Top stories of 2012: #1

#1:Pro Farmer Crop Tour

Our own Ty Higgins got to ride along on this Eastern leg of the much-anticipated annual tour of crop fields across the Corn Belt. With the dry weather this year, farmers everywhere were wondering just how bad the fields would be and how low yields would be. Ty’s commentary, articles and videos were popular around the country and throughout Ohio and he documented the good, the bad and the very bad yields in fields from Ohio to Minnesota. The final average yield estimates from the tour were 120.25 bushels per acre for corn and 34.8 bushels per acre
for soybeans.

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Top stories of 2012: #2

#2: Farmers Plan to Thank Dominos Pizza this Weekend

There was a stretch of several weeks this spring where it seemed like corporation after corporation was caving in to the Humane Society of the United States request to stop using pork suppliers that house sows in gestation stalls. After weeks of headlines announcing that another corporate giant was following the radical whims

of HSUS, it was quite refreshing for those in agriculture to see common sense prevail when Domino’s Pizza said, “No.” A Domino’s spokesperson said that the company relies on animal experts to determine the best way to raise an animal used for food. To let Domino’s know that they appreciated the business decision, farmers across the country said “Yes” to a delicious slice of pizza from the chain.



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Top stories of 2012: #3

#3:Photo proof of corn up in Illinois

After a mild winter and an early warm up this spring, farmers got off to a very early start planting this season. A friend sent us a photo of corn that had emerged in Pike County Illinois near the Mississippi River on March 26. This astonishing development was apparently a must-see for farmers across the country because this post went viral on the Web and was still getting Web attention well into the summer months. Continue reading

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Top stories of 2012: #5

#5 Movie “Touchback” features ample Ohio farm connections      


The film Touchback tells a tale set in Coldwater, Ohio about a former high school football star turned farmer and family man. Scott Murphy (Brian Presley) finds himself with a unique opportunity to revisit his glory days during the Ohio State championship game where he permanently injured his knee in a game-winning play. Given a second shot at his destiny, Scott seeks counsel from Coach Hand (Kurt Russell), Scott’s longtime mentor on and off the field, to help him decide whether to let his fate unfold, or follow a path that will change his future.


The film was written and directed by Dan Handfield, an Ohio State University graduate. That explains the Ohio State football tie-in. But, why Coldwater, Ohio? Handfield spent time in college working on a film near Miami University. While there, he heard stories about the town of Coldwater and their football team.… Continue reading

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Top stories of 2012: #7

#7: Teen photographer’s images launched into national spotlight  

If you have spent any time online, you have probably seen the photographs overlaid with poignant sayings spelled out in dramatic and appealing fonts. Young Erin Ehnle, from Illinois, mastered the medium though her “Keeping it Real:Through the Lens of  Farm Girl .” The 19-year-old’s work is all over the Internet thanks to her internship with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and, though her artwork, she is getting pertinent agricultural messages to a whole new audience.


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Top stories of 2012: #8

#8:4-H quote on t-shirt supports “Yes We Can” in Highland County


Sarah Young, an enterprising young 4-H member behind the “Yes We Can” campaign designed to raise funding for Highland County 4-H partnered with Erin Ehnle from the wildly popular, Keeping it Real: Through the Lens of a Farm Girl. The two young ladies worked together on a t-shirt about the importance of 4-H. The sales of the t-shirt benefitted 4-H.



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Top stories of 2012: #9

#9: Tractor Birthday Party

Ever wanted to throw a tractor themed birthday part for the favorite little guy in your life? Apparently, quite a few people do, based on the high level of interest in this post. Tractor goodie bags, crayons, cookies, cakes, posters, table decorations, and just about everything else tractor made for total tractor party courtesy of Heather Hetterick.



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Top stories of 2012: #10

With the dramatic expansion of our Web presence in the last couple of years, it has been interesting to see which stories are viewed most often. So, in a tradition started two years ago, we thought we would highlight the most viewed stories on over the last year. These results will be in the January issue of Ohio’s Country Journal in my column, but you can get a sneak peek at them as they are posted throughout the week.

The top 10 stories from the year provide interesting insights into what is happening in the broader picture of Ohio agriculture. It should be mentioned that these were among the top individual stories, but that posts highlighting major annual events including the Ohio State Fair livestock shows and the State and National FFA Convention, and regular features including Between the Rows were collectively viewed more times than these individual stories. I certainly enjoyed this journey through 2012 and look forward to sharing many more happenings in Ohio agriculture with you in the coming year.… Continue reading

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12 days of Christmas

By Tim Reeves, the Country Chaplain

To help relieve some of your “Christmas stress,” I wanted to share some Christmas humor centered on the 12 days of Christmas. I have no idea who originally came up with this idea, but it’s worth sharing.

I have always enjoyed this song; my favorite version is John Denver singing it with the Muppets. Oh, and by the way, if you’re interested in sending these 12 gifts, it will set you back $107,000 this year. The least expensive gift is the partridge at only $12, although the pear tree will set you back $189. The most expensive gift? The seven swans run $7,000!! The least expensive human gift is the 8 milking maids at $58 while the 9 ladies dancing cost $6,294 and the 10 lords leaping around in leotards cost $4,767. Sorry, but you couldn’t pay me to be one of those lords. Come to think of it, you would not WANT me dancing in front of your true love, either!!!!… Continue reading

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Bed your livestock with extra straw this Christmas

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

Since we have to travel back and forth between our families that are two and a half hours away from each other every Christmas, finding a Catholic mass to attend that fits into the schedule is a challenge.

About five years ago we made the half hour drive from my husband, Zach’s hometown of Felicity to the town of Ripley to attend a late afternoon mass on Christmas Eve at St. Michael’s church.

That’s where I heard my favorite sermon ever.

We arrived early, to the church perched up on a hill and decorated beautifully for the advent season. I remember it being very warm and crowded.

We were ushered up to the balcony and sat towards the front overlooking rows of people, none of which we knew.

I quickly felt at home though as I listened to the homily. Father Jim Schmitmeyer began by talking about his farm upbringing.… Continue reading

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Rusted van hides a heart of gold

By Matt Reese

The thin layer of fresh snow crunched under the tires of the old, rusted van that pulled into the gravel parking spot between a gleaming new SUV and a big pickup truck. A lone man got out of the dilapidated van with a creak of the door and a plume of cigarette smoke. He had greasy, long hair and wore a sweatshirt with cut-off sleeves and some ragged, grease-smeared jeans.

He definitely didn’t fit the mold of the typical customers that visit our Christmas tree farm for a fun, family experience. Despite his unkempt appearance, though, there was a delighted sparkle in his eyes and he wore a crooked, happy smile on his face as I walked with him into the snow-covered rows of Christmas trees.

Our footsteps crunched through the deepening snow drifts as the man started telling me about his love of a real Christmas tree for the holiday and how he had one every year of his life but last year.… Continue reading

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Energy opportunities continue to emerge for Ohio

With new and developing technology, new opportunities for energy production are emerging for Ohioans. As Ohio’s energy boom continues, more issues continue to develop. Ohioans are looking for the best ways to balance the attractiveness of the state while maximizing the economic benefits of the use and development of energy.

“We’re still seeing a lot of oil and gas leasing activity. It is moving into north central and central Ohio,” said Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation director of energy services. “We’re also seeing a tremendous amount of work done on easements. A lot of people are realizing that you can drill a well relatively easily, but the pipeline system needed to transport that oil or natural gas and natural gas liquid is still being developed.”

With so many issues to discuss surrounding oil and gas, there has been some lively debate over related tax issues. Gov. John Kasich’s has proposed increasing the severance tax (which taxes the production of a natural resource) in Ohio to cash in on Ohio’s oil and gas boom.… Continue reading

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Adapting agriculture in a changing climate

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

I had the opportunity this year to observe and discuss the growing of corn in three separate locations across the globe.

  1. Here in Ohio, where I work for OSU Extension,
  2. In Ukraine where I had the opportunity to visit in March and again in August
  3. And in Nevada where I visited in early December.

Corn is an adaptable crop and is grown on almost every continent in the world. Its origins are here in the “new world” — corn was not observed by Europeans until after the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. Reports I have read say he saw the crop in the West Indies. I am not sure if this was on his first voyage, but certainly the time period is around 1500. At any rate, it was a long time ago.

In Ohio, growers report varied yield results in 2012, mostly varied by planting date, and by when or if rain fell.… Continue reading

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Dean recognized for work with no-till

By Matt Reese

Allen Dean was recently recognized as the No-Till Farmer of the Year by the Ohio No-Till Council for his dedication to the lack of tillage on his Williams County soybean and wheat farm.

Dean’s parents did not farm, but he learned to love working on the land at a young age and spent many hours helping on area farms. Dean bought his first farm in the mid-1970s and then started expanding his acreage. With limited labor and funds, Dean soon saw the appeal of no-till farming.

“I started with conventional tillage, but all of that equipment was expensive,” he said. “I knew I could never afford all of that equipment, so I planted my first no-till corn field back behind the woods where no one could see it. That was 34 years ago on a 23-acre field. I was young and a lot of people were saying how this could never work, but within four years we were full blown into no-till with corn and beans.… Continue reading

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OSIA recognizes winners at Shepherd’s Symposium

By Connie Lechleitner, OCJ field reporter

During the 2102 Buckeye Shepherd’s Symposium, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association also held its membership meeting and elected 2013 officers, which included Daryl Clark, Muskingum County, president; Shawn Ray, Noble County, vice president; Mark McCabe, Marion County, secretary/treasurer; and Jim Percival, Greene County, past president.

The association recognized three youth members for their achievements,

including 2012 Lamb and Wool Queen Mikayla Pitman, Megan Hunker, winner of the Ralph Grimshaw $1,000 scholarship and Adam High, Ohio State FFA Sheep Proficiency award winner.

Six Distinguished Service awards were presented, including to district and board of trustees members Bob Deuker, Val Jorgensen, Leslie Jordan and David Inbody. They were joined by the Ohio Farm Bureau’s accounting department.

Steffee Farms of Dresden were recognized as the recipient of the environmental stewardship award, which was presented at the Ohio Livestock Coalition annual banquet. Friends of the Ohio sheep Industry recipients were the former co-editors of The Shepherd magazine.… Continue reading

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Cover crops boosting soils and profits

By Matt Reese

Like a kid on Christmas morning, Allen Dean can hardly wait to dig into his soil test results from the fields on his Williams County soybean and wheat farm. He excitedly looks to see how his soil nutrient holding has improved each year —something that has been happening consistently since he combined no-till and cover crops nine years ago.

“We’re applying less and less fertilizer and our soil test levels keep going up,” Dean said. “The cover crops are mineralizing a lot of nutrients and it is exciting to see that.”

Though no-till has been a standard practice on the farm for many years, the use of cover crops has been a more recent addition. Dean started looking into cover crops, including hairy vetch and oats, in the early 1980s as a way to improve his soils.

“We weren’t getting the results we wanted so we stopped planting them until we started looking at cover crops again nine years ago,” Dean said.… Continue reading

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Corn and soybean market uncertainty continues

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Uncertainty and volatility continue to be in the forefront for producers. While these two factors are not new items, they continue to dominate traders’ minds. During 2012, we saw numerous days with very wide trading ranges. It was quite common to see wider ranges than in the past. This reality was not unexpected. Keep in mind that with the sheer volume of trades by some of the high frequency traders, prices can move in a dramatic fashion in just a few minutes.

A number of the high frequency traders have news headlines programmed into order execution for commodities. News headlines are continually scanned for key words. Some have even dipped deep into the archives for many years in an attempt to glean bits of information on the management styles and practices of chief executive officers or CEOs of large corporations in the U.S. and around the world.… Continue reading

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Seed treatments made a difference in 2012

By Ty Higgins. Ohio Ag Net

For soybean growers across the country, 2012 was a unique year. A drought plagued most of the Midwest and commodity prices soared. As growers begin to prepare for the next growing season, they must consider adjusting agronomic practices to increase their bottom line. In 2012, the use of seed treatments had quite a positive impact on both emergence and stand for the soybean crop.

“It looks like it is going to be the second or third driest growing season on record,” said Palle Pederson, Soybean Seedcare Technology Manager for Syngenta. “You know that when plants are under stress, especially in dry conditions, it is so critical to get uniform emergence to outperform the weeds and also to get good protection on the root system. Healthy roots in many cases means higher yields.”

Starting the season strong is critical to increasing yield potential and protecting the seedling from early-season stress is crucial for a successful season.… Continue reading

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