Featured News

Emergency funding granted to procure milk, dairy and other food for Ohio foodbanks

Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order to provide nearly $5 million in emergency funding to respond to an unprecedented need for emergency food created by the COVID-10 pandemic.

This funding, requested by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, would allow Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks and its statewide pantry network of 3,600 local organizations to immediately procure nutritious milk and dairy products, as well as other food and essential items, to feed families in need.

The Ohio Dairy Producers Association and the American Dairy Association Mideast, who represent the state’s 1,750 dairy farm families, thank Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services for their leadership and swift action to provide hunger relief to millions of Ohioans.

“Milk is one of the most requested items for food banks, and Ohio’s dairy community is grateful that the state is taking the necessary steps to help get nutritious milk and dairy foods to those in need,” said Scott Higgins, CEO for both ODPA and ADA Mideast.… Continue reading

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AFBF urges close examination of livestock markets

Extreme volatility in livestock markets is raising red flags across the country, leading the American Farm Bureau to urge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to leave no stone unturned as they monitor and analyze market activity.

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall applauds Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for expanding USDA’s investigation into market activity surrounding the Holcomb fire to include the volatility and disparities surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

“The level of frustration with market volatility among livestock producers has never been higher,” Duvall said. “I applaud Secretary Perdue for his commitment to expand USDA’s investigation. It won’t bring back lost income for producers, but it will help to restore confidence in our pricing system.”

Duvall spoke with both Secretary Sonny Perdue and CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert about the rising concern and frustration among livestock producers. Duvall followed up with a letter to Chairman Tarbert.… Continue reading

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Crop Progress: Wheat jointing, Oats being planted

Rain fell and fields remained too wet for most equipment, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 4 degrees higher than historical normals and the entire State averaged about an inch of rain. There were 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 12. Oats planted progress jumped to 24 percent complete last week despite the short window for fieldwork. Other field activity was limited and ranged from manure hauling, spraying weeds, to tiling fields. Top dressing of winter wheat with nitrogen continued although consistent rain threatened to wash away application effectiveness. Hay fields and pastures continued to slowly green up even as soil moisture levels remained mostly surplus.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows kicks off the 2020 season

Jake Heilmann

We farm corn, beans and a little bit of wheat. We used to have a large hog operation but we got out of that around 20 years ago. We strictly do row crops now and we have a lot of on farm storage. We find we grow our best corn on our sandier ground and we’ve gotten pretty accustomed to corn-after-corn. We plan our corn acres to the amount we can do with one combine in the fall and the remaining acres get put to beans. We get wheat into the rotation when we want to install tile and we do that ourselves. We have a third party bale straw and we do some double-crop beans if we can make it work logistically.

Drainage certainly is showing its benefits like it does every year. We have been able to get on fields that are better drained. We have some fertilizer spread and some anhydrous ammonia applied on maybe a quarter of our corn acres.… Continue reading

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Survey gauging impact of COVID-19 on Ohio agriculture

COVID-19 has caused many disruptions to daily life, agriculture and the entire food chain. The global pandemic has resulted in negative consequences for every sector of Ohio’s food production system in a vast amount of ways.

With the help of insightful conversations with members about what they are experiencing on their farms as well as what they are seeing in their agricultural community, Ohio Farm Bureau has left no stone unturned. Those discussions have shed light on immediate issues members are realizing, as well as their concerns about the long-term burdens their livelihoods may shoulder because of the coronavirus outbreak. Farm Bureau has put in countless hours on many fronts to find answers for those affected.

To take efforts a step further, Ohio Farm Bureau created a Farm, Food and Agribusiness COVID-19 Impact Survey. The goal of this survey is to gauge, in a broader scope, the uncertainties and concerns being felt across Ohio agriculture.… Continue reading

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Farmers are responding to food banks in need

There have been numerous efforts of agriculture to provide food for those in need in the past and they are especially important right now. A recent donation from the Ohio Pork Council highlights these efforts. The OPC effort provided over 9,600 wholesome meals to those in need amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, just in time for Easter.

This year, as part of OPC’s annual Pork Power program, Ohio pig farmers donated over 2,400 Sugardale hams to benefit the West Ohio Food Bank, which serves community members in Allen, Auglaize, Hancock, Hardin, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Van Wert and Wyandot counties.

“For Ohio’s pig farmers, providing a safe, wholesome food supply is our livelihood — and giving back to community members is at the core of our values,” said Ohio Pork Council President-Elect Ryan McClure, a pig farmer from Paulding County.

During spring 2020, Ohio pig farmers provided over 9,600 meals to western Ohio families through OPC’s annual Pork Power program.… Continue reading

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Kalmbach Feeds launching campaign to provide half a million meals

In response to the unprecedented challenges being faced by Americans due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kalmbach Feeds is launching a campaign to support Feeding America by donating funds to supply 500,000 meals to friends and neighbors in need.

The campaign, named “Feed the Need,” has been created in response to the Covid-19 crisis which has caused massive unemployment due to businesses being forced to close their doors for the health and safety of every individual. Many people, suddenly without wages, are finding themselves relying on food banks for the first time ever. For each bag of Kalmbach Feeds, Tribute or Formula of Champions branded feed sold, Kalmbach Feeds, Inc. will donate one meal to Feeding America, with the mission of providing a half million meals.

“So many people are in need right now, due to circumstances completely out of anybody’s control, and we want to be a part of helping our neighbors in the communities we serve,” said Paul Kalmbach, Jr.,… Continue reading

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Spring farm safety reminders

By Wayne Dellinger, Dee Jepsen, Ohio State University Extension

Spring of 2019 brought never-before seen planting conditions for our generation. With a similar weather pattern predicted for spring 2020, the window to get crops in the field may be short again this season. With shorter windows brings a sense of hurriedness, stress, and fatigue. These may all lead to an increased potential of incidents and injuries during planting.

In the 10-year span from 2009 to 2018, there were 116 farm fatalities in Ohio and 69 of these were the result of tractors, equipment, or other equipment (Farm Fatality and Injury Database of Ohio, OSU Extension Ag Safety and Health Program).

What practices can be done to reduce the risk of injury this time of year? Below is a list of reminders to keep in mind during this busy season.

  1. Be completely acquainted with the equipment you are operating. Read the manual and be comfortable with its operation.
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USDA confirms highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza in South Carolina

Last week the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States since 2017. It appears this HPAI strain mutated from a low pathogenic strain that has been found in poultry in that area recently.

No human cases of this H7N3 avian influenza virus have been detected and there is no immediate public health concern. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F kills bacteria and viruses.

Samples from the affected flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center, part of the National Animal Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.  … Continue reading

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Nitrogen and corn

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

We had some very good speakers again at the Conservation Tillage Conference in March. This year I led what I called the Crop College. We in the past had Corn University and Soybean College but there was a request to broaden those to more than just corn and soybean, so this year we did at least add wheat to the mix along with presentations on tillage and nutrient management.

Day two this year I had Jim Camberato from Purdue come to speak about nitrogen. He pointed out work that he participated in to re-evaluate the Maximum Return To Nitrogen (MRTN) economic model. While there are a lot of reasons why it shouldn’t work, it actually does pretty well to give us an N rate for corn. Ohio uses this economic model, housed at Iowa State University: http://cnrc.agron.iastate.edu. We are part of a group of seven states who developed the model and house our Ohio nitrogen rate yield data there to help in making recommendations.… Continue reading

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Time to stock up on nozzles, do you know which ones to buy?

By Erdal Ozkan

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.… Continue reading

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The CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses

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

We love blogging about agricultural law, but sometimes we don’t feel the need to interpret a law that one of our colleagues has already explained perfectly. Such is the case with the new Paycheck Protection Program recently enacted by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Our colleague Kristine Tidgren at Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation has written an excellent explanation of the new loan program.

A few questions about the Paycheck Protection Program that Kristine answers in detail in her blog post are:

  • Who’s eligible for the loans? Any small business concern, business concern, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, veterans’ organization or tribal business concern employing 500 or fewer employees and eligible self-employed individuals including independent contractors may apply for a loan. Farm businesses with less than 500 employees fit within these eligibility parameters.
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Controlling slugs

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Slug populations increase during mild winters and flourish during wet springs, especially in no-till or cover crop fields. Scouting shows that slug populations are increasing and may be an issue this year.  Slug control depends upon understanding slug biology, scouting, natural predators, and effective cultural practices.

Biology: There are over 80,000 slug species, but the main pest is the Gray Garden Slug which lays over 500 eggs in the Spring and Fall. Offspring from one gray garden slug could produce over 90,000 grand-children and 27 million descendants, so slug populations can explode quickly.   Slugs mature in 5-6 months and may live 6-18 months with juveniles causing most crop damage, eating 2.5X their body weight daily.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Slugs can survive without food for several months during hot summers, with most crop damage in the spring or fall.  Slugs are dependent upon moisture, cool conditions, and lush vegetation for food and shelter.

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Storm damage adds to challenges in northeast Ohio

By Matt Reese

On top of a pandemic, a Stay-at-Home order and dealing with the challenges of one of the busiest times of year in agriculture as planting season approaches, farmers in northeastern Ohio faced a whole new set of issues earlier this week.

On April 8, an overnight storm whipped through Medina, Stark, Summit and Tuscarawas counties with winds up to 80 miles per hour in some areas and at least one tornado. There was localized damage from high winds in many areas and extended power outages for some.

Ben Klick farms in Stark County and the worst of the local damage narrowly missed him, but neighbors were not as fortunate. Klick said the local park in Richville looked like a war zone with destroyed trees and mangled baseball bleachers. An area bank barn was destroyed and a elderly neighbor’s machinery storage shed was leveled with debris ending up a mile and a half away.… Continue reading

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April 9 USDA numbers neutral

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Corn exports unchanged, soybean exports cut 50 million bushels, soybean crush increased 20 million bushels, wheat exports were reduced 15 million bushels.

Ahead of the report, many had expected it to be a non-bullish report for grains with traders looking for higher ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat for the 2019-2020 marketing year. Next month USDA will publish their first supply and demand reports for the 2020-2021 marketing year.

Shortly after the USDA report was released, corn was up 2 cents, soybeans up 8 cents, and wheat up 7 cents. Just before the noon report, grains were mixed with corn unchanged, while soybeans and wheat were up 8 cents.

Corn not being used for ethanol has been huge in recent weeks as it dominated much discussion by grain merchants and producers alike. Shrinking demand has been major for the corn supply and demand table. Nearby corn basis in many Ohio locations the last two weeks has weakened 20 to 30 cents or even more.… Continue reading

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Take a little extra time in the kitchen and pamper your family

By Shelly Detwiler, dietitian and berry farmer

Just before salons in the state were closed down in March, I got my day of beauty scheduled. If you haven’t been to a local salon, the world’s problems are all figured out in the name of hair and beauty. Many current, crazy topics urgently needed to be discussed. On that day it was, you guessed it: toilet paper! A woman came in and was telling us she typically got her TP from Amazon on a routine basis. She received an email, the day before, informing her she would not get her usual shipment until the end of April. She went on to tell us Kroger was out as well and was distressed about what she was going to do. She heard through the TPNN (Toilet Paper News Network) that a truck was coming at 6 a.m. Waking at the crack of dawn, she rushed to Kroger replenishing her supply.… Continue reading

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Soybean Genetics aided by CRISPR technology

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

It is often said that a soybean’s maximum yield potential is when it is still in the bag. Once that seed is planted, everything a farmer does is to help the plant maintain that yield potential. When Professor Feng Qu joined the faculty at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center over 11 years ago, his primary focus was plant pathology. Since that time, he has observed all the factors impacting soybean production.

“One thing I noticed every year was weeds were a farmer’s biggest challenge. As a pathologist I would look at the impact of soybean disease. Some years it was a concern, others it was not as much. Abiotic stress caused by drought would occur from time to time, usually in different places, but not every year across every acre. Even when it did, there is often very little a farmer can do about it,” Qu said.

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Temperature roller coaster for April

By Jim Noel, NOAA

Temperatures will be on a big roller coaster the next two weeks with highs ranging from the 40s to 70s and lows from the mid 20s to 50s. The tendency will be to switch from above normal the first half of this week to slightly below normal later this week and on.

April precipitation

A progressive pattern is expected the next 2 to 3 weeks with a series of generally weak to moderate systems. The below normal rainfall pattern did occur to start April and that helped dry things out some. It does looks like we will see a gradual increase in rainfall chances the next few weeks. However, since systems will generally be weak to moderate, rainfall will average 1 to 3 inches the next two weeks. Normal is 2 inches. The overall pattern will be switching to a bit more cool and damp as we go into mid to late April.… Continue reading

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One million meals being provided to rural children missing school in wake of COVID-19

McLane Global, a leading food and logistics company, is calling on rural school districts to sign up for home delivery of free meals through the Emergency Meals-To-You Partnership. Eligible participants can get more information and enroll at www.MealsToYou.org.

The feeding program is a public-private partnership between USDA, Baylor Collaborative on Hunger, McLane Global, PepsiCo and others that is designed for emergency home delivery of shelf-stable, nutritious meals to students in rural areas while limiting exposure to COVID-19. Distribution and delivery have already begun, and partners are ramping up quickly to reach the goal of providing more than 1,000,000 meals per week across rural America.

“Companies big and small have a role to play in helping our nation through this difficult period, and we’re honored to work with our partners to help meet this challenge for kids across America who would otherwise go hungry,” said Denton McLane, Chairman of McLane Global.… Continue reading

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