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NPPC responds to McDonald’s gestation stall announcement

The decision by the McDonald’s Corp. to study its suppliers’ use of individual sow housing is an opportunity for the pork industry to respond to its customers. The National Pork Producers Council stands ready to offer its assistance to McDonald’s as it assesses sow housing.

Farmers constantly are evolving and improving their operations to adapt to market conditions. A generation ago, pork demand was sagging because the product didn’t meet consumer demands. Farmers changed their practices. Today’s pork is leaner and more nutritious than ever, and today’s farmer is committed to responsible production.

Farmers and animal care experts know that various types of housing systems can provide for the well-being of pigs. After an extensive review of scientific literature, the American Veterinary Medical Association determined that both individual sow housing and group housing can provide for the well-being of sows.

Perhaps most importantly, today’s announcement reflects the best process for meeting evolving consumer demands – through the market, not through government mandates.… Continue reading

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Should you use starter fertilizer?

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

Why is starter fertilizer becoming more important than in the past? When we plant early, the growing conditions for germination and early growth of the seedlings are very harsh. The soils are cold and wet and anything we can do to help the little seedlings will give them a head start. In addition, planting in no-till or reduced tillage ground is becoming more prevalent. For applying starter fertilizer, you may have to modify your planter. It is important to have the nutrients, especially, nitrogen available immediately after germination to the young seedlings where little roots are developing. What are benefits of starter fertilizer?

• I have seen better stand establishment where starter was used as compared to the check rows.

• Corn is more robust and healthier. The canopy formation is slightly faster and corn seedlings are ahead of the early weeds.… Continue reading

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McDonalds takes action towards ending gestation stall use

McDonald’s Corporation today announced that it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to outline their plans to phase out the use of sow gestation stalls, a move supported by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future. There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management. “McDonald’s wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our supply chain. We are beginning an assessment with our U.S. suppliers to determine how to build on the work already underway to reach that goal. In May, after receiving our suppliers’ plans, we’ll share results from the assessment and our next steps.”

“The HSUS has been a long-time advocate for ending the use of gestation crates, and McDonald’s announcement is important and promising,” said Wayne Pacelle, The HSUS’ president and CEO.

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SFP launches More Than Manure

SFP introduces More Than Manure® Nutrient Manager, referred to as MTM™, the first and only product to protect both phosphorus (P) from lock-up and nitrogen (N) from leaching, denitrification and volatilization in applied manure. MTM maximizes P and N in all manures and litters – both dry and liquid. Increasing availability of these valuable nutrients can lead to yield increases and better overall crop performance.

“Improving yield potential and grower return on investment is always our ultimate goal,” says Larry Sanders, Ph.D., SFP president and CEO. “MTM overcomes nutrient management challenges for growers using any manure as fertilizer – optimizing phosphorus and nitrogen use.”

Of the 15.8 million U.S. cropland acres fertilized with manure, varied percentage of N and P is lost during handling and storage as well as after application, leaving both nutrients unavailable for crops.

MTM has proven to successfully increase P and N availability when added to confinement lagoons or pits, or in transportation and application equipment (liquid), or when sprayed over-the-top of dry-applied litter or manure.… Continue reading

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South American seed production offers challenges, benefits

By Steve Woodall, production, Production Contract Administrator, AgReliant Genetics

Producing seed corn in South America for U.S. corn growers offers some unique benefits and challenges. AgReliant produces seed in Argentina and Chile for several reasons. Genetics and traits in the seed industry are moving ahead faster now than they ever have. Having a second production cycle each year offers the opportunity to provide our customers with a better supply of the newest products and also gives the chance to increase supply of our best products. Parent seed is also produced in South America in order to bring new products up to commercial production levels faster.

A common practice for winter production is for parent seed produced in the U.S. to be harvested, conditioned, quality tested, shipped to South America and planted in a matter of a few weeks. The parent seed traveling to South America is flown down on commercial passenger flights and regular air freight lines.… Continue reading

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Four people arrested in Mercer Co. hog thefts

It appears everyone is cashing in on higher hog prices, even thieves.

Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey said his office had received several reports in the last few weeks indicating the theft of hogs from a farm on the Ohio-Indiana state line near Fort Recovery.

An investigation determined that the two men were removing hogs from a farm in Mercer County and taking them to a site near Bryant, Indiana in Jay County. Two women were arrested at a nearby livestock company attempting to sell the stolen hogs.

The men took  more than two dozen, 130-pound animals from a barn after dark over the course of ten weeks. They apparently loaded them into the back of a Chevy S10 pickup truck equipped with a camper top and then drove them to Indiana.

On Wednesday, both Ricky Crouch and Chad Crouch were arraigned on charges of  breaking and entering and theft. Their bonds were set each at $50,000 in cash.… Continue reading

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Kasich talks agriculture in State of the State Address

During his State of the State Address on February 7, Governor John Kasich said the following in regards to agriculture.

Agriculture, it’s our base. We are on the cusp of becoming a worldwide leader of exporting animals. Whoever thought that we would be able to say that we’re exporting non-bluetongue cows to Turkey. Thank you—where is Rosenberger? I mean where did you ever come up with that and Jim Zehringer. See, we can ship this livestock all over the world. And we need to move into agribusinesses and find more markets. Let’s stop treating agriculture as a stepchild. It’s the base and foundation of our state it always has been.

 … Continue reading

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Wheat research still a priority

By Matt Reese

Private industry has taken corn and soybean breeding efforts and run with them, but the same trend

has not taken place with wheat. While private interest in wheat is on the rise, public efforts such as the wheat breeding program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster are still crucial to wheat variety improvement.

“We are seeing the USDA Agricultural Research Service dramatically cutting facilities and funding,” said Dana Peterson, with the National Association of Wheat Growers.

And, with the tight federal budgets, the funding situation does not look great for the necessary expanded continued research efforts in the future, but NAWG is speaking up for the nation’s wheat farmers about the continued importance of public wheat research in Washington, D.C.

“The message for the Hill on wheat research is that how vitally important these efforts are,” Peterson said. “It is hard for the staff people in Washington to connect the dots with this.”… Continue reading

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E-fill adds efficiency and convenience to on farm liquid fuels

By Matt Reese

No one wants to deal with the inconvenience of running out of propane in the winter months, but for some farm situations it could be disastrous.

In the case of John Waymire, who farms and operates a greenhouse, along with his son Chris, near Yellow Springs, running out of propane would have costly consequences.

“We can’t run out of propane,” he said. “If we did, we’d lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of flowers.”

Waymire is also the chairman of Trupointe Cooperative that has been using a new E-fill system to prevent any chance of such an occurrence.

“E-fill is a program we are using to monitor liquid fuel and propane tanks on farms,” Waymire said. “Trupointe can’t always tell when a tank is getting low or a farmer may run out so they tend to make more stops on a farm than is necessary. With E-fill, we are guaranteeing that a customer will never run out of liquid fuel or propane.”… Continue reading

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Ag in the Statehouse Update

By Matt Reese

Going into this week’s State of the State Address from Governor John Kasich on Tuesday, the Ohio Statehouse has been abuzz with a number of issues that directly or indirectly impact agriculture. Recommendations are being presented to the Governor regarding phosphorus and water quality and bills related to notorious puppy mills and exotic animals are being debated. In addition, a bioenergy bill and a bill that could benefit on-farm funding options have been part of the discussion in Columbus.  Beth Vanderkooi, with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, provides a brief overview of these issues heading into Tuesday’s State of the State speech. Ty Higgins has more.

Ty’s Wrap 2.7.12Continue reading

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OFBF grants distributed

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation continues to develop programs helping smaller, community-based groups and has awarded a series of Agricultural Action and Awareness Grants forthe 2012 program year.

The competitively awarded grants support programs and projects focusing on agricultural education and ecological and/or economic development. This year’s grant recipients and projects:
·        Clintonville Farmer’s Market, Connecting Farmers and Emerging Market Customer Population, $2,000; 
·        Community Food Initiatives, Dig in for Health, $2,500; 
·        Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, Conservation From the Ground Up: From Soil to a Healthy Ecosystem, $2,266; 
·        Fairfield Soil and Conservation District, Soil Testing for Fields Receiving Municipal Biosolids and Digester Biosolids, $700; 
·        Ohio State University Scarlet & Gray Ag Day Committee, Agriculture: Superheroes in Our Fields, $3,000; 
·        Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District, Kids Farm Safety Day, $1,100; 
·        Ohio State University Ag Safety and Health, Farm Safety Round Up, $3,000; 
·        Preble County Farm Bureau, Preble County Grow It Know It Expansion Grant, $3,000; 
·        Rural Action, Developing a Local Food, Regional Distribution System, $3,000; 
·        Seneca Soil and Water Conservation District, Agriculture Technology for Youth by Soil and Water, $3,000; 
·        Southeastern Correctional Institution, The Green Zone Community Garden, $2,966; 
·        Stratford Ecological Center, Stratford’s Children’s Program, $3,000.Continue reading

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Ohio State anaerobic digestion technology being commercialized

Cleveland-based quasar energy group has broken ground on its first integrated anaerobic digestion system, a patent-pending technology developed by the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) to increase the types of waste that can be converted to biogas for energy and fuel uses.

The integrated system, known as iADs, is currently under construction next to quasar’s Zanesville, Ohio, biodigester — which annually processes close to 30,000 tons of agricultural and food waste and can produce 7,800 megawatt-hours of electricity. The company operates additional biodigesters in Ohio and Massachusetts, including its flagship facility on OARDC’s Wooster campus.

The novel system is called “integrated” because it adds a solid-state or “dry” biodigester to quasar’s current liquid biodigester, allowing for the production of additional biogas from a number of organic materials with high solids content (such as yard trimmings, crop residue, corn silage and lignocellulosic food waste) that are not suitable to existing anaerobic digestion systems.… Continue reading

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Why early planting usually pays

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

It has been proven by many tests conducted by the universities and seed companies over the years that earlier planted corn typically yields more than the later plantings. It has been demonstrated that in the central Corn Belt, you can lose about one bushel per acre per day if you plant corn after May 10th. However, they seldom explain why. The reasons are as follows:

North of the equator, June 21st is the longest day of the year. Plants can trap most sun light during May 21st to July 20th period. Earlier planted corn has more time to capture solar radiation. That’s the main reason for higher yield potential.

Is heat more important than light for yield and maturity? You can’t grow crops without either heat or light. Fortunately, both come from the sun. Heat provides the energy and light is required for photosynthesis, a process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, starches and proteins.… Continue reading

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New Ohio AgrAbility resources

Farmers, growers and any agriculture workers dealing with a disabling condition can find tips on how to cope with their condition while continuing to farm thanks to 15 new fact sheets from the Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio AgrAbility Program.

The fact sheets are designed to provide useful information and resources to any farmer or agricultural worker who has a disability, injury or illness, said Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility program coordinator.

“Much of the focus of this series of fact sheets is on helping farmers prevent injuries, including secondary injury, and how to manage serious conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson’s disease while being able to continue daily farm activities,” he said.

The fact sheets also seek to provide farmers with tips on how to use assistive technology to be able to remain productive on their farms and can be useful to any grower or producer, McGuire said.

“They provide useful information on health and various strategies that can be used to help with a particular issue in farming,” he said.… Continue reading

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ASA advocates for infrastructure improvements

As the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee moves to mark up the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012 (H.R. 7) released by Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.), American Soybean Association President Steve Wellman underscored multiple high points within the bill’s initial language:

“ASA applauds Chairman Mica’s proposal, which included multiple soybean farmer priorities, including the renewal of an agricultural harvest time exemption from the hours-of-service rules that limit the number of hours truck drivers may operate, as well as the chairman’s proposed inclusion of provisions enabling states to allow increased truck weight limits if an additional axle is used. ASA is disappointed with efforts during the mark-up to block the provisions to allow increased truck weight limits.

“ASA is also particularly encouraged that the proposed bill includes stated support for the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act, which will ensure sufficient funding for dredging of inland waterways and port maintenance activities.… Continue reading

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With Super Bowl party, food safety worth more than two points

As both the New England Patriots and New York Giants know, you win with defense. When it comes to planning a Super Bowl XLVI party, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants football fans to know how to play defense against potential foodborne illness.

“Great food, large groups of friends and cheering on your team are what make Super Bowl parties so much fun,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. “We want to give hosts a few easy tactics to reduce the chances that their guests will develop foodborne illness amidst all the excitement at their Super Bowl parties.”

 

First Down: Clean

Clean hands and surfaces with soap and water to avoid a “false start” before preparing food. Unclean hands are one of the biggest culprits for spreading bacteria, and finger foods at parties are especially vulnerable. Chefs and guests should wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.… Continue reading

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OFU adopts 2012 policy

In their recent 2012 public policy discussion, members of the Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) approved language on a number of pertinent topics for this year.

Included in the discussion was the support of a limited moratorium on the issuance of permits by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for new instances of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the state. The OFU supported moratorium differs from those supported by some Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly and by some Ohio environmental groups in that it is tied to a preliminary U.S. EPA report due on fracking later this year – rather than the final study results due in 2014.

U.S. EPA is currently studying what, if any, effects fracking has on ground and surface water, according to Ron Sylvester, OFU’s director of external relations. He said that OFU members from the eastern and northeastern areas of Ohio are being inundated with information, both pro and con, about the gas industry and the effects of fracking in places like Pennsylvania.… Continue reading

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