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“Watersheds in distress” revisions this month

By Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor and Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) has voted to send the “watersheds in distress” rule revisions back to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). JCARR reviews administrative rules to make sure they follow legal requirements. The “watersheds in distress” rules seek to address agricultural nutrient impacts on water quality. At its December meeting, JCARR members voted 8 to 1 to recommend that ODA revise and refile the rules for consideration at JCARR’s next meeting on Jan. 22, 2019.

The Jan. 22 meeting date effectively removes Governor Kasich’s administration from the rules revision. Kasich issued an executive order last July directing his agencies to prepare the controversial rule package. But the incoming DeWine Administration will control the fate of the rules after Jan. 14, 2019. JCARR is apparently counting on the new administration to take a different approach on agricultural nutrient pollution reduction.

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Kasich Hall dedicated at Ohio Exposition Center

By Matt Reese

The building formerly known as Cardinal Hall at the Ohio Exposition Center was re-named and dedicated in honor of Governor John R. Kasich on Jan. 4, 2019. The building first opened in July of 2016.

With the announcement of the re-naming of Kasich Hall, there has been some backlash in the agricultural community about Gov. Kasich and what many people consider to be his general lack of support for the Ohio State Fair. Though Gov. Kasich has been often criticized for his limited attendance at the Ohio State Fair and was at odds with agriculture on some issues in recent months, his Administration was fairly generous with financial backing of the Ohio Exposition Center and the Ohio State Fair. From 2011 to 2018, the Ohio Expo Center received a total of $67,400,000 in capital appropriations allocated by Gov. Kasich and the General Assembly. This was higher than amounts received during the term of any governor dating back to 1987, according to Alicia Shoults, marketing and public relations director for the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair.

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Grants awarded for Young Agricultural Professionals programming

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals program recently awarded $500 grants to 10 local YAP groups and one Collegiate Farm Bureau group. Courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America, the grants fund YAP-focused educational programming or events, aimed at members ages 18-35.

The recipients and their programming are:

Ashland/Wayne Counties YAP

Funds will support YAP’s third annual Ag Toy Drive in November. Toy donations over the past two years have resulted in more than $3,000 worth of toys being donated to Toys for Tots.

 

Ashtabula County Farm Bureau

The Ashtabula County Farm Bureau will partner with Farm Credit Mid-America and other local organizations to host a Developing Young Ag Professionals seminar for FFA, 4-H and Farm Bureau youth in which they will learn public speaking skills, interview tips and resume building.

 

Clinton County YAP

A “Sign, Sip and Paint” event is planned for YAP members and those interested in becoming a member.

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Trade Mitigation Payments and the government shutdown

With the government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has closed Farm Service Agency county offices across the country.

The county offices were among the last on the list to close. FSA was operating on funds they had stored up through Dec. 28, but those funds ran dry. The closure comes at a busy time with the recent announcement of Trade Mitigation Payments round two. Producers who have certified 2018 production are expected to still receive Market Facilitation Program payments. Those who haven’t certified 2018 acres will have to wait until the shutdown is over.

Producers who have already certified their 2018 production acres with FSA will continue to get their payments. For those who weren’t able to get the certification completed, they will have to wait until the government shutdown is over. Official signup for the program was scheduled to end on Jan. 15. Farmers can certify their 2018 production until May 1.

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Farm Tax Update Jan. 17 in New Philadelphia

OSU Extension in Tuscarawas County is pleased to be offering a Farm Tax Update on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. p.m. at the OSU Extension office, 419 16th St. SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio. OSU Extension Educator David Marrison will share details on the “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017” and its impact on farm taxes.

It is not business as usual in the world of farm taxes. Learn more about the changes to farm machinery depreciation, like-kind exchanges, and more about the new Section 199A deduction for Qualified Business Income. This program is free & open to the public! However, courtesy reservations are requested so program materials can be prepared. Call the Tuscarawas County Extension office at 330-339-2337 to RSVP or for more information.

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Farm Succession Workshop in Celina Jan. 30

A workshop on farm transition and succession will be held 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 30, 2019, at Romer’s Catering at Westlake, 1100 S. Main St., Celina.

This event is designed to help families develop a succession plan for their farm business, learn ways to transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next and learn how to have conversations about the future of one’s farm. Attendees are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop.

Featured speakers will include David Marrison, OSU associate professor; extension educator, attorney Robert Moore with Wright & Moore Law Co., Peggy Hall, OSU assistant professor and an attorney in agricultural law; and Denny Riethman, Mercer County OSU Extension educator. Registration is limited to the first 60 people. The cost is $20 per person and $30 per couple. The registration deadline is Jan. 23. Contact the Mercer County OSU Extension Office at 419-586-2179 to register.

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Top stories of 2018

Our web site keeps track of the stories that generate the most interest and at the end of the year we like to review the top stories to gain insight into how to better serve readers of our web and print content and our radio listeners. Plus, it is always fun to see which story comes out on top. To revisit all of these favorite web stories and videos in the last year, look for “2018 top stories of the year” on the right side of this web page. In addition to these top posts, other noteworthy drivers of web traffic in 2018 included the Ohio and Pro Farmer crop tours, the Ohio State Fair livestock show results, and Between the Rows. Weather challenges, the tough farm economy, and all things draft horse also garnered major web traffic in the last 12 months. Here are the 10 most popular stories of 2018.

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Great Lakes Conservation Connect to hold two workshops in Ohio

American Farmland Trust, Cornell University Cooperative Extension Northwest New York Team, and Ohio’s Wood Soil & Water Conservation District have joined together to announce two Great Lakes Conservation Connect events on Jan. 22, 2019. In the morning, a women-dedicated learning circle will be held in Woodville, Ohio.

This workshop will focus on identifying what future you want for your land, and how to achieve that by working with your farmer and your family. Learning Circles provide women the opportunity to meet other land owners, share their farm successes and challenges, discuss their goals for their land, and access advice and technical assistance. At this learning circle, women will have the opportunity to learn about how to start a plan for your land that fulfills your needs and your values. David Marrison, from OSU Extension, will be introducing tools and resources to help you gain a deeper knowledge of who to speak with.

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Precision U: In-Season Decisions event Jan. 9

Registration is open for the 2019 Precision University. Experts will be sharing the latest information on the latest tools and technologies to help you make better decisions during the growing season. The event will also feature afternoon breakout sessions on using aerial imagery for decision making and the latest advancements in sprayer nozzle technology. The event is hosted by The Ohio State University and will be held at Beck’s Hybrids in London, Ohio on Jan. 9.

Presentations at Precision University begin at 8:30 a.m. with the program concluding at 3:30 p.m. The event will also feature vendors on site to share the tools and services they offer. CCA CEUs will be offered.

The cost to register for Precision University is $50 and includes the program, handouts, lunch and refreshments. For more information or to register, visit http://go.osu.edu/PrecisionU.

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USDA highlights accomplishments in 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue highlighted the accomplishments made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the past year. USDA has continued enacting President Trump’s goals of regulatory reform, streamlining government, and refocusing USDA to be customer oriented.

“In 2018 we have fought for American farmers, ranchers, and producers by delivering new and improved trade deals like USMCA and a re-negotiated KORUS agreement, provided trade assistance to farmers due to illegal trade retaliation, and helped our fellow citizens through devastating natural disasters,” Perdue said. “I am proud to say that every day at USDA we do our best to live by our motto to “Do Right and Feed Everyone.”

 

SNAP Reform

USDA made major strides in reigning in dependence on government assistance by beginning the rule making process to move more able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to self-sufficiency. With today’s strong economy and more jobs available than there are workers, USDA’s proposal helps ensure the 3.8 million individual ABAWDs receiving SNAP benefits get back to work and on the path to self-sufficiency.

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Farm Bill could help farms battling low prices

Dairy farmers have a stronger safety net against low milk prices and high feed costs under the new federal farm bill, and more federal dollars will be spent to spur international trade of American agricultural products.

Both changes could help farmers at a time when revenues from selling milk, corn and soybeans have dipped and markets have shrunk.

Under the new farm bill, dairy farmers will pay lower premiums for a federal program that provides them payments when the margin between milk prices and feed costs dips below a certain level set by the government. The top level of coverage was raised from $8 to $9.50 per hundred pounds of milk, which will increase payments to dairy farmers.

“This is not a trivial change,” said Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist and professor emeritus with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

“It could mean a lot to dairy farmers.”

Ohio’s dairy farmers have recently been leaving the business at a higher than usual rate as a result of a drop in the price they’ve gotten for their milk for several years.

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ODA announces 2019 funding for Agriculture Easement Purchase Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that eight land trusts, four counties and 15 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state. These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).

LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept applications from Ohio landowners interested in selling an agricultural easement on their farms. A total of nearly $8.5 million will be made available in this funding round. Local sponsors have been certified to accept applications in 34 counties. Interested landowners should contact the certified local sponsor in their county for application details.

The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production. Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their local government and not lay directly in the path of development.

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Can that deer

Outdoor enthusiasts interested in learning to prepare and can white-tailed deer meat are encouraged to attend a free informational seminar on Wednesday, Jan. 23. The program will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Antwerp Conservation Club, located at 17814 Road 53, Antwerp 45815. It is free of charge, but preregistration is required by January 18, as space is limited. Interested individuals can register by calling Andrea Altman at 419-429-8321

Trained professionals from the ODNR Division of Wildlife and Antwerp Conservation Club will cover topics including how to pressure can venison, a great way to save freezer space and preserve meat, and how to make venison jerky, which is a delicious way to use leftover meat from a previous season. Wild game smoking techniques and additional venison preparation recipes will also be shared.

For more information on venison meal preparation and other wild game recipes, visit the Wild Ohio Cookbook at wildohio.gov.

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Cooper Farms supports local Boy Scout camp

The Cooper Family Foundation provided a contribution to Camp Lakota, a Boy Scout camp in Defiance that serves Northwest and West Central Ohio. The $750,000 donation will go toward funding for a new hall at the camp.

The relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and Cooper Farms is a long-standing one. The Cooper family has eight current Eagle Scouts and three more in the process of earning the honor.

“We believe in scouting and we believe in tradition,” said Greg Cooper. “We have three generations of Eagle Scouts in our family. We’re proud to be able to provide this donation to such a great organization.”

The tradition of the Coopers supporting the scouts started with Virgil Cooper and hasn’t ended.

“My dad was very involved and very supportive of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,” said Dianne Cooper. “We just want to keep that legacy going.”

This donation forever etches the Cooper family into the camp’s history as the new building will be donning the name “Cooper Lodge.”

Camp Lakota has been serving the youth of Nortwest and West Central Ohio since 1941.

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Merry Christmas!

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Exceptional walleye hatch recorded for Lake Erie’s central basin

Preliminary results from the fall trawl survey in Ohio’s portion of the central basin of Lake Erie show an exceptional hatch of walleye and an average hatch of yellow perch, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The ODNR Division of Wildlife’s results from the 2018 survey indicate that young-of-the-year walleye catch rates were the highest recorded in the past 20 years of the central basin trawl survey (32 fish per hectare). This year’s results, combined with the excellent 2015 year-class, will ensure adult walleye abundance in the central basin will continue to increase.

Trawl survey results for yellow perch indicate the hatch was the highest observed since 2014 (40 fish per hectare) and just below the long-term average (45 fish per hectare) for the central basin. In the individual management units, the western portion of the central basin (Huron to Fairport) index was 28 fish per hectare, below the average of 42 per hectare.

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USDA announces National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announced the final rule implementing its National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard on Dec. 20.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, passed by Congress in July of 2016, directed USDA to establish this national mandatory standard for disclosing foods that are or may be bioengineered. The Standard requires food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to ensure bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed.

“The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard increases the transparency of our nation’s food system, establishing guidelines for regulated entities on when and how to disclose bioengineered ingredients. This ensures clear information and labeling consistency for consumers about the ingredients in their food,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “The Standard also avoids a patchwork state-by-state system that could be confusing to consumers.”

The Standard defines bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature.

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Christmas comes early with a Dec. 20 Farm Bill

By Matt Reese and Ty Higgins

Today, President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

“With the passage of the farm bill we are delivering to the farmers and ranchers, who are the heart and soul of America, all sorts of things that they never even thought possible,” said President Donald Trump. “We are insuring that American agriculture will always feed our families, nourish our communities, power our commerce and inspire our nation.

“By signing this bill we are protecting our crop insurance programs and funding that producers rely on in times of disaster.”

Retired Ohio State University agricultural economics professor Carl Zulauf recently hit the high points of the 800-plus-page 2018 Farm Bill.

“This is a largely a bill that is a 5-year extension of current policy with a few exceptions in each title. The biggest exception is the Conservation Title. There are major changes in that title across all of the different programs.

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AFBF praises new Clean Water Rule

The newly proposed Clean Water Rule would empower America’s farmers and ranchers to protect the nation’s water resources and provide much-needed regulatory clarity to guide those stewardship efforts, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

Duvall recently spoke in Tennessee during an agricultural stakeholder meeting on the newly proposed Waters of the United States Rule. The event, hosted by the Tennessee Farm Bureau and kicked-off by Tennessee Farm Bureau President Jeff Aiken, included presentations by Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who provided farmers and ranchers additional details about the proposed rule.

Duvall said farmers and ranchers are committed to protecting America’s waterways and drinking water, and the new Clean Water Rule will provide them the regulatory certainty they need to farm confidently with those natural resources in mind.

“For more than five years we have advocated for a new water rule that protects clean water and provides clear rules for people and communities to follow,” Duvall said.

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USDA’s Traveler website helps Santa know what agricultural items can safely be brought into the U.S. as Christmas presents

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced that representatives from the North Pole were among the visitors checking out the Agency’s new traveler information web page. The site, launched in September 2018, provides everyone with important information about which agricultural items are safe to enter the United States — and which ones are best left behind. This helps protect the health of our country’s plants, animals and natural resources, ensuring many happy holidays to come.

“As we are in the overall season of family, feasting and gift-giving, we are thrilled to hear directly from Santa’s elves that the big man himself was comparing his gift list to our requirements,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “We thank Santa for setting a great example of thoughtful and responsible gift giving. We know he always does his part by getting a movement permit for his reindeer to enter the U.S., but this year he’s going above and beyond to help protect our farmers, ranchers and citizens.”

Both food items and other agricultural-based items (things like plants, seeds, and gifts made from wood or plants) from other countries can carry pests and diseases not found here in the United States.

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