Farmall. If that’s not your favorite, next year will feature John Deere.   

This fun and exciting family-friendly weekend will kick off on Thursday at 9 a.m. and include steam engine demonstrations, the popular Noon Whistle and, later in the day, the Kid’s Pedal Race. Local music group “Six Strings Band” will provide entertainment at 5 p.m. The evening’s main event, the Horse Pull, begins at 6 p.m.  

“Our pull has always been one of the largest in the state and offers an even larger purse of $10,000 this year,” said Melvin Wengerd, HCSEA Board Member.… Continue reading

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Unions and property rights

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

On June 23, 2021, the United States Supreme Court decided Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid. Many legal analysts are touting this case for upholding property rights. A closer look, however, reveals that the impact is more about unions and access and the viability of a very specific California law, unlike any other in the country.

            In 2015, two California businesses, Cedar Point Nursery (a grower of strawberry plants) and Fowler Packing Company (a shipper of table grapes and citrus), challenged a California state law that allowed unions to access private property, before and after the working day, 3 hours per day, 120 days per year to recruit new members. The regulation was issued in 1975, in the days of Caesar Chavez and the Farm Workers Union. It is a law unique to California. The law’s history indicates that the provision was a practical way to give farmworkers, who can be nomadic and poorly educated, a realistic chance to consider joining a union.… Continue reading

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Soybean defoliation: It takes a lot to really matter!

By Curtis Young, CCAKelley Tilmon, Ohio State University Extension

The mid-season defoliators are beginning to show up in soybean fields across Ohio. These defoliators include first generation bean leaf beetles, Japanese beetles, grasshopper nymphs and several different caterpillars such as silver-spotted skippers, painted-lady butterflies and green cloverworms. Since all of these insects collectively add to the defoliation of soybeans, their collective feeding is used in the threshold to determine the need for an insecticide treatment, but it takes a lot of feeding to add up to significant damage. It often looks worse than what it truly is.

When scouting soybean fields to assess levels of damage, it is important not to let one’s eye and mind over estimate what is truly there. Japanese beetles and grasshoppers tend to hit edges of fields first before they start moving farther into the centers of the fields. And Japanese beetles tend to feed in aggregations and at the tops of plants producing a startling appearance that easily catches one’s eye standing at the edge of a field looking in.… Continue reading

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NBB disappointed in DC Circuit decision on SREs in 2019 RFS rule

The National Biodiesel Board expressed disappointment in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s decision on the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard rule. NBB joined other biofuel industry associations (the case is known as Growth Energy v EPA) to challenge EPA’s failure to account for a flood of retroactive small refinery exemptions that undercut the annual volumes by 7% in 2019.

“Small refinery exemptions harm biodiesel and renewable diesel producers when they retroactively reduce demand for advanced biofuels,” Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President for Federal Affairs. “Today’s decision creates renewed uncertainty for our industry because it does not require EPA to account for retroactive exemptions — something the 10th Circuit Court identified as ‘a gaping and ever-widening hole’ in the RFS.

“On behalf of NBB’s members, I call on EPA to quickly issue the 2021 and 2022 RFS rules, provide a strong signal of growth for advanced biofuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel, and fully account for any small refinery exemptions it plans to grant—as it has already done in the 2020 RFS rule.”The… Continue reading

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MSR — 20 years and still counting

By Mary Wicks

In 2021, an OSU Extension educator, John Smith, recruited folks from OSU, SWCDs and other agencies to launch the first Manure Science Review (MSR). The goal was to provide an educational program that provided research-based information on manure handling and other issues facing livestock producers. It was a success and has continued into 2021, always following Smith’s mantra that you need to provide high quality information, impressive equipment demonstrations, and good food.

Since its beginning, over 4,000 people have attended the MSR, learning from the experts in the manure world on everything from regulations to application methods to environmental issues. The MSR has been held in 16 different Ohio counties in its 20 years of existence. The always popular field demonstrations have included the unique Subsurfer for injecting poultry litter, smoking subsurface drainage tiles, many solid and liquid manure applicators, cover crop plots, and holey underwear. And of course, the food has always been plentiful and delicious. … Continue reading

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2021 Ohio State Fair is almost here

By Matt Reese

The Ohio State Fair is almost here, though the 2021 installment will be significantly different than in the past. The focus will be entirely on youth and agricultural activities this year following an extremely challenging 2020 when the event was canceled. 

“We have been able to survive and make it through it to put on an agricultural fair this year. That is what is closest to my heart — to be able to have a junior and senior livestock show. We have been able to put together enough staff to help us get that accomplished this year,” said Virgil Strickler, general manager of the Ohio State Fair. “The agricultural side is the roots of the fair and at least we are starting to get that back up and running.”

The 2021 Ohio State Fair is not open to the general public. It will only be open for exhibitors, their families, and their guests this year.… Continue reading

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AEP Re-Creation Lands purchased

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

Among more than $70 billion in state spending priorities is a major item of importance to Ohio’s sportsmen. During negotiations late last month between the House and Senate, Gov. Mike DeWine successfully advocated for $29 million for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife to purchase the remaining 18,000 acres of the AEP Re-Creation Lands. 

Back in 2015, the power company announced its intention to sell the 60,000-acre property, which has long been used by Ohio hunters, anglers and trappers. It was thought that the state of Ohio would be first in line to purchase the prized property, which amounts to 10% of all available public land for sportsmen in the state.

After 2 years, with very little progress, AEP began to consider private buyers, a result Ohio sportsmen were unwilling to tolerate. Led by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, a Columbus-based coalition of the state’s top sportsmen’s groups united in 2017 under the banner of Protect What’s Right to advocate for funding for AEP and to restore the financial security of the Division of Wildlife, which had deteriorated over the previous years.… Continue reading

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OSHA signs alliance with Ohio Agribusiness Association to address grain handling hazards

To combat the dangers workers face in grain handling, the U.S. Department of Labor’sOccupational Safety and Health Administration, the Ohio On-Site Consultation Program, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the Ohio Agribusiness Association signed an alliance on July 9, 2021. The two-year alliance will help train workers on the grain industry’s six major hazards: engulfment, falls, auger entanglement, “struck by,” combustible dust explosions and electrocution hazards and OSHA’s Grain-Handling Safety Standard

“Grain handling can expose workers to serious and life threatening hazards, such as fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, engulfment in grain bins, and injuries and amputations from grain handling equipment,” said OSHA’s Acting Region Administration William Donovan in Chicago. “This alliance aims to provide training and resources to improve workplace safety in this industry.”

An implementation team, comprised of representatives of each organization, will meet to develop a plan of action, determine working procedures and identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants.… Continue reading

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Stockton named OFBF 2021 Outstanding Young Farmer

Kyle Stockton of Elida is the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer Award for 2021. The contest is designed to help young farmers strengthen their business skills, develop marketing opportunities and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Contestants are judged on the growth of their farm businesses and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community.

Stockton grew up on a small row crop and steer operation and holds a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Ohio State University. He worked off the farm for nine years while working toward returning to his family farm. Today, he has a row crop operation that includes corn, soybeans, wheat, and custom planting and harvesting, and he raises hogs and feeds out Holstein steers.

“I have made it my mission to find how the 21st century farmer will stand out among other farmers, and it keeps coming back to business principles. While properly maintaining and operating machinery is still extremely important, and the blessing of good rain will never be matched in importance, it is digging into the financials of farming and finding the best returns on investment, prices and marketing that sets apart the best farmers.… Continue reading

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OABA seeking emerging leaders for 2022 LAUNCH Class

Tomorrow’s agribusiness leader will need to be nimble and lead change in addressing workforce pressures, consumer demands, and governmental challenges, all while fostering networks and collaborative work styles. Emerging agribusiness leaders can build their skills through LAUNCH – Leaders Achieving Unexpected New Career Heights – to rise to the challenges and opportunities facing agribusinesses today and tomorrow.

Hosted by the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, in partnership with Shift-ology Communication, the LAUNCH program is geared to help Ohio agribusinesses Elevate People, Elevate Ideas and Elevate the Industry.

The program is designed for emerging leaders with a desire to meet higher level goals than the scope of their current position. The course is designed for leaders with all levels of experience — from entry level to seasoned employees — who seek to rise within their company.

“Agribusinesses continually compete with all industries to recruit and retain the best talent, but there is also a need to invest in those who are already passionate about agriculture,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO.… Continue reading

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Variable rate sidedressing and inter-seeding cover crops

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

Time is one of the most precious commodities on a farm. There are windows of opportunity to accomplish certain tasks in production agriculture, and with the adoption of new practices, such as cover crops, sometimes those windows become limited. One example is the seeding of cover crops after corn that soybeans will be planted into the following spring. Depending on the corn maturity, often the window following corn harvest is too late to successfully establish a cover crop and meet the requirements of many government programs.

In an effort to mitigate the timing issue of late seeding after harvest, some farmers have attempted to “fly-on” the cover crop just prior to leaf drop. In some cases, farmers have seeded with a “hi-boy” type machine. Siebeneck Farms in Putnam County is inter-seeding cover crops at the same time they sidedress their corn with a modified sidedress applicator.

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Understanding primary factors driving plant growth

By Kyle Poling, Pioneer Field Agronomist

Crop scouting provides an opportunity to identify environmental stresses and evaluate effectiveness of management practices that impact yield. Being in your fields throughout the growing season can help in the detection and diagnosis of problems early so corrective action can be taken before major yield losses occur. Even though some issues cannot be fixed in the current year, regular scouting can identify management decisions that should be improved or changed for next year’s crop.

Kyle Poling, Pioneer Field Agronomist

Plants cannot think or feel because they lack a brain or a nervous system; however, plants do have an extraordinary ability to respond to stimuli in their growing environment. If growing conditions are ideal, plants will thrive. Conversely, environmental stresses will cause normal plant development to be altered, often causing slow/stunted growth. Under extremely stressful conditions, plants may even die.

The primary factors that affect plant growth include: water, temperature, light, and nutrients.… Continue reading

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Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative partners with H2Ohio to host farmer meetings

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) welcomes the recent expansion of the H2Ohio farmer incentive program into 10 additional Western Lake Erie Basin counties. In an effort to spread awareness of the program and amplify the continued commitment farmers have to preserving Ohio’s lakes, streams and waterways, OACI is partnering with the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and H2Ohio to host a series of informational meetings for farmers and producers.

ODA and OACI will host four virtual meetings explaining H2Ohio’s expansion in the Maumee Watershed and how agriculture and conservation fit into the program’s goals and priorities. The meetings will be held on the following dates, and full details and access to the links are available at h2.ohio.gov:

·  July 20, 6:00 p.m.

·  July 22, 9:00 a.m.

·  July 28, 6:00 p.m.

·  July 29, 1:00 p.m.

“We are committed to reaching as many farmers as possible to spread the word about the expansion of the H2Ohio program and the dedicated work farmers are putting in to improving water quality across the state,” said Kris Swartz, OACI chair and northwest Ohio farmer.… Continue reading

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USDA to provide pandemic assistance to livestock producers for animal losses

Livestock and poultry producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing can apply for assistance for those losses and the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack announced the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) in [recorded] remarks at the National Pork Industry Conference in Wisconsin Dells. The announcement is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Livestock and poultry producers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) July 20 through Sept. 17, 2021.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, authorized payments to producers for losses of livestock or poultry depopulated from March 1, 2020 through Dec. 26, 2020, due to insufficient processing access as a result of the pandemic. PLIP payments will be based on 80% of the fair market value of the livestock and poultry and for the cost of depopulation and disposal of the animal. Eligible livestock and poultry include swine, chickens and turkeys, but pork producers are expected to be the primary recipients of the assistance.… Continue reading

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USDA seeking new partnerships to restore wetlands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $17 million for conservation partners to help protect and restore critical wetlands on agricultural lands through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP). USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is prioritizing proposals that focus on assisting historically underserved producers conserving wetlands. Proposals from partners are due Aug. 15, 2021. 

Restored wetlands help to improve water quality downstream, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce impacts from flooding and provide recreational benefits.

“Our goal is to support agricultural producers in their efforts to conserve natural resources on their land, improve water quality downstream and enhance wildlife habitat,” said Lori Ziehr, State Conservationist in Ohio. “Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnerships help partners and producers work together to protect wetland ecosystems on working lands.”

Through WREP projects, eligible conservation partners protect, restore and enhance high-priority wetlands on agriculture lands. WREP enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working agricultural landscapes, providing meaningful benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program and to the communities where the wetlands exist.… Continue reading

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Basis and spread trades can boost the bottom line

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Another week of good weather for most of the Corn Belt has put downward pressure on prices. Corn prices declined each day this week and is nearly $1 per bushel lower than last week’s market high. The market seems to be trading a national average yield of 177 right now. The market will be keeping a close watch on rainfall in the Dakotas and western Minnesota over the next two weeks and be waiting for the August USDA report a month from now when national yield is usually updated.

Since the end of last year’s harvest, my entire 2020 corn crop was priced with futures along with half of my 2019 corn crop, which was priced with futures from the previous summer. I had been keeping all this in on-farm storage and was monitoring the basis market around my farm and across the U.S.… Continue reading

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Supreme Court denies request for reviewing Prop 12

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

The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not grant certiorari and review a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ on California Proposition 12. Voters approved Proposition 12, the “Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act,” in 2018. The Act establishes housing standards for egg-laying hens, breeding hogs and veal calves and prohibits the confinement of animals in spaces that don’t meet the standards. Business owners and operators in California may not sell meat or egg products from animals that are not confined according to the standards. Standards for calves (43 square feet) and egg laying hens (1 square foot) became effective in 2020 while standards for breeding pigs and their offspring (24 square feet) and cage-free provisions for egg laying hens are to be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) sought a preliminary injunction against Proposition 12 in 2019, arguing that it violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S.… Continue reading

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