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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.

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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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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Where have I been? My clothes don’t lie

What I do, in my opinion, is the next best thing to farming. I do not have the monetary, land or equipment resources to even think about actually farming, not to mention I married a city girl. So, the probability of having the lifestyle that my Dad and both Grandpas had is slim to none and I’m okay with that. I still get up early in the morning, read over the farm news of the day and get started covering some of the stories that will be farm news in the days to come. I couldn’t ask for a better gig.

Earlier this month my wife (did I mention she is a city girl) asked me where I have been.

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The many paths to a new farm bill…or not

Many in American agriculture communities watched in disbelief as the House of Representatives narrowly passed a farm-only farm bill. As a reporter, my only goal that very day was to find out what in the world was going on inside the beltway as the tone of bringing this type of bill to the floor gained traction with growing support from Congressmen and women and then some ag groups. My initial thought was to call Dr. Carl Zulauf, a professor at The Ohio State University. He has always been well versed on ag policy. I knew what was going on in Washington was befuddling when Dr. Zulauf was at a loss for words as Representatives battled out feverishly for and against the separation of farm and nutrition policies.

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Culver’s Kid’s Meal message better than a toy

The Culver’s restaurant chain isn’t that well known in all parts of Ohio yet, but the one down the road from my neighborhood sure does get a lot of business. We are patrons of the “butter burger” joint about once a week, as we visit when we haul our kids to dance or gymnastics classes and we love to eat there.

This is by no means a paid endorsement. I mean, if I happen to get some free cheese curds or a scoop of custard, so be it, but the reason I wanted to share this restaurant with you goes far beyond their delicious food.

As my kids were eating their Scoopie Meal (Scoopie is the restaurant mascot), they began asking me some of the questions that were on the side of the kid’s meal bag.

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Agreality – The Glass Walls Project

Transparency; by definition it means to be easily detected or seen through. This word has been used for some time in conversations about our government, but lately it has been the buzz word when it comes to production agriculture.

Consumers are asking more and more where exactly their food comes from. Using “the customer is always right” mantra, American agriculture is doing something proactive in regards to giving the consumers what they want. What that means to the future of meat production and consumption is yet to be seen.

I have no opinion one way or the other as far as The Glass Walls Project is concerned. What I have done is thought about what consequences may come from the effort. This project is being put together by The American Meat Institute. Its purpose is to quite literally put it all out there.

One of the biggest steps forward to showing the consumer where their food comes from is the creation of two videos hosted by Colorado State University’s Dr.

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The Tyrade – Finish the race

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

One day after the appalling acts that transpired during the Boston Marathon, the answers as to who is behind them and the meaning behind them are being sought after feverishly. Although the answers will be found in the days and weeks to come, what is garnering more attention than anything is the resilience of Boston and the images of those running toward the horrific scene, instead of away from it. That heroism is the reason so many lives were saved. A combination of police, military, doctors on the scene and common marathon spectators came together when others needed them most.

One of the videos that has gone viral is that of the initial blast and an older runner who was literally knocked off of his feet just paces from the finish line.

His name is Bill Iffrig and his story is the epitome of what America and the people that live in this great country are all about.

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Let’s talk GMOs blog grabs attention

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

In the nature of our business of farm broadcasting, there are topics and issues that we cover that are huge, life changing issues that most people outside of the Ag industry will never once hear about. With so many other news items out there and countless news outlets trying so hard to grab someone’s attention, headlines that pertain to the farm get lost in the shuffle.

That hasn’t been the case recently as President Obama signed an appropriations bill that included what some are calling The Monsanto Protection Act. To be fair, this part of the bill is actually called the Farmers Assurance Provision and it will “create a careful balance allowing farmers to continue to plant and cultivate their crops subject to appropriate environmental safeguards, while USDA conducts any necessary further environmental reviews”, according to proponents.

This Act has actually been floating around Washington since June of last year and those opposed to GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, have been railing against it from the start.

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The Tyrade – Well, Chute: A Water Slide Adventure

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Every now and again I find myself leaving town for a bit or working hours that only allow me to see the family when they are asleep. That’s just part of the job. To make up for lost time we will plan a family day and do something that we ordinarily don’t get the opportunity to do.

Recently one of these excursions included a trip to an indoor water park. With the way winter is lingering we all thought this would be a great idea. And it was to a point.

In typical indoor water parks the kids dive right in, Mom reads a book poolside and Dad moseys into the chilly, highly chlorinated aqua until it is about knee high and that is good enough. This day was no different. It wasn’t until about an hour into our visit that the powers that be decided that it was time to fire up the twisty, twirly water slide and every kid screams in excited and races up the stairs to take the plunge, only to do it a hundred times more.

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The Tyrade – A screamin’ goat compilation

Oh the things that make the internet go boom. Right now you can find anyone and everyone doing the Harlem Shake (my personal favorite is linked) and all angles of meteors taking over the Russian sky. But have you seen the latest web sensation? The next great voice of Agriculture, I present to you the screamin’ goat!

Let’s be honest, the screamin’ goat, on his own accord, is very entertaining. But he has taken on a life of his own by showing up in some videos for some songs that my kids (and me by association) know every word of. If you ask me, the screamin’ goat finally makes these tunes listenable.

If we happen to see one of these guys in the ring at this year’s Ohio State Fair, he would be my pick for Grand Champion.

Here is the original video of the screamin’ goat.

Now my personal favorite, his duet with Taylor Swift.

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The Tyrade – Ag: A pawn star

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

Just over a month ago, I wrote about the relevance of Agriculture. That blog came on the heels of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack commenting that Rural America’s pull in Washington was waning simply because there are fewer and fewer people in rural parts of the country to speak up and be heard about the issues that affect us the most. He blamed that philosophy on why there was not a full 5-year Farm Bill passed before the end of 2012.

With all of the hype around it, we will never forget the fiscal cliff debacle that was narrowly saved by some last minute heroics by our trusted politicians. For the most part, people really didn’t pay attention to the issue until the last minute, both inside and outside of the beltway. After all, it was the Holiday season and there were gifts to be given and meals to be enjoyed with family.

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The Tyrade – Pickup truck tailgate thefts

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

The tailgate is just about as American as apple pie.

It’s uses vary from a great place to sit and eat lunch in the field, to a springboard to propel yourself onto the truck bed, to throwing one heck of a good party!

Most guys and gals I know wouldn’t know what to do if it weren’t for the tailgate. Its an easy thing to take for granted…and apparently an easy thing to take.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau released a first-time report that examines the incidents of tailgate thefts across the United States, of which 1,343 claims were generated from 45 states. Notably, the rate of tailgate theft claims has been increasing since 2009, with an 18 percent increase projected from 2011 to 2012.

The report examines theft claims submitted to insurance companies during the period from Jan. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30, 2012.

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India’s Rural Olympics — One thing to never import

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

There is no doubt that American agriculture is part of a Global economy. We see this phenomenon when South American weather and troubles in the Euro-zone cause havoc with commodity prices in Chicago. But there is one thing that I hope we never see on a Global scale — India’s Rural Olympics.

Every year in February, folks come from miles (and Countries) around to Kila Raipur, India to see the spectacles that include lifting a plow with nothing but your teeth, a tug-of-war and the Super Bowl of the India Rural Olympics, getting run over by a tractor!

Close to a million people are expected at the sporting event that is seen as an integral part of the culture of Punjab. These events have been a part of the society for more than 60 years.

I guess in the U.S. we do have something fairly close to this atmosphere if you consider the Redneck Games, but these tests of valor and strength make Larry the Cable Guy look normal.

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The Tyrade – Agriculture’s relevance

By Ty Higgins, Ohio Ag Net

With a full 5-year Farm Bill not being passed by the previous Congress, there has been a lot of murmurs about the relevance of Agriculture in this country.

I get it. There aren’t as many farmers in the U.S. and more and more folks are moving to the city. The less people that are in rural America, the quieter we become to those that work on our behalf inside the Beltway.

Even Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack admitted that Ag is losing its voice in D.C.

“Unless we respond and react, the capacity of rural America and its power and its reach will continue to decline,” Vilsack said. “Rural America, with a shrinking population, is becoming less and less relevant to the politics of this country, and we better recognize that, and we had better begin to reverse it.”

Funny thing is that while there are less people “on the farm”, there is more food being produced now than ever before.

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The Tyrade – An environmentalist’s change of heart

As I become older I am starting to notice two things. One, I am two prescriptions away from needing a pill organizer (luckily only one with the small letters…for now) and two, homework isn’t just for students.

If it weren’t for someone curious enough to do the homework, the world would still be flat, only birds could fly and life on other planets in other solar systems wouldn’t exist. Okay so I got a little ahead of myself on that last one but my point is to not just believe what you are told. Do your homework.

Mark Lynas is a British environmentalist who helped spur the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, arguing as recently as 2008, that big corporations’ selfish greed would threaten the health of both people and the Earth. Thanks to the efforts of Lynas and people like him, governments around the world—especially in Western Europe, Asia, and Africa—have hobbled GM research, and NGOs like Greenpeace have spurned donations of genetically modified foods.

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The Tyrade – Something to believe in

By Ty Higgins

Well it came and went. Another Christmas is in the books and it was officially a success for the Higgins household. Daddy worked for hours assembling, mommy spent hours cleaning and the kids are still playing with toys fresh from their packaging.

This is a great time for our kids. My daughter is 8 and my son is 5 and you can see, hear and feel the magic of the Holidays. We know full well that the way it was this year may only last a year or two more as they reach the tweenage years all too soon.

The presence of this magic made me realize a correlation between what the kids and adults believe during this time of year.

The first thing that stood out to me was when the kids where wishing for the treasures that were on their list the looked up and talked to the big man in red.

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The Tyrade – Is Agriculture Ohio’s #1 Industry?

TrueIn a world filled with 24/7 news channels and pundits spewing out misleading information based on their particular views, there has been a great need to really find out what is true and what is an all out blatant lie. There have been several “fact-checking” organization that can help one cut through the clutter to find the honest to goodness truth, or something relatively close to it.

For years, I have known and touted that Agriculture is Ohio’s #1 Industry. One in 6 jobs are tied to the industry in one way or another. But it is really true? One website put the statement to the test and you can see the results here.

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The Tyrade – Mayans may be on to something

By Ty Higgins

Not sure if you’ve heard or not, but the world is coming to an end on December 21st. That is according to the Mayan calendar that dates back to thousands of years ago.

This brings up many questions and plenty of answers to those curious. Why does the Mayan calendar end on 12/21/12? What do I need to do to prepare myself? Why did I start Christmas shopping so early?

You can research many theories about what is about to occur and some of the noted outcomes are downright frightening.  After doing my research on Wikipedia and the Discovery Channel, I can tell you that it will not be pretty. The stars, Sun and Milky Way all align just so and ka-plowy…we no longer exist.

Who am I to say that this is all just a bunch of hooey and that we all wake up on the 22nd of December like nothing ever happened?

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