Featured News



Free cat program from HSDC

The Humane Society of Delaware County (HSDC) is reaching out for anyone wishing to adopt (for free) a barn cat or entire colony. We have an urgent need to safely relocate many feral, semi-feral, and “friendly, but prefers to be outside” cats. Please contact us immediately at horserescuehsdc@gmail.com if you have room in your heart and barn for any experienced mousers. These cats are being horribly mistreated or neglected by residents and we have to act fast to save these cats whose only crime was being born.

HSDC’s “Barn Cat Rescue” is a newly created program designed to manage the rapidly increasing number of neglected feral and abandoned cats in Delaware County.

Each free barn cat will be: vet-checked, feline leukemia tested negative, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered.

HSDC does not receive any governmental funding, so we are counting on the caring folks within our community to step forward and help us trap, sterilize, vaccinate, and re-home these cats.… Continue reading

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Ohio fish farms growing quickly

Two years ago, Dave Lemke lost his job so he netted a new one.

Fish farmer.

Today the Wayne County man works — will even expand soon — in a small but fast-growing industry in Ohio whose jobs have doubled in the past 10 years and whose economic impact has more than tripled in that time to nearly $50 million.

And he credits Ohio State University, and specifically its Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development, or OCARD, as a key to his success.

“They helped me get to the point where I’m at now,” said Lemke, who together with his wife, Wendy, owns and runs the Scales to Tails Seafood Shoppe in Wooster and a five-acre fish farm near there. Later this year, pending bank approval, they’ll open a new $4 million, 10,000-pounds-per-week tilapia farm planned in large part with OCARD’s assistance. Seven new jobs will result.

Aquaculture experts with OCARD, headquartered at Ohio State’s South Centers in Piketon in southeast Ohio, study what’s crucial to the industry, including lower-cost feeds, improved fish genetics and greater efficiency.… Continue reading

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Annual Update for USDA National Farmers Market Directory begins

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is opening the updating process for the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, the official count of the nation’s farmers markets. For the first time this year, the directory will also track farmers markets with multiple locations and operating days.

“The USDA National Farmers Market Directory not only counts, lists and maps the country’s more than 6,100 farmers markets, it is also a fantastic resource for those interested in local food production, small producer success, and public policy about regional food systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In addition to helping people find the closest farmers market, the farmers markets listed in this directory are included in maps, mobile apps and other stats. We hope that all managers ensure their markets are included so that no farmers market misses out on this opportunity.”

All of the information in the directory relies on input from farmers market managers in the field.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybean prices to reflect substantial uncertainty

Old-crop corn prices declined sharply in the first half of March as it appeared that high prices had sufficiently slowed the rate of consumption. However, a continued high rate of ethanol production, a resurgence of export sales and larger livestock inventories provided evidence that consumption had not slowed, said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“The March 1 Grain Stocks report provided an estimate of smaller-than-expected inventories of corn, and prices rallied to a new high on April 11. That rally was followed by a 40-cent decline last week on renewed talk of slowing consumption,” said Darrel Good.

Livestock prices appear to be peaking, and high gasoline prices may point to reduced fuel, including ethanol, consumption. Feed demand for corn is also expected to be reduced by increased wheat feeding, although most of that reduction is expected to occur in the summer months after the harvest of the 2011 wheat crop.… Continue reading

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Livestock industry: May 2 Workshop in Columbus tackles ammonia, nitrogen

This year’s Ohio State University agricultural air quality workshop will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing livestock and poultry producers when it comes to ammonia emissions and their connection with nitrogen fertilizer. It will take place Monday, May 2, at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center in Columbus.

Aimed at farmers, allied animal agriculture industries, agency professionals and regulators, the workshop will provide a fundamental understanding of ammonia emissions, air regulations, and the best management practices and innovative technologies available for the abatement and recovery of these emissions — both to protect the environment and to create an alternative solution for fertilizer needs in farming.

Registration for the event, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., costs $35 before April 25 and includes lunch. Registration after April 25 costs $45. To register, download a form at http://go.osu.edu/Cn3, fill out and mail with payment to the address indicated on the form.… Continue reading

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Proven practices for improving corn yields

By Peter Thomison and Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

The record high corn yields achieved by many Ohio farmers in recent years have generated considerable interest in what can be done to sustain and push yields even higher. Many Ohio growers are achieving 200 bu/A corn. According to some agronomists and crop specialists, we have entered a new era in corn production characterized by higher annual rates of yield improvement. These higher rates are attributed to several factors, including genetic technologies that allow for greater expression of corn genetic yield potential by withstanding various crop stresses.

In the quest for high yields, considerable attention has been given to increasing various inputs, including seeding rates and fertilizers, narrowing row spacing, and making preventative applications of foliar fungicides, growth regulators and biological stimulants. However, the additional costs of some of these practices and inputs may prohibit their use except perhaps for those growers interested in participating in corn yield contests on high yielding sites.… Continue reading

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Wall Street Journal gets the story wrong on antibiotic use

By Doc Sanders

Bill Towson of The Wall Street Journal reported March 16 on a recent USDA hearing about the supposed overuse of antibiotics by hog farmers. He reported that the USDA’s Edward Knipling testified that the alleged overuse posed a human health threat.

Towson went on to report that the situation could be exposing Americans to antibiotic-resistant E. coli and Campylobacter. E. coli causes a severe gastrointestinal (GI) tract illness. Campy also causes food safety issues that can lead to GI disease.

The article stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned hog, cattle and chicken producers to stop the widespread practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock to promote growth. Knipling was quoted as saying that the government antibiotic monitoring system used in livestock has produced significant results. And the article said USDA is proposing research to show hog farmers how to wean their pigs off antibiotics.… Continue reading

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Charles Moellendick receives COBA/Select Sires Distinguished Service Award

Charles Moellendick, Lancaster, Ohio recently received a Distinguished Service Award from COBA/Select Sires during the cooperative’s annual meetings. He was presented with a plaque which read, “For Your Calm & Effective Service and Leadership 1980-2011.”  Moellendick thus became the first person to receive this prestigious recognition since 1996.  Moellendick also served as a Director of Select Sires representing COBA members during the same 31 year period.

In making the presentation to Charles Moellendick, current COBA/Select Sires President, Tom Fleming, noted that it was during Moellendick’s term as President of COBA/Select Sires that the current General Manager, Bernie Heisner, was hired in 1992.  When Moellendick started as a Director of COBA in 1980 the cooperative sold 473,043 units of semen in its service area, which remarkably grew to 1,764,136 units in 2010 with no change in the geography served.  Fleming further observed Moellendick’s demeanor as a board member was generally quiet with good humor, but when Charles spoke people listened attentively to what he had to say. … Continue reading

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Buckeye Livestock Judging Camp planned for June

The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences and OSU Extension will be hosting a 3-day, 2-night livestock judging camp beginning in the afternoon on Monday, June 27, and ending around noon on Wednesday, June 29. Camp participants will be staying in the Taylor Tower dorms on the OSU campus with camp chaperones. Camp will be open to any student interested in livestock judging that will be in 9th grade and above for the 2011-2012 school year, as well as 2011 graduates still participating in the state 4-H contest.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association will be assisting with the camp and handling the registration. The cost of the camp will be $200 per student and will cover:

• Lodging (including linens and towels)
• Food
• Recreation (may include swimming)
• Transportation during camp
• Official camp t-shirt
• Bound copy of the 2011 OSU Livestock Judging Team Manual
• Judging notebook
• 24-hour medical assistance

Kyle Culp, OSU Livestock Judging Team coach, and Dr.… Continue reading

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USDA Rural Development invites applications for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today invited agricultural producers and rural small businesses to apply for loans and grants to implement renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

“Biofuels and other renewable energy sources present an enormous economic opportunity for rural America and the rest of the nation,” Vilsack said. “President Obama and I recognize that we need to win the future by implementing a long-term strategy to meet our country’s current and long-term energy needs. The funding I am announcing today will help make America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses more energy efficient.”

USDA is providing funding for up to $61 million in guaranteed loans and $42 million in grants through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Funds are available to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements and conduct studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems.

USDA issued a rule to clarify that the definition of renewable energy systems in REAP includes flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as “blender pumps.”… Continue reading

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Harvest more solar power by planting early

By Dave Nanda, agronomic crops consultant and Director of Genetics and Technology at Seed Consultants, Inc.

There are very few things in life that are free. Sunlight is one of those free things, but only 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?  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 for capturing sunlight efficiently, and simultaneously, it reduces carbon dioxide and gives us oxygen so we can breathe and makes food and feed. The only crop plant more efficient than corn in making more calories per unit area is sugarcane, which can be grown only in subtropical and tropical parts of the world.… Continue reading

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New regulations affect farm fuel storage

Agricultural producers storing more than 1,320 gallons of fuel or other petroleum products on their farms soon will need a written plan for preventing and handling spills, a Purdue University specialist said.

The plans are covered in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation amendments that take effect Nov. 10, said Fred Whitford, coordinator of Purdue Pesticide Programs.

The federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulation was adopted in 1974. It has been amended over the years.

“The SPCC’s basic intent is to make sure growers who store large amounts of these products are putting in place measures that will protect the area around their properties, specifically groundwater and surface water,” Whitford said. “With this regulation EPA is saying that we need to be thinking about fuel storage as much as pesticide and fertilizer storage. It doesn’t take much oil or gas to pollute water.”

Under the new amendments, only petroleum products stored in stationary tanks and containers of at least 55 gallons are counted toward the regulated total.… Continue reading

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Tips on setting up on farm trials

By Anne Dorrance, Pierce Paul, Robert Mullen and Andy Michel, Ohio State University Extension

More and more inputs are being pushed onto producers to raise yields. Some products have a substantial amount of data behind them and for others it is hard to find data. But producers can evaluate these treatments on their own farms. Plan now to leave non-treated strips in the field. This does not mean, the better half of the field gets the treatment and the other half doesn’t, which has been shown to be very biased.   To ensure a fair representation, plan to have the treatments cross the field in replicated strips. The direction of the strips should be such that parts of both the treated and nontreated strips are in both the light and dark ground. In other words, if the dark and light ground or woods at the edge of the field runs east-to-west, the treated and nontreated strips should run north-to-south. … Continue reading

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Boggs named to the State Executive Committee of the Farm Service Agency

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that Bob Boggs, a former Director of Agriculture for the State of Ohio, was named to the State Executive Committee of the Farm Service Agency. Boggs, of Rock Creek in Ashtabula County, was recommended by Brown and appointed by USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack to serve on the five-person committee.

“Bob Boggs has demonstrated a commitment to Ohio’s agricultural communities and farmers,” Brown said. “Bob has not only bolstered economic growth and helped create agricultural jobs all across our state, but has worked on behalf of all Ohioans to ensure access to healthy, grown-in-Ohio foods. I was proud to recommend him for this important position and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

The position is part-time and the committee meets 2-3 days per month. The Farm Service Agency provides federal support to Ohio farmers with commodity price supports, disaster relief, emergency assistance, conservation and loans for operating and land purchase.… Continue reading

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New seed corn technology comes with risks

Bags of corn seed that mix genetically modified hybrids with and without Bt toxins that kill insects provide farmers easier compliance with federal regulations but could, over time, hasten insect resistance to Bt, a Purdue University entomologist said.

Although “refuge-in-a-bag” seed technology has been approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, questions still remain over its long-term effect on corn rootworms, the main pest targeted by the technology, said Christian Krupke.

“Is a guarantee of 100% grower compliance with refuge regulations for corn rootworms worth a bit of a risk in terms of resistance development?” he said. “For many the answer is yes, because compliance has been declining in recent years.”

Refuge-in-a-bag products contain 90% Bt corn seed with 10% non-Bt “refuge” seed.

Under EPA rules, farmers who plant Bt corn also must plant next to or around that corn non-Bt hybrids equaling 20% of the Bt acreage. With refuge-in-a-bag, farmers plant all the seed together.… Continue reading

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Farmers not overextending on farmland despite price increases

While there’s no end in sight to strong farmland prices and rental rates, farmers don’t seem to be overextending, said an Ohio State University Extension agricultural economist.

“Prices are sky high everywhere and continue to increase,” said Barry Ward, OSU Extension’s leader for production business management.

Factors pushing land and rental rates are likely to continue. Increasing commodity prices, profitability of row crops, strong international demand and low interest rates all are part of the equation.

Ward sees farmers purchasing land with plenty of equity and therefore doesn’t anticipate cash flow will be hurt if land values start to fall in the future.

“Farmers are buying land for the same reason as investors: good crop profitability and low interest rates,” he said. “They also want to be able to control the land for production purposes and provide for the next generation. If values drop 10 or 20%, they will still have the land to use as a business asset.”… Continue reading

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EPA exempts milk from SPCC rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted milk and milk product containers from the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, potentially saving the milk and dairy industries more than $140 million per year. This regulation has been in place since the 1970s, and with this action, EPA for the first time will ensure that all milk and milk products will be formally exempted.

In response to feedback from the agriculture community, EPA determined that this unintended result of the current regulations – which were designed to prevent oil spill damage to inland waters and shorelines – placed unjustifiable burdens on dairy farmers. To ensure that this outdated rule didn’t harm the agriculture community while the mandatory regulatory process proceeded, EPA had delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers several times since the SPCC rule went into effect.

“After working closely with dairy farmers and other members of the agricultural community, we’re taking commonsense steps to exempt them from a provision in this rule that simply shouldn’t apply to them.… Continue reading

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Tax time is upon us

By Tim Reeves

It’s April, the month of showers and new growth. It’s the month when God reminds us that winters don’t last forever and that spring will chase away the cold and harshness of wintry times.

That’s what makes April the “best of times,” but since it’s also the month for paying taxes, it is also the “worst of times!”

As I write this column, the U.S. Congress is still trying to pass a budget for the year; a budget that SHOULD have been passed before the year started, nearly four months ago. I find it so interesting (and amazing!) that our federal government can just arbitrarily choose to ignore basic accounting and economic practices, seemingly at will. No state or business; no church or individual, for that matter, could get by with the kind of accounting ignorance the federal government shows time and again.

In 1980, the United States of America was the world’s largest lender nation.… Continue reading

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OSCF announces scholarship winners

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) is pleased to announce the scholarship recipients of the OSCF Scholarship Program for the 2011-2012 academic year. Undergraduate scholarships of $3,000 each will be awarded to Dustin Homan, Andrew Klopfenstein, Rhiannon Schneider and Brent Stammen.  The first annual $3,000 Farmer, Lumpe + McClelland (FLM) Scholarship was awarded to Emily Krueger, and the annual $5,000 Bhima Vijayendran Scholarship was awarded to Rachel Yoho.  Graduate scholarships of $5,000 were awarded to Sasiwimon Buddhiranon and Andika Gunadi.

This is the fourth year for the OSCF Scholarship Program, which was created to encourage undergraduate students to pursue careers in agriculture, as well as to support ongoing graduate-level research.  All OSCF scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to full-time students enrolled at an Ohio college or university.

“There were many scholarship applicants this year and they were all very impressive students to make it a tough competition,” said Tom Fontana, OSCF director of programs and development.… Continue reading

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