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Survey aims to gauge the goals and achievements of women in agriculture

The American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Program has launched “Women in Ag,” an online survey that aims to gauge the goals, aspirations, achievements and needs of women in American agriculture in a variety of areas.

All women who are farmers, ranchers, farm/ranch employees, employed in agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education or supportive of agriculture in other ways are invited to participate in the survey at fb.org/women. Respondents must reside in the United States. Farm Bureau membership is not required to participate.

“This comprehensive survey asks women in-depth questions about how they are connected to agriculture and what leadership skills they think are most important today, as well as the top business challenges they’re facing,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “We are seeking input from all women involved in agriculture — not just Farm Bureau members — for this survey,” Saylor said.

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Corn planting date considerations

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA, Product Manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

For much of the Eastern Corn Belt it is widely understood that the optimal planting period is between April 20 and May 10. Research has proven that corn loses yield potential daily when planted after the beginning of May.

For the Central Corn Belt, the declines in yield potential due to planting delays vary from about 0.3% per day early in May to about 1% per day by the end of May (Nielsen, 2013). Knowing that this is true, it can be frustrating during a wet spring or when field work is delayed for one reason or another. Planting is a critical component of a successful crop as it sets the stage for the entire growing season. However, it is important to keep in mind that early planting is just one of many factors that contribute to high yield potential. Planting early favors high yields, but it does not guarantee them and growers should not focus entirely on the calendar.

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Black Swamp Conservancy acquires Little Auglaize Wildlife Reserve

With a mile and a half of frontage along the Little Auglaize River, and home to many sensitive species, the 226-acre Little Auglaize Wildlife Reserve is a rare find. The Paulding County property, recently acquired by Black Swamp Conservancy, is one of a few remaining large tracts of unprotected natural habitat in northwest Ohio.

The property’s acquisition was funded by the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Fund and The Conservation Fund’s Ohio Forested Habitat Fund. The Conservancy plans to remove invasive species, enhance forested habitat cover and create public access areas on the property and riverfront.

The land was farmed 30 years ago, but in the 1990s, the landowner began restoration of the wetlands and native plant communities on the property, which is near Cloverdale. The Reserve has been designated a sensitive species area where pheasants, chorus frogs, painted turtles, river otters and Indiana bats (a federally endangered species) have been found.

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APHIS announces updates to scrapie regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is updating its scrapie regulations and program standards. These updates include several major changes, which are needed to continue the fight to eradicate scrapie from American sheep flocks and goat herds. Scrapie is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy disease that affects the central nervous system in sheep and goats, and is eventually fatal.

The changes APHIS is making to update the program are supported by the sheep and goat industry and incorporate the latest science to provide APHIS with increased flexibility.

Scientific studies show that sheep with certain genotypes are resistant to or less susceptible to classical scrapie and are unlikely to get the disease. Because of this, APHIS is changing the definition of a scrapie high-risk animal so that it no longer includes most genetically-resistant and genetically-less susceptible sheep. These animals pose a minimal risk of developing or transmitting scrapie, and by no longer considering them high-risk, they will no longer need to be depopulated or permanently restricted to their home farm.

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Dairy Producers Previously enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program now eligible for 2018 MPP

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019.

Producers enrolled in 2018 LGM-Dairy, administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), previously were determined by the 2014 Farm Bill to be ineligible for coverage under MPP-Dairy, a safety net program available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

“The 2018 Farm Bill included substantial changes to USDA dairy programs,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “This includes the ability for producers with LGM coverage to retroactively enroll in MPP-Dairy for 2018. It also integrated recent improvements to the MPP-Dairy in the new Dairy Margin Coverage program, beginning with the 2019 calendar year.”

The MPP-Dairy program offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost — the margin — falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producers in a dairy operation.

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Veterinary drug residue survey yields impressive results for pork

In a basic survey of more than a thousand pork kidney samples, almost no veterinary drug residues were found and none at levels that even approached U. S. regulatory limits, according to a study just published by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist.

These findings signal that U.S. pork producers are using veterinary compounds properly, and indicate that veterinary drug residues in pork are not posing a health concern to U.S. consumers, according to ARS research chemist Weilin Shelver. Shelver is with the ARS Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research Unit in Fargo, North Dakota.

A total of 1,040 pork kidneys were purchased from four grocery stores in the Midwest and tested for residues of five commonly used veterinary drugs and feed additives: flunixin, penicillin G, ractopamine, sulfamethazine and tetracycline. Pork kidneys are commonly used as an indicator meat as they are readily accessible and tend to concentrate drug residues compared to more commonly consumed muscle meats.

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LEBOR put on pause

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary pushed pause on the enforcement of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) passed by Toledo voters in February.

On March 18, Judge Zouhary  issued a preliminary injunction on LEBOR in the lawsuit filed by Wood County farmer Mark Drewes after Toledo voters passed LEBOR in a special election. Both Toledo and Drewes agreed to the injunction, which is a positive step according to Ohio Farm Bureau.

“Farm Bureau stands strong with Mark and his family and we appreciate that this injunction will prevent the law from taking effect while the case filed by the Drewes family is litigated,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau. “We are happy to see the Court order a preliminary injunction delaying the enforcement of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. This decision is one step closer to protecting farmers in the Lake Erie Watershed from costly lawsuits brought on by LEBOR.”

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Returns for Ohio corn at RMA projected prices

By Ben Brown, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

The month of February represents the price discovery period for projected price of corn. The projected price represents the Risk Management Associations (RMA) baseline for establishing federally sponsored corn insurance products for 2019. The projected price for corn is the average of the February settlement prices for the December futures contract. The subsequent harvest price is the average of the October settlement prices for the same December futures contract. The projected price and the harvest price are used to identify the guaranteed revenue for revenue based crop insurance products. However, neither price takes into account local cash basis.

The projected price established by RMA for 2019 corn revenue is $4 per bushel. This is up $0.04 per bushel from the 2018 and 2017 projected prices of $3.96 per bushel representing the increase in corn prices during the last few months of 2018 after a drop during the summer months.

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Late season rains impacted seed quality

By Anne Dorrance and Felipe F. Sartori, Ohio State University Department of Plant Pathology

We have received many calls and samples concerning seed quality and I’ve also heard about the rejections at the elevators. I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago with my colleagues (soybean pathologists) from across the country and Ontario, Canada and we are not alone. We were not the only state where soybeans had plentiful rains through and after grain fill with some of the crop still out in the fields.

 

What is causing all of the low germination?

From the samples we have received, we are culturing the expected seed borne pathogens: Phomopsis, Diaporthe, Fusarium, and Cercospora spp. All of these will affect seed and seedling health if the seed is not treated with a fungicide that can control true fungi.

 

What types of fungicides are there?

On the seed, there are materials to control the watermolds (Pythium and Phytophthora), insects, SCN, and the true fungi Phomopsis and Fusarium.

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Spring tips for managing SCN

By Matt Reese

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) continues to rob soybeans of yield and numbers are climbing in some Ohio fields.

Ohio State University Extension plant pathologists received soil samples from 238 Ohio fields for SCN testing in 2018. Of those samples, 37.4% had none, 24.4% were at trace levels, another 24.4% had low levels of 200 to 2,000 SCN eggs per 100 cubic centimeters (cc) of soil, 9.2% had moderate populations of 2,000 to 5,000 eggs per 100 cc of soil, and 4.6% had high levels over 5,000. The highest counts found to date are approximately 15,000 eggs per 100 cc of soil.

“There are fields throughout the Midwest where not only are SCN numbers creeping up to economic levels but also the reproduction factor, which is the ability to reproduce on the one source of resistance (PI 88788) is also creeping up,” said Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University plant pathologist.

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U.S. Customs seizes illegal Chinese pork shipment

On March 15, 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it intercepted a large shipment of illegal pork products from China before it could enter the United States. The contraband shipment, which will be safely and securely destroyed in accordance with U.S. government policy, reportedly contained products derived from pork, such as flavorings in ramen noodles, and did not include fresh meat.

It is illegal to import pork products from countries, like China, that are positive for African swine fever (ASF), a disease that only affects pigs and that poses no human health or food safety risks, to the United States.

“Preventing the spread of African swine fever to the United States is our top priority. We are thankful to CBP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their increased vigilance and the expanded resources they have put in place to prevent ASF’s spread to the United States, a development that would threaten animal health and immediately close our export markets at a time when we are already facing serious trade headwinds,” said the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in a statement. 

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Mead to serve as CEO of Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts

The Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) is pleased to announce Janelle Teeters Mead has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer.

“Janelle has a wealth of experience which will help lead our organization in this next chapter. Weare excited to have her in this position,” said Bob Short, President.

Growing up on her family’s row-crop farm in Fayette County, Mead has always been interested in agriculture. Most recently, Mead served as the deputy director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Her responsibilities included overseeing the department’s animal health, communications, legislative, and marketing efforts, and shaping department policy. Mead has also worked for the OhioFarm Bureau Federation, The Ohio State Alumni Association and Mycogen Seeds. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she earned a degree in agricultural communications. She and her family live in Fayette County.

“I am excited to work with our conservation partners throughout the state during this very important time.

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NCGA encouraging pollinator plantings

The yearly count of the Eastern Monarch butterfly population that overwinters in Mexico was released recently, showing an increase of 144% over last year’s count.

After years of struggles with a host of challenges from bad weather to loss of habitat the large butterfly count the highest count since 2006 comes as welcome news. But not too fast, because Western Monarchs continue to struggle due to drought, wildfires, pesticides and loss of habitat.

Landowners and farmers are uniquely situated to support the Monarch and are already making a difference. Habitat plantings can fit into many niches on the agricultural landscape, including conservation lands, grazing lands, rights-of-way, field margins, field borders, pivot corners, conservation lands, ditches, buffers and other low-productive lands. Milkweed and other nectar-producing flowers planted in these areas yield multiple on-farm benefits.

In 2018, Environmental Defense Fund and National Corn Growers Association launched a first-of-its-kind partnership between an environmental organization and commodity crop association.

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ASA Corteva Young Leaders explore issues, participates in leadership training

Adam Vance, from Hillsboro, was part of the 35th class of American Soybean Association (ASA) Corteva Agriscience Young Leaders to complete their training, Feb. 26 – March 1, 2019 in Orlando, Florida in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

“The ASA Corteva Young Leader Program provides the soybean industry and all of agriculture with strong and forward-thinking grower leaders,” said ASA President Davie Stephens. “With an emphasis on leadership skills development and collaboration, the Young Leader program provides us with growers who are working together to amplify the voice of the farmer. We are grateful to Corteva for their longstanding support of this program and for helping to secure the future of the soybean industry.”

While in Orlando, the Young Leaders participated in training focused on leadership development, industry issue updates and outreach. The Young Leaders were also recognized at ASA’s annual awards banquet.

“Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, has been a proud sponsor of the ASA Corteva Young Leaders Program for 35 years.

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USDA announces investments in rural community facilities that will benefit nearly 300,000 Americans

Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $91 million to build or improve community facilities (PDF, 108 KB) and essential services for nearly 300,000 rural residents in 12 states, including Ohio.

“Modern community facilities are key drivers of economic development,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building and maintaining these institutions that are foundational to quality of life and prosperity.”

USDA is funding 16 projects through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The funding helps rural small towns, cities and communities make infrastructure improvements and provide essential facilities such as public schools, libraries,

The projects announced are located in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding.

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CFAES alumni recognized

The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) congratulates its 2019 Alumni Awards recipients.

“It is wonderful to see so many people from our college community here to share their support for these outstanding honorees,’’ Steven Neal, CFAES associate dean and director of academic programs, told 140 alumni, relatives, faculty, staff, and friends during an awards luncheon on March 2. “We are all inspired by the accomplishments of these individuals.”

In all, 12 individuals received awards during the annual event, held on Ohio State’s Columbus campus at the Fawcett Center.

The Meritorious Service Award is given to alumni or non-alumni who have been singularly significant in CFAES’ quest for excellence. This award was presented to:

  • Bob Birkenholz, Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Virgil Strickler, Galloway, Ohio

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to those who have brought distinction to themselves and to CFAES through their commitment and leadership. This award was presented to:

  • Bryan Garton (’93, PhD, Agricultural Education), Columbia, Mo.
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A letter from Ohio agriculture to Ohio agriculture regarding LEBOR and water quality

Dear Friend,

The seriousness of the water quality issue as it pertains to Ohio agriculture has never been greater than it is right now.

With the recent passage of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR), Lake Erie has now been granted the same legal rights normally reserved for a person. That means that any Toledoan who believes a business in the watershed is doing something they deem as detrimental to the lake could sue on the lake’s behalf.

It was no secret that if LEBOR passed, agriculture would have the biggest target on its back. Farmers statewide need to be aware of its possible implications.

Wood County farmer Mark Drewes has taken the lead in challenging LEBOR in court. And this letter from every major agriculture group in the state is to let you know we fully support him.

Drewes acted quickly and took a strong approach when he bravely stood up for his family farm and all farms in Ohio by taking legal action to prevent senseless lawsuits stemming from LEBOR.

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Dairy a growing competitor for beef genetics

By Joel Penhorwood

The Ohio Beef Expo is a time when beef breeders come together to talk the latest in genetics and issues hitting the cattle industry.

Bruce Smith of COBA/Select Sires pointed out an increasing change in where beef breeding materials are heading, showing a slight shift in Ohio’s cattle production mindset.

“We have a huge new competitor in our beef market for the semen quantity, and that’s the dairy cows,” said Smith. “A significant number of dairy cows are being bred to beef semen and they’re using sexed semen to make their female replacements and the rest are getting bred to beef.”

Hard dairy prices as of late have caused the dairy producers to be more precise in their herd continuation, including setting the lower milking cows to a new career path. Smith said this has proven to be financially appealing for some farmers.

“They’re getting a premium at some level on those beef cross calves compared to a purebred Holstein cow,” he said.

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Data synthesis important for ag research

Agricultural researchers generate vast amounts of data. Little of it is shared with peers or accessible to the public. A diverse group of scientists led by Sylvie Brouder, a Purdue University professor of agronomy, is calling for change and proposing the infrastructure to make it happen.

Brouder led the creation of a commentary paper, “Enabling Open-Source Data Networks in Public Agricultural Research,” for the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology with colleagues from the Environmental Defense Fund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University, Texas A&M University, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Brouder presented the paper to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

“The next generation of agricultural problem solving will require big science and forging linkages across data sets and disciplines,” the paper says. “Currently, a lack of data sharing and data accessibility is a major barrier for making better decisions in agriculture.”

Solving the world’s grand challenges — feeding nearly 10 billion people by 2050, reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and ensuring access to clean water — depends heavily upon agricultural research and advances.

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Planning for high yielding soybeans

By Matt Hutcheson, CCA product manager, Seed Consultants, Inc.

When planning for the upcoming growing season, it can be easy to focus more energy on corn production as it has traditionally been the more intensively managed crop. However, producers who put in the effort to manage their soybean crop have proven it is possible to attain high yields of 70+ bushels per acre. Below are some tips for planning to produce high-yielding soybeans in 2019.

  • Quality seed: Planting the right seed sets the stage for the entire growing season. Growers should plant genetics with high yield potential. Choose varieties that have been tested at several locations and across multiple years. Growers should choose varieties adapted to their soil types and management practices. As with corn, choosing varieties with strong disease packages and agronomic traits with aid in achieving higher yields.
  • Planting date: University research has proven that timely, early planting is one way to increase soybean yields.
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