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Choosing varieties and hybrids for 2020 — Check disease resistance ratings

By Anne Dorrance and Pierce Paul, Ohio State University Extension

The seed suppliers want your early orders and the catalogues are all spread out on the tables. Now to begin the process of choosing the best variety or hybrid for your fields that can hold up to the all of the challenges facing soybeans and corn in Ohio. Our recommendation is to first focus on the disease and insect scores. Every company uses a different scale based on 1 to 10 – but for some companies 1 is best and for others, 10 best – so first read the fine print. In addition, some companies use a distributive disease rating scale, using words like “excellent disease package,” “good disease package,” or “poor.” While this scale is unclear as to which specific disease the hybrid is most resistant to, it can still be used as a guide for hybrid/variety selection. For instance, a hybrid listed as having an “excellent disease package” should be less susceptible to the primary diseases than one listed as having a “good disease package.” Next step – what key diseases and insect pests do we need to focus on.… Continue reading

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Is your LLC protecting you?

By Nicholas Gerschutz, associate attorney, Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham & Eselgroth, LLP

Are you a member of a limited liability company? Were you attracted to the LLC because it gave you flexibility in running your business while limiting your personal liability in the event your company was sued? Many business owners set up LLCs for these reasons. However, LLCs have their limitations, and an LLC member may still be held personally liable if a plaintiff “pierces” the LLC’s limited liability structure.

“Piercing the corporate veil” occurs when a business owner, normally protected by statute from liability as a member of an LLC or shareholder of a corporation, is found liable due to the owner’s illegal actions. In Ohio, courts refer to three elements that must be met to “pierce the veil” of an entity’s protection, as reasoned in a 1993 Ohio Supreme Court decision in Belvedere Condominium Unit Owners’ Assn. v. R.E.Continue reading

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Biodiesel tax credit

Last week, Congressional negotiators reached agreement with the White House on a package of tax policies, including a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentive.

The tax package extends the $1-per-gallon tax credit for biodiesel and renewable diesel and the 10-cent per gallon small agri-biodiesel producer credit retroactively for 2018 and 2019 and prospectively for 2020, 2021 and 2022. The last time the credit was in place at the start of the year was 2016.

The House of Representatives added the tax package to omnibus appropriations measure and passed it the afternoon of Dec. 17. The Senate is expected to clear the measure and send it to President Trump for signature before Friday, Dec. 20.… Continue reading

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USMCA gets House approval

U.S. agriculture welcomed the news that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly, and in a bi-partisan manner, to support farmers and pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Dec. 19. The USMCA has broad support in Ohio agriculture.

“Opening market opportunities is the highest priority for our grower-members, and the USMCA makes major strides in protecting our largest foreign markets — Mexico and Canada,” said Patty Mann, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Free trade agreements like this help us feed and fuel the world.”

Ohio’s economy thrives on the export of a wide array of agricultural products. Therefore, developing and maintaining fair and open global trade practices remains an essential policy priority for the state’s agricultural producers.

“USMCA solidifies the strong trade relationship that the U.S. has built with Mexico and Canada, especially when it comes to agricultural commodities,” said Frank Burkett, Ohio Farm Bureau president.… Continue reading

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EPA releases 2020 RFS numbers, leaves biofuel proponents underwhelmed

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 on Dec. 19.

“Through President Trump’s leadership, this Administration continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said  Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator. “President Trump committed to our nation’s farmers that biofuel requirements would be expanded in 2020. At the EPA we are delivering on that promise and ensuring a net of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.”

Under the Trump Administration, EPA has increased the renewable volume obligations and continued to expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector. Through this rule, EPA has modified the RFS program by projecting small refinery relief to ensure that these final volumes are met, while adjudicating small refinery relief when appropriate. As proposed, the EPA finalized a projection methodology based on the 2016-2018 annual average of exempted volumes had EPA strictly followed the Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations of 770 million Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in those years, including granting 50% relief where DOE recommended 50% relief.… Continue reading

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Attendees to go from bines to steins at Ohio Hop Conference

Attendees will go from bines to steins at the 2020 Ohio Hop Conference, hosted by the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, with numerous sessions focused on producing high-quality crops and meeting demand for the growing industry.

The seventh annual conference is set for Feb. 21 and 22, 2020 at the Courtyard by Marriott Springfield Downtown. The Ohio Hop Conference unites producers, brewers and beer enthusiasts with industry leaders and university experts to explore innovations in hop growing techniques and current areas of research.

“The Ohio hop industry is growing and improving every year. As producers, we must do the same,” said Jandi Adams, chairwoman of the Ohio Hop Growers Guild. “The conference is a fantastic opportunity for growers to make business connections and set standards that ensure hops produced in Ohio are the safest, most sustainable and highest-quality on the market.”

In addition to networking opportunities and access to the industry trade show, attendees of the 2020 conference will hear from expert speakers and engage in hands-on learning sessions.… Continue reading

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NRCS funds conservation innovation in Ohio

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $12.5 million in grants nationally to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation, including the multistate Appalachian Sustainable Development project that includes Ohio.

The funding is provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which is funding the future of agriculture and conservation through grants to organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.

“This project is tackling some of our most critical challenges — both here in Ohio and across the country,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist. “This work will help small, historically underserved forest owners with new science-based tools to improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources for the future.”

The 2019 funding pool focused on four priority areas: water quantity, urban agriculture, pollinator habitat and accelerating the pace and scale of conservation adoption.… Continue reading

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Survey finds majority of Ohio voters want President Trump to do more to support farmers, Renewable Fuel Standards

A recent poll found a sizable majority of Ohio voters believe President Trump should do more to support farmers with overall survey responses underscoring Ohio voters’ strong support for the Renewable Fuels Standard and the use of renewable fuels.

Sixty-six percent of Ohio voters reported a favorable opinion of biofuels, such as ethanol produced from corn. After learning about the Trump Administration record on small refiner exemptions, 53% of voters somewhat or strongly opposed the actions on the RFS. Only 29% of voters somewhat or strongly supported the Administration’s recent actions on the RFS.

In less than three years, the Trump Administration has given out 85 waivers to small refineries — a stark contrast from the total of 10 waivers granted over the course of the eight years prior. These 85 exemptions totaled 4 billion gallons of biofuels not blended in petroleum, which has significantly hurt Ohio farmers.

Forty-nine percent of voters think President Trump is not doing enough to support farmers.… Continue reading

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Cattlemen’s Annual Meeting to feature speakers Mark Gardiner and Ethan Lane

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) will feature speakers Mark Gardiner and Ethan Lane at its Annual Meeting and Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center.

Mark Gardiner, president of Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland, Kansas, will be featured during the opening luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Gardiner Angus Ranch is a family-owned operation and leading Angus genetics business located near the Oklahoma Panhandle. The family has developed an embryo transfer program that makes over 3,500 transfers a year, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. The ranch presently consists of over 48,000 acres and breeds more than 4,500 head of Angus females each year and calves about 2,000 cows each fall and spring.

Gardiner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and industry from Kansas State University in 1983. He is active in the Beef improvement Federation and is also a former President of the Kansas Angus Association.… Continue reading

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Gene editing: It’s an evolution, not a revolution

By Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity

How can you talk to consumers about gene editing when most have little understanding of how plants are bred?

The Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture, formed by the Center for Food Integrity in 2016 as a partnership of stakeholders who share a vision of global acceptance for the responsible use of gene editing in agriculture and food, understands that building trust in gene editing is essential so that the food system has the social license to use the technology in a responsible matter.

The Coalition analyzed consumer research about communicating about biotechnology and they discovered that some methods of communicating are more effective than others. One discovery was that talking about the evolution of gene editing technology — instead of describing it as a revolution — helped people to understand it better.

Scientists have every right to be proud of advancements.… Continue reading

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USDA funds conservation innovation across the country with $12.5M in grants for new tools and technologies

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $12.5 million in grants to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation.

The funding is provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which is funding the future of agriculture and conservation through grants to organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.

“We are funding innovation,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “These projects are tackling some of our most critical challenges head on and will result in new science-based tools for our toolbox and cutting-edge systems we can use to help farmers and ranchers improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources for the future.”

The 2019 funding pool focused on four priority areas: water quantity, urban agriculture, pollinator habitat and accelerating the pace and scale of conservation adoption. NRCS selected 19 projects for CIG awards.… Continue reading

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OCA BEST Program introduces Stockmanship division

New for the 2019-20 BEST season, OCA is introducing the Stockmanship division. This new opportunity was developed in an effort to further youth’s knowledge of cattle throughout the state and to allow youth to showcase their abilities and talent outside of the show ring.

The Stockmanship division will be comprised of beef industry-focused events and competitions that are held in conjunction with BEST shows and OCA events. This division of the BEST program is open to all Ohio youth regardless of if they own or show cattle during the BEST show season. If an existing BEST participant would like to sign up for the Stockmanship division, they will do so under their BEST user profile at best.ohiocattle.org for no additional cost outside of existing cattle nominations. If age-eligible individuals would like to participate in the Stockmanship division but don’t have any cattle enrolled in the 2019-2020 BEST program, they should create their username and profile at best.ohiocattle.org (if they don’t have an existing account either BEST or non-BEST) and elect to participate in the Stockmanship division.… Continue reading

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2019 National Corn Yield Contest hits new yield record

This year, corn growers hit new highs in the National Corn Growers Association 2019 National Corn Yield Contest with David Hula of Charles City, Va. setting the highest yield on record at 616.1953 bushels per acre. Despite adverse growing conditions that impacted most farmers, improved seed varieties, advanced production techniques, and innovative growing practices allowed corn growers to achieve many impressive yields across all categories again this year.

The National Corn Yield Contest is now in its 55th year and remains NCGA’s most popular program for members.

“Yield contest participants create and share information that shapes the future of the industry while participating in friendly competition,” said Roger Zylstra, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “At both the state and national levels, contest winners find new ways to excel in a variety of situations. In turn, these innovations can help their fellow farmers face challenges as well. Our contest emphasizes invention and improvement, both from growers and technology providers, that enables U.S.… Continue reading

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Trade progress gets support from agriculture

As 2019 draws to a close, long-awaited progress is being made on trade.

On Dec. 13, the Trump Administration announced it had struck a mini trade deal with China.

“We have agreed to a very large Phase One deal with China,” President Trump tweeted. “They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of agricultural product, energy and manufactured goods, plus much more.”

In addition, after months of negotiations between the administration, House Democrats, and the Mexican government moved closer to congressional ratification. On Dec. 10 Mexico approved U.S. changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, paving the way for a House vote this week. Meantime, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated a vote in that chamber isn’t likely until after the Senate votes on impeachment.… Continue reading

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Water and wind subjects of December debate in Ohio’s House Energy & Natural Resources Committee

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

Ohio’s House Energy & Natural Resources Committee was busy in early December. House Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 2 that would implement a Statewide Watershed and Planning Program through the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Under the bill, ODA would be charged with categorizing watersheds in Ohio and appointing coordinators for each of the watersheds. ODA and the coordinators would work closely with soil and water conservation districts to manage watersheds. Ag groups such as the Sheep Improvement Association, the Cattleman’s Association, the Pork Council, the Dairy Producers Association, and the Poultry Association testified in favor of SB 2.

In addition to SB 2, they also discussed House Bill 401. In the simplest terms, if passed, HB 401 would allow townships to hold a referendum on approved wind projects.… Continue reading

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Farm income tax webinar

Are you getting the most from your tax return? Farmers and farmland owners wanting to increase their tax knowledge should consider a Monday, Jan. 13, webinar that will address tax issues specific to this industry.

Content will focus on important tax issues and will offer insight into new tax legislation and further guidelines that have been released this year.

The live webinar will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. and is being offered by OSU Income Tax Schools, which are a part of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and Ohio State University Extension, which is CFAES’ outreach arm. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, registered participants will receive a link to view the recorded webinar at a time of their convenience. The link will be available throughout the tax-filing season.

The two-hour program is targeted toward owners who file their own farm taxes or who simply wish to arm themselves with more tax information that will help them better plan for tax filing.… Continue reading

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Precision University – combating soil compaction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

There is no shortage of examples of soil compaction across Ohio’s farm fields looking back at the last two years. The fall of 2018 and spring of 2019 created some less than ideal conditions for field work leaving many farmers concerned with field compaction. This concern is justified as compaction can significantly reduce yields. Compaction has been a concern for many years as equipment size grows, increasing axle weight.

Researchers have been conducting on-farm trials comparing farming practices to uncover ways farmers can reduce compaction. Comparisons include tires and tracks, equipment size and tillage practices.

At the 2020 Precision University, OSU Extension has invited in some of the leading experts from across North America on compaction research and management.

Featured Speakers include:
Dr. Scott Shearer -The Ohio State University

Dr. Ian McDonald -Ontario Ministry of Agriculture

Dr. Mark Hanna -Iowa State University

Dr. Jason Warren -Oklahoma State University

The 2020 Precision University will be held January 8 from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. 

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World champion Buckeyes celebrate success in the sawdust

By Emily Beal, writer for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

This time of year, Ohio State University fans around the world are getting ready to watch a Buckeye team make a run for a National Championship. Many, though, many not realize that there are already some 2019 champion Buckeyes that compete in a different type of venue. The Ohio State Dairy Judging Team proved it was the cream of the crop, placing first at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Contest at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. this fall. The last time Ohio State won the contest was in 1986.

The Dairy Judging Team placed first among 18 schools in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest on Sept. 30. Coached by Bonnie Ayars, The Ohio State University team placed seventh for reasons with a score of 788. The team consists of fourth-place overall individual Billy Smith and ninth-place overall individual Lauren Almasy along with Sarah Lehner and Ian Lokai.… Continue reading

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OCWGA members pushing for USMCA and ethanol

Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association members participated in a recent press conference earlier in St. Louis to urge the Trump Administration and members of Congress to finish the job on trade and ethanol issues important to corn farmers.

Patty Mann (Jackson Center), John Linder (Edison), Kelly Harsh (Delaware), Gail Lierer (Okeana), and Josh Yoder (Plain City) were on hand to let the Administration and Congress know that immediate action is needed.

The past year has presented a perfect storm of challenges for America’s corn farmers in Ohio and across the nation. While there have been positive developments, such as the trade agreement with Japan and the long-awaited approval of year-round E15, there are still outstanding issues that, if adequately addressed, would provide some much-needed certainty to corn farmers.

The Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association joined with other state leaders and NCGA leadership and called on the President to follow through on his commitment to farmers and the RFS, conclude China trade negotiations with a positive outcome for agriculture, and for Congressional leaders to reach an agreement with the Administration and pass USMCA.… Continue reading

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USDA extends deadlines for Dairy Margin Coverage, Market Facilitation programs

Due to the prolonged and extensive impacts of weather events this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the deadline to Dec. 20 for producers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program for the 2020 calendar year. The deadline had been Dec. 13. USDA announced is also continuing to accept applications for the Market Facilitation Program through Dec. 20.

“2019 has challenged the country’s ag sector — prevented or late planting followed by a delayed harvest has been further complicated by wet and cold weather,” said Bill Northey, USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Because some of our producers are still in the field, time to conduct business at the local USDA office is at a premium. We hope this deadline extension will allow producers the opportunity to participate in these important programs.”

Authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), the program offers reasonably priced protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.… Continue reading

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