Featured News



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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Beef short course

This short course is a joint effort of Ohio State University Extension, Michigan State University, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture to enhance the cattle industry in the Eastern Corn Belt.

The industry is implementing programs to maintain consumer confidence in the product produced in our facilities. One of these programs is audits conducted by third party entities on animal care and environmental compliance. The first session will focus on feed additives, manure management and maximizing use of the corn crop. The second session will include cattle economics, cattle marketing alternatives and electronic carcass grading.

Both Ohio sessions will be held at the Wood County Junior Fair Building in Bowling Green. Registration and refreshments will be provided beginning at 6 pm each evening.

Participants may enroll by sending a check made payable (US Funds) to Michigan State University ($35 for 1st person and $25 for each additional family/farm member; FFA/4-H students can register for $15 each) and mailed to Faye Watson, Dept.… Continue reading

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USDA revises national nutrient management standard

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revised its national conservation practice standard on nutrient management to help producers better manage the application of nutrients on agricultural land. Proper application of nitrogen and phosphorus offers tremendous benefits to producers and the public, including cost savings to the producer and the protection or improvement of ground and surface water, air quality, soil quality and agricultural sustainability.

“Protecting America’s supply of clean and abundant water is an important objective for USDA,” Vilsack said. “This precious resource is the foundation for healthy ecosystems and sustainable agricultural production. USDA provides voluntary technical and financial assistance to help producers manage their nutrients to ensure a clean and abundant water supply while maintaining viable farm and ranch operations.”

The nutrient management conservation practice is an important tool in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation toolbox. The agency’s staff uses this conservation practice to help farmers and ranchers apply their nutrients more efficiently.… Continue reading

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Alltech Lecture Series Coming to Ohio

Since the first intelligible sentence was carried through telephone wire on March 10, 1876 in the rented top floor of a Boston boarding house, the world has been on a constant move to find the latest breakthroughs in technology. As Steve Jobs once said, “We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people- as remarkable as the telephone.”

These advances in technology will be showcased in Shaping Tomorrow’s World: Path to a Profitable Future, the theme of Alltech’s 2011 North American Lecture Tour. Speakers on the 24 stop tour, taking place from Jan. 11- Feb. 3, will explore how the latest technological developments can move the agriculture industry forward.

The lecture tour will examine such issues as programmed nutrition, epigenitics, sales organizations, the Alltech Ag Network, social media and the implementation of algae in our nutrition program.

“Change is imminent. Global demand for fuel, food and other commodities will only continue to increase as the world’s population and wealth rise.… Continue reading

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Ohio Supreme Court sides with landowners in flooding case

The Ohio Supreme Court recently sided with a group of landowners who have suffered damaging flooding after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources redesigned and significantly increased the size of a spillway at Grand Lake St. Mary’s. In State ex. rel. Doner v. Zody, 2011-Ohio-6117, the state was ordered to compensate landowners near the Grand Lake St. Mary’s spillway for the taking of their property. Ohio Farm Bureau participated in this case by filing an amicus brief supporting the landowners’ claims and closely monitoring the case with the attorneys representing the landowners.

After the spillway was increased from 39-feet to 500-feet, landowners began experiencing repetitive flooding which was more severe, frequent and damaging than before the spillway was enlarged. As flooding continued, the landowners’ ability to use the property for agriculture or any other means became almost impossible. Despite landowner attempts to work with ODNR for compensation, eminent domain proceedings were never initiated.… Continue reading

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HuntOhioFarms discontinued

The HuntOhioFarms.com website will be discontinued due to lower than anticipated participation from Ohio’s farming community, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

The HuntOhioFarms.com site was launched in August 2009 in order to educate Ohioans on crop damage by deer, while at the same time increasing awareness of hunting opportunities.

This was a joint effort between the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB) and the ODNR Division of Wildlife. After the first year, more than 9,000 hunters had enrolled with 83 landowners signing on in the four county test area. The OFB and the Division of Wildlife agreed to

expand the program to 38 counties across southeast Ohio in 2010. Despite direct mailings by the Division of Wildlife and marketing efforts by the OFB, an insufficient number of landowners signed up for the program. At the end of year two, an additional 5,000 hunters had enrolled with only 40 additional farms.… Continue reading

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Memorial gifts received by Jersey Youth Academy

The Jersey Youth Academy was created in 2008 by the Board of Directors of the American Jersey Cattle Association to attract, educate and retain talented young people for careers in the Jersey dairy business. The program is conducted every two years, with all program costs paid by the Academy fund.

Calvin and Lorraine Covington, Clemmons, N.C., made a contribution in memory of Norma “Duffy” Lyon, Toledo, Iowa. Known the world over as “the Butter Cow Lady,” Duffy was named an AJCA Honorary Member in 2007 and was World Dairy Expo’s Dairywoman of the Year in 1990.

Memorial gifts were also received honoring Neal F. Schirm, Canal Winchester, Ohio. A lifelong Jersey breeder, Schirm served as Director of the American Jersey Cattle Club and received the AJCA Distinguished Service Award in 2004. He was one of the founders and original delegates to the Central Ohio Breeders Association. Making contributions were J. Lawrence and Barbara C.… Continue reading

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