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Ty Higgins

I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Licking County. Using the “its who you know” and “seize an opportunity” mantras, I started my farm broadcasting career right out of high school at WRFD-AM, thanks to my uncle Scott Higgins introducing me to then Farm Director Joe Cornely.

From there my radio path took me to Columbus country music station WHOK-FM, where I was known as Tyler Jacobs for over 12 years. Eventually I ended up right where I started and where I am most comfortable, back in farm broadcasting – using my real name!

I became a member of The Ohio Ag Net team in 2010 and I am proud to share the great stories about Ohio Agriculture, one broadcast at a time.

I currently live in Delaware County, where I am raising one boy and one girl, with my wife Angela. When I am not coaching my son’s baseball team or rehearsing for my role in my daughter’s dance recital (pictures if you want them), I am grilling, golfing and doing whatever may be on my “honey-do” list at any given moment.

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Walls named Ohio Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture winners

Kyle and Ashton Walls of Mt. Vernon have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2019 Excellence in Agriculture Award. The award recognizes successful young agricultural professionals who are actively contributing and growing through their involvement with Farm Bureau and agriculture.

The Walls will receive an expense-paid trip to Austin, Texas, to compete in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest during the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in January. They also receive a John Deere Gator courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America and a $1,000 cash prize sponsored by Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau.

Kyle is a regional agricultural and commercial business manager for a mid-size community bank. Ashton is employed with one of the top global agricultural equipment manufacturers. The Walls have built and manage a herd of cow-calf Mexican Corriente cattle, which are primarily used for competitive rodeo events. They also raise laying hens for egg production.

They are both active in Farm Bureau at the county, state and national levels: Ashton served for many years as a Knox County Farm Bureau board member and was recently accepted by American Farm Bureau to attend the Women’s Communication Boot Camp in Washington, D.C.

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Need for outdoor appreciation

School is back in full swing and so is volleyball season. I will not lie, it has been busy.

When I received my schedule this year of teaching, I was incredibly worried. I did not have my preparation period until the last period of the school day. This had happened my first year of teaching and it had been a rough year. I had felt like I was constantly behind, constantly running late, constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown not having a break, except a short lunch, during the day. My only bright spot was that occasionally I would get to cover our outdoor skills class.

I saw that my prep was seventh period, the last period of the day. It was not until the first week that I realized that my prep once again corresponded with the outdoor appreciation class.

Let me explain a bit about our outdoor appreciation class.

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Some trade wins for U.S. agriculture

Lately, American farmers have not been given much good news when it comes to trade. American Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton tells Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations Ty Higgins that big wins with the USMCA and Japan may get the ball rolling for more bilateral trade deals and could bring positive momentum to the upcoming trade talks with China.

Transcription

Ty Higgins: This is the Ohio Farm Bureau podcast. I’m Ty Higgins along with Dr. John Newton. He’s the chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, and John on the economic side of agriculture so much to talk about. Let’s start with trade. We were hearing a lot about what might be happening with China in the near future but a big deal coming down the pike with one of our biggest trading partners in Japan.

Dr. John Newton: Well I think the administration sent the notice up to Congress that we’re going to see some details on the Japanese Trade Agreement very, very soon.

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Scheffler inducted into Crawford County Agricultural Hall of Fame

Milton Scheffler was inducted into the Crawford County Agricultural Hall of Fame Sept. 10 during the Crawford County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting held at the Trillium Event Center. Crawford County Farm Bureau partnered with other agriculture organizations to designate an inductee into the Crawford County Agricultural Hall of Fame, a recognition for outstanding contributions by an individual to agriculture. An honorary plaque was presented to honor Scheffler, and a permanent Hall of Fame plaque will be displayed in the Crawford County Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Crawford Antique Farm Machinery Association nominated Scheffler to receive this award for his service as a Crawford County farmer, his many other accomplishments in Crawford County and the state of Ohio, and his volunteer work with Crawford County youth.

Scheffler raised corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, hay, cattle and hogs in Crawford County. He served as a committee member of the Crawford County FSA, served on the Board of Directors for the former Zeigler Milling Company helping farmers to make decisions, and was a trustee for the Crawford Antique Farm Machinery Association.

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Legal with Leah: Motor Vehicle Sales Tax

There is nothing like the feeling of driving off the dealership lot in a brand new or new to you vehicle. Very few things can take that feeling away, but nothing could take that smile off your face like the tax bill on that car, truck or SUV.

On this Legal with Leah, Ty Higgins, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations and Leah Curtis, Ohio Farm Bureau policy counsel discuss what the ag sales tax exemption covers and what it doesn’t.

Listen to Legal with Leah, a podcast featuring Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discussing topics impacting farmers and landowners.

Transcript

Ty Higgins: Leah I know that you and Joe covered that ag does have an exemption on sales tax, but the question then becomes does the tax break apply for motor vehicles and trailer purchases as well. The answer?

Leah Curtis: Well generally it doesn’t apply to motor vehicles in particular.

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Making safe farms a reality in northeast Ohio

First responders in rural communities across the state have an acute need for grain bin rescue training, but a finite amount of availability to take such training. That’s about to change.

From that knowledge came a vision that is taking shape at the Wayne County Regional Training Facility in Apple Creek, a nonprofit group formed to train first responders in a six-state area. The facility provides educational programs on firefighting, fire prevention, emergency squad and rescue work. In 2017, volunteers from Ashland, Holmes, Medina and Wayne County Farm Bureaus “started dreaming,” said Bob Hange, who was president of the Wayne County Farm Bureau at the time. The four counties had just donated grain bin rescue tubes to local fire departments, which was appreciated. Although, there was one challenge: First responders lacked the training to use the new piece of equipment.

Wayne County grain bin rescue project
Key partners on the Safe Farms project met last year to discuss its progress.
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Ohio’s top conservation farmers honored

The Ohio Department of Agriculture today recognized five families as winners of the 2019 Conservation Farm Family Awards at the Farm Science Review in London. Ohio Farm Bureau is a sponsor of the awards.

“It is one thing to talk about the importance of conservation on the farm, but it is quite another to practice it every day like these award-winning families,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda. “I am proud of each of them for being good neighbors, handling the land with care, and helping to responsibly keep food and agriculture a top-ranking industry in Ohio.”

The five families honored were: Kurt Farms of Hardin County; Rick and Janice Brill of Lorain County; Doug and Beth McConnell of Muskingum County; Timothy and Lynn Miller of Logan County; and Fred and Kristy Walters of Hocking County.

“Each of the five farm families we recognized operates in a different area of Ohio, with differing acreages, soils, and topography,” said Kirk Hines, chief of the department’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation.

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Weather has been wild card for farmers

Each spring farmers get geared up to go out in the fields and plant their corn and soybeans. They hope for good weather to allow them to get their seeds in the ground. Then they hope for a decent growing season that allows the crops to grow and reach maturity. At harvest time, they hope for dry weather that allows them to get their crops harvested without working in muddy conditions.

Unfortunately, few of these things happened this past spring and summer. Farmers were ready to plant, but the weather didn’t cooperate. They would be ready to get out in the field and go to work. But then another rain would come along and they would be delayed another week or more, depending on the amount of rain — and some dropped a lot of water.

Several farmers and some agriculture industry people say this has been the worst planting season they can remember…just too much rain at the wrong time.

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Growing our Generation: Our jump into the sheep industry

Levi and Krysti Morrow from Morgan County are the editors of the Sept. 23, 2019 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.

Levi and Krysti Morrow's sonHi! We’re Levi and Krysti Morrow, your guest editors for the Growing Our Generation e-Newsletter this week! With the “help” of our 15-month-old son, Charlie, we own and operate Rocky Knob Farms in McConnelsville.  We are the u-pick strawberry and pumpkin source in Morgan County and now are dipping our feet into the commercial hair sheep business. Krysti spends her time split between mom life and farm life managing the day to day chores, marketing and planning for our u-pick operations and farmers markets. Levi is an agriculture education teacher at Morgan Local Schools in our county and does all the cropping and haying for the farm.

In our 2017 edition, we discussed the importance of business planning, knowing your resources as a beginning farmer and what exactly we do with our leftover pumpkins.

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Support Dairy Farmers & Your Community with the #10GallonChallenge

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

As a farm broadcaster, I sometimes feel helpless as I report on all of the challenges our farmers across the country are facing these days. Among those struggling the most are dairy farmers. Because of major issues beyond their control, most dairies will find it impossible to make a profit this year. I realized there is something we all can do to help that will mooove milk and help others around our community in the process. I hope you will join me in taking the #10GallonChallenge!

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A multi-hybrid symbol of patriotism

By Ty Higgins, The Ohio Ag Net

It must have been quite a sight for Joe Singleton and his son as they flew over the beautiful mid-season landscape of Darke and Preble Counties, but among the thousands of acres of lush corn and soybean fields, something extraordinary caught their eyes — a multi-hybrid American Flag.

After they posted the picture on Facebook, I had to find out who this field belonged to. It didn’t take long thanks to some social media friends.

“We have a John Deere corn planter that was capable of doing something like this and I have seen other farms do some creative things with it,” said Bill Meyer, who farms the 50-acre field all decked out in stars and stripes. “I was pretty confident with this particular field’s performance and I thought we could do something fun and the American Flag was the first thing that popped in my head.”

Meyer didn’t know how long it would be until somebody noticed.

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As you go north in Ohio, things go south


By Ty Higgins

For the past two weeks, I have been contacted about the woes that farmers are facing in northern Ohio. Cold and wet conditions well into May have pushed back planting progress in a part of the state that is becoming use to this type of pressure.

“We are just about a week later than last year,” said Wood County farmer Kris Swartz on his Cab Cam video earlier this week. “We have seen this type of spring so much over the past 4 years that I think this is becoming our new norm.”

Swartz has made some nice progress since getting started with his planting season late last week. He is finished with corn and about halfway through with the soybeans. But as you drive around his area it is easy to see that many producers have not been so fortunate.

As I made my way to Swartz’ farm on May 30th, I decided to do a mini crop tour, of sorts, so I stopped in each county on the way up Route 23 and I-75 to compare just how things deteriorated the further north I headed.

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Young farmers gaining ground

By Ty Higgins

One of the most popular statistics thrown around about agriculture is that the average age of the American farmer is 58. Although this figure is causing some anxiety in the industry, my journeys throughout the 2018 planting season has me focusing on another stat. After hopping into tractor cabs all over the state, I realized that my random stops had me, a 40-year-old, feeling a little older than I normally do on a given day of hanging out with producers.

After riding along with Roger Tobias (25), Reggie Rose (26) and Owen Niese (23) it would be hard to convince me that only 2% of established farmers in America are less than 35 years of age. Equally as difficult would be to convince these young farmers that there is no future for them in agriculture.

“The past 3 to 4 years we have really taken off in the size of the operation,” said Tobias, who farms in Pickaway, Madison, Richland and Ashland Counties.

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The mystery of the Ohio FFA jacket in Italy

There are many diverse paths that lead Ohio FFA members to the organization and even more paths that will take them far beyond their FFA years. The one thing they will all have in common, forever, is the pride of donning that signature blue corduroy jacket.

As we get ready to highlight thousands of these young people next month at the Ohio FFA Convention, I found out about one of those legendary jackets that may have chosen a path all its own.

One of my friends on Facebook posted about her brother-in-law taking a trip to Florence, Italy, and noticing a fellow walking the streets in what wouldn’t be an unusual sight here in the U.S. — an FFA jacket. What made this jacket even more fascinating was where it was from. The back of the jacket had the great state of Ohio embroidered on it and below the FFA logo was the same exact school where my Facebook friend had graduated, as well as my Mom and Dad — Northridge High School in Licking County.

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A farmer’s promise and a farm wife’s revenge

When corn was up above the eight dollar mark,

Our relationship still had a red hot spark.

Cash was a flowin’ and the bank account full,

The markets kept feeding that corn hungry bull.

 

One day my wife asked if we could knock down a wall,

And add to our house which she thought was too small.

I told her we would but first things come first,

We needed new farm gear, since ours was the worst.

 

I will build you more room, I told her with glee,

After we get that tractor, I thought honestly.

But after that buy, I must’ve been bored,

‘Cause I then built a place for the tractor to be stored.

 

Those new wheels have a nicer place than me to reside,

My wife yelled at me, thinking I had lied.

I promised again about the addition,

Which would include a new porch and a chef’s dream kitchen.

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Mr. President, do not take farm vote for granted

I know that many people involved in agriculture, myself included, were thrilled to see President Donald Trump take time out of his very busy schedule to visit the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville in January.

In that speech, we found out that the President is hearing about and working on so many issues that will affect farm country. From a new farm bill, to NAFTA, immigration reform, infrastructure, or countless regulations that are currently hindering progress in our industry, Mr. Trump mentioned the many woes facing agriculture as he spoke directly to thousands of farmers and ranchers from that stage in Music City.

The elephant in the room when it comes to rural America and politics at the highest levels of government is whether President Trump will truly take into account why he holds the title of Commander-In-Chief. If not for farm country, the oval office décor would have a completely different vibe.

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Where are the “You Been Farming Long” boys now?

This picture is one of the most iconic pictures in the history of agriculture. Back in the early 80s you couldn’t go to a farm house, implement dealer or sale barn without seeing this poster somewhere on the wall. Seeing it recently for the first time in a long time piqued my curiosity and I wanted to know what ever happened to these two boys (who are in there 40s now)? So I Googled it. Here is what I found.

One of the first links that popped up was a Pinterest posting from 2009. The mother of the two bib-donning photo stars, Deni Overton, wrote about how the picture came to be and the interest it garnered for years to come. She wrote:

Have you seen this picture before?

I took this picture of my twin sons in September, 1978.

Did you know that it is one of the most recognized posters in history?

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Oh, to be that farmer

Recently, I was riding along with a young farmer in his old pickup truck. The one he fixed up as a project in college, but didn’t have the heart or the funds to let it go. The only difference between now and when he bought it is what’s in the bed. It was mostly empty, until toys and sports gear from his kids started to pile up back there.

We were traversing through a part of his county that I had not been through before. I was fixated on the dust trail behind us from a rarely traveled township road and he was looking straight ahead. That is, until he caught sight of a farmstead that would draw any farmer’s attention.

Two humongous grain legs connected more bins than one could count while driving by, with a few more possibly tucked in behind the monstrous ones.

“Oh, to be that farmer,” said the young farmer as he looked at me.

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