Farm bill failure in the House

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

In what has traditionally been a pretty straightforward process, passing farm legislation out of the U.S. House of Representatives has been anything but status quo during recent attempts. The latest farm bill, very similarly to the one introduced on the House floor in 2013, was defeated by a 198 to 213 vote May 18.

Typically when a bill is brought to the floor, it is with the expectation that there will be enough votes to pass it. That was the case as amendments were being hashed out days before the final vote  — until some members of Congress decided to use their “Yea” vote on the farm bill as leverage to get the immigration bill to the floor sooner rather than later.

With non-existent support from the Democrats on this legislation due to changes to the food stamp program (otherwise known at the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) the passage of this farm bill relies heavily on Republicans, but 27 of them decided to vote against it.… Continue reading

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When grandpa’s not around…

By Jeff Reese, OCJ marketing specialist

This is a busy time of year for everyone involved in agriculture. If you are not in a field working you are most likely in some form of support role. I have never been directly responsible for the helping with the grain farming but since the loss of my 98-year-old Grandpa two months ago I have felt a pull to the farm.

My uncle has been the “farmer” in our family for as long as I can remember but my grandpa was always there with him. His brother has been a major piece of the puzzle but my grandpa was always there. With the loss of Grandpa things are just a little different.

My wife and I have joked that maybe between the two of us we can help to fill the void Grandpa left helping my uncle on the farm. She can be the brains and I can try not to break things.… Continue reading

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Regulations, water quality and agriculture

By Matt Reese

With more talk lately about possible regulations and water quality in Ohio there is plenty to consider. Water quality problems are very complex and there are still many unknowns, particularly with regard to agriculture. This makes truly successful regulations extremely difficult to create and implement.

Kevin Elder recently retired as chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting and has seen every angle of regulations and agriculture in his career.

“We need to remember that laws and regulations are easy to make, but unless clear, consistent and enforceable, they will not be effective. Right now we have so many different regulations that it is very difficult for anyone to be in full compliance. There is one set of regulations for large permitted farms, another for the Western Basin of Lake Erie, another for small and medium farms, a different one for Grand Lake St.… Continue reading

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An evolution in conservation and nutrient management: Kevin Elder reflects on his career

A conversation with…

Kevin Elder, who recently retired as chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting


OCJ: Could you provide a brief overview of your career and how it led to your most recent role at the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting?

Kevin: I grew up on a small diversified crop and livestock farm, growing corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, beef cows and finishing calves, swine farrowing to finish and chickens. After graduating from Fairfield Union, I attended the Ohio State University graduating from the College of Agriculture in 1975 with a dual Major in Animal Science and Agricultural Education.

I was hired by the Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District in 1976 as a District Technician. One of my first jobs was conducting final as-built plans for a recently constructed Manure Holding Pond on a local dairy. I received training and practical experience in surveying, designing, laying out, constructing and inspecting a wide range of conservation practices including grass waterways, tile, water and sediment control basins, erosion control structures, ponds and livestock manure facilities.… Continue reading

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Hedge account confusion

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients

The first look at the ’18/’19 USDA supply and demand estimates are out.

Corn yields are predicted to be 174. If this happens, U.S. carryout would be reduced from the current 2.1 billion to 1.6 billion next year, a 20% decrease. World carryout predictions were also reduced by nearly 20% as well. Both seem to be a long term potential positive for the corn market.

Unfortunately the market didn’t react well to the bullish news. Some in the trade were suggesting that large carryout in U.S. and world wheat stocks were just too bearish and that those projections pulled corn down. Still, a weather scare over the next 60 days could shift the course for corn prices, because there is little weather premium in the market. However, if national yields approach 177+, a rally will be unlikely and prices could eventually fall well below $4 for Dec corn futures.… Continue reading

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2018 Corn Planting Cab Cam – Al Walton, Hardin County

After over 40 years of farming ground in Hardin and Auglaize Counties, Al Walton is planting his last crop in 2018. After the harvest is in later this year, Walton and his wife will move closer to their kids and grand kids in Central Ohio. In this Cab Cam, brought to you by Fennig Equipment, The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins sat alongside Walton as he planted on May 9th to talk about his long career and the transition of land to a young area farmer next year.… Continue reading

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Sediment and nutrient loading progress being made in Grand Lake St. Marys

By Matt Reese

After ongoing concerns about water quality, Grand Lake St. Marys was declared a distressed watershed in 2011. The lake’s notorious water quality issues generated a mountain of bad press and much of the blame was being placed on agriculture in one of the most highly concentrated livestock watersheds in the country.

The “distressed” designation led to a ban on winter manure application and placed strong emphasis on other nutrient management practices for farms in the watershed. The changes were challenging, costly to implement in some cases and required significantly higher management. But so far, it seems, they are working.

“We’ve seen some real changes in the watershed and the agricultural practices,” said Bill Knapke with Cooper Farms, who farms in the watershed. “Fertilizer sales have really changed dramatically since all of the livestock producers have developed nutrient management plans and are doing all of their soil testing and testing their manure.… Continue reading

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In-season scouting and data collection with APPs

By John Fulton, Trey Colley, and Jenna Lee

Collecting in-season data including scouting intel and imagery can be useful on the farm. For those conducting on-farm studies, collecting data beyond yield can provide valuable context when evaluating yield results post-harvest. There are several mobile applications (APPs) available today that can assist with scouting and collecting data. The value with many of these APPs is having:

  1. Information at your fingertips
  2. Efficient collection and storage of data, images, notes, etc.
  3. The ability to share collected information with others quickly
  4. Access to collected information later in the season, post-harvest or next year
  5. The capability to geo-tag while collecting data and images
  6. Data and information available when evaluating post-harvest results.

One app that allows you to have all of benefits in one is the Ohio State PLOTS App. This is an on-farm research app provided by The Ohio State University free of charge. PLOTS allows the user to set-up replicated field studies, capture geo-tagged notes/images during the growing season, and performs statistical analyses on collected crop data.… Continue reading

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Farmland preservation efforts in Ohio get a legal victory

By Leisa Boley-Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and an attorney from Celina

It was 98 cents for a gallon of milk at our local Walmart Superstore. When I was paying for my groceries, the clerk kindly inquired if I wanted to donate a dollar to feed the hungry? My reply, “I already gave at the office.” She may have been confused, but those of you farming are not. These are challenging times to be producing food and fiber in this country.

I am not a social media creature, which is a good thing. The last time I ventured near comments about government subsidies for farmers following an online news article, I noticed one from some all knowing non-farmer who opined that government subsidies were not necessary because most of those farmers have a spouse working off of the farm. Of course they do, to subsidize the farmer and thereby this country’s food expenditures.… Continue reading

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Equine opine

Uuuugh…horses. I have a daughter who enjoys occasional horse rides, but she has an aunt with horses (which is just fine with me). Yes, I can see and understand the appeal. Horses are beautiful, graceful, powerful and really nice to observe grazing in pastures from afar — as long as those are not my pastures and I am not paying for their feed/veterinary/tack/saddle/etc./etc./etc. bills. In my estimation, horses are sort of like the boats of the animal world — they are kind of fun as long as they are owned, cared for and maintained by someone else.

Despite numerous equine challenges, though, there really is something special about pairing young people with animals and in some cases horses are the perfect fit. And, when horses and young people are combined with some caring expertise (along with ample funding and many hours of hard work) some really amazing things can happen.

Such is the case with Riders Unlimited, Inc.… Continue reading

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Social cause meets food production business at Waterfields

By Matt Reese

Clad in jeans that were torn when she bought them and neon pink rubber work boots, Erica Byrd does not necessarily match the typical idea of a farmer from Ohio. But, she never intended to be a typical farmer.

Byrd works at Waterfields LLC — a hydroponic supplier of premium microgreens based in Cincinnati to provide jobs and quality products to the community.

“I had no money for real. I was living from paycheck to paycheck. Then Waterfields called me. I never had heard of Waterfields but I knew I wanted to work here. I went to the interview and was amazed. I had to work here. I bugged them every day and I got the job. And from then, everything has gone up from there,” Byrd said. “I was just calling them plants for the first couple of months and I had to keep saying microgreens, microgreens, microgreens.… Continue reading

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Logan County family finds hole in farm field 40 feet deep

By Joel Penhorwood

A Logan County family made an interesting discovery in one of their farm fields this past week in preparation for planting.
15-year-old Lucas Yoesting was riding his dirt bike on his family’s rural-Zanesfield property when he noticed a large hole in one of the fields.

Further inspection later in the week by Sunny and Tracy Yoesting found the hole to be much more than collapsed field tile. It had grown in size and by Wednesday, measured approximately 12 feet in diameter and is now noted as 40-50 feet in depth.

“It goes straight down,” said Sunny Yoesting. “You can see and hear the water below running.

Continue reading

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2018-2019 State FFA Officers and photo highlights

State FFA Sentinel: Mallary Caudill, West Liberty Salem
State FFA Reporter: Bailey Eberhart, Harrison Central
State FFA Treasurer: Kalyn Strahley, Paulding
State FFA Secretary: Gretchen Lee, Pettisville
State FFA Vice President: Holly McClay, Fredericktown
State FFA President: Kolesen McCoy, Global Impact STEM Academy

State Vice Presidents – At Large: Austin Becker, Fairbanks; Tyler Zimpfer, Anna; Grace Lach, Bloom-Carroll; Grant Lach, Bloom-Carroll; Emma Dearth, Amanda-Clearcreek


 … Continue reading

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Establishing a safety culture

By Matt Reese

When it gets hot out, safety glasses, gloves and long sleeves may not be comfortable. And it can be really frustrating on a busy day to make sure to take the time for locking out a machine. Prioritizing safety is not always easy or pleasant.

“I have 41 years in the business and I have seen a lot of things in my career. The main thing is that we want to see everyone going home without getting hurt. I have seen too many injuries and close calls. I teach about the short cuts and what could happen,” said Greg Lowe, risk coordinator for Sunrise Cooperative. “Lock out tag out for example — before you work on machinery you want to make sure it is locked out before you go and work on it. It may take 10 or 15 minutes to get everything around to put a lock on it and get the key, but it only takes a second for somebody to hit the button and if you have your arms in there working on an auger the outcome is not good.”… Continue reading

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Setback changes currently up in the air for Ohio wind turbines

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

Renewed drive has been given to renewable energy groups looking to further establish themselves in northern Ohio. A new report from the Wind Energy Foundation found the state’s four utility-scale wind projects in Paulding, Van Wert, and Hardin counties will have delivered in excess of $54 million through payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), and land lease payments, by the end of 2018.

The report comes at a time when a new, 66-turbine wind farm in Seneca and Sandusky counties has been proposed by Apex Clean Energy of Virginia. The group reportedly told the Ohio Power Siting Board they will build what is known as The Republic Wind Farm only if restrictive property setback rules put in place in 2014 are repealed. The setback rules define the distance a wind turbine can be placed from neighboring properties. As it is currently written, the rules go to the nearest property line.… Continue reading

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Soil is more valuable than gold

In terms of civilization, it is more valuable than gold. The soil is the foundation for food and stability required for organized, structured society. Without good, productive soils, everything else starts to erode away. The loss of productive soil is a sad tale that shows up over and over throughout the history of mankind.

This repeated trend throughout the earth’s millennia of agriculture intrigued David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who spoke at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in March.

“As a geologist I started looking at soils and studied erosion around the world. A decade ago I got really interested in how soil erosion affected ancient civilizations. That culminated in a book that looked at the role of soil degradation in the decline of ancient civilizations. There is a depressing component to that because you see the same story play out in society after society.… Continue reading

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The war begins at planting

By John Brien, AgriGold agronomist

Upon planting a seed into the medium called the soil, one could assume that it is tucked into a warm and inviting environment, where nothing bad can happen to it. If a grower had that assumption, they would be WRONG!

When a grower plants a seed into the soil, the war begins. The war is between the seed and the “bugs” that are present in the soil. The seed’s goal is to sprout and grow, while the bug’s goal in today’s discussion is to decompose the seed along with any other organic matter, making it nonviable. Both sides are ready to wage war, but how do they plan on winning?


The bugs: Who are they and how do they win?

The bugs in this story are the fungi found in all soils. The fungi that battles corn seeds and seedlings are Pythium and Fusarium. The reason the bugs battle corn seeds and seedling is due to their role in the soil cycle.… Continue reading

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Dairy prices reflect production increases

The April Dairy Market Report is now available. The U.S. average all-milk price lost a total of $2.80 per cwt. in three roughly equal drops from November 2017 through this past February.

Total U.S. milk production was up by 1.6%  from a year earlier during the three months of December 2017 through February 2018, while estimated total U.S. production of milk solids rose by 2% during the same period. The monthly margin under the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) for February 2018 was $6.88 per cwt. It was the third month in a row during which the MPP margin was down more than $1.00 per cwt. from the previous month.

Find the Dairy Market Report here.Continue reading

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