Featured News

ASA sets policy priorities for 2012

Ohio Soybean producers gathered at Commodity Classic in Nashville with other producers from around the country to review and revise the policy direction of the American Soybean Association (ASA). There were 133 producers from ASA’s 26 state affiliates who served as Voting Delegates in this annual process that guides the ASA as it pursues future initiatives to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability.

The voting delegates session was held on Saturday, March 3, following conclusion of the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show that drew a record 6,014 attendees. What follows are some of the most significant additions and modifications covering a variety of important soybean issues.


ASA supports legislation that would graduate Russia from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment in order to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia.

ASA opposes any proposal to merge the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with other trade agencies. ASA believes that USTR should remain an independent agency within the Executive Office of the President, focusing on trade negotiations, trade agreements and trade enforcement.… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff Honors 2011 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards

The National Pork Board today honored four farm families as recipients of the 2011 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards Award at the annual National Pork Industry Forum being held here. The award, now in its 18th year, recognizes producers who demonstrate a firm commitment to safeguarding the environment and their local communities.

The 2011 award recipients are:

Golden Circle Pork – Woodward, Iowa — Rod and Missy Bice produce 6,600 wean-to-finish pigs annually on their farm set amid 1,400 acres of corn and soybeans. They and their children continue the farming tradition that began more than a century ago by both sides of the family. The Bices were also named Environmental Stewards for Iowa in 2010.

John M. Langdon Farms – Benson, N.C. — John and Eileen Langdon produce 20,000 finishing pigs per year on their 205-acre farm. They, together with their three grown children, also maintain 65 brood cows on the same farm that’s been in the family for 70-plus years.… Continue reading

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Ohio CRP signup to begin March 12

Steve Maurer, the Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, announced that general signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) will begin on March 12, 2012, and continue through April 6, 2012.  During the signup period, farmers and landowners may offer eligible land for CRP’s competitive general signup at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.

“Over the past 26 years, CRP’s benefits have grown thanks to many improvements of our natural resources including cleaner water, improved air quality, better habitat for wildlife, and a large reduction in soil erosion,” said Maurer.

Land currently not enrolled in CRP may be offered in this signup provided all eligibility requirements are met.  Additionally, current CRP participants with contracts expiring on September 30, 2012, may make new contract offers.  Contracts awarded under this signup are scheduled to become effective October 1, 2012.

FSA, which administers the CRP, will evaluate and rank eligible CRP offers using an Environmental Benefits Index (EBI) that shows the environmental benefits of enrolling land in CRP. … Continue reading

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Early spring nitrogen likely won’t increase yields for wheat

Despite the fact that an unusually wet fall and planting delays kept many wheat farmers from applying starter nitrogen, an Ohio State University Extension educator says they shouldn’t rush to apply spring nitrogen earlier than needed.

Even though wheat has had less time to grow and tiller, applying nitrogen too early in the spring could not only cause farmers to lose money, but also present environmental concerns – and it isn’t likely to increase yields, said Ed Lentz, associate professor who specializes in crop production and agronomy.

Instead of applying nitrogen early, Lentz said farmers should wait until green-up, at the earliest, to maximize yield potential, save money and guard the environment.

“Producers have asked if applying nitrogen earlier would offset the low fall tiller numbers and would tiller number and growth benefit from a split application,” said Lentz, who also is an OSU Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.… Continue reading

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Early spring nitrogen likely won't increase yields for wheat

Despite the fact that an unusually wet fall and planting delays kept many wheat farmers from applying starter nitrogen, an Ohio State University Extension educator says they shouldn’t rush to apply spring nitrogen earlier than needed.

Even though wheat has had less time to grow and tiller, applying nitrogen too early in the spring could not only cause farmers to lose money, but also present environmental concerns – and it isn’t likely to increase yields, said Ed Lentz, associate professor who specializes in crop production and agronomy.

Instead of applying nitrogen early, Lentz said farmers should wait until green-up, at the earliest, to maximize yield potential, save money and guard the environment.

“Producers have asked if applying nitrogen earlier would offset the low fall tiller numbers and would tiller number and growth benefit from a split application,” said Lentz, who also is an OSU Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.… Continue reading

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Search for 2012 Farm Mom of the Year Underway

Monsanto’s search for America’s Farmers Mom of the Year is back for 2012, along with a $10,000 grand prize.

Anyone can nominate their favorite farm mom by visiting AmericasFarmers.com by April 23 and submitting a 300-word essay explaining how she contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Five regional winners will be selected by a panel of judges from American Agri-Women and Monsanto.  Profiles of the regional winners will be posted to AmericasFarmers.com, where online voting will determine the national winner to be announced on Mother’s Day. All regional winners will receive a $5,000 cash prize from Monsanto; the national winner will receive an additional $5,000.

“Monsanto is thrilled to recognize the nearly 1 million female farmers in the U.S. who help provide food and fiber for our growing global population while raising the next generation of American farmers,” said Consuelo Madere, America’s Farmers Mom of the Year spokesperson and Vice President, Monsanto Vegetable Seeds and Asia Business.… Continue reading

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Seed Selection Key to Managing Soybean Disease, Achieving High Yields

As spring planting season approaches, soybean growers should be aware that one of the best ways to manage soybean disease is to make sure they plant the right varieties for their fields, said an Ohio State University Extension soybean expert.

In fact, seed selection is one of the most important decisions Ohio soybean farmers can make to ensure the best yield outcomes, said Anne Dorrance, a plant pathologist with joint appointments with OSU Extension and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

“Growers have got to make sure they have the right resistance package, which is one of the best ways to manage soybean disease,” she said. “Growers should make sure that the variety they select has the right resistance package for their field, because soybean diseases can severely reduce yields.

“In the rush to plant last season, we had some fields where growers put in the wrong varieties. But now is the time to plan for spring planting in case we have a similar season this year as we did last season.”… Continue reading

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RFD TV spinoff Rural TV debuts

RURAL TV, the world’s first television network devoted to rural interests internationally, began broadcast operations debuting on DISH satellite TV  channel 232 February 15, 2012.  This is Rural Media Group’s (RMG) second 24/7 television network building upon the success of RFD-TV, which recently celebrated its 11th year anniversary in serving the needs and interests of rural America.

“The meaning of the word rural has no borders,” stated Patrick Gottsch, founder and president of RMG.  “The launch of a second network, RURAL TV, is in response to unprecedented audience growth and demand for RFD-TV programming, and it expands upon our popular format combining agriculture, equine and western lifestyle, along with traditional music and entertainment programming.”

The foundation for RURAL TV’s daily program schedule focuses on the business of rural America and includes international programming.  Each weekday morning, Market Day Report provides 5 hours of live coverage of agribusiness news, weather, and commodity market coverage in continually updated half-hour wheels. … Continue reading

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Boost for bioproducts benefits Ohio

The Obama Administration’s announcement that it plans to increase federal government purchasing of bio-based products could mean a significant financial boost for Ohio, an Ohio State University Extension expert said.

According to a statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the announcement calls for the federal government to increase the purchasing of bio-based products over the next two years, which they project will create jobs and drive innovation where bio-based products are grown and manufactured.

Ohio ranks No. 1 nationally in terms of polymer employment, has a major bio-based product industry and is a strong agricultural producer. The announcement will also result in a 50% increase in the number of new products that are designated as bio-based, Vilsack said.

That means the potential for more jobs and a financial boost for Ohio growers, producers and manufacturers, said Dennis Hall assistant director of the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center at Ohio State University.… Continue reading

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Pork Checkoff makes progress on PRRS

Building on work originally funded by the Pork Checkoff, a consortium of scientists from around the country has discovered a genetic marker in pigs that identifies whether or not a pig has a reduced susceptibility to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) — a disease that costs the U.S. pork industry an estimated $664 million per year.

The researchers found a genetic marker, called a quantitative trait locus, on swine chromosome 4 that is associated with resistance to PRRS virus infection. According to Joan Lunney, a research scientist at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Md., this is especially important as this location also is associated with improved growth of pigs that are infected with the PRRS virus. She says results indicate a positive effect for PRRS resistance and higher weight gain.

“PRRS is one of the industry’s top ongoing issues, so this research discovery is a major step in the right direction,” said Lisa Becton, Checkoff’s director of swine health and information.… Continue reading

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Buying local the subject of upcoming conference

The “buy local” movement that has sparked increased demand for locally grown foods means that farmers who know how to market and sell their products directly to consumers can substantially increase their farm income, says an Ohio State University Extension agriculture educator.

One of the top food trends recently has been the demand by consumers who want to know where their food comes from and who is producing it, and who want to buy products from as close to home as possible, said Mark Mechling. But farmers who want to take advantage of the “buy local” movement have to follow a rigid and precise set of rules designed to ensure consumers purchase wholesome and safe products.

Mechling will discuss those rules and procedures during a presentation March 9 at the “Opening Doors to Success” Small Farm Conference and Trade Show. The conference, held March 9-10 at Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio, will feature 30 sessions from Ohio State and industry experts.… Continue reading

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Managing grain in storage

By John M. Smith, OSU Extension Educator, Auglaize County Agriculture and Natural Resources

If you had $20,000 to $50,000 in cash sitting in a grain bin, would you check it often? You know you would. Even though grain went into storage in excellent condition why not check your grain that is worth that much? Check it at least once a week.

With the wet fall harvest and high humidity in many areas, much of the grain that went into the bins in poor condition could be headed for trouble; especially when the weather warms up and stays warm.

Properly managing grain in your storage bins is important to maintain quality. Factors that can cause grain to go out of condition are:

• Presence of insects;

• The amount of fines and foreign-material left in the stored grain;

• Initial quality of grain going into storage;

• Grain moisture content;

• Grain temperature.… Continue reading

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In 2012, farmers can get more crop insurance coverage for less

As crop insurance purchase deadlines approach for the majority of the Corn Belt on March 15, the National Corn Growers Association urges farmers to explore how changes in policies can make coverage more affordable. With lower insurance premiums being offered for most coverage levels this year and adjustments to historical-yield trend calculations, many growers can take advantage of lower rates and increases in coverage.

“At NCGA, we constantly strive to improve the safety net for farmers and hope that in 2012 many will take advantage of the improved options that we have achieved,” said Garry Niemeyer, NCGA President. “We faced difficult weather conditions across much of the Corn Belt in 2010 and again in 2011. By reexamining crop insurance options, many growers may find that increased coverage is more affordable and will better guard against losses in 2012.”

Lower premiums are the result of adjustments that the Risk Management Agency made based on updated crop insurance actuarial data and partial implementation of proposed changes to the program’s rating methodology.… Continue reading

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Farmland buying tips

ABA’s Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee, responding to a boom in farmland values, has produced a tip sheet for farmers considering buying farmland during this hot market.

“Record prices are being paid for farmland in many parts of the country. Members of the ABA Agricultural and Rural Bankers Committee developed some practical financial tips to assist farmers and ranchers who are contemplating making land purchases,” said John Blanchfield, ABA’s senior vice president for Agricultural and Rural Banking. “In this hot real estate market, the need for buyer due diligence has never been higher, and bankers, who have deep experience in real estate acquisition and finance, are a great resource for producers to consult,”

ABA has also produced a video summary of agricultural credit conditions featuring the committee’s chairman Kim Greenland, market president of Great Western Bank, Mount Ayr, Iowa, and vice chairman Keith Geis, president of Platte Valley Bank, Wheatland, Wyo.… Continue reading

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Sweet maple recipes from the Herring family

By Shirley Herring


2-1/4 c.            flour

1 c.             packed brown sugar

¾ c.            shortening or cooking oil

¼ c.            maple syrup

1            egg

1 t.            baking soda

1 t.            ground ginger

1 t.            ground cinnamon

½ t.            ground cloves

¼ c.            sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine about half of the flour, the brown sugar, shortening, maple syrup, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour.

Shape dough into one-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until set and tops are cracked.

Cool cookies on a wire rake.

Makes about 48.


Baked Beans

9            slices of bacon

1-1/2 c.            chopped onion

80-oz. can            pork and beans in tomato sauce

¾ c.            maple syrup

2 T.            mustard

1 t.           … Continue reading

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Dairy concerns with New Zealand trade deal

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said that a new report on the anti-competitive practices pervasive in the New Zealand dairy industry highlights why the U.S. dairy farmer sector is so concerned with including U.S.-New Zealand dairy trade in a potential Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement (FTA). NMPF submitted comments to the Obama Administration on TPP, including in its 2010 testimony to the U.S. International Trade Commission. NMPF applauded the new report’s effort to shed more light on this critical concern.

A report was prepared by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and provided confidentially to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The accompanying letter notes that New Zealand’s largest company has been provided special privileges by the government that enable it to maintain a roughly 90% market share of the milk produced in New Zealand. This advantageous position has given this single dairy company direct control of more than one third of world dairy trade, without even accounting for the additional sales controlled through its many production and distributor relationships around the world.… Continue reading

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ARS research focuses in on corn disease resistance

Three corn diseases, southern corn leaf blight, northern leaf blight, and gray leaf spot, all cause lesions on corn leaves. In the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt, northern leaf blight and gray leaf spot are significant problems.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and university colleagues found a specific gene in corn that seems to confer resistance to all three of these leaf diseases. This discovery, published in 2011 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could potentially help plant breeders build disease-resistance traits into future corn plants.

The researchers examined 300 corn varieties from around the world, making sure to have a genetically diverse representation. No corn variety has complete resistance to any of these diseases, but varieties differ in the severity of symptoms they exhibit.

“We set out to look for maize lines with resistance to these three leaf diseases. But what we really wanted to know is which genes underlie disease resistance,” says ARS plant geneticist Peter Balint-Kurti, who is in the Plant Science Research Unit in Raleigh, North Carolina.… Continue reading

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Trade an important tool for the livestock sector

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced Tues., Feb. 21, 2012, that the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea (KORUS FTA) will be implemented on March 15, 2012.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander praised the announcement.

“When the KORUS FTA is implemented, our competitive advantage will be secured. The KORUS pact will phase out a 40% tariff on U.S. beef over the next 15 years, which will result in more Korean consumers buying more U.S. beef at a more affordable price,” Alexander said. “This may very well be the most monumental bilateral trade pact our industry has ever witnessed.”

Alexander said while the immediate effects of increased exports are positive for cattlemen, he urged them to think long term about the effects increased demand will have on already tight beef supplies.

“With increasing demand and tightening supplies, movement of the KORUS FTA should encourage cattlemen and women to think beyond the current prices for live cattle and think long term,” he said.… Continue reading

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USDA AgrAbility Grants expand access to farming for the disabled

Responding to the needs of a growing population of farmers and ranchers living with a disability, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded 23 grants to organizations to help thousands of people with disabilities continue their chosen agricultural professions. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants, totaling $4.1 million, through the AgrAbility program. Fiscal Year 2011 grant recipients include Ohio State University that received $180,000

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all Americans devoted to agriculture, U.S. agriculture is a bright spot in our economy and provides a livelihood for 1 in 12 Americans,” said Dr. Catherine Woteki, USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “Nearly 2 million individuals working in agriculture in the United States live with a disability that affects their work and daily life. The AgrAbility program provides these producers with the training and resources they need to remain profitable, to maintain their quality of life, and to continue to contribute to our nation’s supply of food, feed, fiber and fuel.”… Continue reading

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Boosting the solar power of corn

By Dave Nanda, Seed Consultants, Inc.

These days we hear a lot about reducing the use of fossil fuels and producing more clean energy by solar panels or wind machines. However, I don’t know of a better system than the corn plant that not only captures sunlight efficiently and simultaneously reduces carbon dioxide and gives us oxygen so we can breathe. A very small percentage of the solar energy is captured by the plants; most of it is either wasted on the ground or is reflected back. So what can we do to make a more efficient use of this free energy?

Our corn breeders have been collecting germplasm from all over the world and developing superior hybrids for a long time. We have designed hybrids with upright leaves, which can capture more sunlight and also allow the lower leaves to receive and trap greater amounts of light. These hybrids may also be planted at higher populations.… Continue reading

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