Matt Reese

I grew up on a small farm in northwest Ohio and spent most of my youth writing, doodling, taking pictures, reading and exploring the surrounding farmland. With a family full of teachers, I also grew up around a culture supportive of education. I was active in athletics in high school before graduating from Ohio State University where I studied agricultural communications. This led to my career in agricultural journalism.

I continue to work on the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. I live on a small farm in Fairfield County with sheep, rabbits and chickens. I have a daughter, Campbell Miriam, who was born in the fall of 2007 and a son, Parker Matthew, born in August of 2009. We are active in our local church and with numerous other organizations.

I have worked for Ohio’s Country Journal since 1999. I also write a column for numerous newspapers around Ohio, Fresh Country Air and do freelance writing and photography work. I have written and self-published six books to date. To find my books, visit lulu.com and search for “Matt Reese.”


Is ag up a creek without a paddle on phosphorus issue?

By Matt Reese

I think I have convinced my children that I am pretty smart. They are at the ages where they ask copious amounts of questions. And, every time they ask me a question, I have an answer for them.

“Daddy, why is this soccer ball round?”

“So it rolls after you kick it.”

“Daddy, why do we have a fireplace?”

“So we can stay warm in the winter.”

“Daddy, where do baby puppies come from?”

“Ask your mother.”

And, while it is important for all-knowing parents such as myself to have all of the answers, it is a matter of political survival for politicians. The reality is, though, that nobody has all of the answers. In the case of what to do about the oft-discussed algal blooms in Lake Erie, there are no clear answers. But, an “I don’t know” from a politician in response to an angry constituent

who got a gooey glob of blue-green algae stuck in his jet ski is not acceptable.… Continue reading

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What are you doing for Ohio Ag Week?

By Matt Reese

To celebrate Ohio Ag Week (the second full week of March) at the Reese house, we made an all-Ohio meal. We used fresh eggs gathered from our own hens that day, bacon and ham from a hog we got from our neighbor, Snowville Creamery Milk from Pomeroy Ohio and some cheese. The cheese came from the local grocery, but we’re not sure about the exact origin of the cheese, so we fudged a bit there.

Our four-year-old daughter made the meal from the cracking of the eggs (she has been doing this since she was two) to adding the cheese, with some supervision from her mother.

 

 

 

The scrambled eggs were delicious and (almost) all from Ohio. It was a great meal, a fun family project, and a great way to help the kids learn about where their food comes from. What are you doing for Ohio Ag Week?… Continue reading

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Put on pants and go old school on weeds this spring

By Matt Reese

Technology can be a fantastic thing. A few months ago, we started having OCJ/Ohio Ag Net office meetings via Skype on Monday mornings. That way, wherever we were, we could fire up our computers and talk with each other over the Internet. There is something kind of nice about attending a meeting in your underpants from the comfort of your living room.

As things progressed, it became more apparent that in-person meetings were more productive, so we switched to that format. This required me to shave, put on my pants and take the time to face the traffic and the grim drive into work on Monday mornings. While this was rough duty, the in-person meetings have proven more fruitful. Technology can be great, but sometimes it is better to put on pants and be a bit more old-fashioned.

Getting back to old school weed control will be increasingly important as glyphosate resistant weeds continue to pop up and spread in Ohio fields.… Continue reading

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Everybody loves puppies

Everybody loves puppies, so, while I am busy putting together stories from Commodity Classic this week, I thought I would share with you some photos of the newest addition to the Reese family – Clayton. He is a Great Pyrenees that lives in the barn with the sheep to hopefully one day thwart the growing coyote population in our area. We have, thus far, not had any trouble with coyotes getting into the sheep. But, it is not uncommon to go out in the evening and hear the calls of two or three different groups of coyotes from the surrounding woods.

Although Clayton now looks like a puffy baby polar bear, he will grow to a size that will be formidable for any of the coyotes in the area. My wife has wanted a Great Pyrenees for years, though I have tried to postpone a new puppy for as long as possible.… Continue reading

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To eat or not eat that Golden Burrito…

By Matt Reese

The marketing masters from Chipotle have once again fired up farmers with a video that promotes small-scale agriculture while vilifying larger farms. While the promotion of small farms, like ours, is fine, it is the vilifying part that draws objections from many in the agricultural community. My wife, Kristin, writes a regular blog though her involvement in the national CommonGround program. She recently weighed in on the subject. Here is an excerpt from, “To eat or not eat that Golden Burrito…” by Kristin Reese.

I have had mixed feelings about Chipotle for a few years. While I support and advocate for consumer choice when it comes to food, it has become my tag line that, “Local is great but bigger is better.” When I say bigger is better I mean it from a global viewpoint. I am thankful for customers who support smaller local growers like my family.… Continue reading

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Don't change the RFS rules in the middle in the game

My four-year-old daughter and I were playing a game of cards the other day. The goal of the game was to get a matching set of 8 cards, or so I thought. I had just gotten the final card for victory when my daughter announced that she had changed the rules slightly and that I

was not the winner. The new rules, however, fit her set of cards perfectly.

“Sorry, daddy,” she said. “I won again.”

This story is funny when playing cards with a four-year-old, but is no laughing matter when dealing with billions of dollars and a nation’s energy security. But, it seems that some folks feel they need to change the rules in the middle of the game for the outcome they want when it comes to the heated debate surrounding the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

This is why the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association have drawn a line in the sand regarding the RFS.… Continue reading

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Don’t change the RFS rules in the middle in the game

My four-year-old daughter and I were playing a game of cards the other day. The goal of the game was to get a matching set of 8 cards, or so I thought. I had just gotten the final card for victory when my daughter announced that she had changed the rules slightly and that I

was not the winner. The new rules, however, fit her set of cards perfectly.

“Sorry, daddy,” she said. “I won again.”

This story is funny when playing cards with a four-year-old, but is no laughing matter when dealing with billions of dollars and a nation’s energy security. But, it seems that some folks feel they need to change the rules in the middle of the game for the outcome they want when it comes to the heated debate surrounding the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

This is why the National Corn Growers Association and the Renewable Fuels Association have drawn a line in the sand regarding the RFS.… Continue reading

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Matt's Washington mission: Day 2

We  got to the USDA in time for a press conference from a very high level official, the notable Mark Thomas, who shared some of his deep insights from the vacant event podium inside the building

Also at the USDA, we really did meet with some high level officials. John Davis provides an overview from what we learned about the biotech regulatory process.

We grabbed some lunch at the bustling (and high priced) cafeteria in the Longworth Building, then I got to accompany farmers in ties as they went to meet with some lawmakers. We also got to meet with representatives from Ford Motor Company about the potential for future collaboration on finding the optimal blend of ethanol for the high efficiency engines of the future.

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Matt’s Washington mission: Day 2

We  got to the USDA in time for a press conference from a very high level official, the notable Mark Thomas, who shared some of his deep insights from the vacant event podium inside the building

Also at the USDA, we really did meet with some high level officials. John Davis provides an overview from what we learned about the biotech regulatory process.

We grabbed some lunch at the bustling (and high priced) cafeteria in the Longworth Building, then I got to accompany farmers in ties as they went to meet with some lawmakers. We also got to meet with representatives from Ford Motor Company about the potential for future collaboration on finding the optimal blend of ethanol for the high efficiency engines of the future.

Continue reading

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Heading to Washington with Ohio corn and wheat growers

I’m on the road with the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association this week. I’m headed to Washington along with their board and staff. Follow along as I bring you vlog updates on the issues we discuss and people we meet throughout the week.

I’m leaving town..

I had to get thoughts from the cab driver…

I talked to Jon Doggett with the National Corn Growers Association….

I was in the office of Bob, Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

What did I eat at Fogo de Chao

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Are you a Barbie girl?

I am guessing that you have never seen a promotional video for an agricultural commodity quite like this. At least I haven’t. This is lesson from the folks in Australia on how to generate interest in your products. Let me tell you, lamb has never looked quite so good. You may want to book some tickets to the land down under.

This is definitely worth a couple of minutes to watch, simply for the marketing aspect, of course. It will leave you ladies asking, “Am I a Barbie Girl?” and the guys may just take a second look at lamb in the grocery store. Fire up your grill, grab a pair of tongs and enjoy the show:

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Rock 'n Roll and PJs all day: Three days of Daddy in charge

By Matt Reese

My wife was gone for the latter part of last week on a trip to Washington, D.C. with the AgriPOWER Ohio Farm Bureau program. This left me in charge of the house by myself — not a small task with two young children and a barn full of animals to care for.

“No problem,” I said to her as she left for the airport and wished me good luck in her absence.

While my wife was gone, I employed different strategies to save time, maximize efficiency and make it a fun few days.

Strategy 1: Do not clean or pick up anything until three hours before my wife comes home

Conservative estimates on my part show a three-hour-per-day time savings with this strategy. When considering all of the discarded toys, food spill catastrophes (some of these did require immediate attention), dirty dishes, muddy boot prints on the floor, tossed food containers, removed shoes, clothing and other items that result from the daily activities of two small children and their father, three hours of cleaning a day may be on the low side.… Continue reading

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Rock ‘n Roll and PJs all day: Three days of Daddy in charge

By Matt Reese

My wife was gone for the latter part of last week on a trip to Washington, D.C. with the AgriPOWER Ohio Farm Bureau program. This left me in charge of the house by myself — not a small task with two young children and a barn full of animals to care for.

“No problem,” I said to her as she left for the airport and wished me good luck in her absence.

While my wife was gone, I employed different strategies to save time, maximize efficiency and make it a fun few days.

Strategy 1: Do not clean or pick up anything until three hours before my wife comes home

Conservative estimates on my part show a three-hour-per-day time savings with this strategy. When considering all of the discarded toys, food spill catastrophes (some of these did require immediate attention), dirty dishes, muddy boot prints on the floor, tossed food containers, removed shoes, clothing and other items that result from the daily activities of two small children and their father, three hours of cleaning a day may be on the low side.… Continue reading

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Ag needs to be a squeakier wheel in farm bill debate

By Matt Reese

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, they say. And, right now, the wheels of federal farm programs are running smoothly, which may not bode well for the farm bill and agricultural funding amid the tight budget situation.

Agriculture is one of the few areas that has been proactive in light of the budget concerns in Washington, D.C. Joe Shultz, senior economist for the U.S. Senate Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, told attendees at the Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium back in mid-December about how agriculture tried to do its part in the failed Super Committee.

“Only one committee in the U.S. Congress stepped up and worked to create a reasonable plan to save money – the House and Senate Ag Committees,” Shultz said. “The thing that makes me proud to work in ag is that we were the only committee to come together on a bipartisan basis and give our fair share.… Continue reading

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GM mosquito terror spawned from lemon flavored milk

By Matt Reese

In response to the Doc Sanders article posted on our website earlier this week, “Thank God for the FDA: A sour tale of lemon flavored milk,” we got a question from a concerned consumer who had recently read an article that portrayed the FDA in a less favorable light.  She was concerned about the safety of eating foods with genetically modified ingredients approved by the FDA. I was curious, so I read the article.

The article was a classic effort to drum up mass panic about food and technology related issues with little regard to accuracy. It featured genetically modified mosquitoes, disturbing health consequences from consuming genetically modified foods and a deep suspicion of mainstream science with all the makings of a campy horror film. The author, Dr. Mercola, even sounds like a name straight from science fiction.

If you’re involved in agriculture, chances are someone has asked you about an article, book or movie presenting similar “facts.”… Continue reading

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Most viewed stories of 2011

 

With the dramatic expansion of our Web presence in the last couple of years, it has been interesting to see which stories are viewed most often. So, in a tradition started last year, we thought we would highlight the most viewed stories on www.ocj.com over the last year. These results will be in the January issue of Ohio’s Country Journal in my column, but you can get a sneak peek at them as they are posted throughout the week.

In many ways, 2011 was a year that will be remembered for a very long time. The top 10 stories from the year provide interesting insights into what is happening in the broader picture of Ohio agriculture.  It should be mentioned that these were among the top individual stories, but that posts highlighting major annual events including the Ohio State Fair livestock shows and the State and National FFA Convention, and regular features including Between the Rows were collectively viewed more times than these individual stories.… Continue reading

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Merry Christmas from the Reese family

The thin layer of fresh snow crunched under the tires of the old, rusted van than pulled into the parking spot between a gleaming new SUV and a small, sporty BMW. A lone man got out of the dilapidated van with a creak of the door and a cloud of cigarette smoke. He had dirty, long hair and wore a sweatshirt with cut-off sleeves and some ragged, grease-smeared jeans.

He definitely didn’t fit the mold of the typical well-to-do customers that visit our Christmas tree farm for a fun, family experience. Despite his unkempt appearance, though, there was a delighted sparkle in his eyes and he wore a crooked, happy smile on his face as I walked with him into the snow-covered rows of Christmas trees.

He started telling me about his love of a real Christmas tree for the holiday and how he had one every year of his life but last year.… Continue reading

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Flood waters make for soggy Christmas tree sales

By Matt Reese

Christmas tree farms have to deal with the weather twice – once during the growing season and then again during the sales season. With just a few short weeks of marketing for Christmas trees from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the late fall/early winter weather can make or break the entire year.

Despite the soggy weather, Christmas tree sales were up for many Ohio choose-and-cut farms and sales increased nationally as well. This has been the wettest sales season we have ever had on the Reese family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County, but we were fortunate to have some nice weekend days between the incessant rainfall that flooded fields, muddied boots and made for generally miserable tree cutting conditions. We are blessed to have loyal customers, though, who were willing to brave the soggy situation and still come out to get a tree amid the mire.

It is my job to crawl underneath the trees in the mud and cut them down.… Continue reading

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A brown Christmas

This week, I wanted to share a blog my wife wrote about a very unfortunate, but humorous occurrence  at the Reese family Christmas tree farm.

A brown Christmas.

By Kristin Reese

This is a blog topic that you will not see me writing about often, or maybe ever again. I had to attempt to tackle this because it was so funny and gross. At our tree farm we did a beautiful new expansion of our gift shop. We are moving into the new age with our technology and of course our growing practices. While we have come a long way, we still use a Porta-John , a nice one but still a Porta-John. We have discussed adding on an actual bathroom with a toilet and even running water.

As any business owners know, you take it one major expense at a time. While, as workers on the farm, it would be wonderful to have a traditional bathroom but you do what you need to do.… Continue reading

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