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Is the third time the charm for farmer fair practice rules?

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

A new rule proposed by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) covers a topic that has been up in the air for more than a decade. The 2008 Farm Bill called on the Secretary of Agriculture to create regulations meant to guide the USDA in determining whether or not a packer, swine contractor, or live poultry dealer gave a person or locality “any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage” when purchasing livestock and meat products. The Secretary of Agriculture entrusted the rulemaking to USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). GIPSA did propose versions of the rule in 2010 and 2016, but neither ever went into effect due to congressional prohibitions on such rulemaking and a presidential transition, respectively. (The anticipated regulations have long been referred to as the “Farmer Fair Practice Rules.”) Once Trump came into office, his administration did away with GIPSA and gave its responsibilities to AMS, further delaying the rulemaking.… Continue reading

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Beef exports (again) a key factor to watch in 2020

By Josh Maples, Assistant Professor & Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi State University

The latest Monthly Trade data for November 2019 was released by USDA Economic Research Service. The report continued the recent trend of lower monthly exports as compared to 2018. After three consecutive years of double-digit increases (2016-2018) in beef exports, current data show January-November 2019 exports to be down 4.6% compared to the same period in 2018. There are also new and hopeful trade deals to add to the mix with Japan, Canada, Mexico, and China. Needless to say, there are plenty of moving parts for 2020.

November 2019 beef exports were 8% below the same month of 2018 at just under 245 million pounds. For January-November 2019, exports to four of the top five destinations were lower (Japan, Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong) with the exception of South Korea which is up 6.3%. Japan is still the top destination for U.S.… Continue reading

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Senate passes USMCA

U.S. agriculture cheered today’s overwhelming support in Senate vote paving the way for the President’s signature of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“The Senate’s passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement is a huge win for our farmers in Ohio and across the country as it ensures the viability of agriculture’s trade partnerships in the global marketplace,” said Frank Burkett, Ohio Farm Bureau president. “Trade is vital to U.S. agriculture, and we applaud Senators Brown and Portman for their bipartisan work to continue and improve our relationship with our North American trading partners.”

The agreement has tremendous implications for agricultural exports from U.S. farmers. The dairy industry, in particular, will benefit significantly.

“USMCA makes important strides to break down trade barriers, opening the door to new opportunities and supporting the flow of high-quality American dairy products to two valuable export markets,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.… Continue reading

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Pig virus is easily transmitted among chickens and turkeys

Ohio State University researchers are taking a look at the potential for viral diseases to spread between livestock species, and potentially to humans. The first animal study of a pig virus’ potential to jump to another species shows that the virus, once introduced to a select group of birds, is easily transmitted to healthy chickens and turkeys.

The researchers who led this work were part of a team that previously found in a lab setting that the virus could infect cells from multiple species, including chickens and humans. In this study, birds that were given the virus developed diarrhea two days after infection. Healthy birds housed with infected chickens and turkeys also developed diarrhea two days after exposure.

That rapid spread of disease surprised the Ohio State University scientists.

“We weren’t even sure the virus would transmit from bird to bird. That’s a significant finding,” said senior author Scott Kenney, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine based in Ohio State’s Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster.… Continue reading

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Plenty to consider at OSU Extension farm bill meetings

Farmers who prefer planting over paperwork could gain a lot from a series of upcoming meetings that will guide them through the tedium of signing up for farm safety net programs and crop insurance.

Ohio State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are partnering to offer free meetings across Ohio to help growers of commodities decide on a government farm program that will help protect them against dips in farm income.

By March 15, farmers of corn, soybeans, and wheat have to decide which one of three government farm programs they want to enroll in. Each offers different benefits. Those who sign up for Agriculture Risk Coverage at the County Level (ARC-CO) receive a payment whenever revenue on a particular commodity in the county where their farm is located runs below a guaranteed level.

Another option is Agriculture Risk Coverage at the Individual Level (ARC-IC), which triggers a payment when revenue falls below the guaranteed level. … Continue reading

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DeWine announces availability of first $30 million in H2Ohio funds

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda announced that $30 million in H2Ohio funding will be available for Ohio farmers in more than a dozen counties beginning in February. The funds will be awarded as part of Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio plan to reduce agricultural phosphorus runoff and prevent algal blooms in Lake Erie.

“Since announcing the details of my H2Ohio plan in November, we’ve had a great deal of interest from farmers in the Maumee River Watershed who want to do their part to improve the health of Lake Erie,” said Governor DeWine. “H2Ohio will provide farm-by-farm support to help farmers minimize phosphorus runoff while increasing profit over the long-run.”

Farmers living in the following 14 northwest Ohio counties will be eligible to apply for funds at their local Soil and Water Conservation Districts starting on Feb. 1, 2020: Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension to host two winter beef programs

Mark your calendars now for the Ohio Beef Cattle Nutrition and Management School, targeted for anyone raising, feeding, or marketing any class of beef cattle.

Session 1 (6 to 9:00 p.m. Jan. 29 at Luckey Farmers Inc. main office in Sandusky County, and Jan. 30 at the OSU Newark Campus in Licking County) will feature former OSU research nutritionist and current University of Georgia Department of Animal Sciences Chair, Francis Fluharty discussing the use of small grains, by-product feeds, and cover crop forages in both feedlot and beef cow diets. Session 2 (Feb. 12 in Sandusky County, and Feb. 13 in Licking County, both 6 to 9:00 p.m.) will feature talks by OSU Extension educators on marketing strategies, feeding and managing for carcass quality, forage testing, and managing annual forages for grazing and hay, as well as discussion led by OSU Clinical Veterinarian, Dr. Justin Kieffer on herd health, parasite management, and vaccination protocols.… Continue reading

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CFAES dean addresses opportunities and challenges facing college

The legacy, impact, and people who make up The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) were celebrated Jan. 10 during the annual State of the College address.

Cathann A. Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of CFAES, delivered the address at Ohio State’s Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. She noted that while Ohio State is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, CFAES is also celebrating its remarkable 150-year history.

“We belong to the college which originally gave our institution part of its name and has been a critical force in shaping our comprehensive university,” she said. “But just as our university has changed and evolved in its 150 years, so have we.”

Kress said CFAES plays a critical role in improving the state of Ohio and will continue to play an important role in confronting the challenges of the future.

“Through our research, Extension, and teaching, our college is a contributor to our state’s economic development and social well-being.… Continue reading

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Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day

By Eric Richer, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The annual Northwest Ohio Corn & Soybean Day is scheduled for Friday, January 17 in Founders Hall at Sauder Village in Archbold from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. The program has a variety of speakers, farmer/retailer re-certification credits and 30 exhibitors sharing information on management practices for the 2019 crop production season.

Topics and speakers for the day include:

Drainage for Crop Production and Soil Health

Eileen Kladivko, Professor, Purdue University

Biology and Management of Pigweeds

Jeff Stachler, OSU Extension, Auglaize County

Farmer Attitudes and Behaviors in WLEB

Robyn Wilson, Professor, OSU School of Natural Resources

Corn Nematodes

Abasola Simon, PhD Candidate, OSU Plant Pathology

CORE Pesticide Update

Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension, Williams County

Farm Bill Decision 2019-2020

Eric Richer, OSU Extension, Fulton County

Fumigation: Caring for your stored grain

Curtis Young, OSU Extension, Van Wert County

The following continuing education credits for pesticide and fertilizer applicators are offered throughout the day:

Private Pesticide Applicator Re-certification: 3hrs in categories Core, 1, 2, and 6.… Continue reading

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Reducing tire stubble damage

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Tire damage from harvested crop residue is a major problem. Due to genetic modifications, higher corn populations with more stalks, and low cutting heights the shorter stiffer stubble causes tire damage. Stalks cut 3 inches to 5 inches high do not allow the tires to push the stalk over to minimize tire penetration, creating a “field of rebar” that the tires have to cross. The strength of the stalks combined with changing harvesting techniques, leave shorter stalks and increased tire wear and is especially prevalent with certain corn and soybean varieties.

Soil health can play an important role in stubble decomposition. Soil temperatures above 50 degrees F, adequate moisture, and healthy fungus speed up crop residue decomposition. Unfortunately, longer maturity crops, late harvest (colder temperatures), and fungicide application are negative factors in stubble decomposition. Utilizing early maturing crop varieties and limiting fungicide application helps decompose stubble.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension to offer Lunch and Learn webinars

By Chris Bruynis, Ohio State University Extension Educator

In the age of multi-tasking and convenience, OSU Extension is offering a lunch and learn webinar series for farmers. We have arranged for eight topic and speakers to provide a webinar every Wednesday starting on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 and concluding March 25, 2020. Join us for eight consecutive Wednesdays for this educational series starting at 11:45 am and lasting 1.5 hours. Learn important risk management information during this lunch and learn series from top industry, private sector, and university experts important to the success of farm businesses in 2020 and beyond.

The topics that will be covered include:

February 5: Using Financial Statements/Ratios to Make Informed Financial Decisions

February 12: Farm Law 101: Leasing and Financing Agreements

February 19: Grain Contracts and Markets: What to Use When

February 26: Where to Start with Workers Compensation Benefits

March 4: Meeting with a Lender: What Numbers are Important

March 11: Estate Planning: What are the Tools and Options

March 18: Grain Marketing Strategies for 2020

March 25: Tips for Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Farm Business Employees

Farmers interested in participating should register at http://go.osu.edu/fm2020 by January 31, 2020.… Continue reading

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Hemp production workshop

Join experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and beyond in discovering Ohio’s possible new cash crop.

A workshop titled “Growing Hemp in Ohio: Separating Fact from Fiction,” featuring 10 sessions by 18 speakers, is set for Jan. 24 at the CFAES Wooster campus, about 60 miles south of Cleveland.

The event will look at the opportunities and challenges facing Ohio hemp growers. Subjects will include hemp plant basics, growing practices, business considerations, rules, and regulations.

Also offered is an optional program from 9:30 a.m. to noon the next day, Jan. 25, featuring six sessions by speakers from national and Ohio hemp-related businesses. Independence-based HempOhio is sponsoring the program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved Ohio’s hemp plans, making it legal for the state’s farmers to grow the crop.

Useful for making products including health food, paper, clothing, biofuels, bioplastics, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil, hemp is closely related to marijuana but lacks its psychoactive component, the chemical THC.… Continue reading

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2019 eFields Report is available

By Elizabeth Hawkins and John Fulton

The spring planting season of 2019 was a season that many of us may want to forget, but the weather conditions we dealt with provided us an opportunity to learn how we can be more resilient in agriculture. Looking back at the lessons learned can help us be prepared for similar conditions in the future. The 2019 eFields Research Report highlights 88 on-farm, field scale trials conducted in 30 Ohio counties. Research topics include nutrient management, precision crop management, cover crops, and forages. Other information about production budgets, planting progress, and the 2018 Farm Bill is also included.

The 2019 report is now available in both a print and e-version. To receive a printed copy, contact your local OSU Extension office or email digitalag@osu.edu. The e-version can be viewed and downloaded at go.osu.edu/eFields with the online version readable on smartphone or tablet devices.

The eFields team has planned six regional results meetings to discuss local results and gather information about research interests for 2020.… Continue reading

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USDA NASS to re-survey operators with unharvested corn and soybeans

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will re-contact respondents who previously reported acreage not yet harvested in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin in the spring, once producers are able to finish harvesting remaining acres. If the newly collected data justifies any changes, NASS will update the Jan. 10 estimates in a future report. Stocks estimates are also subject to review since unharvested production is included in the estimate of on-farm stocks.

When producers were surveyed for the Crop Production 2019 Summary there was significant unharvested acreage of corn in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; and soybean acreage not yet harvested in Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. The unharvested area and expected production were included in the totals released on Jan. 10.

As a result of this work, NASS may release updated acreage, yield, production, and stocks estimates for corn and soybeans later this spring. Because farmers’ ability to complete harvest is impacted by winter weather, timing of the re-contacts and subsequent publication schedule will be announced at a later date.… Continue reading

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OSU hosting Farm Bill meetings around Ohio

Ohio State University Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency in Ohio are partnering to provide a series of educational Farm Bill meetings this winter through early February to help producers make informed decisions related to enrollment in commodity programs.

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill. While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, there are some changes that producers should be aware of. Farm Bill meetings will review changes to the ARC/PLC programs as well as important dates and deadlines. Additionally, attendees will learn about decision tools and calculators available to help assess which program best fits the needs of their farms under current market conditions and outlook.

Enrollment for 2019 is currently open with the deadline set as March 15, 2020.… Continue reading

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Setting the record straight on the Ohio pork industry

In October 2019, journalist Lesley Stahl conducted an 80-minute interview with Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The “60 Minutes” story that aired on Jan. 5, 2020, included less than two minutes of Dr. Wagstrom’s comments and failed to include critical information about modern pork production.

Ty Higgins with Ohio Farm Bureau and members of Ohio’s pork industry took the opportunity to set the record straight on domestic hog production in this video.

 

The United States pork production system is the envy of the world and yields the safest, highest-quality and most affordable pork available. U.S. pork producers adhere to rigorous government regulations and stringent production standards defined by the industry’s Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus program. Food safety truly is a team effort – from the farm to processing facilities to consumers who must be informed about food handling and cooking temperatures. Close scrutiny of U.S.… Continue reading

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Scientists improve yield predictions based on seedling data

A doctor diagnosing a 50-year-old patient based on a blood test taken during the patient’s infancy would be unthinkable.

Anecdotally speaking, however, that’s what Michigan State University scientists have done with corn. Using plant RNA data from 2-week-old corn seedlings, Shinhan Shiu, professor of plant biology and computational mathematics, science and engineering, has shown that farmers and scientists can improve adult crop trait predictions with accuracy that rivals current approaches using DNA, i.e. genetic data.

“Traditional breeding methods take months to years, which can be saved if we can predict the desirable traits just from DNA and RNA without growing them, without having to measure the actual traits directly,” said Shiu, senior author of the paper appearing in the current issue of The Plant Cell. “To continue the human medicine anecdote, it’s like sequencing an infant’s RNA and analyzing what sort of traits the infant may develop later in life.”

Shiu has long been fascinated with using computational approaches to resolve evolution and genome biology questions.… Continue reading

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A look back: Agricultural law in 2019

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

I often receive quizzical looks when someone asks me what kind of law I practice and I say “agricultural law.” A common response is “what in the world is that”? A look back at agricultural law in 2019 provides a pretty good answer to that question. Our review of major developments in the last year illustrates the diversity of legal issues that make up the world of agricultural law. It’s never dull, that’s certain.

Here are the highlights of what we saw in agricultural law in 2019:

  • The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). Toledo citizens gained national attention when they passed a charter amendment granting legal rights to Lake Erie and its ecosystem to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.” The amendment also allowed Toledoans to sue corporations and governments that violate the lake’s legal rights.
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Borden second major milk seller to declare bankruptcy

Dallas-based Borden, one of America’s largest dairy companies founded in 1857, announced this month that it initiated voluntary reorganization proceedings in the District of Delaware under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Borden is the second major U.S. milk seller to declare bankruptcy in recent months after Dean Foods Company announced bankruptcy in November.

Borden intends to use the court process to pursue a financial restructuring designed to reduce its current debt load, maximize value and position the company for long-term success. Borden plans to continue operating in the ordinary course of business, under the court’s supervision.

“Borden is EBITDA-positive (earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and growing, but we must achieve a more viable capital structure,” said Tony Sarsam Borden CEO. “This reorganization will strengthen our position for future prosperity. Over the past 163 years, we have earned the distinction of being one of the most well-recognized and reputable national brands.… Continue reading

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USMCA moves closer to reality

Taking another step to completing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Senate Finance Committee voted 25-3 this week to advance the trade deal to the full Senate.

“We are now one step away from unleashing the competitiveness of America’s farmers and ranchers with our two largest trading partners thanks to today’s Senate Finance Committee vote. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will protect our valuable trade relationships with our nearest neighbors and return certainty to our markets. We urge immediate approval by the full Senate to deliver a much-needed win for agriculture,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “The challenges farmers and ranchers faced in 2019 are no secret, but it’s a new year and we are eager for new opportunities to compete, building on the progress with Japan and the pending announcement of a new China agreement.”

USMCA has been a priority for most agricultural groups as a way to provide some certainty on tariffs and trade with two of the country’s largest buyers of agricultural commodities.… Continue reading

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