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USDA designates 14 Ohio counties as primary natural disaster areas

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated 14 Ohio counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Adams, Belmont, Champaign, Clark, Guernsey, Highland, Madison, Miami, Monroe, Noble, Portage, Stark, Summit, and Trumbull counties who suffered losses due to excessive rain and flooding that occurred from Jan. 1 through Sept. 4, 2019, may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans.

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

Producers in the contiguous Ohio counties Ashtabula, Brown, Carroll, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Darke, Fayette, Franklin, Geauga, Greene, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Logan, Mahoning, Medina, Montgomery, Morgan, Muskingum, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Union, Washington, and Wayne, along with Lewis and Mason counties in Kentucky; Crawford and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania; and Marshall, Ohio, Tyler, and Wetzel counties in West Virginia, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.

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Court says city can ban backyard chickens

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

The Court of Appeals for Ohio’s Seventh District upheld the city of Columbiana’s ordinances, which ban keeping chickens in a residential district, finding that they were both applicable to the appellant and constitutional. In this case, the appellant was a landowner in Columbiana who lived in an area zoned residential and kept hens in a chicken coop on his property. The appellant was eventually informed that keeping his hens was in violation of the city code. A lawsuit resulted when the landowner would not remove his chickens, and the trial court found for the city. The landowner appealed the trial court’s decision, arguing that he did not violate the city ordinances as they were written, and that the city applied the ordinances in an arbitrary and unreasonable way because his chickens did not constitute a nuisance.

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Dickinson wins Pioneer Texas Longhorn Award

International Texas Longhorn Association, (ITLA) President Larry P. Smith presented the Pioneer Breeder Award to Joel Dickinson of Barnesville, Ohio. Dickinson has raised registered Texas longhorns for 40 years, starting at age 9. The annual Pioneer Breeder Award is presented to honor an ITLA member that has, over a period of 15 years or more, demonstrated a strong commitment to the ITLA and exceptional initiative in establishing a Texas Longhorn of superior value genetically, with commercial merit.

ITLA is headquartered at Glen Rose, Texas, registers pure Texas Longhorn cattle, holds educational seminars to strengthen efforts by producers, trains and approves show judges, sponsors shows all over the nation, and works to promote the breed world wide.

Dickinson manages Dickinson Cattle Co. in Belmont County running up to 1,300 cattle on just under 5,000 acres. He manages scientific efforts to improve the breed with progressive matings by AI, embryo transfer and careful banding of select genetics.

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International farm youth exchange program now open for 2020 applications

Imagine being involved in rice harvesting in Thailand, experiencing advances in dairy farming in Switzerland, cattle ranching in Argentina, or opportunities in more than 15 other countries. An experience with International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) IFYE can offer this and more. The IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. is now accepting applications for its 2020 international exchange program.

The application is available on the IFYE Association website. It takes less than 30 minutes to complete and submit. The IFYE National Program Director will then follow up with you to begin your international experience. Those, 19 years of age and older, who complete the application will be interviewed for the limited number of 2020 international exchange opportunities.

Founded in 1948, the IFYE Association of the USA, Inc. provides cultural exchange programming that places participants with multiple host families during a three- or six-month period in countries around the world. IFYE representatives experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain an understanding of the culture and lifestyle from those they live with while in the program.

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Assessing the research needs from the 2019 production year

By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Dee Jepsen, Ben Brown, Anne Dorrance, Sam Custer, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The 2019 production year has presented many challenges. Ohio State University Extension wants to be responsive to needs of the agricultural community. At short survey aimed at farmers to identify both short- and long-term outreach and research needs of Ohio crop and livestock/forage producers based on the 2019 farm crisis year has been developed. Questions relate to crop production, livestock forage needs, emergency forage success, economic and human stress concerns. Since challenges and concerns varied across the state, this survey is designed to assess needs on a county, regional and statewide basis. The study will be used to determine Extension programming and future research needs.

Please consider sharing your experiences at  https://go.osu.edu/ag2019.

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The (not so spooky) tale of Halloween pumpkins

On a day with no shortage of haunting pumpkins around the corner, many people may be wondering just how the largest, most terrifying of these autumn staples come to be. The answer is not nearly as spooky as the end product. A bit of late night investigation will reveal there is a fair amount of agricultural expertise behind those giant Halloween pumpkins.

Even first-time growers are capable of growing pumpkins in excess of 400 pounds if the seeds are the Atlantic Giant variety, which are available at numerous garden centers and catalogs, according to Mike Estadt, educator, Ohio State University Extension.

“To grow pumpkins in excess of half a ton, it all begins with superior genetics,” Estadt wrote in Growing Giant Pumpkins in the Home Garden, a new Ohioline fact sheet.

Ohioline is OSU Extension’s free online information resource and can be found at ohioline.osu.edu. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

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Ohio Soybean Council Foundation offering $44,000 in scholarships

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation (OSCF) is pleased to announce scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The scholarship program encourages undergraduate and graduate students at Ohio colleges and universities to pursue degrees in one of the many academic fields that support the future of the soybean industry including agriculture, business, communication, economics, education, engineering, science and technology.

“The OSCF scholarship program helps eliminate some of the financial burden for students who are committed to strengthening Ohio’s soybean industry,” said Bill Bateson, an Ohio soybean farmer from Hancock County who serves on the OSCF selection committee. “Our scholarships help students studying careers across the value chain, from agronomists to food scientists to ag educators.”

The OSCF scholarship program has awarded over $340,000 in scholarships since 2008.

 

2020-2021 undergraduate scholarships

Seven undergraduate scholarships of up to $3,000 each will be awarded. Also available to one undergraduate student is a $3,000 Robinson W.

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Non-GMO corn production and purity concerns

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

Many corn growers in the Eastern Corn Belt produce non-GMO corn attempting to capture an additional premium. Depending on the contracting elevator, standard GMO contamination allowances are typically from 0% to 1%. Producing non-GMO corn within the acceptable tolerances of GMO contamination is possible; however, there are several challenges and potential pitfalls that make production of 100% pure non-GMO corn a tremendous undertaking and can keep growers from capturing a premium for their corn. Planting non-GMO seed does not necessarily mean the harvested shelled corn will be GMO free. Tests used by elevators to determine if GMOs are present may not be 100% accurate, but they are a determining factor as to whether a load will be accepted.

If a grower plants non-GMO corn, what could cause GMO contamination?

• Contaminated planting equipment and seed tenders
• Contaminated seed
• Mistakes made in record keeping where hybrids were not correctly identified at planting and/or harvest, leading to contamination
• Adventitious pollen from GMO corn fields can cause cross-pollination of non-GMO corn
• Contaminated combines at harvest
• Contaminated grain carts, wagons, trucks, augers, grain legs, and grain bins.

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Wheat benefits highlighted in new program for Ohio

Heritage Cooperative, Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN and Campbell Soup Company are teaming up to help Ohio wheat farmers benchmark their stewardship work and strive to continue safeguarding the air, land and water. Together, the companies will seek to enroll 60,000 Ohio wheat acres in the program, which was previously piloted in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

“As a trusted advisor to Ohio farm families and a leader in delivering innovation to the farm gate, Heritage Cooperative is excited to work alongside Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN and Campbell Soup Company to support Ohio farmers’ stewardship efforts,” said Greg Spears, COO, Heritage Cooperative. “Working together, we can have a real impact, helping to safeguard the environment while also helping farmers focus on profit potential and the economic health of their farm.”

With help from their Heritage Cooperative advisor, farmers in Ohio will now be able to use the Truterra Insights Engine from Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN to gather data on their stewardship practices.

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Voting begins for 2019 Farm Service Agency county committee elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots on November 4 to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections.

“Our county committee members play a key role in our efforts to provide assistance to producers,” said Richard Fordyce, FSA administrator. “We value the local input of the over 7,000 members nationwide who provide their valuable knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and emergency programs.”

To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by December 2.

Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office January 1, 2020. County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

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EPA starting rule making process on application exclusion zones

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding application exclusion zones (AEZ) on Oct. 24.

The EPA proposal would make two major changes for crop producers. Modifying the AEZ so it is only enforceable on a farmer’s property would replace the current regulation requiring farmers to ensure individuals are outside of the pesticide AEZ not only on their property, but off their property as well. The proposal would also exempt farm owners and their immediate family members from the requirement that they leave their home during certain pesticide applications.

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Modern dairy production efficiencies reducing environmental impact

A new Journal of Animal Science study shows U.S dairy farmers have excelled in production efficiency — so much so that the environmental footprint to produce a gallon of milk has shrunk significantly since 1944 — using 90% less land, 65% less water, 63% smaller carbon footprint per gallon of milk.

More importantly, the trend on production efficiencies and reduced environmental impacts has actually accelerated in the last 10 years, based on a recently updated analysis of the original 2007 study, which concluded that Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to produce a gallon of milk dropped nearly 20% over the 10-year period from 2007 to 2017.

Laura Campbell, manager of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Ag Ecology Department, said the recently updated study confirms what most farmers already know first-hand.

“Ongoing scientific research and improvements in genetics, animal nutrition, herd health management and ongoing advancements in crop production efficiencies have allowed dairy farmers to produce more with less,” Campbell said.

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Nitrogen management continues to be a water quality issue

A revolution in Midwestern agriculture has to happen to minimize the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone, according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE).

In September, iSEE Directors and Affiliates published a commentary piece in Nature Sustainability, produced as a result of the iSEE Critical Conversation 2018: The Nitrogen Reduction Challenge, a collaborative forum that united scientists and scholars to generate innovative solutions.

According to a team of Illinois researchers, each annual harvest removes just 60% to 70% of nitrogen from fields.

“Ultimately, via the Mississippi River, the remaining nitrogen will flow into the Gulf, facilitating hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) and endangering marine life,” said Madhu Khanna, iSEE Associate Director for Research and principal author.

Based on discussions at the critical conversation and existing research, Khanna and her co-authors suggest a two-pronged strategy to address the issue. Nitrogen requirements typically differ from site to site, even in a single field.

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Blanchard River Demo Farms release new video series

The Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Project, a five-year initiative showcasing and demonstrating conservation practices that will help improve agriculture’s impact on downstream water quality, has released a new video series. These videos highlight the efforts being made on three northwest Ohio farms to learn about nutrient management and the many ways Ohio farmers can keep nutrients in the fields and out of the water.

“Our goal was to be able to get the information that we share during tours of the demo farms out to more people who might not be able to come and see it firsthand,” said Aaron Heilers, project manager of the Blanchard River Demonstrations Farms Network. “So we developed these small video segments that offer a summarization of the work being done on the demo farms that people can view wherever they are, whenever they have the time.”

The series includes four videos in all and covers the water quality issue, in general; gives a background on what the project is all about; details the edge-of-field monitoring that is being conducted; and outlines the recommended practices farmers need to implement to help reduce nutrient loss from their farm fields.

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More active fall weather pattern ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

A more active weather pattern is ahead. We expect a weak to moderate storm with some rainfall every 3 to 4 days over the next few weeks.

For the week of Oct. 22, expect slightly above normal temperatures by a degree or two and rainfall between 0.25-0.75 inches on average. There could be some scattered freezing temperatures in the north and west sections of Ohio especially come Saturday morning.

For the last week of October, there should be early to mid week rainfall with another 0.25-1.00 inches followed by a surge of cold weather and the real possibility of the first widespread freeze toward Halloween.

The outlook for November is above normal temperatures after a cold start to the month and rainfall normal to above normal. The early trends suggest a turn to a wetter late winter and spring of 2020 but we will need to simply monitor that.

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Do you have a favorite CCA?

By Harold Watters, CCA, Ohio State University Extension

The Ohio CCA Board is looking for the best CCA in Ohio, if she or he works with you then please nominate them. The program is sponsoring one state award titled “Ohio Certified Crop Adviser of the Year“. The award program is designed to recognize an individual who is highly motivated, delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production, and has contributed substantially to the exchange of ideas and the transfer of agronomic knowledge within the agricultural industry in Ohio. Don Boehm of Legacy Cooperative was the 2019 winner.

The purpose of this award is to increase the awareness that both farmers and their service people strive to do their best in making cropping decisions that are economically and environmentally sound. A CCA must meet the standards set by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and maintain the certification through continuing education.

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Livestock Risk Management and Education Act introduced

The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) to provide risk management tools for livestock operations.

“This legislation will provide boots-on-the-ground cattle producers with critical resources and opportunities to increase their understanding and engagement with risk management tools. This bill speaks directly to our core values as an industry – arming producers with the latest farm management resources and tools in order to help them navigate ever-changing and dynamic market conditions,” said Todd Wilkinson, South Dakota cattle producer and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Policy Division vice chair. “In a market environment that continues to challenge even the most experienced multi-generational operations, NCBA believes that it is critical for producers to understand their options for managing risk. The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act policy will provide the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture the authority and flexibility to collaborate with industry to ensure that cattle farmers and ranchers have access to those options and the knowledge base to determine which ones are right for their operations.

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Communicating the topic of gene-editing in a Nov. 2 workshop

The Ohio Soybean Council and Center for Food Integrity is hosting a free training session for Ohio college and university students on Saturday, Nov. 2 at The Ohio State University on communicating the topic of gene-editing to the general public. The tips and tools you will learn during this 3-hour, interactive program can be applied to many other science-based and/or agriculture topics. All Ohio college and university students are welcome.

Registration is limited, sign up by Friday, Oct. 25 to reserve your spot. Students that complete this program will receive a certificate of completion and have the opportunity to network with industry experts and other students with similar interests. See the attached flyer for more information. To sign up, visit https://forms.gle/PSzk25WN8DF2YZmc6.

During this training, you will:
• Gain an understanding of current U.S. consumer attitudes about food and technology;
• Develop comfort in engaging through shared values and listen-ask-share as an approach to earn trust;
• Practice crafting messages, or talking points, about gene editing that are relatable and resonate with the general public;
• Practice engagement approaches to leverage the trust and credibility that consumers crave from the scientific community about gene editing in food production.

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Remember grain bin safety this fall

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures. To help review both the importance of and procedures for grain bin safety, NCGA is again offering an informative video.

To view the video, click here.

The video, shot on location in several states, provides a wide range of information from prevention tips and background data on grain bin accidents. The project also involved interviews with professionals in the fields of grain bin safety research and rescue to provide as much information to viewers as possible.

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Ohio farm income forecasted to rise

Even during a growing season when 1.5 million fewer acres of soybeans and corn were planted in Ohio, average farm incomes in the state are likely to increase compared to last year, according to an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University.

That’s primarily because of higher government payments made to farmers nationwide in 2019, said Ani Katchova, an associate professor and chair of the farm income enhancement program at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Across the country, government funds paid to farmers through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) more than doubled this year to $10.7 billion. That money is intended to help compensate farmers for a decline in demand for crops and livestock sold abroad because of recent hikes in international tariffs on those goods.

On average, government payments for farmers nationally this year are expected to make up 17% of farmers’ net cash income, which is the highest in recent years, Katchova said.

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