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The importance of a well-maintained machine: now apply this to you!

By Dee Jepsen

Regular equipment maintenance is an important part of good work practices. Without proper equipment, our work performance suffers. Equipment maintenance includes many activities, including inspections, replacements and adjustments. Learning how to apply these principles to our own lifestyle is also important for sustainability and improves our quality of life. For without a well-prepared body, we are not ready to face the workday.

This article addresses the health side of agricultural safety and health. A healthy workforce is an important aspect towards total workplace safety.

 

Two types of maintenance

The two types of equipment maintenance are routine maintenance and corrective maintenance. During routine maintenance activities we focus on preventing future problems. Several of these good practices include getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, participating in the right type of exercise, and knowing a few stress control strategies.

Corrective maintenance is reacting to a faulty system, where things go wrong within the system or where parts need replaced.

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Ohio’s ever-changing climate, and its impact on farmers

By Zach Parrott, OCJ field reporter

Many farmers in the state have been struggling with incredibly wet conditions over the past couple of years driven by a changing climate. Both crop and livestock operations are having to make changes to adapt accordingly.

Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences atmospheric scientist Aaron Wilson pointed out that over the past 60 years, moisture levels in Ohio have been on the rise. The increased moisture in the atmosphere has caused Ohio’s temperatures to also change. Ohio’s temperature has increased roughly 2 degrees overall. From 1986 to 2016, summers in Ohio have become increasingly cooler and the winters are warmer. These changes have significant impacts on the state’s ag sector, resulting in rising human and livestock stress levels, pollination decreases, lower productivity and quality, increased weed pressure, increase in disease, and a higher potential risk of crop failure.

“When you have more moisture in the atmosphere it does three things,” Wilson said.

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USDA offers low-interest loans for Ohio agricultural producers impacted by natural disasters

Ohio agricultural producers who lost property due to recent natural disasters may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) physical loss loans. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers these low-interest loans to agricultural producers in 21 Ohio counties, the primary damaged area, who incurred losses due excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, hail, high winds, lightning and tornadoes that occurred between Nov. 1, 2018 and June 13, 2019. Approval is limited to applicants who suffered severe physical losses only, including the loss of buildings and livestock. Applications are due March 2, 2020.

“Ohio’s hardworking ag producers feed our neighbors, the nation and the world,” said Leonard Hubert, state executive director. “When they suffer losses because of extreme weather, helping them get back on their feet is important. We encourage those affected to reach out to their local USDA Service Center to apply for these emergency loans.”

The 21 Ohio counties in the primary damaged areas include Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Crawford, Darke, Greene, Guernsey, Henry, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Noble, Pickaway, Preble, Richland, Shelby, and Stark.

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Ohio farm featured on PBS series

Ohio’s Laurel Valley Creamery will be featured nationwide with the broadcast premiere of Farmsteaders on POV on Sept. 2, an award-winning PBS series.

Farmsteaders brings to light various factors related to dairy farm management, livestock and challenges to farming practices. Director Shaena Mallett documents the intimate experiences and continuing struggle of the Nolan family farm, operating at the mercy of the “unknown.”

Farmsteaders follows Nick Nolan and his young family on a journey to resurrect his late grandfather’s dairy farm. Nick and his wife Celeste fight to keep their farm from “drying up and blowing away,” something that has happened to about 4.7 million farms in the U.S. Through beauty and hardship, Farmsteaders points an honest and tender lens at everyday life in rural America, offering an unexpected voice for a forsaken people: those who grow the food that sustains us.

Farmsteaders will premiere on POV on Sept. 2 at 10 p.m.

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Large algae bloom in Lake Erie predicted for 2019

NOAA and its research partners are forecasting that western Lake Erie will experience a significant harmful algal bloom (HAB) this summer.

This year’s bloom is expected to measure 7.5 on the severity index, but could possibly range between 6 and 9. An index above 5 indicates blooms having greater impact. The severity index is based on bloom’s biomass — the amount of algae — over a sustained period. The largest blooms occurred in 2011, with a severity index of 10, and 2015, at 10.5. Last year’s bloom had a severity index of 3.6, while 2017‘s was 8.0.

Lake Erie blooms consist of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, that are capable of producing the liver toxin microcystin that poses a risk to human and wildlife health. Such blooms may result in higher costs for cities and local governments that need to treat drinking water, prevent people from enjoying fishing, swimming, boating and visiting the shoreline, and harm the region’s vital summer tourism economy.

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Ticks close to home

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

I know first-hand that the odds of getting bit by a tick and contracting a disease are getting higher each year in Ohio. Last month my wife had what she thought was a bruise on her stomach which, at the sight of the classic bullseye-shaped rash, I identified as the bite of a tick. I had interviewed Dr. Timothy McDermott, a veterinarian and Ohio State University extension educator in Franklin County, on my radio show and learned the signs.

“The incidence of Lyme disease locally has increased every year and is projected to continue to increase every year,” he explained, adding that in the past four years, the number of cases of Lyme disease nearly doubled, with 293 cases reported in 2018, according to Ohio Department of Public Health data. As of press time, there already were 27 cases statewide this year.

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Gov. DeWine creates “Expo 2050” Task Force

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a new task force to develop and recommend a long-term vision for the Ohio Expo Center, an event venue in Columbus that is home to the Ohio State Fair, as well as nearby attractions including the Ohio History Connection and the current Mapfre Stadium.

“At the Ohio State Fair and other events that occur here, there are countless ways to have fun. We need to find ways to keep that excitement going all year long,” Governor DeWine said. “Today, I am announcing the formation of a task force, called ‘Expo 2050,’ to take stock of all of the great things going on at the Ohio Expo Center, as well as the Ohio History Connection and Mapfre Stadium, and to develop a strategic vision for the entire area.”

Governor DeWine made the announcement during a meeting of the Ohio Expositions Commission. Expo 2050 is tasked with reviewing the Expo experience, including the assets and activities of the Ohio Expo Center, the Ohio History Connection, and Mapfre Stadium, and developing ideas for getting the most use and enjoyment out of this state land in the future.

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Tools for training and keeping good employees increasingly important in agribusiness

By Matt Reese

It is not an uncommon story. A young employee starts at the lowest levels of a company, works in every facet of the business and one day ends up running it.

“Our CEO is in his early 40s. He hired on at a local ag center as an applicator, which is a technical job driving big machines. He was willing to do anything. He would tie feed sacks at the mill, sweep shop floors, check out customers at the counter — that man now is our CEO,” said Lindsay Sankey, communications manager for Harvest Land Cooperative with locations in western Ohio and Indiana. “He has worked in every department of our business. He is a prime example that if you are willing to learn and take on responsibility, there is so much opportunity in a farmer owned cooperative. We have several examples of this. He started on the lowest rung and now he is leading the cooperative.”

Unfortunately, for a number of different reasons, this type of ground up experience and long-term company loyalty seems to be less common in the modern pool of employees.

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Financial workshops planned throughout Ohio

Ohio’s agricultural economy is experiencing a number of stresses in 2019. Challenging weather and uncertain market conditions are leaving many farmers across the state under considerable financial stress. The reality is no one is immune to financial stress. Managing the day-to-day challenges of cash flow are tough. Layer in long-term planning, such as a business succession and retirement, and it can often feel overwhelming.

Ohio Farm Bureau Financial Essentials program aims to alleviate these concerns through a series of workshops and online resources developed to help answer important financial questions. In collaboration with Nationwide, AgCredit, OSU Extension, Farm Credit Mid-America and Wright & Moore Law Co. LPA, these resources can help guide the path to financial security for a family, farm and business.

County Farm Bureaus are hosting workshops in several locations during August and September. Each session will include a meal provided by the county Farm Bureau. 

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2019 Agriculture Challenges FAQ Webpage now live from OSU Extension

By Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

The unrelenting rains this spring and summer have created many challenges that the farming community is now sorting through. In order to help with decisions, Ohio State University Extension has created a Frequently Asked Questions webpage. This page provides the most up-to-date answers to questions about topics ranging from the Market Facilitation Program and disaster payments to cover crops, forages, livestock concerns, management of crops that are out of sync with normal planting dates, as well as answers to more questions as information becomes available. There is also an option to submit questions that you would like answered. Webinars with more detailed information will also be shared at this site as well. The page is available at go.osu.edu/AgCrisis. Since the situation we are facing is constantly evolving, be sure to check back for the latest information available to help you.

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Ohio’s Ag-LINK Program re-opened farmers impacted by flooding

Due to the extreme weather that has taken a devastating toll on parts of Ohio, Treasurer Robert Sprague announced he has re-opened the application period for the Ag-LINK program.

Through this round of applications, farm operators and agribusiness owners based in Ohio can receive a 2% interest rate reduction on loans up to $150,000. Ag-LINK can provide significant savings and much needed relief to farmers and agribusinesses impacted by recent storms and floods.

“Agriculture is the backbone of Ohio’s economy,” said Treasurer Sprague. “But with heavy rain and floods wreaking havoc on fields across the state, we want to make every opportunity available to help offset some of the inevitable losses that come with this level of severe weather. The Ag-LINK program can help alleviate some of the borrowing costs for farm operators as they work their way through this extremely difficult growing season.”

The Ohio Treasurer’s office administers the Ag-LINK program to help Ohio farm operators and other agricultural businesses finance the up-front operating costs for feed, seed, fertilizer, fuel, and other flood related costs.

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Summer sweet corn

Most midwest summer top 10 bucket lists wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a meal including delicious, fresh from the farm sweet corn. Sweet corn is how we started out our produce farming back in the day. Paul had grown sweet corn and decided it would be a fun way to get some extra income, get back into “farming” and the boys could help. We sold dozens out of an old bathtub in an old corncrib using the honor system. Life was good.

Sweet corn varieties, maturity, color and cooking method are very customer driven. These days we don’t sell much sweet corn, but my favorite variety is Ambrosia. It is a sugar-enhanced, bicolor sweet corn. Our few rows we have are treated like the Star of Africa diamond. Once it starts to tassel, it’s time to put up the solar powered electric fence. Last year it provided great security from the dreaded racoons, who are known for destroying entire plots of sweet corn.

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2019 Feeding Farmers | Rob Wilson, Hardin County

For the final week of Feeding Farmers 2019, thanks to AgriGold, the Ohio Ag Net crew traveled to Hardin County where the rains from a night-before rain were variable, just like the crop progress in the area.

Rob Wilson and his family raise crops plus a bit of livestock while staying involved in the local community. Dale Minyo catches up with him on how this year has been treating their operation in this video.

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Warm and wet weather to rule July

By Jim Noel, NOAA

With July 4 behind us, Ohio’s farmers will be facing above normal temperatures and precipitation for the rest of the month.

Even though it has gotten a little drier recently, the pattern around a big high pressure to the west and south of Ohio favors a warm and humid July with rain chances. However, there will be swings in the the pattern from week to week.

The first week of July had a very warm and humid pattern with increasing rain chances. Week two will offer a cooler pattern but with continued rain chances. Weeks three and four will return to above normal temperatures and rainfall near normal.

Looking ahead to August, expect above normal temperatures with rainfall normal or above normal. It should be noted that the above normal temperatures will be driven much more so by overnight low temperatures versus daytime maximum temperatures. Maximum temperatures will generally only be a few degrees above normal while overnight minimum temperatures will at times be 5 to 10 degrees above normal.

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Mmmmm…Buckeye state BBQ

By Mike Ryan, OCJ Field Reporter

Few meals rival the tastes, aromas, and visual pleasures offered by good barbecue.

Famed American writer and food aficionado Jim Harrison once said that the sensory experience provided by authentic barbecue makes him “rethink food as a sacrament and those who man the barbecue pit as priests of a holy substance.”

The barbecue establishments featured here are a testament to Harrison’s observation. These purveyors of smoked meat from across the state each have their own distinct personality and style, which is reflected in the mouth-watering barbecue that they serve up in their unique restaurants.

 

Velvet Smoke BBQ, Cincinnati

Todd Wernicke is Velvet Smoke BBQ’s Executive Pitmaster, serving up high quality meats such as Duroc pork and Angus Beef to hungry restaurant patrons throughout the Cincinnati region. The folks at Velvet Smoke got their start in the barbecue business as competition cooks and judges on the Kansas City Barbecue Society circuit.

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ODNR awards grants for Lake Erie projects

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has approved more than $437,000 in funding through the Coastal Management Assistance Grant (CMAG) program for five projects in Toledo, Eastlake, Ashtabula County, Lorain, and Bay Village that will improve coastal planning, public access, and water quality.

“For more than 20 years, this grant program has provided a helping hand to Ohio’s communities for protecting and developing valuable resources near Lake Erie,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “These projects upgrade infrastructure, provide better access to natural areas for residents, and reduce erosion while improving water quality.”

ODNR implements the CMAG program through its Office of Coastal Management for eligible entities including local governments, county and regional planning agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and park and conservancy districts for completion of projects that will protect Lake Erie’s coastal resources and support sustainable use.

This year’s projects include installing ADA-accessible parking spaces and walkways, implementing green stormwater infrastructure, enhancing stream and wetland habitats which will help filter and improve water quality, and developing plans and engineering designs needed to improve public access and restore coastal habitat.

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Climate Smart: Farming with weather extremes

On July 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Der Dutchman, 445 S. Jefferson Ave., Plain City this event is free and open to the public, including free lunch for those who RSVP in advance.

Contact Aaron Wilson, 614-292-7930,  wilson.1010@osu.edu to register. Key topics include water management, crop insurance, risk management, conservation and technology. Keynote speaker will be Tyler Williams, a cropping systems extension educator with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Tyler will discuss lessons from the Spring 2019 Nebraska flood event. RSVP required by July 11 to receive lunch. To RSVP, visit go.osu.edu/ClimateSmart.

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OSU Extension has many resources for farms facing challenging times

By Sarah Noggle, Ohio State University Extension

In trying times, where do you turn?

Farmers are some of the most humble, down to earth people I know and they thrive on being able to feed the country. The stresses these farmers and farm families are enduring and hard on everyone involved. While they know that they work in a business where risks are always present due to weather, they sometimes need support and encouragement to work through their own mental and physical stress and even fatigue during these times. Most of the farmers live on the land they farm and don’t have the chance to get away from these stresses. Most of us that work, work at a place that when it gets stressful, we get to leave for the day. Farmers, on the other hand, don’t usually have this option. They live, sleep and breathe their occupation.

There are so many decisions that farmers are making today into what this generation knows as uncharted territory.

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Prevented planting, idle land and CAUV taxation

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

The decision on whether to take prevented planting can be tough, but concerns about increased property taxes on idle land do not need to enter into the equation. Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Valuation program allows landowners to retain the benefit of CAUV tax assessment on agricultural land even if the land lies idle or fallow for a period of time.

Ohio’s CAUV program provides differential property tax assessment to parcels of land “devoted exclusively to agricultural use” that are 10 acres or more or, if less than 10 acres, generated an average gross income for the previous three years of $2,500 or more from commercial agricultural production. Timber lands adjacent to CAUV land, land enrolled in federal conservation programs, and land devoted to agritourism or bio-mass and similar types of energy production on a farm also qualify for CAUV.

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