Featured News



Parking lot gardening

An old asphalt parking lot might not seem like a good place for a garden, but in urban areas it can be. It tends to be cheap open land and an Ohio State University expert on intensive small-scale horticulture has started a three-year study on what works best there.

Joe Kovach, who specializes in maximizing fruit and vegetable production in limited spaces, is comparing three ways to do it in empty, abandoned parking lots: in giant-sized pots and in raised beds on top of the blacktop, and in trenches cut right through it.

“There are a lot of vacant parking lots in places like Cleveland and Youngstown,” said Kovach, who works at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and holds a joint appointment with Ohio State University Extension. “We’re hoping to learn if the trenches work, if the pots are worth it and of all three techniques, which is the best?”… Continue reading

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Johnson Joins Ohio Beef Council Staff

Andrew Johnson of Wooster joined the staff of the Ohio Beef Council and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association in late December. He is serving as the Director of Programs and Industry Relations for OBC and OCA. This director position will focus largely on developing and implementing checkoff funded programs in the areas of consumer advertising, retail, foodservice, veal and nutrition. Johnson will also coordinate the OCA Young Cattlemen’s Conference, help plan district meetings, oversee the Foundation’s fundraising and scholarship program and is responsible for coordinating the Ohio Beef Expo Junior Show activities. Johnson is a graduate of Capital University with a degree in communications. Johnson has held previous internships with the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair and also with Certified Angus Beef.  Johnson can be reached via email at ajohnson@ohiobeef.org or by calling the OBC and OCA office at 614-873-6736.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is an affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is the state’s spokesperson and issues manager for all segments of the beef cattle industry including cattle breeders, producers and feeders.… Continue reading

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New beef position to focus on animal care, food safety and profitability

A newly created position in Ohio State University Extension will address animal welfare, beef management and production, and pre-harvest food safety for Ohioans.

“Animal care and food safety are key issues for Ohio farmers and consumers alike. This position will help promote practices recommended by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board,” said Keith Smith, associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of OSU Extension.

The OSU Extension Beef Coordinator position will be based out of The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, Ohio, and will be funded in partnership with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and the Ohio Beef Council (OBC).

“This position is about sharing information across all industry sectors to add economic value to Ohio’s beef production,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of OCA and OBC.

“We are grateful to the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Beef Council for partnering with us to create this new position,” Smith said.… Continue reading

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Focus on food safety, current issues at OPGMA Congress

“Your Recipe for Success” is the theme for this year’s Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Congress, Jan. 17-19 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. The registration deadline is Jan. 7 and is available online at http://www.opgma.org/.

Sessions cover a wide range of topics, including special sessions on Monday, Jan. 17, on food safety issues. Presenters include farmers, industry representatives and university specialists from across the nation, including Ohio State University Extension educators and researchers with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Among the sessions being offered by OSU Extension and OARDC faculty members are:

Strawberry and Tomato Production in High Tunnels, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Matt Kleinhenz, Brad Bergefurd.

Apples: Thinning Trials and U.S. Apple Industry Activities, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Allison Parker, Diane Miller, Jozsef Racsko.

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Control and Resources, Jan. 17, 3-4:15 p.m., Sally Miller.

Food Safety Part 3: Training, Education and Implementation, Jan.… Continue reading

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SCI acquisition a product of an evolving seed industry

By Matt Reese

The world of corn and soybean production forever changed in the late 1990s when the first genetically modified soybeans were released. Since then, there is no doubt that traits have revolutionized corn and soybean production, but those same traits have altered the industry in other ways.
The big benefits of traits come with a big price tag in terms of the money required to research and bring them to market. The stakes are high in this high dollar game and once the major players make the huge investment in traits, they are in it to win. Disputes are inevitable, and while the legions of lawyers battle it out, the smaller seed companies that depend on these traits (but cannot afford to develop their own) are caught in the crossfire.
This is the story behind the surprising recent news that DuPont, which owns Pioneer H-Bred International, Inc. (PHI), had acquired Seed Consultants, Inc.… Continue reading

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Lely USA announces expansion to U.S. headquarters

Lely, the world leader in robotic milking systems, has announced the company will soon expand its production facilities to include Pella, Iowa, the current headquarters for Lely USA. The expansion will significantly increase Lely’s production capacity in the North American market.
“Lely USA has been headquartered in Pella, Iowa for the past 7 years,” said Peter Langebeeke, president of Lely USA. “It’s with great pleasure we’ll be able to pay back this incredibly supportive community with our significant facility expansion and new job creation.”
Plans include a 35 to 40,000 square foot production and office facility dedicated to the production and support of Lely’s line of robotic milking equipment, including the Astronaut robotic milking system as well as Lely’s complete line of feed and animal care products. The new space will be Lely’s first dairy production facility outside of their headquarters and production facilities in Maassluis and Rotterdam, Holland. The new facility will dramatically increase the product capacity in the North American market, allowing the company to expand its current services and technologies to the North American dairy industry.… Continue reading

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Ohio State University Extension “district” programs for sheep and goat producers

This OSU Extension Coordinated Program is an effort to provide outreach programs in several areas of sheep production.  We invite sheep and goat producers from around Ohio to come to one or more of the educational sessions to learn more about different areas of sheep and goat production.

These Educational Programs are sponsored by: Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Roger A. High, Executive Director, contact (614) 246-8299 or rhigh@ofbf.org or visit our website at www.ohiosheep.org for more information.  Contact Extension Educators for possible meeting fees.

When, Where and What?

Thurs., Jan. 6, 2011 “Clinton County Sheep and Goat Program – Wilmington”

Location:                   Clinton County Extension Office, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Suite 2, Wilmington, OH  45177

Time:                                     7:00 p.m.

Speaker:                   Gregg Fogle, Shepherd, The Ohio State University and Roger A. High, OSU Sheep Extension Program Specialist, “Australian Sheep Production”

Contact:                   Tony Nye, Clinton County Extension Educator, (937) 382-0901

Wed., Jan. 12, 2011 “Top of Ohio Region Sheep and Goat Program – Mt.Continue reading

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The debate of ethanol and food prices continues

Recent news stories about higher food prices often try to make a connection between food prices and the demand for ethanol, an incorrect assumption on the part of the ethanol opponents that significantly downplays all the impacts and pressures that affect food prices. Studies after the 2008 spike in corn prices help demonstrate this, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

“It’s an outrage to hear the same claims time after time, blaming corn growers and ethanol producers for the rise in food prices,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president. “It’s a rhetoric with no grounding in reality. Our growers are not only producing more corn and meeting all needs, but we are also experiencing some of the same negative factors on their farms, such as higher energy costs, that are driving up food prices around the world.”

Here in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office had already looked into the issue and issued a report in April 2009 that discussed the role of factors such as energy:

“CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded production of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percentage points of the 5.1% increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index (CPI).… Continue reading

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First Tier Four CASE IH Tractor Delivered to Ohio Farmer

PAUL FORTKAMP OF FORT RECOVERY RECEIVES WORLD’S FIRST TRACTOR MEETING NEW EPA EMISSIONS STANDARDS

Case IH shipped the world’s first tractor that meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier 4A emissions requirements for agricultural equipment. The engine in the new Magnum Series tractor uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in emissions while actually boosting power, and improving fuel efficiency and durability.

The EPA’s Tier 4A emissions standards, which take effect in 2011, mandate cleaner and more efficient engines. These measures will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter produced by 90 percent over previous generation engines utilized by agricultural manufacturers.

Case IH believes the SCR technology in the new Magnum Series tractors is superior to the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology being used by John Deere. EGR recirculates exhaust back into the engine air intake. In high-horsepower applications, this approach uses more fuel, leads to hotter engine temperatures and requires more maintenance.… Continue reading

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Jersey production set records in 2010

The American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) announced that new records for production by Registered Jersey cows were established in 2010.

The official Jersey lactation average increased to 18,567 lbs. milk, 876 lbs. fat, and 671 lbs. protein. On a Cheddar cheese equivalent basis, average yield is 2,270 pounds. All are new category records.

A record 88,727 lactations were processed by the AJCA, an increase of 23% in five years.

The lactation average is calculated on a standardized 305-day, twice daily, mature equivalent (m.e.) basis.

The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey cattle and genetics, and Jersey milk and milk products. For more information on USJersey program and services, call 614-863-3636 or visit the web site at www.USJersey.comContinue reading

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OCGA and OWGA progressing in unification

The Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and Ohio Wheat Growers Association (OWGA) have taken steps to unite to better represent the interests of thousands of grain farmers throughout the Buckeye State.

At the Ohio Grains Symposium December 16 in Lima, OCGA and OWGA leaders discussed the process and decision to form a new organization with the goal to advance Ohio’s grains with members.

As a single entity as of Jan. 1, 2011, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) has positioned itself for the regulation and advancement of domestic and international issues that affect the success of Ohio’s corn and wheat markets, including energy, livestock, trade, environment and transportation issues and relief programs, research and marketing programs.

The new organization is the result of an ongoing relationship between the formerly separate associations that has been fostered with shared staff and joint membership meetings, legislative visits, public campaigns and policy-development strategies.… Continue reading

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UPI scholarship

United Producers Inc. (UPI) is excited to support the future generation of agriculture through a new scholarship opportunity.

UPI is offering one $1000 scholarship in each of its 16 districts to deserving high school students pursuing agriculture degrees.

“The future of agriculture depends highly on those who are currently considering and pursuing a career in this critical industry,” said Dennis Bolling, President and CEO, United Producers Inc. “We want to do all we can to encourage students who have an interest in agribusiness, farming, veterinary medicine or other agriculture-based industries to pursue their careers, and this is our way of helping them do so.”

Applicants must be a Preferred Member of UPI or a child of a Preferred Member, a graduating high school senior, and enrolled in a college or technical school studying an agriculture-related field. Completed applications and essays must be postmarked by April 1, 2011.

Visit www.uproducers.com for more information and to download an application form.… Continue reading

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Top stories of 2010

At Ohio’s Country Journal, we made a significant effort to expand and improve upon our Web site in 2010 and it has been extremely successful at getting the news out instantly. We have enjoyed the chance to get Web site visitors the stories they want to know about as they are happening. The response from Ohio agriculture has been fantastic with many visitors this year. Here are the most commonly viewed stories on the Web site from 2010.

#5. Kent Boyd: From farmtown to Hollywood, by Heather Vaubel, posted Aug. 16

Kent Boyd danced his way from his hometown in Botkins to the finals for the TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance” on Fox.

Each week Boyd wowed the judges with his talent and America fell in love with his innocence and charming, genuine and goofy personality. As Boyd’s fame grew, Botkins became prouder and prouder, especially since there was a little confusion about where he was from.… Continue reading

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IRS publishes 2011 mileage rates

By David L. Marrison, OSU Extension Educator

On December 3rd, the Internal Revenue Service issued the 2011 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2011, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 51 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 50 cents per mile in 2010);
19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (up from 16.5 cents per mile in 2010); and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (same as 2010).
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs as determined by the same study. Independent contractor Runzheimer International conducted the study.… Continue reading

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Statement from Thomas C. Dorr, USGC president, regarding China’s anti-dumping case against U.S. DDGS imports


“The U.S. Grains Council has a 25 year history of market development and capacity building programs in China and values the U.S./China market and trade relationship. China is a critical partner in trade and an important market for the United States.

“China’s investigation of U.S. DDGS imports is surprising and could be disruptive to trade. China’s unusual market and supply volatility over the last two years has resulted in new global trade flows. As trade flows change, it should perhaps not be surprising there would be an adjustment period in response to unprecedented demand.

“The United States takes pride in being a reliable supplier of high-quality feed and food grains and its ability to rapidly respond to global market demands.

“The mission of the U.S. Grains Council is to help keep markets open and support the free flow of goods. The Council looks forward to continuing the strong trade relationship with buyers and end-users of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture to accept aquaculture grant applications

Ohio’s fish farmers can now apply for their portion of $34,859 in reimbursements through the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Aquaculture Grant Program. The program will assist producers who suffered financial losses associated with high feed costs in 2009.

Aquaculture producers eligible for reimbursement funds include those who experienced a 25 percent increase in feed costs for the 2009 calendar year. Eligible aquaculture species include: sunfish (bluegill, hybrids), yellow perch, largemouth bass, striped bass, trout, salmon, catfish, tilapia, carp, goldfish, koi, amus, baitfish (minnow, shiners), freshwater shrimp and crayfish. Funding for this program is made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Applicants must work with their local Farm Service Agency office to begin the application process. Department staff will work closely with Farm Service Agency offices to ensure aquaculture producers have complete support during the process. Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process promptly. A limited supply of hard copies will be available to producers without internet access.… Continue reading

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2011 income tax cut marks final step in Ohio's historic tax reform plan

Ohio’s individual income tax rates will fall by more than 4% across the board next year, meaning additional savings for Ohio taxpayers.

But there is a larger historical significance to next year’s rate reductions. They also mark the finish line in one of the most ambitious packages of state tax cuts ever undertaken in Ohio, a multiyear plan that has reduced income tax rates four other times and phased out Ohio’s two largest business taxes.

With next year’s rate change, state income tax rates will be a full 21% lower across the board in 2011 than they were in 2004, the year before the Ohio General Assembly launched the tax reform plan as part of House Bill 66.

The plan, launched during the Taft administration, was embraced by Governor Ted Strickland and has reduced taxes throughout his term as governor. The reforms also included a gradual phase out of local property taxes on business machinery and equipment and a phase out of the state’s corporation franchise tax on profits.… Continue reading

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2011 income tax cut marks final step in Ohio’s historic tax reform plan

Ohio’s individual income tax rates will fall by more than 4% across the board next year, meaning additional savings for Ohio taxpayers.

But there is a larger historical significance to next year’s rate reductions. They also mark the finish line in one of the most ambitious packages of state tax cuts ever undertaken in Ohio, a multiyear plan that has reduced income tax rates four other times and phased out Ohio’s two largest business taxes.

With next year’s rate change, state income tax rates will be a full 21% lower across the board in 2011 than they were in 2004, the year before the Ohio General Assembly launched the tax reform plan as part of House Bill 66.

The plan, launched during the Taft administration, was embraced by Governor Ted Strickland and has reduced taxes throughout his term as governor. The reforms also included a gradual phase out of local property taxes on business machinery and equipment and a phase out of the state’s corporation franchise tax on profits.… Continue reading

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Nutrient record-keeping proves important for all producers

Livestock producers large and small need to not only manage nutrients properly but also keep detailed records of their nutrient management practices, said Purdue Extension animal scientist Tamilee Nennich.

Smaller producers often think nutrient management record-keeping is necessary only for large producers. But Nennich says that’s not the case.

“Every producer needs to have detailed records, especially regarding manure issues, because those records are the only proof of what’s been done,” she said.

One example she gave is that of a producer who has applied manure and gets an unexpected heavy rainfall the next day, causing runoff. That farmer can only prove there was no over-application by keeping detailed records.

Purdue Extension, the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council have once again teamed up to make the process simpler for livestock producers by providing free nutrient management record-keeping calendars.

The calendars are designed for all species and provide inspection reminders and space for producers to write daily, weekly, monthly and annual records.… Continue reading

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