Featured News

Cooper Farms celebrates history, emphasizes animal care

By Matt Reese

In 1938, Cooper Farms started with 300 turkeys in Oakwood, Ohio when Virgil Cooper took over the farm after his mother’s passing. By 1948, a hatchery had been built where the Cooper Farms Corporate Office now resides. Over 85 years, Cooper Farms has evolved into a diversified, vertically integrated turkey, hog and egg company that has stood the test of time in an ever-changing industry. 

Cooper Farms prides itself on forming lasting customer relationships and producing high quality meat and egg products for private label retail and foodservice companies.  

“Our company was founded on a handshake mentality, with a focus on doing the right thing all the time,” said Jim Cooper, CEO. “It’s humbling to see the growth of Cooper Farms and all that we’ve accomplished, with the help of great partners, leaders and team members. I am pleased to see these next generations, both Cooper family and team members, stepping up to leadership roles and seeing us through these next phases of growth.” … Continue reading

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Can I start grazing?

By Victor Shelton, retired NRCS agronomist/grazing specialist

I have already heard the question, “When can we start grazing?” That question came up a bit earlier this year than normal because we had enough warm days in between the cold ones to provide the energy to really see some early green up.

I’ve seen a lot of livestock already out grazing fields. That is OK if they are still grazing stockpiled forages left from last year’s growth, but if they are consuming only new growth and chasing after each new green blade of grass like a chicken after a bug, then you’re usually doing more harm than good.

Fields that were grazed hard last fall, especially prior to dormancy, and fields that were grazed early this year because the cows needed someplace to go, could absolutely use a longer deferment prior to grazing again this spring. Those fields will need to first try to grow or regrow their new solar panel off the reserves that are left, and then spend valuable time rebuilding roots and root reserves before allocating energy and resources on growing forage.… Continue reading

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Meeting the fertilizer need with Mosaic

Ross Bender is director of new product development at The Mosaic Company. Mosaic is a leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients, two essential components for global agriculture. He provides insights into the current state of the company’s offerings and steps they’re taking to meet the increasing demand for sustainable crop nutrients.… Continue reading

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Egg farms fighting hunger heading into Easter

By Matt Reese

As I child I did not necessarily look forward to getting up early for sunrise Easter service at our small United Methodist church in northwest Ohio, but I did always look forward to several aspects of the event. These things included beautiful Easter hymns (often played by my mother on the piano), the most important message of the year and the delicious potluck breakfast/brunch between the sunrise service and regular service on Easter Sunday. Those Methodist ladies knew how to cook! I’d go through the line once to get a little bit of everything and then make a second pass to re-sample my favorites. 

Food plays an important role in our culture and is often a staple of many of the events we look forward to with family and friends each year. Many families around Ohio, though, do not enjoy such luxury because they face food insecurity issues.… Continue reading

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MAP and FMD a priority for the farm bill

By Dusty Sonnenberg and Matt Reese

The upcoming farm bill was also a top priority of those gathered at Commodity Classic. Of course, a viable and effective safety net including support for crop insurance, is a priority for corn, soybean and wheat growers. Trade support within the farm bill was another area of emphasis at Commodity Classic, said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat.

“In the farm bill, the only thing that really has to do with trade is a pot of money called the Foreign Market Development Fund (FMD) and the Market Access Program (MAP). This is a priority because it would help expand trade worldwide for not just corn, but for everything, including meat and dairy. The issue is that this the pot of money is not sufficient. It has dwindled because of many things, with inflation being one of the major drivers. There are just fewer dollars available to do actual trade facilitation programs.… Continue reading

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Eminent domain reform started then stalled

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

An eminent domain revisions bill appears to be on hold after its removal from the committee agenda that would have provided the bill a third hearing. House Bill 64 was introduced by sponsors Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) and Rep. Rodney Creech (R-W. Alexandria) on February 21. The bill had two hearings before the House Civil Justice Committee on March 7 and 14, but was removed from the committee’s March 21 meeting agenda. 

House Bill 64 proposes quite a few major changes to Ohio eminent domain law:

  • Voids an appropriation of property if the agency does not follow statutory procedures for the appropriation, such as procedures for appraisal of value, good faith offers of compensation, and negotiation with the landowner. Under the proposal, a landowner could bring a claim against the agency for violating any of these procedures and the appropriation would be invalid.
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Farmers seeking reform to milk pricing

The American Farm Bureau Federation told USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that requests to increase make allowances — which are used in part to calculate how much a processor pays for milk — fall short of fairly supporting dairy farmers.

According to 2021 USDA milk cost of production estimates, dairy farmers on average, lose $6.72 per hundredweight of milk produced. The loss for dairy farms with less than 50 cows was even greater at $21.58 per hundredweight.

Two dairy processor associations requested a federal milk marketing order hearing to increase make allowances. While AFBF is not opposed to updating make allowances, the proposals to USDA do not address the wider need for changes to milk pricing regulations. For example, the requests call for the continued use of voluntary data to set make allowances. In a letter to Secretary Vilsack, AFBF President Zippy Duvall argued for mandatory reporting. The letter states, “Large efficient processors may decline to participate [if data is voluntarily collected], which would skew the cost survey results upward.… Continue reading

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Infrastructure impacts on soybeans

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

Infrastructure and connectivity are important aspects in today’s high tech production agriculture world. They are also things that the United Soybean Board has listed as a major issue and priority areas according to Meagan Kaiser. Kaiser serves as Chairwoman of the United Soybean Board (USB).

“It is important to make better data driven decisions. With the high inputs and prices, it is important when considering sustainability to continue to be the most efficient producers possible. This includes overlaying soil test data, harvest data, variety maps, in season applications, and evaluating from those what received the best returns,” Kaiser said. “Data driven decisions on the farm lead to better sustainability.”

In rural America, infrastructure extends far beyond roads and rails and rivers, to also includes digital technology and connectivity.

“As farmers we are now talking about repeaters on our grain bins, and how we are meshing between cellular and WiFi and where other repeaters may be needed for coverage because of how spread out the farming operations are.… Continue reading

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Xylazine classified as a Schedule III controlled substance

In March, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order directing the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy to immediately classify xylazine as a Schedule III controlled substance. The move makes Ohio one of the first states in the nation to schedule xylazine as a controlled substance drug.

Xylazine is a widely used sedative in veterinary medicine, particularly with cattle. It has been increasingly discovered in combination with illicit drug use in Ohio. Prior to the governor’s executive order, Ohio Farm Bureau, along with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and Ohio Dairy Producers Association worked with the DeWine administration on the situation. In addition, Farm Bureau has also been working with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association to help the Food and Drug Administration and Congress find pathways to reduce the illicit use of xylazine while also ensuring accessibility in veterinary medicine.

With the new order, veterinary practices must obtain an Ohio Board of Pharmacy Category 3 Terminal Distributor of Dangerous Drugs license by June 30, 2023. … Continue reading

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Warmer weather ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

April is forecast to be warmer than normal with some typical swings. Those swings will still bring periods of windy weather for the first half of April. Normal high temperatures are now 55 northeast Ohio to 60 southwest Ohio. Expect above normal temperatures this week with the first half of the week in the 60s and 70s for highs followed by a cool down later in the week with highs in 50s to near 60. 

There will be another sharp cool down the first half of next week but then there is expected to be a big surge of warmer weather starting about next Thursday for a solid week which could push high temperatures into the 60s and 70s north to 70s to near 80 south. This should allow some field work to begin in full swing for mid-month. By the end of the month temperatures will settle back to about normal.… Continue reading

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Planting intentions surveys compared to final report trends

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

The USDA released their stocks report Friday and confirmed what was already suspected, there is less corn in storage now compared to last year. This should mean downside in old crop corn prices is limited and US corn exports will be watched closely over the next three months.

Planting intentions surveys vs. final report trends

The USDA also released the producers planting intentions survey. It is important to keep in mind that this survey was conducted four weeks ago when prices were much higher for both corn and beans. Plus, the unpredictability of weather during planting can have a big impact in the number of acres actually planted.

Over the last 10 years, corn and bean acres were reduced in six years and increased in four years between the March planting intentions survey and the final planting report. In the years acres were reduced, two million fewer corn and bean acres each were planted on average. In… Continue reading

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OSU Extension seeks next Assistant Director for Agriculture and Natural Resources

Ohio State University Extension is seeking applicants for our next Assistant Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Assistant Director is responsible for the leadership of Ohio State University Extension’s Agriculture and Natural Resources program area. This includes overall direction of educational programming within and across Ohio’s 88 counties. The summary of duties is listed below and a complete listing of the position description can be found at https://osu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/OSUCareers/job/Columbus-Campus/Assistant-Director–Extension-Agriculture-and-Natural-Resources–Associate-or-Full-Professor_R74003.

The Assistant Director reports to the Director of OSU Extension and serves as a member of OSU Extension’s Administrative Cabinet. Specifically, the Assistant Director provides leadership and direction for Agriculture and Natural Resources programming with emphasis on program and curriculum development; applied research; identifying potential collaboration and partnerships with universities, colleges, departments, peer agencies and industry partners; securing funding to support related activities; administrative leadership for the state Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources  office; and professional development of faculty and staff.

Education Required:  an earned Master’s Degree required, Ph.D.… Continue reading

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Good weather, plenty to see, but plenty of work too at Commodity Classic

By Matt Reese

I cannot deny the weather was pleasant in Orlando for Commodity Classic, but that does not mean I’d want to live there. My Uber driver Patrick took me from the hotel to an industry event at Downtown Disney. On the way, we discussed the beautiful weather, which Patrick was sure to highlight.

“The Florida weather is nice in March, but I sure wouldn’t want to live here in the heat of the summer,” I replied and Patrick agreed that the heat and humidity were tough to take. 

“Plus,” I said, “We don’t have giant snakes, insects and alligators in Ohio trying to eat us, so I am perfectly content there.”

With this statement Patrick explained to me with great zeal the tale of an elderly women walking her little dog that had been eaten by a Florida alligator just the previous week. 

“Wait…the alligator ate the woman or the dog?”… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 295 | AgriPOWER: Creating Ohio Ag Leaders

On this week’s podcast Dusty and Matt sit down to talk to Katie Share. Katie works for the Ohio Ag Net, Ohio Country Journal, and Ohio Farm Bureau as a business administrator. Recently, she graduated from the AgriPOWER Institute through Ohio Farm Bureau. This program is designed for agriculture professionals and farmers to learn about public policy and develop their leadership skills to become devoted leaders in the agriculture industry.    

Joel then visits with Cindy Layman of Hardin County. Cindy is involved in Layman Farms, the Ohio Soybean Council board, and the Clean Fuel Alliance Association Board. She talks about biofuels and the development of them over the years. Lastly, Scott Higgins CEO of the American Dairy Association Mideast stops in to talk with Joel at the Spring Dairy Expo. He talks about the progression of the dairy industry and how it has stayed at the forefront of consumers top choices. All this and more on this week’s Podcast!… Continue reading

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USDA to aid distressed farmers facing financial risk

By Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

Beginning in April, USDA will provide approximately $123 million in additional, automatic financial assistance for qualifying farm loan program borrowers who are facing financial risk. Funding is through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and builds on the same program announced in October 2022.

Like the program announced in October 2022, qualifying borrowers will receive an individual letter detailing the assistance as payments are made. Distressed borrowers’ eligibility for these new categories of automatic payments will be determined based on their present circumstances. More information about the new categories that make up the $123 million in assistance and the specific amount of assistance a distressed borrower receives can be found in this fact sheet, IRA Section 22006: Additional Automatic Payments, Improved Procedures, and Policy Recommendations.

USDA will provide information and training to program participants about the potential tax consequences of the funding program. … Continue reading

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Spring hayfield scouting

By Allen Gahler, Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sandusky County and Jason Hartschuh, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock Field Specialist, Ohio State University Extension

While things are muddy with hints of green in northern Ohio, we are hearing from colleagues in central and southern Ohio that spring is definitely here and bringing things to life, including pasture grasses and hayfields. After green-up happens in your part of the world, it’s the ideal time to be scouting hayfields and pastures for winter damage, legume crown health, heaving of the root systems, and pesky winter annual weeds. Over the next few weeks, it may be necessary to re-scout fields as they receive additional frost freeze events and ponding rain fall.  

Depending on where you are located and what type of forage fields you have, winter damage may be one of the most significant reasons to be scouting for now. In northern Ohio, where we do not have a lot of grass hayfields or pastures, but alfalfa fields are plentiful.… Continue reading

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Soggy fields to start 2023 Ohio Crop Weather reports

Gusty winds and rainy days kept early-season fieldwork to a minimum last week, according to USDA NASS, Great Lakes Regional Office. Topsoil moisture conditions were rated 2 percent short, 43 percent adequate, and 55 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on April 2 was 43.6 degrees, 2.7 degrees below normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 0.89 inches of precipitation, 0.07 inches above average. Heavy rain drenched fields in northwestern counties as well as in the southernmost quarter of the State. Reporters in northwestern counties noted that last week’s winds resulted in damage to some buildings and tree canopies. There were 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 2.

Oats were 3 percent planted and 2 percent emerged, consistent with crop development last year at this time. Winter wheat was 2 percent jointed and winter wheat condition was rated 59 percent good to excellent. Reporters described greening and growth in alfalfa and hay fields, supported by this spring’s relatively mild temperatures.… Continue reading

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