Home / Featured News / Featured News (page 3)

Featured News

Top Posts (Posts shown at the top of the home page)

Ag firms outperform S&P 500

While the general economy has underperformed in the past several years, the crop farming sector has been not just stable, but profitable. A recent University of Illinois report comparing the returns from publicly traded companies from 2007 until the end of the first quarter of 2011 showed an 8.6% market value increase from agriculture-related companies, and companies in the S&P 500 experienced a decline of 2.7%.

“We looked at 21 agriculture-related Midwestern companies in five sectors: fertilizer, equipment, seed and genetic companies, crop production companies, and first processors,” said U of I graduate student Clay Kramer who created the index with agricultural economist Gary Schnitkey. “The overall goal was to build an AgIndex that measured the change in market value of publicly traded agricultural companies and compare it to the S&P 500, looking at their market values and how they did over time from 2007 up to the first quarter of 2011.”

The S&P 500 is an index that tracks the market values of 500 large companies in the United States.

Continue reading

Read More »

Ag firms outperform S&P 500

While the general economy has underperformed in the past several years, the crop farming sector has been not just stable, but profitable. A recent University of Illinois report comparing the returns from publicly traded companies from 2007 until the end of the first quarter of 2011 showed an 8.6% market value increase from agriculture-related companies, and companies in the S&P 500 experienced a decline of 2.7%.

“We looked at 21 agriculture-related Midwestern companies in five sectors: fertilizer, equipment, seed and genetic companies, crop production companies, and first processors,” said U of I graduate student Clay Kramer who created the index with agricultural economist Gary Schnitkey. “The overall goal was to build an AgIndex that measured the change in market value of publicly traded agricultural companies and compare it to the S&P 500, looking at their market values and how they did over time from 2007 up to the first quarter of 2011.”

The S&P 500 is an index that tracks the market values of 500 large companies in the United States.

Continue reading

Read More »

State-inspected meat plants may soon, finally, have access to interstate sales

By Kyle Sharp

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a final rule April 19 that will broaden the market for smaller state-inspected plants. By participating in this voluntary cooperative interstate shipment program, select establishments will have the option to ship meat and poultry products, bearing an official USDA mark of inspection, across state lines.

“We’re excited to announce this new rule that offers smaller plants the opportunity to expand their market and sell their products to new customers,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. “Allowing these state-inspected establishments to ship their products across state lines has the potential to expand rural development and jobs, increase local tax bases, strengthen rural communities, and ensure that food is safe for consumers.”

While that sounds like great news, most state-inspected processors are taking a “wait and see” approach.

“I’ve learned not to get my hopes up,” said Mike Jessee, Ohio Association of Meat Processors (OAMP) president and owner of Dee-Jay’s Custom Meats, Fredericktown.

Continue reading

Read More »

Zeedyk’s custom manure application venture stems from necessity

By Kyle Sharp

About 2001, Visser Dairy with about 1,600 cows started up next to the crop farm of the Zeedyk family in Defiance County. At the time, Roger Zeedyk Jr. farmed the land along with his sons Roger IV, Mike and Adam. An arrangement between the two farms soon materialized, with the Zeedyks supplying corn silage to the dairy and, as partial payment, the dairy’s manure would be applied to the Zeedyks’ fields for fertility.

In the first few years of this arrangement, the problem was finding someone to apply the manure in a timely fashion, said Roger Zeedyk IV.

“It always got there, it was just never quite when you wanted it, or it didn’t quite get applied the way you wanted it,” Roger IV said.

Roger IV had watched people do custom manure application over the years and talked with them about how it needed to be done.

Continue reading

Read More »

Between the Rows-April 25th

“To be honest, I quit checking the rain gauge. It really doesn’t matter because there is another rain coming behind it the next day it seems. It looks like it is going to rain all week. It is just wet.

“I’m not concerned yet. In ‘98 our best crops were planted between the 10th and the 17th of May and that was the best year we ever had. Every year is different. By looking at the trees around here, you’d think it was the first of April instead of almost the first of May.

I had one neighbor who drilled several fields of soybeans 10 days ago. Otherwise, nobody has done anything.

“Fortunately, we have a lot of tiled ground. I think that when it quits raining and if it is warm and windy (those days are coming) we could be in the fields in five or six days easy enough.

Continue reading

Read More »

Earth Day principles apply every day on farms

On Earth Day today, many Ohioans will be cleaning nearby highways and streams or recycling to help preserve the environment. However, for Ohio’s farmers, it’s just another day of doing what they always do to be environmentally responsible.

The occasion presents opportunities for farmers to share with other about agriculture. Here is a link from Ohio Farm Bureau with resources for sharing about Ohio agriculture: http://ofbf.org/education-and-reference/agricultural-facts/?url=CARE-4THPSH/.

Also, here are some highlights from industry efforts to recognize the effort of farmers on Earth Day. The dairy industry serves as an example of agriculture’s commitment to the environment.

Ohio’s dairy farmers have always been committed to preserving the earth’s natural resources while taking excellent care of their animals and providing safe, affordable dairy foods,” said Scott E. Higgins, American Dairy Association Mideast president and CEO. “Our farmers live and work on their farms, so they understand the importance of protecting the land, water and air for their families and for the entire community.”

Ohio’s dairy farmers demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility by participating in rigorous regulatory and voluntary programs.

Continue reading

Read More »

Like A Punch In The Gut

By Ty Higgins

Sometimes that line between farm broadcaster and farm boy is hard to see. This thought comes to me as I watch something else that is hard to see, the new undercover video from Mercy for Animals from a livestock operation in Texas. It is not for the faint of heart, but the only way you can defend the agricultural industry that you know and love is to see what those outside of the ag community will be talking about as this video is spreading quickly. I was literally sick after watching this 3 minute clip. Heck, the first 15 seconds were more than enough. What made it even worse for me is remembering my time as a child on our dairy farm feeding the calves their bottles everyday and learning how to care for them in the best ways possible.

After watching the video I felt the need to immediately see how those in agriculture were reacting.

Continue reading

Read More »

Ohio fish farms growing quickly

Two years ago, Dave Lemke lost his job so he netted a new one.

Fish farmer.

Today the Wayne County man works — will even expand soon — in a small but fast-growing industry in Ohio whose jobs have doubled in the past 10 years and whose economic impact has more than tripled in that time to nearly $50 million.

And he credits Ohio State University, and specifically its Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development, or OCARD, as a key to his success.

“They helped me get to the point where I’m at now,” said Lemke, who together with his wife, Wendy, owns and runs the Scales to Tails Seafood Shoppe in Wooster and a five-acre fish farm near there. Later this year, pending bank approval, they’ll open a new $4 million, 10,000-pounds-per-week tilapia farm planned in large part with OCARD’s assistance. Seven new jobs will result.

Aquaculture experts with OCARD, headquartered at Ohio State’s South Centers in Piketon in southeast Ohio, study what’s crucial to the industry, including lower-cost feeds, improved fish genetics and greater efficiency.

Continue reading

Read More »

Wall Street Journal gets the story wrong on antibiotic use

By Doc Sanders

Bill Towson of The Wall Street Journal reported March 16 on a recent USDA hearing about the supposed overuse of antibiotics by hog farmers. He reported that the USDA’s Edward Knipling testified that the alleged overuse posed a human health threat.

Towson went on to report that the situation could be exposing Americans to antibiotic-resistant E. coli and Campylobacter. E. coli causes a severe gastrointestinal (GI) tract illness. Campy also causes food safety issues that can lead to GI disease.

The article stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned hog, cattle and chicken producers to stop the widespread practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock to promote growth. Knipling was quoted as saying that the government antibiotic monitoring system used in livestock has produced significant results. And the article said USDA is proposing research to show hog farmers how to wean their pigs off antibiotics.

Continue reading

Read More »

Harvest more solar power by planting early

By Dave Nanda, agronomic crops consultant and Director of Genetics and Technology at Seed Consultants, Inc.

There are very few things in life that are free. Sunlight is one of those free things, but only a very small percentage of the solar energy is captured by the plants. Most of it is either wasted on the ground or is reflected back. So what can we do to make a more efficient use of this free energy?  These days we hear a lot about reducing the use of fossil fuels and producing more clean energy by solar panels or wind machines. However, I don’t know of a better system than the corn plant for capturing sunlight efficiently, and simultaneously, it reduces carbon dioxide and gives us oxygen so we can breathe and makes food and feed. The only crop plant more efficient than corn in making more calories per unit area is sugarcane, which can be grown only in subtropical and tropical parts of the world.

Continue reading

Read More »

New seed corn technology comes with risks

Bags of corn seed that mix genetically modified hybrids with and without Bt toxins that kill insects provide farmers easier compliance with federal regulations but could, over time, hasten insect resistance to Bt, a Purdue University entomologist said.

Although “refuge-in-a-bag” seed technology has been approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, questions still remain over its long-term effect on corn rootworms, the main pest targeted by the technology, said Christian Krupke.

“Is a guarantee of 100% grower compliance with refuge regulations for corn rootworms worth a bit of a risk in terms of resistance development?” he said. “For many the answer is yes, because compliance has been declining in recent years.”

Refuge-in-a-bag products contain 90% Bt corn seed with 10% non-Bt “refuge” seed.

Under EPA rules, farmers who plant Bt corn also must plant next to or around that corn non-Bt hybrids equaling 20% of the Bt acreage. With refuge-in-a-bag, farmers plant all the seed together.

Continue reading

Read More »

Tax time is upon us

By Tim Reeves

It’s April, the month of showers and new growth. It’s the month when God reminds us that winters don’t last forever and that spring will chase away the cold and harshness of wintry times.

That’s what makes April the “best of times,” but since it’s also the month for paying taxes, it is also the “worst of times!”

As I write this column, the U.S. Congress is still trying to pass a budget for the year; a budget that SHOULD have been passed before the year started, nearly four months ago. I find it so interesting (and amazing!) that our federal government can just arbitrarily choose to ignore basic accounting and economic practices, seemingly at will. No state or business; no church or individual, for that matter, could get by with the kind of accounting ignorance the federal government shows time and again.

In 1980, the United States of America was the world’s largest lender nation.

Continue reading

Read More »

Between the Rows-April 11, 2011

“We had about an inch of rain on Friday. Yesterday I could start to see tile lines showing up and we got another two-tenths last night. Almost no fieldwork has been done in our neighborhood. We did chisel 60 acres of our good sandy loam a week ago that we had tiled last fall. If we had days like yesterday the way the wind blew, we’d be planting by Friday or Saturday for sure. But with the 60-degree days we have coming with lows of 40 at night, you just don’t gain much. It is pretty slow going and there is more rain in the forecast.
“We already tilled up the only wheat field we had, which was 70 acres, which goes to corn. We also switched 100 acres of beans to corn. We have a lot of manure available to us, so the economics really favor corn, as long as my son can reach the field with his 2 miles of dragline.

Continue reading

Read More »

WASDE keeps supplies tight

Expectations for the April World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released by the Agriculture Department were for a slight reduction in the corn supply from last month due to increasing use for ethanol, but USDA pegged the corn supply at 5% of total usage, the same as the March report.

“A 5% stocks-to-use ratio is still historically low,” explained Todd Davis, crops economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “That represents just 18 days of supply, so we’re still going to need a big 2011 corn crop because we don’t expect any drop in total use this year.

“USDA released its prospective plantings report showing farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn this year, which would be the second largest corn acreage since 1944. This shows that farmers are going to step up to the plate and produce the corn that the market is calling for. The market needs corn this year and farmers will deliver.”

Davis said a big corn crop is required to build supplies and to meet growing demand for ethanol, feed and other uses.

Continue reading

Read More »

Faith & Farming

By Heather Hetterick

I don’t live inside what’s referred to as God’s country or the “Land of Seven Steeples” (Darke & Mercer Co.), I do live on the outskirts, though (Shelby Co.).

Therefore it was no surprise that in this week’s church bulletin was the announcement of the annual farm mass. I believe it rotates around the area and this year will be held May 10, at 6:30 pm at Lehman High School in Sidney. It’s a program of  Catholic Social Action, which is a division of the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

In years past I’ve heard of these masses taking place on farms. In fact I see that even the Archbishop himself presided over one of these. Can you image the Archbishop coming to your farm? I bet those people had really good crops that year.

This reminded me of the time a mere 20 years ago when our priest came to my family’s farm.

Continue reading

Read More »

Faith & Farming

By Heather Hetterick

I don’t live inside what’s referred to as God’s country or the “Land of Seven Steeples” (Darke & Mercer Co.), I do live on the outskirts, though (Shelby Co.).

Therefore it was no surprise that in this week’s church bulletin was the announcement of the annual farm mass. I believe it rotates around the area and this year will be held May 10, at 6:30 pm at Lehman High School in Sidney. It’s a program of  Catholic Social Action, which is a division of the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

In years past I’ve heard of these masses taking place on farms. In fact I see that even the Archbishop himself presided over one of these. Can you image the Archbishop coming to your farm? I bet those people had really good crops that year.

This reminded me of the time a mere 20 years ago when our priest came to my family’s farm.

Continue reading

Read More »

High feed prices not going away any time soon

High commodity prices appear to be here to stay indefinitely despite a U.S. Department of Agriculture report last week projecting increased U.S. corn acreage this year, a Purdue University agricultural economist said.

The Prospective Plantings report, projects that corn farmers will plant more corn acres and fewer soybeans. Corinne Alexander said the report, coupled with lower-than-expected U.S. grain inventories, offers little hope for relief from high commodity prices.

“U.S. grain stocks, or inventories, are very tight, and whether that is because of lower production or higher use, we don’t know yet,” Alexander said. “What we do know is that we need to have at least an average crop production year in 2011 to keep up with the current rate of use.”

The report, issued annually and based on farmer surveys nationwide, projects a 5% increase in corn acres, at 92.2 million, and a 1% decrease in soybean acres, at 76.6 million.

Continue reading

Read More »

What can ag learn from Food, Inc.?

By Matt Reese

The 2008 movie Food, Inc. has been critically acclaimed and reached millions of viewers at the theater and through movie rentals with its the half-truths and misinformation about food production. The movie, along with related films and books, has led the charge to undermine centuries of consumer trust and goodwill with regard to the origins of their food.

From the Web site for the film: “In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.”

Regardless of what viewers think of the film, it has successfully created concerns among some consumers with regard to their food.

Continue reading

Read More »

Seeing what a healthy woods can be

By Kyle Sharp

A couple times over the years, the small, 10-acre woods on my family’s farm has been logged. While this is not a problem if it is done properly, let’s just say, to be generous, leaving a sustainable forest behind was not what was going through the minds of the guys who hacked through our land. I wasn’t involved with the process, so I guess I can’t really complain too much, but seeing the aftermath that is still very evident years later is quite frustrating.

Leaving large gaps in the forest canopy allowed plenty of sunlight to reach the forest floor, and the result has been large clumps of grapevines and invasive species springing up that make it nearly impossible to even walk through the woods in many places. This has made it difficult for new trees to get established because they are crowded out by the shrubs and vines.

Continue reading

Read More »