Featured News

USDA clarifies CFAP provisions for livestock

USDA issued a Federal Register notice clarifying a handful of provisions in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which provides direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and was issued last month.

Among the changes, USDA clarified CFAP payment calculations for livestock, including the calculations based on unpriced livestock sales from Jan. 15 to April 15, 2020, and those based on livestock inventory owned between April 16 to May 14, 2020. Under the change, the swine provisions now read as: “Payments for hogs and pigs will be equal to the sum of the results of the following two calculations: (1) Unpriced hogs and pigs sold between Jan. 15-April 15, 2020, multiplied by the CARES Act payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section; and (2) Hog and pig inventory owned between April 16-May 14, 2020, multiplied by the CCC payment rate in paragraph (h) of this section.”

Read the Federal Register notice here.… Continue reading

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USDA issued first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. FSA began taking applications May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program.

“The coronavirus has hurt America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, and these payments directed by President Trump will help this critical industry weather the current pandemic so they can continue to plant and harvest a safe, nutritious, and affordable crop for the American people,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have tools and resources available to help producers understand the program and enable them to work with Farm Service Agency staff to complete applications as smoothly and efficiently as possible and get payments into the pockets of our patriotic farmers.”

In the first six days of the application period, FSA had already made payments to more than 35,000 producers.… Continue reading

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Weather, China and soybean crush key market factors

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

U.S. soybean crush continues to be exceptionally strong, marking two new monthly records in 2020. It is evidenced from two fronts. First is the chain of increases as published in the monthly Supply and Demand Reports (WASDE) in two of the past three monthly reports. In April, soybean crush for the 2019-20 crop year increased 20 million bushels to 2.125 billion bushels. Again, in June, crush increased 15 million bushels to 2.140 billion bushels. Second, in May U.S. crushers, according to NOPA (National Oilseed Processors Association) processed 169.5 million bushels of soybeans as it crushed (pun intended) the previous May record set in May 2018 at 163.5 million bushels of soybeans. The May number would be the fifth highest for any month on record. May closely followed March 2020, when the monthly NOPA crush number set an all-time record for any month, at 181 million bushels of soybeans crushed.… Continue reading

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PFR is more than just research

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

At the Beck’s PFR (Practical Farm Research) site near London, Ohio PFR is more than just research.

“The Ohio PFR site strives to be a respected member of the community and accurate representation of the Beck family,” said Jared Chester, Practical Farm Research Location Lead. “The London, Ohio PFR location includes 130 acres of replicated plots, along with another 85 acres of testing in larger field scale settings that are managed with The Ohio State University.”

Jared Chester, Practical Farm Research Operator

Beck’s PFR locations are representative of the agricultural production commonly found in the area.

“The London site has 70 different replicated studies which include: corn, soybeans, wheat, and double crop soybeans. In addition, we have some demonstration plots that are conducted for training and observation only,” Chester said. “We are using replicated testing to answer questions and provide recommendations to help farmers succeed.”

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U.S. soy shoes donated to frontline workers

U.S. Soy is helping bring comfort to health care professionals who are working tirelessly on the frontlines during COVID-19. Okabashi, an American company that counts on U.S. soy for all its sandals, pledged to donate up to 10,000 pairs of soy-based sandals to health care workers for every order placed through its website or Zappos.

“We’ve already donated over 5,000 pairs so far, and still counting!” said Okabashi President Kim Falkenhayn. “We are sending them all over the country. Now more than ever, we’re all in this together.”

Only 2% of shoe companies operate in the U.S., and Okabashi is proud to source American materials, including U.S.-grown soybean oil. Okabashi committed to producing their footwear with sustainable and renewable materials using soybean oil to displace petroleum. The company’s shoes are approximately 45% U.S. soy by weight. U.S. Soy meets Okabashi’s high standards for performance, offering both strength and softness, as well as qualified them to be recognized as a USDA Certified Biobased Product in the USDA’s BioPreferred Program.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 158 | Dicamba Debacle

As Quarantine begins to come to a close, county fairs begin to make plans to open with the rest of the state. Matt, Kolt, Dusty and Dale host this week and talk about the current hot button topic of dicamba products. Dusty interviews Joe Taylor for more information in the issue. Kolt features an interview with Katey Brattin from the Wendt Group about a product they have released for county fair sale use.… Continue reading

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Good weather pushes progress

A variety of field activities continued due to dry and warm weather, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. While warm windy weather created ideal conditions for making dry hay, windy conditions also may have negatively impacted some crops. In addition, armyworms negatively impacted crops, causing damage to wheat, other small grains and hay fields. Average temperatures for the week were approximately 1 degree above historical normals and the entire state averaged close to a half inch of precipitation. There were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 14.

Farmers worked on spot planting, tilling, spraying herbicides, side-dressing corn, and cutting hay. Topsoil moisture decreased from 12% surplus last week to 5% surplus this week. Soybean planting progress was 93%, ahead of the five-year average by 10 percentage points. Corn planting progress was 6 percentage points ahead of the five-year average at 98%. Sixty-three percent of corn was considered good or excellent and 73% of pasture and range was considered good or excellent compared to 55% the previous year.

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Changes in status of dicamba product labels for Xtend soybeans — a recap

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension, State Weed Specialist

On June 3, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in a case concerning the use of dicamba on Xtend soybeans. This decision voided the labels for XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan that allow use on Xtend soybeans. Tavium was not included in this decision, because it was not approved for use when the case was initially filed. Several great articles covering this decision can be found here on the OSU Ag Law blog (https://farmoffice.osu.edu/blog). EPA issued a statement on June 8 providing further guidance about what this decision means for use of dicamba the rest of this season. The gist of this decision was the following:

“EPA’s order addresses sale, distribution, and use of existing stocks of the three affected dicamba products — XtendiMax with vapor grip technology, Engenia, and FeXapan.

  1. Distribution or sale by any person is generally prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or return to the registrant.
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The 4 Hs in the light of a pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

Any former 4-H member surely remembers the pledge of the youth organization covering the four Hs: Head to clearer thinking, heart to greater loyalty, hands to larger service, health for better living…

The challenges of 2020 have not changed the importance or meaning of the four H’s but have provided new opportunities to carry them out. Sally McClaskey, the program manager at the state 4-H office for education and marketing, encourages 4-H’ers to look at their project books and work on them with the challenges of today’s situation and the 4-Hs in mind. She said Ohio 4-H Extension has 20 printable project books online at ohio4h.org.

“The important thing about any 4-H project is what the youth learns from it,” she said. “The responsibility of taking care of an animal or completing a project all the way through, seeing it through to completion and what they take away from it — that’s really what’s most important thing.”… Continue reading

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American Lamb Resource Center website

The American Lamb Resource Center website (www.LambResourceCenter.com) is officially relaunched. This is an industry website that is a great place for sheep producers, feeders, direct marketers, educators and processors to start their search for information. It pulls together a variety of resources from American Lamb organizations, USDA and more.

The site is a service of the American Lamb Board (ALB), your checkoff organization. With a totally new design, updated content and simplified navigation, we hope you find this site even more useful. The Home page features current news and resources of particular interest. The most popular section is likely to be Resources, which has access to everything from publications, funding opportunities from a variety of sources, the American Lamb Summit, pricing calculator (also known as the Direct Marketing Lamb Business Management Tool), to market reports courtesy of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI).

The Lamb Board section explains what the mandatory checkoff program does, how it works, and how to pay.… Continue reading

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Tips for selling and shopping at farmers markets

At this year’s farmers markets, Ohio’s farmers will be selling fresh foods. However, there won’t be any farm-fresh food samples to taste, and the music and children’s activities that typically accompany the markets will likely be canceled.

Ohio farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations are open, they’re taking precautions to keep consumers safe from COVID-19, and they’re fully stocked with locally grown and produced foods.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted growers, local farmers, and livestock producers, these groups are continuing to plant, harvest, and market foods directly to the public, said Shoshanah Inwood, assistant professor of community, food, and economic development at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

That’s allowing consumers to maintain access to locally produced fruits, vegetables, poultry, meats, and other food products during this growing season. However, there will be changes in how consumers interact with these farmers at farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations, Inwood said.… Continue reading

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New law provides more PPP flexibility

President Trump signed into law, legislation which provides businesses with greater flexibility in how they use Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and still have their loans forgiven: H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020.

Specifically, the legislation expands the amount of time businesses have to spend the money from eight to 24 weeks; reduces the minimum that businesses need to spend from 75% to 60% if they want the full loan amount to be forgiven; extends the time period to rehire employees from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020 and eliminates rehiring requirements; and clarifies that employers in the PPP program can also benefit from the CARES Act payroll tax delay.… Continue reading

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Determining forage moisture content

By Wayne County Extension

Forage maturity/stage of development is often cited as the number one factor that determines forage quality, but for any stored forage, moisture content at harvest is a close second. Moisture content drives what happens to that forage after it is removed from the field, whether quality is maintained or degraded. Improper moisture content can reduce storage life.

The most common method of determining forage moisture is some type of visual appraisal whereby a forage sample is either twisted together or squeezed into a ball and then released. How quickly that twisted sample unravels, or the ball falls apart determines if the forage is too wet, too dry, or ready for harvest. While a lot of good quality stored forage has been made using this method, errors sometimes get made and forage quality is compromised, or forage is lost. For those producers looking for more certainty in determining forage moisture there are some tools available that can help.… Continue reading

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Back to the Future: A miraculous journey in Parkinson’s research (Part I — Cellular time travel)

By Don “Doc” Sanders

You probably remember the movie “Back to the Future,” starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The story I share with you in this column, how an imaginative, daring, life-impacting research project, brought that movie to my mind.

Late one summer night in 2017 four researchers were planning to transport brain cells for a transplant from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to the Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Bin Song, a stem cell biologist based at McClean Hospital outside Boston, headed up the team. He and his colleagues had spent years developing the protocol for creating these special human stem cells that would develop into dopamine-producing brain cells.

Like Doc’s DeLorean in “Back to the Future,” their research allowed them to time travel. Bin Song and his fellow scientists took a snippet of a Parkinson’s patient’s skin cells and reversed their embryological development back to when the cells were rudimentary, before they matured and developed into the tissues and organs that make up our bodies, like the heart, lungs, brain, GI tract, skeleton, etc.… Continue reading

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USDA updates ASF response plan

In late May, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) updated its African swine fever (ASF) strategic plan and expanded it into a full response as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen response capabilities in the event of an outbreak. The USDA APHIS USDA Response Plan: The Red Book May 2020 elevates preparedness activities in the United States should ASF enter the country. ASF is an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks. Among provisions, the response plan provides: a comprehensive feral swine response, an outline of USDA authorities and APHIS guidance specific to an ASF response, specific response actions that will be taken if ASF is detected, updated USDA APHIS National Stop Movement Guidance, and changes to surveillance guidance.

To view the Red Book, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/fadprep. The agency anticipates there will be updates to the ASF Response Plan as new capabilities and processes become available.… Continue reading

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Ohio dicama registrations expire June 30

By Kolt Buchenroth

In a statement issued Thursday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that all dicamba products in Ohio must be applied before July 1st, 2020.

This restriction comes after a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that vacated the federal registrations of three dicamba products on June 3rd.

“This decision has caused tremendous uncertainty for soybean producers and pesticide dealers during an agronomically critical time of year,” the statement reads. “It is estimated that around 40 to 50 percent of the soybean crop planted in Ohio are dicamba tolerant varieties.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Final Cancellation Order  details which circumstances existing supply of the three impacted products can be used. While the order allows the impacted products to be applied through the end of July, ODA has determined that the registration on the products expires on June 30th and cannot be renewed. The products will no longer be registered or available after June 30th of this year.… Continue reading

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USDA Report Neutral

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

What a difference a year makes! This year, corn has seen excellent corn planting progress in major production states compared to last year. Ohio and Indiana are exceptions as they were planted later than the western cornbelt states.

Ahead of the report, many had expected it to be bearish with USDA reducing corn for ethanol, corn exports, and soybean exports.

For today, don’t expect the same kind of same kind of USDA report and price action seen with the June 11, 2019 report date. The June 2019 report reduced corn acres by 3 million. In addition, yield was cut 10 bushels per acre. December 2019 CBOT corn was up 12 cents that day. The early June 2019 corn planting progress was near record slow.

Last month USDA had much smaller demand changes for old corn than many had expected. At that time they tipped their hand that reports into August on old crop corn and old crop soybean demand changes would be hand to mouth, one month at a time.Continue reading

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Don’t roll your eyes at the discussion of force majeure

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

Twenty-nine years ago I recall sitting in my contracts class rolling my eyes at the discussion of force majeure. It seemed like such an impractical, academic concept that I doubted I would ever use it in practice. Wrong.

The term is French and means “superior force”or “unavoidable accident.” Force majeure is a common clause in contracts, including agreements for production agriculture, contract growers and custom feeding. The provision essentially frees both parties from performance when an extraordinary event or circumstance, beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, epidemic, pandemic or an event described by the legal term act of God, prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligation under the contract. The effects of the coronavirus on the food chain are likely force majeure under many legal situations.

Pillsbury Company, Inc. v Wells Dairy, Inc.Continue reading

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Ohio’s historic canal reservoirs provide present day recreational opportunities

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

During the heyday of Ohio canal construction, commerce, and travel in the middle 1800s, several feeder reservoirs were built to supply enough water to maintain a constant depth of 4 feet needed in the canals. As the era of the great canals waned, these feeder lakes lost their original purpose as water sources for canal traffic and were transformed into popular vacation and recreation destinations. These feeder lakes — Buckeye Lake, Indian Lake, Grand Lake, Lake Loramie, and Guilford Lake — are rich in human and natural history and offer diverse adventures for contemporary visitors.


Buckeye Lake

Ohio’s oldest state park is located at Buckeye Lake, a former feeder reservoir for the Ohio-Erie Canal. Spanning three separate counties — Fairfield, Perry, and Licking — this 3,100-acre lake was completed in 1830 and many vestiges of its history remain today.

On the lake in Millersport, Weldon’s Ice Cream, family owned and operated since 1930, still serves up old fashioned flavors from its quaint historic storefront.… Continue reading

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Pastures already short? Then stocking rate is too high!

By Victor Shelton, Natural Resource Conservation Service State Agronomist/Grazing Specialist

Generally, by the first of June, most cool-season forages have peaked their growth and quite often have reached about two thirds of their production for the year. Clippings taken support that theory. Unfortunately, there just haven’t been enough warm sunny days for this to occur this spring until just recently.

With this being a major pivoting point for the growing season, it is usually a decent gage of stocking rate and grazing efficiency. If you are short of forage at this time of year, then the stocking rate is too high, unless you happen to be in a drought area. I don’t know of anywhere where that is an issue right now.

Think about this for a moment. If you are short on forages at the peak of the cool-season forage season, then where will you be when it turns hot and dry?… Continue reading

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