Dairy turbulence could settle in 2013

Turbulence that has shaken the dairy industry the past few years could subside in the second half of this year if feed prices fall or at least stabilize, a Purdue Extension dairy specialist says.

Although the first part of 2013 likely will be stressful for producers, Mike Schutz said those who hold on should benefit from a relatively neutral economic outlook for the remainder of the year.

“The dairy industry is highly dependent on what happens with feed prices,” he said. “We’re hopeful that feed prices will be reduced or stabilize with the planting of the 2013 crop, which will also hopefully help producers get back to approaching at least break-even or somewhat profitable prices.”

The 2012 drought hit the dairy industry hard by decreasing availability of feed while also increasing feed prices. Most dairy producers grow their own forages, but with drought-induced short supplies, many had to buy expensive forage from other growers.… Continue reading

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Farm-raised common sense important for Forshey

By Matt Reese

In our own fine state of Ohio, it is illegal to drive Power Wheels cars down the street in Canton and, if someone loses their pet tiger, they are legally required to notify the authorities within an hour. In Cleveland, a hunting license is required for catching mice. A policeman is permitted to bite a dog to quiet the animal in the town of Paulding and, those who are planning on throwing a snake at someone should steer clear of Toledo where regulations prohibit such actions.

A quick Internet search can turn up some laws on the books in Ohio that seem pretty silly, but the reality is that common sense and regulations all too often seem to be mutually exclusive. In his role as the state veterinarian, Dr. Tony Forshey is working to develop and revamp regulation in a way that combines good sense and the need to protect the animals and agriculture of Ohio.… Continue reading

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Take advantage of Ohio’s parks this winter

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

When asked to list some of America’s most impressive natural wonders and wilderness parks, most folks might point to the sweeping landscapes of the West — Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, or the Grand Canyon. While visits to the scenic vistas of the American West are awe-inspiring journeys, there are many jewels to be found right in Ohioans’ own backyards.

Although Ohio is largely comprised of a combination of farm and cityscapes, the state also possesses some striking public lands that contain prime forests and natural recreation areas to explore. The winter is a great time to visit these parks when the crowds are sparse, the leaves have fallen, and outdoor winter activities abound.


Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills State Park, outside of Logan, was recently voted to have the No. 1 campground in the nation. Easily accessible and just 20 minutes off of Interstate 33 in Logan sits Hocking Hills State Park.… Continue reading

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Early focus on the size of the 2013 U.S. corn crop

The drought-reduced U.S. corn crop of 2012 suggested that corn prices might behave in a pattern generally described as “short crops have long tails,” said a University of Illinois agricultural economist.

“This phrase depicts the expectation of rapidly rising prices that peak near harvest time, decline in an unspecified pattern over the next several months, and return to pre-drought levels as early as the following marketing year. The decline in prices is expected as a result of a slowdown in consumption and a return to normal production,” said Darrel Good.

Corn prices this year have generally followed the expected short-crop pattern as the anticipated consumption and supply responses continue to unfold. The pace of consumption of U.S. corn so far in the 2012-13 marketing year has been slower than last year.  However, the slowdown has been modest and has come primarily in the export market and in the production of ethanol rather than in the domestic feed market as was earlier expected, he said.… Continue reading

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Touchback features Hollywood version of farming

By Heather Hetterick

Over the past several weeks I’ve noticed the article I wrote about the movie Touchback being filmed on an Ohio farm re-surging in our web stats. It tends to gets substantial views over the weekends.

I didn’t think much of it until last Friday night. My husband and I were looking for a movie to rent and I was surprised to find the movie Touchback available. I was skeptical to watch it because it played at very few movie theaters across the country, yet it was one of the highest rated DVD’s on Redbox.

Since it only cost $1.30 to rent and I was intrigued to watch it after talking with Ohio people who helped film the farm shots and knowing it was based on the strong football legacy in Coldwater, we decided to get it.

Farmers will relate well to the constant bad luck the movie’s star, Scott Murphy, deals with.… Continue reading

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Changing your farm in a changing climate

By Matt Reese

The climate is changing. Are farms changing with it?

“Climate changes all the time and I am not sure that it is something that we need to get too excited about, but we do have to adapt to it,” said Jim Hoorman, with Ohio State University Extension in Putnam County. “We are seeing increased heavy downpours, rising temperatures, and longer growing seasons. In a couple of years we could be seeing temperatures that we’d used to expect in Kentucky.”

Ultimately, the changes could have some clear benefits to Ohio agriculture.

“Overall it is probably going to be good for agriculture in the Midwest, but we have to adapt to extreme weather,” Hoorman said. “We also hear about more carbon dioxide. Is carbon dioxide good for agriculture? Absolutely. We’re looking at what could be 20% yield increases due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Agriculture can be part of the solution to high carbon dioxide levels.… Continue reading

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A bit of perspective from a 90-year-old roofer

By Matt Reese

The slate roof of our old farmhouse has weathered the test of more than a century of everything Mother Nature had to dole out. And, for most of its lifetime, the roof has been cared for by the Hoshor family. Carl Hoshor recently turned 90 years old, but he is still actively involved in his roofing business. That’s right, a 90-year-old roofer.

We needed some work done on the slate roof of our old farmhouse last spring and contacted him to do the job. Everyone around told us he was the best. His sons Rick and Gary do the bulk of the rooftop labor now, but old Carl is still doing the bids and budgets for the jobs, “supervising,” and helping out from the ground level. The business is based in nearby Baltimore.

Part of the job at our house was the removal of an old brick chimney that was damaged by a small tornado in the spring of 2011.… Continue reading

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Climate change factors affecting Ohio farms

By Matt Reese

While both a volcano and fervor-filled politician may be filled with copious quantities of hot air, the reality is that only one really has much impact on changing the climate. The climate is changing all of the time based on a number of different factors.

“Nature goes through cycles and it is constantly in motion. It is like riding a horse,” said Evelyn Browning-Garriss, a climatologist consultant who has studied everything from ice cores to Viking shipping routes to gain insight into climatic patterns. “If you don’t move with it you are going to fall off.”

Browing-Garriss, who authors the Browning Newsletter, said the climate is cyclical and the big picture changes in the climate that have been increasingly noticeable in recent years are relatively predictable and expected based upon historical patterns. The current cycle in the Atlantic is a 60- to 70-year cycle that took over in the mid-1990s, which is when more severe hurricanes started up.… Continue reading

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Antibiotics in livestock farming — Telling the right story

By David White, executive director, Ohio Livestock Coalition

Trend watchers and agriculture experts alike agree on one thing: the use of antibiotics in livestock farming is likely the next big issue. What does “big” mean?  By some accounts, the antibiotics issue could be BIG — think lean finely textured beef (or “pink slime”) big  — or as big as the issue of housing pregnant sows.

It’s important to remember that we have a good story to tell on how antibiotics are used on farms. We are doing the right thing for our animals, for food safety and for our farms. Unfortunately, that’s a story we’ve not always told in the best manner.

The farm community is good at leading with science and data. When discussing antibiotics, we make this argument:  “Science tells us we can.”  “The animals are my livelihood.” “FDA/USDA says what we do on our farms with antibiotics is okay.”… Continue reading

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Livestock, poultry and the farm bill in 2013

By Matt Reese

With good reason, much of the discussion of the farm bill (and the farm bill extension) has been focused on crop and dairy related programs. There has been some mention of the programs targeting small-scale agriculture as well.

But what about beef, pork and poultry producers? There are small programs here and there for these groups of agricultural producers, but the big-ticket items (particularly in the farm bill extension) all but excluded them. Disaster assistance for livestock producers and some conservation program funding was not part of the farm bill extension, which further eroded already limited farm bill benefits for the livestock sector. So, do livestock and poultry producers hope to get anything out of the 2013 farm bill?

The state’s robust egg production industry continues to wish for farm bill inclusion of something along the lines of HR 3798 — the “egg bill.” The 2012 proposed bill would phase in federally mandated standards for laying hen housing, including enriched cages with perches, scratching pads, nesting boxes, and other features that allow the hens to express natural behaviors in a group colony setting.… Continue reading

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Tight inventory of farmland will keep values high in 2013

By Heather Hetterick

The uncertainty of capital gains tax changes encouraged a flurry of farm ground sales in the last quarter of 2012.

“It’s been a seller’s market. There’ve been more buyers out there than there have been sellers,” said Roger Hayworth, East Region Area Sales Manager, Farmers National Company.

He said the overall listings on the market currently have slimmed down.

“Even though the availability of land opened up a little bit at the end of the quarter in 2012, it’s basically closed down now that we’re in 2013,” Hayworth said. “I do see that availability will still probably be sluggish in 2013 compared to 2012.”

In the past several months, new record highs for farmland have been set across the Midwest. In October, 80 acres of farm ground in Sioux County, Iowa sold for a record-setting $21,900 an acre.

“We have seen record highs continuing in different locations across the country throughout 2012 and we see no sign of that letting up,” Hayworth said.… Continue reading

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Profits for pork on the horizon

Pork producers could be on the verge of turning profits after suffering several months of losses caused by drought-decimated feed resources, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt said.

Widespread struggles began in the spring of 2012 and have continued into this winter. But with feed prices reaching their peak last summer, Hurt said there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

“Feed prices reached a summit in the third quarter of 2012 with the peak of the drought,” he said. “Estimated total hog production costs shot up $10 per live hundredweight, reaching an estimated $72. Costs last fall and this winter dropped about $4 per hundredweight and are expected to moderate an additional $8 with normal 2013 crop production.

“By next fall, that could put estimated costs of production around $60 per hundredweight.”

Reduced beef supplies and strong pork export markets also are expected to drive higher hog prices.… Continue reading

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U.S. Department of Education appoints new National FFA executive secretary

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013/National FFA Organization) – The U.S. Department of Education has appointed a highly experienced and accomplished education professional to help develop, implement and manage policy for the National FFA Organization.

Sherene R. Donaldson of Alexandria, Va., has been appointed National FFA executive secretary. In her leadership role, she will be primarily responsible for issuing charters to state FFA associations as directed by the organization’s national board of directors, keep official membership records, track progress of the organization and oversee state FFA association reporting to the board.

In December, she joined the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education in Washington, D.C., as an education program specialist. The department administers and coordinates national programs related to adult education and literacy, career and technical education and community colleges. Previously, Donaldson was curriculum and adult education director at Central Nine Career Center in Greenwood, Ind.,… Continue reading

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Take time to review FDA’s Produce Safety rule

Ohio’s produce farmers might want to take some time to review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly proposed Produce Safety rule.

Produce farmers have until May 16 to comment before the rule is finalized, said Ashley Kulhanek, agriculture and natural resources educator for Ohio State University Extension. After finalization, the rule will take effect for some operators within 60 days.

“That’s a short period of time after finalization before they have to comply with the new rules,” she said.

The proposed Produce Safety rule, announced on Jan. 4 and published in the Federal Register, is one way the government is putting the Food Safety Modernization Act into practice. The act was signed into law in January 2011, and growers and the food industry have been waiting since then to get details on what it will mean for their operations.

Also announced Jan. 4 was the proposed rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food, geared toward facilities that process, package or store food.… Continue reading

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Is the Tribine the future of harvesting crops?

By: Heather Hetterick and Matt Reese

The world is just starting to take notice of a game-changing concept in harvest technology that has been the subject of countless hours of farm shop figuring by Ben Dillon from Indiana — the Tribine.

The Tribine is a combine and grain cart in one articulated unit that offers the first fundamentally new harvester architecture to come out since self-propelled combines became available in the 1940s. Dillon’s modified AGCO Combine moves the grain tank from the top of the machine to the rear, allowing for a much larger hopper to be included.

“Our focus has been on handling the cleaned grain, not on threshing. I’ve been working on this for a long time. You might say I am a slow learner. I started working on this sort of thing in 1997 and the Tribine is the fourth generation of prototype that we’ve built,” Dillon said.… Continue reading

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Wood-pile Picassos take firewood stacking to a new level

By Matt Reese

Back when I was a young man, while I was out driving I would look at fancy cars on the roadways with admiration. When I got married, my wife and would drive around and look at beautiful houses. We had kids and we started gawking covetously at the impressive playground/swing set setups in area backyards. Now that we heat our home with wood, my most current roadside driving distractions are impressive wood piles.

This all started last winter when I cut up a large pin oak tree that had died in our pasture. When it was all cut and spilt, and combined with some other wood I had split, I felt that I had a pretty impressive pile of wood. I brought my wife out to show her and, while somewhat impressed, she was not as dazzled as I thought she should be based upon the amount of work I had put into it.… Continue reading

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Getting hitched? Avoid common trailer mistakes

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

One of the worst feelings can accompany looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing that the trailer, that seemed successfully secured, off and running on its own path. It is an all too common occurrence on the farm and that is why Purdue’s Coordinator of Pesticide Programs, Fred Whitford, talks about the dos and don’ts of trailer hauling to producers around the Midwest. In fact, in most audiences he is in front of, 20% to 50% of people admit their trailer has come off the ball at one point or another.

The reason for these mishaps comes down to a series of ratings that very few producers know about, although it should be one of the major factors when buying a new truck for the farm.

“What we are trying to get farmers to do is to actually look in their glove box to see what that particular truck can actually pull,” Whitford said.… Continue reading

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Newborn draft horse foals

By Kim Lemmon

As most of you know, I reached my goal of owning a draft horse a few years ago, but it is a lot more work to care for her and show her than I anticipated.  I’ll probably never do much more than watch and admire the horses and exhibitors at the big shows.

I still love the horses and all that goes with them; I’m just lazy. Recently I’ve started trying to become more involved in the draft horse industry without showing my mare by starting to make friends with folks who do breed, own and show draft horses on a larger scale so I can live through them vicariously.

Barb Watson of Eagle Creek Farm in Montpelier, Ohio, is one of folks I have recently gotten to know a bit better. She was even kind enough to share the photos, which are displayed on this page, of her newborn Percheron foals.… Continue reading

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The Tyrade – Agriculture’s relevance

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

With a full 5-year Farm Bill not being passed by the previous Congress, there has been a lot of murmurs about the relevance of Agriculture in this country.

I get it. There aren’t as many farmers in the U.S. and more and more folks are moving to the city. The less people that are in rural America, the quieter we become to those that work on our behalf inside the Beltway.

Even Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack admitted that Ag is losing its voice in D.C.

“Unless we respond and react, the capacity of rural America and its power and its reach will continue to decline,” Vilsack said. “Rural America, with a shrinking population, is becoming less and less relevant to the politics of this country, and we better recognize that, and we had better begin to reverse it.”

Funny thing is that while there are less people “on the farm”, there is more food being produced now than ever before.… Continue reading

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The Ohio State Fair will be featured in new movie

When Academy Award winning director Taylor Hackford’s latest action thriller, “Parker,” opens next Friday, moviegoers throughout the nation will become familiar with the Ohio State Fair.

In the months leading up to the 2011 Ohio State Fair, a representative from the film reached out to administrators of the Ohio Expo Center, making plans for a small crew to come and film atmospheric footage during the Fair to blend with scenes shot in professional studios in New Orleans. However, as discussions continued, the project expanded in scope and the director, producer and several of the stars traveled to Ohio to film scenes while the Fair was underway.

That August, as fairgoers enjoyed lemon shake-ups and rides down the Giant Slide, a film crew and prominent actors including Jason Statham descended upon the Ohio State Fair, spending two days shooting a variety of scenes which now make up the movie’s opening segment.… Continue reading

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