Featured News

United Producers Inc. Opposes Proposed Rule by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration

United Producers Inc. (UPI), which operates livestock marketing facilities throughout the Midwest, has submitted written comments opposing a proposed rule by the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

“We are extremely concerned about the proposed rule as it relates to regulations regarding livestock contracts, arbitration use in contracts, and establishing criteria for the Secretary to consider in determining whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act,” said Dennis Bolling, president and CEO, United Producers Inc.

UPI’s concerns about the proposed rule focus on regulations that would negatively impact its members and its operations. These concerns include:

If the definition of competitive injury is changed, the ensuing frivolous lawsuits would be devastating and result in a one‐price‐fits‐all bid from packers. This type of pricing does not recognize variation between animals.

If alternative marketing arrangements (AMAs) are restricted or eliminated, it will severely limit UPI’s members’ ability to manage risk, finance production and compete with one another to negotiate premiums.… Continue reading

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Legendary apple tradition preserved by family farm

By Matt Reese

Local legend tells of a visit from Johnny Appleseed to the home of Sarah Seine and her children among the rolling wooded hills of what is now eastern Fairfield County. If the legend is true, the Hugus family has maintained Johnny Appleseed’s apple tradition on that farm since the early 1900s when Ray and Bernice Hugus planted peach and apple trees.

The fruit was a part of a general livestock and grain farm back in the early days, but became the main focus of the Hugus farm after World War II when the dairy was sold. The retail apple and peach business has been a family venture ever since.

“Direct marketing our apples has always been our main focus,” said Ralph Hugus, the current owner of the farm and the third generation of his family on the land. “We’re not a big enough operation to do well with wholesale and the logistics of doing u-pick in our orchard really do not work for us.… Continue reading

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Cross country meet held “Down on the Farm”

By Kyle Sharp

Hundreds of people gathered at the Ross County farm of Larry and Betsy Moore on Sept. 29, but it wasn’t for an early harvest party. They’d come to watch and participate in the 2010 “Down on the Farm Run,” a low-key cross country meet that has become quite popular among six area schools.

The event is the brainchild of the Moore’s daughter, Jennifer Johnston, who is an agricultural education teacher and cross country coach at nearby Zane Trace High School.

“I started coaching cross country at Zane Trace in fall 2000, and I would take some of our runners out to the farm to run as practice,” Johnston said. “It became tradition and the kids really liked it. Then one of them said it would be neat if we had a meet here. She thought it would be fun to run around the cow pasture.”

That got the creative juices flowing, and plans were soon underway to hold the first “Down on the Farm Run” in 2004.… Continue reading

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ASA member Kip Cullers breaks world soybean yield record

American Soybean Association (ASA) member Kip Cullers of Purdy, Mo., has once again broken the world record in soybean production with a yield of 160.6 bushels per acre, 6 bushels higher than the world record Cullers set in 2007, and 21 bushels higher than his world record in 2006. A typical Missouri soybean acre yields about 40 bushels. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon visited Cullers’ soybean fields to recognize the grower’s 2010 record yield.

Cullers’ attention to detail and proactive management style have continued to help him achieve higher yields and set a new record. He scouts his fields closely and on a daily basis to check for production challenges, such as disease and insects. He says selecting the right seed and a good crop protection program are critical elements to growing higher-yielding crops. The record-setting yield was planted April 14 and harvested Sept. 28, 2010.

“I’ve learned over the course of more than two decades of farming, that setting the stage for higher yield potential all starts with good genetics,” said Cullers.… Continue reading

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BASF announces Verdict herbicide

BASF announced that Verdict herbicide is now approved for use on soybeans. To highlight the newly expanded label, BASF has changed the Integrity herbicide name to Verdict herbicide. The additional use pattern in soybeans represents a growing change in management strategies for preemergence herbicides, as growers continue to seek products that help them get the most out of every acre through simple and effective weed management programs.

Verdict, powered by Kixor herbicide technology, is a corn preemergence herbicide product with the flexibility of use for soybeans. Verdict is a simple solution for preemergence burndown and residual control of 46 of today’s toughest weeds in corn, grain sorghum and soybeans, providing a foundation for maximum yield potential.

“Verdict herbicide offers a stronger option for broadleaf weed control in corn, with the simplicity and convenience to also be used in soybeans,” said Bryan Perry, Kixor Product Manager at BASF. “BASF developed Verdict in response to our customers’ need for uncomplicated, effective weed-management solutions that contribute to an efficiently-managed operation.… Continue reading

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OSA applauds new weight limits for containers bound for export

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) applauds the recent approval by Ohio’s Joint Committee on Rule Review (JCARR) of new weight limits for trucks hauling grain and other products in shipping containers bound for international markets.  The weight limit permits will be issued by the Ohio Department of Transportation and will allow a truck plus its cargo to weigh up to 94,000 pounds on state roadways, exceeding the current legal limit of 80,000 pounds. The new rules become effective October 28th.

The permits will cover the container’s travel between its loading location on a truck and an intermodal facility, where it would then be loaded on a train, barge or ship.  The permits require the loading location and intermodal facility to be located in Ohio.

OSA advocated for these new rules and OSA president, Jeff Wuebker, signed a letter of support, as part of an agricultural coalition including the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Ohio Corn Growers Association. … Continue reading

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Corn Growers Call Ethanol Decision a Good Start, but Incomplete

National Corn Growers Association recognized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision allowing higher blends of ethanol in vehicles from the 2007 model year and newer as a tentative first step that needs to be followed immediately with more action.

“We’re disappointed in the very limited scope of this approval, but pleased the EPA has finally taken action to partially approve the waiver request to allow higher blends of ethanol in some motor vehicles,” said NCGA President Bart Schott, a grower in Kulm, N.D. “We believe this bifurcation of the approval process, and the labels that are expected to be placed on higher-blend fuel pumps, can lead to general consumer confusion and therefore act counter to the original intent.”

By proceeding along this path, EPA’s decision casts an unnecessary shadow on all ethanol blend levels, Schott added. Blends up to E-15 and beyond have been tested and found suitable for a wide range of newer and older vehicles.… Continue reading

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Harvest update from Between the Rows

Here in Ohio you have been very busy with harvest and wheat planting. Corn harvest jumped 11% during the week to 47% complete. Corn mature is 95% and average is 83%.

Soybeans are now 60% harvested that is up 17% from last week and well ahead of the average 40%.  Soybeans mature are said to be 89%, up from 80% last week.

Winter wheat planting is now 56% complete up from last week’s 30% and 12% ahead of the average pace.

Kevin Miller

Williams County

“There has been a lot of progress in the last two weeks. We’ve only had a half-inch of rain in that time and everything is dry. The ground is dry and the crops are dry. We have a 40% chance of rain tonight and another chance tomorrow.”

The wheat crop needs rain. “My wheat is all in. The wheat I planted right after fly free is really nice.… Continue reading

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FCS helps rebuild grandstand at Defiance County Fairgrounds

Anyone who grew up or lives in rural America likely has a pretty good feel for how county fairs — complete with 4H Club members, livestock judging, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, elephant ears, and much more — are an integral part of the fabric of their local communities.

“County fairs are really an annual celebration of agriculture and rural America,” said Defiance County native Nick Sheets recently of his county’s fair at Hicksville.

Those annual celebrations are also an opportunity to share agriculture’s story with a population increasingly removed from farming traditions and practices. However, in Defiance County fewer people are attending than in years past, which has had some community leaders concerned.

“At one time this was a great county fair, but over the past few years interest and attendance have dwindled,” said Tom Breininger, a retired school principal and farmer who agreed to chair a foundation board to raise funds to help rejuvenate the fair.… Continue reading

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ASA pushes legislative priorities in unfinished business for Congress

The 111th Congress adjourned on September 30, for the pre-election recess. It will return to Washington on November 15, to begin a “lame duck” session, break for Thanksgiving, and is expected to return after Thanksgiving for another three weeks to complete “unfinished business.”

The American Soybean Association (ASA) urges voters to contact Members of Congress on four key items of “unfinished business” that are of critical importance to U.S. soybean farmers and the soy industry. We also urge you to talk to candidates who are seeking Senate or House offices about these issues. While only current Members of Congress will vote in any lame duck session, it is important to educate candidates about soybean farmer policy priorities including:

·         Extension of the biodiesel tax credit;

·         Estate tax legislation;

·         Passage of the South Korea Free Trade Agreement (and possibly the Colombia and Panama FTAs) to retain and expand U.S.… Continue reading

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Kubota and Vermeer announce strategic marketing alliance

Kubota Tractor Corporation and Vermeer Corporation announce a strategic marketing alliance for the sale of performance-matched, allied-approved, Vermeer forage equipment. The combination Kubota and Vermeer Dealers now have the opportunity to sell Vermeer forage equipment, such as balers, rakes and related forage equipment financed by Kubota Credit Corporation.

“The marketing alliance between Kubota and Vermeer allows those Kubota Dealers who are also Vermeer Dealers to offer a full line of Vermeer forage equipment and Kubota tractors to their agricultural customers with easy financing and strong aftermarket support available from one dealer location,” explains Greg Embury, vice president sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation.

“We believe the combination of our high quality Vermeer forage solutions equipment along with Kubota’s well-respected tractor lineup, offers customers an excellent choice for purchasing high-performance, long-lasting, productive ag equipment. The alliance between Vermeer and Kubota offers an easy way to purchase a tractor and baler, rake or other related forage equipment and have the service and financing end of ownership at one convenient dealership location,” adds Mark Core, Vice President, Forage Solutions, Vermeer Corporation.… Continue reading

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Ohio Departments of Agriculture, Education and Ohio First Lady celebrate Ohio Farm to School Initiative

River View School District administrators and Ohio food policy advocates at River View High School in Warsaw to celebrate the Ohio Farm to School Initiative and highlight the program’s recent developments.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Initiative, facilitated through Gov. Ted Strickland’s Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council, works to connect schools with local farms to provide healthy and nutritious meals to school children using Ohio-grown foods. The initiative combines collaborative efforts between the Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Education, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through a Specialty Crop Block Grant.

“The Ohio Farm to School Initiative is a comprehensive effort to increase access to healthy food options for Ohio’s students and create new markets and opportunities for Ohio’s farmers,” Boggs said. “Ohioans spend about $43 billion every year on food, but only 3% of that spending goes to products from Ohio farms. If Ohio schools purchased just 25% of their fruits and vegetables from local farmers for school lunches it would contribute more than $13 million to our local economy.”… Continue reading

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Markets get whipsawed

December 2010 corn futures traded to a high of $5.235 on September 27 and closed at $5.05 on Sept. 29. On Oct. 4, the surprisingly large USDA Sept. 1 corn stocks estimate released on Sept. 30 sent that contract to a low of $4.56, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

Similarly, the November 2010 soybean futures contract traded to $11.295 on Sept. 27, closed at $10.99 on Sept. 29, and declined to $10.44 on Oct. 4, he said.

“Price declines came to a halt with the release of USDA’s October Crop Production report on Oct. 8. That report contained a unexpectedly small forecast of the size of the U.S. corn and soybean crops,” he said.

The corn crop is now forecast at 12.664 billion bushels, 496 million smaller than the September forecast and 446 million smaller than the 2009 harvest. Although the estimate of harvested acreage was increased by 258,000 acres, the forecast yield was lowered by 6.7 bushels, to 155.8 bushels, he said.… Continue reading

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Go whole hog to celebrate October Pork month

If you eat, you have a connection to the farm every day. October is National Pork Month, and it offers a special opportunity to recognize Ohio hog farmers’ multi-faceted commitment to producing safe, nutritious food; while promoting animal well-being, safeguarding natural resources, and contributing to a better quality of life in local communities.

“During National Pork Month—and every month—Ohio hog farmers work tirelessly to care for their animals, employees, consumers and communities,” said Jim Albaugh, Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) president. “Hog farmers in our state continuously make decisions to promote quality, both on the farm and in the pork products we produce. It is both our commitment and responsibility.”

To thank consumers for enjoying pork and supporting Ohio farm families during National Pork Month, Ohioans can visit www.OhioPork.org to download a coupon for $2 off fresh pork at any Ohio retailer. Featuring an Ohio hog farm family and their quick pork fajitas recipe, the coupon is a great resource for families to try pork’s versatility while consuming an affordable, delicious and healthy meal.… Continue reading

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Big drop in USDA’s corn crop estimate surprises industry

After Friday’s USDA report the crop farmers will be harvesting today are much more valuable. Compared to last Monday, the corn is up over a dollar and the beans are up $1.25.

The big drop in both the corn yield and production estimates in October’s National Agricultural Statistics crop report caught the industry by surprise, according to John Anderson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Folks were expecting to see a drop in average yields from last month’s report because of poor late-season weather conditions across much of the Corn Belt, but nobody was forecasting this big of a drop in the corn crop,” Anderson said.

USDA forecasts corn production at 12.664 billion bushels, down 3.8% from the 13.16 billion production forecast last month and lower than last year’s record 13.11 billion bushel crop.

“This is a pretty sizable drop in production,” Anderson said. “We saw a really big drop in USDA’s forecasted average yield for corn because of adverse weather in the big corn states of Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.… Continue reading

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Markets soar after lower production report from USDA

The markets are soaring limit up in response to the USDA crop production report.

Though the U.S. soybean production forecast is at a record-high level, according to the Crop Production report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the yield is down 1% from the September estimate. Soybean yield is expected to average 44.4 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushels from 2009. If realized this will be the highest yield on record. Soybean growers are expected to harvest a record-high 76.8 million acres, but up 0.6 percent from last year’s acreage. 

Compared with last month, yields are forecast lower or unchanged in all major-producing States except Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin. The largest decreases in yield from last month are expected in North Carolina and Virginia, down 5 and 4 bushels, respectively.

U. S. corn production was also down with a yield forecast at 12.7 billion bushels, down 4% from the September forecast and down 3% from last year’s record production of 13.1 billion bushels.… Continue reading

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NRCS extends sign-up period for conservation stewardship program applications

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the ranking period cut-off date for producer applications in NRCS’ Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to January 7, 2011. “We’re extending the deadline for applications to CSP to provide agricultural producers more time to complete their applications,” White said. “This will help farmers, ranchers and forestry producers by giving them more time and hopefully allow even more producers to participate in this program.” CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off dates for ranking periods. The program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancement and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. All producers are encouraged to apply for CSP. The program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship.… Continue reading

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Beware of planting wheat after corn

Ohio growers following wheat planting after corn harvest should be mindful of the potential for head scab development in their crop.

Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said that recurring disease problems — ear rot and stalk rot in corn in 2009 and head scab in wheat in 2010 — may pave the way for continuing issues if weather conditions favor head scab development during the 2011 growing season.

“Wheat and corn are both members of the grass family, and as such, are affected by some of the same pests and diseases, one of which being head scab,” said Paul, who also holds an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center appointment.

Head scab, a major disease of wheat that affects the crop during the flowering stage, is caused by the same fungus (Fusarium graminearum) that causes ear and stalk rot in corn.

“So even if the cornfield into which wheat is planted did not have a major ear rot or stalk rot problem this year, the fungus still is present in the corn stubble left in the field after harvest.… Continue reading

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Wheat recognized during National School Lunch Week

A campaign designed to educate students about the importance of nutritious school lunches also highlights the role of wheat and whole grains.

National School Lunch Week is October 11-15. The tribute raises awareness about how healthy food options for elementary and secondary students at lunchtime improve their academic potential and wellbeing.

Wheat is a staple ingredient in school lunchrooms nationwide because of its many nutritional advantages. It contains large amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Research has shown its influence in reducing the risk of diabetes, breast cancer, gallstones, inflammation and several cardiovascular conditions.

Whole grains are becoming more integrated in school menus. Wheat is one of the most widely grown and most preferred whole grains available for consumption in the world. In fact, wheat is America’s most consumed grain and is also the principal ingredient of flour.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) released a study June 30, which included responses from 538 school nutrition directors managing school-district foodservice operations in 44 states, that revealed 95 percent of schools districts are increasing offerings of whole-grain products.… Continue reading

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Green stems slowing soybean harvest

The 2010 soybean harvest looks promising for many growers, but green soybean plants and stems may reduce harvest speed this fall.

“Green stems, sometimes referred to as ‘green stem syndrome’ or ‘green stem disorder’ occur when stems remain green even though pods and seeds yield and mature fine,” Vince Davis, University of Illinois Extension soybean specialist. “The condition can range from a nearly normal number of pods on a plant with green stems, to entire plants that remain green with few pods and no seeds developed.”

Entire plants that remain green can easily persist until a killing frost occurs, he said. These cases can also range from entirely genetic to entirely environmental causes.

“Genetic causes in nature are due to male sterility, causing plants to set about 85% fewer pods resulting in 4.5 times greater carbohydrate concentrations in the root, stem, and leaf matter,” he said. “In 2006, Curtis Hill and fellow researchers evaluated 1,187 different MGI and MGII cultivars in Illinois from 2001 to 2004 and found some relationships between percentages of green stem to certain cultivars suggesting better variety selection may be possible.”… Continue reading

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