Featured News

Ohio agriculture pushes for guidance regarding 2021 fair season

This week, Ohio’s agriculture groups wrote a letter to Governor Mike DeWine asking him to release his plans for the safe operation of this year’s fairs as soon as possible. The letter, from Ohio Farm Bureau, The Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Ohio Soybean Association, also asked for $2 million in additional funding so the Ohio Expo Commission can effectively operate and prepare for a 2021 Ohio State Fair.

From the letter: 

We appreciate your recognition of the importance of our fairs and your love of

4-H, FFA, livestock shows and all the great educational opportunities that are part of our fairs.

While it is hard to imagine with snow still on the ground, our fair season is just around the corner and we are very concerned that the county, independent and Ohio State fairs will not have the adequate time needed to prepare and move forward without immediate guidance from the Governor’s Office.

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A look at the February USDA numbers

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The February USDA report is usually considered less important than most other monthly reports but this one offered some surprises. Here are some report observations and highlights.


The market was hoping for some big adjustments but were disappointed when the corn carryout was only decreased 50 million bushels. The average trade guess had expected a drop of nearly 150 million bushels. 

The USDA seems to be playing catch up when estimating final carryout at the end of the marketing year in August. If they lower carryout too quickly, the market could spike early and force a rapid drop in demand. That could in turn hurt overall demand and trim usage later or even worse decrease demand long-term. On the other hand, decreasing carryout too slowly may mean limited short-term demand rationing, which could cause supply issues later this year and early 2022.

February’s report showed exports increased by 50 million bushels.… Continue reading

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Virtual Crop Tour recap for 2020 growing season

By Matt Reese

Though there were certainly exceptions, 2020 was much more favorable to Ohio’s corn and soybean growers than the previous year. This showed up in the 2020 Virtual Ohio Crop Tour conducted Aug. 11 though Aug. 13 and in Ohio’s final production numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in January. According to Cheryl Turner, state statistician, for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Ohio Field Office, Ohio’s 2020 average corn yield was 171 bushels per acre, up 7 bushels from 2019. Growers harvested 3.3 million acres for grain, up 28% from 2019. Total production of corn for grain was 564 million bushels, up 34% from 2019. 

Ohio’s average soybean yield for 2020 was 54 bushels per acre, up 5 bushels from 2019. Growers harvested 4.87 million acres, up 14% from 2019. Production, at 263 million bushels, was up 26%, Turner said. 

There were 102 entries total in the Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net 2020 Virtual Crop Tour (63 corn and 39 soybeans) submitted by farmers and Ohio State University Extension educators from around the state, sponsored by Ohio Crop Performance.… Continue reading

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Manure and cover crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Many livestock farmers who are being compensated by the H2O Ohio program may be looking for guidance on planting cover crops. NRCS Appendix A (Cover Crops) is your best guide for cover crop seeding methods, planting dates, and planting rates. Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation office or local NRCS representative for additional questions.

What should your cover crop accomplish if you are applying fall manure? First, a live plant that survives the winter and absorbs nitrogen, phosphorus, and reduces soil erosion. Fibrous fine roots systems are better than tap roots which may allow manure nutrients to leach into tile or surface water. The cover crop should be easy to kill, and it’s a bonus if it can be used for forage (but not allowed under the H2O Ohio program rules).

Generally, grass cover crops with fibrous fine roots absorb manure nutrients the best.

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Tiller watch for wheat

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc. 

In the coming months as the weather warms, up winter wheat will break dormancy and will begin to green up. After a period of about 2 weeks producers should evaluate their stand in order to make management decisions for their wheat crop. Part of this evaluation includes counting tillers to determine if there is an adequate stand for achieving high yields. According an article in a 2014 C.O.R.N. Newsletter written by Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, and Pierce Paul, “Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up.”

So, what is a tiller? And how should they be counted? Tillers are additional stems that develop off of the main shoot of the plant. Primary tillers form in the axils of the first four or more true leaves of the main stem. Secondary tillers may develop from the base of primary tillers if conditions favor tiller development.… Continue reading

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Ag Week sets tone for 2021 Ohio Farm Bureau policy work

Ohio Farm Bureau’s annual Ag Day at the Capital is typically a jam-packed one day event, when Farm Bureau county leaders visit with lawmakers in Columbus. This year, it is a full Ag Week, and those visits will be happening virtually or on the farms of Farm Bureau members.

“More than ever before, Ohio Farm Bureau is being looked to by state officials to help strengthen the food supply chain and provide guidance on how to recover economically from COVID,” said Frank Burkett, president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “As a grassroots organization, it is crucial for our message to legislators to begin with our members.”

On a call with county leaders prior to Ag Week, Burkett emphasized that Ohio Farm Bureau is considered experts not only regarding agriculture but also on many other topics that impact Ohio’s communities like property rights, broadband access and water quality. 

“We have built this trust by taking the time to meet face-to-face with our legislators and building relationships,” Burkett said.… Continue reading

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Brazilian agribusiness: A rising king?

By Roberta Paffaro

Brazilian agribusiness has been highlighted over last decade for a couple of reasons. It became a major producer and exporter of soybeans in the world. In the 2020/21 crop, despite all the weather issues and late planting, Brazil expects to harvest 129.7 million tons, a 6.8% increase compared to 2020. Brazilian soybeans are the “little darling” of China — the main destination for exports. Brazil already sold almost 90% of all soybean production due to strong prices sustained by the devaluation of the Real in 2020.

Roberta Paffaro

What about corn? Brazil has two crops in the year. The first one is between October to December and the second, which is called “safrinha,” is from January to April. The total corn crop production is expected by analysts to be 103.2 million metric tons (mt). 

Brazil became a very important worldwide corn supplier in the last decade. According to CONAB (National Supply Company), Brazil produced 50 million mt in the 2008/2009 crop.… Continue reading

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OEFFA announces 2021 award recipients

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2021 recipients of its Stewardship and Service awards.  

Jan Dawson and Andy Reinhart of Logan County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Steve Edwards of Warren County received the Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary service in support of sustainable agriculture.

“Over the course of more than 40 years, this organization and the broader sustainable food and farm movement, have been built by the tireless efforts of farmers, conscientious consumers, educators, researchers, retailers, and others. It is breathtaking how far we’ve come, from a handful of folks with a shared vision to a societal-wide understanding of the economic, environmental, and social significance of local and sustainable food systems,” said Carol Goland, Executive Director of OEFFA. “Jan, Andy, and Steve have made lasting contributions to this effort, and we are both grateful and pleased to be able to recognize these truly remarkable individuals for their hard work and accomplishments.”… Continue reading

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Over $50,000 in Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships available

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation has more than $50,000 in scholarships available to Ohio students from rural, suburban and urban communities who are pursuing degrees connected in some way to agriculture.

Through 12 programs, approximately 50 scholarships will be awarded. The deadline to apply online at ofbf.org/foundation is Feb. 28, and all applications require letters of recommendation, an essay, school transcripts and photos.

The Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of public policy, who passed away in 2020. The Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to honor Yvonne and provide support for the next generation of student leaders. The income from this endowment will provide scholarship assistance in perpetuity to students majoring in agricultural and environmental policy or agriculture related fields, such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach, policymaking, advocacy, or leadership development for women.

In honor of the legacy of Dr.… Continue reading

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Providing extra energy in bad weather

By Dean Kreager, Ohio State University Extension Licking County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator

Winter is here! As I write this, we have had some snow and freezing temperatures along with a healthy dose of mud, but the worst is yet to come. Some grazers may still be utilizing stockpiled forages but many of us have transitioned to feeding hay, baleage, or silage. Hopefully, we know the quality of our forage and the needs of the livestock that will be consuming it. Maybe we have even planned for supplemental energy sources when needed. This is all great until Mother Nature throws a monkey wrench into things. Rain, snow, wind, and mud can destroy our best laid plans.

There are charts that tell us the nutrient requirements of all types of livestock during different stages of their lives. These help us know which forages are best suited to which animals and when a supplement needs to be added to maintain performance and reach genetic potential.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 192 | Did Matt tell Elsa a bad joke?

We’re hoping you’re staying warm and safe this week during this “snowpocalypse”! Matt, Kolt and Dusty host today and talk about last weeks Ohio Pork Congress, where Matt M.C.’ed and gave some very “Matt” jokes. We have three batches of featured audio this week. Dale talked to Damian Mason, who was the guest speaker at the Ohio Pork Congress, and Pat Driscoll of Certified Ag Dealerships. Matt has audio with Jenna Reese on progress for rural broadband. … Continue reading

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State budget proposal includes funding for ag priorities

By Matt Reese

Governor Mike DeWine recently released his proposed budget which includes funding for several Ohio agricultural priorities.

“The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s budget increased overall and individual line items have also increased. One of them is H2Ohio funding. Overall, $240 million was set aside for H2Ohio funds over the biennium and $49.3 million of that goes to agriculture each fiscal year. The rest of that funding is split up between Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources,” said Jenna Reese, director of state policy for Ohio Farm Bureau. “We also saw a significant increase in funding to farmland preservation. That line item increased by about $7 million for just fiscal year 2022. We are excited to see the DeWine Administration continuing to support farmland preservation. The coronavirus relief for county fairs line item was created last year to get $4.7 million to county fairs and this fiscal year it has allocated $1 million to the Ohio State Fair under that line item.”… Continue reading

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Cover crops and water quality

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Cover crops can directly impact water quality. With all the attention being given to improving water quality and reducing nutrient loads going into Ohio’s waterways, farmers are encouraged to consider a multifaceted approach of best management practices (BMP’s) that include the use of cover crops.

In the most recent “Water Quality Wednesday” program, Rachel Cochran, Water Quality Associate with OSU Extension, shared six key points to consider when evaluating the benefits of planting cover crops to improve water quality. “Cover Crops can directly impact water quality,” said Cochran. “Cover crops can prevent soil erosion.

They absorb excess nutrients. Once the cover crops die and decompose, those nutrients are returned to the soil in a usable form for other plants. They can increase soil aggregate stability. The cover crops compete with weeds for sunlight and nutrients.

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Homan Inc. receives State Sales Award at GSI dealer meeting

Homan Inc  was recognized with The Ochres GSI State Sales Award for (State) during the recent GSI Virtual Dealer Event. The award honors the hard work and success that GSI (Grain Systems, Inc.) dealers demonstrate in serving their grain system customers.

A family-owned business, Homan, Inc. has been serving the area as a livestock material handling equipment retailer since the company was founded in 1958. In addition to livestock material handling equipment and grain storage and handling systems, Homan’s also construct animal confinement buildings where they have rapidly moved to the forefront of the industry in this competitive market.

“This award is a reflection of the confidence our clients in western Ohio and eastern Indiana have in Homan Inc.,” said Dale Everman, Vice President  of Homan Inc. “We want to thank them for their continued trust in us as a leader in grain systems.”

GSI is a leading global manufacturer of grain bins, grain dryers and material handling equipment, including bucket elevators and conveyors, grain bin sweeps and chain loop systems, sold through a global dealer network. … Continue reading

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Wetland reserve easements available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to restore and protect critical wetlands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements. This year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest in technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes and other groups protect these valuable lands.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, wetland reserve easement (ACEP-WRE) focuses on restoring previously drained agricultural lands and protecting the restored wetlands with easements. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

“Protecting these lands preserves Ohio’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” said John Wilson, NRCS Acting State Conservationist in Ohio.  “Easements are another option for people who want to take additional steps to preserve some of our state’s most precious resources.”

Applications for ACEP-WRE are taken on a continuous basis.  The deadline to receive fiscal year 2021 funding is March 12, 2021.

Through ACEP-WRE, NRCS helps landowners restore and protect wetland ecosystems.… Continue reading

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Hemp conference March 5

Central State University Extension and Ohio State University Extension are collaborating to present the 2021 Land Grant Virtual Hemp Conference: Looking Back to Plan for the Future. 

            The virtual conference will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, March 5, and features a wide variety of speakers focusing on growing and marketing hemp. 

            Speakers will include: 

• Craig Schluttenhofer, Central State University, Updating Research on Growing Hemp 

• James Morris and Brad Bergefurd, Ohio State University Extension, Research in Growing CBD Hemp
• Chris Zoller and Lee Beers, Ohio State University Extension, Research in Growing Fiber Hemp 

• Tyler Mark, University of Kentucky, Economics of Growing Hemp
• Margurite Bolt, Purdue University, Pest Management in Hemp Crops
• Jim Belt, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Hemp Licensing in Ohio 

Two sessions will be held with Session 1 starting at 9 a.m., and ending at 11:30 a.m., and Session 2 starting at 1 p.m.,… Continue reading

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Potential estate changes under the Biden Administration

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

I usually stay clear of highly charged political topics, but I believe this one is worth mentioning. What I am about to explain has not been introduced to Congress (and timetable is uncertain), but the topic is part of President Biden’s tax plan.

Up to this point and with changes made back in 2017 tax legislation, very few people end up paying estate taxes, or even having to worry about it at all. With President Biden’s tax plan, however, a potential and massive change in how estate taxes are calculated could be on the horizon.

Biden’s plan could leave you paying higher income taxes after death by repealing present law’s step-up in basis that increases the tax basis for inherited assets to their full fair market value upon death. This proposed rule — which “carries over” an asset’s tax basis to the heir — likely would entail a significantly greater overall tax burden with respect to transferred assets than would the decreased exemption.… Continue reading

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Mandatory software updates for Deere GPS receivers

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Spring is less than 40 days away, and with snow on the ground, now is a great time to check for software updates on all the GPS equipment and displays on the farm.

For farmers that use John Deere Ag Management Solutions (AMS) precision equipment, there are some items that must undergo a mandatory update in order to communicate with the StarFire system moving into the 2021 growing season. The StarFire 20-2 Update is mandatory for all StarFire 6000 and StarFire 3000 receivers. The most important part of the 20-2 software update is that it positions the Starfire 6000 and 3000 receivers to continue operating in the future.

The StarFire 20-2 Update first became available in August of 2020. 

“The 20-2 update is needed for the receivers to decode the new language and track the satellite,” said Scott Gerken, account manager for the Kenn-Feld Group.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Amanda Bush wins NCGA Fields-of-corn Photo Contest

It was a challenging year for so many, yet photographers continued to share essential farmers’ stories of perseverance through the seventh National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest.

Also unprecedented was the number of social shares, breaking records overall for NCGA’s photo contest. NCGA awarded two Grand Prizes.  A grand prize was awarded for the single most popular photo, taken by Amanda Bush of Ohio, “Cotton Candy Harvest,” which gained more than 1,700 likes on Facebook. Also, one selected by a panel of judges, submitted by McCullum Steen from Illinois with the photo titled “Harvest 2020.”

“Grit and grace characterize the photos of the year,” said Beth Musgrove, NCGA Graphic Communications Manager . “The Facebook engagement this year is telling that people are appreciative of the beauty of rural America in their daily feed.”

Bush is the executive communications assistant for Ohio Farm Bureau and she grew up on a farm in Morrow County.… Continue reading

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Rural broadband making progress in Ohio

Legislative progress is being made in Ohio for rural broadband. The Ohio Senate passed SB 8 this week, allocating $20 million to build the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program, allowing for internet service providers to apply for grants that will help fund the infrastructure needed to provide faster internet access to underserved rural Ohio communities. There are also extensive measures for broadband included in Governor Mike DeWine’s proposed budget.

“The necessity for reliable broadband in rural Ohio has been one of the top priority issues for Ohio Farm Bureau for years and the challenges that come with inadequate internet connections have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau. “Senate passage of SB 8 is a great first step in making a meaningful investment to put all Ohioans on a level playing field in a world that relies on broadband access to succeed.”… Continue reading

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