Infrastructure and water quality challenges outlined in State of the State

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

With northwest Ohio — and agriculture in general — still embroiled in a controversial water quality debate that spilled over from the previous administration, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine addressed the Buckeye State in his first State of the State speech on Tuesday, lasting 45 minutes.

The governor specifically mentioned Lake Erie’s Western Basin and the 2014 algae blooms in Toledo. He commended the work in the House and Senate to clean up the lake and promised to remain “dedicated to the long-term commitment to protect Ohio’s water quality for our children and grandchildren.”

Ohio Farm Bureau Director of State Policy Tony Seegers was glad to hear the mention of water quality by the governor.

“Water quality is something that we at Farm Bureau and folks in ag have been involved with and working towards for many years. We agree with the idea that the governor spoke about taking a dedicated, long-term commitment to protect our waterways.… Continue reading

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Selling in a sideways market

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Argentina corn is cheaper than U.S. corn because the South American corn crop conditions are above normal. Because it’s difficult to store grain in the southern hemisphere, it’s priced to move. Wheat pulled back as well and some see wheat working into feed rations at the displacement of corn.

Winter doesn’t seem to want to end in the U.S. Currently in Minneapolis there is 3 feet of snow on the ground and it’s not expected to be above 30 degrees for another 10 days from here to Des Moines. Usually the snow is starting to melt in Minnesota by the end of March. The prolonged winter and likely flooding in northern parts of the Corn Belt is concerning some.

There are farmers who are also worried about the limited time they had for fall field work and fertilizer application. While it’s still unknown if planting will be significantly delayed, it is highly unlikely at this point to start early.… Continue reading

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Wanted: 2019 Ohio Ag Net Student FFA Reporters

The 2019 Ohio FFA State Convention is right around the corner and Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net is on the search for outstanding Ohio FFA members to help serve as student reporters for this year’s event.

In our ninth year of the student reporter program, selected FFA members will get the opportunity to help cover the convention and work alongside our news staff, including Matt Reese, Dale Minyo, Joel Penhorwood, and Kolt Buchenroth. Ever wonder what it’s like to do our job? Here’s your chance!

The live coverage of the Ohio FFA Convention will be posted on and various social media outlets with reporters helping to host news coverage alongside our staff in addition to a couple veteran student reporters.

Students will assist in gathering information, shoot video of newsworthy items and people, share their commentary of what happened in each session, and much more.

To be considered:

  • Applicants must be attending both days of the Ohio FFA State Convention May 2 and 3, 2019.
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Road and bridge infrastructure could get a boost with increased Ohio “Gas Tax”

By Joel Penhorwood

The nature of modern agriculture means farmers are more in tune than most with fluctuating gas and diesel prices. A newly proposed ‘Gas Tax’ by Gov. Mike DeWine would raise the state’s tax of fuel from the current 28-cents-per-gallon to 46 cents.

The reason behind the proposed increase? A significant shortfall in the state’s road and bridge maintenance budget, something the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) looks to near $1 billion by 2030 if unabated.

Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, said it comes down to an increasing cost for road work, an unpleasant, though unavoidable, reality.

“Neither I nor anyone I know, particularly farmers, embrace the opportunity to pay more taxes to federal, state, or local government, but one of the things I do keep coming back to is the cost of building and maintaining roads and bridges goes up over time,” Steenhoek said.… Continue reading

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BASF reveals new fungicide at Commodity Classic

The 2019 Commodity Classic is off and running in Orlando, with several exciting announcements to come over the next few days. One of the bigger discussions that has already happened came from BASF and its new fungicide lineup, offering a new active ingredient. OCJ’s Matt Reese and Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood hear from BASF’s Scott Kay and Paula Halabicki discuss the groundbreaking move, plus a chat with Upper Sandusky farmer Walker Gottfried on his farm’s extensive fungicide use.

What does the future of fungicides hold? What could it mean for you? Find out in this video.… Continue reading

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Wood County farmer files lawsuit challenging LEBOR legality

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has pledged its support to member and Wood County farmer Mark Drewes, who today filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legal status of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Toledo voters yesterday approved creation of LEBOR during a special election. Drewes’ suit was filed in the Federal District Court for Northern Ohio.

LEBOR grants rights to Lake Erie and empowers any Toledo citizen to file lawsuits on behalf of the lake. It gives Toledoans authority over nearly 5 million Ohioans, thousands of farms, more than 400,000 businesses and every level of government in 35 northern Ohio counties plus parts of Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada.

LEBOR was passed despite the prevailing legal opinion that many of its provisions are unconstitutional.

Drewes is a long-time member of Ohio Farm Bureau and is on the board of directors for The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association.… Continue reading

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Citizens of Toledo approve the Lake Erie Bill of Rights

By Kolt Buchenroth and Matt Reese

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights was passed by the citizens of Toledo in a special election held on Tuesday, Feb. 26. According to the results from the Lucas County Board of elections, the measure was passed by a vote of 61.4% to 38.6% with only 8.9% of voters turning out to the polls.

There was a failed attempt to get this on the 2018 November ballot in Toledo. The effort to get LEBOR on the ballot was supported by out-of-state interests but it could have a very real in-state impact for a wide range of businesses. LEBOR opens up the possibility of thousands of lawsuits against any entity that could be doing harm to Lake Erie. This includes agricultural operations.

“Farm Bureau members are disappointed with the results of the LEBOR vote. Our concern remains that its passage means Ohio farmers, taxpayers and businesses now face the prospect of costly legal bills fighting over a measure that likely will be found unconstitutional and unenforceable,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.… Continue reading

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Selling straddles

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The biggest news of last week was when Agriculture Secretary Perdue announced that China agreed to buy 10 million metric tons (about 400 million bushels) of beans Friday afternoon from the Oval office after the markets closed. Earlier in the week President Trump said China would also buy more corn too. While both statements seem positive, the market has already heard rumors and predictions before, only to be let down by smaller numbers due to a variety of reasons. It will take follow through and actual purchases to get the market excited.

March corn closed again for the 13th straight Friday within the tight trading range of $3.74 to $3.85.


Market action

With corn trading within a very tight range the last 3 months, including straddle trades in my grain marketing plan was a good decision for my farm operation. Since late November, I placed three straddle trades that all expired on Friday that helped me generate 13.5 cents of profit on 30% of my corn production.… Continue reading

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Meet the comic: The story of Earl Musick, OCJ cartoonist

By Matt Reese

So how exactly does someone get the job of drawing the comic strip for Ohio’s Country Journal? Believe it or not, it started with the FBI.

Earl Musick was very shy as a child, but he loved to draw and make people smile. He was asked to draw some comics for his middle school paper. This early start with comics (somewhat surprisingly) came in handy when Musick started a job with the Federal Bureau of Investigation shortly after high school.

“I got hired for the finger printing office, then was an artist and photographer. I did raids and undercover stuff as the photographer and worked with the top 10 most wanted list,” he said. “I worked there full-time for a year. I was stationed in Cleveland but I traveled all over.”

He wanted to get closer to where he grew up in Bucyrus, so Musick got a job with the local post office, eventually serving as postmaster in the area while continuing to do some freelance work for the FBI.… Continue reading

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Had your auxin training yet?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I just sat through my second training of the season. Labels changed for all of the soybean dicamba products last fall; and the label says you will attend dicamba training every year. That means everyone who uses a dicamba product on soybeans must attend auxin training from the manufacturer; contact your seed dealer or herbicide supplier to see when yours is happening. If you missed it for the product you are using, that’s OK, you can attend any of the manufacturers’ training sessions to get the update.

From my one and a half hour training I learned that to use the products you must:

  • Keep records.
  • Follow buffer requirements. And they have changed since last year.
  • Use no AMS.
  • Apply with an approved nozzle, with a minimum spray volume of 15 gallons per acre.
  • At 24 inches above the canopy.
  • In winds between 3 and 10 miles per hour.
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Using benchmarking concepts on the farm

By Brian E. Ravencraft

“Benchmarking” is a concept that is used to analyze and better understand the farm as a business. Diagnosing performance means understanding business concepts such as profitability and efficiency, identifying the problems that prevent the farm from achieving its potential and formulating strategies and actions to improve its business performance.

Many organizations talk about benchmarking but few actually do it. It is important for you to understand the basics of benchmarking and how you can take advantage of the process.

What is benchmarking? Robert Camp defines benchmarking as the “search for industry best practices that lead to superior performance.” Put simply it is the process of identifying, understanding and adapting outstanding best practices and high performance from organizations anywhere in the world and then measuring actual business processes against your organization to help it improve it’s performance.

When using benchmarking in farming, it involves gathering data about the best performing farms and comparing them with other farms.… Continue reading

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Ohio Pork Rock Stars

By Matt Reese

Ohio is so blessed to have incredible advocates in every sector of agriculture and I’m very lucky to get the opportunity to work with many of them as a part of my job. I recently got to emcee the Ohio Pork Congress luncheon and had the chance to help highlight some of these fantastic Ohio Pork Rock Stars (and there are plenty to pick from).

There were few bigger Ohio Pork Rock Stars in recent months than the now world-famous Bacon Vending Machine on the Ohio State University campus. It went international and was featured in USA Today, on ESPN and Fox News Network (among many other media outlets, including the prestigious Ohio Ag Net podcast). The incredible success of the Bacon Vending Machine was a group effort that included Meghann Winters, who had just started working at the Ohio Pork Council a couple of weeks before meteoric rise of world-renown for the Bacon Vending Machine.… Continue reading

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Low price concerns looming for corn and soybeans

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

It’s hard to fathom spring planting season is just around the corner, particularly when last fall’s wet weather pattern looks to continue through spring. Many had expected to see some price rally for corn, easing their decision toward more corn acres. Crop budgets remain very tight with many seeing negative profits for corn and soybeans. Troublesome to those budgets are soybeans losing more per acre than corn in spite of corn input costs exceeding those for soybeans.

Last year the United States planted 89 million acres to both corn and soybeans. This year corn acres could likely climb to at least 92 million acres. Soybean acres could decline at least 3 million acres. Therein remains a huge problem. The soybean acres decline is likely way too small, with soybean ending stocks of 925 million bushels. We will be gain much more clarity (be much smarter) with the release of the March 29 USDA Planting Intentions Report.… Continue reading

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Changing nitrogen recommendations for wheat

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Do we have any wheat left in Ohio? Last numbers I saw suggested we were below 500,000 acres. I know we had a rough fall to get wheat planted, with wet conditions and harvest delays, but I would like to see more acres. It makes our other two crops better and reduces weed, insect and disease problems for them. The new Ohio Agronomy Guide has just a bit of an update on spring nitrogen (N) recommendations for wheat in Ohio.

We do rely on yield potential to make the wheat N recommendation — not for corn anymore, but we still do for wheat. Once you have set a realistic yield goal, follow rates suggested in the table. These recommendations are for mineral soils with adequate drainage and 1% to 5% organic matter.


Nitrogen rate for wheat by yield potential.

Yield potentialTotal N rate


We do not give any credit for the previous soybean or cover crop, since we do not know if that organic N source will be mineralized for the wheat crop — with cool spring conditions this process is slowed down.… Continue reading

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Prospects for corn trade in 2018/19 and beyond

By Ben Brown, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

The agricultural industry is a global economy with buyers (consumers), sellers (producers) and traders. In the United States, producers of corn have a comparative advantage- the ability to produce it cheaper per unit or at higher quality- over most other parts of the world. However, genetics, changes in weather patterns, land limitations, politics and global gross domestic product affect quantities of production and consumption.

Long-term trade projections for U.S. corn published by the Economics Research Service of the USDA look positive due to the expected rise in world GDP and population; however, increases in competition from other exporting countries continue the decreasing trend of the United States’ share of world exports. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are in the middle of a 90-day trade truce, which ends the beginning of March. It is uncertain what, if any, resolution will surface before or at the deadline.… Continue reading

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Relationships are to be treasured

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Some of you may have heard this story from years gone by, but one that is a favorite. Early in our veterinary career my wife, Judy, and I focused totally on building a practice that would provide the best service for our clients, their animals and a positive contribution to the community.

It was unusual for new grads to start a practice right out of vet school, so we were determined to prove ourselves by doing just that. We put in long hours while striving for excellence, providing vet emergency service at night and on weekends. We aggressively branded this style of totally dedicated veterinary medicine to our clients. Then several years into our practice we woke up and realized that smelling the roses was also important.

For most of our practice career we had the privilege to work alongside several fine associate veterinarians who gained their early career training under our tutelage.… Continue reading

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