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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.

The Food Safety Net

As the debt ceiling talks heat up enough to go no where in Washington, discussions about cuts to ag spending continue. Earlier this week the House Ag Subcommittee conducted it’s eighth audit of farm programs. This audit focused on Title 1 and the SURE program. Many members on this subcommittee acknowledge the need for cuts and more producers, like many Americans, are willing to do there share.

In an atmosphere where numbers usually do not add up, many are thinking that big cuts in ag spending is the solution to this trillion dollar problem.

Here are the facts:

1) Farm programs comprise less than one-half of one percent of the federal budget – just 50 cents for every 100 dollars.

2) Without farm programs, a few bad seasons can put a farm out of business.

3) When a source of production is lost, it doesn’t typically come back.

Maybe it is all in a name.

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Farming: On A Smaller Scale – July, 2011

We are just about ready to harvest some of the first sweet corn here at The Higgins’ Homestead, but I have not been all that impressed with what we have to work with. Luckily, the kids aren’t quite as disappointed. They simply see corn and they’re happy. About one month after planting, we had several heavy rains and two hail storms. That knock over about 1/4 of the crop and those were pulled. Not enough for silage so I just tossed them aside. Should’ve taken out crop insurance cause I’ll sure miss those 20 ears come August.

I also have a new saying for the sweet corn’s progress around this time of year, “Kid high by the fourth of July”. That was the case this year but if the kids keep growing like they are I won’t be able to use that one very much longer. They are excited about looking out of the window and seeing what we have been able to do with just a little seed.

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Opportunity and A Cloud of Dust

Well it is about time! Mother Nature has finally let the Sun shine and that has allows Ohio farmers a chance to get into the field and play catch up on planting duties. It has been very hot and humid, but I will bet you that producers would rather be sweating while getting the crop in the ground than sweating wondering if they ever would.

I have always loved this time of year. Talk about blind faith. Knock down the weeds, get the best seeds money can buy, put them in the ground with the latest technology and then just hope for the best. Farming requires taking a chance every year. Sometimes the risk pays and sometimes it doesn’t. But nothing compares to the start of the planting season.

As tractors and planters are rolling we are travelling all around Ohio with our Ohio Ag Net “Cab Cam”. We wanted to do this for a couple of reasons.

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A Tragic Loss for Ohio Agriculture

Statement from Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer

“The World needs more great communicators like Lindsay Hill, Dale Minyo, and Gary Jackson.  The loss today of Lindsay’s passionate and articulate voice is a loss for agriculture and all Ohioans.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Lindsay and her family.”

By Ty Higgins

It seems that the Agriculture industry here in Ohio and around the Country is constantly trying to find a voice to combat naysayers and activist groups that want nothing more than to put Ag out of business. Thursday the Agriculture community’s voice became quite a bit quieter as Lindsay Hill, formerly of The ABN and current National Association of Farm Broadcasting President, was tragically killed in an auto accident.

I had the privilege, and I do mean privilege to work with Lindsay at the ABN.

She took her job as a Farm Broadcaster very seriously, almost as seriously as Buckeye Basketball.

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Farming: On A Smaller Scale – Week 2

We are 100% planted! Granted it was only about 6 rows of 10 seeds, but with a 6 and a 3 year old it took a bit longer. If real farmers had to “take turns” planting, we’d only be about 2% done around Ohio. (7% is bad enough). As you might be able to tell in the pictures, we used my size twelves to measure how far about we wanted our seeds to be. It’s a complex system, I know.

We applied some seed treatment of fertilizer. Next year we may get a couple of chickens so I don’t have to buy fertilizer in a bag. I thought about contracting it with the big egg farm next door, but I doubt they would deliver it in a bucket.

We have a vigorous weed management program. The sweet corn isn’t roundup ready, but did I mention I have a 6 and 3 year old?

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Farming: On A Smaller Scale

I grew up on a farm and I still feel a strong connection to agriculture. The values and morals of the lifestyle have made me who I am today. Unfortunately, I am not part of agriculture in a way that I would like to have been, aside from being a farm broadcaster. Our dairy operation didn’t survive the farm crisis of the mid 80’s.

Now I’m not going to tell you that everything didn’t work out for the better, it absolutely did. But the one thing I regret is not being able to stay on the farm and continue doing what my Father and Grandfather did.

I now live in a very nice, quaint suburban neighborhood with my beautiful wife and two wonderful kids. We are surrounded by homes and postage stamp lawns with swingsets, but there are some obvious differences between my house and everyone else’s. One of those glaring differences is a corn field.

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Like A Punch In The Gut

By Ty Higgins

Sometimes that line between farm broadcaster and farm boy is hard to see. This thought comes to me as I watch something else that is hard to see, the new undercover video from Mercy for Animals from a livestock operation in Texas. It is not for the faint of heart, but the only way you can defend the agricultural industry that you know and love is to see what those outside of the ag community will be talking about as this video is spreading quickly. I was literally sick after watching this 3 minute clip. Heck, the first 15 seconds were more than enough. What made it even worse for me is remembering my time as a child on our dairy farm feeding the calves their bottles everyday and learning how to care for them in the best ways possible.

After watching the video I felt the need to immediately see how those in agriculture were reacting.

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It’s Not About The Money

It isn’t very often that farmers have the spare time to stop and ask themselves why they get up every morning and do jobs and chores that not many other people would ever want to do. To most, the thought of cleaning stalls or spreading manure sounds like corporal punishment, especially with the pay scale that comes along with those jobs.

But for those that spend countless minutes, hours, days, months and years doing those exact duties, it isn’t for the pay. Obviously you have to make a living and turn a pretty hefty profit to even keep a farm operation going, but that is the reason behind the madness of production agriculture, to keep it going.

In conversation with older producers, I do not believe I have ever heard one farmer mention retirement. If they do, they laugh. Grandpa always told me that he knew as soon as he quit working, he’d quit altogether.

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Ohio Ag Still Butters the Bread

There is a very popular saying during Presidential election years that the way Ohio goes, so goes the rest of the Country.

Ohio is in a tough spot with a gaping deficit. Factories and small businesses are going by the wayside with every passing day. America faces these same challenges, trying to figure out how to dig out of a financial crisis and for many in Washington it is time to put a vise grip on Uncle Sam’s proverbial wallet.

Lawmakers inside the Beltway need to see what is happening in The Buckeye State as the leaders of Ohio’s government have it figured out. One of the answers to a dwindling marketplace and swelling debt has been a pillar for Ohio’s economy for decades…Agriculture.

Newly elected Governor John Kasich has taken notice and initiative, calling for a surge in Ohio Agribusiness development. Working with Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer, Governor Kasich has laid the groundwork to use Ohio’s number one industry, an industry that sustains the lives of many, to bring Ohio back to life.

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Being A Man, A Sorry Excuse

As a guy, I find myself saying “I’m sorry” quite a bit. I attribute these words to a successful marriage, keeping close friends close and being able to share Holidays with my extended family. In all seriousness, those two little words have a hard time working their way out of my big mouth, but I admit when I am wrong and am always willing to face the consequences.

This past weekend, my family made a road trip to one of the best cities in America, Greenville, South Carolina to visit some friends. Taking advantage of the long weekend, we started our trek home on Monday morning. After checking out the forecast I knew that we were more than likely going to be in for it as we got closer to home as Old Man Winter decided he was not quite done with Ohio yet. After getting from Greenville to somewhere in Kentucky named after Daniel Boone (pick a town) my wife and I decided to trade spots and she would finish the trip.

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Actually Filling the Shoes

I will never forget one of my first lessons in my career. It seemed a little silly at the time, but the more and more I see it happen, the more I believe it.

The saying is that “you never want to replace the legend, you want to replace the one that replaced the legend”.

This could go for anything. A CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a popular morning radio DJ or any type of star. Nobody wants to see a legend move on because the reason they are a legend is because they are loved by many and disliked by few.

As I mentioned, this rule of thumb has lived up to its words in a majority of examples, but not all.

As the Super Bowl approaches this weekend I have no favorite team or even one that I will cheer for more than another. But I can’t help admiring what the Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has done over the last 4 years to get his team to the pinnacle of the NFL.

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A Tough Lesson

I know it’s wrong. I know that as I watch TV coverage of a disgraceful act, like the tragedy in Tucson, feeling numb to it is not right. Simply saying, “It’s a sad world we live in”, and putting it in the back of my mind goes against everything I am about. Sadly, that was my reaction, until ABC broke into my Wednesday night comedies that help me make the world go away, to bring us President Barack Obama speaking about the event and addressing the victims and their families.

As he was speaking, my daughter was lying on the couch with me getting settled down and ready for bed, and she began watching too. As with any 6-year-old, she was bored with the speech in a matter of a minute and just laid beside me for a bit. It wasn’t until a picture of the 9-year-old victim was shown that her interest perked up.

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A Comeback Story for My Kind

Ty Higgins

When I was first hired as an on-air radio personality right out of high school, my Mom, although she would support whatever I chose to do, told me that DJs were a dime a dozen. Now that I am older I understand that even though she broke my heart back then, she didn’t mean to. She was being my Mother, only wanting what was best for me, not believing radio would be a sustainable career path.

I have been very fortunate with my career path over the last 15 years. I have many stories to share and have had many opportunities that I will never forget. With that said, I have seen many of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the radio industry not have the luck I have had, even though most were far more talented.

It is a tough business, and Mom was absolutely right. There have been days when I told myself I should have listened to her.

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