Featured News

Will December corn futures go to $4 or $8 (or somewhere in between)?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC 

This is the million-dollar question everyone wants to know. Unfortunately, no one knows the answer because the biggest driver of corn prices will be July weather and rainfall. Since no one can predict the weather accurately beyond two weeks, it is impossible to predict future prices for this fall.

For example, the following chart compares the current December corn market with the December contracts from 2012 and 2013. So far through April, prices have been pretty comparable for all three years.

For 2012 and 2013 this price consistency continued through mid-June. However, in late June there are dramatic differences. In 2012, dry weather forecasts started and continued into July throughout most of the growing areas. Conversely, in 2013 timely rainfalls in July led to mostly trendline yields throughout the Corn Belt.

Moving forward prices for 2023 could follow either 2012 or 2013 depending on several unknown factors:

For a repeat of 2013:

• The majority of crops need to be planted on time.… Continue reading

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Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program seeks election to board for three districts

Pursuant to Section 924.07 of the Ohio Revised Code, Brian Baldridge, Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture, will conduct an election of the Ohio Small Grains

Marketing Program Board in July 2023.

The Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program is designed to increase the opportunities for small grains producers. The purpose of this program is to provide funds to permit small grains producers to develop, implement, and participate in market development and promotion, research and educational programs.

The election to the Board will include these three districts:

District 1: Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Williams

District 2: Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood counties

District 8: Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Greene, Hamilton, Miami,

Montgomery, Preble, Warren counties

The Nomination Procedure is as follows

• Nominating petitions may be obtained from Brian Baldridge, Director Ohio Department of Agriculture, Legal Section, 8995 E Main Street Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068-3399

Telephone 1-800-282-1955 or 614-728-6390

• Petitions require at least twenty-five (25) valid signatures from small grains

producers who reside within the district in which the candidate seeks election.… Continue reading

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Kennedy promoted to senior organization director

Nick Kennedy of North Canton has been promoted to senior organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau. He will continue to serve members in Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage and Stark counties, and adds the role of lead organization director in the North Royalton office to his duties.

Kennedy is a native of Wauseon, Ohio where he worked on the family dairy and crop farm. An alumni of Wauseon FFA, he was a member of Fulton County 4-H and Fulton County Jr. Fair Board as well.

Kennedy has been with Ohio Farm Bureau for 20 years, beginning his career after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in 2004. While at Ohio State, he was a member and past president of the Collegiate 4-H Club and a member of the student council for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Professionally, Kennedy was a member of the 26th class of Leadership Stark County and received the Stark County Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award in 2020.… Continue reading

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Boosting corn yields in 2023

By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics, Seed Genetics Direct

Dave Nanda

Corn yields have been steadily rising every year. Can we continue boosting yields further? Yes, but to keep things in focus, use the ideas below to help boost corn yields in 2023

  1. 1. Set a realistic yield goal, but challenge yourself. Consider aiming to increase your yield by at least 10 bushels per acre more than the best yield you ever had. 
  2. Plant consistent performers. Don’t go whole hog on a hybrid you only hear about or see only once during the summer. Base hybrid selection on research and test data from multiple-years and multiple-locations in your area.
  3. Fine-tune your planter. There are excellent technologies available like precision planting for uniformemergence, depth control, uniform seed spacing and moisture sensors. However, you don’t need to be on the leading edge of technologies as long as you get each unit checked. 
  4. Apply nutrients to meet your goal.
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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 299 | How Ohio FFA Prepares Students for Life

On this week’s podcast Dusty and Matt sit down with Morgan Anderson, current Ohio Country Journal FFA Reporter. Morgan is a past Ohio FFA State Vice President and a current broadcast journalism student at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She talks about her experiences during FFA, and how this organization set her up to exceed in life after high school. 

Also, Dale talks with Wade Thorson, President of Benchmark Biodiesel in Columbus, Ohio, talking about the current market environment of transportation energy. Virgil Strickler, General Manager at Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, talks with Dale about the upcoming Ohio State Fair and some changes for 2023. All this and more on this week’s podcast! 

00:00 Intro and OCJ/OAN Staff Update

05:29 Wade Thorson – Benchmark Biodiesel

11:42 Virgil Strickler – Ohio State Fair

15:41 Back with Morgan… Continue reading

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Uniform emergence

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Soybean Lead/Field Agronomist, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

Two aspects of stand establishment often discussed by agronomists are emergence and seed spacing. “Picket fence” spacing in corn helps plants grow efficiently and minimizes competition between them. Uniform spacing is an important part of stand establishment. More importantly, however, is uniform emergence. Plants that are just 1 leaf collar behind (due to uneven emergence) significantly reduce yield. According to Paul Jasa, University of Nebraska Extension ag engineer, “When a plant develops ahead of its neighbor, it hurts yield dramatically. It’s going to vary somewhat from year to year, but a plant lagging behind those around it becomes a weed.” To achieve uniform emergence, consistent planting depth is critical.

Field conditions, gauge wheel settings, unit down pressure, and planter speed all affect seeding depth. Set planter depth and check it regularly. A planter may have enough weight to apply the proper down force when full, but what about when it’s almost empty?… Continue reading

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New Organic Transition Initiative Funding available for Ohio producers

Ohio producers interested in transitioning to organic production are eligible for new funding opportunities tied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) multi-agency Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), which is investing $75 million in conservation assistance. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will dedicate financial and technical assistance to a new organic management standard and partner with new organic technical experts to increase staff capacity and expertise. Interested producers and private forest owners can apply for this opportunity between May 15 and June 15, 2023. 

The investment, which includes funds from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), will help build new and better markets and income streams, strengthen local and regional food systems and increase affordable food supply for more Americans, while promoting climate-smart agriculture and ensuring equity for all producers. 

Direct Farmer Assistance

NRCS will dedicate $70 million to assist producers with a new organic management standard under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). … Continue reading

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Wet and cold conditions have limited progress

Cold temperatures and rainy conditions limited planting and other activities, according to the USDA
40 NASS, Great Lakes Regional Field Office. Topsoil 30 Percent moisture conditions were rated 1 percent very short, 20 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 25 percent surplus. Statewide, the average temperature for the week ending on April 30 was 48.2 degrees, 5.5 degrees below normal. Weather stations recorded an average of 1.03 inches of precipitation, 0.35 inches above average. There were 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 30.

Oat progress reached 71 percent planted and 30 percent emerged. Winter wheat advanced to 81 percent jointed and winter wheat condition was rated 66 percent good to excellent, up slightly from the previous week. Despite the rainy conditions, producers continued to plant corn and soybeans, however, there were reports that the cold temperatures and wet soil conditions were causing poor germination and seed rot in some areas.… Continue reading

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Selecting cover crops and cover crop mixes

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

When selecting a cover crop, or species mix, the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) has a decision-making tool to assist farmers in selecting the best species or mix based on the time of year in order to accomplish the goals. This resource can be found at www.mccc.msu.edu. The period from the end of July to the beginning of September allows for most all the available species of cover crops to have a reliable establishment. The time period varies by species. Some will do better if planted earlier, and some will establish better if planted later.

There are various reasons to select a cover crop mixture over a single species. “Your soil will derive more ecosystem services form multiple species,” said Dean Baas, Cover Crop Specialist with Michigan State University Extension. “Planting multiple species of cover crops will increase rotational diversity, and have an opportunity to get more plants and different types of plants in the rotation.”… Continue reading

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USDA’s CLEAR30 offers longer term options for expiring conservation program contracts

Agricultural producers and landowners with certain expiring Conservation Reserve Program(CRP) contracts can receive additional rental incentives and extend that land’s role in conservation for another 30 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has opened the signup period for its Clean Lakes, Estuaries, And Rivers enrollment (CLEAR30) now through July 31, 2023. 

CLEAR30 is a part of the CLEAR initiative, which prioritizes water quality practices as a part of Continuous CRP enrollment, and is one of several CRP enrollment opportunities. CLEAR30 allows producers and landowners enrolling certain water quality practices to enroll in 30-year contracts, extending the lifespan and strengthening the benefits of important water quality practices on their land. Like other CRP enrollments, CLEAR30 is a voluntary, incentive-based conservation opportunity offered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

“The foundational value of CLEAR30 enrollment is right there in its name: Clean Lakes, Estuaries, And Rivers—there is nothing more essential to all things on the planet, including agriculture, than clean water,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator.… Continue reading

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Cockerill named interim president at Wilmington College

After the departure of president Trevor Bates as president of Wilmington College, Corey Cockerill, a respected leader within the Wilmington College community, was appointed interim president March 31. Cockerill, a faculty member since 2008, serves as assistant dean of academic affairs/professor of communication arts and agriculture. Agriculture is the largest academic area for Wilmington College.

“I come out of academics, came out of the classroom in communication arts and agriculture and then last year I started a position as Assistant Dean of Sciences,” Cockerill said. “In this interim role, my goals are to serve the needs of the students, primarily, which is no different than the last 15 years. Besides that, I’ll be working on budget and our Higher Learning Commission visit, which is our accreditors. They’re coming in the next academic year.”  

The Wilmington College Board of Trustees will engage the entire College community as it commences a search to select the College’s 20th president.… Continue reading

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EPA moves to maintain E15 summer sales

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it will use existing authority to prevent drivers from losing access to lower-cost and lower-emission E15, a higher ethanol blend often marketed as Unleaded 88. 

The National Corn Growers Association and state corn grower organizations, which have advocated for the move, praised the decision.

“Ohio’s corn growers applaud today’s announcement which ensures consumers have access to lower-cost fuel choices over the summer,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat. “With additional retail locations, including Sheetz, offering Unleaded 88, consumers can save money and cut emissions over the summer driving season.”

The fuel market conditions that warranted EPA taking the same successful step last year continue today, Haag noted, and he said corn growers are proud to contribute to an energy and environmental solution that saves consumers money at the pump.

“We appreciate Administrator Regan’s timely action to prevent a disruption in E15 availability,” said Tom Haag, National Corn Growers Association President.… Continue reading

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Court lands on the side of preserving farmland in Bailey case

By Matt Reese

Promises only have value if they are kept. 

As Successor Trustee to his uncle Arno L. Renner, Don Bailey made a promise to protect the easement on the land donated to the State of Ohio to keep the family’s Union County farm in agriculture. Though it has not been easy, Bailey kept his promise. 

“In 2003, my uncle Arlo Renner saw the massive growth in the farmland disappearing around us so he voluntarily donated the ag easement to the state of Ohio under the farmland easement program,” Bailey said.

With the intent to protect his farm for perpetuity, Renner donated the development rights to his 231.25 acres of land valued at over $3.5 million on Nov. 5, 2003. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) accepted the donation. At the time, the ODA Office of Farmland Preservation entered into an agreement with the Union Soil and Water Conservation District to monitor the easement on the land.… Continue reading

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Fast crop emergence

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services, adapted from an article in Acres and an article by John Kempf

Fast seed germination is critical for getting crops off to a good start and to achieving higher crop yields.  Cold wet weather often causes early crop stress that can be difficult for the plant to overcome and may cause yield losses long-term. Fast seed emergence has many advantages. 

First, the seed generally has enough energy to get the roots established and a leaf growing to capture the sun’s energy.  When seed roots emerge quickly though, there is less time for seed damage by insects, especially seed corn maggots, wireworms, and root worm larva.  Fast growing plants can outrun most slug damage or flea beetle which feast on sickly plants that are struggling to grow quickly.  New growing roots supplement seed nutrient reserves to improve plant growth, especially from micro-nutrients needed to speed up plant growth. … Continue reading

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Registration open for popular Ohio camp

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry is looking for future foresters, biologists, and the conservation leaders for tomorrow, as registration opens for the popular Camp Canopy — one of my favorite opportunities for Ohio’s outdoors-minded middle- and high school students.   

“We are excited to provide forestry-centered programming to campers this year,” said Jeremy Scherf, Ohio Division of Forestry service forestry manager and camp co-director. “Camp Canopy facilitates learning around many natural resource-related topics while allowing campers to enjoy the beauty of 

Ohio’s forests. Additionally, campers can interact with working professionals and form long-lasting friendships with their peers.” 

Camp Canopy 2023 will explore forests and creeks with sessions focused on Ohio trees, insects, fungi, and amphibians. There will also be a session on how Ohio’s Native Americans used and managed our forests in the past, including how they made and hunted with atlatls.… Continue reading

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Durbin joins AXIS Ohio

AXIS Ohio recently added another veteran sales agronomist to meet demand for seed and other agronomic services. Nathan Louiso, owner of AXIS Ohio, announced that Jeremiah Durbin has joined his team as district sales manager in Southern Ohio. 

“I’ve always believed in making positions for good people, not people for positions,” Louiso said. “With our increased growth, the timing is perfect for Jeremiah. He brings a unique skill set that will benefit our customers.” 

Durbin says soil health is one of his passions. He has been an independent consultant since 2016 and has even served as the Soil Health Specialist for the Tennessee Association of Conservation.

“Farming is about building relationships,” Durbin said. “It’s about working together to figure out those crop production baselines and then growing together. Working with Axis Ohio allows me to have the best of both worlds, soil health and the forefront of seed quality.

“Axis has a systems approach to their seed selection and placement.… Continue reading

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Read this before you lease land for a solar project

By Don “Doc” Sanders

In this column I cover important matters to consider if you or your farmer friends are approached about leasing acreage for a solar array project. In preparation for this column, I have spent time reading about solar energy and talking with experts who assist in developing solar panel projects. 

I offer this disclaimer: The conditions I discuss here don’t cover every situation. 

Each potential solar project has unique factors to consider, including the landscape and environment. I usually don’t advocate for solar farm projects, nor do I come right out and oppose them. But I do recommend that you conduct due diligence before you decide whether to commit any of your land to a solar project. 

Here’s the lowdown…

Solar panels generate electricity, on average, about a third of each day, depending on the weather, including the amount of sunshine, and the project’s engineering. Seventeen acres of solar panels generate about the same amount of electricity as one wind turbine.… Continue reading

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Act now to keep pastures growing all season

By Chris Penrose, Professor and Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension, Morgan Co.

It’s never too early to consider which fields could be stockpiled for fall and winter grazing.

The warm February temperatures caused some of our forages to break dormancy early but the cooler March temperatures slowed down progress. We are now at a stage where our forage management decisions can affect forage availability for the entire season. Depending on the season and your location, perennial forages typically go through the reproductive stage in late April into May. After they set seed, these plants quickly transition from the reproductive stage into the vegetative stage. Up to this transition, energy of the plant moves up from the roots to the seeds, but with the transition, energy movement will primarily move from the leaves to the roots. As we move through summer this will help build up root reserves to help the plant survive the winter.… Continue reading

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