Featured News

USDA announces availability of enhanced online tool to estimate farm-level greenhouse gas emissions

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the release of an enhanced and expanded online tool developed in collaboration with Colorado State University (CSU) that helps producers estimate carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions associated with a variety of on-farm management practices.

“This is a user-friendly tool that any conservation-minded landowner can employ to evaluate their greenhouse gas emissions,” White said. “Once producers have a better sense of their carbon footprint, they can choose to make changes within their operations that will enhance the environment for their families as well as their local communities.”

The tool, officially known as COMET-VR 2.0, is housed on the CSU Web site at http://www.comet2.colostate.edu/. Similar to the first version, COMET-VR, Version 2.0 is easy-to-use and connected to state-of-the-art models that help farmers and ranchers evaluate on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration options. The online tool estimates carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with the implementation of conservation practices for cropland, pasture, rangeland, orchards and agroforestry.… Continue reading

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Younger farmers can learn from bad economy

Today’s tough economy gives experienced farmers an opportunity to teach younger farmers planning and decision-making skills they might not learn in good times, a Purdue University agricultural economist says.

Those looking to pass their operation on to next-generation farmers can show them how to plan strategically and make decisions under poor market conditions, said business planning specialist Angela Gloy.

“This type of real-world, real-time education cannot be simulated in the classroom, nor is it necessarily intuitive,” she said. “Good managers will recognize and act upon opportunities to teach the next generation about which cost-saving measures you’re implementing, the trade-offs involved in one choice over another, and the short- and long-run implications behind each decision. In short, you’re teaching how to manage under conditions of not just price volatility but also extremely low price levels.”

One of the financial benefits of a recession is that it can be a time of low interest rates, which helps young people buy into a portion of the farm business if they are prepared.… Continue reading

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ASA hails Senate passage of tax legislation, urges prompt House passage

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds Senate passage of the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010,” and urges prompt House passage of the legislation. The Senate bill makes the biodiesel tax incentive retroactive for 2010, and extends it through 2011.

“ASA thanks the Senate for passing this legislation, which is crucial to the economic viability of the U.S. biodiesel industry,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind. “Biodiesel is a major market for U.S. soybean oil, and has been a key factor in supporting domestic soybean prices in recent years.”

The bill, which now moves on to the House for a possible vote later this week, provides for an expedited process for U.S. biodiesel producers to claim retroactive 2010 credits. In 2009, the U.S. biodiesel industry produced 545 million gallons of biodiesel. Based on August and September production levels, 2010 production is expected to be 345 million gallons, a decline of over 35 percent from the previous year.… Continue reading

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Ohio Beef Expo deadlines approach

As you break out your new 2011 calendar and begin to add important dates, be sure to mark March 18-20 for the Ohio Beef Expo to be held at the Ohio Expositions Center in Columbus, Ohio. Plans for the 2011 Expo are well underway and this year’s event is shaping up to be one of the best ever with breed sales, shows and one of the Midwest’s largest and most competitive junior shows.

The Expo will once again include a three-day industry trade show. Last year’s trade show which encompassed over 22,000 square feet of indoor space was a full house. If you are interested in promoting your cattle industry related product with a display in the 2011 event, contact Jamie King at (614) 873-6736 as soon as possible. The early deadline to reserve space in the trade show is January 3.

Consignments are now being accepted for the Angus, Chianina, Hereford, Limousin, Maine-Anjou, Shorthorn and Simmental sales.… Continue reading

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USB prepares for 2011

The United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff prepare to head into the new year with a new executive committee, led by newly elected USB Chairman Marc Curtis, a checkoff farmer-leader from Leland, Miss. Curtis, along with the other 68 volunteer farmer-directors, will begin reviewing priority issues established by representatives of the entire U.S. soybean industry at the recent CONNECTIONS meeting. These issues will be considered in the long-range planning process of the board.



Curtis has been a checkoff farmer-leader since 2005, serving as USB vice chairman, treasurer, chair of the USB Global Opportunities Program and member of the Production Research program, among other positions.



“I’m honored to have been selected by my fellow soybean farmers to serve as USB chairman,” says Curtis. “And I look forward to cooperating with the rest of the industry to continue the work of the checkoff especially to increase U.S. soy exports.”



Other members of the executive committee include: 


•    Vanessa Kummer, Colfax, N.D.,… Continue reading

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Exports strong for beef and pork

October was a very strong month for U.S. red meat exports, according to results compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports achieved their second-highest value of the year at $375.3 million (trailing only June’s $377.6 million), surpassing the September total by 11% and beating October 2009 by an impressive 37%.

Pork export value was third-highest of the year at $407.8 million — trailing only May ($419.3 million) and June ($425.3 million). The October value total was 7% higher than September and 9% higher than October 2009.

Beef export value ahead of 2003’s record pace

The strong showing in October pushed 2010 beef export value to $3.28 billion, surpassing the January-October 2003 total of $3.26 billion. Beef export value finished 2003 with an all-time, single-year record total of $3.86 billion. Compared to 2009, beef export value is up by 28%. In terms of volume, beef exports reached 863,046 metric tons for the year, outpacing 2009 by 16%.… Continue reading

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2011 Ohio Fair Schedule Available

Ohioans can start planning visits to all of their favorite fairs across the state. The Ohio Department of Agriculture today released the official dates for the 2011 fair season, which includes Ohio’s 94 county and independent fairs and the Ohio State Fair.

The Paulding County Fair will kick off the 2011 fair season on June 13, and the season will wrap up on Oct. 15 with the Fairfield County Fair. For a complete schedule, visit the department’s website at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/public_docs/news/2010/12-13-10%202011fairschedulechron.pdf Continue reading

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HSUS’s Wasteful Spending Puts Them on Charity Watchdog List

Wasteful Humane Society of the United States Earns a Spot on Charity Watchdogs’ “Naughty” Lists
New Report Concludes 50 Cents of Every Dollar Donated to HSUS is Swallowed Up by “Overhead” Expenses


Washington, DC – Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) pointed to the 2010 “Watchdog Report” from Animal People News, which determined the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spends 50 cents of every donated dollar on continued fundraising and additional overhead costs. HSUS has a holiday fundraising goal of $1.2 million, of which a staggering $600,000 will likely go to raise more money, pay lobbyists, and fund HSUS’s $11 million pension plan. HSUS’s skewed spending priorities leave countless shelters without funds in today’s tough economy.

Animal People News, the well-regarded newspaper of the animal rights movement, studied HSUS’s 2009 federal income tax return and determined that 50% of HSUS costs were “overhead,” not 29% as HSUS claims.  
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HSUS's Wasteful Spending Puts Them on Charity Watchdog List

Wasteful Humane Society of the United States Earns a Spot on Charity Watchdogs’ “Naughty” Lists
New Report Concludes 50 Cents of Every Dollar Donated to HSUS is Swallowed Up by “Overhead” Expenses


Washington, DC – Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) pointed to the 2010 “Watchdog Report” from Animal People News, which determined the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spends 50 cents of every donated dollar on continued fundraising and additional overhead costs. HSUS has a holiday fundraising goal of $1.2 million, of which a staggering $600,000 will likely go to raise more money, pay lobbyists, and fund HSUS’s $11 million pension plan. HSUS’s skewed spending priorities leave countless shelters without funds in today’s tough economy.

Animal People News, the well-regarded newspaper of the animal rights movement, studied HSUS’s 2009 federal income tax return and determined that 50% of HSUS costs were “overhead,” not 29% as HSUS claims.  
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Ohio Ag Net Expands & Adds Staff

The Agri Broadcasting Network, better known as ABN by listeners who have tuned in for farm news since Ed Johnson founded the network in 1972, ended operations in early December.

ABN was purchased by Clear Channel in 2001, and in 2007 was sold to AdVance Broadcast & Communication owned by Lindsay Hill and Andy Vance. Also in 2007, Johnson’s son, Bart Johnson, teamed up with veteran farm broadcaster Dale Minyo to launch the Ohio Ag Net.

Due to the closing of ABN Radio (Buckeye Ag Radio Network) the Ohio Ag Net is expanding farm programming on many stations throughout Ohio by adding afternoon programming. To help with the effort, Kirby Hidy of Washington Court House and Ty Higgins of Powell have joined the Ohio Ag Net.

“We are very pleased to add a tremendous amount of farm radio and communications experience to our staff with these two men,” said Bart Johnson, who is also the publisher of Ohio’s Country Journal.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Expands & Adds Staff

The Agri Broadcasting Network, better known as ABN by listeners who have tuned in for farm news since Ed Johnson founded the network in 1972, ended operations in early December.

ABN was purchased by Clear Channel in 2001, and in 2007 was sold to AdVance Broadcast & Communication owned by Lindsay Hill and Andy Vance. Also in 2007, Johnson’s son, Bart Johnson, teamed up with veteran farm broadcaster Dale Minyo to launch the Ohio Ag Net.

Due to the closing of ABN Radio (Buckeye Ag Radio Network) the Ohio Ag Net is expanding farm programming on many stations throughout Ohio by adding afternoon programming. To help with the effort, Kirby Hidy of Washington Court House and Ty Higgins of Powell have joined the Ohio Ag Net.

“We are very pleased to add a tremendous amount of farm radio and communications experience to our staff with these two men,” said Bart Johnson, who is also the publisher of Ohio’s Country Journal.… Continue reading

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Ohio hosts 2011 National Christmas Tree Association Convention

By Matt Reese

The Ohio Christmas Tree Association is preparing for a big year in 2011. In the 50th year of the organization, just after the 500th anniversary of the first decorated Christmas tree, Ohio will be hosting the National Christmas Tree Association Convention in 2011. Ohio ranks ninth in total Christmas tree production and eighth in the number of Christmas tree farms the nation, yet has never hosted the national event.

“We want to show the nation’s Christmas tree farmers the high quality of Christmas tree farms in this state and we also want to showcase Ohio,” said Dave Reese, Ohio Christmas Tree Association president. “Ohio has a lot of great things to offer and we have the opportunity to show that to Christmas tree growers from the U.S., Canada and Mexico.”

The convention will be held at the beautiful Sawmill Creek Resort on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky.… Continue reading

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USDA report shows tight supplies of corn and soybeans

The Agriculture Department’s December crop report shows continued tight supplies of corn, cotton and soybeans that will help drive planting decisions next year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Grain stocks weren’t reduced as much as we had expected, with USDA only making minor adjustments to the corn, wheat and soybean balance sheets,” said John Anderson, AFBF economist. “USDA did, however, lower its cotton stocks forecast to 1.9 million bales, compared to 2.2 million bales in last month’s report. That’s a drop of 300,000 bales in ending stocks, which is a significant drop given how low stocks already were.”

The USDA report indicates supplies of the three crops will be tight going into the new year. That points to strong demand, higher prices and an increase in corn, cotton and soybean plantings in 2011, according to the AFBF economist.

Anderson said that USDA’s minimal change to the corn stocks forecast was a surprising point from the December report.… Continue reading

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Corn ending stocks are raised as imports increase

U.S. feed grain supplies for 2010/11 are virtually unchanged as a small increase in corn imports is offset by a reduction in barley imports both reflecting feed grain production changes for Canada this month. U.S. corn imports are raised 5 million bushels with record production reported for Canada. U.S. corn ending stocks are raised accordingly. Barley imports are lowered 5 million bushels with lower production in Canada and the slow pace of imports to date. U.S. barley food, seed, and industrial use is lowered the same amount as domestic beer consumption remains weak slowing demand for malting barley. The projected marketing-year average price received by U.S. corn producers is unchanged this month at $4.80 to $5.60 per bushel. Farm prices for barley and oats are both projected slightly lower based on prices received by producers to date.

Global coarse grain production for 2010/11 is increased 3.4 million tons with corn production up 2.2 million tons, barley production up 0.6 million tons, and oats production up 0.4 million tons.… Continue reading

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The Dull Homestead recently constructed a seed corn conditioning facility

Dull Homestead Inc. recently constructed a new seed corn conditioning facility. The Dull family of Brookville, Oh., produces, processes and packages seed corn for Seed Consultants, Inc.

The new facility allows the Dulls to double their processing and handling capacity from 200 bushels per hour to 450 bushels per hour for a total of 100,000 units a season. A unit is 80,000 kernels. Mike Dull, seed corn production manager, says the facility will also enable the family to process seed earlier, by calendar year end.

The first seed plant, built in 1995, was quickly outgrown. To make room for expansion, the Dull family tore down the previous 75 X 60 foot building, located on one floor, and erected a three and four level facility in the same footprint. The seed is moved carefully with a series of slow speed universal legs and belt conveyors. “We’ve always been careful about making sure the seed is handled gently.… Continue reading

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Limited forage supply adds to beef feeding woes

Heavy spring rains and late summer drought were the perfect storm for the forage issues that now plague beef producers.

Forages are in short supply in some areas and of low quality in others, leaving beef producers to deal with the high prices of alternative feeds to meet the energy and protein needs of their herds, said Ron Lemenager, Purdue Extension beef specialist.

“We’re getting a number of calls from producers who are asking questions about a short forage supply, either because they had to start feeding hay earlier than normal, or because they didn’t get a second or third cutting in during the growing season,” Lemenager said. “Some producers have a carryover of hay from the previous year, but that hay is more weathered and lower quality.”

Many of the producers who started to feed hay early had to do so because the drought wreaked havoc on the pastures where cows were grazing.… Continue reading

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Ohio Camp Muskingum receives a FCS grant

Todd Davis knows a lot about the history of Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum. He should —after all, he’s been its director for 15 years, and before that he grew up there during the 28 years his dad (John) was the director.

“Dad farmed part-time, and during his tenure the camp evolved from a summer-only to a year-around program,” said Davis, who earned his degree in ag education from Ohio State University. “When Dad retired and the board decided to go to a full-time director, I jumped at the opportunity to come back to the camp and the hills of Carroll County. I just love it here.”

Davis stated that Camp Muskingum, which is nestled on beautiful Leesville Lake in northeast Ohio, was originally built during the Great Depression by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps to teach young men vocational skills like welding, carpentry, or plumbing. The camp was later purchased by the Ohio FFA, and since then facilities and programming have both advanced steadily.… Continue reading

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Extensive testing yields consistent products

Seed Consultant Inc. (SCI) planted 90,000 replicated yield plots during the 2010 growing season, including 56 different locations for corn, 40 for soybeans and 11 for wheat throughout the Eastern Corn Belt.

The extensive testing program helps growers select the best genetics for the East’s unique environment — cooler, wetter soils and higher disease pressure.

“By planting a large number of plots we can position the hybrid or variety best suited for the farmers’ particular soils,” said Chris Jeffries, SCI president. “Some companies may have more total rows, but we have more locations. The key is selecting for our customer base.”

SCI customers Aaron Freyenberger and his dad, Keith, depend on SCI’s research to select seed for their northwest Indiana farm.

“It’s local. I can find the best varieties for my soil types,” Aaron said.

The soil types the Freyenbergers farm near Kouts range from clay hills to sand.

In 2010 the Freyenbergers planted SC 1107(non-GMO) on the clay hills.… Continue reading

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To store or not to store

Farmers trying to decide whether to sell the crop they harvested this fall or continue to store it have a big question to answer: Will storing the crop lead to greater profits later?

Although that is a matter of speculation, the returns on crop storage are lower than normal this year, according to Corinne Alexander, associate professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University.

“Buyers are saying, through price signals, that they are willing to pay a lot more right now because they need the grain,” Alexander said. “The market isn’t paying a lot to store, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. There’s no easy rule of thumb.”

Alexander recommends that farmers who choose to store their crop avoid putting it into commercial storage, which is less profitable than storing it on the farm.

The increase in crop prices primarily is the result of lower yields for different crops around the world.… Continue reading

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Monsanto's Growing Strong Communities Deadline is Approaching

Want to give back to your community this Holiday Season? You’ve got less than a month to win $2,500 for your town through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program!

The program, which is presented by the Monsanto Fund, gives eligible farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for their favorite community nonprofit organization. The registration deadline is December 31, 2010.
It only takes a couple of minutes to register. Call 1-877-267-3332 or visit www.growcommunities.com.

Apply now and the Monsanto Fund will donate $1 to the local United Way to help food pantries, Meals On Wheels and other non-profit organizations fight hunger in your county. … Continue reading

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