Featured News

FCS helps rebuild grandstand at Defiance County Fairgrounds

Anyone who grew up or lives in rural America likely has a pretty good feel for how county fairs — complete with 4H Club members, livestock judging, demolition derbies, tractor pulls, elephant ears, and much more — are an integral part of the fabric of their local communities.

“County fairs are really an annual celebration of agriculture and rural America,” said Defiance County native Nick Sheets recently of his county’s fair at Hicksville.

Those annual celebrations are also an opportunity to share agriculture’s story with a population increasingly removed from farming traditions and practices. However, in Defiance County fewer people are attending than in years past, which has had some community leaders concerned.

“At one time this was a great county fair, but over the past few years interest and attendance have dwindled,” said Tom Breininger, a retired school principal and farmer who agreed to chair a foundation board to raise funds to help rejuvenate the fair.… Continue reading

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ASA pushes legislative priorities in unfinished business for Congress

The 111th Congress adjourned on September 30, for the pre-election recess. It will return to Washington on November 15, to begin a “lame duck” session, break for Thanksgiving, and is expected to return after Thanksgiving for another three weeks to complete “unfinished business.”

The American Soybean Association (ASA) urges voters to contact Members of Congress on four key items of “unfinished business” that are of critical importance to U.S. soybean farmers and the soy industry. We also urge you to talk to candidates who are seeking Senate or House offices about these issues. While only current Members of Congress will vote in any lame duck session, it is important to educate candidates about soybean farmer policy priorities including:

·         Extension of the biodiesel tax credit;

·         Estate tax legislation;

·         Passage of the South Korea Free Trade Agreement (and possibly the Colombia and Panama FTAs) to retain and expand U.S.… Continue reading

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Kubota and Vermeer announce strategic marketing alliance

Kubota Tractor Corporation and Vermeer Corporation announce a strategic marketing alliance for the sale of performance-matched, allied-approved, Vermeer forage equipment. The combination Kubota and Vermeer Dealers now have the opportunity to sell Vermeer forage equipment, such as balers, rakes and related forage equipment financed by Kubota Credit Corporation.

“The marketing alliance between Kubota and Vermeer allows those Kubota Dealers who are also Vermeer Dealers to offer a full line of Vermeer forage equipment and Kubota tractors to their agricultural customers with easy financing and strong aftermarket support available from one dealer location,” explains Greg Embury, vice president sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation.

“We believe the combination of our high quality Vermeer forage solutions equipment along with Kubota’s well-respected tractor lineup, offers customers an excellent choice for purchasing high-performance, long-lasting, productive ag equipment. The alliance between Vermeer and Kubota offers an easy way to purchase a tractor and baler, rake or other related forage equipment and have the service and financing end of ownership at one convenient dealership location,” adds Mark Core, Vice President, Forage Solutions, Vermeer Corporation.… Continue reading

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Ohio Departments of Agriculture, Education and Ohio First Lady celebrate Ohio Farm to School Initiative

River View School District administrators and Ohio food policy advocates at River View High School in Warsaw to celebrate the Ohio Farm to School Initiative and highlight the program’s recent developments.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Initiative, facilitated through Gov. Ted Strickland’s Ohio Food Policy Advisory Council, works to connect schools with local farms to provide healthy and nutritious meals to school children using Ohio-grown foods. The initiative combines collaborative efforts between the Ohio Departments of Agriculture and Education, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through a Specialty Crop Block Grant.

“The Ohio Farm to School Initiative is a comprehensive effort to increase access to healthy food options for Ohio’s students and create new markets and opportunities for Ohio’s farmers,” Boggs said. “Ohioans spend about $43 billion every year on food, but only 3% of that spending goes to products from Ohio farms. If Ohio schools purchased just 25% of their fruits and vegetables from local farmers for school lunches it would contribute more than $13 million to our local economy.”… Continue reading

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Markets get whipsawed

December 2010 corn futures traded to a high of $5.235 on September 27 and closed at $5.05 on Sept. 29. On Oct. 4, the surprisingly large USDA Sept. 1 corn stocks estimate released on Sept. 30 sent that contract to a low of $4.56, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

Similarly, the November 2010 soybean futures contract traded to $11.295 on Sept. 27, closed at $10.99 on Sept. 29, and declined to $10.44 on Oct. 4, he said.

“Price declines came to a halt with the release of USDA’s October Crop Production report on Oct. 8. That report contained a unexpectedly small forecast of the size of the U.S. corn and soybean crops,” he said.

The corn crop is now forecast at 12.664 billion bushels, 496 million smaller than the September forecast and 446 million smaller than the 2009 harvest. Although the estimate of harvested acreage was increased by 258,000 acres, the forecast yield was lowered by 6.7 bushels, to 155.8 bushels, he said.… Continue reading

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Go whole hog to celebrate October Pork month

If you eat, you have a connection to the farm every day. October is National Pork Month, and it offers a special opportunity to recognize Ohio hog farmers’ multi-faceted commitment to producing safe, nutritious food; while promoting animal well-being, safeguarding natural resources, and contributing to a better quality of life in local communities.

“During National Pork Month—and every month—Ohio hog farmers work tirelessly to care for their animals, employees, consumers and communities,” said Jim Albaugh, Ohio Pork Producers Council (OPPC) president. “Hog farmers in our state continuously make decisions to promote quality, both on the farm and in the pork products we produce. It is both our commitment and responsibility.”

To thank consumers for enjoying pork and supporting Ohio farm families during National Pork Month, Ohioans can visit www.OhioPork.org to download a coupon for $2 off fresh pork at any Ohio retailer. Featuring an Ohio hog farm family and their quick pork fajitas recipe, the coupon is a great resource for families to try pork’s versatility while consuming an affordable, delicious and healthy meal.… Continue reading

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Big drop in USDA’s corn crop estimate surprises industry

After Friday’s USDA report the crop farmers will be harvesting today are much more valuable. Compared to last Monday, the corn is up over a dollar and the beans are up $1.25.

The big drop in both the corn yield and production estimates in October’s National Agricultural Statistics crop report caught the industry by surprise, according to John Anderson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Folks were expecting to see a drop in average yields from last month’s report because of poor late-season weather conditions across much of the Corn Belt, but nobody was forecasting this big of a drop in the corn crop,” Anderson said.

USDA forecasts corn production at 12.664 billion bushels, down 3.8% from the 13.16 billion production forecast last month and lower than last year’s record 13.11 billion bushel crop.

“This is a pretty sizable drop in production,” Anderson said. “We saw a really big drop in USDA’s forecasted average yield for corn because of adverse weather in the big corn states of Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.… Continue reading

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Markets soar after lower production report from USDA

The markets are soaring limit up in response to the USDA crop production report.

Though the U.S. soybean production forecast is at a record-high level, according to the Crop Production report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the yield is down 1% from the September estimate. Soybean yield is expected to average 44.4 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushels from 2009. If realized this will be the highest yield on record. Soybean growers are expected to harvest a record-high 76.8 million acres, but up 0.6 percent from last year’s acreage. 

Compared with last month, yields are forecast lower or unchanged in all major-producing States except Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin. The largest decreases in yield from last month are expected in North Carolina and Virginia, down 5 and 4 bushels, respectively.

U. S. corn production was also down with a yield forecast at 12.7 billion bushels, down 4% from the September forecast and down 3% from last year’s record production of 13.1 billion bushels.… Continue reading

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NRCS extends sign-up period for conservation stewardship program applications

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the ranking period cut-off date for producer applications in NRCS’ Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to January 7, 2011. “We’re extending the deadline for applications to CSP to provide agricultural producers more time to complete their applications,” White said. “This will help farmers, ranchers and forestry producers by giving them more time and hopefully allow even more producers to participate in this program.” CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off dates for ranking periods. The program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancement and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. All producers are encouraged to apply for CSP. The program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship.… Continue reading

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Beware of planting wheat after corn

Ohio growers following wheat planting after corn harvest should be mindful of the potential for head scab development in their crop.

Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said that recurring disease problems — ear rot and stalk rot in corn in 2009 and head scab in wheat in 2010 — may pave the way for continuing issues if weather conditions favor head scab development during the 2011 growing season.

“Wheat and corn are both members of the grass family, and as such, are affected by some of the same pests and diseases, one of which being head scab,” said Paul, who also holds an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center appointment.

Head scab, a major disease of wheat that affects the crop during the flowering stage, is caused by the same fungus (Fusarium graminearum) that causes ear and stalk rot in corn.

“So even if the cornfield into which wheat is planted did not have a major ear rot or stalk rot problem this year, the fungus still is present in the corn stubble left in the field after harvest.… Continue reading

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Wheat recognized during National School Lunch Week

A campaign designed to educate students about the importance of nutritious school lunches also highlights the role of wheat and whole grains.

National School Lunch Week is October 11-15. The tribute raises awareness about how healthy food options for elementary and secondary students at lunchtime improve their academic potential and wellbeing.

Wheat is a staple ingredient in school lunchrooms nationwide because of its many nutritional advantages. It contains large amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Research has shown its influence in reducing the risk of diabetes, breast cancer, gallstones, inflammation and several cardiovascular conditions.

Whole grains are becoming more integrated in school menus. Wheat is one of the most widely grown and most preferred whole grains available for consumption in the world. In fact, wheat is America’s most consumed grain and is also the principal ingredient of flour.

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) released a study June 30, which included responses from 538 school nutrition directors managing school-district foodservice operations in 44 states, that revealed 95 percent of schools districts are increasing offerings of whole-grain products.… Continue reading

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Green stems slowing soybean harvest

The 2010 soybean harvest looks promising for many growers, but green soybean plants and stems may reduce harvest speed this fall.

“Green stems, sometimes referred to as ‘green stem syndrome’ or ‘green stem disorder’ occur when stems remain green even though pods and seeds yield and mature fine,” Vince Davis, University of Illinois Extension soybean specialist. “The condition can range from a nearly normal number of pods on a plant with green stems, to entire plants that remain green with few pods and no seeds developed.”

Entire plants that remain green can easily persist until a killing frost occurs, he said. These cases can also range from entirely genetic to entirely environmental causes.

“Genetic causes in nature are due to male sterility, causing plants to set about 85% fewer pods resulting in 4.5 times greater carbohydrate concentrations in the root, stem, and leaf matter,” he said. “In 2006, Curtis Hill and fellow researchers evaluated 1,187 different MGI and MGII cultivars in Illinois from 2001 to 2004 and found some relationships between percentages of green stem to certain cultivars suggesting better variety selection may be possible.”… Continue reading

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Protect pasture leaf area in the fall

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Athens County, Buckeye Hills EERA

I’ve gotten some questions recently about pasture management during dry fall conditions. Specifically, how will future pasture production be affected by grazing off pasture leaf area now, in the fall? The short answer to that question is that pasture production will be harmed by grazing off leaf area at this time. Now, let’s examine the reasons behind the answer and some management options.

Fall is the time when the perennial plant prepares for winter. As a perennial plant, the root system remains alive over the winter and depends upon stored carbohydrate reserves to survive and to regenerate new growth the following spring. Manufacture of those carbohydrate reserves depends upon photosynthesis. Photosynthesis depends upon leaves capturing sunlight. More leaf area equals more sunlight captured, higher photosynthetic rates and higher levels of carbohydrates produced for winter storage. As we go farther into the fall, grass growth rate slows down considerably, but photosynthesis can still occur at productive rates, provided there is adequate leaf area.… Continue reading

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Early harvest leaves time for cover crops

With harvest already out of the way for some Ohio corn and soybean producers, there may be ample time this fall to repair compaction-damaged fields.

Randall Reeder, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, encourages growers to explore cover crops (legumes or grasses) as a way of alleviating compaction issues.

“Subsoiling is an obvious and common technique to break up soil and smooth out rutted fields,” said Reeder, who also holds a research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “But cover crops are a natural biological plow and may be an attractive option to solve some compaction issues, while getting the added soil and environmental benefits that cover crops bring to ag production management.”

Ohio State University Extension research has found that cover crops incorporated into a continuous no-till field crop rotation can produce enough nitrogen to complement, or in some cases, replace corn nitrogen fertilizer applications. In addition, cover crops improve the soil structure, support microbial diversity, facilitate drainage, reduce soil erosion, reduce nutrient leaching, store carbon, suppress weeds, enhance wildlife and serve as a forage product.

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Federal Court decides Ohio dairy labeling case

By Peggy Hall, Ohio State University Extension

The federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled in International Dairy Foods Assoc. v. Boggs, a controversial case long anticipated by Ohio’s agricultural interests.  At the center of the controversy is Ohio’s dairy labeling rule, adopted  by the Ohio Department of Agriculture in 2008.  Prior to the rule, many dairy producers who did not use the genetically engineered hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) included language on their product labels that indicated the product as “rbST free” or “from cows not treated with rbST.”  Many others in the agricultural and dairy industries objected to such language, claiming that it was false and misleading and suggested that  “rbST free” dairy products were superior to others.  In response to such concerns, Governor Strickland directed the ODA to “define what constitutes false and misleading labels on milk and milk products” and to require dairy producers claiming that they do not use rbST to submit supporting documentation and create labels containing representations consistent with the Food and Drug Administration’s findings that there is no significant difference between milk from rbST-treated and untreated cows.… Continue reading

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OARDC tornado damage video on the Web

Ohio State University tree experts show tornado damage to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and its Secrest Arboretum in Wooster in a new video posted Oct. 1 on YouTube.

The images come from areas that continue to remain off-limits to the public — the main OARDC campus and its 120-acre arboretum — following a Sept. 16 tornado strike.

Part one is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVMjWhx7TA&feature=player_embedded.

Part two is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdfKJZ0u1aY&feature=related.

Narrators Jim Chatfield, an Ohio State University Extension horticulture specialist based in Wooster, and Bruce Cubberley, an assistant professor of horticulture technologies at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI), also in Wooster, look at which trees were lost, which ones survived, how to know if a damaged tree can be saved and more.

“It’s about mourning, but it’s also about learning and looking to the future,” Chatfield says in the video.

“We will put this material to use” — with ATI horticulture students, in OSU Extension outreach programs — “because that’s what we’re about: bringing knowledge to life.”… Continue reading

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The market for club pigs: This little piggy sold online

By Brian Roe and Tim Wyszynski, Ohio State University

The performance of brick and mortar institutions relative to Internet alternatives is of increasing interest for agriculture.  With Internet penetration rising steadily among US farm households (59% in 2009 vs. 29% in 1999), online markets hold great promise for increasing market efficiency, particularly for items where local markets are thin and search costs are high.  However, online markets must overcome issues of trust (Does the item meet its description? Will the seller actually send it?).  Furthermore, Internet markets are newer and need to attract enough buyers and sellers away from traditional markets in order to have a liquid market.  Once these barriers are overcome, questions still remain about whether online prices are comparable to prices in traditional markets.  For example, Ohio State research found that used tractor prices on eBay were 30% lower than similarly described tractors sold in traditional auctions.

One place where Internet sales have developed a foothold is in the club pig market. … Continue reading

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Ohio Weekly Crop Progress Report for October 4th


This week was dry and cool throughout the state, except for a day of rain mid-week. Dry field conditions allowed producers to harvest grain, fruit and vegetable crops, and plant winter wheat.
As of Sunday October 3, 90 percent of corn was mature, compared to 43 percent last year and 71 percent for the five-year average. Thirty- six percent of corn for grain has been harvested in the State, compared to 4 percent last year and 8 percent for the five-year average. Ninety-five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 86 percent last year and 93 percent for the five-year average. Soybeans were 80 percent mature, which was 32 percent ahead of last year and 17 percent ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans harvested were reported at 43 percent, up 34 percent from last year and up 23 percent from the five-year average.… Continue reading

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