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Buckeye Country Creamery meeting customer demand with high quality products

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

Following a downturn in milk prices, Christy Hulse and her family were looking for new, innovative ways to remain on their family’s dairy farm.

“Milk prices were low, so we knew we had to start doing something different,” Hulse said. “We thought maybe bottling milk might be an option for us, to keep things on the farm rolling.”

However, it took a visit from a fellow dairyman and his wife to truly spark the idea behind Buckeye Country Creamery. Christy, co-owner of the creamery located in Ashland, Ohio, had spent a summer in college completing an internship on a dairy farm in Australia.

“I would drink milk every single day and the wife of the dairy farmer would just watch me and say, ‘I can’t do that, I

would be so sick,’” Hulse said. “She came to America to visit while we were building the creamery and came to the farm here and said ‘Hey, have you ever heard of A2 milk?… Continue reading

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 149 | Quarantine with a glass of milk

The Quarantine Chronicles bring Matt, Kolt, Dale, and Dusty together for this weeks Podcast discussion. Dusty and Matt talk about the Dairy industries milk dumping amidst COVID-19, and Matt includes an interview with President and CEO of the American Dairy Association Mideast, Scott Higgins. Matt also brings an interview with Dr. Mark Hardesty from the in Maria Stein Animal Clinic. They talk about how business practices have changed during COVID-19, and providing for their clients during a quarantine.… Continue reading

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Funding and phosphorus reduction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Analyzing the cost benefit ratio is a regular management function in agriculture. As farmers make decisions regarding the implementation of best management practices and fertilizer application rates, there is an economic benefit analysis that must be considered. The same applies as the government makes decisions regarding the allocation of resources to phosphorus reduction in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The USEPA is working to develop alternative approaches to achieving nutrient reduction without regulation. Studies have been conducted in the smaller yet similar and more intensely monitored East Fork Watershed in Southern Ohio to develop modeling by conducting bioassessments to determine impact and target levels for excess nutrients.

Watershed action planning involves evaluating the cost of reduction of total phosphorus (TP) levels. “In the modeled watershed, to make the improvements to waste water treatment plants (WWTP), to achieve a 1% reduction in phosphorus (P) load it would cost $5.4 million dollars.

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Using P removal structures to treat tile drainage water

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Legacy phosphorus has been a buzzword among farmers and researchers concerned with the increased P loading recorded in water samples. Ongoing research has indicated that in spite of documented reductions in applied P, and the increased use of cover crops, the P loading in the water continues. The current thought is that particulate P is most often contained in surface run-off. Dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) primarily from legacy P is contained in water coming through the tile lines.

Chad Penn is a USDA–ARS National Soil Erosion Researcher in Indiana. He is investigating various phosphorus removal structures and their ability to remove dissolved P from tile drainage water.

Chad Penn, USDA-ARS

“We have a lot of BMPs to reduce particulate P. Most any practice to reduce erosion will also reduce particulate P,” Penn said. “One big problem with legacy P is that it takes a long time to draw down.”

Research being done by Penn is on tile drainage water specifically from soils with at least 100mg/kg Melich 3.

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Farm prices plummeting from virus shutdown

From dairy farmers with nowhere to send their milk and cattle ranchers reeling from plummeting beef prices, the impact of the coronavirus is rippling through farm country. Corn, cotton and soybean futures have tumbled, ethanol plants have been idled, and some fruit and vegetable farmers are finding their best option is leaving produce in the field.

Price forecasts for most agricultural products are bleak. In the past month, dairy prices have dropped 26% to 36%, corn futures have dropped by 14%, soybean futures are down 8% and cotton futures have plummeted 31%. Hog futures are down by 31%. A surge in demand for beef emptied grocery store meat aisles, but there is no lack of supply. Despite a rise in retail prices in some areas, the prices paid to cattle ranchers have fallen 25%.

Dairy producers were optimistic at the start of 2020 that it would be a turnaround year, with milk prices on the rise and feed costs holding steady.… Continue reading

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Addressing 2019’s lingering challenges

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

Following a wet growing season in 2019, some of the issues facing growers in 2020 are lingering from the previous growing season.

Due to the excessively wet weather in the spring of 2019, many fields have compaction that will impact crop development and yields for years to come. Growers should alleviate compaction when conditions allow. Tillage should be performed only when soil conditions are favorable. Tillage under wet or “marginal” conditions will only make compaction problems worse. Compaction is a huge yield killer, as Randall Reeder and Alan Sundermeier wrote in a recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter: “Years of OSU Extension research on Hoytville silty clay loam showed that through compaction, 10% to 15% of the potential crop yield was being left in the field.” Farmers should plan to alleviate compaction when possible and avoid traffic on wet soil this spring.

Weed control in soybeans will continue to be a challenge between herbicide tolerant weeds and the plethora of soybean herbicide traits available to growers.… Continue reading

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ADA Mideast urging stores to lift dairy purchase limits

American Dairy Association Mideast staff are diligently working with milk processors and their sales teams to ask Ohio and West Virginia grocery stores to lift their purchasing limits on milk and dairy foods.

As you know, there was a purchasing surge at the start of the COVID-19 crisis as Americans prepared to stay at home. This caused some dairy cases to be low and prompted grocery stores to set quantity limits on milk purchases. The dairy companies and processors, though have assured consumers that grocery stores’ increased needs during this time can be supplied.

These purchasing limits, as well as the recent decline in food service sales and school milk consumption, are contributing to the excess milk supply. To help address this, ADA Mideast is contacting grocery stores, supporting school feeding sites and working with foodbanks to help move more milk and dairy foods.

Those who find an Ohio or West Virginia store that is limiting milk purchases, please take a picture, note the location, date and time and send to Erin.Brown@Drink-Milk.com.… Continue reading

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Rapid sector demand shift leads to disposing of milk

By Matt Reese and Dusty Sonnenberg

For years, the milk truck pulling into the farm drive has been something the Hartschuh Dairy Farm in Crawford County planned their daily schedules around.

“Today was different, though. The milk truck didn’t come for its scheduled pickup. For the first day ever in 44 years, our milk hauler didn’t run their regular route taking milk from farms to the dairy processing plant,” said Rose Hartschuh in a Facebook post. “First, we heard a rumor from a neighbor who sends their milk to the same plant as we do. Then, later in the day, it was confirmed with a call to us. Every producer who sends their milk to our plant is dumping one to two days’ production, depending on the farm, down the drain — ourselves included.”

The Hartschuh milk goes to Dairymens in Cleveland, and due to a rapid and dramatic shift in the supply chain, Dairymens does not have room to take any more milk today.… Continue reading

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Day 17 of social distancing

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Navigating the extended homestays has been challenging for many. Teaching, entertaining and keeping kids occupied at home, while parents continue to work the best they can is taking a toll on everyone.

It’s still uncertain how long the restricted movements will last. I was hoping by Memorial Day people would be able to leave their homes again. Unfortunately, I may be having to wait a little longer if other states follow Virginia which issued an order for shelter in place until June 10. Regardless of when the restrictions end it’s still unclear how fast things will get back to normal. One possible scenario is that increased movement will be gradual, with large gatherings in the hundreds or even thousands not allowed for a much longer time period.

And in terms of the economy, it will likely take a while for it to get back to “normal.” It seems as though more aid packages will be needed from the federal government to get us through this difficult ordeal.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s agribusinesses committed to service through coronavirus outbreak

In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, farmers across Ohio continue to operate to their fullest in order to keep Ohio’s food supply strong. Standing behind them are Ohio’s agribusinesses, which, as an essential industry, continue to diligently serve their farmer customers, while also managing the risks related to coronavirus.

Nearly all areas of the agriculture industry are considered essential, ranging from feed manufacturers and feed delivery, to agronomists and custom applicators, to support personnel such as IT, mechanics and operations. Due to the inherent seasonality of agriculture, agribusinesses have capacity to hire those individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of mandated business closures. Interested individuals should contact their local agribusinesses to inquire what seasonal positions may be available or visit www.oaba.net/careers for open positions.

“Our members understand the risk COVID-19 represents, but also know their importance to operating as an essential business,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO.… Continue reading

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Hawk takes new role as OACI project leader

The Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) is pleased to announce Nikki Hawk as the new OACI Project Leader. In her new role, Hawk will work with producers, commodity groups, Soil and Water Conservation District professionals and other partners to achieve meaningful change to Ohio’s water quality into the future.

The Ohio Agriculture Conservation Initiative (OACI) is an innovative, collaborative effort of the agricultural, conservation, environmental and research communities to improve water quality by establishing a baseline understanding of current conservation and nutrient management efforts and building farmer participation in a new certification program.

“We are excited to have Nikki in this position. Her education, experience and passion for conservation and agriculture make her the ideal leader for this initiative,” said Janelle Mead, OFSWCD CEO.

Hawk comes to the Federation having worked early in her career as an Organization Director with the Ohio Farm Bureau. For the past 18 years, she has served as the District Administrator/Education Specialist with the Mercer Soil & Water Conservation District.… Continue reading

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ASF still a major concern

As the nation battles COVID-19 in humans, though, veterinarians must also be concerned with diseases facing animals. The most notable right now is the threat of African Swine Fever. So far, the costly disease to the hog industry has not been found in the United States, but the prevention effort requires ongoing action. At the recent American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting, veterinarian Clayton Johnson, a partner with Carthage Veterinary Services, Carthage, Illinois, offered five things that producers and veterinarians can keep in mind to prevent ASF from entering the United States or from spreading once it arrives.

 

  • Contaminated pork. “The carcass is the biggest risk of transmission, whether a mortality or processed meat,” Johnson said. “For example, transmission could happen at one of our national parks if a foreign visitor brought in illegal meat products.”

 

  • He said that it’s a good idea to follow a no-pork-allowed policy on your pig farm when it comes to food items eaten on the premises.
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Ohio NRCS seeks new proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking new proposals for cutting-edge projects that will provide new conservation opportunities with its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Through the CIG program, Ohio will invest up to $300,000 for new projects in fiscal year 2020.

NRCS CIG emphasizes projects that have a goal of providing benefits within a limited geographic area. Ohio priorities in fiscal year 2020 will be Soil Health, Water Quality and Forestry-Based Sustainable Natural Ecosystem projects. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed or Statewide in scope. For additional information about State CIG competitions, please contact Ohio CIG program manager Cheryl Rice or search for the latest postings at Grants.gov.

All non-federal entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of federal agencies. Projects may be between one and three years in duration and the funding minimum for a single award is $25,000 and the funding maximum for a single award is $150,000.… Continue reading

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Pollinators and honey bees

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

A good deal of attention has been given to honey bees and other pollinators the last several years. Honey bees first began to draw notice back in 2006 when concerns over Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first emerged. CCD is defined by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service as a dead colony with no adult bees and with no dead bee bodies, but with a live queen, honey and immature bees. More recently, attention has been given to habitat for other pollinators as well. The USDA has looked at existing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts in a Mid-Contract Management (MCM) process to address growing pollinator habitat concerns. Along with reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, CRP aims to ensure plant diversity and wildlife benefits as well. Several producers with CRP contracts for grass filter strips received letters from the FSA offices notifying them of recent revisions to the MCM process that require all CRP contracts undertake a MCM activity.… Continue reading

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Beware of lackluster seed germ in 2020

When Seed Genetics Direct, a family-owned seed company in Jeffersonville began offering free carry-over soybean germination testing to farmers, they weren’t sure what to expect. What they got was a mixed bag of results, the worst of which are very bad.

“So far, we have tested 22 seed samples across Indiana and Ohio through Indiana Crop Improvement,” said Chris Jeffries, CCA, president of Seed Genetics Direct. “The germ from the tags of all seed samples was 80 or above, with an average of 86. After testing, only 12 came back with at least 70% germ; only five were above 80. The lowest two were in the 30s. That’s a pretty wide spread and very worrisome.”

Although SGD isn’t releasing identities out of respect to farmers and competitors, farmers submitted seed from six different seed companies for testing. Farmers did not submit Seed Genetics Direct seed for testing because the company moved beans for 95% of customers and is standing behind replant guarantees for any farmers who have SGD beans.… Continue reading

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COVID-19, livestock and pets

The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine points out that coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in animals, such as cats, dogs, cattle, pigs, horses, poultry, camels, and bats. The canine and feline coronaviruses are very common in pets and do not cause illness in people.

COVID-19 is believed to have originated from wild animals (likely bats) in China. Due to mutations in the virus, it developed the ability to infect humans and spread from person to person. There is no evidence at this time to suggest that any animals in the U.S., including pets, horses, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection. It is always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals. This includes washing hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.… Continue reading

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Challenging conditions remain into April

By Jim Noel, NOAA

Temperatures and rainfall

Temperatures will start the first 7 days of April 1-3 degrees F above normal. Rainfall will start April below normal — about half of normal. That is some good news as the end of March (as forecast) was very wet. However, most indications are for after the first week of April, temperatures will be near normal and rainfall slightly above normal. This will put pressure on early spring planting in April. Evaporation and evapotransporation will be held in check by closer to normal temperatures as we go through April. The May outlook calls for warmer than normal and a little wetter than normal but not as wet as last year.

Soil moisture and temperatures

Soil temperatures have come out of winter above normal due to heavy saturation and the mild winter. However, soil moisture remains in the top 1% to 10% wettest on record, so it is wet.… Continue reading

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Support the businesses supporting Ohio’s essential agriculture

By Matt Reese

It has been made very clear by the DeWine Administration that Ohio agriculture is essential because of the vital importance of farmers and their service to society. But, during these challenging times, it is also important to remember those who serve Ohio’s essential farmers.

There has been plenty mentioned about getting take-out to support your local favorite dining hotspots that may be feeling a real pinch right now. It is just as important to remember other parts of the service and supply chains that allow Ohio’s essential farmers to do what they do during the coronavirus measures taken by the state and the Stay at Home Order.

“I just want to thank our customers for shopping here and supporting us,” said Larry Goodman, manager of the Rural King in Marion. “At first, for probably the first week and a half, it was off the hook here, very busy.… Continue reading

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Navigating and understanding the CARES Act for small businesses

On March 27, President Donald J. Trump signed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) into law with provisions to provide financially distressed consumers and small businesses greater access to bankruptcy relief. The legislative package, which quickly passed the House of Representatives, provides a $2 trillion economic stimulus for U.S. industries and citizens faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is the largest modern stimulus package in the country.

The COVID-19 impact on agriculture includes a rapid and unanticipated decline in commodity prices, the likely closure of ethanol plants, the dramatic decline in full-service restaurant and school meal demand, and the reduction in direct-to-consumer sales. The agreement includes a $14 billion increase in USDA’s borrowing authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation and $9.5 billion to assist specialty crop producers, direct retail farmers and livestock operators.

“Of course there are provisions in there that affect everyone as taxpayers and specifics in there that affect agriculture.… Continue reading

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