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USDA launches high-speed broadband e-Connectivity resource guide

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new toolkit to help support the deployment of high-speed broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities.

“High-speed broadband e-Connectivity is becoming more and more essential to doing business, delivering health care, and, for schoolchildren, doing homework in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “This user-friendly tool will help rural customers find the many resources USDA has available to support the expansion and use of e-Connectivity in rural America.”

The e-Connectivity Toolkit (PDF, 4.3 MB) features 27 USDA programs that support broadband deployment. The easy-to-use resource is a simple guide that allows customers to identify their type of e-Connectivity project and locate resources the federal government offers for planning, equipment, construction, research and other e-Connectivity projects. Resources such as grants, loans and technical assistance are available from multiple Mission Areas at USDA, including Rural Development, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Forest Service.

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Kuester Implement newest addition to Ag-Pro acquisition list

The list of Ag-Pro Companies farm equipment dealer acquisitions in Ohio continues to grow with the purchase of Kuester Implement, a three-location John Deere dealership based in eastern Ohio.

According to the dealership’s website, the Bloomingdale-based Kuester Implement Company is a third generation John Deere Dealer that has served the tri-state area for more than 70 years. In 2003, Kuester Implement expanded operations by purchasing the John Deere dealership in New Philadelphia to expand in the areas of agricultural, turf, and small construction needs. In 2006, Kuester Implement opened up operations in St. Clairsville.

In January, Shearer Equipment signed a letter of intent to sell their company’s assets to Ag-Pro Ohio LLC, a subsidiary of Ag-Pro Companies. Prior to that, Ag-Pro bought the assets of JD Equipment in late 2018. With the newest purchase, Ag-Pro Companies will include 82 locations in seven states.

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Ohio hunters harvest more than 172,000 deer during 2018-2019 season

Hunters checked 172,040 white-tailed deer throughout Ohio’s 2018-2019 deer season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Last year, 186,247 deer were checked during the 2017-2018 season.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.

Deer hunting regulations over the past four seasons have been designed to allow for moderate herd growth throughout most of the state. Herd growth is achieved by reducing harvest and protecting female deer.

Hunting Popularity

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

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AFBF Foundation’s Feeding Minds Press publishes first book

Feeding Minds Press announces the publication of its first book, “Right This Very Minute: A Table-to-Farm Book About Food and Farming” by award-winning author Lisl H. Detlefsen. The book, stunningly illustrated by Renée Kurilla, explains to children how every minute of every day, someone, somewhere, is working to bring food to their table.

“Right This Very Minute” is geared toward children in kindergarten through third grade. The 32-page picture book follows children through an entire day of meals and snacks, with each one emphasizing how critical farmers and agriculture are to society.

“We’re pleased to launch Feeding Minds Press with the publication of ‘Right This Very Minute,’” said Christy Lilja, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. “This book is the first of many titles from Feeding Minds Press that will bring modern agriculture to life for young readers.”

Hardcover copies of “Right This Very Minute” may be ordered online at https://www.dmsfulfillment.com/FarmBureau/DMSStore/Product/ProductDetail/26233 for $17.99 each.

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Agricultural Trade Promotion Program funding

On Jan. 31, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of a key component of the Trump administration’s trade mitigation package designed to address the effects of retaliatory measures impacting exports of U.S. agricultural products. The Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) provides additional funding to help U.S. exporters develop new markets and help mitigate the adverse effects of other countries’ tariff and non-tariff barriers.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is one of 57 organizations that will receive ATP funding through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

“USMEF appreciates the Trump administration’s recognition of the extremely competitive environment U.S. agricultural products face in the global marketplace, and how changes in trading partners’ tariff rates can put these products at a significant disadvantage,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO. “As authorized by FAS, this funding will help USMEF and other organizations defend existing market share and develop new destinations for U.S.

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Can “ag-gag” prevent secretly filming at livestock facilities?

By Ellen Essman, Sr. Research Associate, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Nationwide, it seems as though “ag-gag” laws are being challenged and overturned left and right. “Ag-gag” is the term for laws that prevent undercover journalists, investigators, animal rights advocates, and other whistleblowers from secretly filming or recording at livestock facilities. “Ag-gag” also describes laws which make it illegal for undercover persons to use deception to obtain employment at livestock facilities. Many times, the laws were actually passed in response to under-cover investigations which illuminated conditions for animals raised at large industrial farms. Some of the videos and reports produced were questionable in nature — they either set-up the employees and the farms, or they were released without a broader context of farm operations. The laws were meant to protect the livestock industry from reporting that might be critical of their operations — obtained through deception and without context, or otherwise.

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Crop rotation and second year soybean yields

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

As spring approaches and plans for the 2019 crop are finalized, growers will determine what crops to plant and plant crop rotation across their acres. When considering crop rotations and yields, many focus on continuous corn and the yield penalties associated with that practices. However, there is one possibly overlooked benefit of crop rotation: avoiding a soybean yield penalty.

In this article, the University of Kentucky’s John Grove discusses soybean yields for first year and second year soybeans from 2009 to 2016. Grove’s research data shows an average yield penalty of 2.3 bushels per acre across that 7-year period, with some years being showing yield losses greater than 10 bushels per acre. In another article from No-Till Farmer, Greg Roth shows data that predicts a four- to six-bushel per acre yield penalty for second year soybeans.

Yield loses from continuous soybeans (and other continuous crops) are usually associated with increased disease presence as well as pests.

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A roundtable with young farmers on the issues hitting them

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience noted another year of exciting speakers, engaging networking, and good fun this past weekend.

Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood and Ohio’s Country Journal’s Matt Reese sat down with farmers Rose Hartschuh of Crawford Co., Ron Burns of Union Co., and Luke Dull of Montgomery Co.

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American Farm Bureau comments on FDA dairy food labels

Consumers associate dairy foods with specific positive nutritional characteristics, and those qualities do not necessarily carry over to nut- or plant-based products labeled as “milk,” “yogurt” or “cheese,” the American Farm Bureau Federation told federal regulators.

In formal comments to the Food and Drug Administration, AFBF said the mislabeling of nut- and plant-based beverages as “milk” confuses consumers from a nutritional equivalency standpoint. The FDA expects to issue a rule on the use of the names of dairy foods in the labeling of plant-based products later this year.

AFBF told regulators that consumers know the nutritional value of products labeled “milk,” and likely infer that any product bearing this term possesses the same, or at least an equivalent, nutritional profile. However, this is not the case. For example, one serving of traditional milk contains 8 grams of protein while many plant- and nut-based beverages have a lower protein content.

A recent survey conducted by IPSOS and commissioned by Dairy Management Inc.

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Cold weather dairy calf care

Shirecalf

By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

Cold winter weather presents some additional challenges to keeping dairy calves healthy, comfortable and growing. The biggest challenge is the increased nutritional requirement for body maintenance, especially for dairy calves in unheated facilities. Nutritional maintenance is what is required to keep all body systems functioning normally while maintaining a healthy body temperature and neither gaining nor losing weight. Cold weather nutrition requires understanding the concept of lower critical temperature. Lower critical temperature is the lower boundary below which the animal needs additional nutrients, primarily energy, to meet maintenance requirements. If the nutrient level is not increased, then the animal must burn fat reserves to meet the need. The lower critical temperature for calves from birth to 7 days of age is 55 degrees F. Between 7 and 30 days of age, the lower critical temperature is in the 48- to 50-degree F range.

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Legislation introduced allowing whole milk in school meals

robotic-milker-on-cow

Legislation sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, would allow whole milk in school nutrition programs. The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 (H.R. 832) has eight other co-sponsors, including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. Adding whole milk to school menus reflects research showing that such products benefit children and gives school administrators one more tool with which to develop healthy eating habits. Read More…

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How many soybean acres do we need in 2019?

By Todd Hubbs, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics University of Illinois

We have reached the time of the year where speculation about acreage for the 2019 crops begins in earnest. While the number of acres planted to soybeans appears set to decrease, current projections indicate an intention to plant significantly more acres than necessary to reach breakeven prices in Illinois under current consumption and stock level forecasts.

Projections by industry analysts place 2019 soybean planted acreage in a range from 84.5 to 86.5 million acres. A reduction in soybean acreage from the 89.1 million acres planted in 2018 seems probable.

We currently project soybean planted acreage at 85.7 million acres. An analysis of the number of soybean acres necessary in 2019 to produce a 2019-20 marketing year price for soybeans near the cost of production may be revealing. This analysis uses a 2019 crop budget on high productivity farmland for soybeans following corn in central Illinois.

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Cow health concerns in cold and mud

Stuck in the mud, some cows across the state might not be putting on enough weight.

Cattle have been getting pretty muddy as a result of Ohio’s extremely heavy rainfall in 2018 and precipitation so far this year. The mud can lead to thinner cows because it takes a lot of energy for cattle to trudge through mud and to keep their bodies warm when cold mud sticks to them, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Pregnant cows that don’t gain enough weight are at risk of having weak or stillborn calves and of not being able to produce enough milk for their offspring, Grimes said.

“When it’s cold and wet, you and I can be inside and set the thermostat at 70 degrees, but cows have to adapt,” Grimes said.

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Ongoing HABRI research providing insights into water quality challenges

With three years of work under its belt, the Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative (HABRI) has yielded useful results for Ohio residents. HABRI researchers are working directly with water treatment plant operators to provide practical guidance about producing safe drinking water for cities and towns dealing with algal toxins. Other scientists are examining lesser-known potential sources of algal toxin exposure and its human health impacts. And the initiative has driven ongoing collaborations between universities and agencies, positioning Ohio to better prevent and manage future crises.

“HABRI also continues to fund research projects that address harmful algal blooms and their impacts on the state,” said Kristen Fussell, assistant director for Ohio Sea Grant, which co-manages the initiative.

In early 2018, $4 million was awarded to 21 research teams studying topics that range from the creation of new therapies for toxin-induced liver problems to the impacts of toxic cyanobacteria on young Lake Erie sport fish.

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Vaccinating with CDT

With lambing season right around the corner, shepherds need to start preparing now. The CDT vaccine is yet another management tool found in the shepherd’s toolbox that is used to protect small ruminants against clostridium perfringens types C and D as well as clostridium tetani (tetanus). Appropriate use of this vaccine is a safe, cheap, and an effective method used to control for clostridial diseases in your flock. Commonly referred to in the industry as the ‘overeating disease,’ clostridium perfringens types C and D are associated with feedstuffs and can lead to enterotoxemia. The bacteria that cause enterotoxemia are present in all animals, just at low population levels. Issues arise when these bacterial populations experience a rapid period of growth and proliferation due to an increase in actual bacterial numbers or due to a rapid change in the diet. As a result, the bacteria grow rapidly, toxins accumulate, and are then distributed throughout the body resulting in serious health issues or death.

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Winter feeding for beef cows

The goal is to have a winter feeding program meets the cow’s requirements and is economical. There is a biological priority for nutrients. The needs for maintenance, growth and milk production must be met before we can optimize reproduction.

The period from approximately 60 to 90 days prior to calving is affects the calf and the subsequent reproductive performance. Fetal growth is at its maximum and fat stores will be used for lactation. Nutrition during this time also affect colostrums quality. Underfeeding during this time period include:

  1. Lighter calf birth weights (although calving difficulty won’t be reduced).
  2. Lower calf survival.
  3. Lower milk production and calf growth.
  4. A longer period for cattle coming back into heat.

 

Cold temperatures

The only adjustment in cow rations necessitated by weather is to increase maintenance energy. Protein, mineral and vitamin requirements are not changed by weather stress. The general rule of thumb is to increase winter ration energy 1% for each degree (F) below the lower critical temperature.

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OSU winter agronomy meetings

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension

We on the Agronomic Crops Team provide programs of interest to corn, soybean and wheat growers across Ohio. See our calendar throughout the winter: http://agcrops.osu.edu/events.

  • Those who must renew their Pesticide Applicator License or Fertilizer Applicator Certification can check the website for dates in your area and to register: http://pested.osu.edu/
  • Still need to get certified to apply fertilizer? You must attend a 3-hour program from Ohio State University Extension; to find a meeting for a 3-hour Fertilizer Certification training: http://NutrientEducation.osu.edu.
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The winter of mud: Consequences of a wet year

By Michelle Arnold, DVM, Ruminant Extension Veterinarian, University of Kentucky

Record rainfall in 2018 has had major impacts on cattle health. Submissions at the UKVDL and telephone conversations with veterinarians and producers confirm cattle are losing body condition and some are dying of malnutrition. The very prolonged cloudy, wet weather with regular bouts of rain has resulted in muddy conditions that require substantially more energy in feeds just to maintain body heat. In addition, the hay quality is exceptionally poor this year as much of it was cut very ripe (late stage of maturity), rained on while curing, and baled with enough moisture to support mold growth. Many cows presented to the laboratory for necropsy (an animal “autopsy”) revealed a total absence of fat and few, if any, other problems. This indicates winter feeding programs on many farms this year are not adequate to support cattle, especially cows in late pregnancy or early lactation, or their newborn calves, even though bitter cold has not been a factor.

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Coalition pushing to lift metals tariffs

A diverse, ad hoc coalition of more than 45 groups representing many sectors of the U.S. economy and led by the National Pork Producers Council called for an end to U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican aluminum and steel imports so that America can take advantage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The Trump administration on June 1, 2018, imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico. Both countries subsequently retaliated against a host of U.S. products. In a letter sent Wednesday to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, business and agricultural organizations urged the administration to lift the metals tariffs so that Canada and Mexico will rescind their duties on U.S. goods. Resolution of the metals tariff dispute will allow the groups to turn their undivided attention to generating congressional support for the USMCA, negotiations on which were concluded last fall.

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Sales to cooperatives under the new tax law

By Barry Ward, Director, Ohio State University Income Tax Schools, Leader, Production Business Management

Upon passage and signing of the Tax Cuts Jobs Act in December 2017, Cooperatives suddenly had a decided advantage in buying over “independent” buyers of ag commodities. The new tax law had somewhat inadvertently included a “grain glitch” (which would have affected more than grain sales) that had effectively allowed for a 20% deduction on gross sales which conferred a decided advantage over sales to other non-Cooperatives. These sales to non-Cooperatives would only be allowed the QBID deduction as discussed previously in this article which effectively a 20% deduction on net income from those sales. With much hand wringing and angst in the ag sector, congress finally got around to passing a “fix” to this “glitch.”

The “Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018” signed on March 23, 2018 “fixed” this inequity and but added more complexity to the reporting of sales to cooperatives.

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