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EPA reaffirms safety of glyphosate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s favorable conclusion in late January about the safety of glyphosate in its Interim Registration Review Decision, based on the agency’s expert review over a 10-year period, reaffirmed that the extensive body of science continues to support the safety of herbicides containing glyphosate and that the active ingredient is not carcinogenic.

Registration review is EPA’s program for reviewing pesticides every 15 years; the glyphosate registration review began in 2009. In its Interim Registration Review Decision, EPA concluded that it “did not identify any human health risks from exposure to glyphosate.” The decision included measures to address glyphosate spray drift and glyphosate resistance in weeds.

“This is a win for sustainable agriculture,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “Today’s decision means farmers can continue to use conservation tillage and no-till methods on their farms to conserve soil, preserve and increase nutrients, improve water quality, trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.… Continue reading

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OABA Industry Conference focused on 2020

The annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference is underway, inspiring attendees to look forward into 2020 and beyond to the opportunities and challenges ahead.

To kick off the event on Jan. 30, Michael Swanson, an economist with Wells Fargo Bank, talked about how the three-point line changed the strategy of the game of basketball with the addition of an arbitrary line added to the court. Coaches, players and teams all had to adjust their game plans to account for the change and those who adapted most quickly and effectively had the advantage. Agriculture certainly has some similarities.

“Every day someone is drawing a new three point line on our court. It could be a regulatory three-point line. It could be a technology three-point line. Either way, it changes the game,” Swanson said. “Agriculture used to be a labor intensive industry and now it is an input driven industry. You used to be able to get up earlier, work later and out produce your neighbor.… Continue reading

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Why should you know your soybean disease rating numbers?

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Anne Dorrance, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist, says farmers should do some homework.

“Farmers need to take some time this winter and go back and look at their soybean seed varieties and see what the scores were for resistance to common diseases that they regularly see each year depending on what the environmental conditions are,” she said.

Anne Dorrance OSU Soybean Researcher Field Leader
Dr. Anne Dorrance, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist

Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) is a pest that is frequently talked about. Recently, and a multi-state campaign known as “What’s your number? Take the test. Beat the Pest.” funded by the soybean checkoff and SCN Coalition has been attempting to raise awareness of the soybean yield losses as SCN populations rise. Nematodes are becoming “resistant to the resistance,” said Dorrance. Farmers are encouraged to sample their fields for soybean cyst nematodes to know what levels they are actually dealing with on each farm and in each individual field.

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Will Walmart’s new beef packing facility influence cattle prices?

By Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

A couple of questions came in this week concerning Walmart opening a beef packing facility and how the new facility would influence cattle prices. The short answer is that the opening of this facility is not likely to change cattle prices much at all. The reason prices are not expected to change much is because it does not really change supply and demand of beef.

Walmart is partnering with a single seedstock operation, a specific feedlot, and a specific slaughter facility at which time the Walmart facility will take delivery and perform further processing and packaging for the Walmart brand. Thus, the processing facility will create competition with other processing facilities and at the retail level. However, it is not likely that this will shift demand or supply enough to really influence cattle prices at the calf and yearling stages of production.… Continue reading

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Managing stored grain in the winter

By Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

Managing stored grain throughout the winter is an important part of your grain marketing plan for farm profitability. This winter we are already receiving reports of stored grain going out of condition, which can lower the value and be a hazard to those working around the grain facility. At a minimum, stored grain that has gone out of condition can cause health hazards, especially when grain dust contains mold and bacteria. Out of condition grain can also form a crust or stick to the bin walls and if someone enters the bin for any reason an entrapment could occur. For more information on safety when working around grain visit http://go.osu.edu/AFM and listen to episode 41 of the podcast on grain bin safety.

Too many of us know the scare of a close call with grain entrapment but lived to tell the story. Even if it was just in a wagon or a truck while unloading wet grain, the fear is real.… Continue reading

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$30 million allocated to agriculture in the lower Maumee River Watershed

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader

Sign-up for farmers to participate in the H2Ohio initiative, and receive incentives for implementing approved nutrient management practices begins in February at the local Soil and Water Conservation District offices. A series of meeting have been scheduled in Northwest Ohio to explain the application process for farmers in the 14 county area of the lower Maumee River Watershed who wish to participate in the H2Ohio program. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has announced that $30 million of funding designated for Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio program is available and a total of eight meetings have been scheduled during the month of February to explain the application process for H2Ohio funds and answer questions about the program’s conservation practices.

“In conjunction with details about H2Ohio, these meetings will also introduce the brand-new Ohio Agricultural Conservation Initiative (OACI) Farmer Certification program. This program is focused on conservation.

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Ohio Department of Agriculture suspends operations at Vista Grain, LLC

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) suspended all operations at Vista Grain, LLC in Washington Court House after discovering it was unable to cover its outstanding obligations to farmers. Vista Grain, LLC is located at 5738 Greenfield Sabina Road, Washington Court House, Ohio, with branch locations in Buena Vista and Lyndon. The grain handlers’ license, #6721, was suspended on Jan. 28 in order to prevent more outstanding obligations to be incurred and to facilitate a possible remedy via the Grain Indemnity Fund.

If you believe you have outstanding grain obligations with Vista Grain, LLC, please call ODA at 614-728-6410 or toll free at 800-282-1955. Ohio’s Grain Indemnity Fund was created in 1983 to reimburse farmers when a licensed handler becomes insolvent. Since the fund was established, it has reimbursed farmers more than $16 million and is funded through a half-cent per bushel assessment on grain marketed at licensed elevators. Claims to the indemnity fund are handled through ODA’s Grain Feed & Seed Section in conjunction with the recommendation of the Ohio Commodity Advisory Commission.… Continue reading

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USDA reminds producers of Feb. 28 deadline for Conservation Reserve Program general signup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds agricultural producers interested in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 2020 general signup to enroll by Feb. 28, 2020. This signup is available to farmers and private landowners who are either enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling for another 10- to 15-year term.

“This is the first opportunity for general sign up since 2016, and we want producers and private landowners to know that we have just one month remaining,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA administrator. “It is critical that they make their final determinations and submit offers very soon to take advantage of this popular conservation program.”

Farmers and ranchers who enroll in CRP receive yearly rental payments for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”), which can control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. CRP has 22 million acres enrolled, but the 2018 Farm Bill lifted the cap to 27 million acres.… Continue reading

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Growing women in agriculture event

Since 2007 the number of women in agriculture has increased by 7% in the United States. With this evolving statistic in the industry many new avenues for our community and state have developed and this event provides an opportunity for our community’s rising agriculture leaders.

The agriculture community in Shelby County is excited to support women in agriculture by holding their fifth annual “Growing Women in Agriculture, an Empowerment Celebration” event on March 26, 2020, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event will be held for the first time in a new location, the Amos Press Building at 911 S. Vandemark Rd, in Sidney. The evening is a unique blend of educational and fun agriculture information that specifically targets women in our community. The cost is $20 per person, in which a portion of the fee will support the Agape Community Garden program. The registration deadline is March 6 with breakout sessions being filled on a first come first served basis as registrations are received.… Continue reading

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Hams Across America shares bounty of pork

The National Pork Board announced today more than 2 million servings of pork have been donated in the last two months by pig farmers working together to help fight food insecurity in their local communities. The donations — made through the national Hams Across America effort — showcase the pork industry’s commitment to the We Care ethical principles, including a focus on community.

“Giving back to our communities is an important part of who we are,” said David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “Our Hams Across America program gives me and other pig farmers another way to live out the We Care ethical principles, but my favorite part is getting to share our love of the food we produce with neighbors in need.”

The Hams Across America program helps overcome food insecurity, especially in rural areas where pig farmers farm and live. In November, the Oklahoma Pork Council kicked off the #GiveAHam challenge, a grassroots effort that encourages farmers to pay it forward with pork donations to local food pantries and to challenge colleagues and others in their communities to do the same.… Continue reading

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Long-awaited USMCA signed by Trump

By Matt Reese

President Trump today signed into law the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which, once implemented, will provide much-needed certainty for U.S. agriculture.

National Pork Producers Council board member Duane Stateler from McComb and Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association president Patty Mann attended today’s signing ceremony. Passage of the USMCA has been a top priority for the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Mann said.

“The passage of USMCA is important for corn, wheat, and small grain growers in Ohio. Continuing to have solid trade relationships with our largest foreign markets — Mexico and Canada — cannot be overstated. Free trade agreements like this help us continue to feed and fuel the world,” she said. “Exports of corn, soft red winter wheat, ethanol, corn co-products, and small grains are vital to support a thriving Ohio economy. Therefore, developing and maintaining fair and open global trade practices remain an essential policy priority for our Association and we are happy that President Trump and Congress agree.”

USMCA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has tremendous implications for agricultural exports from U.S.… Continue reading

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Costume-clad Celebrity Showdown benefits charity, exhibitors

By Dave Russell and Matt Reese

There is no doubt that showing cattle can get pretty competitive as young exhibitors work their way through the BEST (Beef Exhibitor Show Total) program, a statewide series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship competitions. The Clark County Cattle Battle (as its name would imply) is no exception, but before exhibitors showcase their skills and their cattle in the ring, the weekend kicks off in a unique way with the BEST Celebrity Showdown.

For the event, the exhibitors dress themselves and their cattle in (often outlandish) costumes with the hope of catching the eye of a celebrity judge who picks the costume contest winner. Each exhibitor must raise at least $100 in donations to participate, with proceeds going to a worthy charity. The 2020 event, in its eighth year, was held on Friday, Jan. 24 at the Champions Center in Springfield. This year’s event raised $16,370.… Continue reading

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Stagnant market sets stage for straddles

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

U.S. corn prices are currently competitive globally; however, the market is watching to see how the coronavirus impacts the world economy. Despite positive movement on Thursday, March corn reversed on Friday and finished between $3.85 to $3.90 for the sixth straight week.

Market action

Following details three straddle trades I’ve done recently.

 

February straddle trade:

On 11/20/19 when March corn was trading $3.80, I sold a February $3.85 straddle (selling both a $3.85 put and a $3.85 call) on 10% of my 2019 production and collecting 20 cents total of premium.

 

What does this mean?

  • If March corn is $3.85 on 1/24/20, I could keep nearly all of the 20 cents.
  • For very penny corn is below $3.85 I get less of the premium penny for penny until $3.65
  • At $3.65 or lower I lose money penny for penny on this trade.
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Warmer and wetter, Ohio’s climate is shifting

Little snow, warmer days — it’s been an unusual winter. Or has it?

For the past four decades, Ohio’s winters have been warming twice as fast as its summers. And the state is getting more rainfall as well. 2019 was the sixth wettest year in Ohio and the 12th warmest, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“It was certainly our wettest decade on record,” Wilson said.

On average, Ohio’s annual rainfall has increased 5% to 15% since the early 1900s, with the largest increases in areas such as north-central Ohio where fall rainfall has risen by 31%, Wilson said.

So far, this winter is proving to be warmer than average. December was Ohio’s 15th warmest on record and January, too, has been fairly mild, Wilson said. Despite the recent cold bite, average temperatures in January across Ohio are between 8 degrees and 12 degrees Fahrenheit balmier than average for the month.… Continue reading

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Ohio researchers to survey farmers

Extreme weather, trade tensions, declining prices, lack of access to health care, and urban sprawl.

To get a better handle on how Ohio farm families are adapting to these challenges, researchers at The Ohio State University will be asking farmers to share their experiences through a new statewide survey this February.

The 2020 Ohio Farm Poll will gather information about the current well-being of different types of farmers across the state, including any changes they might be seeing. The questionnaire will provide an opportunity for farmers to share their views with researchers at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and state policymakers about a range of issues. The survey will be mailed in early February to a random sample of 3,000 farmers.

“We know Ohio farmers often feel over-surveyed and have limited time. However, we also know that decisions are being made by local, state, and national policymakers without a good grounding in the realities farmers face,” said Doug Jackson-Smith, a CFAES professor.… Continue reading

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Is this the final word on WOTUS, or is the rule just being kicked downstream?

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

There’s always something going on with the waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Last September, we wrote about how the 1986/1988 WOTUS rule would replace the 2015 Obama rule until the Trump administration finalized its new rule. Well, the final rule was just announced by the EPA on January 24, 2020. So, what does the new rule categorize as “waters of the United States?” Are there any differences between the rule as it was proposed in February of 2019 and the final rule? Will this version of WOTUS stick?

 

What is (and isn’t) WOTUS now?

The Trump EPA’s WOTUS rewrite maps out which waters are and are not waters of the United States. The following are WOTUS in the new rule:

  • The territorial seas, and waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
  • Tributaries;
  • Lakes and ponds, and impoundments of jurisdictional waters; and
  • Adjacent wetlands.
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Brazil, a big corn and soybean belt

The ease of traveling within the United States has always impressed me since the first time I set foot in the Midwest, 13 years ago. Not only because of the mind-blowing transportation infrastructure (which looks even more amazing to my Brazilian eyes, very used to the logistical problems and challenges we have here), but also because doing a crop tour, for example, is painless, since most of the corn and soybean production is concentrated in the Midwest.

That’s why I can’t help a somewhat condescending smile when some American or other foreigner suggests a crop tour in Brazil’s corn and soybean belt. Of course we have crop tours – and very good ones. But driving, for example, from Mato Grosso to Paraná, Brazil’s top producing states, is very challenging, to say the least. Not only because we have bad and dangerous roads (despite all the improvements we’ve seen in the last few years), but also because they are very different states, with more than one thousand miles between them.

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Tenth Circuit Court strikes down EPA small refinery exemptions

In a decision that is expected to broadly impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to granting small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit Jan. 24 struck down three exemptions that were improperly issued by EPA.

The court ruling stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against EPA by the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union.

“We are extremely pleased with the Tenth Circuit’s decision to vacate the waivers granted by EPA to three refineries owned by CVR Energy and HollyFrontier,” said Geoff Cooper, RFA president and CEO. “The Court has affirmed our long-held position that EPA’s recent practices and policies regarding small refinery exemption extensions were completely unlawful. And while the decision addresses three specific exemptions, the statutory interpretation issues resolved by the court apply much more broadly.”

Among other findings, the Court held that EPA cannot “extend” exemptions to any small refineries whose earlier, temporary exemptions had lapsed.… Continue reading

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Two trade deals and a price drop

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

The signing of the Phase One trade deal with China and approval in the Senate of the USMCA saw two positive developments on the trade front. Despite some resolution on these trade issues, markets reacted negatively. The USMCA, while providing stability with two major trading partners, held limited short-term upside potential for corn and soybean exports. Significant skepticism on the ability of China to hit Phase One trade targets among many market participants provided no support for prices. The Phase One trade deal holds the most potential for more significant exports over the next year. The enforcement, timing, and magnitude of Chinese purchases remain unknown. To reach the $36.5 billion target for 2020 outlined in the trade deal, substantial Chinese buying must occur this year in U.S. corn and soybean markets.

The potential for corn exports reaching or eclipsing current marketing year projections depends on follow-through in Chinese buying and the U.S.… Continue reading

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Micronutrient fertilization

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Recent research on photosynthesis shows the importance of adequate nutrient fertility. On average, corn plants only perform full blown photosynthesis about 10-20% of the time, even when weather conditions are ideal. Why? High rates of photosynthesis required essential mineral elements to build carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and enzymes. If an essential nutrient is lacking or not in a plant available form, photosynthesis shuts down. High soil biological activity makes nutrients plant available. A healthy soil with living roots has 1000-2000X more microbes than a bare soil. Each microbe is a soluble bag of fertilizer full of plant available nutrients to feed the crop.

Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

The availability of soil nutrients is dependent on three factors. One is the chemical form that it can be taken up by the plant.  Second is the proximity to actively absorbing plant root. Three is the soil nutrient must be in a soluble form that can be absorbed by plant roots. 

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