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Water Rule, ESA Under Review

Water Rule, ESA Under Review 01/27 15:20

Biden Administration Set to Review Several Regulations Important to Ag

The Biden administration is reviewing a number of regulatory actions taken
by the Trump administration, including several rules that affect agriculture.

Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The ushering in of the Trump administration back in 2017
launched large-scale deregulation at the federal level, including agriculture.

Just a week in office, President Joe Biden already has announced a review of
a number of federal regulations, including Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection
Rule, changes made to the Endangered Species Act, National Ambient Air Quality
standards for particulate matter, Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, and
action to keep chlorpyrifos-based pesticides on the market despite pushback
from environmentalists.

In an executive order signed Wednesday to deal with climate change, the
White House noted that among the first actions Biden took in office was an
“immediate review of harmful rollbacks of standards that protect our air, water
and communities.”

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Ohio drainage law revamped

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By Matt Reese

By all accounts, the specifics of House Bill 340 may not be all that exciting, but the bill does have significant implications for Ohio’s agricultural drainage projects moving forward. 

With more big rain events putting more water into existing drainage systems and increasing scrutiny of water quality in Ohio, massive efforts and big dollars are being poured into reducing agricultural nutrient and soil loss into the water. The big projects are important, but so are the mundane details of implementing local drainage efforts that were long overdue for updates.  

On Dec. 17, 2020 Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 340, sponsored by Speaker Bob Cupp, to modernize Ohio’s petition drainage laws to better handle issues of excess water in agricultural areas as well as residential and commercial properties and roadways. For agriculture, HB 340 dramatically updates the process a farm would use for a drainage project involving the county for installation and maintenance.… Continue reading

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Biden Targets Trump Deregulation of Ag

OMAHA (DTN) — The ushering in of the Trump administration back in 2017 launched large-scale deregulation at the federal level, including agriculture.

Just a week in office, President Joe Biden already has announced a review of a number of federal regulations, including Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, changes made to the Endangered Species Act, National Ambient Air Quality standards for particulate matter, Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, and action to keep chlorpyrifos-based pesticides on the market despite pushback from environmentalists.

In an executive order signed Wednesday to deal with climate change, the White House noted that among the first actions Biden took in office was an “immediate review of harmful rollbacks of standards that protect our air, water and communities.”

When it comes to the regulation of water on farms and ranches, the pendulum has swung back and forth since 2015 when the Obama-era waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule drew pushback from states, farmers and ranchers and other industries across the country.

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Winter grain market outlook

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

As farmers are making decisions for 2021, there are some important economic drivers to consider. 

“There are also some factors we really need to pay attention to,” said Ben Brown, now a senior research associate at the University of Missouri and their state specialist in ag business and policy for Extension. “It is uncertain the direction the COVID pandemic takes, what future relief/stimulus packages may look like, and the impact of the resurgence of African swine fever in China.”

Brown was part of the program of a recent Ohio State University Extension Winter Policy and Outlook Meeting where he shared information focused on “Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are going with the markets.”

Brown pointed out that it is important to understand how money flows into the sector. The commodity sector and the U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast named in Feedspot’s top 40

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter

The new year has already proven to be rewarding for the team here at Ohio Ag Net. Feedspot, an agricultural media database, compiled a list of the top 40 ag and farming podcasts in the U.S. that listeners “must follow in 2021.” The Ohio Ag Net Podcast was named 21st on the list. 

Feedspot used a team of 25 specialists to find and rank the list of podcasts based on the following criteria:

  • Relevancy
  • Industry Blogs — given a high rank than individual brand blogs
  • Post frequency
  • Social media engagement and follower numbers
  • Domain authority 
  • Age of blog
  • Alexa web tracking rank.

Click here for the full Feedspot article!

The Ohio Ag Net Podcast covers a large variety of agricultural topics statewide and nationally. Each week we cover anything and everything related to Ohio agriculture from vomitoxin, ractopamine, and dicamba to FFA happenings, field days and county fairs.… Continue reading

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Disruptions create opportunity

By Matt Reese

Coming off a disruptive year for nearly every aspect of life, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) 2021 Industry Conference is taking a look at some of those disruptions and finding ways to create opportunities for positive change. The 2021 OABA Industry Conference starts today and continues through this week. At the virtual event, agribusiness professionals will address disruptors to the industry and learn to harness the momentum for change.

“We are going to have our annual OABA Industry Conference and like a lot of other people we are having to switch gears this year and go virtual. It will be different, but a lot of it will be the same, especially the great quality content, topics and speakers that we have year in and year out,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of OABA. “You can register ahead and participate in the conference in real time like you would any other year, and you can actually also register afterwards and it is available for 90 days after the event.… Continue reading

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Winter weather outlook for 2021

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

A global assessment of the weather showed 2020 to be the second warmest year since 1880. The warmest average year was 2016, and 2019 ranked third. Looking all the way back to 1880, the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1985.

The most recent Winter Outlook Meeting, hosted by The Ohio State University, provided data and information to help farmers make informed decisions going into the winter and spring. Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at OSU and state climatologist shared information focused on “Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are going.”

There was also a significant increase in the number of “billion dollar disasters” in 2020. There was a total of 22 recorded last year. The numbers in general have been increasing. To put it in perspective, looking at the time period of 1908 through 2020, the average is six disasters of that magnitude per year.… Continue reading

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AFBF Asks NASS for Change

OMAHA (DTN) — The American Farmer Bureau Federation issued a report Thursday challenging USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service to “rebuild farmers’ trust” in the agency’s constant supply of crop and livestock data by increasing transparency, accelerating the use of new technology and potentially collaborating with Farm Bureau to help aid data-collection efforts.

The accuracy of monthly NASS reports is a constant source of discussion and speculation among farmers — more often when prices are lower than higher — and at times can lead to anger among producers who perceive the agency as overestimating production. In at least one instance in 2019, NASS staff were threatened while on a Midwest crop tour, causing NASS to pull its staff off the tour.

AFBF put together a farmer-led working group that spent more than four months looking at NASS’ processes and methodologies — including holding some workshops — to develop recommendations for the agency’s data collection and release of monthly reports.

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Federal Court Stays EPA Action on SREs

OMAHA (DTN) — A federal court will review EPA’s latest decision to grant three small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, pending a full review of the action.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order Thursday morning following EPA’s decision on Tuesday to grant two of 32 exemption requests for 2019 and one for 2018 that was previously denied.

“We took this action immediately to prevent the agency from doing further economic damage to an industry already reeling from the impacts of COVID-19,” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement on Thursday.

“To avert additional harm to the ethanol industry, EPA must be prevented from returning any compliance credits to the unidentified refiners who were given these last-minute exemption handouts.”

RFA said the two 2019 exemptions will amount to another 150 million gallons of lost renewable fuel demand. The 2018 exemption is expected to result in a loss of 110 million gallons of biofuel demand and was previously denied by the agency.

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Winter Grain Market and Climate Outlook Meeting (Part 1)

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

The most recent Winter Outlook Meeting, hosted by The Ohio State University, provided data and information to help farmers make informed decisions going into the winter and spring.

Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Scientist at The Ohio State University, and State Climatologist shared information focused on “Where we’ve been, where we are currently, and where we are going.”

A global assessment of the past year’s weather showed 2020 to be the second warmest since 1880. The warmest average year was 2016, and 2019 ranked third. Looking all the way back to 1880, the ten warmest years have all occurred since 1985.

There was also a significant increase in the number of “Billion Dollar Disasters” in 2020. There was a total of 22 recorded last year. The numbers in general have been increasing. To put it in perspective, looking at the time period of 1908 through 2020, the average is six disasters of that magnitude per year.

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Biden addresses food insecurity with executive order

 To address a dramatic rise in hunger, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that to increase food assistance for families missing meals due to school closures as well as boost Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for the lowest-income households.Throughout the pandemic, National Farmers Union (NFU) has expressed concern about elevated rates of food insecurity in both urban and rural communities; by some estimates, one in six adults and one in four children have experienced food insecurity during the pandemic — rates that are about 50% higher than the United States was seeing just a year ago.Though SNAP and other food assistance programs have provided a crucial safety net for millions of Americans, it hasn’t been enough to offset the surge of job losses and resulting financial stress. Even after the most recent stimulus package boosted SNAP benefits by 15%, the average recipient is still approximately $100 short of covering the costs of a month of low-cost groceries.Because
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Will bullish markets continue?

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

The Argentina dock strike last month lasted far longer than had been expected as it was drawn out to almost three weeks. It has been an annual occurrence for an Argentina dock strike to last 1 to 3 days as the dock workers demand more money. It has been reported the grain companies offered an increase high enough to keep government intervention from taking place. While you may think Argentina is a small player in the grand scheme with soybean production below that of Brazil and the United States, Argentina is the world’s largest exporter of soymeal. As the strike ended, reports noted at least 170 vessels waiting to be loaded with grains.

March 2021 CBOT soybeans finally breached the $12 mark on Dec. 17 after at least five different unsuccessful assaults in a month. The next resistance level of $13 was penetrated in significantly fewer days, taking place on Dec.… Continue reading

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Biden Quick With 17 Executive Actions

OMAHA (DTN) — In his inauguration speech Wednesday, President Joe Biden placed a heavy emphasis on unity. But in his early work after the celebratory transfer of power, he began by reversing several agenda items from his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Initial executive actions are often like that, as presidents take immediate action that rewards supporters and their policy agendas. Biden entered the White House with a list of 17 immediate executive actions and plans to introduce a new immigration bill in Congress. In some actions likely to draw conservative criticism, Biden signed an order stopping border wall construction and reversing the ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries.

The new president also signed an order to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, took action to end the Keystone XL pipeline and revoked permits on oil and gas extraction at national monuments. At least some Republicans quickly saw those moves as attacks on energy development in their states.

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Global pandemic doesn’t stop water quality research

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

The Ohio Sea Grant program is one of 34 State programs funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to identify and research issues impacting their neighboring water bodies. Every state that touches the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico or one of the Great Lakes has a Sea Grant Program. Sea Grant Programs are modeled after Land Grant Institutions, and take the research results and disseminate the information to stakeholders, decision makers, and those that can make a difference. 

Chris Winslow is the Director of the Ohio Sea Grant, and also Director of Ohio State’s Stone Lab on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. While COVID-19 impacted the on-site education and outreach that Sea Grant conducts at Stone Lab, much of the research on the lake continued despite the pandemic. 

“We typically offer a lot of education and outreach programming at Stone Lab and everything at that location was shut down or went virtual,” Winslow said.… Continue reading

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Ohio harness racers adapted to the pandemic

By Madi Kregel, OCJ field reporter 

             The last year certainly made life challenging for anyone trying to plan events, and, as a result, 2020 created coutless challenges for any industries that depend on those events for financial viability. The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) has around 35,000 members, with around 65 different venues for racing. The majority of those venues are county and independent fairs. So like many during the shutdown in March, the OHHA and horse breeders were left scrambling to find answers. 

            Steve Bateson, President of the OHHA said going into the pandemic felt like “stepping into the twilight zone” after going from a weekly racing schedule to a complete stop. 

            “For those that are involved in our industry, they are enthralled with it, it’s their livelihood,” Bateson said. “So when we were shut down, all of these farms that are in training continued to train and feed their horses and employ their people and they had no place to race.… Continue reading

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EPA Seeks Comment on E15, RFS Waivers

OMAHA (DTN) — EPA wants the public to comment on whether the agency should consider a general waiver of Renewable Fuel Standard blend requirements for oil refiners.

The agency on Friday released a set of proposals to consider a number of petitions by states to waive Renewable Fuel Standard requirements for small refiners and to make changes to E15 pump labels.

Both the request for comments on a general waiver and changes to E15 labels will be posted for comment in the Federal Register on Jan. 19.

Citing the economic shutdown due to COVID-19, EPA received requests for general waivers from a few small refiners and a number of states for 2019 and 2020. The governors of Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Louisiana and Pennsylvania were among those who requested RFS general waivers, along with a handful of refining companies. In those requests, all parties claimed the waivers were needed because small refiners faced economic challenges.

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Applications being accepted for FSA Quality Loss Adjustment Program

By Mary Griffith, Ohio State University Extension educator, ANR & Chris Zoller, Ohio State University Extension Educator, ANR

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting applications for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program.  QLA will assist producers whose eligible crops suffered quality losses due to qualifying drought, excessive moisture, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, or tornadoes occurring in calendar years 2018 and/or 2019. Applications are being accepted until March 5, 2021.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for payments, producers must:

  • Be entitled to an ownership share and be at-risk in the agricultural production and marketing of crops on the farm; and either
  • Have an average federal tax adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $900,000 for tax years 2018 and 2019; or
  • Derive at least 75 percent of their AGI from farming, ranching or forestry-related activities;
  • Have control of the acreage on which the crop was grown at the time of the disaster;
  • Comply with the provisions of the “Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation” regulations, often called the conservation compliance provisions;
  • Not have a controlled substance violation; and
  • Be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien.
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Check out the 2020 eFields Report

By Elizabeth Hawkins and John Fulton

Now that 2020 has wrapped up, it is time to look forward and make decisions to set our farms up for success in 2021. Each year, Ohio State University Extension partners with Ohio farmers to bring local research results to you through the eFields program. The 2020 eFields Research Report highlights 218 on-farm, field scale trials conducted in 39 Ohio counties. Research topics included nutrient management, precision crop management, cover crops, and forages. Other information about crop production budgets, planting progress, and farm business analysis was also included. New in 2020 was the addition of soil health and water quality trials.

The 2020 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email digitalag@osu.edu. The e-version can be viewed and downloaded at go.osu.edu/eFields with the online version readable using a smartphone or tablet device.… Continue reading

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Addressing the challenges from within

By Matt Reese

Mother Nature certainly can offer no-till farmers plenty of external challenges, but sometimes the greatest difficulties from no-till come from within.

“When I started into the no-till, I wondered why everybody wasn’t doing this. I pushed and pushed and after a while I decided, this is not going to work unless that person wants it to work,” said Gary Shick, a Hardin County farmer who was named the 2020 No-Till Farmer of the Year by the Ohio No-Till Council. “Unless you want to make it work, it is not going to work.”

Shick farms mostly rolling ground, with some flat fields and heavy, wet soils mixed in. Some of his fields were a natural fit for no-till in the early 1970s, though many were not.

“I graduated from high school in ‘65 and I had my foot in the door for farming. I had a dad who was helpful and was looking for some help.… Continue reading

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Controlling what we can in a world out of control

By Matt Reese

In one of my favorite books, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis has some advice that hits very close to home as we muddle our way through the astonishing early days of 2021.  

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker.Continue reading

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