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More than 150 grassroots groups oppose House budget cuts to sustainable agriculture programs

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) was one of more than 150 organizations to sign on to a letter to the U.S. Senate in opposition to a House budget bill (H.R.1) that would cut more than $60 billion dollars from the federal budget over the remainder of this fiscal year. H.R. 1 slashes a disproportional amount from the agriculture budget (22 %) relative to other budget sections. Worse, it unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable, organic, beginning, and minority farmers.
H.R. 1 makes deep cuts to conservation and renewable energy funding provided by the 2008 Farm Bill—a combined $500 million would be cut under the House bill from programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Wetland Reserve Program (WRP).
While Conservation, Renewable Energy, Farm Services Agency direct farm lending, and feeding programs for low income families took big hits, no cuts were proposed for commodity payments or crop insurance, two of the biggest line items in the agriculture budget after nutrition programs.… Continue reading

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Nematodes in corn

By Pierce Paul and Anne Dorrance, Ohio State University Extension

Over the last few years, interest in nematodes and the use of nematicide seed treatments in corn have increased among producers all across the Midwest. When present and in high numbers, nematodes can indeed cause considerable yield loss in corn, and quite often these losses may go undetected or may be attributed to other causes. In corn, nematode problems are usually very difficult to detect because these pathogens usually cause uneven growth, without any clear above-ground symptoms. Uneven growth could be the result of several factors including other soil borne pathogens, poor drainage, soil compaction, and herbicide carry over; nematodes are rarely ever considered the cause of such a problem.
Several different types of nematode can attack corn including spiral, lesion, cyst (this is not the soybean cyst), stubby root, needle, lance, and dagger nematodes, and the level of damage and yield loss depend on the type of nematode present and the population level.… Continue reading

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Roundup Ready alfalfa available for planting in 2011

By
Mark Sulc, Forage Extension Specialist, The Ohio State University

In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the deregulation of Roundup Ready alfalfa after a 46-month environmental impact assessment process. The ruling means that U.S. farmers are free to proceed with planting the genetically altered alfalfa with no restrictions.

Opponents to this ruling have been vocal in their disapproval. They have voiced concerns that without any restrictions the biotech alfalfa will easily contaminate organic and conventional alfalfa seed production and increase the occurrence of glyphosate-resistant weeds. Based on their response, further court battles over this product may be in store.

Whether you agree or disagree with this decision, the fact remains that Roundup Ready alfalfa has been approved for planted this spring. For those considering use of this new technology, what factors should be considered? Where might Roundup Ready alfalfa be of benefit?



We know that good managers have been able to control weeds in alfalfa to acceptable levels with current herbicides and best management practices for years.… Continue reading

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Flood resources

With many areas of Ohio experiencing or expecting flooding due to melting snow and rain, the following resources may be helpful.


Flood Map: The Ohio River Forecast Center out of the National Weather Service — http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/ohrfc/ — features a flood map depicting current and forecasted flood conditions.

Flash Flood Map: The flash flooding information used to issues watches and warnings is available at this link — http://www.srh.noaa.gov/rfcshare/ffg.php?location=OH&zoom_map=state&duration=1. You select the state and the time criteria you wish to view.

Weather Radio: This link — http://www.weather.gov/nwr/ — provides information on the NOAA Weather Radio — and this link — http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrrcvr.htm — provide information about purchasing the receiver which is needed to hear the weather information.

Flood FactSheets/Education: The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN)  Flood Resources page — http://eden.lsu.edu/Topics/Hazards/Floods/Pages/Default.aspx — provides links to factsheets and other resources that can be helpful for people experiencing floods.

Mold Resources: Mold resources from EDEN are located at this link — http://eden.lsu.edu/Topics/HumanHealth/Mold/Pages/default.aspx.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Council Seeks Hall of Fame Nominations

The Ohio Agricultural Council is seeking nominations for the 2011 Ohio  Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Induction into the Ohio Agricultural  Hall of Fame is Ohio’s highest recognition of an individual who has made  outstanding contributions to the agricultural industry.  Each year up to  four prominent agricultural leaders are honored and inducted into the Ohio  Agricultural Hall of Fame for their superior service, dedication, leadership  and plentiful contributions to agriculture.

Persons wishing to  nominate an individual who he or she believes is deserving of consideration  for this honor may secure a nomination form by writing to the Ohio  Agricultural Council, 5950 Sharon Woods Blvd., Columbus, Ohio 43229, by  calling 614-794-8970 or emailing info@ohioagcouncil.org

Nominations must be submitted by April 1, 2011, in order to be  eligible for consideration in 2011.

The Ohio Agricultural Council  is a member-funded organization comprised of organizations, companies and  individuals who support agriculture in the state of  Ohio.… Continue reading

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Flood Damage in Shelby Co.

It seemed liked the storm that would never end. It started around 10:00 pm and didn’t end until 4 am.

It wouldn’t be until daylight though that the consequences of all that rain would be seen. Our basement was alright and, with three sump pumps in their basement, mom and dad said they were holding their own, so everything seemed alright. But with most schools in Shelby and Auglaize Counties on delay because of flooded roads, there was bound to be more to the story.

My mom called and said near Anna, Fertilizer Dealer Supply tanks floated down the road, so my husband I jumped in the truck to survey the area.

We found….

both directions….

FDS manager Woody Woodell said the water was as high at 18″ outside and inside both of their buildings. They sustained quite a bit of damage. Not only did several tanks float down the road, debris over took their parking lot, computers, electronics and any equipment below 18″ was ruined.… Continue reading

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Experts to explain how to get food products to stores

It is believed more than 30,000 new food products are launched every year, which

can make it very difficult for a startup food business to get the attention of retailers.

Fortunately, regional experts from The Andersons and Metro D Distributing will explain a retailer’s decision making process when evaluating whether or not to bring in a new product or line to stores.

In addition, guests can learn about the costs and expectations related to distribution.

The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and the Agricultural Incubator Foundation (AIF) will host “How to get your Product on Store Shelves,” Tues., Mar. 22 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the AIF, north of Bowling Green, OH. The seminar is open to anyone – in particular small food manufacturers, market managers, farmers, growers, or individuals who are thinking of producing and selling a value-added food product.

The cost is just $25/person or $40/two guests (cash or check at the door, payable to Agricultural Incubator Foundation) which includes great networking opportunities and light refreshments.… Continue reading

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EPA regulations on dust would overstep boundaries

By Kyle Sharp

For the past several years, my brother Scott and I have planted some acreage with oats in August after wheat was harvested from the fields he rents from my dad. The idea came from the work done several years ago by Stan Smith. with Ohio State University Extension in Fairfield County, and Bob Hendershot, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state grassland specialist who is also based in Fairfield County, and others who showed that oats planted in this fashion could be harvested for hay in the late fall or grazed over the winter.

We tend to make hay out of them, although the challenge is getting the fields dry enough to mow, rake and bale, along with having enough warm, dry weather to get the oat hay dry enough at all. While we still struggled this past fall with getting the mowed oats dry enough for baling, we had no problem with the field being too wet to drive the tractors through.… Continue reading

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Syngenta receives import approval from South Korea for the Agrisure Viptera 3111 Trait Stack

Syngenta Seeds, Inc. announced it has received import approval from regulatory authorities in South Korea for hybrids containing the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack.

The Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack combines the Agrisure Viptera trait with the Agrisure 3000GT trait stack to provide unprecedented control of 14 above- and below-ground corn pests, more than any other commercially available product in corn trait history. This approval allows the importation of U.S. corn grown from hybrids containing the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack into South Korea for food, feed or processing use. South Korean authorities previously approved the single Agrisure Viptera trait in October 2010.

“Import approval from South Korea provides U.S. corn growers access to yet another valuable market,” said David Morgan, president of Syngenta Seeds. “With corn prices expected to remain at near-record levels this year, the advantages of growers enjoying more yield from the same number of acres are plain to see.”

Corn hybrids with the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack have an in-seed defense against the multi-pest complex, which includes corn earworm, fall armyworm, Western bean cutworm, black cutworm, dingy cutworm, stalk borer and sugarcane borer, among others.… Continue reading

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America’s Farmers Grow Communities supports Ohio counties

Based upon the idea that farmers are crucial components of successful small towns around the nation, the Monsanto Fund sponsored America’s Farmers Grow Communities to support local farming communities. The program allowed farmers to register to win $2,500 for their favorite community nonprofit organization, such as FFA, 4-H, schools, fire departments and other civic groups. One winner was selected in each of 1,204 eligible counties in 38 states, including Ohio.

“We want to recognize what agriculture means to small communities around Ohio because farmers play such a vital role,” said Bill Girten, Monsanto Account Manager who presented some of the awards. “This program has been a great chance for me to get out a see people in our communities. A lot of these donations have gone to youth organizations and it is great to see the smiles from the kids.”

Also, for every farmer who applied, Monsanto donated $1 to their local United Way to help food banks, food pantries, Meals On Wheels and other charitable organizations dealing with hunger in their respective county.… Continue reading

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Study shows costly consequences of regulating dust

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current review of National Ambient Air Quality Standards of the Clean Air Act could result in the regulation of coarse particulate matter (dust) at levels as low as 65-85 µg/m3, or twice as stringent as the current standard. In anticipation of a proposed rule on this issue, NCBA contracted with Dr. John Richards, Ph.D., P.E. of Air Quality Control Techniques to study the likely effects regulating dust at such stringent levels would have on attainment and nonattainment regions throughout the United States. The study concluded that moving forward with regulating dust at anticipated levels would bring vast areas of the United States into nonattainment or to the brink of nonattainment.

NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies said the current standard is 150 μg/m³ with an allowance of only one violation per year to remain in compliance.… Continue reading

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Grain market lecture series breaks down commodity reports

Agricultural economists at Ohio State University are holding a series of free, monthly online workshops that will cover grain forecasts, policy, futures markets, supply and demand, and long-term analysis.

The goal of the webinars is to help those interested in the grain market understand how world events and world grain supplies affect local markets, said Stan Ernst, Ohio State University Extension program leader in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics.

“Basically, what we are doing every month is looking at the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report in-depth and seeing where the markets may be going,” he said.

Carl Zulauf, senior economist and Ohio State agricultural economics professor, will present the webinars and challenge producers’ traditional thinking about grain markets.

“Hopefully, the listeners will get an idea for marketing opportunities and do some planning as they look ahead into planting season,” Ernst said.

The webinars are scheduled for March 15, April 12, May 12, June 13 and July 13 at 9 a.m.… Continue reading

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Zientek enjoys the variety that comes with overseeing sows for Kalmbach

By Kyle Sharp

When Ben Zientek heads off to work each day, it’s always a mystery what exactly his day will entail. As sow production supervisor for Kalmbach Swine Management, he oversees 80 team members, nine sow units and nearly 22,000 sows, mostly in central Ohio. So while some days he may be at his office in Upper Sandusky, others he may be on a farm working with employees, moving sows or driving a truck.

“In my position, you never know what you’re going to get into,” Zientek said. “Whether it’s moving a truck or doing paperwork, it’s all stuff that has to get done. In most cases I’d rather do the physical work than do the paperwork.”

It’s the variety that he enjoys. In a given week, he might be in his office a day or two, and the other days he is traveling among the sow farms.

“I work with all parts of our team to maximize production and profitability.… Continue reading

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On-farm renewable energy production shows tremendous growth

The number of solar panels, wind turbines and methane digesters on America’s farms and ranches has increased significantly over the past decade and there are now 8,569 operations producing their own renewable energy, according to the results of the 2009 On-Farm Renewable Energy Production Survey released today. Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, this was the first-ever nationwide survey that looked at renewable energy practices on America’s farms and ranches.
“These results indicate that farmers and ranchers are increasingly adopting renewable energy practices on their operations and reaping the important economic and environmental benefits,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “At USDA we are committed to natural resource conservation, prosperity and energy independence in rural America. This survey gives us a benchmark against which we can measure our future successes.”
According to the survey results, solar panels were the most prominent way to produce on-farm energy.… Continue reading

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Wilmington College to host Food Symposium March 31st

Kathleen A. Merrigan, who was selected by TIME magazine in 2010 as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” will highlight the link between the agriculture community and consumer as the keynote speaker at Wilmington College’s second annual Food Symposium March 31.

The day-long event will feature the theme “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: Improving Access to Safe and Healthy Food.”

Merrigan is deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She helped develop the USDA’s organic labeling rules while head of the Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999 to 2001.

She has a Ph.D. in environmental planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked at Tufts University as its director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Program.

Merrigan, whose presentation title is “The Critical Connection between Farmer and Consumer,” will speak at 7:30 p.m. She will highlight the efforts of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative and will explore how agriculture policy-makers are “integral” to issues ranging from climate change to national security.… Continue reading

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Value Added Producer Grant Program changes to assist farmers as they add value to products

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced changes to the Value Added Producer Grant Program that will provide additional opportunities to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. The changes, outlined in an interim rule published in today’s Federal Register, will also assist independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and will support local and regional supply networks.
“Improvements to this popular program will create additional economic and job opportunities by helping owners of small and medium-sized family farms sell their products in local and regional markets, part of our drive to ‘win the future,’” Merrigan said. “USDA investments such as these are part of the Obama administration’s work to support farmers, ranchers and rural businesses.”
The regulations address program changes included in the 2008 Farm Bill. These revisions:
• Provide up to 10 % funding to beginner farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers;

• Provide up to 10% funding to local and/or regional supply networks that link producers with companies marketing their products; 

• Give priority for grants to beginner farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and operators of small and medium-sized family farms; 

• Extend grant eligibility to producers who market their products within their state or within a 400-mile radius.… Continue reading

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Ohio wheat update

By Pierce Paul, Katelyn Willyerd and Dennis Mills, Ohio State University Extension

This past fall, most of our wheat was planted at the recommended time due to early soybean harvest, however, dry conditions in late-fall and early-winter, prevented adequate growth and tiller development going into to dormancy. This could potentially result is higher-than-usual winter kill and poor stands. So, some growers are understandably concerned about this year’s wheat crop. However, it is still too early to tell what will happen.
One positive is the fact that the crop has had very good snow cover during most of the winter. What happens over the next few months or so will be critical. Rapid and repeated freezing and thawing could cause heaving and damage to the crop, but a more gradual transition could see the crop going into the spring in decent shape. Tillering will resume in the spike, making up for poor fall growth.… Continue reading

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Cooperative efforts for good and mischief

By Matt Reese

I have younger twin brothers who caused more than double the amount of parental consternation as young children through their cooperative efforts. On one occasion, the twins were around four years old and had gone upstairs to bed. My dad heard several strange noises outside and went to investigate. He was somewhat surprised to find a pile of toys, clothes, sheets, shoes, and just about everything else from the twins’ room in a pile below their open window.

As it turns out, the four-year olds, rather than going to sleep, decided it would be fun to work together to remove the screen from their window and throw the contents of their room outside. My concerned parents rushed upstairs to find the mostly empty room and the twins both straining beneath one of their mattresses that was partially shoved into the open window. They discovered early on that a cooperative effort could be very effective.… Continue reading

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