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Not a Picasso in Town

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

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.

It is a city of power, too much some would say, but at one time that power was used to mold a country of great opportunities.

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A salute to “black stretchy thingies”

About a year ago, my husband, Mark, started assembling a toolbox for me. The idea behind it was that I would have a few tools on hand in the barn at all times. It seemed like whenever he went to the barn with me something needed fixed and he never had a tool to work on the project. I also think that based on my history with tools he didn’t want me using any of his fancy tools anymore.

Mark stayed away from power tools but he assembled a hammer, some wrenches, a screwdriver with several different ends (that I by the way have no idea how to attach) and a bunch of other stuff. I really only know what about half of it is.

I thanked him for the toolbox and accessories, and it really is nice to have it in the barn, but I often wonder why he thinks I know how to use much more than the hammer.

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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.

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Self-proclaimed goat midwife

People who knew me in my youth would have never guessed I would have babies of any species born on our property let alone assist with the births. I never had a strong stomach for blood or body fluids.

About 7 years ago a friend from college was buying pygmy goats at the same time I was and she talked me into sharing a buck and starting a breeding program. I had originally planned to just buy a couple of wethers to serve as pets. It has been an adventure ever since.

As all livestock caregivers find out eventually, there are many things you need to learn to do yourself. I love my vets but there are only a few of them in the county that handle large animals, and it seems that usually when I have a kidding emergency, they are all out on other emergency calls.

A few years ago, a group of goat friends and I started our own little maternity group.

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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.

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Well Done Dr. Forshey

By Ty Higgins

As you have probably heard by now, The Ohio Department of Agriculture has a new leader at the helm. His name is David Daniels and he makes his way to ODA via the Statehouse where he served as a State Senator for Ohio’s 17th District for four terms.

For the past 3 months, State Vet Dr. Tony Forshey added the title of Interim Director of ODA. During his short tenure, you would have never guessed that he even knew that “interim” was part of his new role. He hit the ground running knowing that there would be no time for Ohio agriculture to slow down and just wait on a new Director. Dr. Forshey traveled the state to speak at numerous events, spearheaded working groups to discuss water quality and nutrient management and I would even put money on him looking forward to making the county fair rounds had his time at the post lasted until summer.

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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.

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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.

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Beware of the stud

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been helping my neighbor, Patricia, with her barn chores. She is recovering from surgery and has lifting limitations so her daughter, Liz, and I have been working together to make sure her stalls are cleaned and her water buckets are full.

Patricia is a good friend and I like her horses so it really isn’t work; I enjoy visiting with her and her horses. She has also helped me chase loose minis and deliver newborn baby goats many times in the past. We make a good team.

The only drawback to visiting Patricia and her barn is her stallion, Ace. Ace is an aggressive stud and to make matters worse, he seems to particularly dislike me. His hatred for me is kind of funny because he really doesn’t have a reason. I’ve never touched him, let alone hit him, and I have always talked nicely to him.

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Cow Cam

Now I have seen it all! I recently discovered the first video filmed by cattle.

This, of course, raised a few poignant questions, like did the Director use a bull horn? Is this just a “trailer” for the full length moovie? When a cow messed up a line, did someone yell “Cud, Cud”?

I doubt this movie will make millions at the box beef office, but it is yet another great way to show consumers what happens on the other side of the fence to provide them a safe wholesome product at the meat case…enjoy.

 

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Surprises in the horse barn aren't always pleasant

At this point in my life, I’m never really very surprised when I find some kind of problem or disaster in the barn. I will admit that I did reach my breaking point last spring, when the barn flooded and my pregnant goats where standing in three inches of water but that was a pretty extreme problem.

Most of the time rotten mini horses, Mike and Ike, create the little surprises I meet randomly during my morning feedings.

I wasn’t really very surprised when I saw Mike and Ike munching on several bales of hay they had managed to pull into their stalls one morning last week. Really it was only a matter of time until it happened.

Last summer, in an effort to cram as much hay into the barn as possible, my husband, Mark, and I filled two of our three horse stalls with hay. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

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Surprises in the horse barn aren’t always pleasant

At this point in my life, I’m never really very surprised when I find some kind of problem or disaster in the barn. I will admit that I did reach my breaking point last spring, when the barn flooded and my pregnant goats where standing in three inches of water but that was a pretty extreme problem.

Most of the time rotten mini horses, Mike and Ike, create the little surprises I meet randomly during my morning feedings.

I wasn’t really very surprised when I saw Mike and Ike munching on several bales of hay they had managed to pull into their stalls one morning last week. Really it was only a matter of time until it happened.

Last summer, in an effort to cram as much hay into the barn as possible, my husband, Mark, and I filled two of our three horse stalls with hay. It seemed like a great idea at the time.

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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.

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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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Heads Up Ohio Agriculture

By Ty Higgins

As if feeding the World wasn’t enough to keep you busy, Ohio Agriculture, wait until you see everything else you need to concern yourself with in 2012.

This realization came to me last week as I travelled to a couple of speaking engagements centered around crop insurance. I was very fortunate to have a minute or two to talk to the audience about The Ohio Ag Net and how we are a resource to not only keep farmers informed on the latest developments that effect their livelihoods, but to also work as a bridge to consumers to help them better understand agriculture.

Here is a laundry list of topics I highly recommend you stay on top of. To help, I have put some links within this blog to help you find more information on the various subjects.

The 2012 (maybe) Farm Bill – I have been told recently that there is a 50/50 chance that the farm bill will be written this year.

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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.

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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.

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