Insights from the 2017 Census of Agriculture

In April the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.

Information collected by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) directly from farmers and ranchers reveals both farm numbers and land in farms have ongoing small percentage declines since the last Census in 2012. At the same time, there continue to be more of the largest and smallest operations and fewer middle-sized farms. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise.

“We are pleased to deliver Census of Agriculture results to America, and especially to the farmers and ranchers who participated,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “We can all use the Census to tell the tremendous story of U.S. agriculture and how it is changing.… Continue reading

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HB 183 would offer tax credits to incentivize helping young farmers get started

By Matt Reese

House Bill 183 was recently introduced by state representatives Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) to create a tax credit program that would incentivize retiring farmers to sell or rent to beginning farmers in Ohio.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce this legislation with Rep. Patterson who will help bring the next generation of Ohio farmers into the agricultural industry and ease the financial burden for retiring farmers,” Manchester said in an April 10 press conference. “I’ve seen this scenario played out first hand in my own district where retiring farmers without family successors are looking for someone to take over their operation but face tough financial barriers when selling their land or assets. This program would incentivize retiring farmers to look to beginning farmers to take over their operations by decreasing their tax burden on selling or renting their land and assets. It would also set beginning farmers up for success by giving them the opportunity to farm and learn best practices through a financial management program.”… Continue reading

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Attack planting with a sound agronomic plan and timely decisions

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

As spring weather warms up and conditions are conducive to field work, Ohio’s growers will have to deal with several challenges in the coming weeks. Prioritization and timely management will be key to success in the spring of 2019.

The wet fall of 2018 resulted in an extended harvest and significant delays in field work. For many growers, harvest was not completed until December or later. As a result, very little fall tillage and/or fall herbicide applications were completed across the eastern Corn Belt. With a lack of tillage and herbicide applications, weeds, such as marestail, will be more prevalent in Ohio’s fields this spring. Making timely weed control actions this spring will be a critical part of achieving successful weed control this year. As always, follow herbicide labels, use correct rates, and apply under optimum conditions to effectively control weeds.

With additional field work needed to be performed after a wet fall, time management will be an especially important consideration this spring.… Continue reading

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Putting canine DNA to work: The working dog project

By Don “Doc” Sanders

In the past, I have written about the work of a geneticist at the USDA’s Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. — Curtis Van Tassell. In the ’90s he used a new genetic test to identify genes in Holsteins that influence milk production, health, and soundness of feet and legs.

For the foundation of his research, he used detailed records of 300,000 cows dating back to the 1940s. His work was renowned in the dairy industry and even contributed to research in human DNA.

But the company funding his work at Beltsville went bankrupt. The company assets were purchased by Illumina, a human genetics company in Illinois. They planned to discard the cow genetic research.

When Van Tassell realized this, he went to Illumina’s management and spent several days trying to convince them of the merit of his research. Illumina relented and agreed to continue funding his research.… Continue reading

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Beans first starts a recipe for yield success

By Matt Reese

There is not a row crop farmer in Ohio who can avoid getting a bit antsy sitting idle as temperatures warm in April and conditions approach ideal. Yet, the early spring experience of many has shown the perils of getting a jump on planting the often-fickle corn crop. Cory Atley of Greene County, founder of Advanced Yield, has found a spring planting recipe for success, and he’s got impressive yield numbers to back it up. He plants soybeans first.

“We really want to plant when the conditions are fit. Normally we only really get 10 or 14 days of optimal conditions when things are right and we really try to take advantage of that. We have seen through a lot of different planting trials we have done on our own farm that the early-planted beans are the easiest way to pick up more bushels. Beans don’t mind some stress.… Continue reading

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DIY “hillbilly” hot tub

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

We’ve got a small cabin in rural Knox County my wife and I use for hunting and fishing and paddling retreats. Often we return to the cabin cold and shivering from these pursuits and have long yearned for hot tub to greet us at the end of the day, but could never justify the cost, nor do we have the power, to operate one. Channel surfing the various DIY shows a few weeks ago, I watched a clip of a guy building and off-the-grid hot tub featuring a stock tank, copper tubing and a firepit. I watched as he coiled the copper around a five gallon bucket and hooked up each end to the tank filled with 150 gallons of water, connecting one end of the pipe low on the side and one above, just below surface level.… Continue reading

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Corn ending stocks up, soybeans ending stocks down

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

The corn number was actually friendly due to feed usage not down as much as some had feared. However, corn exports and corn for ethanol were also reduced.

Typically the April Supply and Demand Report has been pretty boring. Traders view the May report more importantly as it provides the first supply and demand numbers for the upcoming 2019 crops.

Corn ending stocks increased 200 million bushels, due to cuts in ethanol, exports, and corn used for feed.

Traders will be closely watching export projections for corn, soybeans, and wheat and how that flows through to the bottom line. Soybean and wheat ending stocks are expected to see little changes in the U.S. tables. Corn captures plenty of attention to see how USDA views corn fed to livestock and the resulting ending stocks. Last month’s surprise of higher than expected corn stocks had corn closing 17 cents lower.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 100 | Getting antsy about planting season

The Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, brings together Bart Johnson, Matt Reese, and Dale Minyo to chat about the nice weather and a multitude of other topics.

Guests on this week’s podcast include Between the Rows farmers Nathan Brown of Highland County and Andrew Armstrong of Clark County.

Also Joel Penhorwood talks with Jim Case of Delaware County on his homemade Soilhawk soil sampling unit.

All that and much more in the 100th episode of the Ohio Ag Net podcast.… Continue reading

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2019 Between the Rows farmers gearing up for planting

Dylan Baer – Wood County

Most of our farm is in Wood County. We farm a little in Henry and Hancock counties. We grow wheat, corn, beans, and a bit of alfalfa. My dad is a seed dealer. We are delivering seed right now. I bale straw too.

On our farm we only plant enough wheat for what I’m going to bale. We have 220 acres of wheat this year. We had it planted in the first week of October and it looked good, not great, but good last fall. It is having a heck of a time greening up this spring. The green spots are starting to make the brown dead spots look bad. We like to topdress it in mid-April and the first chance we get we’ll get out there.

We actually finished up with harvest Oct. 25. We thought we’d have the month of November to finish up with tillage.… Continue reading

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DeWine signs 2019 transportation budget

By Matt Reese

On April 2, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a transportation budget that will bump the state tax on gasoline to 38.5 cents per gallon and 47 cents a gallon on diesel fuel (off-road is excluded from the tax increase). This is an increase of 10.5 cents for gas and 19 cents for diesel. The governor initially pushed for increase of 18 cents a gallon for gas and diesel fuel to address the state’s deteriorating road infrastructure.

The new tax rates will begin July 1. In addition, there will be a 19-cent per gallon tax for compressed natural gas, which has not previously been taxed, phased in over 5 years. Registration fees for hybrid and electric vehicles are included in the budget as well. The state will get 55% of the funds from the tax increases and 45% will go to local governments for road maintenance and improvements. The transportation budget also has a provision that cuts costs by eliminating the requirement for front license plates on vehicles after July 1, 2020.… Continue reading

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Wet fields and dampened prices heading into planting

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

March 29 was not a good day for producers as corn closed 17 cents lower. It came as a result of the USDA Quarterly Grain Stocks Report. Corn stocks were 335 million bushels higher than trade expectations. Corn fed to U.S. livestock was considerably below that seen in the previous year. Several analysts pointed out they were most surprised with corn demand in the second quarter much less than expected. This will be closely monitored in the months ahead as similar low corn usage numbers have taken place with the March Grain Stocks Report.

There was also a Prospective Plantings Report the same day. U.S. corn acres of 92.8 million acres for 2019 were higher than trade expectations by 1.5 million acres. Soybean acres were estimated to be 84.6 million acres and lower than expected. In 2018 U.S. corn acres were 89.129 million acres with soybean acres at 89.196 million acres.… Continue reading

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Will the wisdom of the Sixth Circuit prevail in clean water case?

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

On Feb. 19, 2019, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a Clean Water Act (CWA) case, Hawaii Wildlife Fund v. County of Maui, during the 2019-2020 term that agriculture needs to watch closely. The Court likely took this case because the Ninth Circuit (where Hawaii Wildlife Fund originated) and the Fourth Circuit Appellate Courts have differing views from the Sixth Circuit regarding when a NPDES permit is required.

The Ninth Circuit is the appellate court for the states of California, Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The Fourth Circuit encompasses Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. And the Sixth Circuit is located at the Stewart Potter Courthouse in Cincinnati and includes Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

The question the Supreme Court will ultimaely answer is: Does the CWA require a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater?… Continue reading

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Ohio’s farmers helping farmers in flood-stricken Nebraska

By Matt Reese

There are a number of universal truths involved with farming and one of them seems to be that farmers are quick to help, but not so quick to accept it. Sometimes, though, famers need a helping hand.

Heading into March 15, many parts of Nebraska and Iowa were setting up for a disaster. In the case of the small towns of North Bend and Morris Bluff, Neb. about 50 miles northwest of Omaha, there was around 18 inches of snow on the ground that melted in a 48-hour period. The ground underneath was frozen so all of the snowmelt ran off into rivers and streams that were already flooding due to the large snowmelt further upstream. Then a couple of inches of rain fell and the combination led to extensive, devastating flooding. Small towns were plagued with terrible water quality issues as sewer systems backed up and filled basements.… Continue reading

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Students find unique ways to engage with agriculture

By Sydney Snider, OCJ FFA reporter

Raising livestock, growing crops or working for an agribusiness are recognized areas agricultural education students are often involved with as a part of their supervised agricultural experience (SAE). Nationally, there are 47 proficiency award areas for students to be recognized for their efforts and earnings in different areas of agriculture.

The Ohio FFA Association has two proficiency award areas not recognized on the national level: organic agriculture and accounting. These areas interest students across the state and allow them to gain skills, knowledge and experience in two unique, yet vital, sectors of agriculture. Keep reading to learn more about two students who have developed passions for these Ohio-specific proficiency areas.


Organic Agriculture

Grant DeBruin, a junior member of the Miami Trace FFA Chapter, helps on his family farm as a part of his organic agriculture SAE. DeBruin’s family has an organic pasture dairy farm located near Greenfield, Ohio.… Continue reading

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Delaware Co. farmer’s ingenuity brings Soilhawk sampling system to reality

Jim Case of Case Farms in Delaware Co. has been busy the last four years developing the Soilhawk automated soil sampling device. The machine, now ready for full production and fieldwork, utilizes multiple areas of ingenuity, including a top level scraper to clear away debris from a soil testing unit, multiple testing settings, and remote-controlled use, among other options.

“I got the idea because I went out and did manual hand sampling and it got pretty intense — it was a lot of work,” said Case. “We wanted a way to cover a lot of acres a lot faster and do a really good job getting random samples and not just take samples out of a middle of a two and a half acre grid.”

Case said the built-from-scratch project replicates what a farmer would physically do in the field.

“We designed a scraper that will actually remove the residue from or debris before we take a sample, because if you leave that in, your sample is skewed right to begin with,” he said.… Continue reading

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Grim numbers and rebound potential

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Last week’s USDA report provided estimates for grain supply and the upcoming planted acres based upon March 1 information.

Corn: Stored grain increases 270 million bushels more than anticipated

This was the biggest surprise and sparked a lot of debate on Friday. Some wondered if the market already realized some of this, noting the decreased feed demand in the last report. Others wondered if last year’s corn yield forecasts were too low in the February report. A few thought that farmers stored more 2017 crop than originally estimated. Based upon conversations I have had with farmers across the Corn Belt I would guess the yield was slightly better last year than what was estimated in February.

This number doesn’t account for the stored corn lost due to recent flooding throughout the Midwest. If the U.S. produces 15 billion corn bushels per year, it’s reasonable to assume a half percent (75 million bushels) of production could have been lost to flooding and will eventually need to be a considered.… Continue reading

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Maple syrup production season gives way to maple syrup eating season

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

What’s up with all the buckets on the trees? It’s maple syrup time! According to the Ohio Maple Producers Association, maple syrup contributes $5 million to our state’s economy. Only 13 states produce maple syrup and Ohio ranks in the upper half, producing almost 100,000 gallons. The demand for maple syrup is bigger than is currently produced.

The history behind maple syrup boils down to the Indians finding the sap oozing from broken branches. The story goes that the Indians hollowed out logs, filled it with the sap and then threw in hot coals to reduce the syrup.

The Johnson Family in Cable has been making syrup since 1934. Eric Johnson said 2019 has been a good year for maple syrup for the operation. Their family produces, on average, 300 gallons of syrup a year that they market right on site as well as local farmers markets.… Continue reading

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