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U.S. infrastructure lags, trade may follow

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Last month a group of Ohioans traveled to Panama for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) annual meeting. Panama is becoming a very strategic location for all American exports, not

only because of the recently signed Free trade Agreement, but also because of the expanding Panama Canal.

Tadd Nicholson, Interim CEO of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA), was a part of the Buckeye delegation in Panama. He and his colleagues had the opportunity to see first-hand, via boat ride, the progress being made with the Panama Canal expansion.

“Picture a boat that has 4,000 containers on it about the size of a semi-trailer,” Nicholson said describing the current vessels being used through the canal. “The new ships that will be moving freight around the world will hold three times that amount. After seeing the size of the vessels being used today, it is hard to imagine vessels of the magnitude to carry 12,000 containers.”… Continue reading

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Is 2012 the year to try ACRE?

By Matt Reese

If farmers have not already, it is time to think about the enrolling in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) Program.

“We’re trying to talk to crop farmers now because when they get out to April and May, they will be busy,” said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University economist. “Sign up has to be by June 1 at the FSA office.”

Hurt said this might be the year for farmers to put some extra thought into ACRE.

“It is designed to float up and down as a safety net for the farmer. We have high prices now — the 2010 crop had record high prices for corn and beans. The 2011 crops beat those with new records. We now have two years of record high prices, which makes that revenue guarantee in ACRE very high,” Hurt said. “A second reason is that 2012 is the last year for ACRE under the farm program we have now.… Continue reading

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Child labor changes still a concern for ag

Parents of children who work on the family farm or are in agriculture education programs should thoroughly review proposed changes to child labor laws so they fully understand how the new rules could affect them, a Purdue farm

safety specialist advises.

“Because the proposed rule changes are 51 pages long, I don’t know that many people understand exactly what’s being presented,” Bill Field said. “The changes not only hold the potential for positive but also significant negative effects to youth less than 16 years old who seek employment or are currently employed in agriculture.”

While the Agricultural Hazardous Occupations Order was written in an effort to protect children from dangerous situations, it could prevent many young people from working on family farms or participating in agriculture-related educational programs.

The U.S. Department of Labor on Feb. 1 temporarily shelved the legislation after complaints that it would erode the tradition of children working on their family-owned farm.… Continue reading

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World wheat stocks still climbing

Estimates of 2011/12 total world wheat stocks inched higher again this month, reinforcing the market’s bearish wheat outlook. In its update of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) in February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased the estimate of total global wheat supplies for the seventh month in a row. Although the large numbers came as no surprise, the abundance of wheat in the world continues to be an unfriendly factor for markets that weighs on prices.

USDA increased its 2011/12 projected global wheat supplies by 2.14 million metric tons (MMT) to a record 894 MMT. An increase in world production estimates accounted for 1.38 MMT of the change and a rise in Kazakhstan’s beginning stocks accounted for the remaining 760,000 metric tons. World production is now estimated at 693 MMT, 6% greater than last year and an all time high. The higher production estimate combined with a 1 MMT decrease in total consumption resulted in a 3 MMT increase in global ending stocks.… Continue reading

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Well Done Dr. Forshey

By Ty Higgins

As you have probably heard by now, The Ohio Department of Agriculture has a new leader at the helm. His name is David Daniels and he makes his way to ODA via the Statehouse where he served as a State Senator for Ohio’s 17th District for four terms.

For the past 3 months, State Vet Dr. Tony Forshey added the title of Interim Director of ODA. During his short tenure, you would have never guessed that he even knew that “interim” was part of his new role. He hit the ground running knowing that there would be no time for Ohio agriculture to slow down and just wait on a new Director. Dr. Forshey traveled the state to speak at numerous events, spearheaded working groups to discuss water quality and nutrient management and I would even put money on him looking forward to making the county fair rounds had his time at the post lasted until summer.… Continue reading

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More highlights from the Farm Machinery Show

By Ty Higgins

Over the years I have always seen pictures and heard stories about just how big the

National Farm Machinery Show is, but I have never been there to witness the phenomenon first-hand. You would think that with the background that I was given on the event, I would know what to expect. Boy was I wrong.

Dale Minyo and I made the trek on the Thursday of the show and you could see the magnitude of the show by how many Chevys, Fords and Dodge’s with Ohio plates were headed across I-71 South in Kentucky. I have to admit that my excitement was building.

Once there I could not believe my eyes, or my feet, as we tried to cover as much ground as we could in a day. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that Dale and I actually got lost a time or two.

The highlight of the 27-acre indoor show was the Kinze 1300 series grain cart.… Continue reading

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Chapters and members celebrate FFA Week

While this week is a special time for Ohio FFA members to celebrate their involvement in the nation’s largest youth development organization, they spend the rest of the year just as busy. This year marked the highest ever national FFA membership since its founding in 1928, with more than 17 thousand new students joining the organization. This year, Ohio has been led by a dynamic team of state officers, who’ve helped to guide the activities of the state’s 24,000 members. Do you know Ohio’s FFA officer team? Get to know them!

Innovations

Chapters across the state have achieved successes with tried and true, time tested activities as well as new innovations. While many chapters raised funds through traditional citrus fruit sales, the West Holmes FFA and the  Ross FFA/Butler Tech Chapter held strawberry sales this winter.  The Anthony-Wayne Chapter welcomed an exchange student from Australia with a passion for nutrition to the membership this year.… Continue reading

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Don’t change the RFS rules in the middle in the game

My four-year-old daughter and I were playing a game of cards the other day. The goal of the game was to get a matching set of 8 cards, or so I thought. I had just gotten the final card for victory when my daughter announced that she had changed the rules slightly and that I

was not the winner. The new rules, however, fit her set of cards perfectly.

“Sorry, daddy,” she said. “I won again.”

This story is funny when playing cards with a four-year-old, but is no laughing matter when dealing with billions of dollars and a nation’s energy security. But, it seems that some folks feel they need to change the rules in the middle of the game for the outcome they want when it comes to the heated debate surrounding the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

This is why the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association have drawn a line in the sand regarding the RFS.… Continue reading

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Don't change the RFS rules in the middle in the game

My four-year-old daughter and I were playing a game of cards the other day. The goal of the game was to get a matching set of 8 cards, or so I thought. I had just gotten the final card for victory when my daughter announced that she had changed the rules slightly and that I

was not the winner. The new rules, however, fit her set of cards perfectly.

“Sorry, daddy,” she said. “I won again.”

This story is funny when playing cards with a four-year-old, but is no laughing matter when dealing with billions of dollars and a nation’s energy security. But, it seems that some folks feel they need to change the rules in the middle of the game for the outcome they want when it comes to the heated debate surrounding the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

This is why the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association have drawn a line in the sand regarding the RFS.… Continue reading

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Horse Sense: Kissing a fool

By: Kim Lemmon, managing editor

 

So if you haven’t figured it out yet, the fool is me!

When I was a riding lesson instructor, keeping my program’s visitors and students safe was my priority. I forced everyone to abide by a long list of rules. I’m sure a lot of folks, including my husband, Mark, thought my rules were a bit restrictive and obsessive but I felt the rules were a necessity.

I was fortunate to have only a few accidents occur during my time as an instructor. We averaged about one fall every other year. No one was seriously hurt thankfully. To me, the lack of serious injuries and infrequency of falls proved my rules were working but something was lacking.

No one broke my rules except Mark. I would occasionally catch Mark hand feeding a treat to the horses and it

actually made me a little sad. I wanted them to be glad to see me, too.… Continue reading

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PRRS popping up in Ohio hog herds

By Matt Reese

The soggy winter is at least partially to blame for the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus problems that have been plaguing hog producers in eastern Indiana and western Ohio in recent months.

The cagy virus is tough to corner because it can change so quickly.

“PRRS is programmed to very rapidly mutate. That is one of the problems in trying to develop a good vaccine that can work against the virus,” said Dr. Bill Minton, of Minton Veterinary Service in Mercer County. “When that virus infects mature animals it can cause reproductive problems including failure to breed, or pregnancy losses. It can ultimately become serious enough that it causes death. In growing pigs it is primarily a respiratory disease. We’ll see mild signs of pneumonia to severe pneumonia followed by sudden death.”

Along with being a problem itself, PRRS can also worsen symptoms of other pathogens.… Continue reading

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OFBF highlights issues @ the Capitol

By Matt Reese

The Statehouse in Columbus was abuzz as farmers from every corner of the state descended upon Columbus for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) 2012 Ag Day @ the Capitol. Attendees were briefed on the issues, heard from several speakers and met with lawmakers during the busy few hours of what is the OFBF official kick off of the policy year.

“It is a great opportunity for us to educate our members on issues and then they

have an opportunity to share those issues with their legislators,” said Steve Hirsch, OFBF president. “We’ll talk about nutrient management, the elections in 2012, water quality, redistricting, animal care issues, the budget and other issues. We have very few legislators that have a farm background any more. It important for us to educate them about how important agriculture is for the economy of Ohio, what we do as farmers and how we do it.”… Continue reading

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Daniels to serve as new ODA director

Senator David Daniels will be serving as the new director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“The governor believes that agriculture is the foundation of the state and so do I,” Daniels said. “I pledge to you I will

do my best every day to promote Ohio agriculture. I look forward to being your next Director of Agriculture.”

Gov. John Kasich appointed State Senator Daniels to replace state veterinarian Tony Forshey, the interim director who had filled in since Nov. 15 when Jim Zehringer was appointed the director of the Department of Natural Resources. Daniels is expected to be sworn in and begin his duties as ODA director on Thursday, February 16.

Following four successful terms in the Ohio House of Representatives, Daniels was elected to the Ohio Senate in 2010 to serve the families of the 17th Ohio Senate District, which includes Clinton, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Pike, Ross, Vinton and portions of Lawrence and Pickaway counties.

… Continue reading

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Federal budget proposal generates concerns for agriculture

President Barack Obama recently unveiled his proposed budget for Congress to consider for fiscal year 2013, and it has been getting lackluster reviews from many leaders involved with agriculture. Much of the concern is over the $32 billion reduction in agricultural spending.

“The president’s proposed agriculture budget reduces the deficit by $32 billion over 10 years,” said Steve Wellman,

American Soybean Association (ASA) President. “ASA has advocated, throughout the entire deficit reduction conversation, a shared responsibility for deficit reduction across all mandatory and discretionary spending programs, up to and including the elimination of Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payments as well as the Average Crop Revenue Election program as part of ASA’s 2011 Risk Management for America’s Farmers proposal.

“However, with the enormous amount of risk farmers are about to undertake by planting a new soybean crop, now is exactly the wrong time to reduce support for the federal crop insurance program. The proposal put forth in the president’s budget would reduce support to farmers who purchase the highest levels of coverage — a backwards approach that discourages producers from purchasing enough coverage to meet their substantial risk management needs.”… Continue reading

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Ohio EPA addressing big issues in ag

A conversation with Scott Nally, director, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

OCJ: What is your experience in agriculture, and what are your general thoughts about Ohio’s agricultural industry?

Scott: My agricultural experience includes management positions with Rose Acre Farms and Perdue Foods. Ohio’s agricultural industry is very healthy, and the intra-agency cooperation has been refreshing.

 

OCJ: What is your experience in environmental management, and what led you to become the director of the Ohio EPA?

Scott: I have more than 20 years of experience in the field of environmental management. My private sector experiences have given me the opportunity to deal with environmental regulatory schemes from many states. Most recently, I was the assistant commissioner in Indiana before becoming director for Ohio EPA.

 

OCJ: Could you please describe the relationship between the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA?

Scott: My relationship with U.S. EPA, both nationally and regionally, has been cultivated for many years.… Continue reading

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White mold and other diseases a concern after mild winter

By Matt Reese

While there were some run-ins with the full wrath of Old Man Winter in the past few months, by in large, it has been a mild season. The wet and warm weather through much of the winter has plant pathologists concerned about the possibility of diseases this growing season.

“Ohio is known as the replant state and that is not going away. As these soils have remained saturated, all of those soil borne organisms are there primed and ready to go,” said Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist. “When we try to extract these pathogens from the field, we have them incubated in cool temperatures. The longer we incubate, the better disease we get. We have had a winter that has mimicked exactly what we do in the greenhouse to recover these pathogens from the soil.”

Understanding the disease history in the field will be important this season.… Continue reading

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Reese named editor of Ohio's Country Journal

Matt Reese has been named the editor of Ohio’s Country Journal.

Reese has been with Ohio’s Country Journal since 1999, working in a variety of capacities including writing,

photography, editing, and managing web content. Reese has a Bachelor of Science in the field of Agricultural Communications and a Master of Science in the field of Agricultural Education from The Ohio State University.

“Matt has been a real asset during his time with us,” said Bart Johnson, the publisher and owner. “We hired him right out of college and I have watched him grow and mature in this industry. I am very excited about the future of Ohio’s Country Journal under the leadership of Matt Reese.”

At a time in Ohio agriculture when the future has never been brighter, the entire staff at Ohio’s Country Journal is poised to deliver the latest news through print, e-mail and online sources in an effort to best serve Ohio agriculture.… Continue reading

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Reese named editor of Ohio’s Country Journal

Matt Reese has been named the editor of Ohio’s Country Journal.

Reese has been with Ohio’s Country Journal since 1999, working in a variety of capacities including writing,

photography, editing, and managing web content. Reese has a Bachelor of Science in the field of Agricultural Communications and a Master of Science in the field of Agricultural Education from The Ohio State University.

“Matt has been a real asset during his time with us,” said Bart Johnson, the publisher and owner. “We hired him right out of college and I have watched him grow and mature in this industry. I am very excited about the future of Ohio’s Country Journal under the leadership of Matt Reese.”

At a time in Ohio agriculture when the future has never been brighter, the entire staff at Ohio’s Country Journal is poised to deliver the latest news through print, e-mail and online sources in an effort to best serve Ohio agriculture.… Continue reading

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RMA proceeding with crop insurance premium reductions

By Matt Reese

Those who use crop insurance in Ohio should see some welcome changes in their premiums this year and in following years. Late last year, the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced that Ohio would have some of the biggest proposed decreases in the nation resulting from updated methodology to set crop insurance premiums.  

The RMA announced that many states, including Ohio, would see significant decreases in crop insurance premiums based on the decreasing risk levels due to a number of factors. The federally supported crop insurance system was designed to have a loss ratio of 1.0. In theory, farmer-paid premiums paired with USDA-paid premiums, should result in an equal number of dollars paid in claims throughout time. However, the rating methodology has not kept up with yield increases and other factors resulting in increased insurance premiums.

RMA periodically reviews premium rates and makes necessary adjustments for actuarial soundness, aiming to establish the most appropriate premium rates.… Continue reading

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Protesting prayer a concern at the capitol

By Tim Reeves, the Country Chaplain

The National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. has been held for 60 years, dating back to then President Dwight Eisenhower. This annual breakfast has been held in the nation’s capitol with every president attending each of those years. Additionally, it draws members of Congress, businessmen and women, other government officials, and invited guests from every state, who are chosen annually by an allotment system for each state. In addition to the president as a speaker, it has drawn such noted speakers as Bono and Mother Teresa, along with Christian, Muslim and Jewish speakers.

Organized by the Fellowship Foundation with tickets now costing $650 each, the event is a fund-raiser as well as a time of fellowship and ecumenical gathering.

Apparently, that’s not good enough for some folks, or maybe it’s “too good” for them.

This year’s breakfast earlier this month was marked by protests. Apparently, according to the Americans United For Separation of Church and State organization, the breakfast “violates” the Constitutional admonition that religion and government can’t mingle.… Continue reading

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