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Veteran farming program offers heroes help

Bob Udeck gingerly uses his hands and feet to slowly steer his four-wheeled walker carefully through the dirt- and grass-covered field, adeptly maneuvering through the ruts, divets, mounds of dirt, rocks, and plants that line the path leading to the Heroes Garden.

The 74-year-old Vietnam veteran pulls up to a section of raised garden beds filled with rows of radish and pepper plants and smiles as he admires his handy work. Many of the plants have already begun bearing fruit, some of which were ripe and ready for picking.

“I used to farm when I was younger,” Udeck said, as he wistfully looked out over the plot that houses the Veteran Farming Program. “It feels really good to get your hands dirty again — planting something, nurturing it, and watching it produce.

“Not only does this garden keep me active, it’s also therapeutic — it keeps your mind busy, gets you outside, gives you a goal, and something to focus on.

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Details of the contract are crucial in a pleasant real estate closing

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

The very first real estate closing I attended for a client was over 25 years ago. I was fresh out of law school, and a friend of mine, who was a cosmetics sales associate at Marshall Field’s, was purchasing her first house. It was what lawyers refer to as a “roundtable closing” which meant that the buyer, the seller, their realtors and their lawyers all met around a conference table and signed documents and transferred payment. This event is forever embedded in my memory because, as a new lawyer, I proudly showed up in a nice dark suit. And literally every other person, which was notable because it was all female, was wearing a floral dress and lots of fragrance. Just thinking about it makes my sinuses hurt.

The closing went off without a hitch. But less than 24 hours later, my client was mad, really mad.

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Don’t wait until the trip to the funeral home to discuss family farm transfers

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

It is so easy to put off tough questions about family farm transitions from one generation to the next, but those discussions are important to have before it is too late. Jolene Brown spoke at yesterday’s Farm Science Review (and will be talking at the event again today) about the importance of these  conversations prior to the trip to the funeral home.

“Everyone knows brothers and sisters or aunts and uncles or other people who aren’t talking to each other. That’s because people didn’t do things when the times were good to have the tools and means in place when we get tested. Then, because they don’t have things clarified in writing and because they didn’t operate like a business, we have this big explosion on the way to the funeral home,” Brown said.

Brown is a professional farm speaker and writes a column for Successful Farming and Pink Tractor.  

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No vote on community rights in Williams County, yet

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

A proposed county charter for Williams County, Ohio containing language similar to the Lake Erie Bill of Rights may not make it on the November ballot. The Ohio Supreme Court recently refused to compel the Williams County Board of Elections (BOE) to include the charter on the ballot for procedural reasons.

The charter would have declared that the people of Williams County have the right to a healthy environment and sustainable community, and that the Michindoh Aquifer and its ecosystem have the right to exist, flourish, evolve, regenerate. Further, the aquifer would have the right of restoration, recovery, and preservation, including the right to be free from interferences such as the extraction, sale, lease, transportation, or distribution of water outside of the aquifer’s boundary.

Even though the petition to put the charter on the ballot had enough signatures, the BOE believed that the language of the charter violated Ohio law, and therefore exercised its power to reject the petition and keep it off the ballot.

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Listen to the Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast while driving to the 37th Farm Science Review

If you are heading down to the 37th Annual Farm Science Review, listen to the Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast on the way! We interviewed the FSR manager, Nick Zachrich, about what is new this year and also talked to the farm manager, Nate Douridas, on what will be featured in the field demonstrations. You can also learn about all the areas where Extension brings you resources, presentations, demos and more. Check it out https://agcrops.osu.edu/video/agronomy-and-farm-management-podcast.

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Back-to-school recipes featuring eggs

With school back in session and families establishing new routines, EGGsperts from some of the nation’s top egg farming states, including the Ohio Egg Marketing Program, and top food bloggers have come together to share easy, kid-friendly dinner recipes to keep weeknights stress-free. Dish on Eggs offers 24 simple dinner recipes, starring the incredible egg, that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. As part of the campaign, consumers can also enter to win a free year’s supply of eggs and download a free e-cookbook at www.DishOnEggs.com.

“Using eggs to make dinner on school nights is a smart choice because of their extreme versatility,” said Jim Chakeres, executive vice president of the Ohio Egg Marketing Program. “Eggs are easy to make and are the perfect addition to dozens of favorite kids’ recipes like the pizza and tacos featured by Dish on Eggs.”

Participating organizations in the back-to-school recipe exchange include: the Ohio Egg Marketing Program (OH), Iowa Egg Council (IA), Pacific Egg and Poultry Association (CA), North Carolina Egg Association (NC), Virginia Egg Council (VA), Chicken & Egg Association of Minnesota (MN), Michigan Allied Poultry Industries (MI), and the Colorado Egg Producers (CO).

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YAP award winners announced

The Ohio Farm Bureau Young Agricultural Professionals program recently announced award winners for their 2019 contests. Program participants are ages 18 to 35, single or married, who are interested in improving the business of agriculture, learning new ideas and developing leadership skills.

Matt Vodraska of Doylestown has been named the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2019 Outstanding Young Farmer Award. In addition, Kyle and Ashton Walls of Mt. Vernon have been named winners of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 2019 Excellence in Agriculture Award.

The Outstanding Young Farmer contest is designed to help young farmers strengthen their business skills, develop marketing opportunities and receive recognition for their accomplishments. Contestants are judged on the growth of their farm businesses and involvement in Farm Bureau and their community.

Vodraska won 250 hours free use of an M-series tractor provided by Kubota, $1,000 in Grainger merchandise sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America and an expense-paid trip to the 2020 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, in January where he will participate in the national competition.

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Latta listening session addressed impacts of a challenging 2019

By Dusty Sonnenberg, Ohio Field Leader

The extensive prevented planting acres in Ohio and limited yield potential for many acres of late-planted crops have generated plenty of discussion about the impact to farmers, agribusiness, and rural communities.

United States Congressman Bob Latta represents the largest farm-income producing district in Ohio and recently participated in a listening session with farmers and agribusiness people in Williams County to learn about the details of the situation.

“Everyone in the chain is going to be impacted, such as the folks that sell the seed, fertilizer, herbicide, equipment parts. There is a whole line of people besides the farmers who will feel the impact,” Latta said. “It is really important that I hear from the farmers. This thing hasn’t really hit hard yet. I think people are going to start to feel it in about two more months. The farmers see it right now.

“I can’t tell you how many calls I have had with the undersecretary of agriculture to explain what’s happening here and keeping him updated, making sure his department was aware of just how bad it really is here in Northwest Ohio.

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The Dawes Arboretum: A haven for tree collection, evaluation, and research

By Mike Ryan, OCJ field reporter

What began as a successful, influential Ohio politician and businessman’s 140-acre rural retreat has grown over the past century to become a nearly 2,000 acre preserve highlighting a unique array of plant life at The Dawes Arboretum in Licking County.

Beman Dawes and his wife, Bertie, first purchased the original tract in 1917. By 1929, when Dawes Arboretum was established, the grounds had doubled in size and over 50,000 trees had been planted. In present times, the immense arboretum, home to an enormous index of different plant species, is one of only 20 fully accredited arboretums in North America.

The Dawes family obtained trees from across the globe that could thrive in central Ohio and planted them around the property. They established the arboretum to both educate and inspire.

When Beman and Bertie created the private foundation, they wanted “to encourage the planting of forest and ornamental trees…to give pleasure to the public and education to the youth.”

Luke Messinger, executive director of The Dawes Arboretum, said that the location was well-chosen for this purpose and that this collection of trees continues to grow and prosper over 100 years after the Dawes family’s initial purchase of their central Ohio grounds.

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Ag pushing for USMCA passage

U.S. agriculture is making a big push to encourage Congress to move forward with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Adopted to upgrade the North American Free Trade Agreement, USMCA was signed on Nov. 30, 2018. Mexico’s Senate ratified the trade deal in June, but legislation for USMCA has not been introduced in the United States Congress or in Canada. On Sept. 12, Farmers for Free Trade, Farm Bureau, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers, US Apple Association, National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Corn Refiners Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. and other American agriculture leaders joined with bipartisan members of Congress to rally for USMCA passage that is viewed as essential by much of agriculture.

“We need Congress to pass the USMCA trade agreement to bring certainty to our already-positive trade relationship with our closest neighbors and build on that relationship with new opportunities and commitments.

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Nation’s first Exploring ag program starts in Seneca County

By Zach Parrott, OCJ field reporter

The Ohio State University Extension Office in Seneca County recently established the nation’s first Agricultural Exploring Post.

Exploring is a youth organization, serving 110,00 youth with the goal of teaching important life and career skills to young people from all backgrounds through immersive career experiences. Matt Kibler runs the Exploring program in 13 Ohio counties for the Black Swamp Area Council.

“The agricultural program is unique, because we are going to be taking students around Seneca County and neighboring counties to give them a hands-on experience in farm management,” Kibler said. “This also includes: soil and water conservation, aerial spraying or application, and the financial aspect of running a farm.”

Businesses including Kalmbach Feeds, POET, Sunrise Cooperative, The Mennel Milling Company, Ag Credit, Sunrise Cooperative, Andersons, ST Genetics, and USDA Farm Service Agency are all involved in teaching these young students how to budget and manage a farm.

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Nominate an ag teach for the Golden Owl Award

Presented by Nationwide, the Ohio FFA and the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Golden Owl Award recognizes agricultural educators across Ohio for their tremendous contributions to helping the next generation of agricultural leaders. Students, fellow teachers and other supporters can nominate their favorite agricultural teacher and summarize what makes him or her the best in the state.

Nominees have an opportunity to win great cash prizes and the distinction of being Ohio’s Agricultural Educator of the Year. Prizes include:

  • $500 and an engraved plaque for each of the 10 honorees
  • $3,000 for the Golden Owl Award winner (Ohio Agricultural Educator of the Year).

To nominate someone for the Golden Owl Award visit pages-nationwide.com/OWL_2019/. This year’s nominations must be submitted by Nov. 16, 2019.

John Poulson, a local agriculture teacher at Pettisville High School in Fulton County was honored as the 2018-2019 Ohio Ag Educator of the Year presented by the inaugural Golden Owl Award.

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USDA resources available for 2018 and 2019 disasters for farms

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced this week that agricultural producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian, can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). Signup for this U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program begins Sept. 11, 2019.

“U.S. agriculture has been dealt a hefty blow by extreme weather over the last several years, and 2019 is no exception,” Perdue said. “The scope of this year’s prevented planting alone is devastating, and although these disaster program benefits will not make producers whole, we hope the assistance will ease some of the financial strain farmers, ranchers and their families are experiencing.”

More than $3 billion is available through the disaster relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in early June. WHIP+ builds on the successes of its predecessor program the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

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Farm Science Review to offer career fair

Looking for a job in agriculture?

Come to Farm Science Review and you just might find one.

For the first time, the annual agricultural trade show, sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), will offer the Career Exploration Fair for anyone interested in working in agriculture.

On Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon, visitors to the career fair can discuss jobs and internships with representatives from a variety of companies, many of them exhibitors at FSR, which is held at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio.

“With the hundreds of exhibiting companies, it’s a great place to look for another job or new career,” said Nick Zachrich, manager of FSR.

At a financially challenging time for many farmers, the career fair could offer a boost for individuals seeking additional work opportunities in agriculture.

“There are jobs available and people looking for jobs,” Zachrich said.

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Farm Bureau committee lays groundwork for future policy votes

Twenty Ohio Farm Bureau leaders are serving on the 2019 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Policy Development Committee. The committee collects and organizes public policy recommendations from county Farm Bureaus and presents the final policy suggestions to be voted on by Ohio Farm Bureau’s delegates during the state annual meeting in December.

In its initial session, the committee heard from government leaders, subject matter experts and Farm Bureau staff on topics such as climate change, mental health, water quality initiatives, farm leases, trade, risk management, foreign ownership in U.S. agriculture, education, school funding and rural broadband.

The policy committee consists of 10 members from Ohio Farm Bureau’s board of trustees and 10 representatives of county Farm Bureaus.

The committee is chaired by Ohio Farm Bureau First Vice President Bill Patterson of Chesterland and includes OFBF President Frank Burkett III of Massillon and Treasurer Cy Prettyman of New Bloomington. State trustees on the committee are Matt Bell of ZanesvilleMike Bensman of SidneyMike Boyert of SevilleJenny Cox of DresdenPaul Harrison of FostoriaRose Hartschuh of Sycamore and Chris Weaver of Lyons.

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Changes on the horizon for H-2A temporary agricultural labor rules

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) says that it has found a number of inefficiencies in the H-2A temporary agricultural labor visa program, and the department has a solution: change the program’s rules. The DOL has proposed a number of administrative rule changes that it believes will make the approval process move along quicker, relieve burdens on U.S. farms, and create a more level playing field with regards to pay. Before we talk about the rule changes, let’s recap what the H-2A program is.


H-2A is a visa program for seasonal agricultural laborers from other countries

Labor shortages have plagued farms across the United States for decades. Congress first created a visa program for non-immigrant labor in the early 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1986 that Congress established the H-2A visa program for temporary agricultural workers.

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Wooster’s BioHio Research Park to be transitioned

A decision has been made by the BioHio Board of Directors to transition the work of the BioHio Research Park, an affiliate of The Ohio State University, in Wayne County to the auspices of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

As an affiliate of Ohio State, BioHio was envisioned in 2010 and was created to facilitate the movement of discoveries from the college into the commercial sector. It is located on the CFAES Wooster campus.

Additional goals of BioHio were to advance, encourage, and promote the industrial, economic, commercial and civic development of the Wooster area and to serve as a research park for the benefit of The Ohio State University, the City of Wooster, and Wayne County.

“While the original goals of BioHio are still relevant and part of the CFAES mission, the separate legal entity was not providing the benefits originally envisioned,” said Cathann A.

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Back-to-school means different laws apply to youth farm workers

By Peggy Kirk Hall, Ohio State University Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

When kids head back-to-school, it’s time for farmers to do some homework and recall the rules that apply to youth working on farms during the school year. Once school is in session, Ohio labor laws place restrictions on the times of day and number of hours that youth under the age of 18 can work on a farm. The laws don’t apply to parents, grandparents, or legal guardians, however. For other farm employers, be aware that the laws vary according to the age of the minor and some require written parental consent. Here’s a quick refresher.


16 and 17 year olds

    Cannot work before 7:00 a.m. on school days, with the exception that they can work starting at 6:00 a.m. if they were not working past 8:00 p.m. the night before.

    Cannot work after 11:00 p.m.

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Farmers are mitigating climate change: Partners needed

By John Newton is chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.

When the question arises of how we are going to feed the world’s 9 billion people in a climate that seems increasingly volatile and extreme, all eyes turn to U.S. agriculture, and rightfully so. The answer to this question lies ahead of us, but important lessons can be gleaned from the long-time efforts of farmers to promote soil health, conserve water and efficiently use nutrients.

Agriculture Department data reveals that over the last 70 years, U.S. farmers have boosted agricultural output by 270% while the use of resources such as land, fertilizers, chemicals and energy has remained mostly unchanged. They’ve done so in the face of droughts, floods, excessive heat and plant diseases by developing new technologies that allow them to be more productive on the farm. At the same time farmers are growing their productivity, they’re shrinking their carbon footprint.

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#gotyourback Campaign addresses farmers’ mental health

So many factors in farming are out of a farmer’s control, and that can be stressful. Wondering if the weather will cooperate, long hours working alone — it can all affect a farmer’s mental well-being. The mental health of Ohio’s farming community is a growing concern that needs to be addressed and Ohio’s #gotyourback Campaign is doing just that, offering resources to farmers through a collaborative effort.

The #gotyourback Campaign Kick-Off was held this week at Weber Farms in Franklin County and included comments from Dorothy Pelanda, Director, Ohio Department of Agriculture; Lori Criss, Director, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Nathan Brown, farmer and Ohio Farm Bureau Board Member.

Supporting partners include: RecoveryOhio, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, Farm Credit Mid-America, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio Poultry Association, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Dairy Producers Association, Ohio Soybean Association and Ohio Sheep Improvement Association.

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