Featured News

Canal expansion could improve competitiveness

An extensive study coordinated by the United Soybean Board’s (USB) Global Opportunities (GO) program expects a new, larger shipping lane through the Panama Canal to double the area that draws U.S. soy to Mississippi River destinations eventually destined for export through Gulf of Mexico ports.

The soybean checkoff-funded study, conducted by Memphis, Tenn.-based Informa Economics, says the expansion of the Panama Canal, expected to be completed in 2014, “…will eventually alter trade lanes” in the United States and other countries. The in-depth examination, recommended by the checkoff-funded Soy Transportation Coalition (STC), claims a new, larger shipping lane for the nearly 100 year old short-cut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will:

• Expand the average area that draws U.S. soy and grain to the Mississippi River for barge transit to central Gulf of Mexico ports from 70 miles to over 150 miles

• Increase the total volume of U.S. soybeans and grain moving through the Panama Canal to export markets by 30 percent

• Result in an approximate 35 cents per bushel savings for elevators within the range of central Gulf of Mexico ports, assuming the ports will dredge to ensure at least a depth of 45 feet to handle larger ships capable of moving through the expanded Panama Canal.

… Continue reading

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USDA Grant helps Ohio counties impacted by DHL departure

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding awards that will support rural communities, help create jobs and build regional economies in 34 states, including Ohio. Vilsack made the announcement during the Rural Wealth Creation and Livelihoods Conference, sponsored by the USDA Economic Research Service and the Ford Foundation.

“The funds I am announcing will help local business leaders, communities, and disadvantaged agricultural producers take more of a collaborative and regional approach toward jobs creation, business development and economic growth,” said Vilsack.

Among the awards is a $48,500 Rural Business Opportunity Grant for “Energize Clinton County,” a Wilmington initiative that provides marketing and business development support for smaller retail, restaurant and agricultural businesses.

“We are very excited about this USDA grant!” said Energize Clinton County Co-Director Mark Rembert. “We’ve been extremely hard hit by the recession here, losing about 10,000 jobs since DHL Express left the Wilmington Air Park in 2009.”

Rembert said the funds will help create a technical training center that will serve communities in a seven county rural region in southwest and south central Ohio, including Clinton, Fayette, Highland, Adams, Ross, Pike and Scioto counties.… Continue reading

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RFS changes being considered by Congress

A bipartisan coalition of members of Congress, led by U.S. Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), heeded concerns of livestock producers that current U.S. renewable fuels policies are artificially manipulating corn prices and putting a strain on corn supplies. On Oct. 5, 2011, the lawmakers introduced the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Flexibility Act of 2011, which will tie the amount of corn ethanol production required under the RFS to U.S. corn supplies.

“The federal government’s creation of an artificial market for the ethanol industry has quite frankly created a domino effect that is hurting consumers. It is expected that this year about 40% of the U.S. corn crop will used for ethanol production,” wrote Reps. Goodlatte and Costa in a letter to their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Our legislation will alter the RFS to give relief to our livestock and food producers and consumers of these products.… Continue reading

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Oat harvest management considerations

By Stan Smith, Fairfield County Extension

With abundant and frequent rainfall over much of the State in recent weeks, vegetative growth of the oats planted this summer has been nothing short of remarkable. Considering the number of Ohio’s unplanted row crop acres which are presently standing in oats, there have been a number of questions and recent conversations regarding the post-November 1 harvest alternatives for this forage crop.

As oat harvest options are considered, grazing easily provides the most effective and affordable alternative. In 2002, locally the Wolfingers strip grazed oats all winter and actually began the calving season on them before the oats ran out in mid March.

Baling oats in the fall has been done around Ohio, but it’s a challenge considering that oats only dry about half as fast a grass hay. Cut in November, it would typically mean at least two weeks or more to cure them.Continue reading

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ODA receives grant in federal program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture received $703,287.81 through a USDA specialty crop block grant. The USDA program is investing in 55 specialty crop block grants that will fund 740 initiatives across the United States and its territories. The grants will help strengthen the market for specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.

“Agriculture plays a vital role in the health and strength of our economy, and by investing in specialty crop growers and producers across the country, we can help spark new markets and job creation, while expanding production of healthy, safe and affordable food,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for fiscal year 2011 supports initiatives that:

• Increase nutritional knowledge and specialty crop consumption

• Improve efficiency within the distribution system and reduce costs

• Promote the development of good agricultural, handling and manufacturing practices while encouraging audit fund cost-sharing for small farmers, packers and processors

• Support research through standard and green initiatives

• Enhance food safety

• Develop new/improved seed varieties and specialty crops

• Control pests and diseases

• Create organic and sustainable production practices

• Establish local and regional fresh food systems and

• Expand food access in underserved/food desert communities.… Continue reading

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Webinar to discuss changes in child labor regulations

The OSU Agricultural Safety and Health Program will present the webinar “Changes to the Agricultural Child Labor Regulations: What it could mean when hiring young people on the farm” on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 3-4 p.m. Jepsen will present the online seminar, which will outline the proposed changes and explain what the Department of Labor’s ruling could mean for Ohio farms and agricultural businesses that employ teens.

Topics will include:

1) Regulatory changes to the Child Labor Laws for Agriculture.

2) Changes to the training exemption — commonly known as the Tractor Certification Program, and

3) How to respond to this proposed ruling through the U.S. Dept of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

To attend the webinar session, go to https://osuevents.webex.com/osuevents/onstage/g.php?d=661872503&t=a and enter event number 661 872 503 and event password agsafety.

To attend via teleconference, call the toll-free number (US/Canada) 1-877-668-4493 or the toll number 1-408-600-3600 and enter the access code 661 872 503.… Continue reading

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U.S. unlikely to hit Renewable Fuel Standard for cellulosic biofuels

The biofuel industry will not be able to meet the cellulosic production requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard without significant advancements in technology or investment, according to a National Academy of Sciences study prepared for Congress.

Wally Tyner, the James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, co-chaired a committee tasked by the National Academy of Sciences to produce the study. The Committee on Economic and Environmental Impacts of Increasing Biofuels Production presented the report.

The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol, 1 billion gallons of biodiesel and 16 billion gallons of cellulosic fuels be produced annually by 2022. According to the report, the corn ethanol numbers and biodiesel can be achieved, but the cellulosic goals probably cannot.

Tyner said that’s because the corn ethanol industry has been working for more than 30 years, while the cellulosic industry is still very young. There are no commercially viable biorefineries for cellulosic ethanol today.… Continue reading

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Social media seminar

Consumers regularly turn to the Internet as a trusted source of information to learn more about how and where their food is produced – and agribusiness professionals have taken note. Many involved in agribusiness have utilized social media to enhance their business,as well as strengthen relationships with existing customers.

To learn more about the benefits of social media, the monthly Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum will host Dan Toland, communications specialist, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, to present “Challenges, opportunities and the impact of social media on agriculture,” Thursday, Oct. 20 from 7:30 – 9 a.m. The program begins at 8 a.m. with informal networking prior, hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, Ohio.

The presentation will share how and why social media has become a preferred communications tool, how it can be productivity used for any agriculture-related business, and ways the agriculture industry can immediately benefit.… Continue reading

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Ohio Crop Progress Report – October 3rd

As of Sunday October 2nd, corn dented was 88 percent, compared to 100 percent last year and 98 percent for the five-year average. Corn mature was rated at 26 percent, compared to 89 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average. Corn harvested for grain was two percent complete, compared to 34 percent last year and 13 percent for the five-year average. Corn silage was 55 percent harvested, compared to 99 percent last year and 89 percent for the five-year average. Fifty-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 94 percent last year and 91 percent for the five-year average. Eleven percent of soybeans were mature, compared to 78 percent last year and 61 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat was one percent planted, 26 percentage points behind last year and 17 points behind the five-year average. Emerged winter wheat was rated at one percent, one percentage point behind last year and identical to the five-year average.Continue reading

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Wheat farmers urge quick approval of FTAs

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are pleased that the Obama Administration submitted implementing legislation for pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

The U.S. wheat industry strongly supports these bilateral agreements as critical steps toward competing on a level playing field in the global wheat market, and now urges Congress to pass them as quickly as possible. The Colombia agreement, in particular, is vital to the wheat industry’s efforts to maintain market share in what has traditionally been the largest market for U.S. wheat in South America.

Under trade agreements with Canada and Argentina, wheat from these origins enters Colombia duty free while U.S. wheat faces a 10% tariff. Colombian buyers want to import U.S. wheat, but they do not want to pay the extra cost associated with the tariff. U.S. wheat sales to Colombia have dropped 20 percent since June alone, a rate of loss that is likely to grow now that an FTA between Canada and Colombia is in place.… Continue reading

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AGCO to acquire GSI Holdings Corp

AGCO announced that it has agreed to acquire GSI Holdings Corp. (GSI) from affiliates of New York-based Centerbridge Partners, L.P. for $940 million. With annual revenue of over $700 million, GSI is a leading global manufacturer of grain storage and protein production systems. Headquartered in Assumption, Illinois, GSI sells its products globally through more than 500 independent dealers. The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2011, subject to regulatory approval.

“GSI is an excellent fit with AGCO and will allow us to extend our reach in the agricultural industry and provide our customers with an even wider range of products and services,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “With its high quality products and services, recognized brands and global capabilities, GSI gives us strong positions in the grain storage and protein production segments and is well-positioned to benefit from increases in global grain and food demand.”… Continue reading

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Fall herbicide application later than normal

Fall herbicide applications are still a good idea this year, despite a later-than-normal harvest, according to Ohio State University Extension weed specialist Mark Loux.

“This is kind of a strange year for fall treatments because harvest is so late,” Loux said. “Any time we get a later harvest, we have the potential for things to get wet because we don’t have good drying weather. So there is some concern that farmers won’t be able to get across fields because they’ll run out of weather.”

Loux said fall applications have become standard practice for many growers because the season presents an ideal application window for control of many species of weeds that are problematic in no-till production.

“We have fields that develop fall weed populations that survive the winter and then present problems in the spring,” he said. “So if we have annual weeds that emerge from late summer into fall, and some biennial weeds and some perennial species, late fall is an ideal time to control them.”… Continue reading

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ASA releases a farm bill proposal

The American Soybean Association released its proposal for the 2012 Farm Bill: “Risk Management for America’s Farmers.”

“This proposal will help farmers manage the risks they face from adverse weather, crop disease, and volatile commodity markets,” stated ASA President Alan Kemper. “ASA believes the current farm program safety net can be made more effective, efficient, and defensible by reallocating baseline funding to this revenue-based program that improves risk management and complements crop insurance.”

Because the proposal would replace current farm programs, this proposal would also result in savings that help agriculture contribute its fair share to deficit reduction.

The “Risk Management for America’s Farmers” program, (RMAF) would partially protect revenue losses by farmers of soybeans and other program commodities that result from low prices or reduced yields for their crops. The program would establish commodity-specific revenue benchmarks for individual farmers based on historical yields and prices, and compensate them for part of the difference when current-year revenue for a commodity on their farm falls below a percentage of the benchmark.… Continue reading

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ASA expresses concern with Senate action

The American Soybean Association expressed concern with the U.S. Senate’s action of taking up a cloture motion on the Brown-Schumer currency bill (S. 1619 the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Act) on Monday afternoon, October 3.

ASA feels that S. 1619 could undermine the entire U.S. commercial relationship with China, the 3rd largest export market for U.S. goods valued at $69.7 billion, and the top customer for U.S. soybeans valued at $11.2 billion. Over one half of U.S. soybean exports are destined for China.

In a statement ASA said, “S. 1619 is the wrong tool to incentivize China to move rapidly to modify its exchange policies. Rather, it would likely have the opposite effect of inviting retaliation against U.S. exports into the Chinese market, currently the fastest-growing foreign market for U.S. soybeans. Passage of S. 1619 would be counterproductive and will not get us closer to the goal of achieving a market-driven exchange rate.… Continue reading

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Farmland Policy Innovation Center announces Community-Based Agricultural Economic Development Grants

Six projects have been awarded grants through the Farmland Protection Partnership Program sponsored to support community-based agricultural economic development planning projects in Ohio.

The program is coordinated by Ohio State University’s Center for Farmland Policy Innovation, housed in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. According to Jill Clark, director of the center, relatively few Ohio communities have ascertained community priorities and interest in the food and agricultural economic sector through a formal planning process, and integrated these priorities into plans for future development.

“Agriculture has long been a cornerstone of Ohio’s economy, and it is our hope that these grants will be used to foster new and innovative approaches to agriculture that will serve as an engine for Ohio’s agricultural future,” Clark said. “Planning projects are important to building a roadmap for future economic vitality, and we were pleased with the many strong applicants who offered creative ideas worthy of support.”… Continue reading

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Characteristics of a successful business

By Matt Reese

No matter what specific industry, there are a select few businesses that rise to the top. What separates these businesses from the rest? What do they have in common? What characteristics do those business owners possess? These answers to these questions has been a project of speaker Tom Shay, owner of Profits Plus Solutions for Small Businesses who advises business and delivers seminars around the country. These same answers can be helpful for farms and agribusinesses seeking success and inclusion in that elite group of top businesses in their field.

“Many of these traits are linked to one another and dependent upon one another, but most definitely they are traits of a successful business,” he said.

Shay is a fourth-generation businessman. His great-grandfather started G. W. Brown’s 3-in-1 — Convenience, Groceries, Gas in Fort Smith, Arkansas in the 1920s. Shay grew up working with his parents and grandparents in the family business and learned volumes about the factors for success in business.… Continue reading

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Majority of small grain-producing states had limited head scab

The majority (but not all) of U.S. wheat- and barley-producing states enjoyed a calm year in terms of Fusarium Head Blight incidence and severity. As always, growing season weather played an important role in disease incidence and severity, or lack thereof.

Commonly referred to as “scab,” Fusarium Head Blight, caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum, can produce significant yield losses, as well as serious grain quality issues due to the presence of the mycotoxin known as “DON” (deoxynivalenol).

A recent survey of university small grains specialists by the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative (USWBSI) found growers had very few problems with the disease this year in eastern states like New York, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. The exception was Pennsylvania, where central and southern wheat counties in particular incurred very serious levels of infection.

Southern states (Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas) reported low incidence of scab this year in their wheat crops, as growing season weather was not conducive to its development

Ohio’s wheat producers suffered high scab levels in 2010.… Continue reading

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OFBF sees membership growth

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has reached statewide membership gain with 214,391 members. It is the 43rd time in the past 44 years that the state’s largest farming and food organization has achieved membership growth.

Ohio Farm Bureau is an advocate for farmers and consumers, working in public policy, food and animal issues and communications. The organization works alongside county Farm Bureaus to serve their local communities and provides a variety of savings and incentive programs to its members.

OFBF accomplishments this year that helped build membership included repeal of Ohio’s estate tax, preservation of key farm and food funding in the state budget, assured protections for farm animals and their owners and enhanced environmental assistance.

Membership increased among both farmer members and associate members. Associates are members who are gardeners, food enthusiasts, enjoy agricultural experiences and can take advantage of the savings programs.

“Everything we accomplish in Farm Bureau, including membership growth, is because of our dedicated member-volunteers,” said John C.… Continue reading

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OSU Judging Team performs well at contest

More than 250 young livestock enthusiasts participated in the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Judging Contests held on September 25, 2011 at the Sherman Berg Arena of the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The contest was hosted by the Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Stock Show for Senior College, Junior College, and 4-H participants.

Participants evaluated live classes of cattle, sheep, swine and goats for market and breeding. This is the first time that The Ohio State University Judging Team has attended this contest. Ohio State placed 4th overall as a team and 1st overall for class placings. A total of 10 universities from across the country competed in the event. Team members included John Heins, Sidney, OH; Katy Shircliff, Atwater, OH; Caitlin Bushman, Pemberville, OH; Lynette Sell, Hanoverton, OH; Tyler Lones, Somerset, OH; Arlis Young, Glenford, OH; and Ty McGuire, Eaton, OH.

Two Ohio natives did well in the junior college division. Jared Wynn of Ashland, OH was high individual for the sophomore’s.… Continue reading

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