Featured News



Sifting through the glyphosate (mis)information

There have been some whispers in the back corners of winter meetings, conversations amongst friends in the coffee shops and an occasional bold outright assertion that the use (and over-use) of glyphosate is resulting in unintended consequences. Animal health concerns, plant disease development, nutrient deficiencies and a myriad of other glyphosate conspiracy theories have surfaced in recent months. The fantastic team at Ohio State University has done some investigation into these concerns and compiled several articles in the most recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter. Here is one of them written by Mark Loux, Robert Mullen and Anne Dorrance.

Recent claims about the possible negative impacts of glyphosate have many growers asking whether they are overusing this herbicide and causing deleterious effects to their crops. Extension specialists across the Midwest have been asked about these claims for the past year or so, and have responded in part with newsletter articles and similar pieces recently to address the issue.… Continue reading

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Ohio State receives USAID grant to boost agriculture, food security in Tanzania

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) has been awarded a $24 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve agricultural productivity and food security in the East African nation of Tanzania.

The “Tanzania Agricultural Research and Capacity Building Project” involves a consortium of four other U.S. land-grant universities under Ohio State’s leadership: Michigan State University, Tuskegee University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. The grant was announced in late February.

The project is part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future (FTF) initiative, which seeks to address the root causes of global hunger by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and advancing global stability and prosperity. A nation of 35 million people, half of whom live in poverty, Tanzania — whose economy is largely dependent on agriculture — has been identified as a priority country for the FTF initiative.

“With global population exploding, and new uses for the crops we grow, this grant is critical for addressing poverty and hunger in this part of the world,” said Bobby Moser, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.

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March 1 corn and soybean stocks worth discussion

On March 31, the USDA will release two important reports, the Prospective Plantings and March 1 Grain Stocks reports. A lot of discussion has focused on the Prospective Plantings report and the importance of farmers’ intentions for total planted acreage and the acreage of individual crops. There has been less discussion of the estimate of March 1 grain stocks, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“Expectations for very small inventories of corn and soybeans at the end of the current marketing year put additional importance on the mid-year stocks estimate. The estimates will provide an opportunity to evaluate the pace of consumption that can be supported during the last half of the 2010-11 marketing year,” he said.

Forming expectations about the level of March 1 inventories is limited by incomplete data on the consumption categories that are reported on a weekly or monthly basis and the lack of any ongoing estimates of feed and residual use of corn.… Continue reading

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Research sheds light on fat digestibility in pigs

Producers and feed companies add fat to swine diets to increase energy, but recent research from the University of Illinois suggests that measurements currently used for fat digestibility need to be updated.

“It’s critical that we gain a better understanding of the energy value of fat,” said Hans H. Stein, U of I professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. “If we don’t know the true energy value of fat, we can’t determine if it’s economical to add to the diet.”

In a recent experiment, Stein and his team of researchers studied how different types of diets affect endogenous losses of fat (fat excreted from pigs that did not originate from the diet). They measured endogenous losses of fat to determine the true digestibility of both intact and extracted corn oil. The intact corn oil was provided in the form of corn germ, and the extracted fat was provided as liquid corn oil.… Continue reading

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ASA sets policy at Commodity Classic

Soybean producers from all U.S. soybean growing regions gathered in Tampa, Fla., last week to review and revise the policy direction of the American Soybean Association (ASA). One hundred thirty two producers from ASA’s 26 state affiliates served as Voting Delegates in this annual process that guides the ASA as it pursues future initiatives to improve U.S. soybean farmer profitability.

The voting delegates session was held on Saturday, March 5, following conclusion of the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show. What follows are some of the most significant additions and modifications covering a variety of important soybean issues.

Tariffs and Trade

ASA strongly supports swift Congressional passage of the pending Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements. ASA supports free trade agreements that help to increase soybean and meat exports.

ASA opposes actions by Congress to impose greater tariffs on Chinese products without multi-lateral agreements. ASA believes that unilateral Chinese currency legislation by Congress would create retaliatory actions that would negatively affect soybean trade with China.… Continue reading

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Study determining best practices to manage burcucumber in corn

Burcucumber can be one of the most difficult weeds to manage in corn. It can emerge well into the growing season and its vines can spread up to 25 feet and twine around corn plants.

“It can drag down the corn and make it difficult to harvest, impacting yields,” said Mark Loux, weed scientist for the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Loux is in the middle of a two-year study to determine the most effective way to manage burcucumber in corn.

“While we previously had an idea of the relative effectiveness of various pre- and post-emergent herbicides, we weren’t sure what would be the most effective combinations of herbicides and application timings to provide the most consistently effective late-season control,” said Loux, who is also a weed science specialist for Ohio State University Extension. “Late-season emergence varies from year to year based on rainfall patterns and other factors, but when burcucumber emerges in big numbers after post-emergent herbicides have been applied, it can create a mess.”… Continue reading

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Examine wheat and forages for ice damage

Farmers should examine winter wheat and forages as the crops emerge from dormancy to determine if they have been damaged from the recent sleet and ice storms, two Purdue Extension specialists say.

“The snow that fell was not the normal, powdery snow but a combination of ice and rain acting as a natural concrete,” he said.

Ice can surround the crown of alfalfa plants and allow toxic metabolites to build up, preventing the natural exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen during respiration – essentially smothering the plant.

Wheat specialist Shaun Casteel said ice in wheat can permanently damage the crown or kill the plant.

Farmers won’t know whether ice caused winter damage to their crops until they go out and check their fields, Johnson said.

“As a good management practice, producers should always check plants when crops break winter dormancy,” he said. “Farmers who delay a field check until mid-April because they assume everything is okay can go into panic mode when they discover a winter-damaged crop.… Continue reading

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Will Livestock Care Board cave to coercion?

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “blackmail” is: “to force or coerce into a particular action, statement, etc.” The example given below the definition was, “The strikers claimed they were blackmailed into signing the new contract.”

The example could have just as easily been this gem from Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, following a close vote on veal standards by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) on March 1 that didn’t go exactly how Pacelle wanted: “There is still time for the Livestock Board to restore its original and proper position. A phase-out of veal crates is a core element of the eight-point animal welfare agreement, and if the Livestock Board guts that provision by allowing calves to be immobilized for more than half of their lives, we will have little choice but to renew the effort for a ballot initiative that we had hoped had been averted through a balanced and forward-looking agreement.”… Continue reading

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Mexican/U.S. truck dispute settled

The United States and Mexico have reached an agreement to end the trucking dispute between the two neighbors. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon unveiled a deal resolving a longstanding dispute over cross-border trucking that has subjected the U.S. to billions of dollars in punitive tariffs. The plan will allow for half of those tariffs to be lifted immediately.

The U.S. Pork Industry is certainly pleased with the U.S./Mexico trucking deal. Pork exports to Mexico have been hit hard by Mexican retaliatory tariffs. In August, 2010, Mexico put a 5 percent tariff on U.S. bone-in hams – a big export item – and 20 percent on cooked pork skins in retaliation for the United States not complying with the trucking provision of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement . The provision was supposed to become effective in December 1995.… Continue reading

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New Pork Campaign Unveiled

With a new focus on reaching creative, flavor-seeking home cooks who already prepare, eat and love pork, the National Pork Board today announced a new branding position celebrating pork’s ability to offer a wide range of options in the kitchen.  With PORK® now as the brand, the new campaign of: Pork® Be inspiredsm shows pork’s place in almost any menu, day part, cuisine and lifestyle, based on pork’s unique combination of flavor and versatility as the source of kitchen inspiration.

The new, fully integrated campaign features an updated look and feel, along with a new consumer target: the more than 82 million Americans who already cook, eat and love pork. Moving from a functional to a more emotional positioning, the campaign voice is proud, energetic, approachable and unapologetically optimistic about the unique attributes of the world’s most popular protein.

Evoking the taste of backyard barbeques, new and attainable flavor combinations or mid-week meals on the go, the bold product imagery celebrates one juicy, tender, flavorful pork meal after another.… Continue reading

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OARDC helps Mansfield company produce ‘green’ polyurethane foam, jobs

Waste is a terrible thing to waste. That’s the mantra guiding an Ohio State University researcher and a bioenergy entrepreneur in the development of a brand-new, renewable source of polyurethane foam that’s expected to create up to 30 jobs in Mansfield, Ohio, in the next two years.



The product (known as a bio-polyol) is made from crude glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel production that has so little commercial value it’s practically considered waste. Mixed with other biomass — through a patent-pending process developed by Yebo Li, a biosystems engineer with the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster — this crude glycerin becomes the foundation for making polyurethane foam, which is used in a variety of products in the construction, automotive, appliance and other industries.



“Polyurethane foam made with our bio-polyol is renewable, biodegradable and its quality is comparable to petroleum-based foam,” said Jeff Schultheis, chief operating officer of Mansfield-based Poly-Green Technologies, LLC, a start-up formed to commercialize Li’s invention.… Continue reading

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OARDC helps Mansfield company produce 'green' polyurethane foam, jobs

Waste is a terrible thing to waste. That’s the mantra guiding an Ohio State University researcher and a bioenergy entrepreneur in the development of a brand-new, renewable source of polyurethane foam that’s expected to create up to 30 jobs in Mansfield, Ohio, in the next two years.



The product (known as a bio-polyol) is made from crude glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel production that has so little commercial value it’s practically considered waste. Mixed with other biomass — through a patent-pending process developed by Yebo Li, a biosystems engineer with the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster — this crude glycerin becomes the foundation for making polyurethane foam, which is used in a variety of products in the construction, automotive, appliance and other industries.



“Polyurethane foam made with our bio-polyol is renewable, biodegradable and its quality is comparable to petroleum-based foam,” said Jeff Schultheis, chief operating officer of Mansfield-based Poly-Green Technologies, LLC, a start-up formed to commercialize Li’s invention.… Continue reading

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AFBF backs bills to preempt EPA greenhouse gas regs

The American Farm Bureau Federation supports legislation introduced today in both the House and the Senate that would preempt regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency based on climate change considerations.

The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 was introduced today in the House by Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). In the Senate, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, introduced a companion bill.

In separate letters sent today to Upton and Inhofe, AFBF President Bob Stallman commended the lawmakers for introducing the legislation and pledged to work with them in achieving passage. Stallman said the legislation is important because it would prevent EPA from regulating GHGs without prior congressional approval.

“The regulation of GHG does not fit within the current framework of the Clean Air Act. Unlike other regulated pollutants, where Clean Air Act thresholds are sufficient to regulate the largest emitters, GHG regulation at statutorily required thresholds holds the prospect of costly and burdensome permit requirements on farms, ranches, schools, hospitals and some large residences,” Stallman wrote.… Continue reading

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More from Commodity Classic

By Matt Reese

Maybe it was the harsh winter weather around the country and the welcoming sun of Tampa. Maybe it was the spectacular crop prices and volatile markets. Maybe it was the increasing global politics driving what happens on U.S. farms. Whatever the reason, this year’s joint meeting of the nation’s top corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum organizations at the Commodity Classic set attendance records. There were more than 4,600 in attendance at the event, up from the previous record of 4,532.

This 16th Annual Commodity Classic was packed full of educational sessions on topics such as the new pesticide application permits, crop insurance and sustainability drawing interest from around the country. In addition to the extensive educational opportunities, attendees enjoyed exhibits from more than 220 companies in 870 booths at the trade show amid the busy schedule of meetings, banquets and networking opportunities with other growers. The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Sorghum Producers and National Association of Wheat Growers once again put on quite a show.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic kicks off in Tampa

Soybean, corn, wheat and sorghum growers from around the country have gathered at Commodity Classic in Tampa, Fla., for an experience that will educate, enlighten and entertain. It’s an event that provides benefits for a grower’s farm operation and profitability for years to come.
The 16th Annual Commodity Classic will help growers set sail for a successful 2011 by offering educational sessions on topics such as the new pesticide application permits, crop insurance and sustainability.
“There is no better time to improve one’s marketing skills then now with record commodity price levels,” said Commodity Classic Co-chair Charles Cannatella. “Growers can increase their profitability from attending one of the marketing sessions during Commodity Classic.”
In addition to educational opportunities, attendees will enjoy exhibits from over 220 companies in 870 booths at the trade show. Escape the winter blues and embrace the sun while learning from ag industry experts, networking with fellow growers, and attending association banquets and events.… Continue reading

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New growth inhibitors more effective in plants, less toxic to people

A Purdue University scientist and researchers in Japan have produced a new class of improved plant growth regulators that are expected to be less toxic to humans.
Angus Murphy, a professor of horticulture, said the growth inhibitors block the transport of auxin, a plant hormone that, when transported throughout the plant, controls growth processes. Current growth regulators that inhibit auxin transport are inefficient because they also have hormonelike activity or affect other important plant processes. Current growth inhibitors also are often toxic.
Growth regulators are important in ornamental plants and horticultural crops that would require labor-intensive manipulation and pruning. The inhibitors are used to keep plants a desired size and shape and control fruit formation.
“These regulators would be used primarily on ornamental plants, flowers and trees that aren’t going to be genetically changed easily,” Murphy said. “Growth regulators are used regularly on this type of plant. Inhibition of auxin transport with these new compounds is also an alternative to the use of more toxic regulators like 2,4-D.”… Continue reading

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HSUS responds to OLCB veal vote

The following statement is from Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States in response to the most recent Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board vote regarding veal:
The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board voted 6-5 to permit the confinement of veal calves in crates so small they’re unable to turn around for more than half of their lives before slaughter, jeopardizing a carefully crafted animal welfare agreement reached last June between The Humane Society of the United States and eight leading agricultural trade organizations, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

In November 2010, the Livestock Board voted that all calves regardless of age must have the ability to turn around. Yesterday’s vote marked a reversal of that original stance, after a few Ohio veal producers complained about giving the animals more room. By the narrowest of margins – with Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer and state veterinarian Tony Forshey dissenting from the majority – the board allowed keeping calves in small, immobilizing crates for up to 10 weeks.… Continue reading

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More than 150 grassroots groups oppose House budget cuts to sustainable agriculture programs

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) was one of more than 150 organizations to sign on to a letter to the U.S. Senate in opposition to a House budget bill (H.R.1) that would cut more than $60 billion dollars from the federal budget over the remainder of this fiscal year. H.R. 1 slashes a disproportional amount from the agriculture budget (22 %) relative to other budget sections. Worse, it unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable, organic, beginning, and minority farmers.
H.R. 1 makes deep cuts to conservation and renewable energy funding provided by the 2008 Farm Bill—a combined $500 million would be cut under the House bill from programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Wetland Reserve Program (WRP).
While Conservation, Renewable Energy, Farm Services Agency direct farm lending, and feeding programs for low income families took big hits, no cuts were proposed for commodity payments or crop insurance, two of the biggest line items in the agriculture budget after nutrition programs.… Continue reading

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