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New or replacement drainage in 2019 and drainage education

By Larry C. Brown

Now is the time to start checking your existing agricultural drainage system for any field conditions that may need your attention after the last crop season and certainly after the excessive rainfall in 2018. Check drainage outlets for damage or blockage, and clean the animal guard; check the field for drain blowouts or soil failures where excessive runoff and sediment may enter the subsurface drains; check areas that ponded last crop season, or where crop yields were reduced because of excessive rainfall and soil wetness to assess the need for additional drainage, etc.

You may be considering new subsurface drainage or replacing parts of older systems. When considering a new system, you might want to think about an alternative system design, a Drainage Water Management System. All of the benefits that come with a traditional subsurface drainage system can be achieved with a system that is designed for drainage water management, plus at least several important extras.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 92 | A visit with Leah Curtis on LEBoR and much more

The crew of Dale Minyo, Matt Reese, and Kolt Buchenroth join Leah Curtis of the Ohio Farm Bureau to get the latest legal updates regarding Ohio agriculture.

In addition to the in-depth chat with Curtis about the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, the crew also hears interviews with Jon Scheve about the recent USDA market reports, Mark Loux on the growing weed problems, and Victoria Popp on benchmarks for beginning crop producers.

All that and more in this podcast, sponsored by AgriGold.

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Hemp, Lake Erie water quality among several OFU policy priorities for 2019

The Ohio Farmers Union added hemp cultivation and specific recommendations for Lake Erie water quality woes in its 2019 statement of public policy proposals.

Adopted at its recent state convention in Lima, OFU’s “Special Orders of Business” outline the organization’s legislative and executive branch priorities on both the state and national level for the year.

Two topics new on OFU’s slate this year are industrial hemp production in Ohio and a call for state political leaders to lessen the tax burden on Ohio’s woodlands.

“While we are grateful for the recent changes to the CAUV formula, there still exists issues with some outlandish tax assessments on woodlands around the state. Woodlands provide immense environmental benefits and we’ll be talking to state leaders this year about tweaks to their valuation for tax purposes,” said Joe Logan, OFU president. “With harmful algal blooms and other water quality issues, we need to make sure we don’t negatively incentivize farmers and rural landowners regarding conservation.”

Logan is also optimistic about the prospects for industrial hemp production in Ohio.

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Common sense about an uncommon frog

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

With all of the talk of the political divide in this country, it is nice to know there is still some common ground. On Nov. 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a case about the dusky gopher frog, Weyerhaeuser Company v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service (2018). The common ground turned out to be 1,544 acres of private land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Let me explain.

The dusky gopher frog, Rana Sevosa, has dark coloring “dusky” and lives underground “gopher.” Adults are usually 3 inches long with a large head, plump body and short legs (sounds like half of the lawyers roaming the halls of the courthouse). Warts dot its back, and dark spots cover its entire body. The dusky gopher frog is noted for covering its eyes with its front legs when it feels threatened, peeking out periodically until danger passes.

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Taking a look at the February numbers

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

With the government shutdown eliminating the January USDA report, all the information the market wants to trade was moved to the February report, making it one of the biggest and most anticipated report of the year.

The final 2018 corn yield of 176.4 was surprising. This was slightly lower than 2017 and 2.5 bushels lower than the December report. This was one of the biggest yield decreases from December estimates to the final results in history. Those two bushels mean over 200 million fewer bushels, which should have had a bigger positive impact on futures. However, the report also showed a drop in overall demand.

The 125-million-bushel feed demand decrease surprised me. I’ve noticed high demand for corn in feed rations recently compared to other substitute ingredients, so I was actually expecting an increase. With the USDA livestock numbers showing a 2.36% year over year production increase, if feed rations stayed the same, it should have only meant a 75-million-bushel feed demand decrease (not 125 million).

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Big, but neutral, USDA report day

By Doug Tenney, Leist Mercantile

Finally, the numbers.

It looks to be a neutral report. Corn and soybean production reduced as expected. Corn fed to livestock was reduced 125 million bushels while ethanol was cut 25 million bushels. Soybean exports are down 25 million bushels, crush up 10 million bushels.

The market and traders were thrilled with finally seeing some numbers from USDA today at noon. For weeks market participation has been reduced with daily volumes moving lower and narrow daily ranges. This past week corn has seen days with less than a two-cent range while soybeans could not muster a five-cent daily range. The market thrives on information. Today we get a massive dump of numbers.

USDA published both the January and February numbers that are found in the Supply and Demand Report. They included final 2018 corn and soybean yields and production, and quarterly grain stocks as of Dec.

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Initial Brazil soybean harvest not record-breaking, still solid

Soybean harvest in Parana, Brazil, the country’s second-largest soybean-producing state, has reached 25%, well ahead of the 2018 pace.

Brazilian government forecasting agency DERAL says, although the state suffered through a mini-drought in December, early yield results show no material losses. Only 6% of the state’s soy fields are reportedly in bad condition. The number his still higher than last year’s zero ‘bad’ fields.

DERAL says 24% of fields are considered average, compared to 14% in the last cycle. The remaining fields are considered in good condition. As it stands currently, Brazil’s crop will be short of the record-high estimates of 122 million metric tons. Weather issues in Brazil are not widespread or significant enough to put a major dent in production.

Elsewhere in South America, harvest expectations in Argentina are nearing 53- to 55-million metric tons, coming off 38 MMT in 2018.

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“Deal or No Deal” appearance yields big win and lasting memories for an Ohio family

By Matt Reese

In March of 2018, the Anderson family got more bad news. Randy Anderson, who had been fighting cancer for several years, found out it had spread. His daughter, Casey Heath, wanted to do something to help her father focus on something other than his pain and health issues. At the same time, Casey and her husband were contemplating selling their home in Sandusky so she could move closer to Bluffton to work at Anderson Tractor Supply, the family’s business in northwest Ohio.

The situation prompted Casey to do an unusual Google search to find out about the television game show “Deal or No Deal.”

“Dad was going through a lot of health issues and he is a tremendously big fan of the show. We had gotten some bad news about him and I thought, ‘I’m just going to Google this to see if we can get on the show.’ I had no words for him that could make him feel better, but I thought if I

could do this crazy experience for our family maybe it would be a good distraction and better than any words I could say to him.

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Methods to improve cash flow

By Brian E. Ravencraft

A method to address the reduction of unnecessary costs is to first establish which activity of the farm operation generates those costs.

Step 1: Identify activities which generate costs and provide no added value.

Step 2: Decide if changes to that activity will affect business turnover

Answer: NO? Then is the activity necessary or adding value?

Answer: YES? Cost reduction techniques may have adverse effect on business profitability.

Beware: cost cutting can have a long-term negative impact. For some farmers, failure to invest in people, marketing and technology can leave you falling behind your competitors. You are increasingly likely to provide a product and service of inferior quality. You will also be likely to experience above-average team turnover. And ultimately, your customers have a choice, and you will cease to be it.

Deferring payments to suppliers and service providers helps you keep the cash in your pocket longer.

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Trump touches on ag issues in the State of the Union

By Kolt Buchenroth, Ohio Ag Net

President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress and subsequently the nation this week in an hour and 21-minute State of the Union address. It was clear that border security was at the forefront of the President’s agenda, as he mentioned the quickly approaching deadline for government funding which, if an agreement isn’t reached, will end in a government shutdown.

Agriculture was mentioned when President Trump boasted his administration’s elimination of the estate or death tax, mentioning specifically family farms and U.S. ranchers. That comment received a roar of applause from those in attendance. The farm bill got a nod from the Commander in Chief in the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation. Trade was also a talking point, saying that the United States has placed tariffs on $350 billion of goods imported from China. President Trump also said that the negotiations will have to include a structural change to the deal that protects American jobs and ends the trade deficit, but there was no direct mention of how that will impact agriculture.

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Only YOU can prevent the spread of free DP

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Corn continued to trade sideways, closing within a tight 5-cent range for the fourth week in a row.

This week the USDA will release the long-awaited final 2018 yield results as well as the supply and demand report. I’m expecting a corn yield decrease and slight increase in demand. Hopefully, if this happens corn will start to inch higher.

The Dec corn/Nov bean ratio moved slightly in favor of planting beans. If the U.S. and China don’t iron out a new trade detail encouraging more Chinese bean imports soon, bean prices may be in trouble down the road.

Brazil’s bean crop conditions continue to slide backwards which is slightly supportive but without a growing problem in Argentina it won’t matter. This is because last year’s drought in Argentina produced much less than was forecasted. If Argentina produces a normal crop this year it will be 40% larger than last year and offset any loss of yield in Brazil.

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Lake Erie Bill of Rights up for a vote on Feb. 26

By Matt Reese and Joel Penhorwood

The folks in Toledo are at it again and this time they have secured a place on the ballot on Feb. 26 for the creation of a Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). There was a failed attempt to get this on the 2018 November ballot in Toledo. The effort to get LEBOR on the ballot is being supported by out-of-state interests but it could have a very real in-state impact for a wide range of businesses.

LEBOR opens up the possibility of thousands of lawsuits against any entity that could be doing harm to Lake Erie. This includes agricultural operations.

“This is a proposed amendment to the Toledo City Charter that would essentially seek to give the Lake standing in court. It would allow citizens of Toledo the ability to bring cases on behalf of the Lake. It says the Lake should be free of pollution and things that could harm the Lake.

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Popp wins Farm Bureau Discussion Meet

Victoria Popp of Cincinnati is the winner of Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals Discussion Meet competition. She won the contest final round held Feb. 1 during the YAP Winter Leadership Experience in Columbus.

Listen to Popp’s comments after her win.

The Discussion Meet tests participants’ subject knowledge, problem solving abilities and personal and small group communications skills. It’s  designed for young ag professionals to work together find solutions around issues facing agriculture today.

Popp is a Clermont County Farm Bureau member, is a current participant in Farm Bureau’s AgriPOWER Class X leadership development program and is active in Young Ag Professionals. She manages the young, small and beginning farmer program for Farm Credit Mid-America.

She receives a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance, an expense-paid trip to OFBF Annual Meeting in December 2019 and an expense-paid trip to represent Ohio at the national competition during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, in January 2020.

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Ep. 91 | Bacon donuts, Super Bowl ads and Young Ag Professionals

Featured in this 91st episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, brought to you by AgriGold, is Meghann Winters with the Ohio Pork Council joins Matt Reese, Dale Minyo, and Joel Penhorwood to talk the registration deadline for the upcoming Ohio Pork Congress. More details at www.OhioPork.org.

We hear more audio from a roundtable at the 2019 Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience with farmers Rose Hartschuh of Crawford Co., Ron Grayson Burns of Union Co., and Luke Dull of Montgomery Co.

Several leaders were at the Ohio Agri Business Association Industry Meeting, including Scott Higgins of the Ohio Dairy Producers Association, and Arlan Suderman of INTL FC Stone.

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OABA Industry Conference Highlights

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference always features a diverse and interesting program and this year was certainly no exception. Thursday’s topics included an overview of the state’s livestock industries, a look at global grain markets, and regulations, just to name a few. The Friday program for the OABA event included consumer relation efforts, equipment hazards and safety, technology updates, herbicide challenges, and edge of field management.

One highlight was the recognition of this year’s OABA Industry Excellence Award winners: Jason Nowakowski, Centerra Co-op: Excellence in Safety & Stewardship; Kevin Brinkman, United Equity Inc.: Excellence in Customer Service; and Kevin Fall, Rosen’s Inc.: Achievement as an Emerging

Leader. In addition Chris Henney with OABA provided an update on the state of the agribusiness industry, future challenges and OABA’s new strategic plan. Keynote Speaker Tom Balzer of the Ohio Trucking Association kept attendees laughing when he shared leadership lessons found in YouTube videos.

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Super Bowl corn syrup controversy commentary

By Joel Penhorwood

Very few things in life can bring people together like a well done Super Bowl Commercial. The top topic on the Monday after the game each year is more often than not, “What was your favorite commercial??” Just look at that “So God Made a Farmer” commercial from Ram in 2013. They have enjoyed a very loyal customer base because of that commercial alone.

Well this year, you could say nearly the opposite happened.

I’ll be the first to admit, your social media feed is probably not the best place to equally hear opinions on a topic, but nonetheless the topic was forefront on my page Sunday night.

Early on in the game, Bud Light kicked off their latest installment of ‘Dilly Dilly’ commercials with a fairly funny concept. For the unfamiliar, these commercials revolve around a renaissance-era Bud Light kingdom that is very devoted to the beer.

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Practices for big corn yields highlighted at OABA Industry Conference

By Matt Reese

The Ohio AgriBusiness Association Industry Conference always features a diverse and interesting program and this year is certainly no exception. Thursday’s topics included an overview of the state’s livestock industries, a look at global grain markets, and regulations, just to name a few. Among the more popular presentations was the topic of striving for high corn yields with Fred Below from the University of Illinois.

“I talked about my seven wonders of the corn yield world. These are the management factors that each impact yield. This is not rocket science. I talked about how important weather is and how weather interacts with nitrogen, about getting the hybrid selection right, managing the rotation, and plant population. The plant population is a big factor that has changed and has to change in order to grow higher yields — narrower rows and more plants. Finally I try to put it together in a systems approach.

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What road salt means for plant health

Salty cars and salty roads are a hallmark of this time of year. With so much NaCl (salt) being spread, the question arises of what effect it has on nearby plants.

Pamela Bennett is an Ohio State horticulture educator and state master gardener volunteer program director. She is often asked what will happen to plants come spring as the result of salt. She said salt buildup in soil and salt spray on plants themselves are chief concerns.

“There are two different ways plants can be damaged. Number one is the salt spray. That salt spray if it’s on the foliage long enough if it’s on the bud, it could cause the buds to dry out and it could cause bud and stem damage,” she said. “It’s more common to see this on evergreen trees such as white pines or on boxwoods which are evergreen shrubs, and those plants that are susceptible to salt injury.

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Tri-state fertilizer recommendations changing

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

Things are changing for the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for agronomic crops. We are giving these updates this winter in advance of the publication update likely to come at the end of winter, and maybe too late to put in your plans for 2019. First the work. Steve Culman our OSU soil fertility specialist coordinated much of it:

  • From 2014 to 2017, over 300 on-farm strip trials were conducted across Ohio.
  • Yield responses to P and K fertilizer in soils at or above the current maintenance range were very rare.
  • Long-term data shows that when Ohio soils are in the current maintenance range, they supply sufficient P and K to meet corn and soybean demand for many growing seasons without yearly fertilization.
  • Recommended corn N rates were updated and are based on maximizing farmer profitability, not maximizing yields (http://go.osu.edu/corn-n-rate).
  • Corn, soybean and wheat today yield more grain with less nutrients.
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Shutdown-delayed USDA market reports will be released Feb. 8

Even though the government is back up and running, the month-long government shutdown continues to have lasting effects, especially when it comes to commodity markets.

Over 60 reports were not released at their scheduled times due to the furloughed staff of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. USDA this week announced that many of those reports, including final harvest numbers for 2018, will be published on the next regularly-scheduled report day Feb. 8.

The February World Agriculture Supply and Demand (WASDE) report will also be released then. Some of the data, including the January WASDE report, will never be published, according to American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Veronica Nigh.

Some of January’s data will be rolled into the February report.

“USDA is generally considered to be the gold standard when it comes to reports and you got to remember how much we’re missing here. The obvious things we’re missing are weekly export sales reports, daily flash sale reports, your monthly WASDE report.

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