Farm Science Review by the numbers

The 2012 Farm Science Review celebrated 50 years, while the crops faced the worst drought conditions in that same 50 years. There were two OSU ag deans present at the event as Bobby Moser continued the process of handing the reigns over to Bruce McPheron. One university president (Gordon Gee), two ag secretaries (Tom Vilsak from the USDA and Dave Daniels from ODA), one governor (John Kasich) and one two-time Heisman Trophy winner (Archie Griffin) were also all at the 2012 FSR. Three high achievers were inducted into the FSR Hall of Fame and temperatures ranged from the 40s to the 70s. It also should be noted that there were several very tired ag media representatives when it was all said and done. All of these numbers added up to yet another fantastic Farm Science Review. Here are some more pertinent 2012 FSR numbers.



Corn yields were averaging 100 to 105 bushels going into the final afternoon of harvest demonstrations.… Continue reading

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Mercer County farmers looking for ODNR compensation

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

In early September, lawyers representing 87 farmers in Mercer County filed a contempt court order against the Kasich administration and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). This was a move hoping to compel ODNR to comply with a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court last year to compensate farmers, families and business owners along Grand Lake St. Marys whose lands flood during rain storms.

The reason for this case dates back to 1997, when ODNR installed a horseshoe-shaped dam in the hopes that the lake would become more self-sustaining and no longer require ODNR to drain the lake once a year to prevent flooding.  However, that goal was never realized and the residents and business owners of the area have suffered significant floods almost every year for the last 15 years. Flooding was bad enough to damage crops and temporarily evacuate homes.

According to Joe Miller with Vorys, Sater, Seymore and Pease LLP the law firm representing the farmers in Mercer County, farmers downstream from the then newly constructed dam as well as the County Engineer and public officials warned ODNR that this project would cause extensive flooding.… Continue reading

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Growing the Cure highlighted at Farm Science Review

By Matt Reese

The Farm Science Review was the perfect place for an announcement about the progress of “Growing the Cure,” which is a collaborative effort among five Ohio and Indiana farmer-owned agricultural cooperatives working to find a cure for cancer.

“We are creating an endowment fund at the Ohio State James Cancer Hospital in collaboration with the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and we are trying to promote research for the prevention of cancer through foods,” Thad Dixon, regional sales manager for Trupointe Cooperative. “Ohio State asked us if there was any way to engage our customers on this and this was a natural fit. The program will be funded through the sale of seed. For every bag of corn sold, 10 cents will be donated and for every bag of beans, five cents will be donated.”

The group presented a check for over $103,000 to kick off the endowment at the FSR.… Continue reading

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Farmers on the lookout for aflatoxin as drought continues

The season-long drought and extreme heat have created conditions prime for Aspergillus ear rot to develop in corn, so growers should scout their fields and inspect their grain, a Purdue Extension plant pathologist said.

The fungus, which infects corn ears through the silks or wounds, produces aflatoxin, a toxic carcinogen that also can cause health problems for livestock that consume contaminated corn.

“Aspergillus ear rot is out there, but it varies greatly from field to field, mostly depending on planting time and environmental conditions at pollination,” Kiersten Wise said. “There is no field without some potential for the disease.”

Fields most at risk are those in which corn was planted in late March to early April, due to the high temperatures and drought stress that occurred when that corn was pollinating. Even if corn was planted later in April, it is still at risk if it was under extreme drought stress during pollination, planted in sandy soils or experienced insect and hail damage.… Continue reading

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Ohio beef producers vote on checkoff increase

By Matt Reese

Ohio cattle producers will be heading to the ballots a little early in this important election year, but not to vote for the president.

Next week, on Sept. 24, 25, and 26, there will be a vote to increase the Ohio beef checkoff from $1 to $2 per head by statewide referendum initiated by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA).

“It’s a very important vote for the future of Ohio’s beef industry,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive secretary of the OCA. “You can vote in person in county Extension offices throughout Ohio or you can vote anytime by requesting a ballot and voting by mail as long as it is postmarked by the 26th. We haven’t really done anything about the checkoff since it was created as a national checkoff in 1985. Today’s dollar per head just buys 47 cents of what that dollar bought in 1985. We’ve really lost pace in terms of what we can actually invest for demand building programs.… Continue reading

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Marketing system ensures safe corn

The challenging growing conditions have created the potential for and concern about aflatoxin in corn. Agronomists are pushing farmers to get corn out of the fields as quickly as possible to try to void problems that, so far, have not shown up in a significant way in Ohio.

The potential for aflatoxin in corn, though, has not been lost on those who import U.S. corn. It should be noted, however, that although growing conditions may vary from year to year, U.S. grades and safety standards for grain remain stable. The U.S. grain marketing system ensures that domestic and export buyers receive safe cargoes of corn based on buyer-seller contract terms and the minimum requirements of U.S. grain grades and standards. The U.S. Grains Council closely monitors aflatoxin levels in the United States so it can appropriately address the concerns of its global customers. The Council’s annual U.S. Corn Harvest Quality Report, set to be released at the end of November, will be a key tool in releasing this information.… Continue reading

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Agricultural safety and health – A family affair

By Dee Jepsen

National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 16 to 22. This annual promotional week commemorates the hard work, diligence, and sacrifices made by our nation’s farmers and ranchers. This year’s safety theme is “Agricultural safety and health – A family affair.”

Working in agriculture is different than working in other businesses. There is a culture amongst farm families that encourages children to work beside adults, usually at a young age. And on the other side of the age spectrum, there is not a pre-determined age when senior farmers retire from the farm. This family-style approach of involving many generations makes the farm work environment very different from other

occupations. And from a risk assessment point of view, it is sometimes more challenging to manage.


Children are at risk

On farms it is difficult to determine where the backyard ends and the barnyard begins. Allowing children in the “work space” often means they are exposed to all the noise, dust, and chemical environments that the workforce is also subjected.Continue reading

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Post-harvest yield protection especially important in 2012

With drought-damaged grain yields expected to be poor this year, growers need to take extra care to ensure that every bushel they’re able to harvest is protected against mold, pests and other problems, says an Ohio State University Extension educator.

Drought and extreme heat have reduced topsoil moisture and lowered crop yield expectations, making it even more important for growers to make post-harvest grain protection a priority, said Curtis Young, who is also an assistant professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State.

“You don’t have money in the bank until you sell the grain,” Young said. “The protection of the grain doesn’t stop with harvest, so if you are storing the grain on your farm, you need to take care of it.

“That extra care for grain storage is especially intensified this year because yields are going to be sub-optimal, so growers need to protect every penny that they can.”… Continue reading

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Ohioan working to boost soy demand in Afghanistan

A distance of 7,000 miles is just the start of the differences between the Brookville, Ohio farm where Steve Berk grew up raising soybeans as an FFA project and his current residence in Afghanistan. Yet, a new soybean processing factory creates a landmark link between states like Ohio and Afghan reconstruction efforts.

Berk is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Senior Representative at the U.S. Consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif. He and U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service Agriculture Minister Counselor Quintin Gray joined the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program at the unique soy processing business this summer.

“It’s great to see the Afghan and U.S. partners get this soybean processing facility up and operating,” Gray says. “It will help Afghanistan agriculture continue to develop.”

Through USDA’s Food for Progress Program, WISHH and its partners have established Afghanistan’s first commercial soybean value chain as part of the Soybeans in Agricultural Renewal of Afghanistan Initiative (SARAI).… Continue reading

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Sustainable beef operation focused on the future

By Hannah Thompson, OCJ staff writer

Three and a half years ago, Brad Berry made a decision that changed the course of the future for his family’s Fairfield County beef farm.

“I worked in a factory and farmed at the same time. I always had a dream of being a full time farmer, and when that job finally ended I decided to give it a try,” Berry said.

Berry also opted to change the nature of the operation, shifting to a grazing-based system. The Berry family now uses their 64-acre home operation to feed their cattle through rotational grazing, while also renting an additional 250 acres to grow corn, beans, wheat, hay and straw. The farm is a cow-calf operation with a feedlot to raise the calves to market. The family is this year’s Beef Environmental Stewardship Award Winner, presented by the Ohio Livestock Coalition and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.

The farm already has a rich history, as over the past 200 years nine generations of the Berry family have called the bicentennial farm home.… Continue reading

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Good stewards, good neighbors

By Hannah Thompson, OCJ staff writer

“It’s just the way we should do things,” Virgil Gasser said, simply and succinctly summing up his views on taking care of the environment. This viewpoint makes it clear why Gasser’s family received the 2012 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Ohio Dairy Producers Association and the Ohio Livestock Coalition.

Gasser started his own dairy operation in Wayne County in 1974 with a few cows, and by 1986 had updated his facilities to feature a double-six herringbone parlor and a free stall barn housing a herd of 100 milk cows.

“As the boys graduated from school and decided to be a part of the farm we added a few more cows or another barn, and just kept building,” Gasser said.

Today, Gasser and his sons Dave, Aaron, Steve and Nate milk 600 Holstein cattle. In addition to their dairy herd, the Gassers farm 1,200 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa using no-till and mulch-till methods.… Continue reading

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New app enhances FSR experience

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Every year at Farm Science Review, visitors can expect the latest and greatest agricultural technology. On display are tools, equipment and ideology that may very well change the way food is produced in years to come. A new addition to this year’s show, a mobile app, may change the way visitors experience the Review altogether.

“We are always looking for ways to be on the cutting edge,” said Matt Sullivan, Assistant Manager of Farm Science Review. “This new app is a great resource for visitors to not only find their way around the grounds more efficiently, but to be able to take everything they see and do at the Review with them all year long.”

For many, this app will replace the paper program that is received upon arrival to the Molly Caren Ag Center and then visitors can keep the app on their mobile device as long as they want.… Continue reading

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Krikke Pork stewards of land and animals

By Connie Lechleitner, OCJ field reporter

When Huron County’s Howard and Jane Krikke were approached about starting a contract hog finishing operation, the first thing they did was sit down and run the numbers. The second thing they did was talk with their neighbors.

“Some of them had reservations, but most were receptive to the construction of the new hog barns,” Howard said. “Today, our neighbors feel like they participate in the farm. They seem to enjoy the traffic to and from the barns, and have become a ‘neighborhood block watch’ for us.”

The Krikkes’ attention to their neighbors and the environment is no accident and one reason why Krikke Pork has been chosen as the 2012 Pork Industry Environmental Steward Award winner.

“I think some of it comes from my having worked in industry, but also really its just common sense,” Howard said. “If you live in a community, you all have to get along.… Continue reading

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This year can become a teachable moment

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

With the average age of an American farmer being 58, there is no doubt that many in Ohio agriculture have seen drought conditions like the ones being experienced this year. Many will refer to 1988 as a similar example of what farmers are dealing with in 2012. However, for

every three farmers that recall the harsh situations and dismal outcome of a quarter century ago, there is one that doesn’t have that experience under their belt. For those “young guns” of agriculture, this year’s Farm Science Review will be an opportunity to learn what to do to survive an extreme drought.

“This spring we had optimal anhydrous conditions along with nice soil conditions, adequate moisture and got off to some of the earliest planting dates we have ever had,” said Nate Douritas, Farm Science Review’s farm manager. “We started planting corn and soybeans on the 13th of April.… Continue reading

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Livestock potluck makes efficient use of pasture

By Matt Reese

As folks work their way down the table at a church potluck, some people will get a healthy helping of Mrs. Turner’s delicious mashed potatoes, while others may prefer the Au Gratin potatoes brought by Mrs. Benson. Some diners will choose green beans, while others will select peas as they heap the bounty upon their plates. In the end, everybody gets what they want at a church potluck and, if it is done just right, there are few leftovers.

Francis and Shirley Steffee may have had a church potluck in mind in the late 1990s

when they added sheep and goats to their 241-acre Muskingum County farm that had predominantly been a beef operation for many years. The idea behind the sheep and goats was to diversify the culinary pasture preferences on the farm to better utilize pastures and better care for the land. That decision has helped shape the farm into the 2012 Ohio Environmental Stewardship Award winner for sheep production.… Continue reading

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Fifty years of the Farm Science Review

As Farm Science Review celebrates its 50th year, organizers say that despite the many changes that have occurred in agriculture during that time, one thing has remained the same — Ohio’s premiere agricultural event is still dedicated to ensuring the best agricultural research, resources, information and access for farmers.

This year’s Farm Science Review theme is “Forecasting the Future for 50 Years,” emphasizing what Farm Science is all about, said Farm Science Review manager Chuck Gamble.

“It’s about forecasting the future, what technology could be coming down the road in agriculture,” he said. “It’s about bringing cutting-edge technology to farmers.

“The field of agriculture is so exciting right now, with the boon in technology that has taken place in the industry during the past 50 years. From genetics and seeds and the different chemistries that we have to protect plants, to the equipment we now have that uses satellite technology to make farming more precise and efficient, I can’t fathom what the next 10 to 50 years will bring in agricultural innovations.”… Continue reading

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U.S. farms serve as model for Ukrainian ag

A conversation with…

Harold Watters, OSU Extension agronomist who recently traveled to Ukraine as a crop consultant.


OCJ: First, could you provide a little background about the trip? How did this come about?

Harold: Working for Ohio State University and OSU Extension sometimes brings requests that are a little different. This was one of those — an acquaintance from the past, Tom Sachs, said he was coordinating a trip across Ohio for a group of Ukrainian farmers and asked if I could help. I have now hosted four of these visits to the U.S. with Tom, spending a day around Champaign County and western Ohio with each group. Apparently every group is asked what could make the trip more valuable, the October 2011 group of Ukrainian farmers said, “Bring Harold to Ukraine.” So I received a call in January with an invitation to come in late winter 2012.

Turns out the Ukrainians were here participating in a Farmer-to-Farmer program with support of the USDA and USAID.… Continue reading

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Meiring Poultry strives to preserve the environment

By Kayla Weaver, OCJ field reporter

“To stay ahead of the curve, you have to stay educated. Continually challenge yourself to be able to do better, because whatever the rules are today, they are likely to be changing. Whatever you can do to get ahead of that makes keeping up a lot easier. We don’t want to get behind. We like to be continually improving.”

That is the philosophy that led Bill Knapke of Meiring Poultry Farm to be named the 2012 poultry recipient of the Ohio Livestock Coalition Environmental Stewardship Award. The third-generation poultry farm in Fort Recovery is owned and operated by Bill and his wife, Janet, along with their four children.

At the farm, black and white photos from the 1940s adorn the office wall and pay tribute to Bill’s grandfather, Herb Meiring, who established the farm with chickens and hatching eggs, later passing it down to Bill’s uncle, Jim Zehringer.… Continue reading

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Fencerows: Tangles of wildness amid an agricultural scene

By Michael C. Ryan, OCJ field reporter

For years, a local preferred deer hunting spot was in a thin woodlot overlooking a snarled fencerow and deep agricultural drainage ditches. Hunters perched in a tree stand 15 feet above this south-central Ohio farmscape have witnessed firsthand nearly every wild mammal in the Buckeye state, as well as scores of bird species. The many whitetails that have fallen to broadheads along the fences and ditches testify to the key role these often-overgrown field borders play as travel corridors and cover. And the deer only tell a small part of the story.

Part of the pleasure of the hunt is not simply the thrill of the kill, but the opportunity for chance encounters with a variety of animals among the knotted mats of multiflora rose, honeysuckle, and hedge apple trees that congregate along fencerows and ditches. These sightings range from the mundane and average to the unique and awe-inspiring.… Continue reading

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