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Trump signs ag inspectors bill

President Trump legislation (S. 2107) that authorizing funding for 720 new agricultural inspectors at land, air and sea ports to prevent African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases (FAD) from entering the United States. Providing additional agricultural inspectors represents a top priority for NPPC.

“Ensuring we have enough agricultural inspectors at our borders is critical to maintaining a healthy U.S. swine herd,” said David Herring, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). “The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have done much to mitigate the risk to animal disease. Bolstered by this legislation, even more resources will be available to strengthen biosecurity at our borders. This is a victory for farmers, consumers and the American economy.”

“NPPC thanks Congressional leadership, led by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) and Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), for their strong leadership on this issue, and President Trump for signing this essential bill into law.… Continue reading

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Plenty of highlights from day one of CTC

Farmers and CCAs again crowded the halls and meeting rooms on Ohio Northern University’s campus for the Conservation Tillage Conference that started yesterday and continues today.

One highlight from the morning program was the Ohio Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Program announcement of Wesley Haun from West Liberty as the 2020 CCA of the Year. Haun is the senior agronomist at Tiger-Sul Products, LLC. With more than 32 years of crop advising experience and service, he was one of the earliest Certified Crop Advisers. As planting season approaches, Hahn is helping customers rebound from the challenges of last year.

“We’re helping farmers sort through the decisions they have to make from a crop production standpoint. We have a lot of fields from last year that were left fallow. We also have to sort through what fertility was applied,” Hahn said. “There was also the potential for weeds and that dynamic has to be considered as well.… Continue reading

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Ohio FFA celebrated National FFA Week in unique ways

By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter

Each year during the week of George Washington’s birthday, middle school and high school students across the nation celebrate how the FFA organization is making an impact in their state and local communities. FFA week serves as a time for students to share the impact of agricultural education, interact with alumni and celebrate the organization.

The first national FFA week took place in 1948 and was chosen during the week of the first president’s birthday to honor the impact he had on agriculture. This year FFA week was Feb. 22 to 29 and Ohio FFA members were busy executing events and activities to share the story of agriculture and agricultural education.

The Franklin Monroe Chapter, located in Darke County, hosted several events throughout the week for FFA members, school staff and students. FFA members participated in theme days throughout the school week, which included hat day, western day, FFA Wednesday, camo day, and agriculture occupation day.… Continue reading

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Determining the proper corn plant population

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

One factor that greatly influences corn yields is plant population. Determining the correct plant population may take some effort, however, it is a critical factor that every corn grower needs to get right in order to maximize yields. Recent research performed by universities and seed companies has determined that that yields increase significantly as populations are increased up to a point of 34,000 seeds per acre. In general, yields begin to level off at planting rates around rates 36,000 seeds per acre. Recent studies have also determined that even in low yield environments planting rates of 31,000 seeds per acre maximize yield and economic return. In very productive, 250 bushels per acre yield environments, research results show that higher populations (38,000+ seeds per acre) maximize yields. Breeding and advances in genetics have improved the modern corn plant’s ability to yield at higher populations when compared to corn hybrids from the past.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation appoints officers, new board member

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation recently added one new board member and elected 2020 officers of the board, which oversees the charitable, nonprofit organization.

New to the board is Stephen White, vice president, external affairs, strategic initiatives, and business development for COSI. He replaces outgoing board member Angela Cauley, CEO and co-founder of Coalescence.

The board also elected officers of the 15-member board. Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Wade Smith was named president; Mike Townsley, chairman, Bob Evans Farms/Post Refrigerated Retail, was elected first vice president; Ohio Farm Bureau Trustee Lane Osswald was elected second vice president; and Ohio Farm Bureau Treasurer Cy Prettyman was named the foundation’s treasurer.

Founded in 1985, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c) (3) charitable, nonprofit organization. The foundation funds programming in four priority areas: cultivating an interest in agriculture, investing in tomorrow’s leaders, driving economic growth and promoting environmental stewardship and conservation.

To learn more or to apply for a scholarship or grant, visit ofbf.org/foundationContinue reading

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Compaction or poor soil structure?

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Engineers insist that soil compaction is caused by wheel traffic (true) but it also comes from excessive tillage, rain (think hard driving rains) and gravity (to a lesser degree).  Soil compaction is poor soil structure due to a lack of roots and active carbon (soil organic matter, SOM) from root exudates.  Tillage adds soil oxygen that promote bacteria that breaks down the good soil structure (macro-aggregates, macro’s) or soil that crumbles.  The glues that form the macro’s comes from plant roots and microbial waste or byproducts.  Bacteria wastes are important for cementing soil particles into micro-aggregates (micros) while fungi are important for producing glomalin that cement micro’s together into macro’s. Micro’s are the building blocks to good soil structure, but without the glues, they cause poor soil structure or compacted soils.  A balance of soil bacteria and fungus are needed for good soil structure.

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Brazil harvests a record crop amid export uncertainties

With 40% of its soybean area harvested by the end of February and favorable weather conditions in most of the country, Brazil is definitely headed for a record production this season.

In early February, AgRural raised its production estimate to 125.6 million metric tons, more than 10 million tons up from last year. There are drought-related losses, however, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state and number-three soybean producer.

AgRural has already made two cuts to the forecasted production for the state since the beginning of the year and further reductions will be made in March. Other states, on the other hand, have very good prospects and are likely to make up for most of the losses in Rio Grande.

Exports
Even with a bumper crop, Brazil is likely to export less soybeans in 2020. Before the coronavirus outbreak in China, AgRural had estimated exports at 70 million metric tons, 4 million metric tons down from 2019, due to an expected increase in the US exports to China.Continue reading

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Mental health first aid training offered by OSU Extension

The wet weather of 2019 caused a great deal of stress for farmers and Ohio’s agricultural industry. While we don’t know what Spring 2020 will bring, there are indications that we may have another delayed start to the planting season. Ohio State University Extension educators and specialists responded last year with the creation of a website (https://u.osu.edu/2019farmassistance/home/) to address Ohio’s agricultural challenges. This website continues to be maintained with resources that address agronomic crops, financial management, and stress management.

Ohio State University Extension, with funding assistance from the USDA Farm Stress and Rural Assistance Network, is able to offer Mental Health First Aid Trainings for agricultural professionals.Within rural communities, there are many professionals that interact with the farm community, including agricultural businesses and service providers, financial planners and lenders, veterinarians, clergy, educators and others. Sometimes the best first aid is knowing how to connect people in a crisis with the appropriate professional, peer, social or self-help care.… Continue reading

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ODA hemp program to begin accepting applications

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Hemp Program will begin accepting license applications from potential cultivators and processors for the 2020 growing season on March 3 at noon. All cultivators and processors are required to obtain a license and can apply online at www.agri.ohio.gov at that time.

The Department created hemp rules, which passed through a review and public comment process, were approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), and went into effect on Jan. 29. Ohio’s Hemp Program is one of just three approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Hemp is a cannabis plant, grown for its many industrial uses. It does not produce the intoxicating effects of the cannabis plant, marijuana. Hemp yields a strong fiber, used in textiles. The seed has nutritional value and can be eaten, and Cannabidiol, or CBD, can be extracted from the plant. CBD is now being used in food and dietary supplements.… Continue reading

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Wanted: 2020 Ohio FFA State Convention Student Reporters

The 2020 Ohio FFA State Convention is right around the corner and Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net is on the search for outstanding Ohio FFA members to help serve as student reporters for this year’s event.

In our tenth year of the student reporter program, selected FFA members will get the opportunity to help cover the convention and work alongside our news staff, including Matt Reese, Dale Minyo, and Kolt Buchenroth. Ever wonder what it’s like to do our job? This is your chance!

The live coverage of the Ohio FFA Convention will be posted on www.ocj.com and various social media outlets with reporters helping to host news coverage in addition to a couple veteran student reporters.

Students will assist in gathering information, shoot photos and video of newsworthy items and people, share their commentary of what happened in each session, and much more.

To be considered:

  • Applicants must be attending both days of the Ohio FFA State Convention April 30 and May 1, 2020.
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National FFA reaches milestone

The National FFA Organization’s GIVE THE GIFT OF THE BLUE program has reached a milestone. The program gifted it 10,000th jacket last week during National FFA Week when Allison Burns of North Miami High School in Indiana was presented with her own jacket.

The program was established in 2014 in response to a large number of members who do not own an FFA jacket. The FFA estimates more than half of its members do not have a FFA jacket to wear for official functions.

Individual donors and corporate sponsors fund the GIVE THE GIFT OF THE BLUE program.… Continue reading

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Farm State of Mind Campaign to expand impact in rural mental health

Bayer and the American Farm Bureau Federation announce the transition of Bayer’s Farm State of Mind campaign, an initiative to raise mental health awareness among the farming community, to Farm Bureau. The campaign aims to reduce stigma surrounding the topic of mental health in rural communities and to provide relevant information to farm families on this important topic. Farm Bureau plans to combine the Farm State of Mind assets with those of its ongoing Rural Resilience campaign, expanding the reach and effectiveness of its rural mental health initiatives.

Challenging weather, destructive pests, trade disputes, labor shortages and market volatility over the past few years have brought an unprecedented level of pressure on America’s farmers. A 2019 Farm Bureau survey shows that an overwhelming majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues, farm or business problems and fear of losing their farm negatively impact their mental health. In addition, 48% of rural adults said they are personally experiencing more mental health challenges than they were a year ago.… Continue reading

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New stewardship network celebrates growing momentum on conservation in agriculture

The National Corn Growers Association and Environmental Defense Fund launched the Success in Stewardship Network at Commodity Classic to celebrate and accelerate the use of agricultural conservation practices on U.S. corn farms.

The network will showcase success stories from the many farmers and state-level programs putting stewardship into practice, with the goal of building an ever-growing network of corn farmers who are also conservation leaders. NCGA and EDF recognized the Minnesota Corn Innovation Grant Program and the Illinois Corn Precision Conservation Management Program for their farmer-supported efforts to deliver clean water, healthy soils and farm profitability.

“The Success in Stewardship Network will break down the notion that conservation is only for an elite group of farmers,” said Callie Eideberg, director of agricultural policy and special projects at EDF. “Practices that protect the land and water and increase climate resilience are more prevalent than many thinks, and this network will bring farmers and agricultural organizations together to continue making conservation commonplace.”… Continue reading

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Vernalization requirements for winter wheat

By Laura Lindsey, Will Hamman, Ohio State University Extension

In the southern portion of the state, above-average temperatures have resulted in winter wheat remaining green (see picture). Will the vernalization requirement be met?

Winter wheat has molecular regulation preventing the transition to reproductive growth until a certain threshold of cold days has been reached. This regulation is called “vernalization.” In winter wheat, the vernalization period protects plants from breaking dormancy too early.

The vernalization requirement varies among cultivars and is temperature (and day length) dependent. In a study conducted on one winter wheat cultivar, it took 40 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 52°F while it took 70 days for plants to achieve vernalization at 34°F. Temperatures above 64°F were ineffective for vernalization. Although winter wheat is green and the winter temperatures have been fairly mild, winter wheat should meet the vernalization requirement.

Once the vernalization requirement has been met, growth is driven by growing degree units.… Continue reading

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LEBOR invalid: District judge rules in favor of farmer

By Matt Reese

On Feb. 27, 2019, Wood County farmer Mark Drewes filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legal status of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. The previous day, Toledo voters had approved creation of LEBOR during a special election. On Feb. 27, 2020, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary ruled LEBOR as “invalid,” ruling in favor of Drewes.

LEBOR granted rights to Lake Erie and empowered any Toledo citizen to file lawsuits on behalf of Lake Erie. It gave Toledoans authority over nearly 5 million Ohioans, thousands of farms, more than 400,000 businesses and every level of government in 35 northern Ohio counties plus parts of Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. LEBOR was passed despite the prevailing legal opinion that many of its provisions were unconstitutional at the time. Those legal opinions were reiterated in Judge Zouhary’s conclusion: “Frustrated by the status quo, LEBOR supporters knocked on doors, engaged their fellow citizens, and used the democratic process to pursue a well-intentioned goal: the protection of Lake Erie.… Continue reading

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Big yield farmers talk shop

Record Breaking Yields. BASF hosted a panel discussion with some of the top corn producers across the country. Listen in as Randy Dowdy, David Hula, Cory Atley and Levi and Jenna Oshsner discuss pushing yields to the next level. The panel discussion includes new technologies, fertility, tissue sampling and the need for fungicide application on every acre. #behindthescience20… Continue reading

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Movie magic or Hollywood rubbish?

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Recently, I coerced Paul into watching the Oscars. I love, absolutely love movies and watching the clips they show. To my dismay toward the end, the Joker climbed to the stage to accept his award and began to criticize agriculture. The joker continued and OMG! My thought was “this is not good”! Snuck a peek at my dairy farmer in the Lazyboy, he was in a trance. Rubbish! The war on agriculture seems to be thriving from politics to Hollywood. At some point you would think that people would remember the old saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

When Hollywood depicts farming, often it is either romanticized or turned into a horror movie. Maybe what we need are some good feature films that depict an authentic agriculture message. Get some actors/actresses sharing genuine agriculture points. The award-winning speech can include a thanks to all the farmers who feed America.… Continue reading

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Winter agronomy meetings

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

One of the last big meetings of the winter is the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada, Ohio. Find program and registration information at many county Extension and Soil & Water offices as well as the http://ctc.osu.edu website.

The CTC this year is March 3 and 4 at the Macintosh Center on the Ohio Northern University campus, 402 West College Avenue, Ada Ohio. The CTC is an annual 2-day program with speakers in four concurrent sessions, exhibitors, and a chance to visit with friends and co-workers. Session titles this year:

  • Crop School — Tuesday and Wednesday upstairs in Room A
  • Nutrient Management — a mix of manure talks and water quality
  • Cover crops, No Till and Soil Health
  • Hemp, plus forage cover crops
  • Managing cover crops
  • Building on 60 Years of no-till success
  • And water quality.

Attendance over the past 5 years has been over 800.… Continue reading

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