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Silos: The new billboard

It is an all too familiar scene as you drive through once rural, now booming parts of Ohio. The farmland is now parceled to quarter-acre plots with a house and a swing set, the barns are gone and the only thing left that would give you a hint that the piece of ground was once a farm is a single silo. In most cases, the only reason it is still there is because it is just as expensive to tear down as it was to put up.

Many companies are taking advantage of these parts of the landscape that were once common and now a novelty. I can’t help but think about the stories these structures could tell about good times and bad and how much they miss those times, either way.

Here are some examples that I have found as I drive around The Buckeye State.

































I know there are plenty more out there that I haven’t come across yet and I would love to see them!

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Drive for the cure!

Most of us have had a friend or family member who has been touched by cancer, and in particular, breast cancer. Each October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are all given an opportunity to help do our part in finding a cure for breast cancer.

During the past couple of years, The National Percheron Association and the World Percheron Congress have teamed up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure by selling “Drive for the Cure” bracelets to raise money to fight breast cancer. The pink bracelets include artwork of a Percheron horse and the words “Drive for the Cure.”

This fund raising effort will conclude in October 2014 on the final day of the 2014 World Percheron Congress during the Drive For Cure Charity Cart Class. All ages of drivers and sexes of horses will compete in the class. The only requirement is that the drivers wear pink. Cancer survivors will be invited to ride with participants.

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This blog is currently shut down due to a lapse in federal government funding

Sorry, this blog is currently shut down due to a lapse in federal government funding.  It will resume once Congress restores funding.

Just kidding…


A 3 a.m. calf on a frigid night — the farmer’s not shut down.

A harvest ready in the field — the farmer will be around.

For long days in the fall and late night care when livestock calls,

Despite aching backs or spirits that fall,

Farmer’s don’t shut down.


While bunch of blowhards in suits and ties,

Who shake your hand and smile then lie,

And debate debt ceilings (only to raise them),

Then shut it all down (‘cept for the guy who pays them),

Farmers don’t shut down.


They sweat and they toil in the sun and the soil,

Fix up stuff in the shop, change the tires, change the oil,

Farmers bale the hay when the sun is shining,

While politicians offer gridlock, hot air and whining.

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Salute to the barn cat

When we first moved to the country and built a barn, I immediately began searching for a barn cat. My husband, Mark, was baffled because he didn’t understand why we needed another mouth to feed or why anyone would want a cat regardless of whether it lived inside the house or in the barn.

I have visited many barns through the years. The barns that lack cats are often home to birds that deposit their droppings on every available surface. If the cat-free barns are fortunate enough to avoid an infestation of birds, they are home to rodents that scurry around every corner and steal livestock feed or just generally make a mess.

I am not a fan of birds or rodents of any kind. I’ve been known to run screaming from the barn at the site of a tiny mouse; so, barn cats have become a necessity for our barn.

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Not a Picasso in Town

I, like many other Americans (90% of them), am at my wits end when it comes to what is happening and not happening in Washington. I have blogged about the dysfunction inside the beltway on many occasions. This blog was first penned over 18 months ago, and unfortunately, it still holds true.

March 8th, 2012

This week I traveled to Washington D.C. with The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation County Presidents. Every year they make the journey to lobby on behalf of Ohio agriculture as they visit with their district’s Congressmen and women.

The attitude toward our Nation’s Capital is far from favorable and no matter who you talk to inside the beltway, nothing of importance will get done the rest of this year.

I have now been to D.C. twice and to walk around that beautiful city can really inspire a guy. No, I am not running for office anytime soon, but seeing the historic buildings and hearing the great stories of how our Country came to be can put your imagination to work.

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Chipotle ad offers an idyllic world of pure imagination

 Come with me and you’ll be,

In a world of pure imagination.

Take a look and you’ll see, Into your imagination.

We’ll begin with a spin,

Trav’ling in the world of my creation.

What we’ll see will defy, Explanation.

If you want to view paradise, Simply look around and view it.

Anything you want to, do it,

Want to change the world, there’s nothing to it.


A haunting version of the song from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (I like the Wonka version better) guides the audience through a dark world of industrial food production that is brightened by the actions of an animated scarecrow. This most recent advertising effort from Chipotle Mexican Grill has foodies and aggies abuzz around the country with its anti-big-ag message.

More than 6 million people have watched the beautifully done video on YouTube that delivers a decidedly skewed message designed to promote burrito sales.

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Farm Science Review, applesauce and oil

Most folks attend the Farm Science Review to look at equipment, visit ag related businesses and watch harvest demonstrations. They probably fail to realize that there is much adventure that goes on behind the scenes for exhibitors during FSR. I certainly had my fair share of wild times during the 2013 Review.

On the Monday before the show, the staff of Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net feeds lunch to the exhibitors. I was assigned the job of refilling the applesauce. Things were going pretty well until toward the end of the lunch. I was preparing to carry a new pan of applesauce to the serving table when Dale Minyo asked me if I needed help. I assured Dale that I was fine and that I had been managing well all morning.

Despite my assurances, Dale was right that I needed help because he was able to point to the applesauce running out of the pan and down my leg as proof that I actually did need help.

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Uh-oh: Road closed for Farm Science Review

I was quite distraught last week when I noticed that State Route 29 was closed at I-70. This is my favorite “sneaky back way” to dodge some of the heavy traffic when getting to and from the Farm Science Review. The bigger problem is that this way is not really all that sneaky and many other people use it as well. Not this year folks.

The resulting problem is the decrease of three primary exits from I-70 down to two. There will probably be increased bottlenecking of traffic on 42.

Here is the official report on the exit closure from http://www.pavingtheway.org/i-70/.

Beginning Sept. 9, SR 29 will close at I-70 for 30 days to allow crews to complete work on the new roundabout at the west interchange. Two ramps will also close: I-70 west to SR 29 and SR 29 to I-70 west. Detours will be posted.

SR 29 west detour: US 40 west to US 42 north to SR 29.

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U.S. poultry’s round-trip ticket to China

Why did the chicken cross the Pacific? Some wish this was only a prelude to a punchline but reality is there is a legitimate answer to that question.

Recently, four chicken processing plants in China have been given the O.K. by USDA. That means that chicken produced in the U.S. can be shipped to China for processing and then shipped back to the U.S. to be marketed.

“Because all outstanding issues have been resolved, China may proceed with certifying a list of establishments eligible to export processed (heat-treated/cooked) poultry products to the United States, as long as the raw poultry is sourced from countries that FSIS determined to have a poultry slaughter inspection system equivalent to the U.S. system,” the report authors wrote.

This raises a number of questions in my mind, with the first one being “why”? I have never heard of a shortage of processors here in the States.

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Those doggone farm dogs

There are a few things that immediately pop into your mind when you think of a farm, and not too far down that list is a trusty farm dog. While dogs are an indispensible part of many farms, they also can add some great stories. Most farmers have a few good dog stories.

My in-laws have a Great Pyrenees named Joey to guard the sheep from the increasing coyote population in the area. For the most part, Joey does a great job with the sheep, but occasionally gets a bit over zealous in his efforts.

Just the other morning, my wife Kristin was out wandering the pastures in search of a missing lamb. It had wandered away from its mother just long enough for the massive, and well-meaning, white dog to pick up the little guy up and gingerly carry him off to the far corner of the pasture for safe keeping until he could locate the mother and reunite them.

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“Willie Robertson” of Duck Dynasty makes a visit to the Morrow County Fair

So maybe the actual Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty didn’t make it to the Morrow County Fair, but he was represented by a driver dressed in a costume to look like him during the Draft, Pony, Mini and Mule Show at the fair during the Free Style Driving Class.


I’m always looking for a way to have a lot of fun during this class so this year I dressed up as Willie Robertson. It was a fun time. Most folks didn’t recognize me, and a few folks thought I looked more like a terrorist than a cast member of Duck Dynasty, but I had a good time.


Always remember, the fair should always be about having fun!


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Let’s say the Farm Bill is Syria

“It is a matter of national security.”

How many times have we heard that over the past few weeks as Congress decides whether to take action against the government of Syria for allegedly attacking their own people with chemical weapons?

I get it.

I get that by standing up for the same beliefs that we hold here at home in other parts of the world helps many of our allies in the Middle East region and beyond. I understand that by not punishing the Syrian leadership we are setting a precedent for more hellacious, catastrophic attacks in the future without a second thought.

I am not saying to move forward in one way or another on the topic of using military force in the instance of Syria.

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Draft horse is 24-year fair veteran

It is not rare to find families that enjoy showing at their local county fair year after year, but what is rare is that for the last 24 years Ron and Susan Timmons have been able to show Dixie, their Belgian mare, at the Morrow County Fair every year.

Twenty-four years ago, Ron brought Dixie home from a sale as a weanling as a surprise for Susan. Since that time, Dixie as become a regular at the Morrow County Fair. She has been shown at the fair in various events during the annual draft horse show during every year of her life.

Dixie still looks great and is healthy and was able to compete at the 2013 Morrow County Fair in Belgian Mare Halter and in the draft horse cart classes. She still seems to enjoy her time at the fair and in the show arena.

This type of longevity in the draft horse show arena is unique and speaks to the quality of the horse and the care she receives.

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Farmers feeding a hungry world and caring for it too

Back in college, I was (and I continue to be) pretty fiscally conservative. But, at the same time, I have also always loved ample quantities of good food. These reasons combined make me a big fan of a good buffet. Of course, at a buffet, my personal goal is always to make “profit” — to consume an amount of food with a value that is in excess of the monetary cost of the buffet in question.

For example, I was part of a group of three or four guys back in college that would venture down High Street at OSU and stop at a $6 pizza buffet. At that same place, I could buy a pizza for $9.99. So, if I could eat an entire thin crust pizza at the $6 buffet, I would easily make ample profit. A buffet outing that focused on the higher dollar “everything” pizza would be even more profitable if sufficient quantities were consumed.

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Food Dialogues combine the art and science of food

Have you enjoyed a good sunset lately?

This summer we had a stretch of beautiful summer cool days that made it a pleasure to be outside doing anything (even baling hay). Those beautiful days led to beautiful, crisp nights, many of which were buffered in by breathtaking sunsets.

After a long Saturday afternoon of stacking small square hay bales on the wagon, I wiped the sweat off my forehead and looked up to notice a beautiful sky as the sun dipped down toward the western horizon between the trees and rolling hills in the distance. I was hot and I had been working hard, but the cool evening breeze and the stunning pinkish-orangey-red colors of the sky after a day of working with family offered very a pleasant and hard to quantify kind of feeling.

We live in a science-obsessed society, but some things (like sunsets) are not about science. I am sure that some scientist somewhere could calculate an equation or track brain waves or something that could scientifically describe why people find pretty sunsets appealing.

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Hair color: It’s not just for humans anymore

Readying livestock for any kind fair or show is always a lot of work, but because I have chosen to own and show miniatures with Appaloosa patterns I always have more white to scrub daily during the fair than the average exhibitor.

I’m lucky because my draft horse is black, but she does have one white leg. To cut down on white areas that need scrubbing, I have always purchased spray paint for livestock and painted her leg during the fair, but the color constantly rubs off and needs reapplied.

I’ve known for a while that many folks in the draft horse world use human hair dye to color their horses’ coats, but I had never considered it as an option for me. I understand why they color the coats — it is legal at draft horse shows and really how often are you going to find six horses for a hitch class that match perfectly.

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Food Dialogues in Columbus

As more questions and concerns about biotechnology and confusion about the oft-used term ”sustainability” emerge for grocery shoppers and diners around the country, people are looking for answers.

Some of those answers are being provided today, The Food Dialogues: Ohio is being live streamed at http://ofb.ag/fooddialogues from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT.

The Food Dialogues event series has been in multiple cities around the country and is coordinated by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance at the national level. The Ohio Soybean Council and the Ohio farm Bureau Federation have worked on and sponsored the details at the state level. Today’s Food Dialogues: Ohio is featuring two distinct discussions one focused on biotechnology and another on sustainability. The panels will be moderated by WTVN talk radio host Joel Riley.

The first panel discussion, “Biotechnology (GMOs) And Your Food,” will explore the role of science when it comes to issues tied to food.

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Hair dryer offers cure for bug bites

Everyone who lives in the country has had their share of bug bites, but bugs find me especially attractive. I can’t go outside and not be bitten by something. I’m somewhat used to having a bug bite or two, but recently I had a major reaction to bug bites.

I was in the barn clipping some long hair off my mini horses when I felt something bite me on my back. I felt the bug viciously bite me a few more times, but I tried to continue with my work. I remember the bites being painful, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

After I finished my work, I returned to the house and looked in the mirror so I could see the damage from the attack. I was horrified to find a series of bites and a very red and angry looking space on my back that was approximately 6 inches by 4 inches.

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Up close and personal with draft horses at the Ohio State Fair

The 2013 Ohio State Fair Draft Horse Show served as another great opportunity for me to collect photos, videos, and information for current and upcoming stories for our online news site as well as for future issues of Ohio’s Country Journal.

I had a great time and learned much while covering the event. Make sure you take a look at the photos and video from the draft horse show held at the Fair.

One of the highlights for the week for me was meeting a very famous Belgian gelding. Make sure you read about him and watch a short video of him in action at the Fair.

While I was snapping photos of an exhibitor for an upcoming issue of Ohio’s Country Journal, I also captured many other participants in action. There is a photo gallery from the show online. Take a look. You might just see someone you know.

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