Wilson family building on a heritage of conservation

Nathan Wilson has been working on the farm since he was first able to drive a Ford 8N back in the 1940s.

“I grew up with the opportunity to farm because my dad was busy and we had 130 acres and a Ford 8N. He hired some help but there was always something for me to do. I think I drove that tractor before I started school. Back then there were always jobs to do for a little kid on a Ford 8N. I was disking when I was 7 or 8. I had an early start and always loved it,” Nathan said. “My dad was always interested in the soil. When dad got out of the service he started a large animal vet clinic in Circleville and bought a farm. The first thing he did was divide the farm into four fields with a four-year rotation of corn, wheat and two years of hay.… Continue reading

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Ohio agriculture accused of “poisoning our lake”

There was quite a stir this week in Toledo with news regarding the Lucas County commissioners’ sponsorship of a website identifying “hotspots” in the Western Lake Erie Basin watershed for nutrient loading. The Western Lake Erie Basin Nutrient Sources Inventory is described as a “mapping tool that identifies causes of impairment and potential pollutant sources that need to be controlled to achieve desired nutrient load reductions.”

The tool reshuffled existing data and offered a new platform for old arguments about the role of agriculture in the Lake Erie’s water quality woes. From a related story on Toledo’s this week:

This summer was the third largest algal bloom outbreak in the history of Lake Erie.

It was so bad, algae backed up into the Maumee River in downtown Toledo.

The city and Lucas County are spending hundreds of millions of dollars fixing sewer and storm water runoff that dumps into the lake.Continue reading

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Understanding how to capture market carry

This week the USDA report and the markets were uneventful. Farmers aren’t selling and corn export demand is pacing slow. Good weather conditions in South America eroded bean market premium.


Understanding how to capture market carry

I recently attended a grain marketing conference where the presenter discussed ideas for farmers to be more profitable in the current marketing environment. One suggestion mentioned was to sell the market carry (i.e. when the further future month is higher than the current future month). This is a popular recommendation trending right now, but it’s been something I’ve been advocating for years. It’s a relatively low risk opportunity for farmers to pick up additional premium and add profits to their bottom line. I think all farmers should be doing this.

However, this strategy is often casually mentioned as something farmers should be doing with minimal detail and explanation. But in my experience, many farmers don’t really understand how to capture market carry effectively and the upfront planning and logistics required.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 38 | Bright Christmas lights and dim hosts

Ty, Matt, and Joel join you for the 38th Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold. The crew, in their holiday attire, bring a well-rounded podcast for the final time in 2017.

Joel and Dale this past week headed up to Oak Harbor to the facilities of Riders Unlimited. There they spoke the good work being done to help the mentally and physically handicapped through the power of horses. Rebekah Recker, Sunrise Cooperative CEO George Secor, and more tell us about the unique connection that’s sure to warm the heart.

Matt Reese catches up with Ryan Wilson from the recent Ohio No-Till Conference, talking cover crops and the value they offer.

Ty Higgins was also busy this past week, joined on the podcast by Matt Bambauer. Together they talk the year in review for farmers and the challenges they faced.

All that and some hearty conversation in this week’s podcast, brought to you by AgriGold.… Continue reading

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Don’t fall victim to cybersecurity attacks


The accountants my firm are invested in all aspects of our clients’ businesses, including the ways their success and security could be threatened. Our team is very focused on cybersecurity measures and we spend a great deal of time studying the methods and motivations of hackers. Most people are only opaquely aware of the threats that are around them continuously. We see examples frequently that are both fascinating and terrifying at the same time.

Our firm invests in top line firewalls, antivirus, SPAM filters, and of course, training, as do many other companies. These tools are vital and do mitigate some threats, but the truth is it’s the human users that are often the weak link in the defense chain. For this reason, we continuously stress that the absolute best defense a company can mount is by being vigilant, proactive, and educated. This goes for any type of company, whether it be an accounting firm, a feed supply business, or a family farm — no one is safe from these threats.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen concerns for Ohio?

Over the past month or so, I participated in three conferences on nutrient loss. While many speakers addressed phosphorus concerns, several mentioned nitrogen as the next target. I focused on the nitrogen talks.

So lets talk about nitrogen management. It leaks, like everywhere. Up and down — up as a gas when the soils are saturated and moves down and out with water movement. By my estimate we mineralized 100 pounds of N per acre in 2017, and probably lost 100 pounds or more in many spots to leaching and to denitrification. Even though 80% of the atmosphere is N, we still have to supply it for our grass crops. And we add more than we need, because we don’t want to be short. That’s an economic concern.


So what can we do about managing nitrogen?

The current tool to make nitrogen recommendations for corn in Ohio is the CNR, which stands for Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator.… Continue reading

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Don’t give your storage away

The markets continue to go nowhere. Corn exports are pacing slower than what USDA is forecasting but farmers aren’t selling. Beans earlier seemingly had upside potential due to South American weather, but couldn’t sustain it. Beans still have some potential in the short term if there is a weather scare in South America, but no one knows how much at this point.

All too often farmers are too focused on cash prices and don’t pay enough attention to their storage expenses. However, if farmers want bigger premiums and profits, they need to think about grain marketing differently than “conventional” wisdom. This is especially true in years when grain prices are at or under breakeven points. Following illustrates mistakes many farmers make who don’t have 100% on-farm storage capacity.

Often farmers make their first and maybe only sale before harvest for December or January delivery to capture some market carry premium while at the same time allowing them to core their bins during the winter.… Continue reading

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Firearms frustrations

This is the first deer season in several, thanks to being skunked so far using a compound bow, in which I have been able to participate in the firearms opportunity. For harvesting a buck, anyway. It’s been interesting having the capability to shoulder a gun and consider taking a deer beyond 30 yards, which is as far as I am comfortable take a shot with my bow. A gun broadens the horizons, so to speak, while offering different challenges.

For example, I have two guns from which to choose to hunt deer: a semi-auto shotgun and an in-line muzzleloader. Choosing which one to use on any given hunt is easy, for all the wrong reasons: I have hardly been successful with either one. In fact, in two decades of using a muzzleloaders from borrowed beater percussion models to my present cutting edge, scoped, in-line, I have yet to even cut hair on a deer with a front-loaded projectile.… Continue reading

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What exactly does insurance cover?

In Ohio, an insurance agent has liability if he fails to offer an appropriate policy to the insured. On Sept. 12, 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that will determine when the statute of limitations begins to run on the agent’s liability — at the time the policy is issued or when the problem with the policy is discovered (which is known as the delayed damages rule).

In the case before the Court, LGR Realty purchased commercial insurance coverage from Frank & London Insurance Agency for the period of May 12, 2010 through May 12, 2011. When a third party claim occurred during the period of the policy, their insurance carrier denied coverage on April 26, 2011. Consequently, LGR Realty spent over $420,000 in legal fees to defend the action. LGR Realty sued Frank & London Insurance Agency for negligently obtaining unsatisfactory insurance on April 17, 2015.… Continue reading

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Ohio veal producers prepared for barn changes

Ohio veal producers are ready for the changing livestock housing requirements put in place by the industry about a decade ago. The new housing changes and other requirements were decided by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Veal farms have to comply beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.

“Around 10 years ago, the veal industry decided to move away from tethers and stalls and move into group housing,” said Marissa Hake, veterinarian with the American Veal Association. “We’ve achieved that goal with 100% of our barns now group house. Most of those calves are raised in either pens of two to 10 where they can stand up or lay down, groom naturally and interact with other calves.”

Ohio is one of the top veal producing states, an industry that trends closely with dairy production.

“There’s quite a bit of veal production in Ohio. Indiana is our number one state. Veal production is obviously very closely related to the dairy industry,” she said.… Continue reading

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American exceptionalism: Right here in western Ohio

American exceptionalism is a term often used to describe the incredible accomplishments of Americans. President Kennedy referred to it, as has every President since. Except President Obama, who denied American exceptionalism existed and even apologized for our worldwide efforts to promote the American way.

Examples of American exceptionalism that come to my mind include former Supreme Court Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, featured in the recent movie Thurgood, and Jesse Owens, who ran in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, in the pre-war Germany of Adolf Hitler.

And I can think of no better term than exceptionalism to describe Owens’ Olympic long-distance running teammate Louis Zamperini. The subject of the book and movie Unbroken, Zamperini went on to serve his country in World War II. He was the bombardier of a B-24 Liberator that crashed into the sea due to mechanical failure. He spent 47 days adrift with a crew mate on an inflatable raft, was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese and survived two years of incredible torture before being rescued by American forces.… Continue reading

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Report friendly for corn, neutral to lower for soybeans

Typically, this USDA report day in December is a non-event. If South America numbers change drastically that will be an event to move the market.

U.S. corn ending stocks were estimated at 2.437 billion bushels. Last month they were 2.487 billion bushels. Corn for ethanol was increased 50 million bushels and carries straight to ending stocks down 50 million bushels. Soybean ending stocks were 445 million bushels, last month 425 million bushels. Soybean exports were lowered 25 million bushels. Wheat ending stocks were increased 25 million bushels due to higher production in Canada. Trade estimates before the report had corn ending stocks declining very slightly, with very small increases expected for soybeans and wheat. World grain ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat increased slightly.

Brazil soybean production was pegged at 108 million tons with Argentina soybean production at 57 million tons. Corn production in Brazil as estimated at 95 million tons and Argentina corn production was 42 million tons.… Continue reading

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Reporting ammonia (NH3) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from animal farms

Recently, air emission reporting requirements for animal feeding operations (AFOs) has caused turmoil among livestock and poultry producers. Without sufficient knowledge about air emissions from AFOs and proper tools to estimate the emissions, it has been a difficulty for livestock and poultry producers to comply with the reporting requirement. This article aims to summarize background information and the best available resources about the air emission reporting requirements for AFOs with a purpose to help the producers.

Farming had been traditionally exempt from the Clean Air Act (CAA) and state air quality regulations. However, as AFOs increased their scales of operations, public concerns over air quality impacts from AFOs have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start monitoring and regulating air emissions from AFOs. EPA announced a voluntary Air Quality Compliance Agreement (the Agreement) with Animal Feeding Operations on Jan. 21, 2005 with a purpose to ensure an AFO’s compliance with the applicable CAA, CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act), and EPCRA (the Environmental Planning and Community Right- to-Know Act) provisions by establishing Emissions Estimating Methodologies (EEM) and air emission thresholds for AFOs based on data collected through the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS).… Continue reading

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Anthony Wayne FFA officers compete in Parli Pro

Six members of the Anthony Wayne FFA officer team competed in the District 1 Advanced Parliamentary Procedure Career Development Event at Four County Career Center in early December.

For the competition, students took a 40 question written test over different aspects of parliamentary procedure. Then members correctly demonstrated parliamentary procedure in front of three judges. The Anthony Wayne FFA team placed 3rd in the district.

Competitor Lexi Fries said “I’ve participated on the novice team in the past and I enjoyed competing on advanced team this year.”… Continue reading

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The hunt continues

By Matt Reese

A stealthy hunter slowly creeps through an evergreen forest, scanning the surroundings for his prey. A cold November wind whips through the pines, sending a shiver through the hunter’s body. Undaunted he presses on, silent as snow.

Through the cover of some fir branches the hunter stops, keen eyes focused on his quarry — a buck deer warily watching from his spot nestled up beneath the green boughs of the winter landscape. A flash of the bow and the deer slumps. A flick of the knife and the hunter’s task is fulfilled with another successful hunt on the DiVencenzo Family Tree Farm.

The tradition started when an upset too-young-to-deer-hunt four-year-old couldn’t go deer hunting with his dad. To amend the situation, the boy’s grandmother instead took him to pick out a Christmas tree and hunt for a stuffed toy deer hidden in the tree field using a toy bow and plastic hunting knife.… Continue reading

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Bins locked tight waiting for prices to rise

Numerous producers who in recent years had completed corn and soybean harvest by the end of October found their work days stretched late into November. Many continue to be amazed at the huge corn yields of this past growing season. While not everyone had record corn yields this fall, it was a common occurrence across Ohio. It would appear that that were more record corn yields than record soybean yields. Rainfall at my house in Lancaster was six inches last month. No doubt many readers have similar totals.

Grain facilities across the state had storage space stretched to the maximum this fall. While those rainy days of October and November delayed harvest, it did allow grain handlers to get caught up on drying corn this fall. Late November some facilities were open limited days as they wanted to be full at the end of harvest. With basis levels already appreciating for corn and soybeans by the end of November, some producers will be anxious to move grain this month to core their grain bins.… Continue reading

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A unique avenue to drive agriculture’s message into the city

Continuing the mission of advocacy and outreach into Central Ohio, Franklin County Farm Bureau was seeking out a way to expand their message and communicate with those that aren’t all that close to the farm, both in distance and understanding. So, they recently acquired Edible Columbus magazine.

“Edible Columbus is a print, community-based publication published four times a year, and distributed free to the public,” said Colleen Leonardi, the magazine’s Editor-In-Chief. “From sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking to locally sourced restaurants, breweries and distilleries, our mission is to create fresh, beautiful content to engage readers in our food, our region and our culture, season by season.”

Leonardi said the partnership with Franklin County Farm Bureau, a grassroots organization that works to support Ohio’s thriving local food and farming economy, compliments what they do at Edible Columbus.

Edible Columbus has a yearly reach of 100,000 readers in the Central Ohio area. The magazine is available at the locations of local businesses that advertise within the publication and is also received by subscription.… Continue reading

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Farm Bureau members gathered in Columbus for 99th annual meeting

“Together With Farmers” was the theme of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th annual meeting at the Columbus Convention Center and Hilton Downtown Hotel.

More than 600 attendees were on hand as OFBF established its policy on important state and federal issues, elected leaders and recognized the accomplishments of individuals and the organization.

Some of the organization’s accomplishments of the past year were highlighted, including reform of Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula. The reforms will begin in the 2017 valuations, which farmers in 41 counties will receive in January 2018, and will be fully implemented for all counties after the 2022 reassessment, said Leah Curtis, policy counsel for Ohio Farm Bureau.

“If you are in a 2017 re-appraisal county, that means you get your new bill in 2018. Your county auditor may have sent out an updated CAUV value for you. Not all auditors do that, so if you want to see what your new CAUV value is you can contact your auditor to find out,” Curtis said.… Continue reading

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Ohio No-Till Conference draws a crowd

Problems and issues with weeds, slugs or planting into cover crops were all covered at the Ohio No-till Conference on Dec. 6

Steve Groff, Bill Lehmkuhl and Bret Margraf led a discussion covering a broad array of equipment challenges. Attendees learned how to set closing wheels for green covers and how to eliminate hair-pinning (for either green or dead covers). A pusher bar is recommended for tall cover crops. For planting cover crop seed, a planter works best for a single variety. Or with individual hoppers, you can have two varieties in alternate rows, such as Austrian winter pea and oilseed radish. A drill works best for multi-species covers.

“Battling slugs, voles and other varmints that love no-till and cover crops” kicked off the day and attendees learned from the experiences of consultant Mike Daley and Neil Badenhop with Valent. Slugs, voles and other pests can become problematic in the cover of long-term no-till fields with cover crops.… Continue reading

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