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USDA issues wildlife habitat incentive program final rule

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) issued a final rule for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) that adds a new national priority for restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat.

“WHIP helps our nation’s landowners address one of the biggest challenges of our day — restoring fish and wildlife habitats, and benefitting at-risk species,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “In keeping with our new national priority, we’ll be focusing our efforts on filling in habitat areas to provide continuous habitat for migrating species.”

Read more about the WHIP final rule…Continue reading

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Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

The 92nd annual meeting of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) will take place Dec. 1 – 3 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Battelle Grand in Columbus. 341 delegates representing all Ohio counties will establish the organization’s policies and elect state leaders. Farm Bureau is Ohio’s largest farm organization and represents its members’ interests on economic, environmental, social and political issues.

Delegates are expected to establish policies on balancing the state budget, farm animal care, pollution abatement, education and other subjects important to all Ohioans.

Officers for 2011 will be elected during the meeting as well as nine members of the state board of trustees.

Guest speakers include Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, Ohio Director of Agriculture Robert Boggs and American Farm Bureau national policy expert Mary Kay Thatcher. OFBF President Brent Porteus and OFBF Executive Vice President John C. (Jack) Fisher will address the members and Nationwide CEO Steve Rasmussen will offer remarks.… Continue reading

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OSU Extension Tax Webinar available

Ohio farmers are invited to attend a free webinar on managing income taxes in a prosperous agriculture climate many may be currently experiencing.

Ohio State University Extension will host “Tax Management 2010” on Dec. 2 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The workshop will feature University of Illinois Extension tax specialist Gary Hoff. Host sites for the workshop include OSU Extension offices in Clinton, Fairfield, Fulton, Morrow, Muskingum, Portage, Putnam, and Shelby counties, plus Fisher Auditorium at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wayne County.

Hoff will focus on the “good, bad and ugly of 2010 tax legislation.” Tax issues that will be addressed include estate taxes, the impact of health care legislation, retirement benefits, preparing for an IRS audit, 1031 exchanges, concerns surrounding delaying farm income and prepaying expenses.

For more information, or to register log on to http://fairfield.osu.edu/events/tax-management-2010, or contact the OSU Extension office at which you plan to attend.… Continue reading

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Optimism for hog prices

Hog producers have been feeling the bite of losses once again this fall, but there is reason for some optimism, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University Extension economist.

“First, hog prices are probably at their seasonal lows in late November as consumers are buying their Thanksgiving turkey rather than pork. Second, lower corn and meal prices provide an opportunity to lock in feed prices at levels that were not available a few weeks ago,” he said.

The 2011 outlook also provides some optimism for a year of positive margins on average. Producers may want to consider taking some of those positive margins now, he said.

Live hog prices fell from near $60 per hundredweight in September to the mid-$40s by mid-November. With costs of production in the mid-$50s, this means losses near $15 per head in the final quarter, he said.

“The saving grace is that profits were strong last spring and summer.… Continue reading

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AgriGold customer wins lease on grain trailer at Farm Science Review

One lucky visitor to the AgriGold tent at the Ohio Farm Science Review was selected at random to receive a 9-month lease on a 40-foot hopper bottom grain trailer. Roger Yocom of Yocom Brothers Farm in Cable, Ohio was the prize recipient.

“I’ve been able to park one of my trailers for the season and use this top of the line trailer, which has been great,” said Yocom.

The Yocom Brothers Farm is located in central Ohio and have been a valued AgriGold customer for many years. The Yocom Brothers utilize twin-row corn planting technology on their operation, which is split 50:50 corn and beans. They’ve grown AgriGold products for several years and have been very pleased with their experience.

Visitors who were current AgriGold growers or new customers were able to enter for a chance to win the lease. Multiple entries could be made based upon their current order of corn for the spring.… Continue reading

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Get your copy of the history of animal sciences at OSU

By Matt Reese

In 2007, I had the opportunity to take on a new project documenting the history of the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. The project has been humbling and rewarding as I have gotten to interview and work with some truly fantastc people. The book has been completed just in time for the holidays and can be ordered by visiting www.lulu.com and searching for “Matt Reese animal science.”  

Without the contributions of many, this document would not have been possible. Many fantastic people have assisted with this effort over the past few years. Dr. James Kinder first allowed me to take on this humbling and fascinating project and then spent many hours reviewing and editing the multiple drafts. Dr. Tom Turner, Dr. Vern Cahill and Dr. Maurice Eastridge made valuable suggestions for the final draft and many others reviewed and added to the document along the way.… Continue reading

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Thanksgiving spotlight shines on real farm families

Real Midwestern farm families, like the Matthews family, will be featured in upcoming holiday broadcast messages designed to thank the American farmer. These messages will be projected larger-than-life next week onto several downtown Cincinnati buildings.

“Thanksgiving is the perfect time to spotlight the real people behind the business of agriculture and to thank farming families throughout Ohio and the United States for the work that they do,” said Mark Halton, Monsanto’s Corporate Marketing and Communications Lead. “We look forward to showcasing modern American agriculture through the perspectives of the people who live it every day, and to using an innovative medium to reach new audiences.”

The Matthewes’ farm is featured in Monsanto’s Thanksgiving television message and will also be featured in an upcoming webisode series, which is available for download and viewing on AmericasFarmers.com. This series will introduce viewers to several real farm families and tell their stories at key points throughout the farming season.… Continue reading

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Avoid distracted driving, on road and farm

By Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbiltiy program

Most Ohio farmers multi-task to increase productivity. Loading seed while re-fueling and planning the next day’s activities while waiting for the livestock water trough to fill are typical examples.

We tend to see this as a way to make more efficient use of our time. However, there is one place where trying to do two (or more!) things at the same time can have disastrous consequences, and that is behind the wheel of a car, truck or equipment. Any time a person drives a motor vehicle or equipment and engages in any activity that takes attention away from the job of driving, it is considered distracted


There are three main types of distraction recognized by the U.S. Department of


1) Visual Distraction — taking your eyes off the road

2) Manual — taking you hands off the steering wheel

3) Cognitive — taking your mind and attention away from driving

These classifications are not mutually exclusive, and any one activity (say, reaching for something or speaking to a passenger) can involve all three.… Continue reading

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Ohio State receives $1.1 million grant to support ag research, outreach in Senegal

Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will partner with Senegal’s Université Gaston Berger (UGB) to build up that West African nation’s agricultural research and outreach capabilities, thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development (HED).

The project resulted from two highly competitive grant selection processes of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative — a collaborative effort started in 2007 by a number of higher education associations and other organizations and led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to advocate for increased engagement in African higher education development.

Last year, Ohio State successfully competed for a $50,000 planning grant (there were 20 recipients out of 300 applicants nationwide). In phase II of the initiative, the Ohio State-UGB partnership was one of 11 projects chosen out of 33 applications nationally. The $1.1 million award provides support for two years, with the possibility of an additional three-year renewal.

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Crawford County firefighters receive funding for grain rescue equipment

The Crawford County firefighters have taken a proactive role in farm safety with emphasis on grain handling and grain rescue issues.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor suffocation is the number one cause of death relating to grain handling on U.S farms.  The firefighters have recognized the urgency for better preparedness in assisting with grain rescue emergencies.

Local Bucyrus farmers, John and Norman Schiefer, applied for a grant on behalf of the Holmes Township Volunteer Fire Department from the Monsanto Fund, America’s Farmers Grow Communities Project, to acquire grain rescue equipment.  Local Monsanto DEKALB and Asgrow seed dealers Donovan Scott and Steve Reinhard assisted the Schiefers in the application process with the Monsanto Fund.

Under this pilot program, farmers throughout 298 eligible counties from seven states with heavy grain production could enter to win a $2,500 award for a local no-profit community group of their choice.  “We are pleased to present a check for $2,500 on behalf of the Monsanto Fund to the Holmes Township Volunteer Fire Department for their outstanding application with a worthwhile cause,” commented Keith Buckingham, Account Manager, Monsanto Company.… Continue reading

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HSUS, Missouri and Ohio's new ag director: HumaneWatching with David Martosko

A conversation with … David Martosko, director of research, Center for Consumer Freedom

OCJ: What is the Center for Consumer Freedom and what interaction does CCF have with the Humane Society of the United States?

David: The Center is a nonprofit food-issues “action tank.” We weigh in on matters of public concern related to food and beverage production and marketing, and on all the various political issues that surround what we eat and drink. For too long, anti-agriculture and anti-industry activists have presumed to wear the white hats — mostly because nobody spoke up to challenge them. When they’re wrong (which is pretty often), we go on the offensive.

Our relationship with the Humane Society of the United States would best be described as “watchdog.” There’s no one else focusing with any serious energy on what this group is doing, who’s running it, and what its goals are.

Much of what HSUS does is, we would argue, wrong-headed in the same way that PETA’s endgame is wrong-headed.… Continue reading

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HSUS, Missouri and Ohio’s new ag director: HumaneWatching with David Martosko

A conversation with … David Martosko, director of research, Center for Consumer Freedom

OCJ: What is the Center for Consumer Freedom and what interaction does CCF have with the Humane Society of the United States?

David: The Center is a nonprofit food-issues “action tank.” We weigh in on matters of public concern related to food and beverage production and marketing, and on all the various political issues that surround what we eat and drink. For too long, anti-agriculture and anti-industry activists have presumed to wear the white hats — mostly because nobody spoke up to challenge them. When they’re wrong (which is pretty often), we go on the offensive.

Our relationship with the Humane Society of the United States would best be described as “watchdog.” There’s no one else focusing with any serious energy on what this group is doing, who’s running it, and what its goals are.

Much of what HSUS does is, we would argue, wrong-headed in the same way that PETA’s endgame is wrong-headed.… Continue reading

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Free program to demonstrate livestock handling principles

Animal handling is an important component of an overall animal welfare strategy, and implementing low-stress practices are not only healthy for the animal, but also make things easier for the animal handler.

Ohio State University Extension will be offering a free livestock handling demonstration on Nov. 20 from 1:30 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Scott Pfeiffer Farm, 4315 Marion Johnson Road near Albany, Ohio. OSU Extension beef cattle specialist Steve Boyles will discuss the moving and handling of livestock and demonstrate some animal handling principles.

“In today’s social environment and with agriculture under increasingly close scrutiny, it’s important that livestock producers and animal handlers apply low-stress animal handling principles,” said Rory Lewandowski, an OSU Extension educator in Athens County. “Additionally, evidence clearly shows it is a more productive way of handling livestock.”

During the handling demonstration, a number of animal handling principles will be discussed, including:

• Flight zone: The flight zone is how close one can get to the animal before it begins to back away.

Continue reading

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Western bean cutworm populations on the rise in Ohio

A staggering number of Western bean cutworm moths were trapped in Ohio corn fields this year compared to previous years, however, economic damage has yet to be recorded.

“The large increase of adult moths caught and the presence of the pest on infested corn suggests that producers will have to keep Western bean cutworm near the top of their list of important corn pests,” said Andy Michel, an Ohio State University Extension entomologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Western bean cutworm is a common pest of Western corn-producing states that is rapidly expanding eastward and finding a niche throughout the Midwest. The number of adult moths trapped in Ohio each year has been steadily increasing.

In 2006, entomologists caught three moths in the traps. In 2007, six were caught. That number jumped to 150 in 2008 and to 566 in 2009. This year, that number has skyrocketed to 2,695.… Continue reading

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New Pioneer Web site

Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, announced the launch of its newly redesigned web site,  www.pioneer.com . The site is designed to  quickly link growers to local, relevant and timely crop production-focused information. “Our goal is to provide growers access to Pioneer’s industry-leading expertise more quickly and easily,” said Terry Gardner, North American product marketing director for Pioneer.
The most significant change is the convergence of two Pioneer websites: www.pioneer.com and the Pioneer GrowingPoint web site.

“Growers now will be able to access the information that was on the GrowingPoint website without having to sign in,” Gardner said.

Personal data, such as account access, online payments and online recordkeeping remains secure and still requires the user to sign in. Pioneer gathered extensive feedback from growers, customers, Pioneer sales professionals, employees and media to drive the evolution of its Web strategy. The site features a new navigation menu that efficiently organizes information. A rollover feature displays a list of all the topics for each section, making it quicker and easier to locate content with fewer clicks.… Continue reading

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Make sure conditions are fit for anhydrous ammonia application


After an early harvest and exceptionally dry fall, a Purdue University agronomist says it’s important for farmers to pay close attention to soil temperature and moisture levels before they apply anhydrous ammonia.

The rule of thumb is to apply anhydrous ammonia after soil temperatures at a depth of 4 inches fall below 50 degrees and are getting colder, said Jim Camberato.

“Low soil temperature hinders the bacterial conversion of ammonium nitrogen (NH4) to nitrate nitrogen (NO3),” he said. “Slowing this reaction is critical to the efficient use of anhydrous ammonia because ammonium nitrogen is retained in the soil, whereas nitrate nitrogen is easily lost through leaching to tile drains or denitrification to the air.

“The longer nitrogen remains in the ammonium nitrogen form in the fall, the lower the potential for nitrogen loss in the early spring when warm soil temperatures and excess soil moisture invariably occur.”

Soil temperatures have fallen below 50 degrees in most parts of Ohio.… Continue reading

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After harvest equipment checklist

By Jason the Mechanic

Now that harvest is over and we all have time to stop and catch our breath a little, it’s time to start the long task of cleaning everything to be put away for the winter. The first question is what to clean first. Taking advantage of this warm weather is nice to clean combines, carts and the grain dryer.

First, we begin with the combines. I always start out by giving them a good dusting with a large leaf blower. After the leaf blower, I use an air compressor and a long wand. We always try to blow out all the nooks and crannies and the air filters.

Once it is clean as it can be, then comes a good wash with the pressure washer. When washing any type of newer equipment always try to avoid directly spraying any electrical connections. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but try your best.… Continue reading

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Rep. James J. Zehringer to be new director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture

Gov.-elect John Kasich is naming another member of his cabinet today, state Rep. James J. Zehringer of Fort Recovery as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Kasich had an 11:30 a.m. press conference at Wright State University Lake Campus in Celina to announce the selection.

Zehringer, 58, a former farmer and owner and operator of Meiring Poultry and Fish Farm, was appointed to the House in February 2007 and was unopposed for re-election this fall. His district covers Mercer and Preble counties and portions of Darke County.

The following statement was issued jointly by Ohio’s livestock and poultry organizations regarding the naming of Zehringer as Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture:

“In his selection of State Representative Jim Zehringer as the next Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Governor-Elect John Kasich has made an exceptional choice that will benefit all Ohioans, especially those who farm in the state’s rural communities. … Continue reading

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ODA offering export seminar for Ohio companies to provide insight on South American market

Ohio companies can learn more about pursuing or expanding their export sales in the South American markets at a seminar offered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA on Dec. 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Food Export Association South American Market Representative Sonia Amadeo will familiarize Ohio companies with the market by providing an overview of the economy, export requirements, entry strategies and market opportunities. Food Export Helpline Manager Dennis Lynch will also speak about pricing and logistics, and he will answer exporting questions.

The seminar will take place at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Bromfield Administration Building, Auditorium A, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg. The cost to attend is $50 per company or $25 for Ohio Proud partners. Those who are interested must RSVP to the Office of International Markets at 614-728-4760 by Nov. 24.

The Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a private, non-profit association of the Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies that use federal, state and industry resources to promote the export of Midwestern food and agricultural products.… Continue reading

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Pioneer introduces new transgenic corn product, Optimum Intrasect

By Ron Hammond, Andy Michel and Bruce Eisley, Ohio State University entomologists

Pioneer has just announced a new transgenic corn hybrid that will serve as an intermediate and technical step between Optimum AcreMax 1 (from the first family of Optimum AcreMax products) to Optimum AcreMax and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (from the second family of products).  While having Bt proteins for both corn borers and corn rootworm control, Optimum AcreMax 1 still needs a separate 20% refuge for the corn borer portion of the mix (refuge-in-the-bag is only for rootworms), whereas Pioneer’s intent for Optimum AcreMax (for above-ground pests) and Optimum AcreMax Xtra (for above- and below-ground pests) is to be truly refuge-in-the-bag for both pests.

Until that time comes, hopefully within a year or so, they have obtained EPA approval and released to the market an intermediate product called Optimum Intrasect which contains two gene proteins, Cry1F and Cry1Ab, for corn borer control (rootworm control is not part of Optimum Intrasect). … Continue reading

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