Featured News



ADA Mideast urging stores to lift dairy purchase limits

American Dairy Association Mideast staff are diligently working with milk processors and their sales teams to ask Ohio and West Virginia grocery stores to lift their purchasing limits on milk and dairy foods.

As you know, there was a purchasing surge at the start of the COVID-19 crisis as Americans prepared to stay at home. This caused some dairy cases to be low and prompted grocery stores to set quantity limits on milk purchases. The dairy companies and processors, though have assured consumers that grocery stores’ increased needs during this time can be supplied.

These purchasing limits, as well as the recent decline in food service sales and school milk consumption, are contributing to the excess milk supply. To help address this, ADA Mideast is contacting grocery stores, supporting school feeding sites and working with foodbanks to help move more milk and dairy foods.

Those who find an Ohio or West Virginia store that is limiting milk purchases, please take a picture, note the location, date and time and send to Erin.Brown@Drink-Milk.com.… Continue reading

Read More »

Rapid sector demand shift leads to disposing of milk

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

For years, the milk truck pulling into the farm drive has been something the Hartschuh Dairy Farm in Crawford County planned their daily schedules around.

“Today was different, though. The milk truck didn’t come for its scheduled pickup. For the first day ever in 44 years, our milk hauler didn’t run their regular route taking milk from farms to the dairy processing plant,” said Rose Hartschuh in a Facebook post. “First, we heard a rumor from a neighbor who sends their milk to the same plant as we do. Then, later in the day, it was confirmed with a call to us. Every producer who sends their milk to our plant is dumping one to two days’ production, depending on the farm, down the drain — ourselves included.”

The Hartschuh milk goes to Dairymens in Cleveland, and due to a rapid and dramatic shift in the supply chain, Dairymens does not have room to take any more milk today.… Continue reading

Read More »

Day 17 of social distancing

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Navigating the extended homestays has been challenging for many. Teaching, entertaining and keeping kids occupied at home, while parents continue to work the best they can is taking a toll on everyone.

It’s still uncertain how long the restricted movements will last. I was hoping by Memorial Day people would be able to leave their homes again. Unfortunately, I may be having to wait a little longer if other states follow Virginia which issued an order for shelter in place until June 10. Regardless of when the restrictions end it’s still unclear how fast things will get back to normal. One possible scenario is that increased movement will be gradual, with large gatherings in the hundreds or even thousands not allowed for a much longer time period.

And in terms of the economy, it will likely take a while for it to get back to “normal.”… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio’s agribusinesses committed to service through coronavirus outbreak

In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, farmers across Ohio continue to operate to their fullest in order to keep Ohio’s food supply strong. Standing behind them are Ohio’s agribusinesses, which, as an essential industry, continue to diligently serve their farmer customers, while also managing the risks related to coronavirus.

Nearly all areas of the agriculture industry are considered essential, ranging from feed manufacturers and feed delivery, to agronomists and custom applicators, to support personnel such as IT, mechanics and operations. Due to the inherent seasonality of agriculture, agribusinesses have capacity to hire those individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of mandated business closures. Interested individuals should contact their local agribusinesses to inquire what seasonal positions may be available or visit www.oaba.net/careers for open positions.

“Our members understand the risk COVID-19 represents, but also know their importance to operating as an essential business,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO.… Continue reading

Read More »

Hawk takes new role as OACI project leader

The Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) is pleased to announce Nikki Hawk as the new OACI Project Leader. In her new role, Hawk will work with producers, commodity groups, Soil and Water Conservation District professionals and other partners to achieve meaningful change to Ohio’s water quality into the future.

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) is an innovative, collaborative effort of the agricultural, conservation, environmental and research communities to improve water quality by establishing a baseline understanding of current conservation and nutrient management efforts and building farmer participation in a new certification program.

“We are excited to have Nikki in this position. Her education, experience and passion for conservation and agriculture make her the ideal leader for this initiative,” said Janelle Mead, OFSWCD CEO.

Hawk comes to the Federation having worked early in her career as an Organization Director with the Ohio Farm Bureau. For the past 18 years, she has served as the District Administrator/Education Specialist with the Mercer Soil & Water Conservation District.… Continue reading

Read More »

ASF still a major concern

As the nation battles COVID-19 in humans, though, veterinarians must also be concerned with diseases facing animals. The most notable right now is the threat of African Swine Fever. So far, the costly disease to the hog industry has not been found in the United States, but the prevention effort requires ongoing action. At the recent American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting, veterinarian Clayton Johnson, a partner with Carthage Veterinary Services, Carthage, Illinois, offered five things that producers and veterinarians can keep in mind to prevent ASF from entering the United States or from spreading once it arrives.

 

  • Contaminated pork. “The carcass is the biggest risk of transmission, whether a mortality or processed meat,” Johnson said. “For example, transmission could happen at one of our national parks if a foreign visitor brought in illegal meat products.”

 

  • He said that it’s a good idea to follow a no-pork-allowed policy on your pig farm when it comes to food items eaten on the premises.
Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio NRCS seeks new proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking new proposals for cutting-edge projects that will provide new conservation opportunities with its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Through the CIG program, Ohio will invest up to $300,000 for new projects in fiscal year 2020.

NRCS CIG emphasizes projects that have a goal of providing benefits within a limited geographic area. Ohio priorities in fiscal year 2020 will be Soil Health, Water Quality and Forestry-Based Sustainable Natural Ecosystem projects. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed or Statewide in scope. For additional information about State CIG competitions, please contact Ohio CIG program manager Cheryl Rice or search for the latest postings at Grants.gov.

All non-federal entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of federal agencies. Projects may be between one and three years in duration and the funding minimum for a single award is $25,000 and the funding maximum for a single award is $150,000.… Continue reading

Read More »

Pollinators and honey bees

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

A good deal of attention has been given to honey bees and other pollinators the last several years. Honey bees first began to draw notice back in 2006 when concerns over Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first emerged. CCD is defined by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service as a dead colony with no adult bees and with no dead bee bodies, but with a live queen, honey and immature bees. More recently, attention has been given to habitat for other pollinators as well. The USDA has looked at existing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts in a Mid-Contract Management (MCM) process to address growing pollinator habitat concerns. Along with reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, CRP aims to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits as well. Several producers with CRP contracts for grass filter strips received letters from the FSA offices notifying them of recent revisions to the MCM process that require all CRP contracts undertake a MCM activity.… Continue reading

Read More »

Beware of lackluster seed germ in 2020

When Seed Genetics Direct, a family-owned seed company in Jeffersonville began offering free carry-over soybean germination testing to farmers, they weren’t sure what to expect. What they got was a mixed bag of results, the worst of which are very bad.

“So far, we have tested 22 seed samples across Indiana and Ohio through Indiana Crop Improvement,” said Chris Jeffries, CCA, president of Seed Genetics Direct. “The germ from the tags of all seed samples was 80 or above, with an average of 86. After testing, only 12 came back with at least 70% germ; only five were above 80. The lowest two were in the 30s. That’s a pretty wide spread and very worrisome.”

Although SGD isn’t releasing identities out of respect to farmers and competitors, farmers submitted seed from six different seed companies for testing. Farmers did not submit Seed Genetics Direct seed for testing because the company moved beans for 95% of customers and is standing behind replant guarantees for any farmers who have SGD beans.… Continue reading

Read More »

COVID-19, livestock and pets

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine points out that coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in animals, such as cats, dogs, cattle, pigs, horses, poultry, camels, and bats. The canine and feline coronaviruses are very common in pets and do not cause illness in people.

COVID-19 is believed to have originated from wild animals (likely bats) in China. Due to mutations in the virus, it developed the ability to infect humans and spread from person to person. There is no evidence at this time to suggest that any animals in the U.S., including pets, horses, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection. It is always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals. This includes washing hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.… Continue reading

Read More »

Challenging conditions remain into April

By Jim Noel, NOAA

Temperatures and rainfall

Temperatures will start the first 7 days of April 1-3 degrees F above normal. Rainfall will start April below normal — about half of normal. That is some good news as the end of March (as forecast) was very wet. However, most indications are for after the first week of April, temperatures will be near normal and rainfall slightly above normal. This will put pressure on early spring planting in April. Evaporation and evapotransporation will be held in check by closer to normal temperatures as we go through April. The May outlook calls for warmer than normal and a little wetter than normal but not as wet as last year.

Soil moisture and temperatures

Soil temperatures have come out of winter above normal due to heavy saturation and the mild winter. However, soil moisture remains in the top 1% to 10% wettest on record, so it is wet.… Continue reading

Read More »

Support the businesses supporting Ohio’s essential agriculture

By Matt Reese

It has been made very clear by the DeWine Administration that Ohio agriculture is essential because of the vital importance of farmers and their service to society. But, during these challenging times, it is also important to remember those who serve Ohio’s essential farmers.

There has been plenty mentioned about getting take-out to support your local favorite dining hotspots that may be feeling a real pinch right now. It is just as important to remember other parts of the service and supply chains that allow Ohio’s essential farmers to do what they do during the coronavirus measures taken by the state and the Stay at Home Order.

“I just want to thank our customers for shopping here and supporting us,” said Larry Goodman, manager of the Rural King in Marion. “At first, for probably the first week and a half, it was off the hook here, very busy.… Continue reading

Read More »

Navigating and understanding the CARES Act for small businesses

On March 27, President Donald J. Trump signed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) into law with provisions to provide financially distressed consumers and small businesses greater access to bankruptcy relief. The legislative package, which quickly passed the House of Representatives, provides a $2 trillion economic stimulus for U.S. industries and citizens faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is the largest modern stimulus package in the country.

The COVID-19 impact on agriculture includes a rapid and unanticipated decline in commodity prices, the likely closure of ethanol plants, the dramatic decline in full-service restaurant and school meal demand, and the reduction in direct-to-consumer sales. The agreement includes a $14 billion increase in USDA’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation and $9.5 billion to assist specialty crop producers, direct retail farmers and livestock operators.

“Of course there are provisions in there that affect everyone as taxpayers and specifics in there that affect agriculture.… Continue reading

Read More »

Bearish news for corn

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn stocks less than expected but acres of 97 million acres were above the high end of expected.

The March 31 reports included quarterly grain stocks and U.S. acres estimates for 2020. It did NOT have supply and demand tables for grains. Those will be out with the April 9 WASDE Report.

Shortly after the USDA report was released, corn was down 7 cents, soybeans down 3 cents, and wheat down 3 cents. Just before the noon report, grains were mixed with corn down 1 cent, soybeans up 3 cents, and wheat up 3 cents.

Quarterly grain stocks will be the focus today as corn stocks easily captured the most attention. For months various industry and producer reports indicated last year’s corn quality was below average as numerous areas harvested light test weight corn. There is above average concern holding corn with questionable quality could be treacherous into the summer months.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio FFA Convention cancelled, other events postponed

The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio FFA have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Ohio FFA Convention according to an email from Matt Winkle, Ohio FFA Advisor.

On March 9, 2020 Governor DeWine issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Ohio due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak; and on March 30, 2020 ordered Ohio’s school-building closure until May 1st. The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate in the U.S. and Ohio, raising numerous issues and questions. The Governor has made it clear to limit large gatherings regardless of their sponsorship or purpose.

The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio FFA remains committed to protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its members. Therefore, it has been determined that the 2020 Ohio FFA State Convention is cancelled. In addition, all in-person events and competitions scheduled through May 1st have been postponed until further notice.

“The decision to cancel and postpone events was not made lightly,” said Winkle.… Continue reading

Read More »

Against all odds and sensationalist headlines

It’s been just a week since I wrote my last column. But it feels much longer. Although all days seem the same when we forcefully work from home, so many things have happened and so many battles have been fought – most of them on our social media timelines – that a week feels like a month.

Last week, the coronavirus pandemic, of course, remained as the number one trending topic here in Brazil, especially because our President, Jair Bolsonaro, has questioned the lockdown. For those who work in agriculture, like me, it was also an intense period of work and mismatch between reality and some news headlines.

Fake news x biased and lazy journalism
Although I have worked as a market analyst for most of my life, I am also a journalist. And, as such, I often find myself thinking about how the fake news phenomenon affects everybody’s lives. But there is one thing that I consider even worse than fake news.… Continue reading

Read More »

NRCS services available by telephone appointment only

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field offices in Ohio are open by telephone appointment only until further notice. NRCS staff are available to continue to provide one-on-one, customer-specific advice to producers to help them meet their unique conservation and business goals.

All USDA Service Centers, including those with NRCS field offices, are not currently accessible to customers in person. NRCS staff are working with customers through telephone, mail and online communications, and field work continues with appropriate social distancing to help producers with conservation planning and financial assistance through Farm Bill programs.

“Our team is here to work with you and we are looking at every possible option and flexibility to support the conservation needs of Ohio farmers,” said Jon Bourdon, acting NRCS State Conservationist. “We want to continue our customer assistance while also taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

NRCS offers year-round continuous signup for its Farm Bill programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.… Continue reading

Read More »

Free online listings available to all sustainable farm and food businesses during COVID-19

Recognizing that farmers are trying to reach consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is taking steps to get the word out and is making its online searchable database available to all sustainable and organic farmers to list their products for sale.

The Good Earth Guide gives consumers an online tool to search for farms and food businesses by product, name, county (Ohio only), and additional options such as community supported agriculture (CSA) and certified organic. Consumers can find out what farms and businesses in Ohio and beyond offer and how to contact them.

“We know farmers, farmers’ markets, and farm-related businesses are scrambling to market their products online, and the Good Earth Guide can help people find them,” said Renee Hunt, OEFFA program director.

Users can find many food and farm related products including fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry, beef, pork, milk, cheese, flour, maple syrup, mushrooms, honey, jams/jellies, breads, sauces, teas, and more.… Continue reading

Read More »

H2Ohio signup deadline moved back to March 31

The much-discussed H2Ohio signup deadline had been moved to early June due to challenges associated with COVID-19. In an effort to preserve resources for H2Ohio, however, the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced it will be is suspending the acceptance of new applications after March 31 but will continue to process all current applications.

“Due to changes from the Ohio Department of Agriculture we now need to have EVERYONE interested in participating in H2Ohio signed up by March 31, 2020,” said Janelle Mead with the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

While each district is different, please reach out to your SWCD district office and be prepared to answer the following questions:

• Entity Name

• Address

• Phone (please leave a telephone number where you can be reached 24/7.)

• Email

• Acres you wish to put in each of the practices for EACH year (2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023)

“We know this is a crazy time and appreciate your patience as we work through this change,” Mead said.… Continue reading

Read More »