Home / Blogs / Matt Reese (page 7)

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.”


Field signs pay tribute to Brian Myers

This summer you may see some unusual field signs when traveling rural roadways in northwest Ohio.  Here’s why.

In June, 20-year-old Brian Myers from Paulding County was tragically killed in a car accident.  He was serving as an intern for AgriGold in northwest Ohio and was attending The Ohio State University.

Brian was known for being enthusiastic about AgriGold and agriculture. As a tribute to Brian, all of the current interns gathered earlier this week with help from other AgriGold employees, Brian’s family, and staff members at Pond Seed Company to prepare and put up field signs in Brian’s territory — a task Brian had been assigned for the summer. The group replaced the typical hybrid information on the signs with an unusual, but fitting, tag line.

“Our tag line is ‘WE KNOW CORN’ and we changed it to ‘BRIAN KNOWS CORN.’ His family came in for a ceremony and we put stickers on signs together.… Continue reading

Read More »

Rain, rain, go away

Nearly every USDA NASS rainfall checkpoint in the state of Ohio is in the plus category for rainfall totals since April 1, and the rains keep coming. Van Wert is leading the state in rainfall totals with a staggering 28.24 inches of rain since April 1 which puts the location more than 15 inches of rain above normal. Those totals were compiled before another series of heavy rains early this week.

The most recent round of rains put down in excess of five inches in some areas following an ominous orange-looking sky and severe thunderstorms. A Fairfield County farmer reported three inches of rain falling in less than a half hour from the downpour. Some areas experienced strong winds and hail as well from the strong front that turned daylight into night as it moved through on Monday.

The big rains once again swamped soggy crop fields, flooded roadways and thwarted any attempts to make hay.… Continue reading

Read More »

Awkward football interview offers perspective on Ohio’s great ag spokespeople

There has been quite a stir in the world of college football lately about a painfully awkward interview between ESPN’s Colin Cowherd and recently hired M*ch*gan head football coach Jim Harbaugh.

On the day of the now notorious interview I was driving around western Ohio with Ty Higgins doing several story visits and we listened to the Harbaugh interview intently in the car. At first, when I heard that the new M*ch*gan coach was on, I immediately conjured up those wonderful crisp fall football Saturdays and the pure joy of watching the Buckeyes clobber the team from up north. Hopefully this experienced coach can help refuel the greatest rivalry in the sport (in a string of very painful and dramatic M*ch*gan losses, of course).

The interview got off to a slow start, though, and I was soon thinking less of fall football victories and more about the painful experience of the increasingly hard-to-listen-to interview.… Continue reading

Read More »

A Century Farm perspective better than reality television

I look forward to them every year — the stories from visits to Ohio Century Farms.

In my estimation, taking a couple of hours to step back in time to the earliest days of Ohio agriculture is time vastly better spent compared to watching any reality television, soap opera or televised sporting event that can be conjured up. And, the stories are real — not a statement that applies to reality television.

Seriously, there could be some really good “based upon actual events” movies made from Century Farm stories that were instrumental in shaping the state’s top economic driver today. The stories of these seldom-noticed gems of Ohio history are sitting right under our noses and are vastly more entertaining, informative and incredible than the most dynamic sporting matchup or even a hotly debated interview with a man who decided he wanted to be a lady.

The Ohio Century Farm program started in 1993 as a joint effort between the Ohio History Connection, Ohio’s Country Journal and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.… Continue reading

Read More »

How do your fields line up with planting by the moon?

Imagine how much things have changed in agriculture since the soils of Ohio were first planted to crops. Then, the farmers could not rely upon huge databases, satellite guidance or decades of replicated yield plots to make their farming decisions. They had to rely upon their personal experience and trial and error. It is no wonder that planting by the phase of the moon via information from almanacs was so common for so long.

Though not even an afterthought for most modern farmers, generations gone by have put a great deal of stock in planting by the phase of the moon. In response to several questions we have gotten and conversations we have had on the subject, I wrote a bit about planting by the phase of the moon a few weeks ago with a promise to follow up after the planting season.

With corn and soybean planting season wrapped up in Ohio, it is time to take a look at how farmers in the state fared with regard to planting in the ideal phase of the moon.… Continue reading

Read More »

Don’t hog the road, driving can be a real bear in Ohio

It was a week of high adventure on the highways of Ohio.

Early in the week a semi hauling 2,200 piglets crashed on U.S. 35 near Xenia in Greene County. The highway was closed for eight hours after the accident. Piglets scattered in every direction, including the nearby wooded areas. Authorities guess that around 1,100 were killed and the remaining 1,100 were rounded up in a monumental pig scramble for the ages.

Then on Wednesday a story came out about a Fairfield County man who spotted a young, endangered black bear lying dead on the side of the road on US 33 outside of Sugar Grove, not too far from my house. The 160-pound bear was apparently the victim of a hit and run accident.

ODNR’s 2014 Black Bear Report found that bear sightings in the state were down from the previous year with 135 sightings compared to 158 in 2013.… Continue reading

Read More »

Stories live on after a friend is gone

kirbytrailride2011-g

We were very sad to hear about our friend and co-worker Kirby Hidy passing away this weekend. Anyone who knew Kirby knew that he loved to share stories. His love of story telling made its way into the OCJ a few times when he wrote some guest columns. Kirby will be missed, but his many great stories will live on for all who knew him. Here is one of my favorites, originally published in December of 2011.

2186b87The Christmas pony

By Kirby Hidy

I was about four years old when I sat on my first horse. Mom and Dad took my brother and me to a local rodeo and horse show. An uncle and several other local cowboys and cowgirls competed in various events from rough stock to wild cow milking (my uncle’s event) to various pleasure horse and youth classes.

As my family and I walked around the grounds, I was fascinated by the horses and, as far as I was concerned, REAL LIVE COWBOYS!… Continue reading

Read More »

Fair season is almost here

Next month, summer will finally arrive along with the Ohio agricultural fair season. With the 2015 crop of Ohio fairs, there will of course be new chances for hard work to pay off, the talents of Ohio’s youth will be showcased and show ring dreams will come true.

This year’s fair season gets an earlier start than in recent years. The season kicks off June 8 with the Paulding County Fair, followed by the Putnam County Fair and the Pickaway County Fair starting on June 22. The fair season concludes this year with the Loudonville Independent Fair in Ashland County starting Oct. 6 and the Fairfield County Fair starting Oct. 11.

Throughout the fair season, Dale Minyo and Ohio Ag Net will be on the road again this summer visiting fairs around the state. Stop by and say “Hello” and check in on the markets and happenings in Ohio agriculture.

Most of the OCJ/Ohio Ag Net staff will be at many events during the Ohio State Fair held from July 29 to Aug.… Continue reading

Read More »

The massive backfire of the non-GM burritO

Though folks in the ag media have been expressing outrage concerning the questionable marketing practices from fast food giant Chipotle for years, the restaurant chain’s misleading tactics have seemingly gone unnoticed (and have even been celebrated) by most everyone else. That changed in April, though, when Chipotle announced that it was removing all foods containing genetically modified ingredients from its menu — the first major restaurant chain to do this.

Since the announcement, the formerly beloved burritos have been blasted around the country on the air, on the Internet and in newsprint. A flood of information came out about the incredible hypocrisy of Chipotle’s “food with integrity” campaign that disregards an overwhelming scientific consensus, basic, well-founded nutritional facts, honesty, and common sense. The menu’s high caloric content, lofty sodium levels and sugary sweet beverages have well-known, scientifically proven ill effects if consumed in quantity, yet the restaurant chain claims that it offers a healthy eating choice because it is removing genetically modified ingredients from the menu.… Continue reading

Read More »

Ag is sexy

Extreme, over simplified, unscientific, and exaggerated problems for the sake of marketing, activism and bolstering the bankrolls of non-government organizations have proven to be far too successful to go away anytime soon.

The reason these tactics work: they are sexy. PETA, Greenpeace, and the Humane Society of the United States have been successful because they know that sexy sells. The videos and pictures of abused animals, the mournful music, the attractive celebrities endorsing these groups doing crazy media stunts — all of this offers a unique flair that makes it stand out due to being extreme, memorable, unique, clever, terrifying, or otherwise instantly recognizable as something desirable or worthwhile. In short — sexy.

The details of the science behind genetically modified crops are inherently boring to most people. Short, emotional headlines about their potential ills for mankind (where the facts need not get in the way) are sexy. That is the problem.… Continue reading

Read More »

Planting by the phase of the moon?

In these days with more science than the world has ever known, there is still plenty that is unknown in the world of agriculture. Because of that, there are still those out there who consider the sage advice in the pages of almanacs.

At the office, we consulted multiple farmer’s almanacs this spring to identify the best days to plant corn. In general, according to almanac wisdom of old, it is best to try and plant corn in the first quarter following the new moon. In both April and May, the new moon phase starts on the 18th. The very best dates are after the first quarter, which starts on the 25th of both months. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are considered the best Zodiac signs for planting.

With all of this in mind, we came up with a list of the best days to plant with input from Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac, Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac and the Old Farmer’s Almanac.… Continue reading

Read More »

Generations of growing seasons

The year my family started planting Christmas trees was 1983 — 32 years ago. Back then, my father was my age now and I was the age of our son who is five.

The family tradition continued this year, albeit a bit later than normal.

We typically plant trees as soon as things dry out in very early April, but this year the rains kept coming and the fields were slow to dry. The bare root tree seedlings have a limited life in the shipping boxes. We try to get the trees planted within a couple days of their arrival and this year the trees sat in the boxes for more than two weeks as the rains never offered a chance to get in the fields. We finally got the first round of trees planted on April 16.

In 1983, we planted the Christmas tree seedlings with flat dibble bars that are used to make a triangular hole in the ground to insert the seedling and then close the hole up.… Continue reading

Read More »

Consumer food choice eroding away in the name of consumer food choice

In this country we continue to see consumer food choice being eroded away in the name of consumer food choice. Here is an example that recently came through my inbox that shows how this is happening.

I got an email asking for my support of the Real Food Challenge. The program is directed at college students and community leaders to encourage them to push for the local college or university to shift a portion of their food use to “Real Food.”

Here is more from the email directed to those associated with The Ohio State University:

The Real Food Challenge is a national initiative to encourage universities and other institutions to buy more food from local sources. Students at OSU are very involved locally in reaching out to the university. If you think the organization you represent might be interested in signing on to the attached letter to OSU President Michael Drake, and if you have any questions, please contact…”

Now, so far this sounds very reasonable.… Continue reading

Read More »

A water rule by a different name

A rule that was once called WOTUS,

Crafted by an Agency of POTUS,

Does it sound much more cool as the Clean Water Rule?

Has the EPA gone and snowed us?

Now everything’s all in a muddle

Ag and the EPA in a scuffle,

‘Cause the water rule’s a dud, ‘bout as clear as mud,

Who’d have thunk tryin’ to govern a puddle?

You can take a donkey and call it a horse,

And some fool will believe you of course,

But let’s not be fooled by this Clean Water Rule,

And let them pass this ass for a horse.

First, let me say that my recent trip to Washington, D.C. reaffirmed my general belief that most people who work for the government do so because they truly want to help. I think that holds true for the folks at the oft-criticized Environmental Protection Agency as well. They just want to help and do what they think is right, generally speaking.… Continue reading

Read More »

Welcome to spring weather

I coach my son’s U6 soccer team and the practices and games are all outdoors so we are at the mercy of the wildly changing Ohio spring weather. If the weather for the day starts out bad I start getting texts and calls from parents before noon asking if the 6:00 p.m. practice will be cancelled. Don’t they know that we live in Ohio and can have snow in the a.m. and sunny and 65 degrees in the p.m.?

Once, I caved to parental pressure on a gray rainy mid-afternoon and cancelled practice early only to find that idyllic conditions prevailed by practice time. All the other coaches made fun of me while their teams practiced beneath sunshine and blue skies and my team’s practice field sat unused.

Such is the case with spring in Ohio and it appears that the weather will keep soccer coaches and farmers guessing over the next few weeks.… Continue reading

Read More »

No spreading manure on frozen ground!

They say I should not apply manure in the snow,

And they’re writin’ up legislation to make sure that I know.

And I’ll do my part, take it to heart, to get cleaner water, that’s for sure,

But of geese and politicians, who spreads the most manure?

So when there’s too much P in the water, and the politicians scowl,

Should they be crying “FARMER!” or should we be crying fowl?

 

 

 

 … Continue reading

Read More »

The equation for improving water quality

In just one short presentation at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada, Newell Kitchen provided a great example that illustrates the complexities of the vexing water quality issues in Ohio agriculture.

Kitchen is with the USDA-ARS Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit. Over the last two decades he has worked to address a challenge that has torn down civilizations for thousands of years — soil erosion.

“Civilizations didn’t so much collapse as they consumed themselves,” he said. “How do we get away from treating soils as consumable? When erosion consumes 1.5 inches of topsoil it takes 300 to 400 years to replace that soil if it is under grass. Erosion is still unfortunately a very active process on the agricultural landscape and it needs to be addressed. Sometimes we think a little erosion is not going to matter in the long run, but it does matter.”

To make matters worse, soil erosion also contributes significantly to problems with water quality.… Continue reading

Read More »

Farm Machinery Show Valentine

img_2584

I know I can be a burden around this time of year,

Because the ground is frozen and winter time is here.

I’ve got all my shop work caught up, and it’s too to cold to be out today,

And when I spend my days in the house I just end up in your way.

So my gift to you my darling, is that I’ll just go

With a bunch of buddies to Louisville for the Farm Machinery Show.

I simply love you too much dear to give a simple rose,

Or chocolates, or candy or lingerie or a pedicure for your toes.

You are wonderful in every way, and deserve some time to relax on your own,

You can read a book or take a nap or talk to a friend on the phone.

You could cuddle on the couch with me, but now you won’t have to hear me snore,

And you can wear the “I Luv my Hubby” t-shirt I got you the year before.… Continue reading

Read More »