Thousands of farmers in Ohio the focus of farm bill crop insurance provision

By Ty Higgins and Matt Reese

Farmer-owners of Sunrise Cooperative are going to want to pay close attention to some fine print in the upcoming farm bill.

For over 15 years the Ohio-based co-op has been able to sell crop insurance and divvy out patronage checks at the end of every year, when profits are available. When the crop insurance program was created in 2000, the thought process was since co-ops work directly with farmers (the only people who would be buying crop insurance) the co-op system would be an obvious fit to market the plans.

Since then, private industry has been brought into the crop insurance mix and has made the argument that co-ops like Sunrise shouldn’t be able to sell crop insurance because laws state that crop insurance profits may not be rebated, even in the form of patronage paid by a cooperative.

“Federal Crop Insurance is a critically important tool for farmers and must be protected. … Continue reading

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New depreciation rules for 2018

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

Businesses can immediately expense more under the new law. A taxpayer may elect to expense the cost of any section 179 property and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service. The new tax law increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million. It also increased the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million.

The new law also expands the definition of section 179 property to allow the taxpayer to elect to include the following improvements made to nonresidential real property after the date when the property was first placed in service:

  • Qualified improvement property, which means any improvement to a building’s interior. Improvements do not qualify if they are attributable to: the enlargement of the building, any elevator or escalator or the internal structural framework of the building.
  • Roofs, HVAC, fire protection systems, alarm systems and security systems are now subject to 179 expense.
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Wet weather slowing harvest efforts

We have had some freezing temperatures. It got cold enough that we could run all night after we started back up on Saturday. We had enough wind that it is starting to dry off again. We have been happy to get some days to run.

We finished soybeans and we are 72% done with corn. We hope we can finish in the next week. If you get outside of Van Wert County, there is still quite a bit of corn out in the fields.

Corn yields have been pretty strong. We will be better than last year, but not by much. This year will probably be the best corn we’ve raised and the best beans we have raised. We are pleased.

The moisture in the corn increased. It seems like we picked up a point of two of moisture. It bottomed out around 17% and I doubt it will get dryer than that.Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 81 | Hops, Hallmark and a whole lot more

The 81st episode of the Ohio Ag Net podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, has chats with Jamie Arthur about the unique challenge of growing hops; Christine McCracken, senior protein analyst with Rabo Agrifinance about the tough time for hog producers due to challenges from African Swine Fever and more; Hannah Thompson-Weeman of the Animal Agriculture Alliance talks Proposition 12 that recently passed in California and what it means for livestock producers.

All that and much more as we talk holiday preparation, Christmas tree farms, and flag football teams as well. Tune in!… Continue reading

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Thoughts from Facebook’s down-time

On Monday afternoon, our office, like much of the world, experienced problems with Facebook crashing. This brought about various thoughts from my coworkers and I, all of whom apparently spend too much time on social media when we should otherwise be working.

“Is your Facebook working?”

The initial recognition of something gone wrong. This of course was followed by various bellows of “yes, mine is working” and “only Facebook on my phone is up”, trailed by the inevitable, “oh, wait, yeah mine is all down now too.”

“This could be the big one”

At the time you’re reading this, the big blue website is back up and running. While it was out, conspiracy theories rose to the extreme. Plus, this isn’t just a simple couple of minutes of it being down. Quick searches on CNN for articles explaining the situation are pointless. True entertainment is found on Twitter where the top trending hashtag #FacebookDown has the deep and meaningful memes that really help to solve the problem.… Continue reading

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Watershed project keeping Indian Lake clean with fundraising help from local star

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

Governor John Kasich earlier this year put out a list of watersheds he hoped to see listed as impaired. The status of those areas remains up in the air for the time being, though one watershed in farm country is noticeably absent from the list. Indian Lake in northwest Ohio is the third largest inland lake in the state, coming in with a surface area of 5,104 acres. It is a popular destination, even more so in recent years as Indian Lake has not had a major algal bloom event.

Not far away from Indian Lake’s shores is Grand Lake St. Marys, which has seen notable challenges as the result of harmful algal blooms hurting lake activity, local businesses and more.

With an average depth of 10 feet and a watershed that sees heavy concentration of livestock and crop farms, the question remains of why hasn’t the pride of Logan County seen a big algae bloom?… Continue reading

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The difference between buying and selling calls

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The USDA lowered corn yield estimates about 2 bushels per acre and decreased demand a little as well. Despite these adjustments, the report still showed a drop in next year’s carryout and the tightest stocks-to-use ratio in 4 years. This could help keep corn from drifting lower.

There was a huge carryout increase with China’s stocks, but I doubt this will have a big impact on the market. One, those stocks have been present for a long time. Two, this corn is not logistically set up for easy export.

Basis levels in the U.S. have been strong since the middle of harvest. Recent increases ranging from 10 to 15 cents have been reported throughout the Corn Belt. This would suggest that farmers are not selling and that end users are in need of corn. This could indicate upside potential in corn prices.

The USDA decreased bean yield estimates 1 bushel per acre, while export demand was updated to reflect the trade war and exports to China.… Continue reading

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Understand the tax implications BEFORE selling assets

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

I see the future every Tuesday evening at 5:30. No, I am not psychic with time specific abilities. No crystal ball. No tarot cards or Ouija board. This semester, I am teaching Agricultural Finance at the Lake Campus of Wright State. And I have the most amazing students. Nearly all are currently farming or employed in jobs directly supporting production agriculture. They work full-time and go to school full-time. They come to class prepared, and we have actually started class early because everyone is present and ready to learn.

Most are from the Mercer, Darke, Auglaize, Van Wert and surrounding areas. I was lecturing about the challenge of unplanned expenses and provided an example of our chopper ending up in the shop last year during harvest. One of the students raised his hand to inquire what my husband’s name was.… Continue reading

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Nov. 8 report negative for soybeans and wheat

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

With rains across the Midwest during the last half of October delaying harvest, a common thread of anticipation for this report suggested both U.S. corn and soybean yields would be reduced. The Nov. 8 report was negative for soybeans and wheat. Early gains in corn of 7 cents quickly evaporated.

Many traders had also expected China’s soybean imports to be reduced. Various reports in recent weeks have suggested that China would be reducing the amount of protein used in their hog rations. This potential ration change has been discussed for months, it is not new news. USDA put their soybean imports with this report at 90 million tons. Last month it was 94 million tons. The June report estimated China’s soybean imports at 103 million tons.

Soybean production was 4.60 billion bushels, the yield was 52.1 bushels per acre, and ending stocks were 955 million bushels.… Continue reading

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What’s in your fridge?

By Shelly Detwiler

What’s in your fridge? Just in time for the holidays, it’s time to find out. Nov. 15 is National Clean Out Your Fridge Day. We lead such busy lives that this task is often procrastinated, avoided, dreaded and maybe never done by many. Leaks, mold and expired condiments are just a few surprises in store! I’m sure I’ll find things that have been forgotten about and are hiding and even, unreachable. Pauuuul! Refrigerators these days are pricey and necessities that everyone needs. Routine maintenance such as vacuuming parts we never see will help extend the life of a fridge.

In the world of food policy these days food waste is one hot topic. The Institute for food safety and health in Illinois states that confusion over “sell-by,” “use-by” and “best-by” leads to billions of pounds of food waste each year. These are important terms to know as we clean out our fridges this year.… Continue reading

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Are modern genetics worth the money?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension field agronomist

At summer field days and then at Farm Science Review, I had the opportunity to talk with growers about crop prices and how they plan to cut back on costs for 2019. While yield will help offset the cut backs, price is still a concern. One topic that came up several times was to change their genetics to cheaper hybrids or maybe drop traits. This thought somewhat concerns me.

I have conducted a number of trials and comparisons over the years and generally have learned that new is better when it comes to choosing a hybrid or variety. One such comparison I have been making over recent years is of a modern hybrid to open pollinated corn varieties. I know this is an extreme comparison but I do actually have some folks tell me they are looking for a modern open pollinated variety so they can produce their own seed.… Continue reading

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Proper winterizing and storing your sprayer now help you mitigate costly problems in the spring

By Erdal Ozkan

It is very likely that you will not be using your sprayer again until next spring. If you want to avoid potential problems and save yourself from frustration and major headaches next spring, you will be wise to give your sprayer a little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care) this time of the year. Yes, there may be still crop to be harvested, and you may still be a busy time of the year for some of you. However, do not forget about winterizing your sprayer. Do not delay it too long, if you already have not done so. You don’t want a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity because you did not properly winterize it before the temperature falls below freezing. Here are some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year.


It is very likely that you did the right thing when you used the sprayer the last time: you rinsed the whole system (tank, hoses, filters, nozzles) thoroughly.… Continue reading

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Buying calls is gambling

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The President started tweeting about trying to work with China to end the trade war and the market rallied 30 cents. The next morning a White House advisor said there wasn’t much progress, but the market still closed the day positively. After the markets closed on that Friday, the President said there had been a lot of progress made with China trade. This topic will certainly excite the market leading up to the President meeting China’s leader at the end of November during the G-20 meeting.


The differences between buying and selling corn calls

Buying calls gives the buyer the right to buy grain at a certain price. There is a premium to be paid to own those calls. There is no margin call risk associated with buying a call

Selling calls can force the seller to sell grain at a certain price.… Continue reading

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Grain storage tips

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

During and after harvest there are several steps growers can take to ensure the best possible conditions for on-farm grain storage. Proper storage and grain handling is necessary in maintaining the quality of the harvested crop. It is critical to start with both a clean bin and handling equipment. Any moldy grain or grain infested by insects from the previous year can contaminate grain harvested this season. Storage facilities and aeration equipment should be clean and in proper working condition.

Harvesting equipment that is adjusted and operated correctly will also preserve the condition of the crop. Combines should be set to clean grain thoroughly to eliminate foreign material/fines and handling equipment should be operated in order to minimize damage to grain. It is also important to use a spreader or distributor as grain enters the bin to evenly spread any fine materials remaining in the grain.… Continue reading

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October harvest progress and prices disappointing for many

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

The NASS Weekly Crop Progress report of Oct. 29 put the U.S. corn harvest at 63%, ahead of the 2017 harvest progress of 52% for the same time, but matching to the tick the five-year average. The Ohio corn harvest report was 64%, running ahead of the 56% for the five-year average. At first glance, you would think, no problem. However, the reality is quite different. With the numerous rains of September and October, fields in many parts of Ohio have taken a long time to dry out. Harvest has been a long, difficult process drawn out longer than in past harvest seasons. Some producers have already suggested that corn and soybeans still in the field could need freezing temperatures to firm the ground enough for harvest.

October was a disappointing harvest month for many Ohio producers. The size of their farm program checks was also a letdown, though not unexpected.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 80 | More #WaterDrama18

The 80th episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, brings together Matt Reese, Joel Penhorwood and Ty Higgins to talk the latest issues hitting Ohio ag.

The team recaps the latest #WaterDrama18 following the quarterly meeting of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission. Ohio Corn and Wheat’s Tadd Nicholson talks about the decision to table the motion.

Joel chats with Yvonne Lesicko, VP of Public Policy with the Ohio Farm Bureau, to talk about the organization’s take on Issue 1.

Ty hears from George Secor, CEO of Sunrise Cooperative about a new development in their ongoing sagas that touch thousands of Ohio farmer-owners.… Continue reading

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National FFA Convention from the eyes of a first-year adviser and student

By Sydney Snider, OCJ FFA reporter

The 91st National FFA Convention and Expo was a memorable experience for attendees across the country. Featuring a concert from Garth Brooks, countless student winners and a visit from President Trump, the convention was full of energy, passion and booming enthusiasm. The convention was held in Indianapolis from Oct. 24 to 27.

Blake Campbell is the adviser at Warren high school in Washington County.

For a first-year FFA adviser, Convention brought light to the “behind the scenes” work that advisers put in for Campbell.

“Convention was different in many ways as a teacher over a student,” Campbell said. “This time I was in charge of finding restaurants for dinner along with helping the bus navigate Indianapolis, which can be a challenge during convention. I was in charge of making sure we had all students at each stop we left — making sure to not leave anyone behind.”… Continue reading

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A long road ahead for year round E15 availability

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

For how much talk that has been made about the decline in soybean demand due to many factors, corn demand has held its own through the second half of 2018. That was one of the points made at last week’s Agriculture Policy and Outlook Conference, hosted by The Ohio State University.

“Ethanol is the biggest component of corn use and we have exported a lot of it, including 33% of our ethanol to Brazil this year,” said Ben Brown, program manager for the Farm Management Program in Ohio State’s College of Food, Ag and Environmental Sciences. “The returns for ethanol plants aren’t overly strong so we have seen a pullback from ethanol production, but use was good this year.”

Those ethanol plants, corn industry groups and corn farmers across the country are applauding a recent announcement by President Trump that he has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose the sales of E15 ethanol, or gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend, on a year round basis.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s results at the 2018 National FFA Convention at a glance

American FFA Degrees – 434


Honorary American Degrees

Melissa Bell, Zanesville
Leslie Kinder, Fletcher
Jean Scott, Tontogany

Virgil Strickler, Columbus


National Proficiency winners

Agricultural Communications – Jamie Hart, Versailles

Agricultural Processing – Emily Holcomb, Firelands

Agriscience Research Plant – Abigail Hissong, Milton-Union MVCTC

Beef Production-Entrepreneurship – Garrett Hagler, Miami Trace

Diversified Crop Production-Entrepreneurship – Todd Peterson, Miami Trace

Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production – Sarah Lehner, Buckeye Valley-DACC

Specialty Animal Production – Nathan Stewart, East Clinton

Turf Grass Management – Carson Eyre, Western Brown


Two-Star Chapters – Anna, Fayetteville, North Union, Northeastern, Talawanda-Butler Tech,


Three-Star Chapters – Amanda-Clearcreek, Black River, Bowling Green-Penta, Cardington, Cedarville-GCCC, Covington-UVCC, Eaton-MVCTC, Elgin, Felicity-Franklin, Firelands, Genoa-Penta, Houston-UVCC, London, Lynchburg-Clay, Miami East-MVCTC, Miami Trace, Missinssinawa Valley-MVCTC, National Trail-MVCTC,

New Bremen, Norwayne, Otsego-Penta, Peebles, Ridgemont, South Central, St. Marys,

Stoneridge-Pickaway Ross, Upper Sandusky, Versailles, Zane Trace


National Agriscience Fair winners

Food Products and Processing Systems Division 1 – Luke Jennings, Felicity-Franklin

Food Products and Processing Systems Division 5 – Emily Beck-Aden, Athens

Plant Systems Division 1 – Ian Hoffman, Millcreek-West Unity

Power, Structural and Technical Systems Division 6 – Joseph Glassmeyer and Jared Hamilton, Felicity-Franklin

Social Science Division 5 – Adrianne Moran, Eastern Brown


Career Development Event winners

Food Science and Technology CDE – Big Walnut-DACC

Food Science and Technology CDE – Lex Marvin, Big Walnutt-DACC (1st place individual)


National Band Participants

Meredith Bischoff-Kenton-OHP, Seth Taylor-Clyde


National Chorus Participants

Shay Bolton-Parkway


National Talent Participants

Macey Butchko-Firelands, Megan Drake-United, Aaron Hand-Wynford… Continue reading

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OSWCC votes for more time to assess impacts of Watersheds in Distress designation

By Matt Reese

8 sub-watersheds;

Nearly 1.5 million acres;

Around 7,000 farmers;

Roughly $1.8 billion to implement Comprehensive Nutrient Manangement Plans (CNMPs) and replicate efforts in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed on all farms in the 8 watersheds being considered;

Potentially 2,100 new Natural Resources Conservation Service staff members required to implement the CNMPs throughout the watersheds and replicate efforts in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed on all farms in the 8 watersheds being considered;

$8,195 in average expense for each of the 7,000 farmers for developing a CNMP;

$1 to $2 million in soil sampling costs for farms in the watersheds every three years:

The Ohio Farm Bureau dug into the numbers of the proposed Watersheds in Distress designation currently being considered by the Ohio Soil and Water Conversation Commission (OSWCC). These numbers have generated ample concern for Ohio agriculture but are worth tackling for those desperate to make some progress in the daunting challenges of the incredible resources of Lake Erie.… Continue reading

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