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Tips for evaluating sales information

By Robert Mullen, Ohio State University Extension

Now that crop harvest is winding down, many companies that conduct field experimentation will be getting out and sharing their success stories, so how can you weed through the information to find the truth?

The first thing I often say as it relates to fertilizer products (but this likely extends to other agronomic products/practices) is “if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.”  The first thing to look for when evaluating yield data from field trials is to look for some information regarding how field experimentation was done.  This does not require you to have a statistical background.  Simple questions like – “Was the study replicated?”, “How many locations were utilized?”, “Were there any locations that did not respond positively (environmental interactions)?”  To my knowledge, no agronomic practice (within reason) results in a yield increase every time it is evaluated.  So if someone states, “we conducted field research on 50 fields, and we saw a yield increase every time,” be suspicious.… Continue reading

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SUNCO NutriMate 3

Sunco has been building planter attachments for over 25 years. The goal at Sunco is and always has been

producing equipment to make farming more efficient, cost effective and profitable.

Over the years we have seen many changes and improvements to farming practices and farm implements.

Sunco planter attachments have been part of these improvements. This is evident with the introduction of the

Nutri Mate 3.

Like the NutriMate II, the NutriMate 3 unit is designed to be mounted to the row unit of the planter. The

parallel links of the planter let the NutriMate 3 float and the row unit gauge wheels provide depth control so

nutrients are precisely placed in relation to the seed.

The unique frame design allows the discs to be pulled through the field instead of being pushed, and the discs

are allowed to pivot slightly to the left or right to keep the fertilizer opener discs trailing properly on curves and

contours.… Continue reading

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Ohio farms pay heavy toll for clean water violations

Last month, an Ohio pork producer received stiff fines and prison time, and a dairy owner and manure applicator also agreed to a heavy financial toll as a result of water pollution violations.

On Oct. 19, William H. Ringler, the owner and operator of Steamtown Farm, a 2,500-head pig-feeding operation in Ashley (Morrow and Delaware counties), was sentenced in U.S. District Court to three months imprisonment, three months of electronic monitoring, a fine of $51,750 and a restitution payment of $17,250 to Ohio EPA for allowing an unpermitted discharge that killed more than 36,700 fish and other small aquatic animals in June 2007.

Thousands of gallons of liquid whey, a dairy by-product used as a feed supplement for the pigs, leaked twice in eight days from a 26,000-gallon tank on Ringler’s farm, which is recognized as a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and monitored by the state. The whey entered the farm’s drainage system and flowed into the west branch of

Alum Creek where it reduced dissolved oxygen levels.… Continue reading

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USDA announces assistance to Ohio ag

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing help to Ohio farmers through multiple programs.

First, USDA is offering loan guarantees and grants to agricultural producers and business owners across Ohio to enable them to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.

“These loan guarantees and grants will generate and save energy for Ohio’s farmers and businesses for decades to come,” Vilsack said. “Renewable energy systems like the biodigester that generates electricity for this research center are among the many ways USDA is helping the country become more energy independent.”

The $6 million in funding announced today is authorized through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) and is administered by USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Some farm owners have been selected to receive funding to replace older grain dryers with energy efficient models. Others are installing renewable energy systems.  For example, French Creek BioEnergy, LLC has been selected for a $500,000 REAP grant and a $1,650,000 guaranteed loan to construct an anaerobic digester that will produce 6.7 million kilowatts of energy annually. … Continue reading

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American Goat Federation completes incorporation

The American Goat Federation (AGF), the first-ever national organization devoted to the entire goat industry, proudly announces its incorporation. The purpose of the AGF will be to build and define the U.S. goat industry on a unified front to work on issues facing the whole industry.

“The AGF will strive to promote and facilitate the development of all segments of the goat industry including dairy, meat and fiber by encouraging sound public policy, enhancing production and marketing of goat products and promoting research beneficial to member organizations and all producers,” explains Tom Boyer, AGF president and Utah sheep and goat producer.

Boyer is joined on the board by Robin Saum (Ohio), vice president; An Peischel (Tenn.), secretary/treasurer; and board members Steve Burton (Utah), Linda Campbell (Va.), Brian Faris, Ph.D. (Kan.), Will Getz, Ph.D. (Ga.), Shawn Harper (Ky.), Katherine Harrison (Ohio), Pierce Miller (Texas) and Sandra Miller (Pa.).

Currently, the organization is completing membership development guidelines and seeks to actively represent the interests of more than 100 organizations and thousands of producers engaged in the sustainable production and marketing of goat milk, meat, fiber and grazing services across the United States.… Continue reading

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Study finds GISPSA to be costly regulation

An economic impact study conducted by John Dunham and Associates, Inc. concludes that the Obama Administration’s proposed rule on livestock marketing could leave approximately 104,000 additional Americans without jobs. Consequently, the study reports a $14 billion reduction in the National Gross Domestic Product.

“The estimated rate of producer job loss in rural America would be high. When folks are forced out of the livestock industry, they don’t come back,” said Sam Carney, National Pork Producers Council president. “Given this study, it is now more important than ever for USDA to conduct a thorough economic analysis so that producers understand the true cost of the Administration’s proposed regulations.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration proposed the rule on June 21, 2010, in response to a request made by Congress. However, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President (NCBA) Steve Foglesong said the rule goes beyond the intent of Congress and serves as another example of government overreach into private business. 

… Continue reading

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The competition for 2011 acres has started for corn and soybeans

There are three issues that are important for corn and soybeans as they compete for acreage in 2011, said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“First, there’s the question of how many acres of these crops are needed to meet consumption needs at ‘reasonable’ prices. Second, how many acres are available for planting of all crops in 2011? Third, what is the likely strength of competition from other crops?” he said.

According to Good, planted acreage of corn in 2010 in the United States totaled 88.222 million acres, 1.74 million more than planted in 2009, but 5.305 million fewer than planted in 2007.  Planted acreage of soybeans in 2010 was a record 77.714 million, 263,000 more than planted in 2009.

“Acreage of all crops was about 2 million less than planted in 2009. Although the mix of crops changed from 2009 to 2010, the overall decline reflected a reduction of about 2.3 million acres of double-cropped soybeans.… Continue reading

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Harvest progress from “Between the Rows”

Nationally corn harvest is 83% harvested compared to only 49% for the average year.  The soybeans are 91% harvested and the average pace should be only 72% complete.  Winter wheat is 88% planted and 64% emerged.  The first crop condition for wheat is at 41% good and 6% excellent and there is 39% in the fair category, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Ohio ooybean harvest is at 89% complete, up 20% from last year and up 13% from the average pace. Winter wheat is said to be 90% planted and 59% has emerged which is 8% ahead of the average for the state.  Most if not all of Ohio could use a good rain for the wheat crop.

For corn, 77% of the corn in the state has been harvested compared to 16% last year and 36% on the average.  Most continue to talk about average yields at 160 bushels and up.… Continue reading

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Ohio BioPreferred Rules progressing

After nearly 15 months of hard work on the legislation, the implementing rules for S. B. 131 (Gillmor) cleared their final hurdle today and will, along with the entire bioproducts purchasing program, become law in 30 days. The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) unanimously okayed the BioPreferred rules. Proferred by the Department of Administrative Services, the rules determine how the Ohio program will operate.

Essentially, Ohio’s program is identical to the federal BioPreferred purchasing program, with few differences:

* All state agencies, plus colleges and universities MUST purchase bioproducts in lieu of traditional products when the items are available, of similar quality and within 5% of the purchase price of the traditional item.
* Ohio has a voluntary purchasing program for 1,900 units of local government including cities, townships, counties, schools, fire departments, libraries, etc. This is a major plus for Ohio.
* Ohio will maintain the approved list of biopreferred products agencies may purchase.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Department to Hold Agricultural Easement Purchase Program Information Sessions

Farmland owners have the opportunity to learn how to apply for Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program funds during upcoming information sessions offered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Agricultural easements are voluntary legal agreements restricting non-agricultural development on farmland, with the land itself remaining on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management. Landowners may undertake any agricultural activity permitted under Ohio law, and they can sell their farm or pass it along as a gift to others. However, the easement remains with the land, prohibiting any future non-agricultural development to make certain that it remains used for agricultural purposes.

Meetings will feature a presentation by the department’s farmland preservation staff as well as testimony from landowners who have participated in the program. Meeting attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss the program with Ohio Department of Agriculture staff.

Local partners will also be present at each meeting to provide information and direction to landowners.… Continue reading

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Animal Welfare Symposium

An animal welfare symposium is scheduled for November 30, 2010 at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center located at 2201 Fred Taylor Drive on the OSU Campus. The symposium has a great line up of speakers, including Temple Grandin as the keynote speaker and is co-hosted by The Ohio State University Department of Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine. To see the complete program agenda, including online registration, go to: http://vet.osu.edu/preventive-medicine/AnimalWelfareSymposium.… Continue reading

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2010 candidates’ positions on Ohio agriculture

Editor’s note: With the 2010 election on our doorstep, Ohio’s Country Journal recently asked Ohio’s two leading candidates for governor and two leading candidates for U.S. Senate to answer the following question in 400 words or less: “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?” Here are their responses.

Governor Ted Strickland

Growing up in rural Scioto County, I understand the vital role agriculture plays in Ohio. I am proud of my record as governor and the many accomplishments my administration has been able to achieve with the support of Ohio farmers and the agricultural community. These are tough times but together we’ve overseen the largest tax cut in Ohio history, continued to tighten the belt of state government by reducing its size and cost, and cut burdensome regulations so businesses and farms can grow and expand.
It is essential that the next generation of Ohioans have the skills they need to succeed, so we have made record investments in K-12 education and expanded access to affordable higher education.… Continue reading

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2010 candidates' positions on Ohio agriculture

Editor’s note: With the 2010 election on our doorstep, Ohio’s Country Journal recently asked Ohio’s two leading candidates for governor and two leading candidates for U.S. Senate to answer the following question in 400 words or less: “Why should Ohio’s agricultural community vote for you?” Here are their responses.

Governor Ted Strickland

Growing up in rural Scioto County, I understand the vital role agriculture plays in Ohio. I am proud of my record as governor and the many accomplishments my administration has been able to achieve with the support of Ohio farmers and the agricultural community. These are tough times but together we’ve overseen the largest tax cut in Ohio history, continued to tighten the belt of state government by reducing its size and cost, and cut burdensome regulations so businesses and farms can grow and expand.
It is essential that the next generation of Ohioans have the skills they need to succeed, so we have made record investments in K-12 education and expanded access to affordable higher education.… Continue reading

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NOAA: Another Winter of Extremes in Store for U.S. as La Niña Strengthens

The Pacific Northwest should brace for a colder and wetter than average winter, while most of the South and Southeast will be warmer and drier than average through February 2011, according to the annual Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. A moderate to strong La Niña will be the dominant climate factor influencing weather across most of the U.S. this winter.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, unlike El Niño which is associated with warmer than normal water temperatures. Both of these climate phenomena, which typically occur every 2-5 years, influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events. Last winter’s El Niño contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall leading to severe flooding in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also has the potential to bring weather extremes to parts of the nation.… Continue reading

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Urban agriculture grants at work in Cuyahoga County

Economic opportunity, beautification, new jobs and access to fresh, local produce are being wrapped into one pretty package for the Greater Cleveland community.

Ohio State University Extension in Cuyahoga County has received more than $840,000 in grants to help new farmers get started on small tracts of land in the city, with a special focus on training for women, minorities, refugees, immigrants and limited resource adults with developmental disabilities.

Projects supported by the grants will address several key city issues at once, said Marie Barni, director of the Cuyahoga County office for OSU Extension, including urban blight, food deserts, and unemployment.

The Beginning Entrepreneurs in Agricultural Networks (BEAN) and the Urban Agriculture Innovation District (UAID) projects will turn vacant tracts into lush, productive gardens and farms, Barni said.

“Many people in our county live without ready access to fresh produce. Infusing agriculture throughout our county provides healthy foods in our neighborhoods.… Continue reading

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The great pumpkin shortage of 2010: Reality or rumor

By Matt Reese

Rumors are flying that have bakers in a panic. Anxious homemakers are nervously flitting among grocery aisles only to have their hopes dashed. Dark tales are being told in the backrooms of bakeries. Could it be true? Is there a great pie pumpkin shortage of 2010?
Whether real or perceived, there has been a fair amount of discussion in some pumpkin-loving circles about a short crop of pie pumpkins in 2009 resulting in a limited supply of canned pumpkin for 2010. Does this mean no pumpkin doughnuts, no pumpkin rolls no (heaven forbid) pumpkin pies this fall?
Though she had heard the rumors, Linda Ballou, who is on the Baked Goods Committee for the famous Circleville Pumpkin Show this week, said there was plenty of pumpkin for her purposes this year. Entries of pumpkin baked items were off a bit at the 2010 Pumpkin Show, but not likely due to a lack of pumpkins.… Continue reading

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TSC program supports 4-H

From now through November 21, 2010, Tractor Supply Company stores will support local 4-H youth and their families, volunteers, staff, and alumni with the exclusive TSC Clover Card, a loyalty card that gives periodic discounts to folks affiliated with 4-H and offers clubs the opportunity to win a monthly $500 TSC gift card. In addition, from November 5-14th, all TSC stores will be running a Paper Clover fundraiser in their stores to raise funds for their local 4-H programs. Can you help support 6 million 4-H youth by spreading the word about this exciting campaign?

In addition to the benefits for 4-H families to sign up for the excusive TSC Clover Card, all funds raised through this local TSC Paper Clover Promotion will be donated to 4-H, and will support local camps, after-school programs and other 4-H youth development program activities.

What is the TSC Clover Card?
As part of National 4-H Council’s partnership withTractor Supply Company (TSC), TSC has created a pilot loyalty card program for 4-Hers, their families, and staff involved in 4-H—it is called the TSC Clover Card!… Continue reading

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Study finds no “indirect land use change” with ethanol

A report prepared for the California Air Resources Board by a team of scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found corn ethanol contributed “minimal to zero” impact from the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) scheme.

The report was compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge lab at the request of CARB, which has appointed several teams of expert working groups to assess the methodology and data that went into California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That standard used a controversial ILUC formula which heavily penalized American grain farmers for carbon emissions theoretically produced by farmers overseas.

“This should put the stake into the heart of the bizarre ILUC scheme. Here are some of the best scientists in the country – scientists who have no stake in the game – who found that ethanol had little to no impact from ILUC,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “We must ask why California insists on going forward with a regulation that is based not just on controversial theory, but a theory that has been disproven.”

The report recommended that CARB update its ILUC calculations with the newest ILUC formula models and data.… Continue reading

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Brown marmorated stink bug making an unpleasant appearance in Ohio

A bug named for its stench and marbled, streaky appearance has made its way to Ohio, potentially becoming a serious pest — the brown marmorated stink bug. This odiferous pest is moving eastward from the Atlantic Coast into the eastern Corn Belt becoming a pest in Ohio on soybeans and other crops, but can be a more serious problem in fruit crops, ornamental plants and irritated homeowners.
“To add insult to injury, these stink bugs then tend to move into people’s homes in late fall looking for overwintering sites in numbers reaching the hundreds and even thousands. And as the name implies, the insect can release a characteristic pungent acid odor that many people find offensive; in other words, these insects can ‘stink!’” wrote Ron Hammond, Andy Michel and Bruce Eisley, Ohio State University Extension entomologists in a recent CORN Newsletter. “We received a number of reports of homes in Ohio being invaded by this insect.… Continue reading

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