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Yoder to speak on 2018 Farm Bill and U.S. agriculture

Fred Yoder of Plain City, a current member of the Trump Agricultural Advisory Committee, will be speaking on the 2018 Farm Bill and U.S. Agriculture at the final event in the 2018 Farmers’ Breakfast Series. The talk titled, What’s going on in Washington: 2018 Farm Bill and U.S. Ag Committee Update will allow farmers to learn more about current trends and issues impacting agriculture from a national level.

Provided through a strategic partnership between Madison County Farm Bureau and The Ohio State University Extension, this educational breakfast series allows farmers the opportunity to learn more about legislation and policies that will impact their farming operations. The 2018 Farm Bill and federal trade agreements are two major issues that help determine grain markets, conservation programs, and crop insurance in the coming years. Fred Yoder will be able to provide insight on key factors that influence legislation. Fred Yoder is a long time member of Ohio Farm Bureau and has served in numerous leadership roles throughout the agriculture community.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 47 | RFS and RINs, salamanders, and ag at the capitol

The Ohio Ag Net crew is back from Commodity Classic for this week’s podcast, courtesy of AgriGold. A variety of topics are covered in this week’s episode, including Ty Higgins speaking with Fred Yoder on the state of the industry. Matt Reese visits with David Hague on salamander hunting in Ohio. Joel Penhorwood hears from Ohio Farm Bureau’s Joe Cornely on their recent Ag Day at the Capitol as well as their upcoming county presidents trip to Washington D.C.

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Steel, aluminum tariffs raise the risk of retaliation against U.S. agriculture

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are extremely disappointed in the decision announced to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. We have repeatedly warned that the risks of retaliation and the precedent set by such a policy have serious potential consequences for agriculture. It is dismaying that the voices of farmers and many other industries were ignored in favor of an industry that is already among the most protected in the country.

If the United States is taken to dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for imposing these tariffs, we call on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to avoid invoking the essential security exception under GATT Article XXI. The recent Department of Defense memorandum made it clear that imported steel and aluminum did not threaten its ability to acquire enough from domestic suppliers to meet its needs. The USTR should not take the extraordinary step of invoking Article XXI to defend what we believe is protectionism.

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ExploreAg science camp accepting applications

High school freshman and sophomores in the 2018/2019 school year who are considering careers is science, technology or engineering are invited to apply for the integrated science camp ExploreAg. 

Rewarding careers are available in the food, fuel and fiber sector. The one-of-a-kind ExploreAg Camp will expose students to the many career opportunities that are in high demand. 

Fifty students will be chosen through a competitive process to spend one week on a college campus for an introduction to agriculture and hands-on learning experiences. Internationally known teachers, scientists and researchers will expose students to food science, precision agriculture, animal science, natural resources, management skills, technology and agricultural business. Along with classroom experience, the students will participate in field experiences that highlight cutting-edge research and will interact with industry partners to learn about possible careers in related fields. Students also will participate in leadership development activities and be offered guidance in planning for college.  

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De-listing of wildlife officers disappointing

I just learned that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources no longer plans to offer each county’s wildlife officer’s name and voicemail phone number in the 2018/19 Fishing and Hunting regulations booklets. Instead, we are supposed to call one of the five district offices “where staff will answer many of the questions immediately or route the call to the appropriate county officer, if needed,” according to an agency spokesman, who added: “The intent is to answer non-enforcement questions at the district offices immediately rather than having the caller leave a voicemail. We believe this change will be helpful to our customers and officers, and we will evaluate the results.”

One major result will be one less opportunity for one-on-one interaction between sportsmen, landowners and their local wildlife officers. I can’t tell you how often I consult the back of those booklets to get the name and phone number of the officer in a county about which I need information — or wish to share some.

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Winter fish kills may occur as ice melts on Ohio’s ponds and lakes

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is reminding Ohioans that small numbers of dead fish may be common in ponds and small lakes this spring. Winter die-offs of fish after long periods of heavy ice and snow cover on small waters are known as “winterkills.” Winterkills may occur in some Ohio waters this year as ice and snow of the past few months gives way to spring.

According to the ODNR Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists, minor fish kills do not significantly impact fish populations or sport fishing opportunities in lakes and reservoirs. Fish kills are fairly common in Ohio, particularly right after ice-out, from late April through mid-June, and during prolonged periods of hot summer weather.

Winterkills are caused when persistent ice forms a surface barrier between water and air that prevents circulation of oxygen and blocks sunlight. If these conditions continue long enough, the oxygen fish need to survive may be depleted and result in some or all of them suffocating.

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Woods and wildlife workshop March 17

The emerald ash borer (EAB) has killed millions of ash trees in Ohio, the Midwest and eastern North America, including possibly yours. But there are ways to help your woods bounce back.

For starters, you should scout for invasive plants on a regular basis, said Kathy Smith, forestry expert at The Ohio State University. If you find any, you should root them out.

With fewer trees in your woods and more gaps in the canopy, “the concern is that non-native invasive species can quickly get out of hand,” Smith said. She named buckthorns, honeysuckles, garlic-mustard and kudzu as a few of the many invaders you should watch for.

Woods hit by ash borers also may need selective thinning, seedling planting and changes in the owner’s management goals, Smith said, all depending on how many ash trees died and what kinds of trees remain. Harvesting timber may need to be reduced in some cases.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 46 | Off to Commodity Classic

The 46th episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast brings together Joel Penhorwood and Dale Minyo to talk the latest farm news as the rest of the crew is headed to Commodity Classic in California for the week.

Though they’re out of town, the podcast has plenty of information to tune in for. Ty Higgins has a conversation with Senator Sherrod Brown on the latest work from the Senate Ag Committee, including the 2018 Farm Bill.

Joel reaches back into the file from the National Farm Machinery Show a couple weeks ago in an interview with John Kinzebaw, founder of Kinze Planters. He briefly talks some industry trends and technology that’s standing out in 2018 ag.

The crew also hears from Jon Scheve on his latest take on the wild ride that is soybean markets.

All that and more in this week’s edition of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast.

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Search is on for Ohio Ag Net’s 2018 FFA student reporters

The 2018 Ohio FFA State Convention is right around the corner and Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net is on the search for three outstanding Ohio FFA members to help serve as student reporters for this year’s event.

In our eighth year of the student reporter program, selected FFA members will get the opportunity to help cover the convention and work alongside our news staff that includes Matt Reese, Dale Minyo, Ty Higgins, and Joel Penhorwood. Ever wonder what it’s like to do our job? Here’s your chance!

The live coverage of the Ohio FFA Convention will be posted on www.ocj.com and various social media outlets with reporters helping to host news coverage alongside our staff in addition to a couple veteran student reporters.

Students will assist in gathering information, shoot video of newsworthy items and people, share their commentary of what happened in each session, and much more.

To be considered:

  • Applicants must be attending both days of the Ohio FFA State Convention May 3 and 4.
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Gov. Kasich issues emergency declaration due to flooding in 17 counties

Gov. John R. Kasich issued an emergency declaration for 17 counties along the Ohio River and in southern Ohio due to dangerous conditions resulting from severe storms and heavy rain.  An emergency declaration allows the governor to use state resources, including activating the National Guard, to help local officials keep Ohioans safe.

Impacted counties include Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Gallia, Hamilton, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Monroe, Meigs, Muskingum, Scioto and Washington.

“Ohioans do a good job of looking out for each other and we’re doing it again now also.  Teams at the local level are hard at work and state teams have been coordinating with them and supporting them over the past week.  As the weather and flooding is expected to get worse we’re staying ahead of things by taking our readiness up to the next level and declaring an emergency where we expect the worst conditions.  We’ll quickly add to those areas as it’s needed. 

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USDA seeks ideas to help SNAP participants become independent

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it is looking for innovative ideas to promote work and self-sufficiency among able-bodied adults participating in the department’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The public is invited to provide input through a notice in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted on the web through the Federal Register. USDA intends to use the input received to find improvements to SNAP policy and related services that can best assist SNAP participants return to self-sufficiency.

“Long-term dependency has never been part of the American dream,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “USDA’s goal is to move individuals and families from SNAP back to the workforce as the best long-term solution to poverty. Everyone who receives SNAP deserves an opportunity to become self-sufficient and build a productive, independent life.”

Federal law limits the amount of time an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) can receive SNAP benefits to three months in a 36-month period, unless the individual is working and/or participating in a work program half-time or more, or participating in workfare.

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USDA launches webpage highlighting resources to help rural communities address the opioid crisis

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today unveiled a new webpage featuring resources to help rural communities respond to the opioid crisis.

“While no corner of the country has gone untouched by the opioid crisis, small towns and rural places have been particularly hard hit,” Hazlett said. “The challenge of opioid misuse is an issue of rural prosperity and will take all hands on deck to address. The webpage we are launching today will help rural leaders build a response that is tailored to meet the needs of their community.”

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that more than 63,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.

USDA is playing an important role to help rural communities address this national problem at the local level through program investment, strategic partnerships and best practice implementation.

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National FFA Week: From non-farming to thoughts of ag careers

National FFA Week is touted as a time to look at the successes of FFA members, not only in the past but also at what the future may hold.

The organization prides itself on bringing agricultural education and understanding to members of all backgrounds — more and more of which are coming from non-production agriculture families. Such is the case with some Ohio FFA State Officers Ohio Ag Net recently sat down with.

“My grandfather did own a farm and that was always a bit of an influence in my life, but I never really attached onto it until I got to that school,” said Koleson McCoy, Ohio FFA State Secretary and student at Global Impact STEM Academy.

“Everywhere you go, you’re going to feel that influence of agriculture. I didn’t quite understand the influence agriculture had or even the FFA had on my daily life or on literally everybody’s daily life.

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Is it time for industrial hemp?

I recently had the honor of hearing President Donald Trump address my fellow members at the 99th Annual Convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nashville. Not surprisingly, he addressed major agricultural issues like tax reform, regulatory reform, rural broadband access, Waters of the U.S. and trade policy. Every farmer in this country is impacted by these issues and I hold faith that the president understands the incredible challenges we face every day on our farms and ranches.

I also hold faith in the president’s entrusting Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to lead the administration’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity and execute its mission to “identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes to promote in rural America agriculture, economic development, job growth, infrastructure improvements, technological innovation, energy security and quality of life.” Now that the task force’s report is out, one item escaped the list of recommendations, and so I urge the president and Congress to support an emerging rural economic opportunity for many farmers and ranchers across America.

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National FFA Week: Service and advocacy emphasized at Washington Leadership Conference

Every summer, Washington D.C. is turned blue and gold as FFA members from across the country travel to the nation’s capital as participants of the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). The conference focuses on developing students into motivated citizens who desire to make a difference in their home communities. This year over 2,000 students attended including Ashley Garlick, a senior member of the Evergreen FFA Chapter in Fulton County and Gracie Hinkle, a junior member of the Highland FFA Chapter in Morrow County.

On the first day of the conference, FFA members were introduced to the idea of citizenship and what it means for them as high school students. They began to meet one another and learn about what their week would entail. For many students this was their first time in a big city and nerves were still pretty high.

“When I first arrived to WLC, I felt very overwhelmed. I knew that my experience was based on how social I was going to be, I just took one deep breath and started talking,” Garlick said.

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National FFA Week: Cardington FFA Chapter takes on relief efforts for Puerto Rico

Learning to Do. Doing to Learn. Earning to Live. Living to Serve.

Ohio FFA members embody the final line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve.”  Despite living thousands of miles from the island of Puerto Rico, members of the Cardington FFA Chapter in Morrow County have decided to step up and serve those in need. Upon hearing about the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria, chapter officers MaKenna McClure and Daniel Kill knew their chapter needed to do something. So they approached their advisor about hosting a service event to raise items to donate.

McClure and Kill first developed the idea to host a hunger simulation dinner at their school while attending the Washington Leadership Conference last summer. Their initial goal was to educate fellow students about the issue of hunger in their community by having them experience what it looks like to live in hunger. But after learning about the storms that shook the island of Puerto Rico, they knew this event could serve a much larger audience.

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National FFA Week: A message from Ohio President Ryan Matthews

According to Ohio FFA state president, Ryan Matthews, “Spring 2018 is going to be jam packed with fun!” This year brings many exciting events and experiences for FFA members across Ohio. Several state Career Development Events will take place over the next few months and chapters will continue attending state leadership conferences.

2018 will also bring the end to Matthews’ two-year term serving as a state FFA officer.  ”I’m truly stoked for everything that 2018 has to offer. With these last months serving as the state president, my mission is to take in every moment as I keep visiting schools around the state, start attending chapter banquets, and preparing for my final State Convention,” Matthews said.

As a high school FFA member, Matthews’ favorite part of spring FFA events was his chapter banquet.

“As an officer in my chapter it was such a blast to create and perform the banquet ceremonies and components.

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Trump Administration proposes new infrastructure plan

The Trump administration revealed its outline for improving the nation’s highways, bridges, waterways, railways and rural infrastructure. The $200 billion federal spending proposal is designed to stimulate $1.5 trillion in total infrastructure investments. Allocating $50 billion to state and local governments in the form of block grants, the plan calls for 25% of total funds to be directed toward revitalizing rural America, including expanded rural broadband access.

The plan also proposes establishing a “One Agency, One Review” structure for the environmental review process conducted prior to the start of new construction projects. Intended to minimize the duplication of reports and analyses of environmental impact, the proposal would establish a 21-month deadline for lead agencies to complete their review.

 

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Brown recognized by OEFFA

At a gathering of more than 1,100 farmers and local food advocates, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) received the Food and Farm Champion Award from the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). The announcement was made in Dayton on Friday, February 16 as part of OEFFA’s 39th annual conferenceA Taste for Change.

The award recognizes Senator Brown’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and his leadership in making positive investments in local food systems, community economic development, and public health.

“Senator Brown has consistently supported investments in local and regional food systems that contribute to farmer viability, create jobs, and improve public health,” said OEFFA’s Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu, who presented the award. “Through his introduction of the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act (S. 1947), we can fully develop the policies and programs that spur economic development in communities in Ohio and throughout the nation.”

“Local farmers feed Ohio families and grow Ohio’s economy.

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National FFA Week: First year teachers excelling in the classroom

With over 300 FFA chapters in Ohio, there are hundreds of dedicated advisors, who also serve as agricultural education instructors. Each year, a handful of new, eager faces join the agricultural education family in Ohio.

“I wanted to teach [agricultural education] because I have a passion for agriculture and I believe that no matter what your interests are you should have a base knowledge about it,” said Emily Burns, who is currently in her first year as an educator.

Burns teaches at the Ohio Hi-Point satellite middle school program located at Graham Middle School in Champaign County. Burns added, “I also love to work with students and watch them grow into wonderful leaders!”

Fellow first year teacher, DJ Gase, agrees with Burns that educating young people about agriculture is important.

“I wanted to teach [agricultural education] to help students learn more about one of the largest industries in the United States,” said Gase, who teaches grades 9 through 12 at Cleveland East Technical High School located in Cuyahoga County. 

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