Featured News

For farmers markets without a facility due to COVID-19, what are the rules on access to restrooms?

By Amanda Douridas, Christie Welch, Peggy Kirk Hall, Ohio State University Extension

With the closing of many public places and government buildings, some farmers’ markets may be left without their usual access to restrooms. What are the requirements for market managers to provide restroom facilities?

The Ohio Revised Code states that restrooms must “be readily accessible to farmers’ market personnel when the farmers’ market is open for more than four consecutive hours.” Note that this requirement applies to “personnel” or employees of the market. There is not a restroom requirement in the regulation that applies to vendors or customers of the farmers’ market.

One option for easily complying with this rule is to limit farmers’ market hours to four hours or less, since the obligation applies only if the market is open for more than four consecutive hours. For markets that are open for more than four hours, the other option is to rent a portable toilet for personnel if permanent facilities are not available.… Continue reading

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Ohio Power Siting Board clears the path for three large-scale solar projects

On April 16, 2020, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) held a virtual meeting where it ruled in favor of a series of certificate application and modification requests filed by large-scale solar developers in the state. The measure cleared the path for three projects — two in Hardin County and one in Brown and Clermont counties — to move forward.

“Members of USSEC support the OPSB decisions, which will allow for continued

progress in an important and fast-growing industry for Ohio,” said Andy Bowers, Utility Scale Solar Energy Coalition (USSEC) representative. “The utility scale solar industry is ready to meet Ohio’s energy needs, create significant jobs, and provide vital financial resources to Ohio’s communities. Taken together, today’s decisions could result in lifetime tax revenue of more than $180 million to the local schools and communities where these will be constructed.”

On Oct. 17, 2019, the OPSB had highlighted a number of areas where further information was needed in order for the requested permit and modifications to receive approval.… Continue reading

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USDA announces Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). This new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program will take several actions to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. President Trump directed USDA to craft this $19 billion immediate relief program to provide critical support to our farmers and ranchers, maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensure every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need.

“During this time of national crisis, President Trump and USDA are standing with our farmers, ranchers, and all citizens to make sure they are taken care of,” Secretary Perdue said. “The American food supply chain had to adapt, and it remains safe, secure, and strong, and we all know that starts with America’s farmers and ranchers. This program will not only provide immediate relief for our farmers and ranchers, but it will also allow for the purchase and distribution of our agricultural abundance to help our fellow Americans in need.”… Continue reading

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Grain Marketing Update with Jon Scheve

Join us Friday at 12:30 for a lunchtime Grain Marketing discussion with Jon Scheve. Jon will join Dale and Bart to discuss grain marketing plans dealing with the collapse in basis and futures markets we have seen over the last month. Leave a comment with your questions now or ask them live on Facebook. That’s Lunch with Dale, Bart, and Jon Scheve. Friday at 12:30 on the Ohio Ag Net Facebook Page.

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Beef supply chain issues courtesy of COVID-19 creating financial uncertainty

By Dusty Sonnenberg

According to the USDA’s National Daily Cattle and Beef Summary for Tuesday, April 14, 2020, an estimated 99,000 head of beef cattle were slaughtered that day. That number is down 7,000 head from the same day a week ago, and 24,000 head from just one year ago. That number, while dramatic, is not surprising given the news that two of America’s largest beef packers have closed two plants due to labor issues resulting from COVID-19. JBS USA has closed its Greeley, Colorado facility through April 24, and National Beef Packing Company has closed its Tama, Iowa facility through April 20. Combined, the two facilities slaughter approximately 6,500 head of beef cattle every day. This comes just a matter of days after JBS USA had to close its Souderton, Pennsylvania beef facility for the same reasons.

The loss of packer processing capacity will have ripple effects through the entire industry.… Continue reading

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What business owners can do now that will benefit them following the pandemic

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

I hope everyone is well. Staying healthy and safe during these challenging times. For this installment, I have enlisted the help of some of my colleagues at Holbrook & Manter. Below, they share with you exercises to be doing now, to benefit you and your business when operations return to normal. Until they do, take note of the items below and feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.


Something business owners can do now, when work is slow, is thoroughly review current processes and procedures to determine if there is a more efficient way of doing things. For example, is there anything that could be done to streamline the collections or payables process, etc. — Natalie Bruns


Stay on top invoicing and AR. Cash flow can and will be difficult so it is imperative that they are talking to their vendors/clients daily to check the “climate” as to how and if their businesses will stay alive and able to pay their bills, and how we help each other of course.… Continue reading

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Glyphosate controversy continues

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

Glyphosate, used in the weed killer Roundup, is in the news again. This time, the controversy surrounds the EPA’s decision in January 2020 to allow glyphosate to continue being used in the interim while the agency conducts its mandatory 15-year re-approval review.

Although EPA has yet to make its re-approval decision, two groups of plaintiffs have petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an invalidation of the EPA’s decision allowing continued use in the interim. Plaintiffs argue that the decision violates both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Endangered Species Act because the EPA has not gathered enough information to prove that glyphosate is safe for humans, the environment, and endangered species.… Continue reading

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OSU CFAES researchers working on a new COVID-19 test

Many people infected with COVID-19 show little to no symptoms of the disease, so researchers at The Ohio State University are creating a blood test that could detect the true extent of the pandemic

The researchers have also assisted Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center physicians who have created a treatment for severe cases of COVID-19, using the blood plasma of people who had COVID-19 and beat it. Both the blood test for COVID-19 and the plasma treatment for those suffering from the respiratory disease could be critical in understanding and controlling the current pandemic.

Unlike the standard nasal swab test being used to diagnose COVID-19, the test that the Ohio State scientists, including ones at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), are developing is an antibody blood test. The test will determine whether someone has COVID-19 by checking if his or her blood contains proteins the body produces to fight the respiratory disease.… Continue reading

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Beef industry looking at massive financial losses

A recent study estimates cattle industry losses as a result of the cornonavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will reach $13.6 billion. The study was commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and its state affiliated and conducted by a team of industry-leading agricultural economists led by Derrell Peel, Professor of Agribusiness and Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist at Oklahoma State University, to assist the United States Department of Agriculture in determining how best to allocate relief funds to cattle producers.

The study shows cow-calf producers will see the largest impact, with COVID-19-related losses totaling an estimated $3.7 billion, or $111.91 per head for each mature breeding animal in the United States. Without offsetting relief payments, those losses could increase by $135.24 per mature breeding animal, for an additional impact totaling $4.45 billion in the coming years.

Stocker/backgrounder segment losses were estimated at $159.98 per head, for a total economic impact of $2.5 billion in 2020, while feeding sector losses were estimated at $3 billion or $205.96 per head.… Continue reading

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COVID-19 creating tensions between protecting public health versus respecting individual rights

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

Did you hear about the 53-year old Kentucky man who contracted Covid-19? He was the first coronovirus case in Nelson County, and he checked himself out of the hospital, against medical advice, to return home. Apparently, the authorities were concerned he would not properly self-isolate, so Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered deputies from the local Sheriff’s Department to surround the man’s house to ensure his compliance. Gov. Beshear explained that he “can’t allow one person who we know has the virus to refuse to protect their neighbors.”

Meanwhile, up in the Maine island town of Vinalhaven, four construction workers, who had rented a home for a month for a job they had been working since September, reported that neighbors cut down a tree and dragged it to block the road to their house so that the four were unable to leave.… Continue reading

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Create a strong soybean weed control strategy

By John Schoenhals, Pioneer Field Agronomist, Northern Ohio

Springtime in Ohio is an exciting time — color returns to fields, lawns, and landscapes, outdoor activities (with appropriate social distancing) can begin, and the sound of birds fills the early morning air. When it comes to fieldwork, spring is a pivotal time for setting corn and soybean yield potential.

While seed genetics, weather, planter calibration, and overall uniformity have a high impact on yield, it is important not to lose sight of the challenges of weeds to a grower’s operation.

The challenges that weeds pose to growing crops has increased drastically in recent years, and 2020 will bring even more challenges. Large amounts of prevent plant ground in 2019 allowed tough-to-control weeds such as marestail, ragweed, and waterhemp to produce enormous amounts of seeds. These seeds can very quickly be spread to new areas.

Waterhemp is the newest weed threat in many parts of the state, especially in soybean production.… Continue reading

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Nematologists eager to study a new soybean variety with SCN resistance

A new soybean variety with resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) derived from the breeding line PI 89772 is being released by Syngenta in small quantities in 2020. Syngenta is sharing seed with university researchers and farm cooperators now, and full commercial launch is expected in 2021. “We’re excited about a new soybean variety with a source of SCN resistance derived from breeding lines other than PI 88788 and Peking,” said Melissa Mitchum, molecular nematologist at the University of Georgia and co-leader of The SCN Coalition. “If the new variety has the right combination of resistance genes, it could offer a novel mode of action that shifts SCN populations in a different direction than the PI 88788 breeding line and possibly the Peking breeding line, too.”

USDA researchers originally discovered PI 89772 on an expedition in China back in 1930. Ninety years later, and after nearly 25 years of work by breeder Jose Aponte, Syngenta is releasing the variety under two brand names: Golden Harvest GH2329X and NK Brand S23-G5X.

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Hog farmers face COVID-19 financial crisis

The impact of COVID-19 has caused hog values to plummet, creating a financial disaster for pork producers nationwide who face a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year. At a press briefing today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) outlined the crisis as described by producers and the immediate relief they are requesting from the administration and Congress.

“We remain committed to supplying Americans with high-quality U.S. pork, but face a dire situation that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of farm families,” said Howard “A.V.” Roth, NPPC president, a pork producer from Wisconsin. “We are taking on water fast. Immediate action is imperative, or a lot of hog farms will go under.”

The suspension of pork packing plant operations and rising employee absenteeism due to COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing harvest facility capacity challenge due to a labor shortage in rural America. With limited harvest capacity, a surplus of pigs exists, causing hog values to plunge.… Continue reading

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Meet one of the Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net Between the Rows Farmers: Willie Murphy

Willie Murphy farms in Clinton county Ohio with his father, brother and uncle. The Murphys are what you would call a diversified operation, producing row crops, feeder cattle, brood cows, and hogs. Along with a traditional rotation of corn, beans, and wheat they also grow barley, spelt and hay.

Between the Rows is presented by Seed Genetics Direct. Value. Knowledge. Performance,  IT’S IN OUR GENETICS.… Continue reading

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Will farmers social distance themselves from corn?

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The April 9 USDA report seemed to factor in a 50% ethanol grind reduction for at least March and April. There may need to be more reductions in future reports if shelter in place continues. The USDA also increased feed usage, likely to make up for reduced DDG production and consumption. With what we know today, these adjustments appear reasonable.

Reduced gas consumption due to shelter in place orders will likely impact corn prices for the rest of the year. Normal gas consumption is unlikely for quite some time, and many are hopeful it will be back to at least 80% by the end of summer.


Planted acres

With potentially less ethanol consumption, demand for corn will fall. The estimate from the March 31 USDA report of 97 million planted corn acres could lead to nearly 3.7 billion bushels of carryout next season.… Continue reading

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Tips for keeping food fresh for longer between grocery trips

With less frequent grocery shopping, how can foods be stored longer? It is a question question is on the minds of many people nationwide, as the majority of the country continues efforts to flatten the curve and lessen the spread of COVID-19. In Ohio, for example, on April 2, the Stay at Home Order was extended to May 1.

With that in mind, many grocery retailers are or have implemented regulations to manage social distancing measures, including making grocery aisles move in one direction and lessening the number of shoppers in the stores at the same time.

With these limitations, consumers should first shop their cupboards and develop recipes that use up foods that are the oldest but still safe eat, said Brian Roe, a professor of agricultural economics for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“Then, turn to create a list of all the foods that you need to buy before you get to the store,” Roe said.… Continue reading

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Solar development expanding in rural Ohio

Despite what you might think in the winter or even early spring, Ohio gets enough sunshine year-round to fuel solar energy facilities — massive ones.

The smallest solar energy project being planned in the state is 610 acres, and the largest is more than five times bigger, a facility slated to stretch across nearly 3,300 acres — over 5 square miles — in Hardin County.

“We’re not talking about a few panels here and there,” said Peggy Hall, agricultural and resource law field specialist for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

In total, the 12 solar energy facilities being built or in the planning stages will cover about 16,000 acres — primarily in southern Ohio (Brown, Clermont, Highland, Madison, Pickaway, Vinton, and Preble counties) and in northwest Ohio’s Hardin County. They will span about 25 square miles of what’s now mostly farmland. That’s about the size of the city of Canton, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Be on the lookout for alfalfa weevil

Though it seems like spring has been slow to come this year, we have actually accumulated enough degree days to see potential outbreaks of alfalfa weevil in some locations. Ohio experienced its 5th warmest winter on record (1895-2020) and March temperatures averaged 2 to 8 degrees F above average. Overwintered adults begin laying eggs when temperatures exceed 48 degrees F. Peak larval activity and feeding damage occurs between 325 and 575 heat units (based on accumulation of heat units from January 1 with a base of 48 degrees F). Current (Jan. 1 – Apr. 11, 2020) heating units range from near 100 in far northeastern Ohio, 100 to 200 across much of northern Ohio, and 200 to 300 units across much of central, southwest, and southeast Ohio. South central Ohio has currently eclipsed 300 units as evident at OSU South Centers in Piketon.

In short, now is the time to start scouting.… Continue reading

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