Miami East-MVCTC FFA takes part in Job Interview and Ag Sales competition


Recently several members of the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter competed in the District 5 FFA Job Interview and Ag Sales Contests held at Saint Henry High School.

The Job Interview Contest consists of designing a resume and cover letter, completing a job application, performing an interview, and composing a typed follow-up thank you note.

Lindsey Roeth competed in the Division 4 (senior year) interview competition. She placed 4th in the district out of 13 contestants.

Haley Etherington competed in the Division 3 (junior year) interview competition. She placed 2nd out of 12 contestants in the district. She earned a plaque donated by the District 5 FFA Chapters.

Emily Beal competed in the Division 2 (sophomore year) contest, placed 3rd in the district out of 13 contestants. She earned a plaque donated by the District 5 FFA Chapters.

Kyle Webb competed in the Division 1 (freshman year) contest and placed 11th out of 14 contestants.Continue reading

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From North Star Hardware to the Major Leagues

It has taken place in backyards for generations on the perfect blue sky spring days when winter’s chill has finally left the air. Fathers playing baseball with their sons is valuable in many ways, though, in most cases, it does not pave the way for a path the Major Leagues.

Craig Stammen and his dad, from Darke County, however, were the exception.

Stammen turned backyard fun with his father into a career as a pitcher for the Washington Nationals.

“I loved playing baseball. My dad would always go play baseball with me. I can’t remember him ever telling me ‘no.’ We just had fun,” Stammen said. “There is a not lot a lot to do in North Star besides play sports and enjoy your family, and those things went hand in hand. Baseball had my heart from the very beginning. I went though phases of playing with toy tractors, but baseball was my dad’s first love too and he passed it on to me.… Continue reading

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Human-animal bond has shaped life as we know it

As a farmer, if you were going to tell a story about an animal, I bet it would most likely be an account about how livestock provide humans with meat, milk and eggs.

I was raised on a farm, too. Sometimes my critter yarns are about animals I showed at the county fair, like my reserve champion rabbit that ate her ribbon. More often, however, the tales are about dogs and how much joy they brought to my life either as a hunting companion, cattle and sheep herder extraordinaire or a pet that met you at the door with its tail wagging.

Livestock and poultry provide more than just a healthy, inexpensive diet. Animals raised for food and fiber are also invaluable in human medical treatments, and provide us with materials that make our lives easier and safer. It’s important that we share a complete animal story that demonstrates to society the importance of all animals.… Continue reading

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Dairy wins battle over manure legalities

Robert and Jane Falk own and operate a 600-cow dairy farm on 1,670 acres near West Bend, Wisconsin, about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee in Southeastern Wisconsin. I don’t know the Falks, but I have a pretty good idea how they spend their time.

The Falks have a nutrient management plan approved by the Washington County Land and Water Conservation Division. Like most dairies, the manure fertilizes the fields used to grow the corn and forages that feed the cattle. In May 2011, the Falks were notified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that their operation had contaminated a local aquifer. The neighbors soon filed claims over their wells.

The Falks promptly notified their insurance company, Wilson Mutual, of the situation. Robert and Jane were covered under a farm insurance policy that provided property and personal liability coverage. The insurance contract stipulated coverage for a manure tank, a manure pump, and several tankers and spreaders.… Continue reading

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New sale barn at Mt. Hope draws rave reviews

I wasn’t able to attend the Spring 2014 Mt. Hope Draft Horse Sale, but I think I’ll be making plans to attend their next draft horse sale based on the exciting reviews of their new sale barn. The new building is 240 feet long and roughly 120 feet wide, providing much more room for consigners to present their horses.

In the past, the horses were sold in a small building. It was impossible to find a seat in the old sale barn — in fact, I think they might have all been reserved — and there wasn’t even room to stand and watch the sale. If you wanted to see a specific horse sell or have a chance to bid on a horse yourself, you had to literally crowd or push your way through masses of people to make it inside to place your bid.

The crowded sale barn didn’t take away from the fun of the sale.… Continue reading

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Today’s report neutral to bearish

The report was called neutral for corn and wheat, bearish for soybeans.

Corn exports were up 25 million bushels with ending stocks dropping 25 million bushels to 1.456 billion bushels. Corn exports increased as expected. Soybean ending stocks went down 5 million bushels to 145 million bushels. Soybean exports went up 20 million bushels, crush was down 10 million bushels, but imports went up 5 million bushels. In reality there are no surprises for soybeans as the trade was expecting higher exports. Crush margins have been backing off sharply in recent weeks, no surprise there for crush. Soybean imports into the U.S. were up, again no surprises.

The biggest negative for soybeans would be the numbers from South America. The Brazil soybean production did not decline as much as some had expected. USDA put the Brazil soybean crop at 88.5 million tons, down from last month’s 90 million tons.  The Argentina crop did not decline.… Continue reading

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GM labeling battle heating up in 2014

With big budget campaign battles and countless dinner table discussions, the labeling of genetically modified (GM) food ingredients is as hot of a topic as ever.

On the surface, it seems simple. Why can’t there just be a label on the food product letting the consumer know if it contains GM ingredients? Shouldn’t the consumer have the right to decide what is in the food they buy?

The reality, however, is not so simple, and much more difficult for the average consumer to understand in a headline or 30-second news segment.

“If you include certain labels on food on products, the costs for food will go up in the grocery store, but our side of the story explaining that is long and complicated,” said Mandy Hagan, vice president of state affairs for the Association of Food, Beverage, and Consumer Products Companies. “Their side is short and simple.”

Hagan’s first point in the GM labeling debate is that the food products have been tested extensively and have been proven to be safe.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau county presidents send direct messages to Washington

For the 68th time, county presidents from The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation made their way to Washington D.C. to meet with their Congressional representatives. This annual journey is a grassroots effort to the core, with these farmer-leaders making appointments to speak to their lawmakers one-on-one.

A meeting of this nature always holds a bit more weight with Representative Bob Latta of Ohio’s 5th District, as the region his represents is the largest farming district in the state.

“I felt as though Mr. Latta knew what we were talking about when it came to our concerns and seemed to take the same stand on those issues that we do,” said Brian Nusbaum, president of the Defiance County Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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Russian activity in Ukraine has agricultural implications

While the events unfolding in Black Sea region are making headlines around the world, it is important for U.S. farmers to take note of the possible agricultural implications of the Russian presence in Ukraine. The country, along with the entire Black Sea region, has become more agriculturally important in recent years.

“Ukraine is a beautiful country with beautiful soils that every agronomist looks for. It has been a wheat and barley country and corn is growing fast,” said Harold Watters, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist who has made several trips to Ukraine to assist with agricultural education, including a trip this month. “For the last two years now they have been the No. 3 exporter of corn. They also have an interest in soybeans.”

There are many advantages to farming in the rich prairie-based soils spreading over vast areas of the country, but there are many challenges for Ukrainian agriculture as well.… Continue reading

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4-H prepared young cattleman for a career of service

The experiences exhibitors get in 4-H projects when working with livestock can teach many invaluable lessons about life, people, competition, animal care, agriculture and the food supply. And, in some cases, all those hours spent preparing for the show ring can also prepare young people for their future careers. That was the case for Al Gahler, from Ottawa County, who was recently named the Young Cattleman of the Year by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.

“The cattle operation basically started from 4-H projects. My dad and his brothers did not have beef cow experience. They grew up on a dairy farm that sold out when they were in high school. They were producing row crops and specialty crops,” Gahler said. “My cousin Brice and I really liked the animals that we started showing in 4-H and Brice’s dad Ed actually bought some commercial Simmental and crossbred cows while we were in 4-H.… Continue reading

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Farmer donates $2,500 to ME-MVCTC FFA via Monsanto

Mr. Jeff Knoop of Fletcher, Ohio presented $2,500 to the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter through the Monsanto America’s Farmers Grow America program through the Monsanto Fund. Mr. Bill Bower, representing Monsanto, presented the funds at an all-school assembly at Miami East High School.

Monsanto America’s Farmers Grow America program allowed farmers in 1300 counties in 39 states to nominate a non-profit organization in their community. Mr. Bower stated that, “Monsanto is able to support agriculture and youth through programs like America’s Farmers Grow America and the Monsanto Fund.”

Mr. Jeff Knoop selected the Miami East FFA Chapter because he was a former student of the Agricultural Education program and hopes the funds will encourage youth to become active in production agriculture. Mr. Jeff Knoop and his family are dairy and grain farmers.

The Miami East FFA Chapter plans to use the funds to support an education trip to Fair Oaks Dairy and Swine Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana.… Continue reading

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A thanks to the Monsanto Corporation and the Schoultheis Family from Mowrystown FFA

Jessica Schoultheis was the winner for the Monsanto American Farmers Grow Rural Communities Fund. The donation is for community growth and recognizes and celebrates the important contributions farmers make to rural America. It is also to help expand their communities by supporting local organizations that are important to them.

The Monsanto Fund is eligible to farmers in 1,289 counties across 39 states. There were more than 82,000 farmers across the country that participated in the program this year and Jessica Schoultheis was the winner of the $2,500 donation. Mrs. Schoultheis selected the Mowrystown FFA as the organization to donate the $2,500 to. The Chapter is very excited about the donation and has big plans to use the donation in ways that benefit the members!

The Mowrystown FFA Chapter would like to say a big thank you to the Monsanto Corporation and Jessica Schoultheis!… Continue reading

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Brown family taps into tradition

Winter in Ohio this year has brought snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures and plenty of freezing and thawing. It’s a perfect combination for a large crop of pot holes on the roadways and enough to make anyone anxious for that first sign of spring.

To those in the maple industry, it’s also great conditions for a good run of sap. As maple trees thaw, the sap inside builds up pressure. When the thawing process reaches a certain point, it’s almost as if the trees come back to life and the sap will begin to run. Some maple producers can tell it’s happening simply from the smell in the air.

“There is a certain smell and when you smell that, it’s time to tap. You better be tapping because it’s going to run. A lot of people look at you a little odd when you say that, but there is a certain smell when things are thawing out, kind of an earthy smell.… Continue reading

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Lackluster Brazilian soybean harvest may fuel the bull

In my last couple of articles I warned that the Brazilian soybean crop would be lower than expected. In mid-January, during a severe heat wave, it was clear that many areas planted later were under significant weather stress, especially when rainfall became scarce, intensifying the effect of high temperatures on fields that were blooming or filling pods. At that time, the consulting firm I work with, AgRural, had already forecasted a production of 88.8 million tons (3.263 billion bushels), below the 90 million ton target (3.307 billion bushels).

In mid-February, we cut the forecast to 87 million tons (3.197 billion bushels), even with all the other consulting firms and even the USDA and the Brazilian crop agency Conab still estimating 90 million tons or more. How could we know that Brazil would have a crop failure (minor, but still a crop failure) before everybody? Satellites? Complex mathematical formulas? Luck? No. Just a close and honest relationship with experienced farmers all over the country, who help us see what is going on with their crop every year.… Continue reading

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Raising money through pig kiss

Members of the Mount Vernon FFA recently raised money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital during FFA week by holding a kiss the pig contest. Students at Mt Vernon High school voted on the teacher they most wanted to kiss the pig.

FFA members from around the state and country took part in the 2014 FFA week. Many schools held events to generate funds for donations to various charities.… Continue reading

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The farm bill passage makes room for other ag issues

Earlier this year, Congress was able to break the habit of passing farm bill extensions by passing a comprehensive 5-year farm bill. Many in Washington, D.C. admit that this bill was not a perfect one, but one that was agreeable when agriculture needed it the most.

Some may think that getting a compromise put together that both sides of the aisle could buy into was the hard part of this process, but according to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), now is the time to roll up the sleeves and get to work on implementing the new farm law.

“There are over 900 pages of law that now has to be delivered to USDA and they will begin to write the rules,” said Adam Sharp, OFBF’s Vice President of Public Policy. “That process will likely take the better part of this year. Hopefully by this fall you will start to see rule packages and program sign up opportunities.”… Continue reading

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Cover crops aplenty at Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada

Soil health is a term that is being used with increased regularity in agriculture, though no one seems quite sure exactly what it means.

“Soil health is a term you can’t define. Define a beautiful woman or a handsome man —you can’t define that. You can’t define soil health either, but you know one when you see it,” said Dwayne Beck, manager of Dakota Lakes Research Farm and a speaker at today’s Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada. “We spend a lot of time trying to define what we should or should not do and not focusing on where we should be. Much of the research and management effort is focused on optimizing a single component instead of acting to get where we want to be. It is like driving down the highway by looking at the ditch. Where do you want Ohio agriculture to be in 200 years?”

Ohio Ag Net’s Dale Minyo talks to Dwayne Beck on soil health.… Continue reading

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Historically noteworthy winter still hanging on as planting time approaches

My formerly grand woodpile has been nearing its end since the calendar switched over to March, which was by design. I want to run out by mid-March or so and put winter behind me. By this time of year, my wife and I have grown weary of the late nights and early mornings of keeping the fire going in the wood burner, and I am ready to switch gears as the weather warms. Winter, apparently, has other plans.

The bitterly cold temperatures that continue to hang around, however, have wiped out my wood supply a bit sooner than the end of the cold weather. Without a doubt, the winter was a rough one.

“Winter will go down as much colder than normal with above normal snowfall and slightly above normal precipitation. Temperatures across Ohio for winter will end averaging 3 to 9 degrees below normal from southeast to northwest. Precipitation will average 100% to 125% of normal,” said Jim Noel, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service.… Continue reading

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Marching into the month of war

As we begin the month of March, most folks begin to think of Spring and can’t wait for when is time to plant crops and tend to baby livestock. Not me, I think of war.

According to, the month of March was named after Mars, the roman god of war “because of its rough and boisterous weather.” March certainly is a month of transition, and I think the folks that named the month after a god of war got it right because it seems like a time when Spring is warring against Winter so that it can come forth and bring warmer temperatures and new life in the form plants and newborn critters.

For me, March is definitely a month of war. I’m still warring against the cold temperatures and frozen latches and doors, but March brings new problems as well. As things begin to thaw out, I attempt to clean up areas of my barn and barnyard that were unable to cleaned earlier in the winter due to frigid temperatures.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic draws a record crowd to San Antonio

Record attendance of farmers, media and exhibitors added up to an extra 1,000 people this year at the Commodity Classic in sunny San Antonio for the largest crowd ever at the event.

As always, there was plenty to talk about at the Commodity Classic in terms of policy.

“We’re really excited about the farm bill going through. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we got a lot of great things. A lot of farmers will be really happy with this when we get through the implementation stage,” said Jed Bower, from Fayette County, who represented Ohio in the Corn Congress policy discussion. “There is some money available in the farm bill for the FSA staff and the university system to educate people about this. We’ve also got some young farmer programs for people starting in agribusiness.”

The USDA is getting started in the daunting process of implementing the massive bill.… Continue reading

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