Featured News



State-inspected meat plants may soon, finally, have access to interstate sales

By Kyle Sharp

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a final rule April 19 that will broaden the market for smaller state-inspected plants. By participating in this voluntary cooperative interstate shipment program, select establishments will have the option to ship meat and poultry products, bearing an official USDA mark of inspection, across state lines.

“We’re excited to announce this new rule that offers smaller plants the opportunity to expand their market and sell their products to new customers,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. “Allowing these state-inspected establishments to ship their products across state lines has the potential to expand rural development and jobs, increase local tax bases, strengthen rural communities, and ensure that food is safe for consumers.”

While that sounds like great news, most state-inspected processors are taking a “wait and see” approach.

“I’ve learned not to get my hopes up,” said Mike Jessee, Ohio Association of Meat Processors (OAMP) president and owner of Dee-Jay’s Custom Meats, Fredericktown.… Continue reading

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Ag-LINK Program Offers Millions in Reduced Rate Loans

State Treasurer Josh Mandel announced approval of $68.9 million in Agricultural Linked Deposit (Ag-LINK) funds awarded to over 800 farmers from all corners of the state.

“Ag-LINK is a great program that offers Ohio’s farmers reduced rate loans to provide needed funds for a successful season. Through the Ag-LINK program the state invests in our agriculture community and helps provide farmers with important financial tools to help weather the up-front costs of their farming operations,” said Treasurer Mandel. “This translates into real money that farmers can use to invest in their operations, which is very important in an era when many are struggling to make ends meet.”

This annual program provides an interest rate reduction on operating loans and lines of credit to Ohio’s farming community. Every year before the planting season, many farmers finance their operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, and fuel. The Ohio Treasury places deposits with Ohio’s banks at below market rates when the bank agrees to reduce the interest rate on a farmer’s loan.… Continue reading

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Challenging decisions for forage producers

By John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator

At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, it has been a very wet spring in the state of Ohio and most surrounding states. The cool, wet weather has put nearly every farming enterprise behind schedule thus far and this week’s weather forecast offers little immediate relief. Corn planting is well behind schedule and soybean planting may soon join the same trend. Poor field conditions have also prevented forage producers from making seedings for permanent pastures or hay fields.

The poor field conditions are particularly troubling for beef producers wanting to improve their forage situation. Even though it seems like a distant memory, the fall of 2010 was abnormally dry in many locations, which resulted in many substandard or delayed seedings. This fact combined with the current field conditions has put many forage enterprises in a precarious situation.

This week’s weather will push the earliest opportunity to return to the field into next week which puts us at the first of May.… Continue reading

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Making adjustments for later corn planting

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

As of Sunday April 24, only one percent of Ohio’s corn crop was planted, which is 38% behind last year and 13% behind the five-year average (http://www.nass.usda.gov/oh). Weather forecasts indicate more rain this week possibly continuing through Thursday. As prospects for a timely start to spring planting diminish, growers need to reassess their planting strategies and consider adjustments. Since delayed planting reduces the yield potential of corn, the foremost attention should be given to management practices that will expedite crop establishment. The following are some suggestions and guidelines to consider in dealing with a late planting season.

Although the penalty for late planting is important, care should be taken to avoid tillage and planting operations when soil is wet. Yield reductions resulting from “mudding the seed in” are usually much greater than those resulting from a slight planting delay.… Continue reading

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Zeedyk’s custom manure application venture stems from necessity

By Kyle Sharp

About 2001, Visser Dairy with about 1,600 cows started up next to the crop farm of the Zeedyk family in Defiance County. At the time, Roger Zeedyk Jr. farmed the land along with his sons Roger IV, Mike and Adam. An arrangement between the two farms soon materialized, with the Zeedyks supplying corn silage to the dairy and, as partial payment, the dairy’s manure would be applied to the Zeedyks’ fields for fertility.

In the first few years of this arrangement, the problem was finding someone to apply the manure in a timely fashion, said Roger Zeedyk IV.

“It always got there, it was just never quite when you wanted it, or it didn’t quite get applied the way you wanted it,” Roger IV said.

Roger IV had watched people do custom manure application over the years and talked with them about how it needed to be done.… Continue reading

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Delayed planting isn’t always a problem

While the sky literally has been falling in the form of rain for the past month, many farmers aren’t panicking about getting their corn into the ground.

“You have to keep it all in perspective,” said Delaware, Ohio, farmer and Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) Chairman John Davis.  “In 1995, for instance, we didn’t even plant soybeans until the third weekend in June.”

Davis is also a seed dealer for Pioneer. He said farmers are not yet calling him to say that they want to switch from planting soybeans to planting corn because the planting dates for corn extend into May.

“The optimum planting dates for corn in Ohio is April 20 until May10. If the corn is planted in that time period with good weather, most of the yields will be okay,” said Davis. “This is not the time to panic. If we get dry and hot weather, we can have the corn in the ground in eight days.… Continue reading

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New USDA rule encourages the purchase of local agricultural products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon announced that USDA’s child nutrition programs are implementing new rules designed to encourage use of local farm products in school meals. The final rule, published in the Federal Register, will let schools and other providers give preference to unprocessed locally grown and locally raised agricultural products as they purchase food for the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Care, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, and Summer Food Service programs. The rule is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed into law by President Obama and one of the key provisions to bolster farm to school programs across the country.

“This rule is an important milestone that will help ensure that our children have access to fresh produce and other agricultural products,” said Agriculture Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. “It will also give a much-needed boost to local farmers and agricultural producers.”… Continue reading

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Harvest Land Co-op names new CEO

Harvest Land Co-op, Inc. Board of Directors recently named Scott Logue to serve as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Logue has served Harvest Land since 2007 as a Region Manger, Crop Nutrient Manager and Transportation Manager.  He has spent his 14-year career at Harvest Land in a range of positions including agronomy specialist, operations, fuel contracting and management positions. Prior to his current responsibilities, he was Harvest Land’s Liquid Fuel Contractor and Crop Nutrient Manager, responsible for procurement and distributions of products while managing employees and assisting in developing customer contacts. Previously, Logue served seven years as the Hagerstown, IN location Ag Center Manager.  Logue also has experience as an Agronomy Sales Specialist, custom applicator, and with accounts payable.

Gene Tapalman, Harvest Land’s Board Chairman, said that the Harvest Land Board selected Logue based on this track record of being a visionary leader and service-focused manager.

“Our search for a new leader to continue Harvest Land’s success in the industry has been focused and thorough,” said Tapalman.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-April 25th

“To be honest, I quit checking the rain gauge. It really doesn’t matter because there is another rain coming behind it the next day it seems. It looks like it is going to rain all week. It is just wet.

“I’m not concerned yet. In ‘98 our best crops were planted between the 10th and the 17th of May and that was the best year we ever had. Every year is different. By looking at the trees around here, you’d think it was the first of April instead of almost the first of May.

I had one neighbor who drilled several fields of soybeans 10 days ago. Otherwise, nobody has done anything.

“Fortunately, we have a lot of tiled ground. I think that when it quits raining and if it is warm and windy (those days are coming) we could be in the fields in five or six days easy enough.… Continue reading

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Bat disease could cost Ohio agriculture up to $1.7 billion a year

Ohio farmers could suffer more than $740 million a year in agricultural losses, and possibly as much as $1.7 billion, if the new deadly disease called white-nose syndrome wipes out the state’s bats, according to a recent study in the journal Science.

Especially hard hit, the study said, would be the rich farming counties in the state’s west and northwest, such as Darke, Wood, Mercer and Putnam, where typical losses could range from $18 million to $23 million per county per year.

“Simply put, bats eat a lot of insects — insects that bother us around our homes, and insects that can damage crops and forests,” said Ohio State University Extension wildlife specialist Marne Titchenell, who was not part of the study but gives bat conservation workshops around the state and studied southern Ohio bat populations in graduate school. “It’s logical to assume we’ll lose a significant amount of the pest-control services that bats provide us as the disease spreads through Ohio and potentially the Midwest.”… Continue reading

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Planting factors in 2011

By Steve Prochaska, Ohio State University Extension

The weather conditions this year have not favored very early planting of corn and soybeans. However, both corn and soybeans can yet be planted with full yield potential.  When soil conditions become favorable, both crops can be planted without great risk to cold weather injury. There are, however, certain attributes associated with each (corn and soybeans) that should be considered if only one crop can be planted at a time. What follows below is risk/benefit analysis to corn and /or soybean planting given the possible time and field constraints that are very possible in 2011.

Risks to early planted orn

1.   Uneven or reduced plant emergence due to extended periods of wet, cold weather can significantly reduce corn yields.

2.   If need to replant, there is a loss of growing season and corn yield potential.

3.   Cost of replanting in the event of failure.… Continue reading

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Earth Day principles apply every day on farms

On Earth Day today, many Ohioans will be cleaning nearby highways and streams or recycling to help preserve the environment. However, for Ohio’s farmers, it’s just another day of doing what they always do to be environmentally responsible.

The occasion presents opportunities for farmers to share with other about agriculture. Here is a link from Ohio Farm Bureau with resources for sharing about Ohio agriculture: http://ofbf.org/education-and-reference/agricultural-facts/?url=CARE-4THPSH/.

Also, here are some highlights from industry efforts to recognize the effort of farmers on Earth Day. The dairy industry serves as an example of agriculture’s commitment to the environment.

Ohio’s dairy farmers have always been committed to preserving the earth’s natural resources while taking excellent care of their animals and providing safe, affordable dairy foods,” said Scott E. Higgins, American Dairy Association Mideast president and CEO. “Our farmers live and work on their farms, so they understand the importance of protecting the land, water and air for their families and for the entire community.”… Continue reading

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ODA's Forshey re-elected to National Institute for Animal Agriculture Board

Five Newly Elected to NIAA’s Board of Directors

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.— Members of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture elected five members to their first three-year term on its Board of Directors and re-elected three to their second term. Newly elected to NIAA’s Board were Linda Campbell, American Dairy Goat Association; Colin Forster, Y-TEX Corporation; Dr. Karen Jordan, Dairy Farmers of America; Erika Rachal, Alltech, Inc.; and John Saunders, IMI Global. Re-elected to NIAA’s 21-member Board were Dr. Tony Forshey, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Stan Mannschreck, National Livestock Producers Association; and Dr. David Meeker, National Renderer Association.

“The expertise, passion and experience of these individuals fit well with other members currently serving on NIAA’s Board,” stated Dr. Robert Fourdraine, Chairman of NIAA’s Board. “We have a well-rounded Board that can take a 360-degree look at challenges and opportunities within animal agriculture and help us advance proactive solutions for the industry.”

NIAA’s Board guides the organization’s members that include national and state livestock organizations, poultry and equine organizations, producers, veterinarians, government regulatory personnel, academia, researchers, extension specialists and allied industry businesses.Continue reading

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ODA’s Forshey re-elected to National Institute for Animal Agriculture Board

Five Newly Elected to NIAA’s Board of Directors

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.— Members of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture elected five members to their first three-year term on its Board of Directors and re-elected three to their second term. Newly elected to NIAA’s Board were Linda Campbell, American Dairy Goat Association; Colin Forster, Y-TEX Corporation; Dr. Karen Jordan, Dairy Farmers of America; Erika Rachal, Alltech, Inc.; and John Saunders, IMI Global. Re-elected to NIAA’s 21-member Board were Dr. Tony Forshey, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Stan Mannschreck, National Livestock Producers Association; and Dr. David Meeker, National Renderer Association.

“The expertise, passion and experience of these individuals fit well with other members currently serving on NIAA’s Board,” stated Dr. Robert Fourdraine, Chairman of NIAA’s Board. “We have a well-rounded Board that can take a 360-degree look at challenges and opportunities within animal agriculture and help us advance proactive solutions for the industry.”

NIAA’s Board guides the organization’s members that include national and state livestock organizations, poultry and equine organizations, producers, veterinarians, government regulatory personnel, academia, researchers, extension specialists and allied industry businesses.Continue reading

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Marestail control essential to protect soybean yields

No-till practices save soil and offer many other benefits, but soybean producers know there’s at least one big disadvantage: Not tilling gives weeds, particularly problematic marestail, a chance to thrive.

“The biggest challenge we have in no-till soybeans across Ohio and surrounding states is control of glyphosate-resistant marestail in the spring,” said Ohio State University Extension weed specialist Mark Loux.

Marestail emerges in fields from late March through June, and again in late summer through fall. Spring-emerging marestail competes with soybeans throughout the growing season, eventually bolting to a height of 3 to 6 feet, enough to interfere with harvest. It’s more of a problem in the southern two-thirds of the state, though it’s moving north, Loux said.

Loux said a one-two punch is necessary for marestail control in no-till fields: An effective burndown herbicide treatment to ensure planting is done in weed-free fields, and a residual treatment controlling the growth of any new weeds until early to mid-June, when the leaves of the soybean plants are large enough to form a canopy that provides plenty of control.… Continue reading

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ODA Suspends Grain License of Archbold Elevator

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has suspended the grain license of the Archbold Elevator Inc. located at 3265 County Road 24 in Archbold, Ohio.  Operations at a branch in Wauseon, Ohio and at additional storage bin in Elmira, Ohio have also been halted.

Farmers who are owed money for grain deposits with Archbold Elevator should call ODA’s Grain Warehouse Section at 800-282-1955 or at 614-728-6410.

Following an examination the week of April 5, ODA examiners determined that Archbold Elevator held liabilities significantly higher than their available assets and were short at least 50,000 bushels of corn.  The grain handlers’ license, #5272, was suspended on April 11.

Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created to reimburse farmers when a licensed elevator becomes insolvent.

Ohio farmers lost approximately $8 million due to grain elevator bankruptcies prior to the establishment of the fund in 1983. Since the fund was established it has reimbursed farmers more than $8.5 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators.… Continue reading

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USDA report outlines renewable power opportunities for rural communities

USDA today issued a report that identifies and discusses the wide array of renewable power opportunities available to producers in rural America. The report, titled Renewable Power Opportunities for Rural Communities, is intended to serve as a summary and guide to assist rural utilities that may be considering investing in a renewable electricity generation project and for policymakers who may be considering how to encourage such investments.

The report is designed to assist local and state government leaders, rural farmers and business operators, rural-based utilities and their leadership, and rural residents whose interests are focused on renewable power, distributed generation, and rural economic development. The report discusses a rural utility’s opportunities for investing in renewable electricity generation capacity.

Utility staff can use the report to learn about transmission access for renewable electrical power, system regulation, transmission expansion paths for renewable energy including modernization and a smart grid, future electricity demand, electric utility business models, and developing/financing strategies of renewable energy.… Continue reading

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