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The Wendt Group wins Ohio’s Best Auction (again)

The Ohio Auctioneers Association (OAA) has recognized The Wendt Group by naming the company the winner of it’s prestigious Auction of the Year in both 2017 and now 2018 at the annual Auctioneers Association Conference.

The 2018 marketing contest included entries from across the state. The Wendt Group took home not only the top prize, but also best of show and 12 additional awards in Brochure Design, Newspaper Advertising, Public Relations, Auction Promotion, Photography and Digital & Social Media. The Wendt group was recognized at the recent competition reception in Columbus.

“To be recognized by your peers on the state level is the ultimate honor an auction company can receive,” said Kevin Wendt, The Wendt Group president. “We’ve also been blessed to be affiliated with Wes Sigler and Blue River Digital to bring award-winning and unique marketing design options to our sellers.”

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Ty Higgins starting new role at Ohio Farm Bureau

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

Ty Higgins is moving on from his role at Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal to become the new director of media relations for Ohio Farm Bureau. Though we will miss Ty going forward, we are excited to continue to work with him in his new role.

He will be the Farm Bureau’s primary point of contact for journalists reporting on farm, food, environmental, and public policy issues. Higgins also will contribute content across Farm Bureau’s print, broadcast and social channels and work with Farm Bureau members as they communicate with public officials and consumers. Higgins will work alongside Ohio Farm Bureau Senior Director of Corporate Communications Joe Cornely, who will retire at the end of 2019.

 

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Ohio EPA offering nearly $3 million in grants for clean water projects

Ohio EPA is requesting proposals for implementation projects to reduce nonpoint source pollutants, such as nutrients, sediment and bacteria; improve stream and riparian habitat; or reverse the impacts of stream hydromodification. Nearly $3 million in grants is expected to be available.

“Ohio EPA is continuing its comprehensive science based and data driven strategy to reduce the total amount of nutrients entering Lake Erie,” said Craig W. Butler, Ohio EPA Director. “Through this funding we are prioritizing innovative projects in high priority areas within the Western Lake Erie Basin that will measurably reduce nutrient and sediment losses, or restore coastal wetlands.”

This an opportunity to fund effective action on important priorities such as nutrient reduction within the Western Lake Erie Basin. Proposals should be linked to critical areas identified in Ohio’s watersheds such as projects that improve water quality in Ohio streams from nonpoint sources of pollution. Projects that measurably reduce nutrients, eliminate impairments, or restore impaired stream segments are more of a priority than general nonpoint source pollution prevention projects.

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Market Facilitation Program application deadline extended

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue extended the deadline for agricultural producers to apply for payments under the Market Facilitation Program as provided by the trade mitigation program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The original deadline had been January 15, 2019, but farmers have been unable to apply for the program since the lapse in federal funding caused the closure of USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices at the end of business on December 28, 2018.

“President Trump instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to craft a program that would protect farmers from unjustified retaliatory tariffs from foreign nations. As part of that package, the Market Facilitation Program has been making payments directly to farmers who have suffered trade damage,” Perdue said. “Using existing funds, we were able to keep FSA offices open as long as possible, but unfortunately had to close them when funding ran out. We will therefore extend the application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends.

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African swine fever struggles continue in China as virus found in feed ingredients

As of early 2019, China has reported more than 100 cases of African swine fever (ASF) in 19 provinces and four municipalities, including Beijing, for a total of 23 distinct geographic areas. Recent outbreaks have been reported in Guangdong and Fujian provinces. However, a new case in the north’s Heilongjiang province has affected a farm with 73,000 pigs, the largest farm yet to report a case of the deadly disease.

On Dec. 25, Chinese officials announced the detection of ASF virus in some protein powders made using pork blood manufactured by a Tianjin-based company. The raw materials for the batches were from 12 slaughter and processing plants in Tianjin. The new ASF case occurred despite the farm banning of the use of food waste and pig blood as raw materials in the production of feed for pigs, in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.

In a related move, China recently announced that slaughterhouses will need to run a test for ASF virus on pig products before selling them.

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“Watersheds in distress” revisions this month

By Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor and Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The legislative Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) has voted to send the “watersheds in distress” rule revisions back to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). JCARR reviews administrative rules to make sure they follow legal requirements. The “watersheds in distress” rules seek to address agricultural nutrient impacts on water quality. At its December meeting, JCARR members voted 8 to 1 to recommend that ODA revise and refile the rules for consideration at JCARR’s next meeting on Jan. 22, 2019.

The Jan. 22 meeting date effectively removes Governor Kasich’s administration from the rules revision. Kasich issued an executive order last July directing his agencies to prepare the controversial rule package. But the incoming DeWine Administration will control the fate of the rules after Jan. 14, 2019. JCARR is apparently counting on the new administration to take a different approach on agricultural nutrient pollution reduction.

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Syngenta settlement approved by federal judge

By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Agricultural and Resource Law Program, Ohio State University

The major multi-year class action lawsuit against Syngenta for failing to receive import approval from China before selling its Viptera and Duracade seeds in the United States has been settled for $1.51 billion.

On Dec. 7, Judge John Lungstrum of the U.S. District Court for the District Kansas issued a final order granting the settlement.

In the order, the court overruled a number of objections from class members who opposed the settlement. It also awarded one third of the settlement amount to the plaintiffs’ attorneys as attorney fees, valued at $503,333,333.33.

The next step could involve appeals by those opposed to the settlement. According to a statement posted by one of the co-lead counsels for the plaintiffs, payments to eligible parties could begin as early as the second quarter of 2019, depending upon whether any appeals are filed.

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Corcorans named to American Farm Bureau committee

Greg and Theresa Corcoran of Chillicothe have been appointed to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for the 2019-2021 term beginning in March.

“Dedicated Farm Bureau leaders, such as those selected to serve on national committees, remain the foundation of our grassroots organization,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “We commend them for their willingness to serve and build greater understanding between modern farmers and consumers.”

As Ross County Farm Bureau members, both have been very involved in local activities, with Greg serving on the board of trustees. They also have participated in local and statewide Young Agricultural Professionals activities, which are geared toward Farm Bureau members ages 18-35. They are part owners of Corcoran Farms, a multi-generational farm in Pike, Ross and Scioto counties. The farm produces corn, soybeans, popcorn, wheat, hay and includes a Certified Angus feedlot with its own cow-calf operation. In addition, Theresa works as a physical therapist at a skilled nursing facility.

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Grants awarded for Young Agricultural Professionals programming

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals program recently awarded $500 grants to 10 local YAP groups and one Collegiate Farm Bureau group. Courtesy of Farm Credit Mid-America, the grants fund YAP-focused educational programming or events, aimed at members ages 18-35.

The recipients and their programming are:

Ashland/Wayne Counties YAP

Funds will support YAP’s third annual Ag Toy Drive in November. Toy donations over the past two years have resulted in more than $3,000 worth of toys being donated to Toys for Tots.

 

Ashtabula County Farm Bureau

The Ashtabula County Farm Bureau will partner with Farm Credit Mid-America and other local organizations to host a Developing Young Ag Professionals seminar for FFA, 4-H and Farm Bureau youth in which they will learn public speaking skills, interview tips and resume building.

 

Clinton County YAP

A “Sign, Sip and Paint” event is planned for YAP members and those interested in becoming a member.

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Ohio EPA sets rules to improve TMDL procedure

Ohio’s corn, soybean and wheat farmers applaud the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for new rules that will improve the procedure for Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation plans. In December, Ohio EPA established additional steps to involve interested and affected parties, including farmers, in the TMDL process.

“The continuous improvement of water quality is a priority of our farmers, and it is essential for them to be part of all decisions that impact both water quality and their businesses,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “We thank Ohio EPA for recognizing the importance of our participation, and we further encourage all state agencies to include us in all aspects of water quality policy.”

Under its new TMDL procedure, Ohio EPA will:

  • Notify interested and affected stakeholders and offer at least 30 days of input for TMDL development during the project assessment study plan, the biological and water quality study report and the loading analysis plan.
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Farm Tax Update Jan. 17 in New Philadelphia

OSU Extension in Tuscarawas County is pleased to be offering a Farm Tax Update on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. p.m. at the OSU Extension office, 419 16th St. SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio. OSU Extension Educator David Marrison will share details on the “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017” and its impact on farm taxes.

It is not business as usual in the world of farm taxes. Learn more about the changes to farm machinery depreciation, like-kind exchanges, and more about the new Section 199A deduction for Qualified Business Income. This program is free & open to the public! However, courtesy reservations are requested so program materials can be prepared. Call the Tuscarawas County Extension office at 330-339-2337 to RSVP or for more information.

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Farm Succession Workshop in Celina Jan. 30

A workshop on farm transition and succession will be held 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 30, 2019, at Romer’s Catering at Westlake, 1100 S. Main St., Celina.

This event is designed to help families develop a succession plan for their farm business, learn ways to transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next and learn how to have conversations about the future of one’s farm. Attendees are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop.

Featured speakers will include David Marrison, OSU associate professor; extension educator, attorney Robert Moore with Wright & Moore Law Co., Peggy Hall, OSU assistant professor and an attorney in agricultural law; and Denny Riethman, Mercer County OSU Extension educator. Registration is limited to the first 60 people. The cost is $20 per person and $30 per couple. The registration deadline is Jan. 23. Contact the Mercer County OSU Extension Office at 419-586-2179 to register.

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Great Lakes Conservation Connect to hold two workshops in Ohio

American Farmland Trust, Cornell University Cooperative Extension Northwest New York Team, and Ohio’s Wood Soil & Water Conservation District have joined together to announce two Great Lakes Conservation Connect events on Jan. 22, 2019. In the morning, a women-dedicated learning circle will be held in Woodville, Ohio.

This workshop will focus on identifying what future you want for your land, and how to achieve that by working with your farmer and your family. Learning Circles provide women the opportunity to meet other land owners, share their farm successes and challenges, discuss their goals for their land, and access advice and technical assistance. At this learning circle, women will have the opportunity to learn about how to start a plan for your land that fulfills your needs and your values. David Marrison, from OSU Extension, will be introducing tools and resources to help you gain a deeper knowledge of who to speak with.

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Precision U: In-Season Decisions event Jan. 9

Registration is open for the 2019 Precision University. Experts will be sharing the latest information on the latest tools and technologies to help you make better decisions during the growing season. The event will also feature afternoon breakout sessions on using aerial imagery for decision making and the latest advancements in sprayer nozzle technology. The event is hosted by The Ohio State University and will be held at Beck’s Hybrids in London, Ohio on Jan. 9.

Presentations at Precision University begin at 8:30 a.m. with the program concluding at 3:30 p.m. The event will also feature vendors on site to share the tools and services they offer. CCA CEUs will be offered.

The cost to register for Precision University is $50 and includes the program, handouts, lunch and refreshments. For more information or to register, visit http://go.osu.edu/PrecisionU.

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Smith joins Seed Consultants as District Sales Manager

Seed Consultants, Inc., welcomes Travis Smith as a District Sales Manager in north central Ohio. Smith holds a degree in Agricultural Business and Applied Economics with a specialization in Agronomy from the Ohio State University. Prior to joining SCI, Travis has had experience in sales, agronomy and seed.

“I look forward to Travis being a part of our sales team and making an immediate impact. He brings excellent experience to the SCI team and is the type of individual we want to build our sales force around.” said Brian George, Business Development Lead for SCI.

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Corn ethanol production has minimal effect on cropland use, study shows

Ethanol production has increased sharply in the United States in the past 10 years, leading to concerns about the expansion of demand for corn resulting in conversion of non-cropland to crop production and the environmental effects of this. However, a new study co-authored by a University of Illinois researcher shows that the overall effects of ethanol production on land-use have been minimal.

The research, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, looks at the effects of ethanol production capacity and crop prices on land use in the U. S. from 2007 to 2014.

The increase in corn ethanol production has led to concerns that it would raise the price of corn and the demand for cropland; thus making it worthwhile to bring land that was not previously cultivated (such as grasslands) into production, says Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at U of I.

“Studies have simulated the crop price effects of producing 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and shown that they could lead to large expansion in crop acres,” Khanna said.

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USDA highlights accomplishments in 2018

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue highlighted the accomplishments made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the past year. USDA has continued enacting President Trump’s goals of regulatory reform, streamlining government, and refocusing USDA to be customer oriented.

“In 2018 we have fought for American farmers, ranchers, and producers by delivering new and improved trade deals like USMCA and a re-negotiated KORUS agreement, provided trade assistance to farmers due to illegal trade retaliation, and helped our fellow citizens through devastating natural disasters,” Perdue said. “I am proud to say that every day at USDA we do our best to live by our motto to “Do Right and Feed Everyone.”

 

SNAP Reform

USDA made major strides in reigning in dependence on government assistance by beginning the rule making process to move more able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to self-sufficiency. With today’s strong economy and more jobs available than there are workers, USDA’s proposal helps ensure the 3.8 million individual ABAWDs receiving SNAP benefits get back to work and on the path to self-sufficiency.

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Annie’s Project Retreat Deadline Approaching

Female farmers, whether farming on their own or in a partnership, realize the importance of the business side of farming. Annie’s Project provides education and a support network to enhance business skills of women involved in all aspects of agriculture.

Annie spent her lifetime learning to be an involved farm business partner with her husband. Annie’s life experiences inspired her daughter, a university Extension agent, to create a program for women living and working in the complex, dynamic agriculture business environment. Annie’s Project fosters problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills in farm women.

At an upcoming weekend retreat, women will receive training in five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, marketing, production, legal, and human resources. Most importantly women are able to network and develop relationships with other women in agriculture.

Level 2 will dive deeper into these risk areas with many working sessions allowing participants to work on specific plans for their farms.

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Farm Bill could help farms battling low prices

Dairy farmers have a stronger safety net against low milk prices and high feed costs under the new federal farm bill, and more federal dollars will be spent to spur international trade of American agricultural products.

Both changes could help farmers at a time when revenues from selling milk, corn and soybeans have dipped and markets have shrunk.

Under the new farm bill, dairy farmers will pay lower premiums for a federal program that provides them payments when the margin between milk prices and feed costs dips below a certain level set by the government. The top level of coverage was raised from $8 to $9.50 per hundred pounds of milk, which will increase payments to dairy farmers.

“This is not a trivial change,” said Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist and professor emeritus with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.

“It could mean a lot to dairy farmers.”

Ohio’s dairy farmers have recently been leaving the business at a higher than usual rate as a result of a drop in the price they’ve gotten for their milk for several years.

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ODA announces 2019 funding for Agriculture Easement Purchase Program

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that eight land trusts, four counties and 15 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state. These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).

LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept applications from Ohio landowners interested in selling an agricultural easement on their farms. A total of nearly $8.5 million will be made available in this funding round. Local sponsors have been certified to accept applications in 34 counties. Interested landowners should contact the certified local sponsor in their county for application details.

The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production. Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their local government and not lay directly in the path of development.

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