Weather, tariffs, lack of planting yields increasing farm stress

By Kolt Buchenroth

The stagnant commodity prices, an ongoing trade war, and the uncertainty of tariffs impacting the farm economy are reason enough to induce plenty of stress in a farmer’s life. Add in the unprecedented rainfall most of the Buckeye State has seen this spring, rising input costs, and market volatility and Ohio’s agriculture community is facing a perfect storm for developing high levels of farm stress.

Ohio State University Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator Jami Delllifield is advocating around the state and the country for the mental health of the agriculture community. She has taken note of the heightened farm stress situation this growing season.

“We can’t control this. There is absolutely nothing right now that is within anyone’s control. Everything is just coming at us and it just seems to keep building. Plus, farmers are at an increased risk because their profession is isolated. They spend all day and night alone in a tractor with their thoughts,” Delliefield said.… Continue reading

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Feeding Farmers Week One | Jeff Puthoff

The Ohio Ag Net crew team traveled to West Central Ohio for the first of the Feeding Farmers events in 2019. Dale visited with Jeff Puthoff and his family who farms corn, soybeans, wheat, and runs a holstein feedlot operation.

A notable crowd of about 40 turned out to the celebration where the group talked about their wet growing season and crops that are behind what’s been seen just south of the area.

You can nominate yourself or a neighbor at

 … Continue reading

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Cultivating customers by building a brand

By Matt Reese

Visitors to Carroll Creek Farms are first greeted by a just-rustic-enough farm sign at the end of the long, tree-lined gravel drive bordered by green, flowing springtime pastures. Cattle and sheep chew contentedly on their forage as vehicles turn in the drive.

Visitors are typically welcomed by a couple of friendly dogs, and maybe a free-roaming sheep, as their cars pull to a stop. Atop the gentle rise from the road sits a most pleasant farmhouse and charming shop coined the “Meat Retreat” where customers can peruse the farm’s offerings that include a full array of cuts from their homegrown livestock raised in the surrounding fields. The production methods, scale and farm story at Adam and Jess Campbell’s Warren County farm check all the buzzwords off the wish lists of urban customers looking for a connection to a farm and their food.

“The production methods we use allow us quench our customers thirst for full transparency around the meat they consume,” Jess Campbell said.… Continue reading

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Transparency, care for animals and honesty one-sided in undercover animal rights video release

By Matt Reese

Whether they are specifically written down or not, most farms and agribusinesses operate on the foundation of a code of ethics or principles. The core values of one of the nation’s top agritourism destinations recently came under intense scrutiny when an undercover video was released.

Indiana-based Fair Oaks Farms has been all over the news after Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) released a video depicting animal abuse on the large dairy farm. In the aftermath of the video release retailers pulled Fair Oaks’ Fairlife products from their shelves, three people from the video were charged with animal cruelty and Fair Oaks temporarily suspended delivery service to protect delivery service drivers who have been harassed. Fair Oaks Farms is also being sued for fraud citing the Fairlife milk labels promoting “extraordinary care and comfort” of the cows.

Going into this, Fair Oaks had clear standards for animal care, but employees featured in the video did not adhere to those standards.… Continue reading

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Exploring the beer brewing process after a Super Bowl corn-troversy

By Joel Penhorwood

It all started with a Super Bowl ad.

Those little 30 to 60 second blips on the screen, usually meant to be funny (sometimes they actually are), had one ad from beer maker Bud Light that touted in a roundabout way the fact that Bud Light is made without corn syrup, which they also pointed out was being used by their competitors.

Corn growers were quick to respond, including the National Corn Growers Association releasing a statement saying the ads were misleading and portrayed corn syrup in a negative light. In recent weeks, a judge has even ordered Anheuser-Busch (the parent company of the Bud Light brand) to stop using the words “corn syrup” in attack ads without more context. It is the result of an ongoing lawsuit by competitor MillerCoors.

The fact is that yes, Bud Light is made without the use of corn syrup, though rice is used in its stead to derive the sugars essential in the beer brewing process.… Continue reading

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Ramifications of 1031 exchanges of personal property under the new tax law

By Brian E. Ravencraft

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in late 2017 amended code section 1031 by superseding the word “property” and replacing it with “real property.” This means that like-kind exchange treatment is still alive and well for real property, but personal property will no longer qualify for a like-kind exchanges and, therefore, will result in a taxable event.

With no code section1031 treatment available to personal property after 2017, equipment or livestock “trades” will be treated as taxable events, with taxpayers computing gain or loss

based upon the difference between the amount realized on the sale of the relinquished asset and the party’s adjusted basis in the asset. As a result, no tax deferrals are available for §1231 gains or §1245 depreciation recapture.

Increased expensing and bonus depreciation options must now be considered in assessing the overall impact of the loss of the 1031 exchange for personal property.… Continue reading

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Basis values on the rise

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

While planting progress continues across wetter parts of the Midwest this week, it still seems unlikely much more than 90% of corn acres will eventually get planted by the end of June. The market rationed demand very quickly once July corn exceeded $4.20. Questions will continue throughout summer on how many acres were actually planted and what the potential yields will be.


Improving basis values

The widespread uncertainty in futures prices is helping to improve basis prices around the country. End users are planning for upcoming production issues this winter by raising bids now for both new and old crop.

But it seems that farmers aren’t selling much new crop on this rally. Instead most are focused on pricing grain already moved to end users or sitting in commercial storage. Even farmers with on-farm storage are holding back some of their old crop, so they can use it against new crop sales that were already made before the rally should they not get all their acres planted or if their yields are below normal.… Continue reading

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June 11 brings bullish news for corn

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

“Houston we have a problem here.” This is the original transmission from Apollo 13 on their mission to the moon in 1970. The quote was later shortened when the movie was released in 1995.

The quote is highlighted today concerning U.S. corn planted acres for 2019. Since early May, numerous weekly crop progress reports indicated corn planting progress severely behind normal. Last night’s report had the U.S. corn planting progress at 83%, which is a record low for this date. Earlier in March, USDA estimated the U.S. would plant 92.8 million corn acres for 2019. Simple math indicates 15.8 million corn acres are not yet planted. The eastern Corn Belt of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan still has 7.46 million acres of corn yet to be planted. The harsh reality is, it won’t all get planted. Northwest and western Ohio have been hit hard with the rains of May and June.… Continue reading

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Crop progress made, still behind average

Rain fell at a slower clip last week compared to historical records for most areas across the State, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. There were 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending June 9. Temperatures were close to historic normals for the State which helped dry out saturated fields. Corn and soybean planting progress increased quickly as eager operators got into the fields but progress still lagged well behind the 5-year averages. Wheat headed progress moved to 81 percent and there were reports of increased wheat scab pressure. Fungicide treatments were applied aerially due to saturated fields. Pastures were in mostly fair to good condition although hay quality was reportedly lower in some areas because of extreme moisture. Oats headed progress moved to 9 percent, lagging behind the 5- year average. Nationally, corn is 83% planted and soybeans are 60% planted.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 108 | HOLY COW! Dairy Farm Under Investigation and Outrageous Hay Prices

The 108th episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, includes hosts Matt Reese, Joel Penhorwood, and special guest Candace Lease. They discuss the investigations against Fair Oaks Farms after the undercover animal abuse video was made.

Joel Penhorwood interviews sale organizer of the LaRue Horse and Tack Sale, Janeen Heilman about the crazy high prices of hay at the sale ($65/bale). Matt Reese speaks with our Between the Rows Farmers, Dylan Baer from Wood County and Nathan Brown from Highland County.… Continue reading

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Hit and miss planting progress continues to frustrate

Dylan Baer – Wood County

There have been some guys west of here who were able to get in the fields and get some planting done on Saturday. We could only find one field we thought we could run on and we got 50 acres of corn in. We got the drill out in the afternoon on Saturday and made about three rounds planting beans and decided it was too wet. It was raining again Sunday morning.

The last I heard, we were closing in on 14 inches since April 1. I’m pretty sure that is record breaking for us. Even the older farmers are talking about how they have never seen this. The 10-day forecast doesn’t look good so we have pretty much written off corn at this point. We were hanging on for as long as we could. Every time a chance of rain came up we’d say, ‘If we miss this one we could plant’ but we got it every time.… Continue reading

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20 years??

By Matt Reese

I recently had a rare couple of free hours and some jobs to do around the house. I got my laptop out and clicked on my music list to enjoy some tunes while I worked. Things were going great. I was rocking out and getting stuff done for about three songs before it happened.

I am not especially tech savvy, and a few weeks prior I had plugged my phone into my computer to transfer a file and I unknowingly transferred many of the audio interviews I have done in my career over to my laptop. They intermingled with my music. As a result, my randomly selected mix of songs now includes randomly selected interviews I had conducted with countless farmers and agribusiness professionals from years gone by.

The first interview started playing over my laptop speaker and I sort of groaned. I stopped what I was doing (I think it was caulking the shower) and went to skip to the next song so I could resume rocking out and tackling more chores.… Continue reading

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Why do septic systems malfunction?

By Karen Mancl, Professor Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering

A soft, smelly spot in the yard or sewage backing up into the home are obvious signs of a septic system malfunction. Other failures are not always apparent, however, and can result in untreated wastewater contaminating streams, ditches, or groundwater. In these cases, the property owner may not even be aware their system is creating a public health concern.


Malfunction or failure?

Systems that are not functioning properly can either be malfunctioning or failing. Malfunctioning systems are those that were properly designed and installed but are not operating as designed. Issues with malfunctioning systems can usually be easily resolved to bring the system back into compliance. A failed system is one that was not properly designed and/or installed, has been used improperly, or has reached its maximum lifetime of about 20 to 30 years. Failing systems require major renovation or replacement to be brought back into compliance.… Continue reading

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Fishing and camping sojourns in southeastern Ohio

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

This summer, embrace the proverb: ”Everyone should believe in something…I believe I’ll go fishing.”

The Appalachian foothills in southeastern Ohio offer unique camping and fishing opportunities. Although the region is not famed for its piscatorial pursuits, several well-managed state parks with large, picturesque lakes dot this wild, forested landscape, giving dedicated fishermen endless hours of entertainment in a land where the deep woods meet the water.

Outdoorsman Trent Ball frequents these southeastern state park lakes in the summer, taking his children fishing for bass, catfish, and panfish as often as time allows.

A man who appreciates the beauty of nature and the importance of outdoor pursuits, Trent values the time he spends fishing with his family.

“I like to go fishing with my kids, especially at Lake Logan and Burr Oak Lake. I like being able to get to the lake early in the morning and put a full day of fishing in without getting home late at night, so proximity plays a big part in where I can go for the day,” Ball said.… Continue reading

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Cheese curds!

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Over the years we’ve talked about the importance of dairy, ice cream and cheese but let’s talk cheese curds. One cool thing about fresh cheese curds is that they can squeak! That’s right, squeak! The National Dairy Council says that this squeak is from the tightly woven protein that when it “rebounds” off our teeth creates a squeak. Don’t worry if you don’t hear a squeak, the experts at NDC say sometimes the conditions in the cheesemaking process change and there never was a squeak to be made.

What exactly is a cheese curd? Fresh cheese curds are squeaky irregular bite-sized cheese. They are basically the first step in cheese making. It all starts with about 10 pounds of un-ultra-pasteurized milk to make 1-pound cheese curds. Acid is added to milk, coagulated using rennet, then heated and cut. The whey (liquid) is separated from the solid “baby bite-size” pieces (the curds).… Continue reading

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Watch for important yield-determining factors as planted corn moves forward

By Roy A. Ulrich, DEKALB/Asgrow technical agronomist

The long fight with Mother Nature that started in the fall with harvest rolled right into spring and never really relented. As a result, the growing season of 2019 started out by challenging the plans that growers and agronomists had developed over the winter months to produce the highest yields possible while striving for the best return per acre. While most of those plans did not include a mid- to late-May and into June planting dates for corn and soybeans, that is when some growers finally found a dry period to put crops in the ground. Now is the time to reexamine those plans to see which of the yield determining factors could still have a positive influence on the corn crop in 2019.

After all, according to Dr. Bob Nielson from Purdue University only “12 to 16% of the overall yield variability is actually impacted by the delayed planting date.”… Continue reading

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Margin call in volatile markets

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Everyone I spoke with this week wants to know how high the corn market will go.

The problem is that the market needs to know how many acres won’t get planted and a better idea about what the July/August weather will be like.

Corn may have hit it’s high this week, or prices may go up several more dollars. No one knows, because last week’s 58% planting progress has NEVER been seen this late in the year. The country has never planted less than 90% of the intended acres from the March USDA intentions report.

This uncertainty has sparked the market rally and started rationing demand. This is also encouraging farmers to plant well beyond prevent plant dates and squeeze production from every possible acre.

Three weeks ago, there was widespread fear $4 would never come for 2019 corn. It seemed $4.50 December corn was out of the reach for farmers for another year.… Continue reading

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The time for prevented planting decisions has arrived

By Matt Reese

It is June 5 — the much-discussed prevented planting date for corn in Ohio. Many fields are still way too wet to plant and it is decision time (and it is not an easy one to make).

What should be done?

“First you need to talk to your agent to see what your prevent plant eligibility is. Looking back at the last four crop years, the highest number of corn acres you planted will be the maximum acres that you can take prevented plant on corn. You need to find out first how many eligible acres you have,” said Keith Summers, with Leist Mercantile in Pickaway County. “Then, if you decide to take prevented planting, you need to notify your agent and file notice of loss. You can plant for 20 days into that late plant period past June 5, but if you make that determination, you need to get that claim filed.… Continue reading

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$65 hay bales a sign of the times

By Joel Penhorwood

Because it has been such a bad year for row crop farmers, it can be easy to overlook the terrible hay baling conditions much of the state has experienced so far with extremely short windows of dry weather. That truth came to a fever pitch at the most recent LaRue Horse and Tack Sale.

“We usually have an average of 300 to 500 bales a month that people bring in,” said Janeen Heilman, sale organizer. “In April, of this year, we had 439 bales of hay of all different kinds and cuttings. The average per bale for April was $5.64. In May, we only had 195 bales for sale. The average for those was $6.91 per bale.”

The situation, which has slowly been increasing in desperation, hit its peak on Saturday, June 1.

“This month, we only had 15 bales and we had two people hurting for hay.… Continue reading

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Planting Green: Is there an advantage in a wet spring?

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension agricultural engineer (retired)

Is there an advantage in a wet spring with planting green? Most of the Ohio no-tillers who replied to the question said, “Yes.”

Here are a few specific reasons and additional comments from 10 of our No-Till Council members as they assessed 2019 spring planting heading into June.

David Brandt in Fairfield County was closing in on finishing spring planting with 40 acres of low ground to go. Of course last fall provided poor conditions for cover crop establishment. The late harvest was followed by a rainy November, followed by wet winter with a Polar Vortex. Trying to plant green where there was very little green to plant into did not work this spring, especially in much of the very soggy northwestern portion of Ohio. Further south, there have been relatively more opportunities to plant, though Nathan Brown in Highland County has faced plenty of issues this spring.… Continue reading

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