Featured News

Mental health training for rural Ohio and agribusiness

By Matt Reese

It is no secret: stress is a part of farm life. The unique challenges of a family farm can place huge burdens on farmers who often have little control of factors determining the success or failure of the operation that serves as their family heritage, livelihood and, often, their identity.

When times get tough, it is all too common that the unthinkable happens. There has been an alarming trend in America where rural populations have a significantly higher suicide rate than urban areas. Available information indicates the suicide rate among farmers is 3.5 times higher than the general population, according to the National Rural Health Association.

With these staggering statistics in mind, efforts are being made to change the conversation about mental health in rural Ohio. This, of course, includes the agribusiness community.

“The Ohio AgriBusiness Association recognizes that our member companies’ employees have deep, personal relationships with their customers that put them in a unique position when it comes to identifying and helping farmers struggling with mental health issues,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO for the Ohio AgriBusiness Association.… Continue reading

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A night at the drive-in: Banquet edition

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

Unusual times call for unusual measures and the Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter is no stranger to this fact. In an effort to maximize participation of students, parents, supporters and community members, their annual chapter banquet was held at the Starlite Drive-In in Amelia, Ohio.

“Typically, our school cafeteria is filled with over 400 FFA members and community members for our annual banquet to celebrate the success of our members. This year, our banquet took place at a local drive-in movie theatre,” said Luke Jennings, junior FFA member at Felicity-Franklin High School. 

This marked the second year Felicity-Franklin FFA held their banquet in this format. Despite receiving clearance to host their chapter banquet in the school cafeteria with a limited capacity this year, they decided to move forward with the drive-in option. Guidelines at the time of the decision would have allowed only 150 guests to be in attendance.… Continue reading

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Double-crop soybean recommendations

By Dr. Laura Lindsey and Eric Richer, CCA, Adapted from C.O.R.N. 19-2021

Wheat harvest is rapidly approaching, and with relatively high soybean prices, we anticipate many growers will be interested in double-cropping soybean after wheat. According to the U.S. drought monitor (https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/), areas bordering Michigan are abnormally dry, but throughout the rest of the state, soil moisture is good. Early wheat harvest, high soybean prices, and adequate soil moisture make double-crop soybean an attractive option in 2021.

The two primary requirements for successful double-cropping are: 1) adequate time to produce the soybean crop and 2) adequate water. In Ohio south of I-70, double-crop soybean production is common as there is generally adequate time to produce soybean; however, yield can be variable depending on soil moisture and rainfall. In Clark County Ohio, we’ve had double-crop soybean yield averages of 50 bushels per acre, but as low as 21 bushel per acre when water was limiting.

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COBA celebrates 75 years

It is a milestone that few businesses have reached. Yet, COBA/Select Sires is celebrating 75 years in business in 2021. To memorialize the 75th anniversary, a series of events was hosted in the greater Columbus area in June. 

To begin the events, COBA’s board of directors met and an open house and annual meeting were held for member-owner-customers. In addition, a special dinner celebration was hosted for the board and delegates and delegate meetings were also held.

The open house was kicked off with guests visiting the newly renovated COBA/Select Sires office in Columbus. At Select Sires Inc., in Plain City, the event continued with a bull parade, which lead into lunch by Heflin’s Caterers, and COBA’s annual meeting.  General manager, Duane Logan, and board president, Chad Steinberger, lead the meeting to update attendees about the state of the cooperative, events over the last two years, and the projected future. (Livestreams of the bull parade and annual meeting are available on COBA’s Facebook page.)… Continue reading

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Glyphosate court battles continue

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth

Let me start by saying I don’t have a dog in this hunt. A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, and Washington), however, is worthy of discussion. The Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the lower federal court in Hardeman v. Monsanto awarding $25 million in damages to a 70-year-old man who had used Roundup for three decades on his 56 acres in Sonoma County, California. The jury found that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in the plaintiff’s illness, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), and awarded $80 million in damages. The judge reduced the award to $25 million as he found the jury amount to be a violation of the Constitution. Because this case is the first one to reach a federal appeals court, the conclusions reached by the Ninth Circuit will likely affect other cases brought in that jurisdiction, where the plaintiffs are making similar arguments or bringing similar evidence.… Continue reading

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Mozie van Raaij named the 2021 Ohio Fairs’ Queen

Mozie van Raaij from Clark County was named the 2021 Ohio Fairs’ Queen.

She just finished her freshman year of college at the Ohio State University studying Ppsychology with a minor in substance misuse and addiction, on a pre-medicine track.  Van Raaij is also employed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a mental health technician. 

She was a member in 4-H for 10 years, FFA for four years, and served on the Clark County Junior Fairboard for two years. Van Raaij also held the title of 2018 Clark County Dairy Princess and was the 2018-2019 Barn-Busters Cloverbud Advisor. … Continue reading

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Growing Climate Solutions Act passes Senate

The U.S. Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act.

The act has 55 co-sponsors, which makes it the first major piece of bipartisan legislation that would help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience through voluntary, market-driven programs. The Growing Climate Solutions Act passed by a vote of 92-8.

“We appreciate lawmakers putting aside their differences to work on bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing farmers and ranchers,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “The Growing Climate Solutions Act acknowledges the potential of climate-smart farming while ensuring farmers would be respected as partners who can build on our strong foundation of environmental stewardship.”

The Growing Climate Solutions Act is supported by more than 75 agriculture, food, forestry and environmental groups that are part of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). The alliance advocates for responsible policies that build on voluntary, incentive-based programs, market-driven opportunities and science-based approaches.… Continue reading

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Farm Service Agency now accepting nominations for county committee members

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting nominations for county committee members on June 15. Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for these members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. All nomination forms for the 2021 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 2, 2021.

“We need enthusiastic, diverse leaders to serve other agricultural producers locally on FSA County Committees,” said Mark VanHoose Acting State Executive Director for FSA in Ohio. “Now’s your time to step up and truly make an impact on how federal programs are administered at the local level to reach all producers fairly and equitably.”

VanHoose said agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program, and reside in the LAA that is up for election this year, may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation to FSA, even if they have not applied or received program benefits.Individuals may… Continue reading

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Buckle up for the bumpy road of price discovery

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Soybean futures had a historic price decline on Thursday but rallied back half of that decrease on Friday. Corn futures also fell the limit on Thursday but rallied back on Friday nearly all that was lost the day before. 

Every day there is some type of rationale used to justify the price movement, but fundamentally supply is still tight, and the upcoming weather impact is still unknown. Therefore, last week’s price volatility is likely to continue for at least the next 4 weeks. The weather reports are updated every 12 hours and each one can cause the market to move substantially. Several weeks ago, I said to buckle up for a bumpy ride, but with these price swings it seems more like farmers are going off-roading and need to be strapped in with a 5-point harness. 

Last week I traveled to and from Minneapolis to our family farm near Beatrice, NE.… Continue reading

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Practicing good body mechanics

By Dee Jepsen, Leah Schwinn, and Laura Akgerman

Spring and summer are busy times for farmers, gardeners, and landscapers. On a smaller scale, home-owners can experience the same fatigue that comes with long hours of yard work. Paying attention to how you do the work can help alleviate some of the aches and pains.

Good body mechanics are an essential part of decreasing your risk of injury and muscle fatigue and increasing your muscle stamina and productivity. The term body mechanics is a technical term to describe how the body moves through different positions throughout the day. Having proper body mechanics–or being mindful of moving your body in the optimal positions that it was designed for–helps to ensure decreased risk of injury and muscle fatigue. 

The spine is made up of stacked bones that form a natural S-shaped curve when viewed from the side. These curves are designed to absorb shock, maintain balance, allow flexibility of the body, and keep the joints and muscles around it strong. These… Continue reading

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Ohio dealing with cleanup from several storms last weekend

By Aaron WilsonTony NyeDennis Riethman, Ohio State University Extension

Though not in the heart of Tornado Alley, Ohio certainly deals with its fair share of severe weather. The season typically ramps up during May and June, but severe weather so far in 2021 has been rather benign.

This changed in a big way this past weekend, with numerous reports of damaging winds and large hail. According to the National Weather Service, two tornadoes (first of the year) hit western and southwestern Ohio on Friday, June 18. An EF2 tornado, with winds to 115 mph and up to 200 yards wide, struck just north of Ft. Recovery in Mercer County, causing extensive damage to barns, livestock, and fields. Another, weaker EF1 tornado moved from southwest Montgomery County into northeast Butler County.  

A large swath of straight-line winds brought down numerous trees and lodged corn and wheat, while hail as big as 2.50 inches in diameter (tennis ball) combined with wind to shred some young crops across southwest Ohio.… Continue reading

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June 24 CORN Live Webinar focuses on weeds in soybeans and wheat harvest

By Mary GriffithAmanda DouridasMike EstadtWill Hamman, Ohio State University Extension

The next session of CORN Live is this Thursday, June 24th from 8:00 – 9:00 am. This week’s webinar will touch on a variety of issues, starting with a crop progress report and field updates from Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator in Crawford County, and a review of weed management in soybeans with Mark Loux, Professor and Extension Specialist in Weed Science at OSU.

In many parts of Ohio, wind or rain have reduced spray days allowing weeds to grow to a size that is tougher to control. Loux will be available to answer questions about adjustments to weed control programs.

Brad Moffitt, Director of Market Development and Membership at Ohio Corn and Wheat, and John Hoffman, Pickaway County farmer, will also be online to review this year’s growing season for wheat and talk about getting started with wheat harvest.… Continue reading

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Turkey harvest down 19%

The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest during the 2021 spring hunting season include: Columbiana (454), Belmont (444), Meigs (437), Tuscarawas (417), Jefferson (408), Monroe (408), Ashtabula (401), Washington (398), Guernsey (378), and Muskingum (373). 

 “Wild turkey populations appear to have declined in much of the eastern U.S., including Ohio,” said Kendra Wecker, Division of Wildlife Chief. “The Division of Wildlife, in consultation with the Ohio Wildlife Council, other state wildlife agencies, and our non-government wildlife partners will be examining if further conservation measures are needed to stabilize and improve Ohio’s wild turkey population.” 

Adult male turkeys (gobblers) made up 82% of the total 2021 harvest with 11,976 turkeys taken. Hunters checked 2,397 juvenile male turkeys (jakes) represented 16% of the harvest, and 173 bearded female turkeys (hens) were checked. The Division of Wildlife sold and distributed 61,135 wild turkey permits during the spring hunting season. The 2021 spring turkey season limit was two bearded wild turkeys and hunters could harvest one bearded turkey per day using a shotgun or archery equipment.  … Continue reading

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Darke County native heading to the Olympics (again)

By Matt Reese

In another stunning come-from-behind victory, Ohio native and former Darke County Fair hog exhibitor Clayton Murphy won the 800 meter at the USA Olympic Team Trials in Oregon on June 21. With about 200 meters to go, Murphy kicked into another gear and blew by the highly touted field, setting the pace with the fastest time in the world so far in 2021 at 1:43.17.

Murphy won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. After the incredible success there, he struggled with injuries, including leading up to what would have been the 2020 Summer Olympics. The delay of the event to this year allowed for training and recovery time.  Most recently Murphy has been dealing with a hamstring injury, which has affected his training.

“It is a joy and an honor to go to the Olympic games and try to bring home another medal for us,” Murphy said in the press conference after his recent qualifying victory.… Continue reading

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Leveraging technology and nutrient management

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader, a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean check-off

Thousands of people travel North on Route 23 and West across U.S. Route 6 on their way to Lake Erie, the islands, and Cedar Point every summer, driving right past the farm of Lowell and David Myerholtz. That means thousands of people observing the Myerholtz’s farming practices that have a direct impact on the lake the travelers are headed to visit.

“As we see the boats and campers go by, we know they are headed to Lake Erie, and it keeps it in the front of our mind where our water goes, and it doesn’t take very long to get there,” said Lowell Myerholtz. “If the rain is carrying our nitrogen or phosphorus away into the river and lake, we are hurting ourselves and the lake.”

Lowell and David Myerholtz have been utilizing strip-till for several years as a best management practice on their farm.

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Farming for Cleaner Water — Upper Scioto gets EPA funding

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of “Farmer to Farmer” grants around the country totaling over $9.9 million to 11 organizations. This includes $853,866 to the American Farmland Trust for Farming for Cleaner Water in the Upper Scioto River Watershed. This includes areas north of Columbus and Marysville to Kenton, Marion and Bucyrus.

“Half of this money will go directly to farmers,” said Mark Wilson, Farming for Cleaner Water project manager. “To date we have secured $1.5 million and have our fingers crossed for a recently submitted $5.5 million USDA grant.”

The collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders and organizations across an entire watershed is vital to reducing nutrient pollution to our water. Farmers can play an important leadership role in these efforts when they get involved and engage with their State governments, farm organizations, conservation groups, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and community groups.

The Farmer to Farmer grant funding is available to develop innovative practices within farming communities, measure the results of those practices, and identify how the practices will be incorporated into farming operations.… Continue reading

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Nutrient deficiencies and slug issues

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Summer has officially arrived and nutrient deficiencies and pests are now a problem.  Healthy plants have less problems with disease and insects, so optimum plant nutrition is important for keeping pests at bay and optimizing crop yields.  Several nutrients may be part of the problem.

Nitrogen is a corn macro-nutrient that farmers apply pre-plant, with corn starter fertilizer, or side-dress applications.  Nitrogen fertilizer can easily be lost depending on how much rain has occurred and whether inhibitors were used.  Nitrogen deficient corn is often seen in low areas or flooded fields.  Sulphur deficiency on corn leaves is becoming more common, seen as yellow striping with green veins and spindly plants.   Sulfur is the fourth most important nutrient needed by plants and is used in protein synthesis and to produce chlorophyll for photosynthesis.  Soybeans need sulfur for nodule formation and wheat to improve grain quality.

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Ohio Department of Agriculture awarded $2 million grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been awarded a $2 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) program grant from the United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to help administer Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative across the Maumee River Watershed.

The grant project will run through October 2024 to support H2Ohio’s long-term work to improve water quality across the Maumee Watershed. After the initial signup period for H2Ohio agriculture best management practices, there was considerable interest from farmers in the 14 counties of the Maumee Watershed with over 1,800 farmers signing up and over 1 million acres of farmland enrolled. With such great interest in the H2Ohio program from farmers, ODA will use the funds to provide more assistance to Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the Maumee River Watershed to implement H2Ohio practices and to track program progress and completed practices. The USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office offered this grant opportunity to support ODA efforts toward meeting Ohio’s commitments to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.… Continue reading

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