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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.

Five things farmers do in their free time

One of the aspects of my job that I take very seriously is to better connect farmers and the industry that I am neck deep in every day with consumers that may hear my reports on the radio, carry a conversation with me in the grocery store or have a nice chat with me over my suburban backyard fence. There is never a lack of surprising comments when it comes to misconceptions about farmers.

One of those misconceptions that almost literally knocked me off of my feet was the theory that farmers are lazy. As one acquaintance put it, “they plant for 2 weeks and harvest for 2 weeks and that is all they have to worry about.”

If there is one word that I would never use to describe a farmer it would be lazy. In fact, when I found this article online it piqued my attention because the words “farmers” and “free time” are very rarely used in the same sentence.

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Veterinarians not fooled by HSUS

As many in agriculture know by now, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is full of tricks to raise gobs of money for a many number of reasons. A very few of those reasons have anything to do with cats and dogs and the vast majority of the funds raised are used for lobbying efforts, ballot initiatives and other strategies to attack American agriculture and take meat off of the consumer’s plate.

Their hefty bank account is proof that many Americans have been fooled to give their hard earned money to the so-called animal rights group, that only sets aside 1% of that moolah for pet shelters.

For awhile, they seemed to have many of the nation’s veterinarians bamboozled too. HSUS even merged with the the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), formerly the Association of Veterinarians for Animals Rights (AVAR), in 2008 to build ties with the veterinary community.

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Is your hometown the most boring place in Ohio?

I would have to imagine that many readers of my blog and visitors of OhioAgNet.com come from pretty ordinary towns, and I would also say that the vast majority of those readers and visitors would say that coming from an ordinary town is not such a bad thing.

When it comes to a recently published survey about the 10 Most Boring Places in Ohio, my hometown of Johnstown, Ohio didn’t make it on the list but, in a weird way, I was kind of hoping it would.

The list was put together by real estate site movoto.com and here is how the towns were compiled.

First, they compiled a list of the most populated places in the state over 10,000 people, to save some of the smaller places from themselves. Then they used sources including the U.S. Census and business listings to gather what they decided were important criteria. Those criteria were:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the higher the better)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the higher the better)
  • Population density (the higher the better)

Some cities didn’t have all of that data, so if they’re omitted from the list, that could be why.

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Photo Cropping: Struggling fields in Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer Counties

While on a road trip Wednesday (July 2nd, 2014), I took a few detours to get a glimpse of how crops are coming along. My route included Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer Counties and by the looks of things, most of the crops were planted late and were water-logged shortly thereafter. Take a look at my photo gallery below. It is still very early in the game, but I am sure farmers in this part of the state are looking for something a little better that what they were dealt.

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Donating $4 million farm to 4-H is a legacy of love

Farmers aren’t usually known as true romantics. In fact, if you ask a farm wife she will tell you that she takes second fiddle two times of every year as her farmer gives all of his attention to the other love in his life; the land.

Sometimes that relationship between a man and the dirt is a match made in farm heaven and sometimes it is a tragedy, but it only takes the winter season for the farmer to forgive and forget and rekindle a bond that will never be broken.

For Minnesota farmer Curt Chergosky, it is because of his love for a woman that he is sharing his first love, his land, with his state’s 4-H program.

Read the entire story here. According to  TV station KARE 11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul:

Andrea Ruesch was a bubbly bundle of energy, still in her mid-30’s, when she started her job in Jackson County.

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The measure of a farmer

I often write about my Grandpa Thompson in my blogs. There are two reasons for that. The first reason is that I admire and respect him and the other is because he gets kind of a kick out of it. You’ve read about his calf in the basement, his woes of being a cattle farmer when the hay nearly runs out and how his golf course is now a highway. He’s had quite an interesting way to go.

One of the stories that I like to tell is the one that made me realize how well respected Grandpa is by others in the Licking County area and why the farming community is so great.

In the late 80s, Grandma and Grandpa lost their house to a fire. It was a total loss. There are two things about that scene that I will never forget, the smell of burning plastic and neighbors coming from every which way to offer a hand in whatever way they could.

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A secret island of swimming pigs

Imagine…the bright sun beaming like it was meant for only you as you relax on soft sands on a warm, tropical day as the turquoise water sneaks up to your feet every few seconds. You have a fruity drink in one hand as the other lets go of every care in the world…and then a pig strolls by.

From the “now I’ve seen it all” category, welcome to a secret island where wild pigs and humans coexist and keep each other company. It’s a real place and I have the pictures to prove it.

Big Major Cay Island is where one can find this porkadise. This petting zoo on the beach is not known by many, but once the location is found a bond is made that can never be broken…until the piggy snacks run out.

For me, along with the warm sun, light blue water and margarita, I use a few other senses to make this destination perfect.

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The trade connections between the Bucks and Canucks

It is no secret that agricultural trade has continually been a bright spot in America’s economy, even through the downturn our country has faced in recent years. Much of the trade pie is attributed with a solid relationship that the U.S. has with our neighbors to the north.

In 2012, for example, America and Canada swapped $41.7 billion in agriculture and agri-food products and that is just part of the two countries making up the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world.

What was even more impressive to me, as I learned about our partnership with Canada during a recent trip to the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., was how much of a role Ohio played in the process.

Ohio benefited from this strong relationship in 2012 by exporting $692 million in ag products to Canada, including the #1 product, animal and pet food at $100 million.

As a state, Ohio also sent $87 million in prepared meats, $85 million in bread and pastries, $43 million in food preparations, $36 million in sauces and condiments, $26 million in snacks and corn chips and $22 million in popcorn to Canada.

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Is castration the answer in Washington?

Over the past 5 years, I have noticed a disconnect when it comes to agriculture and members of Congress. Just like every generation of our society becoming more and more removed for the farm life and ideals, so too are members of our government with every election that goes by.

I think that an Iowan politician just might have the answers to the troubles burdening the legislative process we have witness lately.

Joni Ernst is running for a Congressional seat later this year and she plans on taking the lessons and practices she learned on her pig farm to the Nation’s Capitol. Take a look. I think she is on to something.

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Officially a “Baconeer”!

When I was a kid I, like many others, wanted to be a number of different things when I grew up. Of course a farmer was on the list, along with a police officer, a firefighter and by the way this list is going, a member of the Village People.

I had my Dukes of Hazzard phase and name any superhero of my time, most notably “He-Man”, and I wanted to be them. But when none of those possibilities panned out I eventually found my calling and have truly enjoyed my radio career over the past 20 years, but I was never really fulfilled.

It wasn’t until this week that I finally found a place where I belonged, a place where everyone thinks the same way, feels the same way and eats the same way. A place where the only thing that matters…is bacon.

I am officially a Baconeer!  A Baconeer, by definition, is one dedicated to the scientific art of proving the addition of bacon makes everything in life better.

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A calf in the basement

Growing up, I feared my Grandpa and revered him at the same time. The first time I remember crying was when Grandpa told me I had done something wrong. From what I remember, he didn’t have to say much but the tone in his voice and the look he gave was frightening.

At the same time I knew that he was a good man, an honest man. It didn’t take long for me to figure that out by the way people talked about him, even when he wasn’t around. Those stories and seeing my Grandpa doing things for others without a second thought will never leave my memory and I try to live the same way he has. Those silent lessons have been invaluable.

Now that I am a man and father of two I can say, somewhat jokingly, that Grandpa is also pretty nuts. In the days of his life where he should be taking it easy or seeing other parts of the world, he is working cattle.

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Pictures show that snow isn’t all bad

Although the snow and cold made life difficult for most of the country this past week, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these scenic barns in the winter.

Set against crisp blue skies and snow-covered pastures, these picturesque barns are a sight to behold.

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“Early in the morning, fog froze to every surface on our farm, creating this beautiful wintry landscape,” says Kerri Lehman of Dalton, Ohio.

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A gorgeous mountain farm sprinkled with snow near the town of Joseph, Oregon.

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Snow softens a sturdy old barn, an antique thresher and a mower on the Moser farm in Hickman, Nebraska.

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A snowstorm settles over this colorful barn near Hunter River on Canada’s Prince Edward Island

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A 110-year-old barn in Pickford, Michigan, houses Tennessee walkers and a horse-drawn antique collection

These are courtesy of “Country.”

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The Frozen Truck

I know when a publicity stunt is a publicity stunt, but when it is a stunt as cool as this one (pun intended), I had to share it.

Canadian Tire set out to prove that their top-tiered Eliminator battery can withstand temperatures that are even hard to handle for the most seasoned Canuck, so they created something that has never been created before; an Ice Truck.

1186951_10152238493859059_1897659477_nNow I am not talking about a truck that delivers ice around town, I mean a truck MADE OF ICE! This slicked-up Chevy doesn’t have seat-warmers and it may be gone as quickly as Frosty, but for one mile through this Canadian town, it was the coolest truck in the world.

There were some bumps in the road, so to speak, as far as putting this project together. According to Yahoo! Autos, When automakers build vehicles, the material used for the bodywork must be extremely strong and as light as possible.

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Farming: One of the Worst Jobs of the Year

Congratulations farmers! You have chosen to work in one of the worst careers of the year!!

Of course that depends on who you ask but according to CareerCast.com, a career website, your job on the farm ranks the 190th worst job of the year.

The site ranked 200 jobs from best to worst based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook. To compile its list, the firm primarily used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies.

At first this infuriated me. How dare they say that one of the noblest jobs I have worked, and have covered hundreds of others doing, is among the worst! Then I took a second look at the criteria and you know what, maybe they’re right.

As far as jobs that have physical demands, farming takes top honors. That is what has built the character of the hardest working people in the nation.

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Talk about selling cows!

Only in Australia will you see this!

Road trains arrive at Helen Springs Cattle Station, north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory of Australia. Composed primarily of open grazing land, the property occupies an area of 3,937 square miles. The cattle are loaded onto the road train for their journey to Longreach, Queensland.

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ATT00022The Road Train then leaves on its long trip.

Interesting statistics:   

         There are 17 trucks with 3 trailers and 2 decks per trailer; that’s 102 decks of cattle.

          Approximately 28 cattle per deck; A total of 2,856 head of cattle.

          The cattle will weigh approximately  1,102.3 lbs each 

          The sale price for cattle at Longreach is approximately 75 cents per pound

          Each animal will therefore be sold at $825.

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New movie brings farm dirt to a theater near you

“Some people still view farmers as the old guy on a rickety tractor with overalls.”

“That’s not the case at all. We’re just like everyone else, we just have different jobs. We’re normal.”

Those are a couple of the quotes from a new movie that hits theaters next spring, Farmland.

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, James Moll, has unveiled an advance trailer and website for this film, which is now in post-production. The feature length documentary follows the next generation of American farmers and ranchers, examining the lives of farmers and ranchers in their 20s, in various regions across the U.S.

MG_9335“I make documentaries because it’s a thrill to explore new topics and meet people that I might not otherwise cross paths with,” said Moll.

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A John Deere combine that is anything but green

I am at the age now that if you have attire older than me, your neckties have been in and out of style a time or two and you really need to clean out your sock drawer. That is why I had to slow down and then completely turn around as I passed a 1976 John Deere 4400 combine cutting beans in Bradner, Ohio (Wood County).

4400 2After waiting a little while for Carl Bierksheide to make his way back from the far side of the field to the side shared with the road, I was able to jump up into the cab for a looksee and a short visit. Before I even introduced myself I asked him where his buddy seat, fridge and monitor were. He smiled and stuck his hand out and we got to talking about this relic that started working in the field almost 40 years ago, back when the average corn yield was below 90 bushels.

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A boy and someone else’s dog

One of my fondest childhood memories is my first puppy. Sparky was a purebred Dalmatian and although her name was anything but original, our friendship was.

I was always a very serious young man growing up. On the dairy farm fun usually wasn’t on the agenda, unless you count spraying down the parlor as a good time. But Sparky made me a kid.

We would take the longest walks through the field and out to the woods. She stuck up for me when a stranger visited the farm and I would stick up for her when the neighbor shot her with a BB gun for getting into his chickens.

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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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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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