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BSE bump in the road?

By Matt Reese

What has been the cause for great worldwide alarm in the past, has thus far been little more than an unsettling bump in the road for cattle producers and consumers when the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the nation’s fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. It was the first such finding since 2006 in the U.S.

According to the USDA, the animal in question was 10 years and 7 months old and came from a dairy farm in Tulare County, Calif. The animal was humanely euthanized after it developed lameness and became recumbent. The animal’s carcass will be destroyed. USDA is continuing its epidemiological investigation and will provide additional information as it is available.

The positive animal was tested as part of targeted BSE surveillance at rendering facilities. Samples were sent to the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory for testing and forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) on April 20th for confirmatory testing.… Continue reading

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Senate Agriculture Committee approves Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today voted to approve the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, a bipartisan Farm Bill authored by Committee Chairwoman Senator Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Senator Pat Roberts.

The bill reforms food and agricultural policy by eliminating direct payments and emphasizing the need to strengthen risk management tools for farmers, saving billions of dollars. Overall, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 will reduce the deficit by $23 billion dollars by eliminating unnecessary subsidies, consolidating programs to end duplication, and cracking down on food assistance abuse. These reforms allow for the strengthening of key initiatives that help farmers and small businesses reach new markets and create American jobs. The measure will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

“The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 will save taxpayers billions of dollars while promising a safe and healthy national food supply,” Stabenow said.… Continue reading

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The dark secrets of agriculture

By Matt Reese

With full bellies and suspicious minds, consumers are questioning more than ever the science behind their food. Genetically modified crops, antibiotics, pesticides — these are all scary sounding things that seem more at home in a science laboratory than in relation to something as intimate as the food on our plates.

Despite the fact that it is this same technology that allows for those plates to be so full of healthy, bountiful and diverse foods, the reality is that such science sounds suspicious to many consumers. This certainly seems to be the case for the frenzy of fears associated with antibiotic use in livestock. Like every aspect of these seemingly mysterious production practices, science is on the side of agriculture, but it is not always easy, or practical, to convey this to people. Because of this, it is easy for the agricultural industry as a whole (from the scientists to the farmers) to make decisions based on the science and move forward without much explanation to or consultation with the general populace about what is going on.… Continue reading

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A rare planter sows Ohio fields

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net – Follow Ty on Twitter

“One of a kind” is becoming an overused phrase, but for Ohio farmer John Wilson it is a phrase that rings true when it comes to the planter he is using this year. The German-engineered Horsch planter rolling behind Wilson’s tractor is the only one east of the

Mississippi River and one of only a handful being used in the United States, so far.

“It something a bit different,” Wilson said while planting soybeans in a Madison County field . “Horsch seems to be more precision-minded in their technology. They are very adamant about spacing and not getting doubles and it looks to be doing the job. We’ll see when it comes up.”

Curiosity from other farmers has prompted many phone calls and questions about the Horsch planter and Wilson’s is happy to answer them.

“Horsch is not new to the industry,” Wilson said.… Continue reading

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The science and ethics of antibiotics

By Matt Reese

While the changes from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may not make sense to many in agriculture in terms of the risk/reward equation supported by science, but the reality is that consumers are demanding change.

“Quite frankly, I think we’re to the point where we won’t have a choice but to make some changes. People are scared. That is frustrating because they really don’t understand what is going on,” said Dr. Leah Dorman, of the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Center for Food and Animal Issues. “When we talk about antibiotics given to food animals, some people believe that they are actually eating the antibiotic in their food. They don’t understand that there is something called a withdrawal time that requires farmers to keep the animal out of the food supply until the drug is out of the animal’s system. Part of the testing process for the drug is the safety for the animal, but also how long the drug takes to clear the system so the meat is safe for human consumption.… Continue reading

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Sharing the debt

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Look at everything happening in D.C. lately. Almost every day there is a bill sent to the House or Senate floors that go absolutely no further by design. All of these bills are built to make the other party look pitiful when they fail and sway the voters one way or another during a vicious election year.

There is bickering about healthcare, social security, food stamps and most important to the ag industry, farm programs.

I was disappointed to find out that the Buffett rule was not about getting a plate and making numerous trips to the food line. Adding one “t” can ruin everything for a guy.

That rule and all of the squabbling in Washington got me thinking that instead of thinking of “sharing the wealth” as an economic recovery tactic, maybe we should consider it more of “sharing the debt”.

Agriculture has already tried to do this by volunteering to delete over $20 billion dollars from farm programs late last year during the Super Committee process.… Continue reading

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FDA takes measures with antibiotic use in livestock

By Matt Reese

Every time anyone opens their mouth to take a bite food, they are taking a risk. But, as it turns out, not eating food is even riskier.

This game of risk is at play with the debate of antibiotic use and regulation in livestock and poultry. There is a current scientific debate about the ability of bacteria treated with antibiotics to develop resistance. Some of these “superbugs” that thwart treatment efforts have developed already and are a growing concern. In terms of livestock, preventive or “production” treatments are of particular concern because they are typically low doses that may more easily facilitate the development of resistance.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently working through the vast and complex science of this issue in determining the risk levels of antibiotic use in livestock. There is no concrete proof that there is a significant risk involved with antibiotic use in livestock, but there is no proof that there is not, either.… Continue reading

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Scouting and treating black cutworm

By Dave Nanda, Director of Genetics & Technology 
Seed Consultants, Inc.

This has been one of the warmest winters recorded according to the weather scientists. It

has been good for getting a lot of corn in the ground so early. However, Black cutworm moth counts have been very high this spring. The warm weather has given an opportunity to certain weeds and insects to prosper. By the time corn germinates, hungry cutworms might be waiting. 
According to Purdue entomologists, Krupke and Obermeyer, cutworm moths are arriving at very high numbers early. Black cutworm is one of most destructive insects since it cuts the corn seedlings near the ground level. 
We must be vigilant and scout for insect pests more aggressively this year because the high survival rate of insects during the past winter.

The following points may be helpful to protect your corn:

• Scout weedy fields or those with young corn seedlings.… Continue reading

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April 23 Between the Rows report

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Herring, Wyandot County

“We planted a little corn on April 11 just to get things started. We waited until the 16th before we really turned things loose.  I planted 95% of my corn last week and now it has turned cold. We’ll have to see what happens. I dug some up this morning and it has sprouted pretty well. It was nice and dry, which was good to plant in. We had to work the ground an extra time this year to get it ready, I think because of all the heavy rain and the lack of freezing and thawing.

“I got some that is spiked and almost ready to come up. It will warm up next week and be fine. We just got .7-inch on Saturday evening and that is drying off pretty fast. There is moisture where the seed is at, and it is germinating so we’re in good shape.… Continue reading

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New ODA Director sees bright future for Ohio ag

A conversation with…David Daniels, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

OCJ: First, could you share some of your background and the path that led you to your current position as Director?

Director Daniels: I grew up on my family’s farm in Highland County and knew from the time I was 12 years old I was going to be a farmer for the rest of my life. Later on I felt called to public service and served a total of 18 years in local government and nine years in the Ohio General Assembly. The great thing about this job is that it allows me to continue in public service while getting me back into agriculture and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

OCJ: You have big shoes to fill in your new role and are facing some very challenging situations that required you to hit the ground running. What was the most challenging aspect of shifting from State Senator to Director?… Continue reading

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Movie "Touchback" features ample Ohio farm connections

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The movie Touchback, that was released this past weekend has bushels of ties to Ohio agriculture and the Buckeyes.

Touchback tells the 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.… Continue reading

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Movie “Touchback” features ample Ohio farm connections

By Heather Hetterick, Ohio Ag Net

The movie Touchback, that was released this past weekend has bushels of ties to Ohio agriculture and the Buckeyes.

Touchback tells the 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.… Continue reading

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Concerns raised with HR 3798

During a briefing hosted by Congressmen Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), congressional staff learned about multiple voluntary, producer-led animal care programs and about the concerns farmers and ranchers have with legislation introduced in the House that would codify an agreement between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP) to seek federally mandated production practices for the egg industry. 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President J.D. Alexander joined Amon Baer, an egg farmer from Minnesota; Betsy Flores, director of regulatory affairs for the National Milk Producers Federation; and Bill Luckey, a hog producer from Nebraska on a panel to explain how they care for their livestock and poultry. Each speaker raised serious concerns that H.R. 3798’s one-size-fits all approach to animal agriculture won’t work.

“No two farms or ranches are the same. What works for my neighbor may not work for me because all farmers and ranchers have to adapt to meet the needs of their animals, to comply with regulations and, ultimately, to satisfy consumer demand,” Alexander said.… Continue reading

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HSUS files complaint against NPPC with the FTC

The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asserting that the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is engaging in deceptive advertising related to animal well-being in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The complaint alleges that the pork industry’s public descriptions of its “We Care Initiative” and deceptively-titled “Pork Quality Assurance Plus” program are riddled with numerous false claims regarding the welfare of pigs, including the trade group’s patently false claim that its PQA Plus program helps to “ensure that all animals in the pork industry continue to receive humane care and handling.”

HSUS cites tail docking and the confinement of breeding sows as practices of concern. The complaint claims the abusive practices allowed by the We Care and PQA Plus programs are fundamentally inconsistent with the Pork Council’s public claims.

“The pork industry spends millions misleading the public about its animal welfare record, while allowing pigs to be crammed into tiny gestation crates where they can’t even turn around for months on end,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation at The HSUS.… Continue reading

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What’s the hurry to plant soybeans?

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

The potential benefit of yield gain, when planting soybeans early, needs to be weighed with the potential risks. That is the advice from Jeff Rectenwald, territory agronomist with DEKALB Asgrow. Although, he says it is a very hard message to get across when an early planting opportunity like what Ohio is seeing this year presents itself.

“The comment I get from most growers is that the ground is fit and the conditions are good,” Rectenwald said. “When growers tell themselves that, they keep going.”

That may not be technical or scientific reasoning, but that is why many Ohio farmers that have finished up planting the 2012 corn crop have moved right along to planting beans.

So what are the risks?

Rectenwald says when planting early, delayed emergence may occur given the cooler soil temperatures. Although the ideal soil temperature for soybean is 77 degrees, soybean can germinate when the soil temperature is about 50 degrees at 2 inches.… Continue reading

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Wheat growth stage and foliar fungicide applications

By Pierce Paul, Jorge David Salgado, Ohio State University Extension

Cool conditions over the last few weeks have slowed the wheat down considerably, however, the development of the crop is still about a week or two ahead of what is considered to be normal in Ohio at this time of year. Current growth stages range from Feekes 6, jointing, to Feekes 8, flag leaf emergence.

However, the different between these growth stages cannot be determined just by looking at the height of the crop from the road, since relatively low temperatures and dry conditions may have prevented some varieties from reaching the height that is expected when the crop is between at Feekes GS 6 and 8.

Remember, short-looking wheat does not mean that the crop is not developing and advancing through the different growth stages. Growers who rely on the height of the crop as an indicator of crop development may miss Feekes GS 6, a critical growth stage for herbicide application, and Feekes 8, a critical stage for managing foliar diseases with fungicides.… Continue reading

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Follow up with the foul-mouthed food blogger

We recently took a trip to the city.

It was an adventure with the children, my wife, and her siblings, parents, grandparents and

me on a road trip to visit my brother-in-law in southern Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans. One day on the trip, we went into the city to see the sights and enjoy some delicious beignets.

Though we had a nice time, it had to be very clear to anyone we encountered that we were not locals. We had cameras. We had to ask for directions. We made numerous wrong turns, and we were not quite sure how to place an order at the local café. I am sure we were quite a site in the land of stylish Mardi Gras masks and colorful beads. We fit in about as well as a corn planter on Bourbon Street in the Big Easy because it was just not what we are used to dealing with on a daily basis.… Continue reading

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A farmer’s silent partner

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

 

He may look all alone

In the middle of his field

All he sees is all he owns

Where a silent partnership is sealed.

 

He’s not talking to himself

And he’s not praying to The Devine.

It’s a conversation with the land

That has his future on the line.

 

It’s a mutual agreement

With everything in view,

“Land, you take care of me

And I’ll take care of you”

 

Then, a handshake with the soil

He’s knows no other way.

A relationship he will never foil

For to him, every day is Earth Day.… Continue reading

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Young and beginning farmers face many hurdles

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

No matter how you look at it, the numbers are staggering when it comes to the age of the American farmer. For every one farmer under the age of 25, there are five farmers who are 75 or older. Still, the fastest-growing group of farmers is the segment

over 65.

To curb the graying of our Nation’s farmers, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is targeting more funding programs toward young and beginning farmers. In fact, in February, the USDA unveiled Start2Farm.gov. This is the latest resource for beginning farmers.  The program acts as a clearinghouse database of training and assistance programs and is funded through a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

To some thinking about jumping into the Ag industry, it may sound as easy as buying a tractor, planter and combine and start rolling.… Continue reading

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Rising costs and consumer concerns plague beef

Although interest in beef production is high in part because of record-high prices producers have been fetching, some producers have concerns about rising prices for feedstuff and gasoline, which could make consumers less likely to buy pricey cuts, an Ohio State University Extension expert says.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm because of what animals are worth at the market, but input prices such as fuel, feed and fertilizer are still an issue,” said John Grimes, beef coordinator for OSU Extension.

Grimes spoke recently at the Ohio Beef Expo, sponsored by the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. The event, in its 25th year, is the single largest event in the state devoted to cattle producers.

He said the overall outlook for U.S. beef is good for the next few years, with trade with Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea remaining strong. In addition, the rise in the growth of upscale hamburger chains has led to increased demand for higher-quality beef.… Continue reading

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