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2018-2019 State FFA Officers and photo highlights

State FFA Sentinel: Mallary Caudill, West Liberty Salem
State FFA Reporter: Bailey Eberhart, Harrison Central
State FFA Treasurer: Kalyn Strahley, Paulding
State FFA Secretary: Gretchen Lee, Pettisville
State FFA Vice President: Holly McClay, Fredericktown
State FFA President: Kolesen McCoy, Global Impact STEM Academy

State Vice Presidents – At Large: Austin Becker, Fairbanks; Tyler Zimpfer, Anna; Grace Lach, Bloom-Carroll; Grant Lach, Bloom-Carroll; Emma Dearth, Amanda-Clearcreek

 

 

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Establishing a safety culture

By Matt Reese

When it gets hot out, safety glasses, gloves and long sleeves may not be comfortable. And it can be really frustrating on a busy day to make sure to take the time for locking out a machine. Prioritizing safety is not always easy or pleasant.

“I have 41 years in the business and I have seen a lot of things in my career. The main thing is that we want to see everyone going home without getting hurt. I have seen too many injuries and close calls. I teach about the short cuts and what could happen,” said Greg Lowe, risk coordinator for Sunrise Cooperative. “Lock out tag out for example — before you work on machinery you want to make sure it is locked out before you go and work on it. It may take 10 or 15 minutes to get everything around to put a lock on it and get the key, but it only takes a second for somebody to hit the button and if you have your arms in there working on an auger the outcome is not good.”

Lowe relentlessly emphasizes wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and following proper procedures for performing tasks because the results of not doing so can be devastating.

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Setback changes currently up in the air for Ohio wind turbines

By Joel Penhorwood, Ohio Ag Net

Renewed drive has been given to renewable energy groups looking to further establish themselves in northern Ohio. A new report from the Wind Energy Foundation found the state’s four utility-scale wind projects in Paulding, Van Wert, and Hardin counties will have delivered in excess of $54 million through payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), and land lease payments, by the end of 2018.

The report comes at a time when a new, 66-turbine wind farm in Seneca and Sandusky counties has been proposed by Apex Clean Energy of Virginia. The group reportedly told the Ohio Power Siting Board they will build what is known as The Republic Wind Farm only if restrictive property setback rules put in place in 2014 are repealed. The setback rules define the distance a wind turbine can be placed from neighboring properties. As it is currently written, the rules go to the nearest property line.

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Soil is more valuable than gold

In terms of civilization, it is more valuable than gold. The soil is the foundation for food and stability required for organized, structured society. Without good, productive soils, everything else starts to erode away. The loss of productive soil is a sad tale that shows up over and over throughout the history of mankind.

This repeated trend throughout the earth’s millennia of agriculture intrigued David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who spoke at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in March.

“As a geologist I started looking at soils and studied erosion around the world. A decade ago I got really interested in how soil erosion affected ancient civilizations. That culminated in a book that looked at the role of soil degradation in the decline of ancient civilizations. There is a depressing component to that because you see the same story play out in society after society.

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The war begins at planting

By John Brien, AgriGold agronomist

Upon planting a seed into the medium called the soil, one could assume that it is tucked into a warm and inviting environment, where nothing bad can happen to it. If a grower had that assumption, they would be WRONG!

When a grower plants a seed into the soil, the war begins. The war is between the seed and the “bugs” that are present in the soil. The seed’s goal is to sprout and grow, while the bug’s goal in today’s discussion is to decompose the seed along with any other organic matter, making it nonviable. Both sides are ready to wage war, but how do they plan on winning?

 

The bugs: Who are they and how do they win?

The bugs in this story are the fungi found in all soils. The fungi that battles corn seeds and seedlings are Pythium and Fusarium. The reason the bugs battle corn seeds and seedling is due to their role in the soil cycle.

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Dairy prices reflect production increases

The April Dairy Market Report is now available. The U.S. average all-milk price lost a total of $2.80 per cwt. in three roughly equal drops from November 2017 through this past February.

Total U.S. milk production was up by 1.6%  from a year earlier during the three months of December 2017 through February 2018, while estimated total U.S. production of milk solids rose by 2% during the same period. The monthly margin under the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) for February 2018 was $6.88 per cwt. It was the third month in a row during which the MPP margin was down more than $1.00 per cwt. from the previous month.

Find the Dairy Market Report here.

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Sunshine finally starting to bring farmers to the fields

We worked on some tile repairs, some fencerow maintenance and we are finishing up our last farm for soil testing. That’s about the extent of the field work.

With the cover crops, we do not really want to spray right now with the rain coming in. We won’t be able to plant right after so we want to hold off on spraying.  We are sort of in a holding pattern now because we don’t really do any tillage work so we are finishing up additions to our planter and moving seed.

The cover crops are looking much better. The fields that were thin are filling in. It is mainly the ryegrass that is growing in right now. I don’t see a lot of other species really growing much out there yet.

After this series of rains this week, I would guess that we could get going next week. There is an 80% chance of rain tomorrow and Wednesday and some chance on Thursday and Friday.

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A look at soil health in the farm bill

By Matt Reese

Bill Richards has been concerned with the health of his soil for a long time.

For more than 40 years, Richards and his family have used no-till to reduce costs and limit soil and nutrient runoff on their Pickaway County farm. Richards has also spent countless hours educating his fellow farmers about the importance of managing their land in a productive way while still protecting the environment. He served as the chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service from 1990 to 1993 as well.

“In the late 1950s the agronomists were telling us there was no reason to till other than weed control. Ohio is the cradle of no-till because at Wooster we had Dr. [Glover] Triplett and Dr. [David] Van Doren who started the original no-till research. There was a group that got started and I was sort of the ring-leader, trying these things to make them work on a farm level,” Richards said.

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A look at soil health in the farm bill

Bill Richards has been concerned with the health of his soil for a long time.

For more than 40 years, Richards and his family have used no-till to reduce costs and limit soil and nutrient runoff on their Pickaway County farm. Richards has also spent countless hours educating his fellow farmers about the importance of managing their land in a productive way while still protecting the environment. He served as the chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service from 1990 to 1993 as well.

“In the late 1950s the agronomists were telling us there was no reason to till other than weed control. Ohio is the cradle of no-till because at Wooster we had Dr. [Glover] Triplett and Dr. [David] Van Doren who started the original no-till research. There was a group that got started and I was sort of the ring-leader, trying these things to make them work on a farm level,” Richards said.

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Let’s talk kitchens…

Let’s talk kitchens. Kitchens and tables are the heart of every home. The meals that nourish us are created here. Deals are signed. Problems are solved. Laughter happens. Priceless memories are created around the table. It all starts in the kitchen.

Last fall, Paul and I started a grand adventure of remodeling my childhood home. A cool thing about this house is that half of it was a one room schoolhouse built in the 1800s. My grandpa attended school there. It was moved, used as a corn crib and moved again in the 1940s where it was turned into a house. My dad grew up in the house from the age of eight, got married and lived there 30 more years (that’s when I came along!). It has been a rental house for past 26 years. In this fixer-upper craze, we live in, this seemed like an exciting, fun project for two empty nesters to tackle.

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Groundhog day gobblers

Spring turkey season gets underway April 23 and I plan to do things different this year. Not because my former methods for taking toms haven’t been successful; on the contrary, I have been fortunate enough to fill a tag each April for the past several. I’m simply seeking a different experience, while hoping for a similar outcome.

For the past several springs I have pitched a ground blind in pretty much the same spot, planted the same decoys and enjoyed similar success in the first couple days of the season. Purring in the pre-dawn and yelping as the morning progresses, I lead any gobblers within earshot to believe there may be a lonesome hen in the vicinity. Sooner or later — and lately it’s been the latter around mid-morning — a gobbler waddles over and starts strutting his stuff within range of a magnum shell out of a box of a dozen turkey loads I purchased a decade ago.

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Thinking of the farm as a business

Corn and bean basis has remained strong, or even slightly improved for April delivery, even with the recent futures rally. This likely indicates limited farmer selling and/or good demand. It’s been a while since we’ve seen this type of market situation, and it suggests potentially higher prices going forward.

I expect the 2018 marketing year to be much different than 2017, but I have my plan in place ready to take advantage of opportunities that become available. In order to do this effectively, it’s imperative to know my breakeven price. Several Midwest universities have published their corn and bean breakeven cost structures for various farmers across the Midwest. While I may disagree with a few line items on their budgets, their overall numbers are values that I think is a reasonable level for the average farmer to use as a goal for their own budgets.

 

Thinking of the farm as a business

I suggest that farmers look at their farm operation as a large company with multiple profit centers working to a common goal.

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Preserving Ohio history one barn painting at a time

Bob Kroeger grew up in Youngstown and spent his career as a dentist in a Cincinnati suburb. So why is he interested in the old barns of rural Ohio?

“It was like an epiphany. My wife and I were on vacation in Licking County. We drove down an old country road toward our bed and breakfast. There at the intersection on top of a little hill was an old gray barn. There were boards missing and the roof was sagging and it was like a thunderbolt hit me right between the eyes and a voice came to me. I don’t know where it came from. It said, ‘You’re going to paint this barn and write about it,’” Kroeger said. “The next morning we went to the farmhouse and an old man came to the door. I tried to explain what I wanted to do. Eventually he loosened up and told me the history of the barn.

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What is the chance of herbicide resistance in Buckeye Gold — the rubber dandelion industrial crop — jumping over to common dandelion?

Buckeye Gold (Taraxacum kok-saghyz, also known as rubber dandelion, and rubber root) is a species of dandelion that is of commercial interest for the high quality rubber produced in its roots. However, it is a slow growing species that competes poorly with Ohio weeds in field plantings, and chemical broadleaf herbicides also kill most of the plants. In order to overcome these agronomic shortcomings, scientists are developing herbicide-resistant varieties by a number of methods, including selection, transgene insertion, and gene editing. However, the release of such germplasm raises the question of gene flow between Buckeye Gold and its ubiquitous weedy cousin, the common dandelion (T. officinale). Could herbicide resistance in Buckeye Gold transfer to common dandelion?

 

Can Buckeye Gold and common dandelion interbreed?

We have surveyed common dandelions around the world. In North America, we have found only triploid obligate apomictic common dandelion plants. These produce clonal seed with exactly the same chromosomes as the mother dandelions.

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Employee meals/entertainment: These deductions are about to change

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will present tight limits on deductions pertaining to business meals and entertainment. Before this new tax reform, taxpayers generally could deduct at least 50% of expenses for business-related meals and entertainment. However under the new law, entertainment expenses incurred or paid after Dec. 31, 2017 will be classified as non-deductible unless they fall under the specifications listed in Code Section 274(e). Let’s take a closer look at the different types of expenses and the deduction rules moving forward.

 

Meals provided by employer for convenience purposes

This was a 100% deductible expense in 2017. The keyword here is was. In 2018, the new rules will make this a 50% deduction. Look for this to be nondeductible after 2025.

 

Business meals/employee travel meals

This was a 50% deduction and it will stay that way under the new law.

 

Office holiday parties

We won’t see change here either.

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Rescue training helps prepare for when the unexpected happens

There is always potential for the unexpected to happen. It is important to be prepared for when it does.

That is one reason many of Ohio’s grain operations employees and first responders have participated in Bin Entry Tech Rescue Training, a program held in partnership with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association and the Grain Elevator and Processing Society. The four-day program is designed to provide hands-on training for emergency situations at commercial operations and farms. It is held at the Grain Elevator and Processing Society Grain Safety Training Center at Sidney Sunrise location.

The program is conducted by the Safety and Technical Rescue Association (SATRA), and led by professional firefighters. Participants learn about issues surrounding grain bins, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards, air monitoring, and more. They also practice practical skills including rope and harness work and rescue procedures using 130-foot grain bins. Participants work in teams of eight to plan and lead rescues in the bins, with SATRA teachers on-site to monitor and check participants’ work.

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CCAs are on the front lines for key agricultural issues

A quick glance at the tidy office of John Fritz at The Andersons, Inc. Fremont facility would suggest that he works in a fairly standard desk job. One look at his weathered work boots, however, belies how he really spends most of his time and what drives the passion for what he does.

Fritz was recently named Ohio’s 2018 Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) of the Year. Fritz has more than 39 years of crop advising experience providing a variety of services to clients. He specializes in precision technology including nutrient management plans, soil sampling, scouting, weed management and seed recommendations, and variable rate planning. At The Andersons, Fritz has been a driving force for change through implementation of new technologies, including the introduction of variable rate technology at the farm center in the mid-1990s. He is also the head of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Management program and oversees all fertilizer recommendations and rates for customers.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 53 | Early beans, late planting and Farm Bill on time?

The Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold, brings a wide variety of topics for episode 53.

We start off with a parody song written and performed by our own Ty Higgins called “I just want to plant.” Ty also recently caught up with a farm that’s already planted a bit in Ohio for a test of how early soybeans may actually do. We hear his conversation with Jakob Wilson of JCW Farms.

Joel Penhorwood brings some audio from the press conference last week with House Ag Chairman Mike Conaway with the announcement of the first draft of the 2018 Farm Bill. The big question now is whether or not we’ll see it advancing in 2018.

A big topic addressed in the Farm Bill is conservation titles. Matt Reese talks with Jim Hoorman from USDA NRCS about conservation tips during the recent Dave Brandt Field Day.

Dale Minyo was at Wilmington College this past week and caught up with student Sara Pope about her path in agriculture.

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The ins and outs of early planting for soybeans

There has been an undeniable shift toward earlier planting of soybeans. Several Pioneer GrowingPoint agronomy research studies have shown the benefits of early planting for maximizing soybean yield (graph 1). Early planting allows growers to plant full-season varieties with higher yield potential. Additionally, soybeans planted earlier will generally produce more nodes/plant, reach canopy closure sooner, intercept more sunlight and spend a longer duration in reproductive growth (graph 2).

Yield results from DuPont Pioneer Product Knowledge Plots from 1996 to 2012.

The ideal soil temperature for soybean germination and emergence is 77 degrees F. However, soil temperatures at a two-inch depth do not typically reach these levels until late May or early June. Soybeans can easily germinate at soil temperatures of 50 degrees F at a two-inch soil depth, but it is not unusual for emergence to take three weeks at these low temperatures.

However, growers who assume “earlier is always better” without proper planning and management techniques may be on a path to lower yields and missed opportunities.

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