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Catch fish…and eat them

By Matt Reese

Catch fish…and eat them. Humankind has been doing it for millennia.

I am the oldest of four boys and while we were growing up we would make occasional trips to the family cabin with our parents. While there, my brothers and I would regularly request that our father facilitate the process of helping us not only catch fish of a suitable size and quantity for a meal for six, but also fillet and cook them. Anyone who thinks conducting such an endeavor with four young boys sounds simple has clearly not undertaken the task. Nonetheless, we did this a number of times while growing up and have many fond memories of it, even if we rarely got enough fish cleaned for a complete meal.

The plan was to continue this simple Reese tradition in June when we went back to the cabin for a week of family, fishing and boating.… Continue reading

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A picture worth no words at all

By Matt Reese

To say “I love you” in sign language you must put up your thumb, index finger and pinkie finger, while keeping your ring finger and your middle finger down. Then, hold your hand out with your palm facing away from you and move it back and forth slightly.

Though you may not be able to quite see it in this photo, that is the message being conveyed by father Matt Fry on the tractor in the field and his son, Matthew, on the other (smaller) tractor in the yard. The toy tractor was Matt’s when he was a boy.

Matt produces row crops and cattle on his farm near Bellville with his father. Both Matt and his wife, Jessica, are deaf. They have two children, twins, who can hear. Jessica took the photo and Matt’s mother, Donna Smith, posted it online in late May. That’s where I saw it.… Continue reading

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The high costs of lost lasts

By Matt Reese

I was a bit surprised the other day when my 10-year-old son, who regularly complains about all things related to school, was lamenting the fact that he will never get to participate in his fourth grade class talent show. The event is one of the last things the students do before the end of the school year as a sort of graduation from elementary school.

I was whisked back to a couple of years earlier when my daughter participated in her fourth grade talent show. She spent many hours with her friends preparing a unique routine that was a real hit. All parties still have fond memories of it.

While the lack of opportunity for fourth graders to develop and act out a skit, or sing a solo, or carry out a dance routine will likely not have much impact on their future (and in fact may be a small act of mercy for parents and teachers alike), it is, however, an unfortunate lost last that can never be replaced or replicated.… Continue reading

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Tough times call for heroic efforts (and maybe your best china)

By Matt Reese

Well, Ohio agriculture, this is a pretty tough one. There has been more gloom and doom recently than I really care to report. Agricultural markets, across the board, are dismal. The food supply chain is crumbling and so is the economy. Some blame the virus. Some blame the government. Some blame society. Some blame China. Some blame faulty models and calculations. All are probably partly right.

None of that blame, though, really does much to address the tough situation. Fortunately, though, agriculture is used to tough. Tough builds character and shapes heroes who rise to the occasion and make challenging situations better.

After looking at the recent dismal corn prices, OCJ marketing specialist Risë Labig decided that lunch would be dessert with coffee and her best china in the company of some of her heroes.

“I needed a few minutes to decide whether or not I’m going to let this current crisis get the better part of me, and I’m NOT.… Continue reading

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Support the businesses supporting Ohio’s essential agriculture

By Matt Reese

It has been made very clear by the DeWine Administration that Ohio agriculture is essential because of the vital importance of farmers and their service to society. But, during these challenging times, it is also important to remember those who serve Ohio’s essential farmers.

There has been plenty mentioned about getting take-out to support your local favorite dining hotspots that may be feeling a real pinch right now. It is just as important to remember other parts of the service and supply chains that allow Ohio’s essential farmers to do what they do during the coronavirus measures taken by the state and the Stay at Home Order.

“I just want to thank our customers for shopping here and supporting us,” said Larry Goodman, manager of the Rural King in Marion. “At first, for probably the first week and a half, it was off the hook here, very busy.… Continue reading

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Wise words when the world goes COVID crazy

By Matt Reese

We are currently facing a time that may offer a chance for thought and introspection. Many folks are offering up words of wisdom and I will spare you most of mine, but I do want to share some of the wiser words I’ve come across during this unique time for our farms, our state and our nation.

One of the best things I have read comes from one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, and his “On Living in an Atomic Age” from 1948 where he writes about the great public concerns about the newly developing societal fears at the time. It seems there are many applications for our current situation.

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation.Continue reading

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Turning adversity into opportunity

By Matt Reese

In January, Mark Gardiner talked about genetics and a forward-look at the cattle industry at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Annual Meeting. He outlined the challenges and opportunities in the cattle business from his perspective at Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland, Kan.

“Our ranch in Kansas would be very similar to many ranches around the United States. My family migrated to Kansas in 1885 and homesteaded there. I’m the fourth generation and my sons represent the fifth generation. It is a family-run operation. We were commercial cattlemen forever and then we started the genetics business back in the 70s and our first production sale of Angus genetics was in April of 1980. We’re beef cattle people first, but our main business is Angus genetics at Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland, Kan.,” Gardiner said. “Technology and information is available to all of us and we have used data-based selection systems to select multi-trait specialists for the traits of merit since 1980.… Continue reading

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Keep the proper focus with H2Ohio

By Matt Reese

Last year I had the opportunity to serve as the head coach for my son’s third and fourth grade basketball team. As could be expected, wrangling a squirrelly group of elementary school boys did prove challenging, on occasion. This was on full display for the community to see on youth recognition night.

For the event, all of the elementary and junior high boys basketball players in the program gather at the school before a varsity game. The players get their names announced over the loudspeaker and then form two lines facing each other to make a “tunnel” where they slap hands with the varsity players as they run out before the game. It is a nice event to showcase the efforts of the youth.

My team was there, on time, with their jerseys on, which was a significant victory. They ran out as their names were announced as planned.… Continue reading

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Top stories of 2019

Our web site keeps track of the stories that generate the most interest and at the end of the year we like to review the top stories to gain insight into how to better serve readers of our web and print content and our radio listeners. Plus, it is always fun to see which story comes out on top.

To revisit all of these favorite Web stories and videos in the last year, visit ocj.com search for “2019 top stories of the year.” In addition to these top posts, other noteworthy drivers of web traffic in 2019 included the Ohio and Pro Farmer crop tours, the Ohio State Fair livestock show results, FFA, and Between the Rows. Weather challenges, the tough farm economy, and all things draft horse also garnered major web traffic in the last 12 months. Here are the 10 most popular stories of 2019.

 

  1. $65 hay bales a sign of the times

It was tough for hay production in 2018-2019.… Continue reading

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Roselyn’s last wreath

By Matt Reese

Louise was in a snit. And, an ugly snit it was. Regarded as a living saint by all in the small town community, Louise had rarely been known to be in such a state.

Louise had dedicated her life to service to others, most notably her handicapped elder sister Roselyn. Louise was talented, beautiful and extremely intelligent in her youth. She’d had unlimited potential, and she’d lived up to much of it.

She’d had a successful career in business, from which she was now retired. She had tirelessly cared for and supported Roselyn beyond what could be reasonably expected of anyone. And it was said Louise shone the brightest every year in her service to the local church. This level of service reached its pinnacle at the start of Advent. Louise coordinated the magnificent Advent Service each year four weeks prior to Christmas in the beautiful, small town church her family had attended for generations.… Continue reading

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A lesson in service

By Matt Reese

Once again this year, the day after Veteran’s Day, 100 Christmas trees were packed up and shipped off to military units overseas through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Christmas Tree Association for the Operation Evergreen Program. Christmas tree growers from around Ohio donate the trees and deliver them to the ODA where nursery inspectors certify they are free from pests and disease. Both groups come together at ODA to wrap, load up and send the trees to military members stationed overseas. This is the 24th year for the program that got its start in Ohio. The trees cost $150 a tree for shipping and the expenses are covered through donations.

“This year we are sending the trees overseas to Kuwait. They leave and get to Kuwait in two weeks and then they get dispersed to the bases in the area,” said Valarie Graham with the Ohio Christmas Tree Association.… Continue reading

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Plenty of steak at stake in alternative meat debate

By Matt Reese

I can very clearly remember the dietary craze of the days of my youth regarding low fat and fat free food products. It was an oft-touted “scientific fact” back then that the fats in meats and dairy were very detrimental to our existence. Products like whole milk, butter, bacon, and red meats were scorned while highly processed low fat and no fat products flooded the market.

As I grew older I realized the “science” behind the fat free hype was greatly skewed by marketing. As it turns out, I later discovered some of those low fat and no fat products were actually much worse nutritionally than the fatty products they were manufactured to replace. The stuff added to these foods was/is worse than the actual fat it is meant to taste like. Somewhere along the line, the fine farm folks woven throughout my upbringing convinced me of the folly of following food fats.… Continue reading

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Ohio Department of Agriculture partners with Ohio Christmas Tree Association to send Christmas trees to troops overseas

Yesterday, 100 Christmas trees were packed up and shipped off to military units overseas through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Ohio Christmas Tree Association.

State Christmas tree growers donate the trees, ODA nursery inspectors certify they are free from pests and disease. Both groups come together at ODA to wrap, load up and send the trees to military members stationed overseas. Trees will also include decorations provided by school children, churches and veterans’ groups from around Ohio.

This is the 24th year for the program that got its start in Ohio.

“This year we are sending the trees overseas to Kuwait. They leave and get to Kuwait in two weeks and then they get dispersed to the bases in the area,” said Valerie Graham with the Ohio Christmas Tree Association. “It is always great to participate in this program. They appreciate what we are doing.… Continue reading

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Great staff is like a second family

By Matt Reese

I love our staff. I am so fortunate to have the chance to work with so many talented, kind caring folks. From the late Ed Johnson to the current Dale Minyo I have had the opportunity to work with (and learn from) some of the very best. What an honor and privilege!

With so many summer events to attend around the state, we are very rarely all in the same place at once. And, with some staff changes this year, I thought the recent Farm Science Review would be a great chance to highlight our current fantastic staff and what they do for the team to keep you up to date.

 

Bart and Sheryl Johnson

We are like a family and they are kind of like the parents (or in Bart’s case sometimes an ornery big brother). Bart is the son of Ed Johnson who started the company.… Continue reading

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Testing of faith produces perseverance: 2019 mud pies

By Matt Reese

I saw so many sad farm situations this spring in what was, in many cases, the worst planting season in history. But, as it always has, life went on, and I have seen so many farmers rise to the occasion and turn the challenges of 2019 into more positive situations. There was plenty of mud this spring, but also some silver linings, or for 2019 the term mud pie might be more appropriate.

 

2019 Mud

You had prevented planting acres this spring. This was a tough decision that, after being made, led to many more tough decisions.

 

2019 Mud pies

The unplanted acres opened up opportunities for tiling, cover cropping (with cost share opportunities), an insurance payment, a potential Market Facilitation Program payment, and a chance to hay or graze those cover crops this fall. There also are opportunities to soil test and set fields up for success in 2020.… Continue reading

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Crawford County Farm Bureau wraps up the year with honors

Crawford County Farm Bureau held its annual meeting Sept. 10, at the Trillium Event Center in Bucyrus. At the annual meeting trustee elections were held, delegates to represent the county at the state level were selected and public policies were voted on and approved. The approved policies will guide the Crawford County Farm Bureau for the coming year as well as provide direction for the Ohio Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau.

Crawford County Farm Bureau celebrated the Ohio Farm Bureau Centennial and highlighted the accomplishments of programs held during the past year and thanked the volunteers who made local activities successful. Dale Minyo, founder and farm broadcaster of the Ohio AgNet, was the guest speaker for the evening. Special awards were presented following the guest speakers address.

The Crawford County Farm Bureau honored a second inductee into the Crawford County Agricultural Hall of Fame: Milton Scheffler. Scheffler was nominated by the Crawford County Antique Farm Machinery Association where he served as a trustee.

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2019 Van Wert County Annual Meeting

2019 Van Wert County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting was held Aug. 6, 2019, at the Van Wert Center of Aging, in conjunction the Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District. Dinner was catered by Gibson’s BBQ of Van Wert.

Celebrating 100 years of Ohio Farm Bureau

Voting of board members and delegates was held, and after dinner, Jessica Vandenbroek gave the organization director’s report. Scholarships were awarded and the 2019 year was recapped.

Special guest Matt Reese, from Ohio’s Country Journal, spoke about the challenges Ohio farmers face with the 2019 crop season.

We celebrated the 2019 year of Van Wert County Farm Bureau and welcome the year 2020.

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2019 Putnam County Annual Meeting

Putnam County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting 2019

The 2019 Putnam County Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with Putnam Soil and Water Conservation District meeting, at Whiskey Wine and Rose’s Winery in Fort Jennings, on Aug. 29, 2019.

Celebrating 100 years of Ohio Farm Bureau!

Dinner was catered by the delicious, Bavarian Catering, with dessert from Anna’s Cupcakes. Business meeting and voting was held following dinner. The exchange of office for president was passed from Curtis Tobe to Carl Liebrecht.

TRIVIA, TRIVIA, and TRIVIA! Groups participated in trivia questions on farming and Putnam County. Winners received prizes. There also were door prizes.

Rose Hartschuh gave the state trustee report and Jessica Vandenbroek, organization director, gave the County Report for 2019 and presented scholarships.

Putnam County Farm Bureau looks forward to the next 100 years of Farm Bureau.

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2019 Paulding County Annual Meeting

2019 Paulding County Annual Meeting

The 2019 Annual Meeting was held at the Paulding County Fairgrounds Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Dinner was catered by Puckerbrush Pizza, with delicious BBQ.

Celebrating 100 years of Ohio Farm Bureau!

After dinner, the business meeting was held, board members and delegates were elected, and prizes were won!

Jessica Vandenbroek gave the organization director’s report and presented scholarships, Rose Hartschuh gave the state trustee report, and board President Ryan McClure gave the county report and recapped the year.

Birthday cake was enjoyed and games were played, celebrating 100 years of Ohio Farm Bureau and the 2019 year in Paulding County.

 

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2019 Allen County Annual Meeting

2019 Annual Meeting 

The 2019 Allen County Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, September 15, 2019. Annual Meeting was held at Hart Hall with dinner catered by Stites Catering of Lima.

Celebrating 100 years of Ohio Farm Bureau

Special guest from Ohio Farm Bureau, Jordan Hoewischer spoke to guests about water quality in our state.

Rose Hartschuh, Farm Bureau, gave the State Trustee Report.

State Representitive, Bob Cupp, spoke on behalf of Allen County in the state agenda.

Jessica Vandenbroek gave the county organization report, awarded scholarships and recapped the year.

Our business meeting was held, dinner was served, door prizes were raffled, and the year was celebrated.

We welcome a new year at Ohio Farm Bureau in Allen County and can’t wait for what is in store.

 

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