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PPP funding falling short of demand

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 provides a $2 trillion economic stimulus for U.S. industries and citizens faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The CARES Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection program (PPP), the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency.

After the passage of the CARES Act, the U.S. Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) processed more than 14 years worth of loans in less than 14 days, many through the PPP. By law, the SBA is not able to issue new loan approvals once programs experience a lapse in appropriations.… Continue reading

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My thoughts for #plant2020

By Risë Labig, OCJ marketing specialist

Since I joined the Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net Team over eight years ago, I have enjoyed penning an article, in the spring and fall. Last spring I didn’t get an article written because the husband broke his ankle, and it was an unprecedented season of wet weather that had all of us wondering whether, for the first time ever, a crop could truly get planted.

Last season has taught us that the impossible is possible, and even probable. One of the great strengths of those in agricultural production is that handling risk is such an everyday part of our lives. We don’t often give it extra thought or allow it to overwhelm us. We keep on keepin’ on.

After last spring/summer, we were amazed that we could plant crops that late and still have good yields. It’s given us a sense of comfort as we approach this current season.… Continue reading

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Indiana Tyson plant to close for COVID-19 testing

By Dave Russell, Ohio Ag Net

Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of food giant Tyson Foods Inc. has agreed to voluntarily close the Logansport, Ind. plant while the more than 2,200 workers there are tested for COVID-19.

The pork processing facility produces 3 million pounds of pork daily from 250 independent family farmers from 9 states. The company says it suspended production at the facility on Monday for additional deep cleaning and sanitizing but had been running and limited production since then. All production is expected to stop on or before Saturday.

Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in a news release that while they understand the necessity of keeping our facilities operational so that they can continue to feed the nation, the safety of team members remains their top priority. Tyson says all employees at the facility will continue to be paid while the plant is closed.… Continue reading

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Tomorrow’s autonomy technology in use today

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

The fall of 2019 was not an ordinary harvest for Charlie Troxell of Clark County. Working with Precision Agri Services, Troxell was aided in completing harvest by Smart Ag’s Autonomous Grain Cart.

“Precision agriculture is constantly changing. Autonomy is just one aspect of precision ag Autonomy is here to stay,” said Bill Lehmkuhl, owner of Precision Agri Service in Minster. “There are two forms of autonomy in use. One form is common, and most farmers do not even realize they are using it. The second, which includes driverless vehicles, is improving and we are in the early stages of adoption.”

Farmers should think of autonomy on three levels.

“The first level that most farmers are already using and don’t even realize includes combines that automatically adjust harvest settings on the go without the operator making any changes,” Lehmkuhl said.… Continue reading

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Why didn’t my vaccine work this year?

By Brady Campbell, Program Coordinator, Ohio State University Sheep Team

I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the old adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” In general, this piece of advice can be misleading as change is needed and certainly essential when trying to improve the efficiency of your operation. However, when it comes to vaccination programs on your farm, this piece of advice fits perfectly. Vaccines are administered as a means to control an underlying issue within your flock or herd. It is recommended to not vaccinate for a specific disease unless you currently have issues or suspect you will.

This is in part due to the nature of the vaccines. Vaccines contain the organism in which create disease. This organism is modified so that the host is able to mount an effective immune response without becoming ill from the disease. As a result, producers willingly give their flock or herd a specific disease; but if your operation does not have issues with it, it is not recommended that you give the vaccine if it is not needed.… Continue reading

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USDA reports record enrollment in key farm safety-net programs

Producers signed a record 1.77 million contracts for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2019 crop year, which is more than 107% of the total contracts signed compared with a 5-year average. USDA also reminds producers that June 30 is the deadline to enroll in ARC and PLC for the 2020 crop year.

“Producers for several years have experienced low commodity prices, a volatile trade environment and catastrophic natural disasters,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “Farmers looking to mitigate these risks recognize that ARC and PLC provide the financial protections they need to weather substantial drops in crop prices or revenues.”

Producers interested in enrolling for 2020 should contact their FSA county office. Producers must enroll by June 30 and make their one-time update to PLC payment yields by Sept. 30.

FSA attributes the significant participation in the 2019 crop year ARC and PLC programs to increased producer interest in the programs under the 2018 Farm Bill and to an increase in eligible farms because of the selling and buying of farms and new opportunities for beginning farmers and military veterans with farms having 10 or fewer base acres.… Continue reading

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Farm, Food and Agribusiness COVID-19 Survey reveals impacts on Ohio’s food system

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has released early results of a new survey finding that 65% of those involved in Ohio’s food supply system have been negatively or very negatively impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The statewide Farm, Food and Agribusiness COVID-19 Impact Survey, distributed by Ohio Farm Bureau and a number of other agriculture groups, collected data to pinpoint areas of concern for every aspect of agriculture, including producers, retailers and food processors. With over 1,000 surveys returned, statistics show:

  • Nearly half (45%) of respondents have had their market distribution channels disrupted.
  • 29% of those taking part in the survey have cash flow issues.
  • Almost 15% of people polled cannot access the sanitation and protective equipment items required to operate (masks, sanitizer, etc.)

“This is a real-time snapshot of what the state’s agriculture community is dealing with as we work through the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau.… Continue reading

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New HPPD Inhibitor registered for soybeans in select counties

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

In the world of herbicide classification, the are 10 known Modes of Action that have been identified. One of those modes is the Pigment Inhibitor. In the pigment inhibitors are the Group 27 HPPD Inhibitors. This includes products such as Balance Flexx, Armezon, Impact, Callisto, Laudis, and now a newly registered product from BASF called Alite 27 (27 stands for the Group 27 Herbicide). Alite 27 is the first and only EPA registered HPPD available for use in soybeans on the Liberty Link GT27 beans in select counties for 2020.

“Today’s management practices of relying on a single mode of action are not sustainable for long-term control of problem weeds,” said Scott Kay, Vice President of U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “BASF continues to bring new innovations, like Alite 27 herbicide, to market to give growers more operational control over their crops and to help eliminate troublesome weeds in their fields.”

Alite 27 first received Federal EPA registration on March 20, and the State registration in Ohio earlier this month.

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More on USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

By Ben Brown Assistant Professor of Professional Practice- Agricultural Risk Management, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and David Marrison, Associate Professor & Extension Educator in Coshocton County

On April 17, the preliminary details about the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) were released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program aimed to assist farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CFAP provides $19 billion in funds authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES).

The $19 billion program includes two major elements. The first element is for Direct Support to Farmers and Ranchers. This program will provide $16 billion in direct support to farmers based on actual losses where prices and market supply chains have been impacted by COVID-19. The program will also assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Equipment to open new location in Lima

Ohio Ag Equipment will open a new store in Lima, Ohio, on Monday, May 4. The new location expands Ohio Ag Equipment’s service offering to seven locations, making them better equipped to provide Ohio’s agriculture industry with their exceptional line of equipment and product support.

The new facility is the only dealer in Ohio that has more than 100 acres of tillable ground dedicated to training, customer demonstrations and equipment testing.

“There is nothing more important than providing cost-effective, high-quality ag machinery to our hard-working agriculture and farming customers,” said Mike Mampieri, general manager. “Our priority also is making sure customers know how to operate equipment efficiently to ensure a productive, profitable business.”

On the nearly 200-acre campus, parent company Ohio Machinery Co. also operates The Cat Rental Store and an Ohio Peterbilt dealership across the street from Ohio Ag Equipment.

“Our new store and partner companies allow us to offer customers expanded opportunity, improved service and convenience,” Mampieri said.… Continue reading

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2020 Youth Pathways grants awarded

Leveraging the resources of the Fisher Fund, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation launched a Youth Pathways initiative in 2018, focused on introducing students to and training them for careers in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. Each year, organizations throughout the state are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that would help to address the need to attract more young people to careers in these fields.

Hocking County Farm Bureau and the PAST Foundation are recipients of funding for 2020. A total of $116,900 will assist these two nonprofits as they develop programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

Hocking County Farm Bureau will use its grant funds for a Careers in Agricultural Cooperatives: Co-op Leadership Experience project. Hocking County Farm Bureau will partner with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives to create a program that will showcase career exploration in agriculture through the lens of cooperatives.… Continue reading

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Tough times call for heroic efforts (and maybe your best china)

By Matt Reese

Well, Ohio agriculture, this is a pretty tough one. There has been more gloom and doom recently than I really care to report. Agricultural markets, across the board, are dismal. The food supply chain is crumbling and so is the economy. Some blame the virus. Some blame the government. Some blame society. Some blame China. Some blame faulty models and calculations. All are probably partly right.

None of that blame, though, really does much to address the tough situation. Fortunately, though, agriculture is used to tough. Tough builds character and shapes heroes who rise to the occasion and make challenging situations better.

After looking at the recent dismal corn prices, OCJ marketing specialist Risë Labig decided that lunch would be dessert with coffee and her best china in the company of some of her heroes.

“I needed a few minutes to decide whether or not I’m going to let this current crisis get the better part of me, and I’m NOT.… Continue reading

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ODA waives local match for grant program for Ohio’s fairs

Governor Mike DeWine announced Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda is waiving the required $50,000 local match for the Agricultural Society Facilities Grant Program, allowing all county and independent fairs to be eligible for $50,000 with no match.

Ohio’s operating budget set aside $4.7 million in the program to help fairs make necessary facilities and grounds improvements. Fairs could apply for the $50,000 grant with a required $50,000 from local governments and businesses. This waiver will allow fairs access to money for improvements without the local match.

“I understand the financial hardships many are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Director Pelanda. “While it is uncertain whether fairs will be able to safely operate this year, they still have facilities expenses. The Ohio Department of Agriculture wants to ensure each fair has access to these important funds.”

Fair managers must apply and qualify for the grant money. The application deadline is May 30.… Continue reading

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Burns named Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Executive Director

Kelly Burns of Milford Center has been named executive director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation.

With over 15 years of experience as a professional fundraiser, Burns has an extensive background in fund development, volunteer leadership and strategic planning. Her new role will allow her to play an integral part in growing the success of the foundation.

Prior to joining the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, Burns held positions of increasing responsibility within higher education at Purdue University, Ohio Northern University and, most recently, Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University. Burns and her husband, Tanner, are raising their two boys on their family farm in southern Union County. They are members of the Union County Farm Bureau.

Established in 1985, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501 (c) nonprofit, public charitable organization that strives to support student scholarships, fund innovation in communities and drive economic growth.… Continue reading

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NCBA pivots to address new reality for beef markets

Promotion programs being managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff have shifted and grown in response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. These efforts reflect a consumer population that is concerned for their day-to-day health and the availability of delicious, safe and wholesome food products, like beef.

“It was only two months ago that Beef Checkoff committees got together in San Antonio at the Cattle Industry Convention to work collectively to develop plans to improve beef demand,” said Buck Wehrbein, a feedlot manager from Nebraska and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. “In a few short weeks our entire world and the way we engage with each other and our communities have changed, and our response through the Beef Checkoff has had to change with it.”

Wehrbein notes that many events and conferences the Beef Checkoff had a role in have been canceled and some research projects have paused.… Continue reading

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Ohio’s seed industry loses a leader

Dan Fox of Thornville, co-founder of Seed Consultants, Inc. and longtime friend of the Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal staff, passed away suddenly on April 21 from an apparent heart attack.

Fox was 58 years old and a legend in Ohio’s seed industry. He was a graduate of Wilmington College who dedicated his professional career to the seed industry. He will be greatly missed by his family, co-workers and friends throughout Ohio agriculture.

“Dan always had a smile on his face and you could find him from across the room by listening for his infectious laughter,” said Bart Johnson, owner of Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal. “Dan was one of the very best.”

More about Dan and the funeral arrangements are posted here.Continue reading

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Spraying with drones

By John Fulton (Associate Professor), Chris Wiegman (graduate student), Erdal Ozkan ( Professor), and Scott Shearer (Professor), Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have become a common technology in agriculture. As of early 2019, there were around 1.3 million registered drones in the U.S. and over 116,000 registered drone operators within the commercial sector. Within agriculture, drones have been mainly used for scouting purposes. Today, uses of drones include collecting remotely sensed imagery, tissues samples, and water samples. Spraying with drones is also available through some manufacturers.

Drone spraying has been used Southeast Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea for several decades. In fact, the use of this type of spraying in Japan can be traced back to the 90s. Currently, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of drones used in these countries, mostly in rice production that requires applications done when the field is flooded with water, making entry of motorized vehicle to the field impractical.… Continue reading

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Corn planting depth considerations

By Alexander Lindsey, K. Nemergut, Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension

Timing corn emergence is key to minimize yield reductions, and can be more important for preserving yield than even seed spacing. When setting planting depth for corn this year, be sure to consider not just first emergence seen, but also the uniformity of the emergence.

In work conducted from 2017-2019, we manipulated seeding depth to be approximately 1, 2, or 3 inches deep (current recommendations are for planting at 1.5 to 2 inches deep) in two conventionally tilled fields. One field had 2% to 3% organic matter, and the other had 4% to 5% organic matter. We tracked daily emergence in the plots, and measured stalk strength and yield at the end of the season. Across years and fields, shallow planting resulted in faster emergence of the first plants in each year. However, the seeds that didn’t emerge were more subject to moisture fluctuation and took more time to go from 10% emerged to 90% emerged.… Continue reading

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Conservation Tillage Conference videos online

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired), Ohio State University

We were fortunate to have Conservation Tillage Conference the first week in March, before the coronavirus from China exploded on our shores. A total of 775 people participated, including about 350 CCAs.

We also recorded the presentations, as we have done the past 3 years. The videos are on the website: ctc.osu.edu. Sixteen were posted in March, and more are being added each week in April.

 … Continue reading

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Crop Progress: Winter wheat jointing progresses

Cold temperatures and precipitation didn’t stop farmers from working the fields entirely, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Temperatures averaged 10 degrees cooler than historical normals and the entire State averaged slightly more precipitation last week. There were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 19. Temperatures fell below freezing across most of the State and the lowest temperatures were observed in the west and north. Some northern portions of the State received 3-4 inches of snow. Freezing temperatures burned some winter wheat leaf tips as winter wheat jointing progress was 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Freezing temperatures caused fruit growers take preventative freeze measures and to scout for frost injury to budding trees and vines. Anhydrous Ammonia was applied to fields, top dressing of wheat continued, and manure was hauled. Chemical spraying was hampered due to high winds. Alfalfa leaf damage was reported in some hay fields, but damage was not widespread.… Continue reading

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