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LEBOR invalid: District judge rules in favor of farmer

By Matt Reese

On Feb. 27, 2019, Wood County farmer Mark Drewes filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality and legal status of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. The previous day, Toledo voters had approved creation of LEBOR during a special election. On Feb. 27, 2020, U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary ruled LEBOR as “invalid,” ruling in favor of Drewes.

LEBOR granted rights to Lake Erie and empowered any Toledo citizen to file lawsuits on behalf of Lake Erie. It gave Toledoans authority over nearly 5 million Ohioans, thousands of farms, more than 400,000 businesses and every level of government in 35 northern Ohio counties plus parts of Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. LEBOR was passed despite the prevailing legal opinion that many of its provisions were unconstitutional at the time. Those legal opinions were reiterated in Judge Zouhary’s conclusion: “Frustrated by the status quo, LEBOR supporters knocked on doors, engaged their fellow citizens, and used the democratic process to pursue a well-intentioned goal: the protection of Lake Erie.… Continue reading

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Big yield farmers talk shop

Record Breaking Yields. BASF hosted a panel discussion with some of the top corn producers across the country. Listen in as Randy Dowdy, David Hula, Cory Atley and Levi and Jenna Oshsner discuss pushing yields to the next level. The panel discussion includes new technologies, fertility, tissue sampling and the need for fungicide application on every acre. #behindthescience20… Continue reading

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Movie magic or Hollywood rubbish?

By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dietician

Recently, I coerced Paul into watching the Oscars. I love, absolutely love movies and watching the clips they show. To my dismay toward the end, the Joker climbed to the stage to accept his award and began to criticize agriculture. The joker continued and OMG! My thought was “this is not good”! Snuck a peek at my dairy farmer in the Lazyboy, he was in a trance. Rubbish! The war on agriculture seems to be thriving from politics to Hollywood. At some point you would think that people would remember the old saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

When Hollywood depicts farming, often it is either romanticized or turned into a horror movie. Maybe what we need are some good feature films that depict an authentic agriculture message. Get some actors/actresses sharing genuine agriculture points. The award-winning speech can include a thanks to all the farmers who feed America.… Continue reading

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Winter agronomy meetings

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

One of the last big meetings of the winter is the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada, Ohio. Find program and registration information at many county Extension and Soil & Water offices as well as the http://ctc.osu.edu website.

The CTC this year is March 3 and 4 at the Macintosh Center on the Ohio Northern University campus, 402 West College Avenue, Ada Ohio. The CTC is an annual 2-day program with speakers in four concurrent sessions, exhibitors, and a chance to visit with friends and co-workers. Session titles this year:

  • Crop School — Tuesday and Wednesday upstairs in Room A
  • Nutrient Management — a mix of manure talks and water quality
  • Cover crops, No Till and Soil Health
  • Hemp, plus forage cover crops
  • Managing cover crops
  • Building on 60 Years of no-till success
  • And water quality.

Attendance over the past 5 years has been over 800.… Continue reading

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Cover crop recipes for new users

By Sarah Noggle, Ohio State University Extension

Wondering how to do cover crops? OSU Extension, in collaboration with the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC), has produced cover crop “recipes” for two scenarios: Post corn, going to soybean and Post soybean, going to corn.

The recipes are intended to provide step-by-step guidance to some of the lowest-risk starting points for cover crops. They don’t cover the whole spectrum of possibilities, but they can help beginners get most pieces in place to incorporate cover crops into a farm operation. The two recipes were developed to address Ohio’s most common crop cropping system, the corn/soybean rotation.

The “Post corn, going to soybean” recipe suggests cereal rye, which provides an overwintering ground cover. Soybeans often thrive when planted into standing dead or living cereal rye residue. The “Post soybean, going to corn” recipe suggests an oats/radish mix, which will winterkill and leave a smaller amount of residue in the corn seedbed the following year.… Continue reading

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Fertilizer applicator record keeping rules are in place

By Harold Watters, Ohio State university Extension agronomist

I have done half a dozen fertilizer re-certification trainings this winter so far. There have been many questions — that’s good. It means you are thinking. When we first rolled out the required training, there was complaining about everyone else who also is contributing to the problem. Now that seems to have gone away and folks are looking for ways to reduce the problem on their own farm. I am hearing they forgot about some of the requirements that they need to follow. One big item that we hear from ODA inspectors is the need to record the application of fertilizer. Within 24 hours of any nutrient application, record:

  • Name of fertilizer certificate holder
  • Name of applicator working under direct supervision of certificate holder
  • Date of application
  • Location (field ID, farm)
  • Fertilizer analysis (such as 11-52-0)
  • Rate of fertilizer application (lbs/A), number of acres, and total amount applied
  • Fertilizer application method (surface-applied, incorporated, etc)
  • Soil conditions
  • For surface applications only: is ground frozen or snow covered?
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Reducing food waste in Ohio

By Mary Wicks

Remember “waste not, want not” and “clean your plate’” from childhood dinner time? Feel guilty throwing away moldy leftovers? Food waste is a much larger problem than not eating your peas. The USDA estimated that in 2010, 130 billion tons of the food produced for human consumption in the U.S. was wasted at the retail or consumer level. That’s 31% of the total food supply and valued at $161 billion, plus additional costs for the water, fertilizer and other inputs needed to grow, process and transport food. Plus, a lot of wasted food ends up in landfills, where it accounts for about 21% of all solid waste.

 

What’s the solution?

The U.S. has set a goal of reducing food scraps going to landfills by 50% by 2030. Doing that will take many approaches. The USDA and EPA have created the food recovery hierarchy that illustrates the effectiveness of these approaches.… Continue reading

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Had your auxin training yet?

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I recently sat through my training for the season. I was told it’s “all online” but I prefer in person. Everyone now who uses a dicamba product on soybeans must attend auxin training from one of the manufacturers; contact your seed dealer or herbicide supplier to see when yours is happening. If you missed it for the product you are using, that’s OK, you can attend any of the manufacturers’ training sessions to get the update. You can see the list of restrictions for Ohio and online training specifics on the OSU Pesticide Education website: https://pested.osu.edu/DicambaRestricitions.

The goal is not just to reduce herbicide movement but also to reduce resistance weed development. So how do we reduce the potential of resistance development?

  1. Use a pre-emergent herbicide,
  2. Spray post to small weeds; 4-inches or less,
  3. Allow no seed production. “Go rogue” to remove those seed heads.
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USDA reminds producers of Feb. 28 deadline for Conservation Reserve Program general signup

Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup must make an offer of acres or schedule an appointment to do so with their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) service center by Friday, February 28.

The general signup – which opened in December – is available to producers and private landowners who are either offering for the first time or re-offering acres for another 10- to 15-year term in the 35-year-old USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) conservation program.

“Call your FSA county office today to make an appointment to sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. “As long as you have an appointment scheduled, your CRP offer will be able to compete in this general signup, even if the appointment is in the first week of March. This is the first opportunity for general sign up since 2016, and we want to make sure interested producers and landowners take advantage of this popular conservation program.”

Farmers and landowners who enroll land in CRP receive yearly rental payments for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), which can control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.… Continue reading

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Decreases in air pollution result in surplus of $1.60 billion annually for corn and soybeans

As the global population increases, a critical issue is how the world will meet the growing demand for crops. One solution to increase land productivity is to reduce air pollution. In a recent study, MIT Sloan School of Management Visiting Prof. Konstantinos (Kostas) Metaxoglou quantified the crop yield increases attributed to the reductions in emissions in the U.S. and found that the changes resulted in significant benefits for consumers.

“Crops such as corn and soybeans are grown in a part of the country that also has a large number of electric power plants that are major nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitters. There hasn’t been a lot of research or discussion about the impact of NOx on crops. Our study brings attention to the effect of these emissions on agriculture in the U.S. and shows a strong benefit for consumers of U.S. crops,” Metaxoglou said.

He notes that U.S. agriculture productivity has grown substantially in the past 100 years, with average corn yield increasing 8-fold and average soybean yield increasing 5-fold.… Continue reading

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Commodity Classic kicks off in San Antonio

The 2020 Commodity Classic kicks off this week Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme is “See Your Future Clearly.”

As farmers look to improve their profitability in an unpredictable agricultural environment, the educational sessions at the 2020 Commodity Classic are designed to provide farmers with the clarity and insight they need to make better-informed decisions that can have a powerful impact on their bottom line.

More than 40 educational sessions are on the schedule in San Antonio. They will cover a wide range of important topics including soil health, grain marketing, farm policy, farm succession planning, nutrient stewardship, weather trends, mental health, fertility programs, rural broadband access, on-road ag equipment regulations, ag technology, international trade, African Swine Fever and more.

“Every educational session is selected by the Commodity Classic Farmer Committee to ensure the content and the presenters provide high-quality, relevant content that matters to today’s growers,” said Bill Wykes, a farmer from Illinois and co-chair of the 2020 Commodity Classic.… Continue reading

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Nitrogen recommendations for wheat

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

I hear wheat acres are up, to maybe 560,000. That’s good, but what about the one million acres we used to grow. Is there a need for that level of production anymore? Wheat makes our other two crops better and reduces weed, insect and disease problems for them. I know some had a rough fall to get wheat planted, with wet conditions and harvest delays. If you have wheat, it’s time to think about your nitrogen (N) application. The most recent Ohio Agronomy Guide has just a bit of an update on spring nitrogen recommendations for wheat in Ohio.

We do rely on yield potential to make the wheat N recommendation — not for corn anymore, but we still do for wheat. Once you have set a realistic yield goal, follow rates suggested in Table 1. These recommendations are for mineral soils with adequate drainage and 1 to 5% organic matter.… Continue reading

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Phase One progress report

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced Feb. 25 that China has taken numerous actions to begin implementing its agriculture-related commitments under the landmark U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement on schedule.

“President Trump and this Administration negotiated a strong trade agreement with China that promises significant benefits for American agriculture,” Secretary Perdue said. “We look forward to realizing these benefits this year and are encouraged by progress made last week. We fully expect compliance with all elements of the deal.”

The agreement entered into force on February 14, 2020.

These actions include:

• Signing a protocol that allows the importation of U.S. fresh chipping potatoes (U.S. Chipping Potatoes Protocol Announcement);
• Lifting the ban on imports of U.S. poultry and poultry products, including pet food containing poultry products (Poultry and Poultry Products Announcement);
• Lifting restrictions on imports of U.S. pet food containing ruminant material (Pet Food with Ruminant Ingredients Announcement);
• Updating lists of facilities approved for exporting animal protein, pet food, dairy, infant formula, and tallow for industry use to China;
• Updating the lists of products that can be exported to China as feed additives; and
• Updating an approved list of U.S.… Continue reading

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Ohio legislation on the move

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

The year is still fairly new, and 2020 has brought with it some newly-introduced legislation in the Ohio General Assembly. That being said, in 2020 the General Assembly also continues to consider legislation first introduced in 2019. From tax exemptions to CAUV changes, to watershed programs and local referendums on wind turbines, here is some notable ag-related legislation making its way through the state house.

House Bill 400 “To authorize a nonrefundable income tax credit for the retail sale of high-ethanol blend motor fuel.”

HB 400 was introduced after our last legislative update in November, so while it was first introduced in 2019, it still technically qualifies as “new” to us. Since its introduction, the bill has been discussed in two hearings in the House Ways & Means Committee. The bill would give owners and operators of gas stations a tax rebate of five cents per gallon for sales of ethanol.… Continue reading

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It’s time for a change: Stop grain drownings

By Robert (Bob) Marlow, Operations Professional Services, Walton, Ind.

I lost a friend recently. Rescuers found his body in a grain storage tank, along with a coworker covered in grains. They died of asphyxiation.

Out of respect for the families, coworkers and others involved, I’m not going to go into specifics. If something doesn’t change, it will happen again.

I’ve lost too many friends in my career. Statistics show on average, 18 to 20 deaths occur each year due to engulfment in grains, and over 80% are due to grain that has spoiled. OSHA tracks these incidents, but not all farms and elevators are regulated by OSHA. If all incidents were included, experts suggest the numbers would be significantly higher.

How and why does this happen?

Corn is the grain most closely associated with, and tied to engulfment deaths, both on farms and in commercial storage operations. Corn is the single largest crop produced in the U.S.… Continue reading

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Dryness worsens in the South as Brazil’s soy harvest reaches 31%

It is Carnival in Brazil, but corn and soybean farmers don’t have time to rest or dance. They’d better hurry up, because time is ticking for the second corn crop planting, which is sown right after the soybean harvest – and this year the soy crop is delayed due to irregular rains in late 2019.

According to AgRural data, Brazilian farmers had harvested 31% of their 2019/20 soybean area by Feb 20, compared to 21% a week earlier, 45% in the same period a year ago and 30% on the five-year average. Top producer Mato Grosso leads, with 73%. Despite excessive rains in some areas of the state, quality issues are not a big concern so far and yield reports remain strong.

Catching up
As expected, the harvest pace finally picked up last week in states that planted later than normal, such as Goiás, Paraná, São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.… Continue reading

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USB Take Action webinar series

The USB Take Action initiative and university weed scientists have developed a free webinar series covering various weed and herbicide management issues. The webinar occurs every Thursday at 11 am EST through March 26. Each webinar will have two weed scientists giving presentations about 15 minutes long, and there is opportunity for viewers to ask questions via the web portal. The schedule is as follows:

  • Feb. 20: Aaron Hager, University of Illinois — effective long-term management of waterhemp; Travis Legleiter, University of Kentucky — spray deposition factors.
  • Feb. 27: Pat Tranel, University of Illinois — metabolism-based resistance, multiple resistance, etc; Amit Jhala, University of Nebraska — pollen-mediated gene flow and transfer of herbicide-resistance.
  • March 5: Tom Peters, North Dakota State University — status of research on electricity methods; John Wallace, Penn State University — cover crops and weed management.
  • March 12: Bryan Young, Purdue University — drift retardants/volatility; Bill Johnson, Purdue University — mixing/antagonism, volunteer corn issues.
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Reducing phosphorus runoff

By James J. Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Tremendous farmer turnout occurred for the new Ohio H20 plan for $30 million being provided to 14 Northwest Ohio counties to improve Lake Erie water quality.  Almost everyone agrees that phosphorus (P) in surface water is a major issue.  The excess P in surface water is causing Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) in Lake Erie.  Since we are dealing with many algae (singular), the plural is algal not algae (common mistake).  One pound of P in water may produce 500 pounds of HAB.  The HAB in water need 1/10 the amount of P that our land-based plants need to thrive, so even a little P in surface water causes HAB to thrive.

In the 1970’s/1980’s, the problem was total phosphorus which includes dissolved (or soluble) reactive phosphorus (DRP) plus the particulate phosphorus (PP) or P attached to soil particles.  Recently, researchers have concentrated mainly on DRP because it flows with the water and is easily HAB absorbed. 

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Ohio Farm Bureau Federation sponsors ExploreAg youth camps

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is excited to be offering four STEM-based camps, ExploreAg. The ExploreAg program is a week-long experience where high school students interact with and learn from internationally known teachers, scientists, and researchers. Students are hosted on campus at The Ohio State University and Central State University and are introduced to various aspects of agriculture both in the classroom and through diverse hands-on learning experiences, both on and off campus.

Subject areas include food science, precision agriculture, animal science, natural resources, management skills, technology, and agricultural business.

In addition to the classroom experience, scholars will participate in field experiences that highlight cutting-edge research, and introduce industry partners, to provide scholars with a glimpse of innovative careers in related fields.

ExploreAg will offer four camp sessions:
Session 1 – June 14-19 on the Ohio State University Main Campus
Session 2 – June 21-26 on the Ohio State University Main Campus
Session 3 – July 5-10 on the Central State University Campus
Session 4 – July 12-17 on the Ohio State University ATI Campus

Program costs, which include on-campus accommodations, meals, staffing, course supplies, program materials, and transportation, have been generously sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation as a part of their vision to create a strong farm and food community for all Ohioans.… Continue reading

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