Featured News



Corn prices looking for direction

December 2010 corn futures have regained more than half of the decline that occurred from Nov. 9 to Nov. 23. Cash prices have recovered even more as basis levels continue to strengthen, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“A number of factors continue to influence corn prices, with the market trying to weigh the negative versus the positive factors. There is some concern about the large, long positions held by both index and managed funds and the possible negative impact of liquidation of some of those positions,” he said.

Such activity could have some short-term impact on price movement, but over a longer period, prices will follow fundamental value.  As is often the case, there is both uncertainty about fundamental factors and conflicting fundamental factors, he added.

“One of the largest uncertainties is the fate of the ethanol blender’s tax credit. That credit is currently at 45 cents per gallon of ethanol blended into the fuel supply, but that credit is set to expire on Jan.… Continue reading

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ABN Radio (Buckeye Ag Radio Network) Void filled by Ohio Ag Net

Due to the closing of ABN Radio (Buckeye Ag Radio Network) the Ohio Ag Net is expanding their farm programming on many stations throughout Ohio. You can view a complete and up-to-date list of where you can listen in to Ohio Ag Net programs. As of December 6, the Ohio Ag Net now offers afternoon farm programming.

In addition to farm programming the Ohio Ag Net also produces a daily e-newsletter, Digital Dale. You can sign up to have it delivered to your inbox each weekday for free. Click here to sign-up today!

For those who have sought out agricultural news from ABN Radio at abnradio.com or the Buckeye Ag Radio Network at buckeyeag.com, the Ohio Ag Net provides their on-air reports online along with the latest ag news, markets, weather and video on www.ohioagnet.com.Continue reading

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Farm bill debate will include reducing spending

When the new Republican House majority takes up the 2012 farm bill, Purdue agricultural economist Roman Keeney says farmers should expect lawmakers to reduce spending by focusing on three major areas: Brazil, budget and baseline.

In 2009 the World Trade Organization allowed Brazil to impose sanctions against the United States after ruling that U.S. cotton subsidies were illegal under the WTO framework. In April, the U.S struck a last minute deal to send $147.3 million dollars of annual support to Brazilian cotton production.

“That deal is a temporary resolution to the WTO case that Brazil won against U.S. cotton subsidy programs several years ago,” Keeney said. “The major issue in resolving the WTO case is for the U.S. to bring their policy into compliance in the 2012 farm bill.”

Sending $147.3 million dollars to Brazil is not a huge economic stress to the U.S., Keeney said, but it brings attention to agricultural spending at a time when the budget deficit is a major public concern.… Continue reading

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Technology, sustainability and ag in 2020

A decade from now, farmers will rely on the marriage of agronomic, information and process control technologies to grow thousands of acres of crops in ways that create smaller carbon footprints, predicts a Purdue University agricultural economist.

Crop farming could become both simpler and more complex by 2020, said Mike Boehlje.

“There will be challenges and opportunities for agriculture 10 years down the road,” Boehlje said. “Those will involve the continued change in the size of the agricultural industry at the farm sector level, the sustainability issue, challenges associated with productivity and resource utilization, and the increasing demands our urban society is making on farming.”

Large farms with vast acreages of corn, soybeans and wheat could become the norm in the years ahead, Boehlje said. Consolidation within the agriculture industry has been ongoing since at least 1980, he said.

“If you look at farms with 1,000 acres or more, that comprises about 6% of the farmers.… Continue reading

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Slow recovery for the dairy industry

The dairy industry is slowly recovering from low prices and record losses encountered in 2009 and early 2010, a Purdue University agricultural economist said.

“It will take higher prices over an extended period of time for dairy producers to begin to replace equity that was lost in 2009 and early 2010,” said Nicole Olynk.

Typical dairy farms in 2009 lost $350 to $1,000 per cow in equity. Part of the losses were driven by high costs, especially feed and labor, exceeding returns from milk sales and lower value of cows and heifers as dairy replacements, said Olynk and Purdue Extension dairy specialist Mike Schutz. Dairy farms that were better able to control their own forage production and that had more equity, often through owned land, were best positioned to survive such economic loses.

Milk cow prices were at $1,290 at the beginning of 2010, compared with $1,920 a year earlier, although prices are now moving higher along with increasing milk prices, Schutz said.… Continue reading

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ASA urges Congressional approval of Korean Trade Agreement

The American Soybean Association (ASA) expresses appreciation to President Barack Obama and his team of negotiators who brought a successful conclusion to a United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) that would create landmark opportunities for U.S. soy, meat, and poultry exports. ASA leaders are now urging Congress to swiftly vote approval of the necessary implementing legislation for this historic free trade agreement.

“Soybean farmers greatly appreciate the work of U.S. negotiators who concluded a trade agreement that achieves ASA’s objectives,” said ASA President Rob Joslin, a soybean farmer from Sidney, Ohio. “ASA has provided input to the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the benefits of the FTA with Korea for a number of years. Now the Congress needs to approve this agreement as soon as possible.”

The agreement offers immediate duty-free access to U.S. soybeans for crushing and to U.S. soybean meal. And for the first time, producers of U.S.… Continue reading

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Comedian Drew Hastings to Perform at Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium December 16

At one point in his career, comedian Drew Hastings came to the realization that he needed to rid himself of the urban life in Los Angeles. So, he publicly declared, “I’m gonna go back to the Midwest where I’m from and get myself a farm!”

As a new farmer in Hillsboro, Ohio, Hastings has experienced the trials and tribulations of working with the land. But, he has also gained a new following for his comedic act – other farmers. His fans have seen and heard him perform on “The Tonight Show,” Comedy Central, a variety of sitcoms and “The Bob and Tom Show” syndicated radio program.

Hastings is now bringing his act to Lima, Ohio, December 16 to close out the second annual Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium (OGFS) at the Veterans’ Memorial Civic and Convention Center. He will entertain attendees with true stories about his life on a cattle farm.

In addition to seeing Hastings perform, grain farmers throughout the state will have the opportunity to learn about the latest agricultural issues impacting their operations.… Continue reading

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Happier holidays with Ohio wines

By Matt Reese

The holidays are here and so are the countless parties and get-togethers with family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. All of these events can be very fun, but they can also be stressful, especially for the host. The decorations, the preparations, the guest list, the food and the entertainment are plenty to think about. The inclusion of wine can add a whole new set of challenges, but a fine Ohio wine can also make the party.

“All of the holidays and celebrations get people thinking about sparkling wines, ice wines and dessert wines which are great for holiday parties and meals and are also done very well in Ohio,” said Bruce Benedict, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “Wines are meant for consumption with food and these great wines are even better when they are matched with great food.”

For those who are less than wine savvy, these pairings can be daunting, so Benedict offers some advice on how to dazzle guests and partygoers with Ohio wines.… Continue reading

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NASCAR to run on E15

The National Corn Growers Association and its state affiliates are among the organizations backing American Ethanol, a partnership including Growth Energy and NASCAR. This new partnership, announced by NASCAR, comes after the popular racing organization said in October it would fuel all races with E15, a 15% corn ethanol blend, starting with the 2011 season.

“The productivity of America’s farmers is unrivaled in the world and our ability to supply corn for food, livestock feed and fuel should be a source of national pride. This exciting new association with the NASCAR Nation will help to build that awareness,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president and a corn grower in Kulm, N.D. “With precision farming, innovation, technology and hard work farmers can double our harvest in the years ahead. NASCAR is a high-profile way to showcase one great use for this abundance.” NCGA’s involvement comes with the generous support of state corn checkoff investments.… Continue reading

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The budget, HSUS and the future at ODA

A conversation with…

Jim Zehringer, the future director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

OCJ: First, could you share a little about your background in agriculture and your legislative career that has helped prepare you for this position?

Jim: I grew up in town, but in the 70s I started working with my father in-law operating Meiring Poultry farm. My wife and I took ownership of the farm in 1983 and we raised chickens and fish and grew corn and soybeans up until 1 year ago. In 2002 I was elected as a Mercer County Commissioner. Mercer County is one of the largest Ag producing counties in the State and working with farmers in the county prepared me to work with agriculture issues at the state level. I was appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2007 and I have been actively working on the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee as a member of the House.… Continue reading

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USDA’s CAP deadline approaching

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers they have until close of business on Thursday, Dec. 9, to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP). Up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes for eligible losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

Assistance is available to producers of eligible crops in counties that received Secretarial disaster designations as a result of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. A list of eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster counties who certify to a 5% or greater crop loss in 2009 because of excessive moisture or related conditions may be eligible for compensation based on a predetermined payment rate multiplied by the planted and considered planted acres of the crop.… Continue reading

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USDA's CAP deadline approaching

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers they have until close of business on Thursday, Dec. 9, to apply for assistance for 2009 losses under the Crop Assistance Program (CAP). Up to $550 million in disaster assistance will be issued to producers of rice, upland cotton, soybeans and sweet potatoes for eligible losses because of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009.

Assistance is available to producers of eligible crops in counties that received Secretarial disaster designations as a result of excessive moisture or related conditions in 2009. A list of eligible disaster counties for CAP is located at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. Producers of eligible crops on farms in disaster counties who certify to a 5% or greater crop loss in 2009 because of excessive moisture or related conditions may be eligible for compensation based on a predetermined payment rate multiplied by the planted and considered planted acres of the crop.… Continue reading

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NCGA and industry work together on Bt corn refuge implementation

To assist farmers in developing the right plan for refuge compliance, NCGA has joined forces with agribusiness to develop a next-generation Insect Resistance Management refuge calculator that is easy to use and represents the latest products available.

“Biotechnology is an important part of modern agriculture’s ability to sustainably meet the world’s increasing demands for food, feed and fuel, and its proper stewardship is essential,” said Chad Blindauer, Chair of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “Given the benefits of Bt products, farmers and trait providers have a duty to keep this technology viable and on the market.”

In recent years, the introduction of new refuge systems has given growers more options in setting up their refuge. NCGA’s calculator was developed as a tool to clarify those options with growers and show them how to execute the requirements properly.

Industry experts from the Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), which is made up of representatives from Dow AgroSciences LLC, Monsanto Company, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.,… Continue reading

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USDA seeks applications for grants to help farmers improve rural environmental quality and energy efficiency

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is seeking proposals for grants to improve water quality, air quality and promote energy conservation. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $25 million through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program to address natural resource concerns nationwide with a special emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and the Mississippi River Basin.

“The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change,” Vilsack said. “USDA is seeking grant applications from farmers, ranchers and our conservation partners to solve America’s natural resource challenges.”

Now in its eighth year, the CIG program offers funding dedicated to the adoption of technologies to address a broad range of agricultural issues. For example, the Michigan Department of Agriculture worked with Michigan State University and agricultural landowners to establish conservation practices for high-risk erosion areas, with a goal of reducing sediment and nutrient runoff. … Continue reading

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China, corn and cattle

The No. 1 factor in cattle feeding profit or loss is not fed or feeder cattle price, beef demand or the nation’s shrinking cowherd.It’s the price of corn.

“U.S. cattlemen, I can’t say it strong enough,” said Dan Basse, president of AgResource Company of Chicago.  “You’ve got to be focused on grain prices and your ingredient prices because it’s going to determine who stays in business, who makes money, who expands and who goes.”

Basse addressed crowds at the Feeding Quality Forum Nov. 9 in Grand Island, Neb., and Nov. 11 in Amarillo, Texas. The market analyst examined the interactions between corn and beef markets, starting with global factors that affect both.

“It used to be when I woke up in the morning, I would look at the weather forecast as one of the first drivers for grain markets,” Basse said. “Now I get up and the first thing I think about is, what are the Chinese markets doing?”… Continue reading

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2010 is the 500th Anniversary of the first decorated Christmas tree

By Matt Reese

Little is known about the first decorated Christmas tree in Riga, Latvia, other than the tree was placed in the public marketplace and decorated by members of a merchants guild to honor the birth of Christ. A ceremony was held and the tree was burnt at its conclusion.

The year of that first decorated Christmas tree was 1510, 500 years ago. A plaque now marks the spot where the first Christmas tree stood. This year, Christmas tree growers from around the world are commemorating the 500 years of the beloved holiday tradition.

“Christmas tree growers from Ohio are proud to be a small part of this long and cherished Christmas tradition,” said Dave Reese, president of the Ohio Christmas Tree Association. “Many of the Christmas tree farms in the state will being doing special activities and promotions to commemorate this occasion. It is not every year you get to be a part of a 500-year anniversary.”… Continue reading

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Central Ohio Agronomy Day-Dec. 16

Practicing twin-row corn production for potential higher yields, getting a handle on marestail, and reassessing fertility recommendations are just some of the ag production topics being covered during the Central Ohio Agronomy Day on Dec. 16.

The event will take place in Founders Hall at the Ohio State University/Central Ohio Technical College campus in Newark, Ohio. The program, sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, will run from 8:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

The Central Ohio Agronomy Day is tailored for crop producers, those in the agronomy service industry, Certified Crop Advisors and commercial pesticide applicators. Advanced registration is $20, paid by Dec. 10, and $30 at the door. The fee includes morning refreshments, lunch, program materials, and up to eight hours of CCA credits.

Session topics include adoption of precision agriculture, drainage water management, nitrogen rate field trial in continuous corn, corn after corn management, insect management, weed management, and water quality improvement.… Continue reading

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Animal Agriculture Alliance encourages people to prevent HSUS from capitalizing on Pepsi’s generosity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is dismayed that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been deemed eligible to compete to win $250,000 in the online Pepsi Refresh Project.  


Pepsi began the project in January of 2010 with the goal of awarding grants to “innovative and inspiring causes”. Ideas are submitted by individuals, groups, non-profits and businesses with no more than $25 million in revenue. Each month, up to 10 grants are awarded for each denomination of $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Two grants of $250,000 are also given. Winners of the grants are selected by public votes on the Pepsi Refresh Project website and text messages. Each month, the projects and organizations competing change and voting restarts.

Past winners of $250,000 grants include the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, AIDS Research Alliance, Homes of Hope for Children, Inc., Teach for America and the American Legion.  Fourteen of the past 17 grants of $250,000 have specifically benefited children and eight of the 17 grants have gone toward medical research.

… Continue reading

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Animal Agriculture Alliance encourages people to prevent HSUS from capitalizing on Pepsi's generosity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is dismayed that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been deemed eligible to compete to win $250,000 in the online Pepsi Refresh Project.  


Pepsi began the project in January of 2010 with the goal of awarding grants to “innovative and inspiring causes”. Ideas are submitted by individuals, groups, non-profits and businesses with no more than $25 million in revenue. Each month, up to 10 grants are awarded for each denomination of $5,000, $25,000 and $50,000. Two grants of $250,000 are also given. Winners of the grants are selected by public votes on the Pepsi Refresh Project website and text messages. Each month, the projects and organizations competing change and voting restarts.

Past winners of $250,000 grants include the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, AIDS Research Alliance, Homes of Hope for Children, Inc., Teach for America and the American Legion.  Fourteen of the past 17 grants of $250,000 have specifically benefited children and eight of the 17 grants have gone toward medical research.

… Continue reading

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Animal Welfare Symposium

The 2nd annual Animal Welfare Symposium featured Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and well-known animal handling expert and autism advocate. In addition, attendees got practical advice and answers to commonly asked questions about how to best handle and manage compromised animals, learned the latest consumer research on perceptions of animal agriculture and the implications for the livestock industry and heard an update on the activities of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

For posted presentations from the program, visit:

http://vet.osu.edu/preventive-medicine/AnimalWelfareSymposiumContinue reading

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