Featured News



Environmental lawsuits could make a difference in 2012

The National Corn Growers Association is currently involved in two major pieces of environmental litigation that will likely be decided in federal court in 2012. This could have major implications for future environmental regulations.

Earlier this year, NCGA joined with the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s Total Maximum Daily Load for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay. The farm groups stated the Chesapeake Bay TMDL goes beyond the scope of Clean Water Act authority, that the science used by the Agency is flawed and that the regulatory process lacked transparency. The case has been filed in a federal court in Pennsylvania.

The outcome of this lawsuit could establish significant precedent for future water quality regulations throughout the country. Many corn growers are concerned that the Chesapeake Bay TMDL could be used as a blueprint for addressing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff in the Mississippi River Basin and other watersheds.… Continue reading

Read More »

International Program Internship Announced

The Office of Export Assistance of The Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) is seeking an International Program Intern to work closely with the Global Agricultural Program Manager. The intern will promote and recruit companies to participate in event-based programs through the Food Export Association-Midwest.

The intern may be an undergraduate student, recent graduate (six months or less) or graduate student who wants a challenging internship to prepare them for a full-time position in international business and marketing. The duration of this internship will be full-time or part-time from January 2012 to September 2012. The scheduled hours will be flexible according to school calendar.

This is a paid internship with an hourly range of $10-$13 based on year in school and experience. The successful candidate will be paid under contract by Food Export Association, however, will report to and be supervised by the Ohio Department of Development.

Duties
 Coordinate with ODOD staff to organize Food Export Association export seminars, buyers missions, and
other events for Ohio companies
 Develop communication tools for recruiting (i.e.… Continue reading

Read More »

Little earthworms offer big benefits for soils

By Dave Nanda, 
Director of Genetics & Technology for 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

Why are earthworms important to our soils and crops? Read below:

1. There are more than 3,000 species of earthworms. They are Nature’s recyclers.

2. Earthworms breakdown organic matter like dead plants and decaying animals and create valuable nutrients necessary for rich and fertile soils.

3. There are three types of worms: surface worms that feed on dead tissue, sub-surface types which feed below the top layers of soil and make horizontal tunnels and night crawlers that work deeper in vertical tunnels.

4. Earthworms have five hearts & may be an inch to more than 20 feet long. Good soils may have more than a million worms per acre.

5. They have both male and female organs but they copulate in pairs and hatch cocoons that are smaller than a grain of rice.

6. They don’t have any teeth but grind the organic matter with soil particles they swallow.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA hog report

Ohio hog producers had 2,130,000 hogs on hand December 1, 2011, which was up 4% from a year earlier, and up slightly from last quarter. The number of market hogs, at 1,960,000 head, was up 5% from last year and up 1% from last quarter. Breeding stock, at 170,000 head, was the same as last year and last quarter.
The September-November pig crop numbered 892,000 head, which was up 5% from last year and up 4% from last quarter. The number of sows farrowed during the September-November 2011 quarter, at 91,000, was 2,000 head above last quarter and 1,000 head above last year. Pigs saved per litter during the September-November 2011 quarter averaged 9.8 and was up 4 percent from the same period last year and up 2 percent from last quarter.
Ohio producers intend to farrow 88,000 sows during the December-February 2012 quarter; down 1% from a year earlier. Farrowing intentions for the spring quarter, March-May 2012, is 89,000; down 2 percent from the same quarter of 2011.… Continue reading

Read More »

OCMP officers announced

The Ohio Corn Marketing Program (OCMP) has announced new officers for 2012 who will collectively represent and promote the industry success of Buckeye State corn and work on behalf of the state’s corn growers.

2012 OCMP Officers:

•    Chairman Paul Herringshaw — Bowling Green
•    Vice Chairman Mark Schwiebert — Hamler
•    Secretary Brian Harbage — South Charleston
•    Treasurer Les Imboden — Ashville

“I’m confident that our new officers will help develop and expand markets for corn to financially safeguard Ohio’s corn producers,” said OCMP Interim Executive Director Tadd Nicholson.

The new officers are responsible for monitoring and taking action regarding issues about the education, transportation, risk-management and industrial demand of the sector.… Continue reading

Read More »

ASA pushes for biodisel tax credit extension

As the end of the year approaches and acrimony among Congress increases, it is unlikely that Congress will address a tax extenders package or the biodiesel tax credit before both expire on December 31. Congress appears to be at an impasse over legislation to extend the payroll tax break, and no action is likely on extensions of other tax incentives.

There is still the possibility that Congress, as it has done in the past, could enact a retroactive tax extenders package next year. The biodiesel tax credit lapsed in 2010, resulting in a significant drop in production, job losses and some plant closings. Eventually, it was extended retroactively for 2010 and through 2011.

Leaders in both parties have indicated a desire to consider a tax extenders package early in 2012. Another positive sign is that a draft package of tax extenders, recently circulated by Senate leaders, includes the biodiesel incentive.  For this reason, the American Soybean Association (ASA) will continue to urge Congress to come together on a bi-partisan basis to extend the biodiesel tax credit early next year.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio State researching ash tree resistance to EAB

The native North American ash tree’s future rests in the ability of researchers to create a new variety with the right genetic traits to withstand its greatest nemesis: the emerald ash borer (EAB).

Scientists with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) have received a three-year, $1.4 million grant to continue their groundbreaking work toward the development of a tree that can be used for preservation of ash in natural and urban forests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) provided the funds.

An accidental import from Asia, EAB is an invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the eastern U.S., the Midwest and Canada. It is so devastating that virtually all ash trees within 31 miles of the initial EAB infestation in southeastern Michigan are now dead. And the tiny beetle is predicted to cause an unprecedented $10-$20 billion in losses to urban forests over the next decade.… Continue reading

Read More »

Questions remain over LightSquared Spectrum usage

Over the past year, the National Corn Growers Association has monitored issues surrounding the wireless broadband company LightSquared. While the Federal Communications Commission considers approval of LightSquared’s proposed terrestrial based broadband network, NCGA remains concerned about the effects it would have on precision farming. GPS technology has become an important tool for farmers as they improve their efficiency in seed, fertilizer and fuel usage.

“Strong and speedy Internet access is important to our growers, so NCGA supports the expansion of broadband in rural America,” said Ethan Mathews, manager of Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs for NCGA said. “However it must not come at the expense of high-precision GPS.”

Although LightSquared states that solutions to the interference problem have been developed by several independent companies, the company has yet to provide access to either the test results or the devices. Further, the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration are continuing their evaluation of the GPS interference issue.… Continue reading

Read More »

USGC follows up on new FTAs

An elite U.S. Grains Council delegation met with key officials in Panama and Colombia since U.S. passage of the Colombia and Panama free trade agreements (FTA).

USGC Chairman Wendell Shauman, National Corn Growers Association Chairman Bart Schott, were accompanied by Council staff, Floyd Gaibler, director of trade policy, Chris Corry, director of international operations, and Kirk Schultz, regional director in Latin America. The team explored the outlook for FTA implementation with government officials in both countries, with private sector grain customers, and with U.S. ambassadors and USDA staff.

“The Council has been committed to regaining unfettered access to markets in both Panama and Colombia,” Shauman said. “The FTA will go far toward reversing trade flow of South American corn and soybeans moving into the Caribbean Basin.”

The group’s purpose was to see how far Panama and Columbia have gone on implementing the FTAs.

“In Colombia, we met with a couple of big conglomerates, and they are very excited about the new FTA.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio's Crop Progress Report – December 19th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY DECEMBER 18th 2011

The average temperature for the State was 38.9 degrees, 6.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 18, 2011. There were 8 modified growing degree days, 5 days above normal. Reporters rated 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 16, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 83 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

It was cold enough in the northern part of the state for the ground to freeze and for farmers to finish harvesting. However, it was still too wet in most parts of the state, and ten percent still remained unharvested. Pasture and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate due to the cool, wet conditions. As of Sunday December 18th, corn harvested for grain was 90 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and the five-year average.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio’s Crop Progress Report – December 19th

OHIO CROP WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

WEEK ENDING SUNDAY DECEMBER 18th 2011

The average temperature for the State was 38.9 degrees, 6.6 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, December 18, 2011. There were 8 modified growing degree days, 5 days above normal. Reporters rated 2.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, December 16, 2011. Topsoil moisture was rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 17 percent adequate, and 83 percent surplus.

FIELD ACTIVITIES AND CROP PROGRESS

It was cold enough in the northern part of the state for the ground to freeze and for farmers to finish harvesting. However, it was still too wet in most parts of the state, and ten percent still remained unharvested. Pasture and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate due to the cool, wet conditions. As of Sunday December 18th, corn harvested for grain was 90 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and the five-year average.… Continue reading

Read More »

Shale may boost economy less than thought

A recent industry-funded study estimating that development of shale natural gas and oil could create or support 200,000 jobs in Ohio greatly overestimates the economic impact of the industry, according to a new Ohio State University analysis. Furthermore, the researchers say, focusing on jobs rather than other factors related to the growing industry is misguided.

The analysis, written by doctoral student Amanda Weinstein and Mark Partridge, Swank Chair of Rural-Urban Policy in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, is available online at http://go.osu.edu/shalejobs.

Partridge and Weinstein wrote “The Economic Value of Shale Natural Gas in Ohio” in response to various industry studies, such as the Kleinhenz and Associates study prepared for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, which was released in September. The Ohio State researchers’ analysis suggests that the state could expect a net gain of about 20,000 jobs over the next four years from shale gas development, just one-tenth of what the Kleinhenz study suggested.… Continue reading

Read More »

Communicating positive messages about food more important than ever

By Matt Reese

Lisa O’Brien, United Soybean Board executive director, talked about the importance of communicating positive agricultural messages to consumers at the recent Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium.

“We want to turn the war on agriculture into a conversation. We need to engage consumers in conversations about food,” she said. “It is not what you say, it is what they hear. When you say ‘safe,’ they hear ‘we don’t know if pesticides antibiotics or hormones are safe in the long term.’ When you say, ‘affordable,’ they hear ‘at what expense to quality.’ Abundant – that is part of America’s health problem. Because of this, a lot of the old arguments fail. We need to open the door for conversations and acknowledge that there is always room for improvement.”

While they are wary of agricultural practices and terminology, consumers have a very positive feeing about farmers.

“Audiences are very favorable toward individual farmers or ranchers.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association sets annual meeting and banquet date

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association’s (OCA) Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet are set for Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, at the Marriott Columbus Northwest in Columbus. All OCA members are encouraged to attend the day’s events which include policy development sessions, an update on OCA events and programs and OCA’s annual awards banquet.

OCA’s annual meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and will feature Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Various OCA committee chairmen will report to the membership, and the association’s policy development session will happen at this meeting.

Following a hospitality hour at 5 p.m., the OCA Awards Banquet will start at 6 p.m. This event will recognize the best and brightest of Ohio’s beef industry and is sponsored by DeKalb and Asgrow. Awards include: Outstanding County Affiliates, Young Cattleman of the Year, Industry Service Award, Industry Excellence Award, Seedstock Producer of the Year, Commercial Producer of the Year and scholarship presentations.… Continue reading

Read More »

USDA Introduces new tools for GAP certification

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, along with leaders from food and agriculture organizations, introduced a free online tool to help U.S. producers of all sizes achieve Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) harmonized standards and certification, helping to further expand economic opportunities for American agriculture.

USDA’s GAP audit verification program focuses on best agricultural practices to verify that farms are producing, and packers are handling and storing, fruits and vegetables in the safest manner possible to minimize food safety hazards. The free online tool — developed by FamilyFarmed.org with funding from USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) — helps farmers design a customized manual to meet GAP harmonized standards and certification requirements, including USDA GAP standards, and mitigate business risks by answering just a few questions.

“USDA believes that a strong farm safety net — including effective, market-based risk solutions for producers of all variety and size — is crucial to sustain the vitality of American agriculture,” Merrigan said.… Continue reading

Read More »

Winter farm markets on the rise

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that the number of winter farmers markets is increasing. According to the updated National Farmers Market Directory, since 2010, the number of winter markets has increased 38%, from 886 to 1,225. These winter markets also account for nearly 17% of the nation’s 7,222 operating farmers markets.

“Consumers are looking for more ways to buy locally grown food throughout the year,” Merrigan said. “Through winter markets, American farmers are able to meet this need and bring in additional income to support their families and businesses.”

Farmers markets operating at least once between November and March are considered winter farmers markets. The top 10 states for these markets are:

State                                     # of Winter Markets in 2011     # of Winter Markets in 2010

1. New York                                                 180                                                 152

2. California                                                 153                                                 137

3. Pennsylvania                                           78                                                   35

4. North Carolina                                        73                                                   53

5. Ohio                                                           50                                                   34

6. Maryland                                                  48                                                   30

7.… Continue reading

Read More »

Study confirms beef's role in healthy diet

In a first of its kind study, researchers at The Pennsylvania State University demonstrated that eating beef everyday as part of a heart-healthy diet can improve cholesterol  levels. Texas medical doctor and cattleman Richard Thorpe said the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study proves what he has known for years – lean beef not only tastes great but it also plays an important role in a heart-healthy diet.

“As a father, medical doctor and beef producer, I have proudly and confidently served my family beef and have recommended it to my patients for years,” Thorpe said on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “The BOLD study is further proof that Americans should feel good knowing the beef they enjoy eating and serving their loved ones is not only a nutrient-rich, satisfying food that provides 10 essential nutrients in about 150 calories but is good for their heart health as well.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Study confirms beef’s role in healthy diet

In a first of its kind study, researchers at The Pennsylvania State University demonstrated that eating beef everyday as part of a heart-healthy diet can improve cholesterol  levels. Texas medical doctor and cattleman Richard Thorpe said the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study proves what he has known for years – lean beef not only tastes great but it also plays an important role in a heart-healthy diet.

“As a father, medical doctor and beef producer, I have proudly and confidently served my family beef and have recommended it to my patients for years,” Thorpe said on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “The BOLD study is further proof that Americans should feel good knowing the beef they enjoy eating and serving their loved ones is not only a nutrient-rich, satisfying food that provides 10 essential nutrients in about 150 calories but is good for their heart health as well.”… Continue reading

Read More »

CIFT working to bring Ag Research Service patents to Ohio

The Center for Innovative Food Technology, based in Toldeo, aims to bridge the gap between researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture and commercial business.

On Thursday, CIFT held an event announcing a partnership with Bowling Green University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership to present Ohio businesses with patents from the USDA Agricultural Research Service that have the opportunity to be commercialized. Most of the patents are for direct agricultural use or add value to an agricultural product.

Graduate students from the center presented to the group the patents’ market opportunities.

Patents presented at the meeting include:

Biopolymer Thickener: A thickening agent that when added to a milk product creates desired thickness. Main target would be the elderly segment.

Soil Strength Measurement Tool: Sensor that attaches to tillage tool and connects to GPS to allow continuous on-the-fly measurement of soil strength in the top 18 inches. Allows for the creation of soil compaction maps and adjust tillage depths.… Continue reading

Read More »

Black Swamp Conservancy protects 600-acre farm

The Black Swamp Conservancy, along with the U.S. and Ohio departments of agriculture, has entered into a permanent farmland preservation agreement with a Sandusky County family. The agreement covers a 604-acre farm, the Conservancy’s largest protected property to date.

The farm is owned by Washusky Farms LTD and managed by a brother and sister, Ron and Judy Mauch, owners of Washusky Farms. The family includes parents Chester and Betty Mauch, who had already protected two parcels, covering 230 acres, with permanent farmland preservation agreements with Black Swamp Conservancy. The family is working with the Conservancy to protect another 349 acres of agricultural land.

Located west of Fremont, the 604-acre farm is part of a 4,000-acre family farming operation. The portion recently protected is significant to the Mauch family because it includes the original 80-acre farm purchased by Chester Mauch’s father in 1915. Originally a small dairy operation, today the farm produces corn, soybeans, wheat, tomatoes and sugar beets.… Continue reading

Read More »