Featured News

New food safety regulation signed into law

In early January, President Barack Obama signed into law new food safety regulations that are the most dramatic changes to American food safety practices in over 70 years.

“The Food Safety bill will provide the Federal Government with improved tools to prevent foodborne illness and address challenges in the food safety system by promoting a prevention-oriented approach,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary. “Protecting consumers from harm is a fundamental function of government and with passage of this landmark food safety legislation, USDA remains committed to keeping food safety a top priority.”

The changes have generated some concerns within the agricultural industry, however. “Food safety knows no size, and exempting some small producers and processors from the legislation, as the Tester/Hagan amendment will do, sets a dangerous precedent for the future our nation’s food safety system. Instead of including the Tester/Hagan language, Congress should have passed legislation to set appropriate standards for all products in the marketplace, no matter the size of the producing entity,” said Kristina Butts, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) executive director of legislative affairs.… Continue reading

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A Comeback Story for My Kind

Ty Higgins

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

When I was first hired as an on-air radio personality right out of high school, my Mom, although she would support whatever I chose to do, told me that DJs were a dime a dozen. Now that I am older I understand that even though she broke my heart back then, she didn’t mean to. She was being my Mother, only wanting what was best for me, not believing radio would be a sustainable career path.

I have been very fortunate with my career path over the last 15 years. I have many stories to share and have had many opportunities that I will never forget. With that said, I have seen many of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the radio industry not have the luck I have had, even though most were far more talented.

It is a tough business, and Mom was absolutely right.… Continue reading

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Tips for planning for the future of your family farm

A conversation with Robert Moore, with Wright Law Firm

OCJ: First, could you share with us about your background and how you got involved with the legalities of family estate planning?

Robert: I grew up on a dairy farm in Coshocton County. After graduating from Ohio State I worked for OSU Extension for 9 years. During my time with OSU Extension, I attended Capital Law School at night. I felt a legal career working with farmers would be both challenging and rewarding. After law school I joined Wright Law Co., which focuses on agricultural law, particularly estate and succession planning for farm families.

OCJ: How do you feel about the recent changes to federal estate tax?

Robert: It is definitely beneficial to farmers. The new $5,000,000 federal estate tax exemption will allow most farm families to be exempt from federal estate tax. If the exemption had gone back to $1,000,000, many farm families would have struggled to continue the farm due to federal estate taxes upon the death of a family member.… Continue reading

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Ohio residents honored for support of fairs

The individuals from across the state were recognized for their outstanding support of local fairs during ceremonies at the 86th Ohio Fair Managers Association Annual Convention at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs presented each recipient with a certificate.


The award recipients were:

District 1 – L.C. “Butch” Krauss, Fulton County

District 2 – Dave Jury, Wyandot County

District 3 – James A. Bell (posthumous), Greene County

District 4 – Jim Kirk, Fayette County

District 5 – Herbert J. Berry, Wayne County

District 6 – Joel D. Spires, Fairfield County

District 7 – James C. Rex, Morgan County

District 8 – Albert Young, Coshocton County

District 9 – James Bailey, Portage County

Ohio’s 94 county and independent fairs and the Ohio State Fair support the local economy and help educate the public about the importance of agriculture and the many necessities it provides, including food, clothing, shelter, fuel and energy.… Continue reading

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A new “coffee shop” is born

By Matt Reese

A jingle announces when someone walks in the door and every head turns to see who it is. Golden oldies country music is playing in the background. Coffee is consumed by the pot and the food is good enough to accompany the bountiful conversation that flows freely, depending on who is sitting around the table.
Farmers have flocked to the local coffee shop for generations to learn the local gossip, talk about the weather and share their (often slightly exaggerated) crop yields. This is just the kind of place Bill Yeoman had in mind when he conjured up the idea of a new business for his Fayette County family farm.
The Yeoman family has been in the area since 1815 when their founder got a 1410-acre land grant for service in the Revolutionary War. In more recent years, the Yeoman family operation had evolved into corn and soybeans and freezer beef from an Angus herd.… Continue reading

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USDA’s Risk Management Agency unveils proposed rule to reward farmers participating in Federal Crop Insurance Program

The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced today that it has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would reward farmers participating in the federal crop insurance program for good performance.

“This proposed Good Performance Refund will benefit qualifying farmers and ranchers across rural America and strengthen the Federal crop insurance program,” said RMA administrator, William J. Murphy. “It encourages producers to use the best available management practices in order to qualify for the refund in future years and rewards good performance by returning a portion of the out-of-pocket costs paid for crop insurance premiums back to those who have paid into the program and have had limited or no losses.”

Under the proposed program, payment amounts would vary by producer and will be based on each qualified producer’s history in the program. RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000.… Continue reading

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USDA's Risk Management Agency unveils proposed rule to reward farmers participating in Federal Crop Insurance Program

The Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced today that it has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would reward farmers participating in the federal crop insurance program for good performance.

“This proposed Good Performance Refund will benefit qualifying farmers and ranchers across rural America and strengthen the Federal crop insurance program,” said RMA administrator, William J. Murphy. “It encourages producers to use the best available management practices in order to qualify for the refund in future years and rewards good performance by returning a portion of the out-of-pocket costs paid for crop insurance premiums back to those who have paid into the program and have had limited or no losses.”

Under the proposed program, payment amounts would vary by producer and will be based on each qualified producer’s history in the program. RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000.… Continue reading

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Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program 2011 application period opens

The 2011 Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program application is now available on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website. All applications must be submitted electronically no later than 5 p.m. on April 6, 2011. A hard copy of the completed application must also be sent by registered or certified mail to the department, postmarked on or before April 6, 2011.

The applications are used by the department to evaluate and purchase agricultural easements to preserve Ohio’s farmland. Agricultural easements are voluntary legal agreements restricting non-agricultural development on farmland, with the land itself remaining on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management. Landowners may undertake any agricultural activity permitted under Ohio law. They can sell their farm or pass it along as a gift to others, but the easement remains with the land, prohibiting any future non-agricultural development to make certain that it remains used for agricultural purposes.

The Clean Ohio Fund bond initiative won support from Ohio’s voters in November 2008 to preserve farmland and green spaces, improve outdoor recreation, encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities by cleaning up brownfields.… Continue reading

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Strickland issued executive order completing agreement between Ohio’s agricultural leaders and HSUS

Governor Ted Strickland issued an executive order that completes the governor’s responsibilities brokered in the agreement between Ohio’s agricultural leaders and the Humane Society to enhance animal care standards while maintaining a vibrant livestock industry in Ohio.

The emergency executive order allows for the immediate adoption of a new Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife rule that bans the private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

“This action fulfills my responsibilities within the agreement that will keep Ohio’s vital agriculture industry profitable while appropriately updating animal care standards,” Strickland said. “This rule will help protect Ohioans from deaths and serious injuries caused by attacks from dangerous wild animals held in private ownership.”

The agreement between the major organizations representing livestock producers and other agricultural interests and the Humane Society of the United States was first announced by Strickland on June 30, 2010. It resulted in the Humane Society not pursuing a ballot initiative this past fall, the initiation of several steps to enhance animal welfare and animal care standards including the adoption of rules, and preserved the integrity of the Ohio Livestock Animal Care Standards Board.Continue reading

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Parking lot gardening

An old asphalt parking lot might not seem like a good place for a garden, but in urban areas it can be. It tends to be cheap open land and an Ohio State University expert on intensive small-scale horticulture has started a three-year study on what works best there.

Joe Kovach, who specializes in maximizing fruit and vegetable production in limited spaces, is comparing three ways to do it in empty, abandoned parking lots: in giant-sized pots and in raised beds on top of the blacktop, and in trenches cut right through it.

“There are a lot of vacant parking lots in places like Cleveland and Youngstown,” said Kovach, who works at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and holds a joint appointment with Ohio State University Extension. “We’re hoping to learn if the trenches work, if the pots are worth it and of all three techniques, which is the best?”… Continue reading

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Johnson Joins Ohio Beef Council Staff

Andrew Johnson of Wooster joined the staff of the Ohio Beef Council and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association in late December. He is serving as the Director of Programs and Industry Relations for OBC and OCA. This director position will focus largely on developing and implementing checkoff funded programs in the areas of consumer advertising, retail, foodservice, veal and nutrition. Johnson will also coordinate the OCA Young Cattlemen’s Conference, help plan district meetings, oversee the Foundation’s fundraising and scholarship program and is responsible for coordinating the Ohio Beef Expo Junior Show activities. Johnson is a graduate of Capital University with a degree in communications. Johnson has held previous internships with the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair and also with Certified Angus Beef.  Johnson can be reached via email at ajohnson@ohiobeef.org or by calling the OBC and OCA office at 614-873-6736.

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association is an affiliate of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is the state’s spokesperson and issues manager for all segments of the beef cattle industry including cattle breeders, producers and feeders.… Continue reading

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New beef position to focus on animal care, food safety and profitability

A newly created position in Ohio State University Extension will address animal welfare, beef management and production, and pre-harvest food safety for Ohioans.

“Animal care and food safety are key issues for Ohio farmers and consumers alike. This position will help promote practices recommended by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board,” said Keith Smith, associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of OSU Extension.

The OSU Extension Beef Coordinator position will be based out of The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, Ohio, and will be funded in partnership with the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and the Ohio Beef Council (OBC).

“This position is about sharing information across all industry sectors to add economic value to Ohio’s beef production,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of OCA and OBC.

“We are grateful to the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Beef Council for partnering with us to create this new position,” Smith said.… Continue reading

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Focus on food safety, current issues at OPGMA Congress

“Your Recipe for Success” is the theme for this year’s Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Congress, Jan. 17-19 at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. The registration deadline is Jan. 7 and is available online at http://www.opgma.org/.

Sessions cover a wide range of topics, including special sessions on Monday, Jan. 17, on food safety issues. Presenters include farmers, industry representatives and university specialists from across the nation, including Ohio State University Extension educators and researchers with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Among the sessions being offered by OSU Extension and OARDC faculty members are:

Strawberry and Tomato Production in High Tunnels, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Matt Kleinhenz, Brad Bergefurd.

Apples: Thinning Trials and U.S. Apple Industry Activities, Jan. 17, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Allison Parker, Diane Miller, Jozsef Racsko.

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Control and Resources, Jan. 17, 3-4:15 p.m., Sally Miller.

Food Safety Part 3: Training, Education and Implementation, Jan.… Continue reading

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SCI acquisition a product of an evolving seed industry

By Matt Reese

The world of corn and soybean production forever changed in the late 1990s when the first genetically modified soybeans were released. Since then, there is no doubt that traits have revolutionized corn and soybean production, but those same traits have altered the industry in other ways.
The big benefits of traits come with a big price tag in terms of the money required to research and bring them to market. The stakes are high in this high dollar game and once the major players make the huge investment in traits, they are in it to win. Disputes are inevitable, and while the legions of lawyers battle it out, the smaller seed companies that depend on these traits (but cannot afford to develop their own) are caught in the crossfire.
This is the story behind the surprising recent news that DuPont, which owns Pioneer H-Bred International, Inc. (PHI), had acquired Seed Consultants, Inc.… Continue reading

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Lely USA announces expansion to U.S. headquarters

Lely, the world leader in robotic milking systems, has announced the company will soon expand its production facilities to include Pella, Iowa, the current headquarters for Lely USA. The expansion will significantly increase Lely’s production capacity in the North American market.
“Lely USA has been headquartered in Pella, Iowa for the past 7 years,” said Peter Langebeeke, president of Lely USA. “It’s with great pleasure we’ll be able to pay back this incredibly supportive community with our significant facility expansion and new job creation.”
Plans include a 35 to 40,000 square foot production and office facility dedicated to the production and support of Lely’s line of robotic milking equipment, including the Astronaut robotic milking system as well as Lely’s complete line of feed and animal care products. The new space will be Lely’s first dairy production facility outside of their headquarters and production facilities in Maassluis and Rotterdam, Holland. The new facility will dramatically increase the product capacity in the North American market, allowing the company to expand its current services and technologies to the North American dairy industry.… Continue reading

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Ohio State University Extension “district” programs for sheep and goat producers

This OSU Extension Coordinated Program is an effort to provide outreach programs in several areas of sheep production.  We invite sheep and goat producers from around Ohio to come to one or more of the educational sessions to learn more about different areas of sheep and goat production.

These Educational Programs are sponsored by: Ohio Sheep Improvement Association, Roger A. High, Executive Director, contact (614) 246-8299 or rhigh@ofbf.org or visit our website at www.ohiosheep.org for more information.  Contact Extension Educators for possible meeting fees.

When, Where and What?

Thurs., Jan. 6, 2011 “Clinton County Sheep and Goat Program – Wilmington”

Location:                   Clinton County Extension Office, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Suite 2, Wilmington, OH  45177

Time:                                     7:00 p.m.

Speaker:                   Gregg Fogle, Shepherd, The Ohio State University and Roger A. High, OSU Sheep Extension Program Specialist, “Australian Sheep Production”

Contact:                   Tony Nye, Clinton County Extension Educator, (937) 382-0901

Wed., Jan. 12, 2011 “Top of Ohio Region Sheep and Goat Program – Mt.Continue reading

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The debate of ethanol and food prices continues

Recent news stories about higher food prices often try to make a connection between food prices and the demand for ethanol, an incorrect assumption on the part of the ethanol opponents that significantly downplays all the impacts and pressures that affect food prices. Studies after the 2008 spike in corn prices help demonstrate this, according to the National Corn Growers Association.

“It’s an outrage to hear the same claims time after time, blaming corn growers and ethanol producers for the rise in food prices,” said Bart Schott, NCGA president. “It’s a rhetoric with no grounding in reality. Our growers are not only producing more corn and meeting all needs, but we are also experiencing some of the same negative factors on their farms, such as higher energy costs, that are driving up food prices around the world.”

Here in the United States, the Congressional Budget Office had already looked into the issue and issued a report in April 2009 that discussed the role of factors such as energy:

“CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded production of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percentage points of the 5.1% increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index (CPI).… Continue reading

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First Tier Four CASE IH Tractor Delivered to Ohio Farmer

PAUL FORTKAMP OF FORT RECOVERY RECEIVES WORLD’S FIRST TRACTOR MEETING NEW EPA EMISSIONS STANDARDS

Case IH shipped the world’s first tractor that meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier 4A emissions requirements for agricultural equipment. The engine in the new Magnum Series tractor uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in emissions while actually boosting power, and improving fuel efficiency and durability.

The EPA’s Tier 4A emissions standards, which take effect in 2011, mandate cleaner and more efficient engines. These measures will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter produced by 90 percent over previous generation engines utilized by agricultural manufacturers.

Case IH believes the SCR technology in the new Magnum Series tractors is superior to the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology being used by John Deere. EGR recirculates exhaust back into the engine air intake. In high-horsepower applications, this approach uses more fuel, leads to hotter engine temperatures and requires more maintenance.… Continue reading

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Jersey production set records in 2010

The American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) announced that new records for production by Registered Jersey cows were established in 2010.

The official Jersey lactation average increased to 18,567 lbs. milk, 876 lbs. fat, and 671 lbs. protein. On a Cheddar cheese equivalent basis, average yield is 2,270 pounds. All are new category records.

A record 88,727 lactations were processed by the AJCA, an increase of 23% in five years.

The lactation average is calculated on a standardized 305-day, twice daily, mature equivalent (m.e.) basis.

The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey cattle and genetics, and Jersey milk and milk products. For more information on USJersey program and services, call 614-863-3636 or visit the web site at www.USJersey.comContinue reading

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