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Joel Penhorwood

Joel is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in agricultural communication.

While at OSU, Joel was heavily involved in Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, serving as president for two years. The club won the Ed Johnson Outstanding Student Organization Award during his tenure.

Penhorwood got his start in radio at WPKO/WBLL “The Peak of Ohio” in Bellefontaine before being starting with OCJ and OAN as an intern in the fall of 2013. In addition to his work with the OCJ and OAN, he stays busy on his family’s small hay, crop and livestock farm in Logan County, which he helps to operate alongside his brothers.



I was not a state officer (and that is why FFA is so great)

“When were you a state officer?”

That’s a common question I get when it comes to my time in the National FFA Organization. I take it as flattery that somebody thinks I have what it takes to have once been a leader in the state organization. The bar is high for the job and we see each year a new set of young people take on the roles with diligence and excitement.

Yes, I have gotten far because of FFA. It opened up opportunities for me (current job included), plus cemented life-long friendships through all the professional and personal development the organization advised.

Now before we go any farther, let’s understand that for many students, being a state FFA officer is viewed as the pinnacle of the FFA experience. You see your peers standing on stage talking to tens of thousands in the crowd, wearing the blue corduroy with pride and class, and being a leader for the premier agricultural youth organization in the world.

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Super Bowl corn syrup controversy commentary

By Joel Penhorwood

Very few things in life can bring people together like a well done Super Bowl Commercial. The top topic on the Monday after the game each year is more often than not, “What was your favorite commercial??” Just look at that “So God Made a Farmer” commercial from Ram in 2013. They have enjoyed a very loyal customer base because of that commercial alone.

Well this year, you could say nearly the opposite happened.

I’ll be the first to admit, your social media feed is probably not the best place to equally hear opinions on a topic, but nonetheless the topic was forefront on my page Sunday night.

Early on in the game, Bud Light kicked off their latest installment of ‘Dilly Dilly’ commercials with a fairly funny concept. For the unfamiliar, these commercials revolve around a renaissance-era Bud Light kingdom that is very devoted to the beer.

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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.

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My favorite Farm Science Review memory

By Joel Penhorwood

My favorite FSR memory beings with the doldrums of school that start in September.

Pretty much one thing kept my attention — that special day when Dad would keep me home and instead of going to school, we would head to Farm Science Review.

We got up early (which never seemed to be a problem on this day in particular, though every other was a struggle) and headed to London. We made sure to leave enough time to stop at the same restaurant every year, the now-defunct Amish Kitchen, a Der Dutchman style restaurant where we would have the breakfast buffet. For some reason, it always tasted better than any other breakfast I had.

We sat in the same area by the same fireplace and had the same conversation — things we were looking forward to seeing during the day ahead.

I always preferred seeing all the exhibits and ending up lugging around about 50 pounds worth of freebies by the time the day was through.

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Fireworks, tall corn, and short people don’t mix

By Joel Penhorwood

If you’ve met me, chances are you’ve noticed I haven’t been bestowed with the gift of height. The Good Lord above saw it fit that I was more “down to earth” in a very realistic sense.

My lovely wife and I were at a friend’s house for the Fourth of July, enjoying pool time and waiting for dusk before the local fireworks appeared on the horizon. Keep in mind this house was just slightly out of town, close enough to have a good view of the pyrotechnics.

As 10 o’clock rolled around it came time to migrate to the front yard to see the rockets. Lightning bugs floated on the breeze while the corn was softly swaying. Then as the fireworks began, we realized “Hey, wait a minute — we can’t see a dang thing!”

Knee high by the Fourth of July my foot! This corn had tasseled and was full steam ahead into reproduction stages when our motley crew gathered behind it to view the fireworks on the other side.

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The best first car? A 1992 John Deere Ford Ranger

When I see newly-licensed young people with fancy cars, my blood boils — not because they’re undeserving of such a ride or that they won’t take care of it. In fact, I’ve found the pride of a first car means it is the best maintained vehicle a person may ever have. No, my anger stems from the said young person never knowing the lessons and freedom an old beater has under its rusty hood.

This is the story of my first automobile and why it still holds a place in my heart as the perfect first car.

I must confess I have already lied to you as in fact this car was not a car at all, but rather a truck. Well some would call it a truck, others would call it a glorified golf cart. My first vehicle was 1992 Ford Ranger.

When it was time for me to find a first car, I delved into my years of money saved from selling livestock through 4-H and FFA.

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Top videos of 2017

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We’re converting Agri Country to digital

I take great pride in being a farm broadcaster, an opportunity in no small part thanks to the rich history of agricultural communication in Ohio. A huge figure in this industry was the remarkable Ed Johnson, the founder to our company today. It’s hard to go around and not hear people reminiscing of his name or seeing the great pride someone has as they say, “You know I was interviewed by Ed back in the day.”

We’re now getting a glimpse of just how many interviews there were as our crew at Ohio Ag Net & Ohio’s Country Journal has undertaken a new endeavor — converting all the Agri Country episodes from their current tape form over to digital to preserve them for current and future generations.

Agri Country was a weekly television show that appeared across Ohio (and parts of surrounding states) featuring agriculture and the unique people that made it happen.

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How farmers and their cyclops sheep led to a cancer treatment breakthrough

Lessons of life are sometimes found in the strangest of places. That was the case for a group of Idaho ranchers in the 1950s that found a mysterious case of cyclops lambs among their sheep. That’s right — one-eyed mutant lambs were being born.

An interesting video on the subject from the folks over at TED-Ed (the same group responsible for TED Talks) goes into further detail. It’s available below and I encourage you to take a moment to watch it.

Long story short — the effort by the farmers to report their deformed lambs to scientists at the USDA led to a long line of discoveries that eventually resulted in the identification of a relationship between a plant compound — cyclopamine — and proteins instrumental in the biological development process. With the mystery of the cyclops sheep having been solved, scientists took the lessons learned and applied them to humans.

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Sun: A farmer’s friend…and enemy

Here in the office of Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net, it is painfully clear that I’m the youngest employee around. From the jokes about millennials to the life stories I have yet to relate to, let’s just say the age gap is, well, noticeable.

Now that my inexperience is on full display, let’s talk something I have faced that’s unique for my age. Skin cancer has been found on my body twice in my life so far. Both times it was melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The discovery is a bit out of the ordinary for a 23-year-old like me as the average age for melanoma diagnosis is 63, according to the American Cancer Society. We’ve kept a close eye on it ever since and that vigilance has brought me a better understanding of the dangers and precautions associated with sun exposure, something we should all keep in mind.

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The written and unwritten rules of “Five Dollar Baseball”

Playing sports with family seems to be an undervalued commodity in the marketplace of life these days. Athletics themselves — their competitiveness, sweat equity, failure, success — create a bond among contenders found few other places.

Today, we look at a fun backyard game my family and I recently found ourselves playing while celebrating Easter — part baseball, part football, and all fun. Not sure if it has an official name, but we know it simply as “Five Dollar.”

Growing up as farm kids, we’ve found an open pasture or open farm field seem to be the best places to play such a game. You might remember a similar game played amongst your own family in years gone by.

Note: Five Dollar Baseball is not an illegal action Pete Rose was accused of in the  80s.

Equipment needed:

  • 3+ people
  • Baseball
  • Baseball bat
  • Baseball gloves
  • Courage
  • Skill (optional)
  • Brass knuckles (just kidding)

IMG_9158Official rules:

The game consists of one batter and a varying number of catchers in field.

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What is a podcast and how do I use it?

Alas, we live in a digital world these days. Be it the smartphones in our pockets, the vehicles we drive, or the computers we depend on daily — digital is here and here to stay. Along with that are some exciting new forms of media.

We here at Ohio Ag Net recently started a podcast ourselves talking the latest issues in agriculture, featuring those from all corners of the industry.

Podcasts really are great ways to deliver information to more people across the internet, in addition to the more traditional form of broadcast communication. However, we realize not everyone is familiar with the world of podcasts. This blog will look to give a quick introduction on how to best utilize them.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is a piece of digital audio that’s distributed across the internet, available for downloading to a computer or mobile device. They can range in topic and length depending on the creator.

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The ups and downs of this winter in GIF form

This winter has been everything from warm, cold, beautiful, dreary, to just plain strange in every way. To look at it so far, we take a recap of the winter in an equally odd way.

via GIPHY

First of all, a quick lesson in computers. A GIF ( as seen above) is an electronic image file type, standing for Graphics Interchange Format. (Fun fact: The GIF acronym pronunciation is currently in a heated debate across the internet. Its creator pronounces it “jif” while many talking heads on the interwebs say it should be pronounced “gif” because of the g standing for graphics. It’s a silly debate.) GIFs are unique in that they support animation without audio, making it easy to share small video clips. In this blog, we’re looking at our reactions from each week of weather with entertaining pieces of media brought to us in GIF form.

Let’s take a look at the historical weather information for each week since November 27, 2016.

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Frozen rain barrel? Don’t get caught out in the cold — like me.

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” –Mark Twain

It got pretty cold this past weekend. When it gets cold, water freezes. When water freezes, things break. That was almost the case with a large rain collection tank at my home recently, though a bit of rushing around helped get things thawed.

In the back of the barn sits an old farm chemical tank that’s been repurposed to collect water from the barn’s gutters. Now this isn’t your everyday lean-to — this barn is a classic lofted tin-roofed, red-painted barn of old. Abundant roof area means abundant rainwater. Why not take advantage of that naturally condensed source? It’s amazing how much water a quick shower has in it when collected across a large roof.

Before things froze over a week ago, I was toying with the out spout connection of the tank ahead of the freeze hoping to get it off completely.

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Two undefeated teams going into Friday night

My home community will see something tonight that everybody should be a part of. Schools from opposite sides of the county have found themselves entering week 10 of high school football undefeated — and that one regular game left in the schedule just happens to be against each other. Just to sweeten the pot, the conference division title hangs in the balance.

As a proud alumnus of Benjamin Logan Local Schools, one of the sides of the night’s coin toss, I’m always proud to call myself a Raider. I’m especially proud tonight as I venture to enemy turf to see the boys of fall battle it out with the Indian Lake Lakers, who might as well be the team up north for all we’re concerned. I’m sure the same sentiment holds true for the other side of the field.

The Bellefontaine Examiner, our local newspaper, may have said it best when their headline read: ‘HISTORIC BATTLE AWAITS LAKERS, RAIDERS.’

“This will be the biggest game these kids have been a part of,” said the Ben Logan head coach, Jeff Fay, to the Examiner.

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Shame the country sky isn’t used more — but it’s not too late

I was quite fortunate to have teachers throughout my schooling that had a passion to do more than teach, but actually get their students excited about what they could do with their knowledge.

With the recent onset of fall, I reflect back on my grade school days and remember eagerly waiting in class on Fridays for the ever-elusive weekend. One such day found me in a certain 6th grade science class thinking about what Saturday and Sunday held in store. As the bell rang releasing us from the clutches of our textbooks one autumn Friday, our teacher reminded us that during that evening’s football game, one of the high school science teachers would have a telescope set up on the hill beside the stadium — and here’s the catch — we’d get bonus points if we visited him.

I made a mental note and put it out of my mind.

Later that evening as I was with friends beneath the stadium lights, one friend suggested we take a quick break from watching the game to go see that high school teacher on the nearby hill.

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The evils of IKEA furniture

I must be getting old, friends. I was recently watching an episode of Jeopardy! and I was enjoying it a bit too much. My masterful trivia skills were on full display until Final Jeopardy, the last query in the show.

The subject was international business and I felt I had a good enough grasp on the subject to do well. I yelled to the imaginary Alex Trebek in the room how much money I was wagering and then took a gander at the “answer.”

It was the following: “This European company uses about 1% of the world’s lumber each year; it aims to make that 100% sustainable by 2020.”

Immediately flustered at the benign situation I was confronted with, I ran out of time before coming up with a viable solution. And my imaginary money, like my trivia ego, was gone. The correct question?

“What is IKEA?”

Right you are, Alex.

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Do cows use cell phones?

Ask some of my friends and they will tell you that I am a person that can misplace things from time to time — alright, all of my friends will tell you that. Knowing the location of my smartphone can be one such challenge.

In my mind, smartphones are both a blessing and a curse. The good? Nearly the entire span of human knowledge and wisdom is available to us at the flick of a thumb on a device that fits in our pocket. The bad? The fact that the entire span of human knowledge and wisdom is on a device small enough to fit in our pocket — and then go undetected when flung unknowingly into a field.

I used to work on my extended family’s large dairy farm where I had carried on the tradition that my two older brothers, whom had worked before me, began. Now this dairy, like most farms of its type, gains most of its herd growth from heifers born on the operation.

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Sailing on a farm pond (and the lessons that result)

They say the dog days of summer are a good time to spend on the water. My brothers and I would agree, though we’ve learned some lessons the hard way in recent years through our adventures in boating.

There’s something about sailing that has always called out to me. That’s a problem for a midwestern farm kid whose biggest interaction with the sea in his formative years was swimming in the waterway behind our house after a heavy rain — hardly a suitable body of water for the magnificent ship I envisioned sailing.

A couple of summers ago, while working at the Ohio State Fair, I came across an ad on craigslist for a small sailboat in the Columbus area up for sale. The sky opened up and cherubs seemed to sing when my wandering eyes found the advert. A sailboat that I could afford! After a quick trip to the seller’s house I was back to the fairgrounds with a boat stuffed in the back of my S-10 and a slightly lighter wallet, even though the vessel was just as long as my entire truck.

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