Significant tax changes coming in 2012

As 2011 draws to a close, so do opportunities for farmers to take advantage of certain provisions of the federal tax code, according to Ohio State University Extension educator David Marrison.

“The ability for bonus depreciation is changing, so if you’re looking to make capital expenditures, this is the year to do it,” said Marrison, one of the leaders of OSU Extension’s Ag Manager Team. “You can depreciate 100% now, it will go to 50% next year, and after that it could go away completely depending on what Congress does.”

Marrison said that over the past decade, Congress has repeatedly allowed faster depreciation of capital assets to stimulate business investment by providing a “bonus” depreciation allowance in the year the asset is purchased.

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 extended the depreciation bonus for 2011 and 2012 to encourage new equipment purchasing. The additional first-year depreciation rules allow farmers to deduct on their 2011 income tax returns 100% of the cost of qualifying assets purchased in 2011 and 50% of the cost of qualifying assets in 2012.… Continue reading

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ECO Farming a topic at No-Till Conference

By Matt Reese

Wind and rain do not cause soil erosion. Bad soil management does.

No-till is the answer to many of the problems behind (and resulting from) erosion at work in fields today, according to the line up of expert speakers at the Ohio No-Till Conference held in Plain City.

“When you engage steel with soil, bad things happen,” said Barry Fisher, the Indiana USDA NRCS State Agronomist. “Can we achieve 300 bushel corn and 100 bushel soybeans by 2030? If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will get what we got. The yield trend line puts us at 193-bushel corn per acre by 2030. Technology has kept us in the game so far, but we need to match that with great soil health. Master the details by using the time that you are not in the tractor seat doing tillage.”

Ohio State University Extension researcher Jim Hoorman suggests that farmers move toward ECO Farming that seeks to mimic nature in a row crop production through the elimination of tillage, cover crops and other practices.… Continue reading

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Lessons from a Hay Bale

By Ty Higgins

There are many differences between urban and rural communities, from the way we talk to the way we dress. The list of variations goes on and on. Among them all, the most glaring difference that I have noticed since I returned to my position as a Farm Broadcaster is the youth.

I cannot tell you just how many young people that have come from Ag backgrounds have impressed me with their communication skills, willingness to work, respect for others and for themselves. I am not here to bash the kids in the urban areas. Many of them do not have the opportunities that are afforded the youth of agriculture, and that in my opinion is too bad. The World would be a different place if everyone slung hay bales on a 90 degree day.

I admit, and so would everyone that has baled hay, that it is one of the worst jobs on the planet.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Council recognizes conservation efforts

Martin Shipitalo, a USDA-ARS soil researcher, on the right, received the Educator/Researcher Award from the Ohio No-Till Council.
Roger Butts, left, representing Brookside Consultants of Ohio, accepted the Business Industry Award from the Ohio No-Till Council.
Bret (middle) and Gene (right) Margraf were recognized as the Outstanding No-till Farmers of the year. They have been working with no-till and cover crops for the last 10 years on their farm near Sycamore.




The Ohio No-Till Conference featured a mountain of information for attendees, most of which revolved around soil health and the value of a system including continuous no-till and cover crops.

The group took time to recognize the contributions of some leaders in no-till farming in Ohio.

Dale Minyo talks with Oustanding No-till Farmer of Year Bret Margraf.

Dale Minyo talks with Oustanding No TIll Farmer of the Year Bret Margraf Continue reading

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Anticipating 2012 prices

Crop prices during 2011 were influenced by a wide range of factors that resulted in extremely large trading ranges, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“The price patterns, however, were very different for corn, soybeans, and wheat. As the year ends, thoughts turn to likely price levels in 2012,” he said.

December 2011 corn futures started the year near $5.50, with the higher trend that began near $4.00 in July 2010 still in place. The trend continued, although erratically, reaching a peak near $7.80 in late August. Prices have declined sharply since then, with the December 2011 contract currently only about 30 cents higher than at the start of the year, he said.

January 2012 soybean futures started the year just below $13.00, with the higher trend that began near $9.50 in July 2010 still in place. The price of that contract traded between $12.50 and $14.00 through mid-August, peaked at $14.74 in late August, and then plummeted to $11.00 in late November.… Continue reading

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Japan expanding import capacity

The U.S. Grains Council 2011 Corn Mission to Japan, China and Vietnam toured the Kushiro Port in Hokkaido, Japan, and heard firsthand the plans to expand the port’s capacity to accommodate larger vessels.
Kushiro is the largest port facility in the heart of Japan’s major dairy producing area – Hokkaido, Japan.

The Director of the Kushiro Port Office for Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Tetsuya Hayakawa explained to the group that the port was selected in June by MLIT as one of the eight ports designated to undergo a massive expansion in an effort to remain competitive internationally. While Japan can accept the capsize or the post-panamax vessels expected with the expansion of the Panama Canal, this initiative will contribute greatly to Japan’s ability to handle larger ships with a faster distribution process.

Mission participant Tom Mueller, from the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, said the visit was a worthwhile and vital interaction as the expansion of the port will help to increase Japan’s grain import capacity at a competitive price.… Continue reading

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Some facts on test weight

By Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.

Along with yield and moisture, growers most often discuss the test weight of the grain they are harvesting. Grain moisture is important because of cost of drying but why is test weight important? Here are some facts about test weight and why it is important:

• Test weight of grain is a ratio between weight and volume. It is measured as weight of grain that fills a quart container. There are 32 quarts in a bushel basket. 

• Corn grain is marketed in the U.S. on the basis of 56 pounds test weight per bushel. 

• The corn with 56 pounds per bushel is considered No. 1 yellow corn and 54 pounds per bushel is called No. 2 yellow corn at 15% moisture. 

• Along with bragging rights, farmers can haul more bushels of high test weight grain in the truck per trip to the elevator than low test weight grain. 
… Continue reading

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Between the Rows-Hybrids and Varieties

“We don’t want to use a lot of material from this year because it was not a normal year. We don’t put a lot of stock in anything that happened this year of the hybrids and varieties from this year. We don’t want to use a lot of information from this year.

“The only thing we did learn is the old adage that a wet year will starve you to death and a dry year will worry you to death, and it certainly did. We’re not going to change much for next year.”

The turnover with new hybrids has made it tough to test out new hybrids and varieties. “A number doesn’t last long anymore. It used to be that you’d plant the same hybrid for five to 10 years, now you’re lucky if you plant the new hybrid over three years. The new genetics are always coming on. We rely on our seed dealers because there is always something new and better, that’s why it costs $250 for a bag of seed corn.… Continue reading

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Moldy corn and upright ears

By Peter Thomison, Pierce Paul, Bruce Clevenger, and Glen Arnold, Ohio State University Extension


Moldy ear problems have been reported in northwest Ohio, especially in certain corn hybrids planted late after June 1. The moldy ears have been attributed to Diplodia and Gibberella fungal infection. Vomitoxins (associated with Gibberalla) have been found in some of the later planted, wetter corn (>25%). The few preliminary reports received to date suggest that vomitoxin levels are lower and vomitoxin problems far more limited in scope than in 2009. This is largely because, compared to 2009, conditions this year were relatively dry during the first few weeks after pollination, which restricted the development of Gibberella ear rot.

Although some level of infection may have occurred at silking, conditions during early grain-fill were in general not favorable for widespread ear rot development and mycotoxin contamination, except in some of the later planted fields. As was the case in 2009, molds have often been associated with upright ears.… Continue reading

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Bt choices expanding, resistance developing

Isolated findings of resistant rootworms in Iowa emphasize that planting a refuge is more critical than ever for maintaining the durability of Bt corn, said Christian Krupke, a Purdue Extension entomologist.

Bt corn does not kill all larva that feed upon it, and very slight feeding damage from corn rootworm is typical, said Christian Krupke. But after researchers at Iowa State University were alerted to high levels of feeding damage in some fields, they began to test Bt corn hybrids that expressed the Cry3B1 toxin. They found that rootworms from those fields were able to survive exposure in the lab. Currently, other Bt toxins appear to be effective against the pest.

The most important thing corn growers can do in the future is follow refuge guidelines, Krupke said. Refuges develop a population of susceptible adults and allow mating between those and any potentially resistant beetles that emerge from Bt plants. Compliance with refuge recommendations has declined in recent years.… Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Awards Members

The Ohio Farm Bureau recognized several of their members during the harvest banquet at their annual meeting on December 1st.

Pat Wheeler of Muskingum County was recognized for signing up 51 new members.




Matt and Rachel Heimerl of Johnstown have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s (OFBF) 2011 Outstanding Young Farmer Award. The award recognizes successful young farmers for achievements in the business of farming and leadership in the agricultural community.

The couple will compete in the national contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in Honoluluin January.

The Heimerls raise hogs and manage their own trucking business and feed mill on their Licking County farm. They have served as chairs of the Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals Advisory Team, are both alumni of OFBF’s AgriPOWER Institute leadership program, the DuPont Young Leaders program and are members of the American and Ohio Soybean Associations and the Pork Producers Council.… Continue reading

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Soybean disease update for 2011

By Anne Dorrance, Ron Hammond and Feng Qu, Ohio State University Extension


This has been one of the most challenging years on record for getting this crop in the ground and getting it harvested. Now we are trying to make sense of all the research data. In the meantime, let’s recap some things that actually did not happen and some that did.

Soybean rust

There really has not been much to say much about this pathogen this year. Inoculum levels were very, very low in the spring thanks to a very hard winter last year in the southern U.S. It was hot and dry early and it took a long time for this disease to get started. My colleagues in the South who search for soybean rust were talking about the Mississippi river spilling over its banks into fields that were totally suffering from drought — more evidence of a very strange year.… Continue reading

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Last minute shopping gone awry

By Matt Reese

It was three days until Christmas. And, though I had no gift for her yet, my wife had dropped less-than-subtle hints that she wanted a new pair of boots for Christmas.

I have always steered clear of clothing purchases for several reasons. First, I never have any idea what my wife likes. In fact, if I pick the ugliest thing in the store, that is typically what she likes best (it is usually also the most expensive thing in the store). In addition, I never know what size she wears and I hate going to stores.

I was prepared last year, because I asked my sister about my wife’s foot size and I was told it was 7. So, I went to a store just down the street from my office. I walked in and quickly identified ugliest pair of boots. It was the last pair, so they must have been very popular.… Continue reading

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Genetics overcame challenges in 2011

Weather conditions at planting and harvest seemed to plague farmers in 2011. Despite frustrating meteorological developments, Ohio State University experts say continuous improvements in corn genetics and traits allowed producers to record impressive yields this year.

“Seed companies are screening hybrids and genetics on such a huge scale now that they are able to sort, screen and filter genetics that won’t work under these conditions,” said Peter Thomison, OSU Extension corn specialist and professor of horticulture and crop science. “The plant can now tolerate a number of stress conditions and still have phenomenal yield potential.”

Thomison said that university experts across the country make significant contributions to the continuing development of crop genetics, and credited a competitive private industry for the strength of their offerings to farmers in recent years. In fact, he noted that the partnership between work done throughout the Land-grant system and in private industry has largely fueled the productivity of American agriculture over the past century.… Continue reading

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Ohio Soybean Council Annual Banquet

Dale Minyo emceed the Ohio Soybean Council’s Annual Banquet and also had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Jeffrey Wadsworth. Wadsworth is the CEO at Battelle and accepted the Outstanding Achievement Award at the event. Others recognized for their service on the OSC Board at the event were Chairman Allen Armstrong (Clark County) and Dan Schwartz (Trumbull County). Jeff Wuebker (Darke County) was recognized for his service as President of the Ohio Soybean Association Board.

Listen to the interview from the soy banquet




 … Continue reading

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Corn and soybean demand and acreage prospects for 2012

Corn and soybean prices have declined sharply since the release of the USDA’s November Crop Production report that contained smaller forecasts of the size of the 2011 harvest for both crops. In addition, the historically strong corn basis has begun to weaken in many markets, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“The recent price behavior suggests that the market believes that the combination of very high prices in the late summer and early fall and weaker demand prospects have been sufficient to ration the relatively small crops,” Good said.

Weaker export demand prospects stem from a combination of increased competition from other exporters and concerns about world economic and financial conditions. For corn, the competition is from the large corn and wheat crops in 2011 whereas soybean export demand is being influenced by prospects of another large South American harvest in 2012, he said.

“While world financial conditions are deteriorating, the impact on world grain consumption may be overstated.… Continue reading

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USDA to lower crop insurance premiums

Ohio saw some of the biggest decreases in the nation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announcement that it will update the methodology to set crop insurance premiums, leading to lower insurance premium rates for many corn and soybean producers in the 2012 crop year. The rate adjustment is based on findings of an independent study and peer review process.

The study is part of RMA’s ongoing effort to improve the methodology of determining premium rates for crop insurance. Ohio’s average reduction in soybean insurance premiums will be 13% and it will be and 11% reduction in insurance premiums for corn. Both decreases are significantly larger than the national averages.

“We are improving the formulation of our rate-making methodology, and are moving to establish the most fair and appropriate premium rates for today’s producers,” said William J. Murphy, RMA Administrator. “On average, these new rates should reduce corn farmers’ rates by 7% and soybean farmers’ by 9%.… Continue reading

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2011 tough year for hybrid decisions

It only makes sense to base the selection of hybrids and varieties for next year on their performance this year, right? Maybe not.

Ohio State University Extension corn specialist Peter Thomison said the late planting, hot summer, soggy September and delayed harvest combined to make 2011 an odd year.

“This year it as important as ever to choose hybrids that yield consistency across environments,” he said. “Hybrids will perform differently, based on region, soils and environmental conditions, and growers should not rely solely on one hybrid characteristic or transgenic traits to make their product selection.”

This year’s crop experienced water stress on both ends of the spectrum with flooding in the early spring and drought in late summer, which may not lead to a balanced view of hybrid performance, said Bob Nielsen, Purdue University Extension corn specialist.

Nielsen said the top criterion for hybrid selection always is yield potential, but consistency of yield also is important.… Continue reading

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Yes We Can supports Highland County Extension

By Matt Reese

Sarah Young, though she was only 10, knew she loved showing sheep in 4-H at the Highland County Fair. She also knew that, after the failure of levies for Extension funding in Highland County, the $50,000 in annual local funding would have to be raised or she would no longer have the opportunity to participate in 4-H with her lamb projects.

So, in 2010, she decided to donate the proceeds of the sale of her market lamb to support Highland County Extension. Though she was hoping for the entire $50,000, the lamb sold for almost $13,000, which was a great start that encouraged more contributions from others.

“When it was all said and done, she ended up raising, directly and indirectly, about $30,000 from other people stepping forward contributing money after she was on the news,” said Shelli Young, Sarah’s mother. “Other kids offered up proceeds from their animals and money just started rolling in.”… Continue reading

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Defunct Super Committee farm bill had some new concepts

By Kyle Sharp


When the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, commonly referred to as the Super Committee, was formed this summer and charged with developing a plan by Thanksgiving to trim $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, they asked all the Congressional committees to submit proposed savings packages. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees were the only combined committee to complete that request, submitting a complete farm bill package toward the end of the week of Nov. 14.

That effort was all for not, as the Super Committee members announced Nov. 21 that a compromise would not be reached. Ohio’s sole member of the Super Committee, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), said he was “deeply frustrated” by the outcome and believes “both sides will regret this lost opportunity.”

“We failed to reach agreement because, despite good intentions on both sides, we simply couldn’t bridge fundamental policy differences that reflect a broader disagreement in the Congress and country as a whole over the size and scope of government,“ Portman said.… Continue reading

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