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No death tax is not a reason to avoid farm transition planning

Many in Ohio agriculture fought hard for the elimination of the estate tax, commonly referred to as the “Death Tax” by critics. While they can celebrate success, it is important to remember that even with no estate tax, there is still a need for careful farm transition planning.

Ohio’s version of this tax provision is set to expire due to a provision in the state’s biennial budget — a prospect that concerns financial planning professionals.

“The primary concern is that the repeal, along with changes in the federal estate tax will serve as a disincentive to doing farm transition, business and estate planning,” said Peggy Hall, director of the Agricultural and Resource Law Program of The Ohio State University Extension. “That’s the concern I’m hearing from many attorneys.”

The estate tax is a potentially confusing and burdensome issue; critics claim the tax forces farmers and small business owners to liquidate assets simply to pay the tax.… Continue reading

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Ice cream is big business in Ohio

During one of the hottest months of the year, it would be hard to find a cold treat more popular than ice cream. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a world-leading 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream are made every year in the U.S. – which is enough to fill more than 2,200 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Home to several large scale ice cream makers, Ohio is one of the states largely responsible for fueling the nation’s appetite for frozen desserts. In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum will host John Gauthier of Lesniewicz Associates (marketers of Toft’s Ice Cream), to present “Ice Cream’s Impact in Ohio,” Thurs., July 21 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, OH.… Continue reading

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NightCrawler Gardens growing from love of growing

By Matt Reese

The love of growing plants is at the root of a growing business in Fairfield County.

“Whether it is corn, soybeans, or tomatoes, I love to grow things,” said Jason England, who owns and operates NightCrawler Gardens in Fairfield County with his wife, Sheri. “I just like sowing seeds and watching them come up.”

England grew up in Fairfield County growing strawberries on his family’s small farm and his love of plants led him to study plant biology at Ohio University in Athens. There he met his future wife Sheri, an artist, who found she had a knack for arranging the flowers that England loved to grow.

NightCrawler Gardens started with the young couple renting four acres for the production of field grown fresh-cut flowers near his parents’ home back in Fairfield County in the mid-1990s. They would make the trip up from Athens after classes on Friday to pick the flowers in the glow of their headlights to sell at the Worthington Farmers Market the next morning.… Continue reading

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Down-under digestive microbes could help lower methane gas from livestock

The discovery that a bacterial species in the Australian Tammar wallaby gut is responsible for keeping the animal’s methane emissions relatively low suggests a potential new strategy may exist to try to reduce methane emissions from livestock, according to a new study.

Globally, livestock are the largest source of methane from human-related activities, and are the third-largest source of this greenhouse gas in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wallabies and other marsupials — mammals like the kangaroo that develop their offspring in a pouch — are dependent on microbes to support their digestive system, similar to livestock such as cows, sheep and goats, but Tammar wallabies are known to release about 80 percent less methane gas per unit of digestible energy intake than do livestock animals.

Scientists have used DNA sequence data to devise a way to isolate and grow cultures of a dominant bacterial species from the Tammar wallaby gut and test its characteristics.… Continue reading

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Ertls received Young Jersey Breeder Awards from the American Jersey Cattle Association

David and Beth Ertl, Edison, Ohio, received one of six Young Jersey Breeder Awards given by the American Jersey Cattle Association in ceremonies on June 22, 2011, during the association’s Annual Meetings in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
The Young Jersey Breeder Award is presented to individuals or couples who are at least 28 years old and under the age of 40 on January 1 of the year nominated, who merit recognition for their expertise in dairy farming, breeding Jersey cattle, participation in programs of the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc., and leadership in Jersey and other dairy and agriculture organizations.
David and Beth met at the Ohio State Fair in 2000 and bonded through their love for the Jersey breed. A month after taking their marriage vows in 2004, David accepted a position as manager for a 200-head commercial dairy operation in northern Ohio and after a year, incorporated their Jersey herd into the farm.
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Kinnamon joins Ohio State as Industry Liaison Director for Ag Biosciences



Bryan Kinnamon, an executive with more than three decades of experience in marketing and manufacturing technology at global businesses, has joined Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) as Industrial Liaison Office Director.



In this capacity, Kinnamon will lead efforts to identify and foster connections with industry for one of Ohio State’s largest and most comprehensive colleges – which includes the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and OSU Extension. He is based on OARDC’s Wooster campus.



Kinnamon’s position is an expansion of the university’s Industry Liaison Office (ILO), aimed at establishing and growing a dedicated presence at OARDC and CFAES. A similar Industrial Liaison Office (led by Dan Kramer) was established last year in the College of Engineering.



“We are excited to have Bryan join us as he brings a wealth of talent and business knowledge to our College and to Ohio State University,” OARDC Director Steve Slack said.… Continue reading

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Increase in corn acres a surprise to everyone

This year’s planting estimate numbers released by the USDA on June 30 show the dynamic capabilities of Ohio farmers. It also demonstrates the need for modern farming technology to get crops in the ground in record time.

Most Ohio farmers were delayed in planting due to one of the wettest springs in history.

Yet the USDA estimates farmers planted more corn this year than last year, with figures showing that Ohio’s farmers put 3.5 million acres of corn in the ground in 2011, up from last year’s 3.45 million planted corn acres.

“Thirty years ago this would not have been an option,” said Mark Wachtman, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers (OCWGA) president and Henry County farmer. “Technology such as using GPS to guide in planting, allows us to plant quickly and do it right the first time. Also, biotech seeds make it possible to have a shorter growing season under adverse weather conditions.”… Continue reading

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Nominate your favorite CCA for the CCA of the Year Award

By Tina Lust, Channel Seed Company, Marion, Ohio and Traci Bultemeier, Pioneer Hi-Bred, Ft. Wayne, IN

What is the CCA of the Year Award?

The Certified Crop Advisor of the Year Award is designed to recognize an outstanding individual in Ohio who is currently a practicing CCA in the field of agriculture.  The award will be presented on March 6, 2012 at the Ada Conservation Tillage Conference (CTC).  Nominations for the award are now being accepted from growers like you!

What is required of a CCA?

A certified crop advisor is required to pass an exam at the state and national level, acquire experience based on years of education they have received,  have a satisfactory referral from a client and employer, and agree to follow the code of ethics.  After becoming certified, CCA’s are required to complete continuing education credits by attending meetings, completing self-reported activities or on-line training courses to obtain 40 credits in a two-year cycle.… Continue reading

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OFBF celebrates success at the Statehouse

Impressive Results at the Statehouse

“Powerful” is a fitting description of Ohio Farm Bureau’s legislative successes in 2011. In a time when many advocacy organizations are fighting to remain relevant, farmers are working together through Farm Bureau to achieve impressive results at the Statehouse.

These are the dividends of engaging government in the Farm Bureau way. Years of relationship building, civil communication and grassroots cooperation resulted in a remarkable string of accomplishments.

Here’s a look at how Farm Bureau put its members’ policies into action:

Eliminated the state estate tax. The state death tax is dead. For more than 25 years farmers have explained the unfairness of this tax that was an impediment to passing the farm on to the next generation. The tax is gone, effective Jan.  1, 2013.

Preserved agriculture’s budget priorities. Faced with an $8 billion budget deficit, Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers had to prioritize how to invest limited dollars.  … Continue reading

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EPA grant allows OSU farm to get conservation makeover

By Kyle Sharp

Ohio State University’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory, a working farm just west of OSU campus and nestled in the heart of metro Columbus, is being transformed into a learning laboratory of best management practices for water quality protection and whole farm sustainability.

A $194,324 grant from Ohio EPA and local matching dollars totaling $132,456 is enabling the Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to demonstrate several progressive projects at Waterman (2433 Carmack Rd.). The grant was announced in April 2010, and projects planned for the first phase of improvements are to be completed by the end of 2011. The projects will serve as application tools for current and future farmers and showcase environmental stewardship for students, faculty and urban residents.

“With this Ohio EPA grant, OSU’s Waterman Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory will become the site of comprehensive conservation technologies that will serve as a model for both farmers and students in reducing nonpoint source pollution,” said Reagan Bluel, Waterman farm manager.… Continue reading

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USDA/NASS Acreage Report Full of Surprises

Ohio farmers planted an estimated 3.5 million acres of corn this past spring based on a June 1 Agricultural Survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Ohio Field Office. This is up 50,000 acres from the previous year. Growers intend to harvest 3.32 million acres for grain, up 50,000 acres from 2010.

Soybean planted acreage for the Buckeye State is estimated at 4.7 million acres for 2011, up 100,000 last year. Harvested acreage is forecast at 4.68 million acres.

Winter wheat planted acreage is estimated at 890,000 acres, up 110,000 acres from the previous year. Harvested grain acreage is forecast at 860,000 acres, compared to the 750,000 acres harvested in 2010. Planted oat acreage is estimated at 50,000 for 2011, down 15,000 acres from the previous year. Growers intend to harvest 40,000 acres for grain.

Here is the complete areage report

And the latest stocks reportContinue reading

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The death of Ohio’s estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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The death of Ohio's estate tax

The Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve the Conference Committee report of House Bill 153, the State Operating Budget which includes the repeal of the Ohio estate tax. The Ohio Senate approved the Conference Committee report on June 28. The bill will now be sent to Gov. John R. Kasich for his signature.

Ohio agriculture has long been pushing for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax because it disproportionately affects Ohio’s farmers and small business owners. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, approximately 84% of farmers’ assets are real state-based.

Currently the estate tax exemption for Ohio is set at 338,333 dollars, and the highest taxation rate is 7%. Even a family farm of only one hundred acres valued at approximately four thousand dollars per acre is subject to the tax. Many Ohio residents have lost significant portions of their family farm due to the burden of the tax and the inability to liquidate the means needed to pay for the farm after the loss of a loved one.… Continue reading

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New wholesale fertilizer company to serve region

Ag Distributors Inc. (ADI) and Waterway Ag Inc. have joined forces to form an LLC that will distribute wholesale fertilizer products in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio under the name Mid States Ag Sales. The new company will begin operations July 1.

ADI, headquartered near Nashville, Tenn., is a provider of bulk and bagged fertilizer to independent retailers across the Southeast. Waterway Ag Inc. is a wholesale fertilizer distributor that operates a river terminal in Metropolis, Ill. The newly formed Mid States Ag Sales will utilize the distribution system of both parent organizations along with other leased facilities.

“By working together, our two companies will be able to gain efficiencies, improve our distribution network, and expand our markets,” said Allen Aycock, operations manager for Mid States Ag Sales. “We are excited about the opportunities this partnership creates and the value we can bring to agricultural retailers and their customers.”

Mid States Ag Sales will service its trade territory with two dedicated salesmen, Jerry Purcell, who can be reached at (606) 679-5046 or jpurcell@msagsales.com

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Use care when harvesting wheat with vomitoxin

By Matt Reese

According to a recent Ohio State University Extension survey, 140 fields in 27 counties have been surveyed for head scab, and the incidence in untreated fields has ranged from 0.4% to 45%. A few fields in all parts of the state (southern, central, and northern) had greater than 25% incidence, while other fields had very low incidence. With vomitoxin again an issue in fields around the state and wheat harvest just getting started, it is important that farmers remember the dangers of inhaling the very small particles of the fungus.

“One of the issues of vomitoxin is that you can have contamination that doesn’t show up in obvious ways. Certainly, there may be issue because we’ve had an incredibly wet year, which promotes the growth of fungus,” said Mary Fleming, an Agricultural Health Nurse in the Hospital and Health Care industry with Kilbourne United Methodist Church. “One of the problems with respiratory exposure is that the particle size that causes damage is so small that it is not visible to the naked eye.… Continue reading

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EPA announces E15 pump labeling requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued fuel pump labeling and other requirements for gasoline blends containing more than 10 and up to 15% ethanol, known as E15.  These requirements will help ensure that E15 is properly labeled and used once it enters the market.

The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15. This label will help inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. This label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

Over the past year, EPA issued two partial waivers under the Clean Air Act that in sum allow E15 to be sold for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.  EPA based its waiver decisions on testing and analysis showing that these vehicles could continue to meet emission standards if operated on E15. … Continue reading

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Ethanol mandate means corn demand less responsive to price

Federal law that helped jump-start the ethanol industry in the United States also is shifting normal supply-and-demand forces within commodities markets, said a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Not quite four years after Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act in 2007, markets are struggling to meet both the law’s renewable fuels standard and grain demands from the livestock, food and export sectors, said Wally Tyner, an energy policy specialist. About 27 percent of the nation’s corn crop must be devoted to ethanol this year to meet the federal mandate, leaving other corn users to compete for the remaining 73%.

“The renewable fuels standard requires 15 billion gallons of ethanol be consumed per year by 2015, regardless of what the price of corn is and regardless of what the price of crude oil is,” Tyner said. “Corn could be $2 a bushel or $10 a bushel, crude could be $50 a barrel or $100 a barrel and that 15 billion gallons has to be there.… Continue reading

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2011 rough on wheat

The significance of Ohio’s extremely wet spring is well documented in terms of corn and soybean production, but wheat fields also suffered considerably from the abundant precipitation.

“This has not been the best season for wheat,” said Pierce Paul, Ohio State Extension specialist and plant pathologist.

Farmers faced everything from flooded wheat fields, to disease issues and prevented spring nitrogen applications due to the severity of conditions, he said. Because of such conditions, yield estimates across the state range from as low as 25 bushels per acre to as high as 90.

Paul attributed the lower-yielding fields to a combination of flooding, missed nitrogen applications and disease pressure.

“The rains created moist, humid conditions,” he said. “Any time we have moist, humid conditions, we’ll have diseases.”

The most common diseases in Ohio fields this year included powdery mildew, Septoria, Stagonospora and a fairly significant appearance of head scab. But, Paul said, while the incidence of head scab is relatively high, it isn’t as bad as last year, based on his field surveys 145 fields.… Continue reading

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Progress on FTAs in the Senate

The National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association (ASA) is very pleased that the Senate Finance Committee will hold a “mock” markup of the draft implementing bills for the South Korea, Colombia, and Panama Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) later this week. The ASA has been working for a number of years toward passage of these trade agreements because increased exports of U.S. soy and soy-fed meat and poultry will benefit soybean farmers and rural economies. Passage of these three trade agreements combined represents nearly $3 billion of additional agriculture exports to these trading partners.

“This is a critical step in the right direction,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Now that an agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance has been reached, we call on Congress and the Administration to quickly advance these trade agreements in order to boost our economy.”

The Finance Committee will consider the draft implementing bills during a “mock” markup because Congress cannot offer amendments to the final implementing bills submitted by the Administration under the Trade Promotion Authority Act – also known as “fast track” – procedures.… Continue reading

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