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Moving forward with the farm bill on your farm

Now that the Agricultural Act of 2014 is law, farmers can get to work planning for the future with the multiple choices offered.

After an initial analysis, Ohio State University ag economist Carl Zulauf compiled an overview of some of the key components of the farm bill safety net to consider with the newly passed bill. There is still much debate ahead for the farm bill as the details of its implementation are hashed out. Here are excerpts from Zuluaf’s initial overview:

 

Title 1. Commodity Programs

• Direct payments are repealed except for reduced transition payments to cotton.

• Programs authorized for the 2014-2018 crop years and through Dec. 31, 2018 for dairy.

• A crop farm has a one-time, irrevocable opportunity to elect either Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or county Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) on a crop by crop basis. The producer may also elect individual farm ARC, but this election applies to the entire farm.… Continue reading

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Corn exports up in bullish report

The corn and wheat numbers were bullish, soybeans were neutral.

Probably the biggest surprise of the day had corn exports up 150 million bushels. Wheat exports also went up, that was a surprise as well.

Corn exports increased 150 million bushels with ending stocks dropping the same amount. This put corn ending stocks at 1.481 billion bushels. Soybean exports went up 15 million bushels with crush unchanged. Brazil’s soybean production was up with Argentina dropping. This was expected. Wheat ending stocks dropped 50 million bushels as exports went up a similar amount.

Prior to the report, corn was up one cent, soybeans were up seven cents, with wheat up four cents. Shortly after the report, corn was up two cents, soybeans were down eight cents, and wheat was up six cents. Soybean were down initially almost ten cents, then moved to a small plus, but quickly went lower again.

Traders were looking for this report to be pretty boring with no major changes in the numbers from last month.

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RMA announces changes to organic insurance program

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently announced changes to the organics program under the Federal crop insurance program. These changes are effective for the 2014 crop year.

The organic practice is offered for all insurable crops in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

Changes to the organic price used to establish insurance coverage will provide a crop insurance guarantee more reflective of organic crop values. Last year, RMA revised the organic price for corn, soybeans and processing tomatoes. For 2014, this list was expanded to include oats and mint. Also, most organic producers can now choose to use either their contract price or the established crop insurance price for coverage.

Organic transitional yields (t-yields), used by producers who do not have enough organic production history to establish insurance coverage, have been revised and separated from non-organic t-yields. Additionally, the 5% premium surcharge has been removed.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents.… Continue reading

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New OSA members can enter to win 50 Hours with Challenger Tractor

The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) is partnering with Ohio Ag Equipment this year to offer new OSA members the chance to win 50 hours on an MT600 Series Challenger tractor. This promotion is only good until March 1, 2014.

To win, sign up at www.soyohio.org/membership as a first time member by March 1 and that’s it.

“There are 24,000 soybean farmers in Ohio and we would like every single one of them to be a member of OSA,” said Jerry Bambauer, OSA president and Auglaize County soybean farmer.  “OSA provides leadership for Ohio soybean farmers on legislative issues like the farm bill, water quality, estate tax and so much more. But the work that we do is not possible without the support we have from our members. If you are not a member, take the time to learn more about our organization and sign up so your voice is heard both here in Columbus and in Washington, D.C.”

In addition to OSA’s partnership with Ohio Ag Equipment for new members, OSA offers a variety of membership incentives.… Continue reading

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Cold weather a concern for fruit growers

The polar vortex and subsequent arctic cold temperatures throughout the region this winter have left many small fruit growers seeing varying degrees of winter injury in their plants, according to a small fruit crops expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The sub-zero arctic temperatures have taken a significant toll on small fruit crops this year, said Gary Gao, an Ohio State University Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops at Ohio State University’s South Centers in Piketon.

For example, wine grape growers are likely to find significant damage to their grape vines. The Vinifera or European grape varieties have probably sustained 90 to 100% injury to their primary buds, he said. These challenges and others will be a topic of discussion at the Ohio Commercial Berry Production School in Piketon next month.

“Many of the plants have sustained substantial damage from these cold temperatures, and growers need to understand how to assess winter injury to their plants,” Gao said.… Continue reading

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Refuge report shows increased compliance in 2013

In order to preserve technology, insect resistant crops have always required a refuge area.

The National Corn Growers Association enhanced Compliance Assurance Program (CAP) that has had strong success. The program, which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and IRM education and awareness, has documented an increase in both the overall number of growers planting proper corn refuge and use of integrated refuge products.

The CAP aims to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC), a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits.

Highlights of the survey indicate a strong adoption of integrated refuge products, which include Bt and refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or container.

“We are pleased to see that the number of growers planting integrated refuge products on their entire farming operation has more than tripled this year and the percent of those who planted at least one integrated product increased from 50% in 2012 to 75% in 2013,” said Mike Smith, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairman.… Continue reading

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New soy products

Various performance and environmental attributes have made U.S. soy increasingly popular among product manufacturers, which has helped boost industrial demand for soy.

Last year, the soy checkoff  partnered with manufacturers to commercialize 38 new soy-based products and ingredients.

The list of products developed with soy checkoff support in 2013 includes new additions to some popular soy-based product categories, such as coatings, adhesives and plastics. It also includes soy-based ingredients that could be used in countless new products.

“USB is helping discover other products that can be made from soy to add to farmers’ bottom lines,” said Dale Profit, a soy checkoff farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Van Wert.
 “These products are good for the farmer, the customer and all the people in between.”

Soybean meal’s primary use remains animal feed, while most soybean oil goes to human food, Profit said. But versatile soy can also help manufacturers replace petrochemicals and possible carcinogens in their products.… Continue reading

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What is soil health?

“Soil health” has become a popular term during the last few years. Some people even refer to soil as a “living organism.” Particles of sand or clay are not living organisms but the composite of soil particles, organic matter and all the living creatures like earth worms, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses that make it their home constitute “soil” which is so important for growing crops.

• The health of the soil is the physical health, porosity, water retention qualities, drainage capacity plus the health of all the organisms that live in it. This may be compared with the health of a city with buildings, homes and factories, etc. When a city is not properly taken care of by its residents, it begins to suffer. The same thing can happen to a farm.

• I am glad to see that more farmers are becoming interested in improving the health of the soils on their farms.… Continue reading

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Fresh Foods Corridor workshops

Running along U.S. Highway 23 from Columbus to Portsmouth and through Pickaway County, the Ohio Fresh Foods Corridor helps people experience the connection with their food by promoting homegrown entrepreneurship, new investment and the value of Pickaway County’s existing strengths in food and agriculture.

The Ohio Fresh Foods Corridor will be holding two workshops in February for those interested in specialty crop production to help strengthen individual marketing efforts and engage consumers.

“These workshops are great opportunities for those looking to get into the local foods scene, grow their own specialty crops, and learn new ways to promote their businesses and reach new audiences,” said Mike Estadt, Pickaway County Extension educator and Pickaway County Competitiveness Ag Committee member. “Great experts and local farmers will share their experiences and help attendees make the most out of their specialty crop endeavors.”

The first workshop will be held Feb. 11 from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.… Continue reading

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Corn, Soybean and Wheat Connection Webinar

The second of 3 webinars for Ohio farmers and industry offered by Ohio State University Extension called Corn, Soybean and Wheat Connection is scheduled for February 11, 2014. This program will focus soybean production. The final program on February 25th has weed control as the topic. There are three options to for individuals to participate in these sessions.

Full agenda for the 2/11 program is:

February 11th Soybean Production from 7:00-8:30 pm

Everything but the Kitchen Sink: High Input Soybean Production

Dr. Laura Lindsey, State Specialist Soybean & Small Grains Production, Ohio State University Extension

Updates on Fungicides and Resistance, Soybean Cyst Nematode and Seed Treatments

Dr. Anne Dorrance, State Specialist Plant Pathology Soybeans, Ohio State University Extension

There are three viewing options for individuals to participate in these sessions.

Option 1. At county locations live. Ashtabula, Carroll, Clinton, Darke, Hancock, Hardin, Knox, Morrow, Muskingum, Wayne, Williams and Wood Counties will host sessions in the series.… Continue reading

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Zero tolerance for weed control

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth — their reputations as tough-to-control weeds only increased as weed shifts evolved and they developed increasing resistance to glyphosate.

Bob Hartzler, Extension agronomist with Iowa State University, explained what kinds of circumstances cause the shifting populations of weeds in the field.

“Each member of the weed community has different optimum growing conditions and responds differently to control practices,” Hartzler said. “The community within a field is a direct result of current and past management practices.”

Mismanagement of glyphosate is commonly blamed for causing weed shifts in addition to the development of herbicide resistance in key weeds. Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth are two of the most commonly discussed weeds when it comes to weed shifts and resistance because they reproduce rapidly and prolifically. A single plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds.

“These are two very aggressive weed species in terms of growth habitat and seed production,” said Jim Bloomberg, product development manager, Bayer CropScience.… Continue reading

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ASA pushes EPA to amend RFS proposal

American Soybean Association (ASA) President Ray Gaesser, a farmer from Corning, Iowa, urged Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to amend EPA’s proposed 2014 and 2015 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements for biomass-based diesel that, if left unchanged, would significantly damage the nation’s growing biodiesel industry and adversely impact soybean growers.

In comments submitted to the agency yesterday, Gaesser emphasized that EPA’s proposed biomass-based diesel and total Advanced Biofuels levels “are unnecessarily low, will stifle the growth and job creation potential demonstrated by the biodiesel industry, and squander an opportunity for greater emissions reductions and energy diversity.”

Gaesser also noted that the levels are “… entirely inconsistent with this Administration’s clear position over the past five years supporting renewable and Advanced Biofuels for their energy, environmental, and economic benefits.”

ASA urged that EPA adjust the requirements to be consistent with production levels in 2013, which exceeded 1.7 billion gallons.

“As was demonstrated in 2013, the U.S.… Continue reading

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New scholarship offered to BEST show participants

A new scholarship is being offered to Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) BEST show participants. Those interested in adding to the BEST Bob Evans Scholarship Fund can dine at Bob Evans restaurants at the remaining BEST shows and 15% of the tab will be applied to this new scholarship. It will be awarded at the BEST banquet on May 10. There are designated Bob Evans restaurants at each show that will be participating in this BEST Community Fundraiser. To participate, pick up a flyer at the show or go to www.ohiocattle.org to print a flyer to present to the cashier.

“We are excited about a new opportunity to provide scholarship money to youth in the BEST program,” said Todd Pugh, BEST committee chair.

There are five remaining BEST shows, including the Clark County Cattle Battle, February 1-2, Springfield; Hot Shot Classic/Rumble at Roberts, February 15, Wilmington; DTS Foundation Feature, February 16, Wilmington; Ohio Beef Expo, March 14-16, Columbus; and the Buckeye Classic, March 29-30, Wooster.… Continue reading

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Fall weed survey: We still have a problem

Almost every year since 2006, the OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource county-based educators have been conducting fall soybean weed surveys. Our concern is that resistant weeds may be increasing and we want to be a little ahead of the curve so we can tell you our readers. Table 1 shows our results summary across those years. Missing is 2007. I was the only person conducting a survey that year and 2012 is also missing, which is the only year I have missed.

 

Table 1. Weed survey summary – 2006 to 2013 with the average % of fields infested at any level.

Weed below,   year >200620082009201020112013
Weedfree372525313034
Giant ragweed422521262631
Common ragweed9 22710106
Lambsquarters151217974
Marestail193839324039
Volunteer corn3721221023

 

The top five weeds we see each year are those noted above, for 2013 we did add Giant foxtail because so many of our educators (10 of 14) named that as the next most noted weed.… Continue reading

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Honey Nut Cheerios now targeted by anti-GMO efforts

Anti-GMO group Green America’s GMO Inside campaign has been bolstered and launched another major push to get General Mills to drop GMOs from Honey Nut Cheerios — the top breakfast cereal for the company and the nation. The campaign website and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GmoInside) are now attempting to coerce General Mills to remove GMOs from Honey Nut Cheerios and to use a third-party verifier to ensure that the cereal is, in fact, non-GMO.

“General Mills has the opportunity to build on the important step they took in making regular Cheerios non-GMO by now taking the GMOs out of America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Honey Nut Cheerios,” said Nicole McCann, Green America’s GMO Inside campaign director. “More and more consumers are looking for non-GMO options, especially for the foods that they feed to their children, and those consumers will be letting General Mills know they want the GMOs off their breakfast table.”

In addition, GMO Inside is pushing for Post and General Mills to end all opposition to GMO labeling efforts in terms of funding or lobbying efforts.… Continue reading

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Water quality and nutrient management toolkit developed to address growing need

The complexities of nutrient management do not simply require occasional attention on the farm. Properly managing nutrients requires year-round effort, attention to details and careful record keeping. With these things in mind, the Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District, Cargill in Sidney, and the Shelby County Farm Bureau teamed up to help farmers in the increasingly important management of the nutrients that are necessary components of crop and livestock production.

“I am not sure you can go to any farm meeting in the state right now and not have this topic come up,” said Andrea Guckes with Cargill. “We were very fortunate to work with a lot of people who really know their stuff and we were really excited to be a part of this.”

The effort that began last August has resulted in an educational toolkit for producers — “Water Quality & Nutrient Management … from Planning to Placement to Profit.”

“This is a local project that we have going on, but we believe this has application across all counties in the state and in other states.… Continue reading

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Rice hedges bets for an Ohio farm

After getting a farm started in Arkansas, Ohio-based Purdy farms decided it was time to diversify their crop production portfolio with rice.

“Arkansas is the top rice producer in the U.S. by far because the water is so close, it doesn’t cost you much. We can get 1,200 to 2,000 gallons a minute from wells at 20 feet deep. We wanted to go toward rice, but we didn’t have the equipment or knowledge for rice,” Jack Purdy said. “And once you go with rice, you have to plant rice.”

Rice requires significant land grading. There are two common options to grade the fields for rice.

“Zero grade is one way and when you do that, you’re a rice farmer. When it rains you have a duck pond, which works for rice but not anything else,” Jack said. “The field is as flat as a table and you put a road around it and flood it.… Continue reading

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Seed battle in Hawaii

DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics Inc. teamed up on a lawsuit in Hawaii to block a law enacted on the island of Kauai in November to limit the planting of biotech crops and the use of pesticides.

The Kauai ordinance takes effect in August and would prohibit the open-air testing of experimental pesticides and place a moratorium on the development of new genetically modified crops. The resulting suit claims the legal action in Kauai is unconstitutional and seeks an injunction permanently barring enforcement of provisions of the law. The suit was filed on Jan. 10 in U.S. district court in Honolulu.

According to the National Corn Growers Association, seed crop industry started about 50 years ago in Hawaii, but since 2000 the industry has grown 548%, with seed companies having a stake in about 10 farms totaling some 25,000 acres on four Hawaiian islands. Seed corn is the biggest segment of Hawaii’s agriculture sector, valued at $243 million.… Continue reading

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Hops workshops

Growers looking to supply hops to Ohio’s booming microbrewery industry need to first research which varieties of hops craft brewers want to avoid the costly mistake of investing in the wrong types, a horticulture expert with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences says.

Ohio beer manufacturers spend an estimated $4 million annually on purchases of hop cones, or hops, to create craft beers. This creates a huge opportunity for local growers to get into hops production, said Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Because the majority of those hops are sourced in states west of Ohio, the opportunity to grow and expand local hops production is significant. Hops are a main ingredient in beer manufacturing that provides bitterness to balance the sweetness of malt sugars.

“Microbrewing is growing quickly in Ohio, with over 100 craft brewers licensed statewide over the past two years,” Bergefurd said.… Continue reading

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Farming in the south created options and opportunity for Purdy family

In 2007, things were looking grim for the Purdy family and their farm at the corners of Madison, Union and Champaign counties.

They had taken a calculated risk of a big investment in a biodiesel plant and things were not working out.

“It was a 5 million gallon plant and we were struggling even with the $1 credit,” said Jack Purdy. “When they wiped out that credit, it shut us down.”

Jack and his two sons, Thomas and Jonathan, were looking for ways to expand the farm to make ends meet. Local land was unavailable, or too expensive, for the farm that got its start when Jack and his wife moved from Pennsylvania in the 1970s.

“I always wanted to farm. I grew up in Pennsylvania and went to Penn State in engineering. I had a job offer at John Deere, but I saw an ad for a working farm manager here in Ohio,” Jack said.… Continue reading

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