Featured News

Farm bill debate gets rolling in the Senate

Ben LaCross, a young fruit grower and Farm Bureau member from Michigan, urged Congress to pass the Senate Agriculture Committee-passed farm bill this year. Speaking at a press event on Capitol Hill on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation, LaCross said without the bill, crop losses could be catastrophic, especially for beginning and young farmers.

LaCross said that due to various weather conditions impacting farms this year, his state has lost an estimated 90% of its apple crop, 85% of its grapes, 95% of its peaches and 85% of its cherries.

“If the committee’s farm bill were in existence today, I would have the opportunity to cover more of my crops under crop insurance, using new programs that would provide better coverage at a lower cost,” LaCross said. “It would also provide the ability to use more realistic production numbers by increasing the ‘yield plug’ in years like this one, when my production is going to be almost zero. … Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council to elect trustees

The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) Board of Trustee elections will be held in five districts this summer. Districts up for election include:

  • District 1 – Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams Counties
  • District 2 – Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood Counties
  • District 5 – Hancock and Putnam Counties
  • District 9 – Delaware, Marion, Morrow and Union Counties
  • District 13 – Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Hamilton, Highland and Warren Counties

To be eligible for election to OSC, you must live in a county in the districts listed, be a soybean producer engaged in the growing of soybeans in the State of Ohio who owns or shares the ownership and risk of loss of such soybeans at any time during the three-year period immediately preceding November 15 of the current year.

Those eligible producers (spouses who jointly produce soybeans are considered to be a “family” and are considered to be one person) who have contributed to the soybean checkoff and have submitted a petition with the signatures of 15 eligible soybean producers who reside in the respective district shall be determined candidates for election.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Producers Council announces scholarship winners

The Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 OPPC and Ohio Pork Council Women Scholarships. Together, the Ohio Pork Producers Council and the Ohio Pork Council Women are awarding 12 youth a total of $8,500 in scholarship funds.

The OPPC Scholarships were awarded to Erin Wollett of Sunbury; Rick van den Hengel of Scott; Stacie Seger of Minster; Colleen Hord of Bucyrus; Jaime Walker of Houston; Amanda Haines of Montpelier; Katie Beavers of Newcomerstown; Hayden Fisher of West Liberty and Taylor Hershberger of Upper Sandusky.

The 2012 Ohio Pork Council Women Scholarship recipients are Stacie Seger of Minster; Lauren Schwab of Somerville and Brandon Haines of Montpelier

“On behalf of the Ohio Pork Producers Council and the Ohio Pork Council Women, I congratulate the 2012 scholarship recipients on electing to pursue further education and wish them continued success as they work toward their future careers,” said Dick Isler, OPPC executive vice president.… Continue reading

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Senate moves on farm bill

The National Corn Growers Association was pleased with progress in the Senate on the 2012 farm bill.

“The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the actions taken today by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move forward with Senate consideration of the 2012 farm bill this week,” said Garry Niemeyer, NCGA president. “We support this action and look forward to working with members of the Senate to pass this important legislation and urge action before the July 4 congressional recess.”… Continue reading

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BASF addresses role of innovation for agricultural sustainability

BASF today presented its crop protection and plant biotechnology pipelines and outlined plans to globalize agricultural research activities as part of its “We create chemistry strategy”.

“BASF has a strong track record of bringing innovative solutions to farmers,” said Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division. “This steady stream of innovations is driving the division’s success.”

At the press conference, BASF showcased pipeline developments across its many research disciplines. Crop protection highlights included solutions for challenging weed control, such as recently launched herbicides from the Kixor® family as well as EngeniaTM herbicide for Dicamba tolerant crop systems, which is expected to be launched in 2014. Also highlighted were new products from the Xemium® family, BASF’s next generation carboxamide fungicide, and Initium®, BASF’s latest fungicide for the fast-growing specialty crop segment. Furthermore, BASF explained its new research areas for solutions to better manage resources and plant stress.… Continue reading

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OEFFA farm tour kicks off this month

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has announced its 2012 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series, featuring free public tours of some of Ohio’s finest sustainable and organic farms. OEFFA has offered this series for the past 30 years, providing unique opportunities for Ohioans to see, taste, feel, and learn what sustainable food and fiber production is all about from the farmers themselves.

Consumers interested in local foods, farmers and market gardeners wanting to learn more and network with other farmers, aspiring and beginning farmers, and anyone interested in learning more about the production and marketing techniques of sustainable farmers, are encouraged to attend.

“Consumer demand for fresh, locally produced food and farm products continues to grow, along with the desire to understand how food gets from the field to the dinner table. Farmers are opening their gates this summer to show consumers how sustainably produced food is grown and marketed,” said Michelle Gregg, OEFFA’s Sustainable Agriculture Educator.… Continue reading

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Kroger pushes for accelerated move away from gestation crates

The Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. announced that it has begun informing suppliers of a new policy statement regarding gestation crates that are used to house pregnant sows.

Kroger has science-based standards for animal welfare and works diligently to ensure that its suppliers treat animals humanely. Over the past few months, the Company has reviewed the opinions of animal welfare experts and other experts regarding the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows and has concluded that there are many ways to humanely house sows.

Kroger believes that a gestation crate-free environment is more humane and that the pork industry should work toward gestation crate-free housing for pregnant sows. The Company is encouraging its suppliers to accelerate this already-occurring transition in the Kroger supply-chain. Kroger also wants customers to know that this is a transition that may take many years.

“Kroger’s announcement comes on the heels of Safeway, the nation’s second-largest grocery chain, announcing in May that it’s eliminating gestation crates in its supply chain,” says Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).… Continue reading

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Ohio weekly crop progress report, June 4


The average temperature for the State was 67.6 degrees, 2.3 degrees above normal for the week ending Sunday, June 3, 2012. Precipitation averaged 1.03 inches, unchanged from normal. There were 123 modified growing degree days, 12 days above normal.

Reporters rated 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the seven-day period ending Friday, June 1, 2012. Topsoil moisture was rated 7 percent very short, 38 percent short, 52 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.


The state continues to experience warm and dry conditions. The heat was putting some stress on livestock, but rain provided much needed relief in some areas. Field activities included side-dressing corn with nitrogen, spraying herbicides, installing drainage tile, and baling hay. Soybean emergence has been slow due to dry weather and some producers may still replant.

As of Sunday June 3rd, corn was 97 percent emerged, compared to 18 percent last year and 68 percent for the five-year average.

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Hot, dry weather led to uneven emergence

Corn growers finding marginal stands in their corn fields might be seeing the effects of record rainfall in 2011, a mild winter in 2012 and continued hot, dry weather — all of which potentially are contributing to problems with corn emergence.

Multiple northern Ohio cornfields have had fair to poor stands, according to Steve Prochaska, an Ohio State University Extension educator in north-central Ohio, and member of the university’s Agronomic Crops Team. Stands in those fields ranged from 14,000 to greater than 28,000 plants per acre, he said, noting that the losses are variable and are likely related to the record rainfall last year, combined with the mild winter and early, hot spring the region has experienced in recent months.

“Surface crusting and soil compaction were evident in the fields, as well as soil compaction zone about 2 to 4 inches from the surface,” Prochaska said. “Likewise, corn seminal roots of emerged plants were observed growing laterally along the top of the compaction zone.… Continue reading

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NASS prepares for annual June surveys

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

During the first two weeks of June, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey nearly 140,000 U.S. producers for their annual June surveys on crops and livestock. NASS National Operations Center director Bob Bass said the surveys are conducted because it is important to measure the actual acreage to be planted in the spring crops. These surveys make it a busy time for Bass and NASS.

“In addition to that, we are busy measuring the amount of grain stored on the farm and in commercial facilities because it affects the supply of grain,” Bass said. “We also do our quarterly hog report to get the inventories of hogs and weight groups and measure intentions of producers to have their sows farrowed in the next two quarters. The cattle and calves survey around July 1 gives an inventory number by class and also calf crop expectations.”… Continue reading

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Jon Hobbs awarded $2,500 from Fayette County Farm Bureau

The Fayette County Farm Bureau is proud to support its local community through our long-standing $2,500 Reward Program. This program was established to protect property owners’ rights and deter criminal activity in rural areas. Hobbs was awarded with $2,500 for providing information that lead to a felony conviction. This program is administered by Fayette County Farm Bureau in conjunction with Ohio Farm Bureau and Nationwide Insurance.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s office did an exemplary job in using this information to bring the felonies to justice.… Continue reading

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USDA targeting additional strains of E. coli in raw beef trim

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) began instituting a zero-tolerance policy for six additional strains of E. coli that are responsible for human illness. Beginning in early June, FSIS will routinely test raw beef manufacturing trim, which is a major component of ground beef, for the six additional strains of E. coli. Trim found to be contaminated with these pathogens will not be allowed into commerce and will be subject to recall.

Illnesses due to E. coli serogroups other than O157:H7, which caused a high-profile illness outbreak in 1993, outnumber those attributed to O157:H7. FSIS declared O157:H7 an adulterant in 1994.

“These strains of E. coli are an emerging threat to human health and the steps we are taking today are entirely focused on preventing Americans from suffering foodborne illnesses,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We cannot ignore the evidence that these pathogens are a threat in our nation’s food supply.”… Continue reading

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Columbia gets first U.S. grain after FTA implementation

The U.S. Grains Council‘s U.S., Colombia Free Trade Implementation Team witnessed the first shipment of U.S. grain being unloaded in Colombia after the implementation of the U.S., Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on May 15.

The Cargill shipment arrived at the port of Santa Maria May 30, containing 30,000 metric tons of U.S. grain: 9,900 tons of corn; 12,000 tons of wheat; 3,850 tons of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS); and 6,450 tons of corn gluten feed pellets.

“It was exciting to see the U.S. products being unloaded,” said Deb Keller, USGC Rest of the World Advisory Team leader who traveled with the group. “I particularly liked the fact that it wasn’t just corn. The United States is able to diversify its shipments to better meet customer’s import needs. This puts the United States at a significant market advantage. It means more vessels coming out the United States and more assurance of customer satisfaction — a win-win for everyone.”… Continue reading

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Environmental Working Group releases crop insurance data

A new analysis of over a million government records never before made public and obtained by the Environmental Working Group through the Freedom of Information Act has found that in 2011 more than 10,000 individual farming operations have received federal crop insurance premium subsidies ranging from $100,000 to more than $1 million apiece. Some 26 farming operations received subsidies of $1 million or more last year.

It is the most detailed disclosure of federal crop insurance benefits to date, tracking subsidies across 686,273 insurance policies issued to 486,867 policyholders last year, when the program’s costs exceeded a record $11 billion. Yet one crucial detail is missing, deliberately and by an act of Congress: the names of the beneficiaries.

“The eye-opening analysis shows crop insurance is not only very expensive, but also very, very generous to large and highly profitable farm businesses,” said Craig Cox, EWG senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

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Assessing N applications

The early spring and accompanying early planting, together with last fall’s dry conditions in many areas, may present unique management challenges to growers planning nitrogen (N) applications. These conditions can mean nitrogen loss and impact corn yields.

“For a successful corn crop, it’s important to factor in the uncertainties of weather and the dynamic nature of the nitrogen cycle,” said John Shanahan, Pioneer agronomy research manager. “After all, a sound corn nitrogen plan sets the stage for a high-yielding crop.” Last fall’s dry soil conditions led to anhydrous ammonia applications on many of the acres in the Corn Belt. In the spring, excessive rain can threaten these soil nitrogen reserves and hinder resupply by ground equipment. Excessively dry conditions in the spring also can prevent applied nitrogen from moving from the point of application to the root zone of plants. Temperature and moisture conditions also can impact the amount of nitrogen mineralized from the organic matter fraction of soils.… Continue reading

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Farm Service Agency proceeds with Ohio office closures

Steve Maurer, Ohio State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced that USDA Secretary Thomas A. Vilsack has approved the closure of 5 FSA county offices in Ohio, a process that will begin immediately. The county offices confirmed for closure in Ohio are: Carroll, Clark, Meigs, Montgomery and Perry counties.

After the required notifications have been provided to producers, FSA employees and office landlords, closure dates will be established and made publicly available.

“FSA places the utmost priority on ensuring that our services to producers remain strong as this consolidation process begins,” said Bruce Nelson, FSA Administrator.

The agency will provide farmers and ranchers affected by closures an opportunity to choose the most convenient neighboring county office with which to conduct their future business with the agency. In addition, all employees in a closing office will be provided an opportunity to continue their work with FSA.

The Carroll County office will be consolidated with the Tuscarawas County FSA office and located in New Philadelphia.… Continue reading

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Bob Evans to close Ohio plants

Bob Evans announced that it would close food production plants in Springfield and Bidwell, Ohio, in summer 2013 and focus on boosting production at its Texas facility as it focuses on convenience foods, packaged side dishes and other higher-growth opportunities.

The move will affect about 110 employees. The company said that it will try to place some of them in other jobs with Bob Evans. Others will be offered comprehensive packages with severance pay and benefits.

It’s also investing more than $23 million for additional lines and boost production of ready-to-eat foods at their plant in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Chairman and CEO Steve Davis says Bob Evans remains committed to investing and growing in its home state.… Continue reading

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New video series offers livestock producers access to grazing school

A new video series produced by Ohio State University Educators offers livestock producers detailed information about a wide variety of grazing management techniques taught by OSU Extension livestock and forage experts.

The videos, which were produced this spring as part of OSU Extensions’ “Pastures for Profit” grazing school, offer an in-depth look at ways livestock producers can improve their management of their pastures, said Jeff McCutcheon, an OSU Extension educator.

“We’ve been offering these classes since 1994, but this is the first time we’ve recorded them and are offering access to the videos free online,” he said. “Producers can always improve the efficiencies of their land resources and forages.”

The videos offer instruction on some of the basic considerations of grazing systems, from fence and water set-up and how it impacts plant growth, to pasture layout and design, to forage species selection and alternatives, McCutcheon said.

“Produced by the OSU Extension Forage Team, the curriculum setup allows people to mix and match different parts of the videos for their own needs,” he said.… Continue reading

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Wine month is almost here

June, now signed into law as Ohio Wine Month, is a time to celebrate Ohio’s wines, known as some of the best in the country, and their significant impact on Ohio’s economy.

Ohio’s 162 wineries incorporate 1,600 acres of grapes that produce more than 1 million gallons of wine each year. Wineries, located all over the state, offer wine tastings, educational day trips, and tours to educate about the art of wine making and the top quality of Ohio wines.

Consumers can also find Ohio wines at their favorite retail stores across the state, including Giant Eagle, which will be hosting their six for $6 wine tasting featuring all Ohio wines on Friday, June 1. For more information about this event, or more information about Ohio’s award-winning wines, visit www.tasteohiowines.com.

Over the last 10 years, Ohio’s wine industry has grown significantly. According to a 2008 Economic Impact report, Ohio’s grape and wine industry generates more than $580 million in economic activity that supports local communities while producing a superior agricultural product.… Continue reading

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