Featured News

Foodbanks still in need and being supplied by Ohio farms

As so many face unforeseen challenges across America, Cooper Farms is working to provide food and resources to their fellow Ohioans. The farm and food company, located in western Ohio, has made several donations over the past month, providing over 21,000 protein-rich meals, and so much more.

Nearly 6,000 pounds of turkey as well as two truckloads of eggs, about 27,000 dozen eggs, were donated to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks in a series of deliveries from the turkey, pork and egg company. An additional 1,100 pounds of turkey burgers were donated to area groups providing socially distanced serving of hot lunches for children and meals after virtual church services.

“Egg and turkey farmers have always been and remain committed to supporting their neighbors in need and ensuring that all families have access to wholesome, affordable foods,” said Jim Chakeres, executive vice president of the Ohio Poultry Association. “Eggs and turkey are high-protein foods that provide nutritional benefits to people of all ages and play an important role in a healthy diet.”… Continue reading

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Sprayer calibration: The why and how

By Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State University Extension State Specialist, Sprayer Technology

This is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by USEPA and USDA.

I get this question all the time: “Why should I calibrate my sprayer? I have a rate controller on the sprayer. I just enter the application rate I want, the controller does the rest”. This statement is correct, only if you are sure about the accuracy of the rate controller which is highly affected by the accuracy of the sprayer travel speed data that goes in the rate controller.

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Economic assistance for agriculture during COVID-19

By David Marrison, Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Peggy Hall, Dianne Shoemaker, Ohio State University Extension

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly altered all our lives. The impact is being felt by families, businesses, governmental agencies, and civic organizations. To help families and businesses alike, various levels of government have passed legislation to help lessen the economic blow of COVID-19. This article provides a brief overview of some of the assistance available. These include tax deadline provisions, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rebates, unemployment compensation, and Wind and Hurricane Indemnity Program, Plus (WHIP+)


Tax deadline extensions

On March 21, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service extended the federal tax filing deadline for 2019 taxes from April 15 until July 15, 2020. The IRS encourages any taxpayer who is owed a refund to file as quickly as possible.… Continue reading

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Ethanol infrastructure legislation

The Clean Fuels Deployment Act of 2020 was introduced by Reps. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Don Bacon, R-Neb., to incentivize the deployment of fueling infrastructure for ethanol blends greater than 10% and biodiesel blends greater than 20%.

“The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the leadership of Reps. Finkenauer, Craig, Marshall and Bacon to help grow the market for higher blends of ethanol,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA president. “Expanding infrastructure for higher blends will help to increase future demand for farmers and ensure biofuels will continue to be included in federal efforts to provide consumers with cleaner, affordable fuels.”

The bill authorizes $500 million over five years to help retailers offer higher ethanol blends, expand the geographic area selling ethanol blends, support biodiesel fuel markets, and accelerate the deployment of fueling infrastructure. The legislation will work alongside the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to accelerate growth and open new economic opportunities for American farmers and biofuel producers.… Continue reading

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Challenges continue for pork producers in wake of Trump executive order

By Matt Reese

President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to extend federal support to the U.S. meat production and production systems. By triggering the DPA, the federal government will prioritize the continuity of meat processing plant operations.

The nation’s pork industry has been hit particularly hard with processing back-ups in recent weeks, said Cheryl Day, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council.

“The executive order is taking real time action to ensure the safety of those workers in the plant but also to make sure our food supply chain for meat and poultry will continue,” Day said. “It declares that processing plants are critical infrastructure and seeks to safely keep those processing plants open so farmers can keep delivering hogs at some level and there will be pork delivered to the consumer. While this won’t financially fix what is going on in the industry at the farm level, it definitely will help them continue to deliver hogs and it is the right move in the right direction.”… Continue reading

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Guaranteed revenue?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

This week I heard a story that a few farmers may consider planting corn without applying fertilizer to reduce input costs. They would then take advantage of the insurance revenue guarantee on the yield using their average production history. At first, I thought it was just coffee shop talk. However, within a day several elevator managers and other farmers throughout the Midwest said they were hearing the same thing.

While initially this idea didn’t make sense to me, I gave it some more thought, and realized there may be some logic to this unconventional idea. The following explores the viability of this strategy.


Insurance is a revenue guarantee

It is important to remember that insurance guarantees are based upon the total revenue of combining yield and price. For this plan to work, a farmer would need both low yields and low prices. By cutting fertilizer out completely a farmer would almost be guaranteed of reducing their yield by maybe 50%.… Continue reading

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Ohio AgriBuisiness not quite business as usual

By Matt Reese

On April 27, Governor Mike DeWine announced a gradual plan for reopening Ohio’s economy after six weeks of a mandatory stay-at-home order that expires on May 1.

The Responsible Restart Ohio plan has three phases:

  • On May 1, medical procedures that do not require an overnight stay can proceed
  • On May 4, manufacturing, distribution, and construction businesses may reopen, provided they can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees
  • On May 4, general office environments may reopen, provided they can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees
  • On May 12, consumer, retail and services, may reopen, provided they can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Agricultural businesses, of course, never closed, said Chris Henney, chief executive officer with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association.

“A lot has changed but a lot hasn’t. Our agribusinesses include feed mills, grain elevators and ag retail facilities and they all continue to operate.… Continue reading

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APHIS announces support for handling pigs unable to move to market

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the establishment of a National Incident Coordination Center to provide direct support to producers with animals that cannot be moved to market as a result of processing plant closures.

APHIS is also mobilizing the National Veterinary Stockpile and will deploy assets as needed and secure the services of contractors that can supply additional equipment, personnel and services.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide state-level technical assistance to producers and will provide cost-share assistance under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in line with program guidelines for disposal.

Additional details are available on the USDA website.… Continue reading

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Do you know which sprayer nozzles to buy?

By Erdal Ozkan, The Ohio State University Extension, State Specialist, Sprayer Technology

This is the time of the year you must complete shopping for nozzles because the spraying season is just around the corner. Although nozzles are some of the least expensive components of a sprayer, they hold a high value in their ability to influence sprayer performance. Nozzles help determine the gallon per acre. They also influence the droplet size, which plays a significant role in achieving improved penetration into crop canopy and better coverage on the target pest, both affect the efficacy we expect from pesticides applied. When I get a question like, “what is the best nozzle I can buy?”, my answer is: it depends on the job on hand. One nozzle may be best for a given application situation, but it may be the worst nozzle to use for another situation. Sometimes, the choice of nozzle may be determined by the requirements given on the pesticide label.

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Ohio agricultural teachers honored as finalists for Ag Educator of the Year

Agricultural teachers play a critical role in preparing future generations for successful careers. They devote countless hours and often their own resources to impact the communities they serve. To shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s teachers, Nationwide has honored 10 exceptional ag teachers as finalists for the Golden Owl Award.

In partnership with the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio FFA, Nationwide collected over 400 nominations from local students, fellow teachers, parents and community members from July to November 2019.

Ohio’s 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award finalists are:

  • Christi Bachman — Bloom Carroll High School
  • Nathan Birkhimer — Fayetteville Perry High School
  • Hannah Everetts — Edon Northwest School
  • Collin Gierke — Global Impact STEM Academy
  • John Koenig — Miller City High School
  • Sarah Lucha — South Central High School
  • Wendi Mizer Stachler — Miami Trace High School
  • Tyler Pope — Buckeye Central High School
  • Jeremy Ryan — West Muskingum High School
  • Erin Wollett — Cardington-Lincoln High School

Each finalist received an individualized plaque and a $500 donation to their school’s agriculture program before being entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be crowned as Ohio’s Ag Educator of the Year.… Continue reading

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Managing stored grain into summer

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

If you are storing more grain on farm this spring than usual, you are not alone. Over the last few weeks, we have heard from more producers who are considering holding grain longer into summer months than they normally would. We have also heard a few reports of spoiled grain as producers fill April contracts. Carrying graining into summer has been done for many years successfully but requires much more intensive management than winter grain storage.

Key advice for long-term grain storage

  1. If bins were not cored in early winter, core bins now.
  2. Verify the moisture content of stored grain is at or below recommended levels.
  3. Monitor grain temperature every 3 or 4 weeks throughout storage paying special attention to insect activity and mold.
  4. Monitor the roof area for signs of condensation.
  5. Cover fans to keep the chimney effect from warming the grain.
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Corn and soybean planting getting started

Farmers planted some of the first 2020 corn and soybean fields in Ohio last week, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 5 degrees cooler than historical normals and the entire State averaged normal amounts of precipitation last week. There were 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 26.

Fields were dry enough most of the week and farmers worked the ground, sprayed weeds, spread manure and fertilizers, and tiled fields. Corn and soybean planting began in earnest on some farms. Freezing temperatures, mainly in the north, caused damage to some orchard blossoms and alfalfa fields. Oats were 18% emerged compared to a five-year average of 16%. The winter wheat crop was rated 71% good to excellent condition compared to 29% last year.

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Fox honored in a unique way

By Matt Reese

On April 27, during these unconventional times, family, local friends and the agricultural community gathered beneath a blue, Perry County sky to honor and celebrate the life of Dan Fox in an unconventional way.

The parking lot was well beyond capacity at Sheridan Middle School as a funeral procession that stretched to the horizon, including many types of tractors and farm equipment, drove a somber loop around the school and then parked in an adjacent field to honor Fox, co-founder of Seed Consultants, Inc. Fox passed away suddenly on April 21 from an apparent heart attack. Fox was 58 years old. He was a 1981 graduate of Sheridan High School and a graduate of Wilmington College who dedicated his professional career to the seed industry.


“He was an outstanding mentor, friend, and father to his kids. He loved his family more than anything in the world,” said Stuart Yensel, with Seed Consultants.… Continue reading

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Planting progress hit or miss (mostly miss) so far

Willie Murphy

We had a little more rain than some other areas. We’ve had one day in the last two weeks where it was fit to do some tillage. We were able to work all day Wednesday April 22 and then it started raining again. We had well over an inch of rain in the last 3 or 4 days and it is going to be a little while until we get back out there. We have also had some very cool nights and it brings the moisture come back up out of the ground at night. That makes it hard to get much done.

There was some corn in the area planted on April 22. Some guys had done some tillage awhile back and planted into stale seedbeds. We saw some N getting put on and we got 500 acres of bean burndown on. There have been other days where it was dry enough to spray but it was too windy.… Continue reading

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How will acres shape up in #Plant20?

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

On May 12, USDA will publish their first estimate of supply and demand tables for 2020-2021 crops. With the March 31 planting intentions report estimating 2020 corn acres at 97 million acres, it is easy to assume ending stocks for the new crop year at a number not seen for several years. Ending stocks for Aug. 31, 2021 will reach at least 3 billion bushels in coming months. Some are already indicating it could reach 3.5 billion bushels or even higher with trend line yields and higher acres. Demand destruction seen in recent weeks further increases ending stocks as well.

U.S. corn acres for 2020 were estimated on March 31 to reach 97 million acres. Since then, prices for new crop December 2020 corn reached the $3.40 mark last month. Prices fell from the $3.88 average seen during the month of February 2020 which is when crop insurance revenue prices were calculated for corn.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau 2020 membership campaign highlights

Thanks to the efforts of Ohio Farm Bureau volunteers and staff, the organization had an increase in its “active” membership for the 2020 campaign. Active members are farmers or other Ohioans whose jobs or livelihoods are directly impacted by the agricultural industry. As active members, they are eligible to vote on Farm Bureau policies and hold elective office in the organization.

“This has no doubt been one of the most challenging membership campaigns we have ever had and to be able to continue to grow the membership of this organization despite the unforeseen circumstances of a global pandemic is remarkable,” said Paul Lyons, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of membership. “Without the strong leadership of our county membership coordinators and the commitment of their dedicated teams of volunteers, gaining active membership would have been a much tougher task.”

Over half of the state’s county Farm Bureaus received the Milestone Award for achieving a gain in farmer and agribusiness members, and 18 volunteers won the Murray Lincoln Award for signing up at least 50 new members to Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Out there

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

As is being experienced by many Ohio families, with a wife and a college-sophomore son working/studying from home and being underfoot with me these days, life is a bit different. During an average workday I’m used to sharing the house with no more than a part-time cat, and enjoy the solitude. In fact, I’ve realized that as a bit of a recluse I’ve have been practicing social distancing for years, so the isolation we are asked to practice during these anything-but-average times is less of a strain on me than, say, a librarian or a college student, who thrive on much more social interaction.

I won’t go into detail on how we are managing things in the Armitage household, beyond having hidden all the sharp objects. What I will share is that, like most of you interested enough to read a column about the outdoors, let alone likely enjoying a rural lifestyle, we family members agree that we are fortunate.… Continue reading

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Conservation Stewardship Program signup deadline announced

The next deadline for Ohio Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding this fiscal year is May 29, 2020. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps Ohio farmers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.

“CSP is a legacy program for the next generation. It continues to assist private landowners in enhancing their natural resources and achieving their conservation and production goals,” said Jon Bourdon, NRCS acting state conservationist in Ohio. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled nationally.”

While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by May 29, 2020, to ensure their applications are considered for 2020 funding.

CSP provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes.… Continue reading

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PPP funding falling short of demand

On March 27, President Donald J. Trump signed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) into law with provisions to provide financially distressed consumers and small businesses greater access to bankruptcy relief. The legislative package provides a $2 trillion economic stimulus for U.S. industries and citizens faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The CARES Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection program (PPP), the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency.

After the passage of the CARES Act, the U.S. Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) processed more than 14 years worth of loans in less than 14 days, many through the PPP. By law, the SBA is not able to issue new loan approvals once programs experience a lapse in appropriations.… Continue reading

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My thoughts for #plant2020

By Risë Labig, OCJ marketing specialist

Since I joined the Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net Team over eight years ago, I have enjoyed penning an article, in the spring and fall. Last spring I didn’t get an article written because the husband broke his ankle, and it was an unprecedented season of wet weather that had all of us wondering whether, for the first time ever, a crop could truly get planted.

Last season has taught us that the impossible is possible, and even probable. One of the great strengths of those in agricultural production is that handling risk is such an everyday part of our lives. We don’t often give it extra thought or allow it to overwhelm us. We keep on keepin’ on.

After last spring/summer, we were amazed that we could plant crops that late and still have good yields. It’s given us a sense of comfort as we approach this current season.… Continue reading

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