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Reporting ammonia (NH3) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from animal farms

Recently, air emission reporting requirements for animal feeding operations (AFOs) has caused turmoil among livestock and poultry producers. Without sufficient knowledge about air emissions from AFOs and proper tools to estimate the emissions, it has been a difficulty for livestock and poultry producers to comply with the reporting requirement. This article aims to summarize background information and the best available resources about the air emission reporting requirements for AFOs with a purpose to help the producers.

Farming had been traditionally exempt from the Clean Air Act (CAA) and state air quality regulations. However, as AFOs increased their scales of operations, public concerns over air quality impacts from AFOs have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start monitoring and regulating air emissions from AFOs. EPA announced a voluntary Air Quality Compliance Agreement (the Agreement) with Animal Feeding Operations on Jan. 21, 2005 with a purpose to ensure an AFO’s compliance with the applicable CAA, CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act), and EPCRA (the Environmental Planning and Community Right- to-Know Act) provisions by establishing Emissions Estimating Methodologies (EEM) and air emission thresholds for AFOs based on data collected through the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS).

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Anthony Wayne FFA officers compete in Parli Pro

Six members of the Anthony Wayne FFA officer team competed in the District 1 Advanced Parliamentary Procedure Career Development Event at Four County Career Center in early December.

For the competition, students took a 40 question written test over different aspects of parliamentary procedure. Then members correctly demonstrated parliamentary procedure in front of three judges. The Anthony Wayne FFA team placed 3rd in the district.

Competitor Lexi Fries said “I’ve participated on the novice team in the past and I enjoyed competing on advanced team this year.”

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The hunt continues

By Matt Reese

A stealthy hunter slowly creeps through an evergreen forest, scanning the surroundings for his prey. A cold November wind whips through the pines, sending a shiver through the hunter’s body. Undaunted he presses on, silent as snow.

Through the cover of some fir branches the hunter stops, keen eyes focused on his quarry — a buck deer warily watching from his spot nestled up beneath the green boughs of the winter landscape. A flash of the bow and the deer slumps. A flick of the knife and the hunter’s task is fulfilled with another successful hunt on the DiVencenzo Family Tree Farm.

The tradition started when an upset too-young-to-deer-hunt four-year-old couldn’t go deer hunting with his dad. To amend the situation, the boy’s grandmother instead took him to pick out a Christmas tree and hunt for a stuffed toy deer hidden in the tree field using a toy bow and plastic hunting knife.

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Bins locked tight waiting for prices to rise

Numerous producers who in recent years had completed corn and soybean harvest by the end of October found their work days stretched late into November. Many continue to be amazed at the huge corn yields of this past growing season. While not everyone had record corn yields this fall, it was a common occurrence across Ohio. It would appear that that were more record corn yields than record soybean yields. Rainfall at my house in Lancaster was six inches last month. No doubt many readers have similar totals.

Grain facilities across the state had storage space stretched to the maximum this fall. While those rainy days of October and November delayed harvest, it did allow grain handlers to get caught up on drying corn this fall. Late November some facilities were open limited days as they wanted to be full at the end of harvest. With basis levels already appreciating for corn and soybeans by the end of November, some producers will be anxious to move grain this month to core their grain bins.

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A unique avenue to drive agriculture’s message into the city

Continuing the mission of advocacy and outreach into Central Ohio, Franklin County Farm Bureau was seeking out a way to expand their message and communicate with those that aren’t all that close to the farm, both in distance and understanding. So, they recently acquired Edible Columbus magazine.

“Edible Columbus is a print, community-based publication published four times a year, and distributed free to the public,” said Colleen Leonardi, the magazine’s Editor-In-Chief. “From sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking to locally sourced restaurants, breweries and distilleries, our mission is to create fresh, beautiful content to engage readers in our food, our region and our culture, season by season.”

Leonardi said the partnership with Franklin County Farm Bureau, a grassroots organization that works to support Ohio’s thriving local food and farming economy, compliments what they do at Edible Columbus.

Edible Columbus has a yearly reach of 100,000 readers in the Central Ohio area. The magazine is available at the locations of local businesses that advertise within the publication and is also received by subscription.

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Farm Bureau members gathered in Columbus for 99th annual meeting

“Together With Farmers” was the theme of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th annual meeting at the Columbus Convention Center and Hilton Downtown Hotel.

More than 600 attendees were on hand as OFBF established its policy on important state and federal issues, elected leaders and recognized the accomplishments of individuals and the organization.

Some of the organization’s accomplishments of the past year were highlighted, including reform of Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) formula. The reforms will begin in the 2017 valuations, which farmers in 41 counties will receive in January 2018, and will be fully implemented for all counties after the 2022 reassessment, said Leah Curtis, policy counsel for Ohio Farm Bureau.

“If you are in a 2017 re-appraisal county, that means you get your new bill in 2018. Your county auditor may have sent out an updated CAUV value for you. Not all auditors do that, so if you want to see what your new CAUV value is you can contact your auditor to find out,” Curtis said.

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Ohio No-Till Conference draws a crowd

Problems and issues with weeds, slugs or planting into cover crops were all covered at the Ohio No-till Conference on Dec. 6

Steve Groff, Bill Lehmkuhl and Bret Margraf led a discussion covering a broad array of equipment challenges. Attendees learned how to set closing wheels for green covers and how to eliminate hair-pinning (for either green or dead covers). A pusher bar is recommended for tall cover crops. For planting cover crop seed, a planter works best for a single variety. Or with individual hoppers, you can have two varieties in alternate rows, such as Austrian winter pea and oilseed radish. A drill works best for multi-species covers.

“Battling slugs, voles and other varmints that love no-till and cover crops” kicked off the day and attendees learned from the experiences of consultant Mike Daley and Neil Badenhop with Valent. Slugs, voles and other pests can become problematic in the cover of long-term no-till fields with cover crops.

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Capturing market carry

With too much supply in the U.S. and around the world, corn isn’t likely to move in the short-term without a big event.

With 30 to 45 days of the major soybean producing areas of South American growing season left, there is still a lot of weather premium potential left in beans right now.

 

Capturing market carry

After Dec options expired on 11/24/17, it left me short several Dec future contract positions. Since Dec futures go off the Board of Trade soon, I have to move them to a future contract month. I want to make sure I maximize my market carry opportunities with these trades, but also consider practicalities, like when I will have to core my bins centers out. I selected March ’18 futures.

Unfortunately many farmers don’t take full advantage of market carry. This is a shame, because it’s a relatively easy, low risk way to add profit to a farm operation.

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Do woolly worms really predict the winter ahead?

Imagine yourself as a student on the campus of The Ohio State University. It’s a nice, sunny day outside. Students are walking to class, others are having conversation beside Mirror Lake, and in the distance, you see your entomology professor running around with a crazed look in his eyes while waving a comically-sized insect net.

Yes, the latter really happened. The man in question is known as the BugDoc, professor emeritus of entomology at The Ohio State University, Dr. David Shetlar. I had the pleasure of visiting with him recently to ask him something that bugs my brain every year at this time, no pun intended.

Old wives’ tales are something of a hobby for farmers in Ohio it seems, especially when it comes to predicting winter weather. Everything in the Lord’s creation is up for grabs when it comes to telling us how bad the upcoming winter will be. Whether its corn husk thickness, leaf amounts, or wool growth on sheep, something somewhere will tell us winter is coming.

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As health insurance costs rise, more consider shared health programs

It is the time of year when thoughts turn to the joys of giving, family, and unfortunately in recent years, rising health insurance costs.

Around Ohio, those who are self-employed or working at a small business are getting the news that their health insurance premiums will be getting another healthy increase for 2018. Ohioans purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act will see average premium increases of 34% in 2018, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance. In addition, the insurance policies might not cover certain providers and may have higher co-pays. There will also be a shorter period to enroll in plans this year in some cases with a deadline of Dec. 15, compared to last year’s enrollment deadline of Jan. 31.

The growing health insurance frustration of many people in rural Ohio has them searching for other options, including Christian medical cost sharing programs. Michelle and Mitchell Stammen of Mercer County made the decision to switch after Michelle left a corporate job that gave their family of four very good insurance, and started working from home.

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Where are the “You Been Farming Long” boys now?

This picture is one of the most iconic pictures in the history of agriculture. Back in the early 80s you couldn’t go to a farm house, implement dealer or sale barn without seeing this poster somewhere on the wall. Seeing it recently for the first time in a long time piqued my curiosity and I wanted to know what ever happened to these two boys (who are in there 40s now)? So I Googled it. Here is what I found.

One of the first links that popped up was a Pinterest posting from 2009. The mother of the two bib-donning photo stars, Deni Overton, wrote about how the picture came to be and the interest it garnered for years to come. She wrote:

Have you seen this picture before?

I took this picture of my twin sons in September, 1978.

Did you know that it is one of the most recognized posters in history?

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Ohio Ag Net Podcast | Episode 36 | Woolly Worms, Sheep, and CAUV

Ohio Ag Net’s 36th episode of the podcast, brought to you by AgriGold, has a wide range of topics from host Ty Higgins, Bart Johnson, Dale Minyo, and Joel Penhorwood.

The recent Buckeye Shepherd Symposium brought in sheep producers from around the region to discuss farming practices, market trends, and recognize outstanding individuals in the industry. Joel Penhorwood catches up with OSIA’s Roger High on the event and the state of the Ohio sheep industry.

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Leah Curtis updates the crew with the latest on CAUV and what farmers need to do now that reform is in place.

And with the winter weather settling in, we look at old wives’ tales that claim to predict the months ahead. The BugDoc, David Shetlar, entomologist and professor emeritus at The Ohio State University, spoke with Joel Penhorwood about the predictive ability of woolly worms (woolly bear caterpillars) and other insects supposedly able to tell the future by the color of their bodies and other activities.

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Kin Corriedales bloodline goes well beyond the state line

What started as a livestock project back in 1944 has become a multi-generational legacy for an Ohio family that has built a reputation across the country in the Corriedale sheep breed.

“This farm started as a general livestock farm with Shorthorn cattle, Poland China hogs and a few sheep,” said Al Kin, the eldest member of the Wyandot County family. “After a few years with Hampshire and Shropshire lambs, my dad was looking for a breed that had more wool and was easier to lamb with, so when my brother got into FFA he took on a Corriedale sheep project. Dad liked the results so much he bought a ram and started a purebred flock.”

After over seven decades of hard work, dedication and success, the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Program saw it fit to name Al Kin, along with his sons Jim and Phil, as the 2017 Charles Boyles Master Shepherds of the Year announced at the Shepherd Symposium last weekend.

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Are soybeans responsive to nitrogen fertilizer?

Soybean plants have a high demand for nitrogen as soybean grain contains a large amount of protein. An 80-bushel per acre soybean crop requires approximately 302 pounds of N per acre. As soybean yield increases, many farmers question if nitrogen supplied through fixation and the soil is adequate to maximize yield.

With funding from the Ohio Soybean Council, the soybean and small grain production lab at The Ohio State University evaluated nitrogen fertilizer application to soybean in eight Ohio counties in 20 separate trials. Various nitrogen sources (urea, slow-release nitrogen, and foliar nitrogen) and application timings (pre-plant, at planting, and R3 soybean growth stage) were evaluated. Overall, four out of 20 trials resulted in a soybean yield increase with nitrogen application. At today’s soybean price, nitrogen application to soybean had a positive economic return at one location out of 20.

Recently, these results from Ohio State were included in a synthesis analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to determine soybean response to nitrogen application across the United States.

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Living in yesterday’s science fiction: Artificial intelligence in agriculture

In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, one increasingly common theme continues to be Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its role in our society. AI is changing everything from the way we shop with products like Amazon’s Echo using voice commands to initiate the purchase of products while other AI devices like Nest keep our homes safe and comfortable. These devices represent a new type of “smart” technology that utilizes AI or machine learning. Machine learning distills large amounts of input data into algorithms based on patterns. The amount of investment in the field of AI has grown substantially spanning all economic sectors ranging from industrial to consumer goods, health care and even banking. Technology titans such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are committing heavily to continuing development of AI.

To follow are three examples of how AI or machine learning is applied in other areas and how it could be used by producers in the near future.

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2017 Ohio water quality concerns

I wanted to share a couple of items on water quality. Generally I think we are headed in the right direction, now to move forward.

  1. We now have 17,000 folks certified to apply fertilizer in Ohio. That’s a good thing. It means you are thinking about crop production improvements but also about how you nutrient losses affect the environment outside your farm boundaries.
  2. Lake Erie responded to the weather this year, and so did the Gulf of Mexico. Any water with excess nutrients in the Lake Erie watershed goes north to that water body, and the rest of Ohio ships their excess to the Gulf of Mexico. The HAB for Lake Erie this year was the third or fourth largest in recent memory (Figure 1), but had less toxins. For the hypoxia area in the Gulf of Mexico, it was the largest ever (Figure 2).

 

 

We still have work to do.

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Things to remember as first CAUV reform benefits take effect

Ohio’s farmers and rural communities will benefit from reforms to the state’s farmland tax policy, culminating a three-year effort that ended with the new state budget signed by Gov. John Kasich last summer. The budget legislation contained changes to the Current Agricultural Use Value formula, which in recent years has caused farmland owners to experience tax increases of 300% or more.

“It’s taken three years of grassroots action to fix the flaws in the CAUV formula, and our members should be proud of this significant accomplishment,” said Adam Sharp, Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President.

Sharp said the reforms are being phased-in over two reassessment cycles (six years) in order to assist local communities and schools to transition to the more accurate CAUV formula. Under CAUV, farmland is taxed at a rate that reflects its value for agricultural purposes instead of its value as development property. Ohio voters originally enacted the formula in 1973 as a means to preserve farmland.

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Big cats, badgers and coy wolves: Will a snowy winter offer wildlife tracking opportunities?

As we settle in for what many believe will be a cold winter, I am ready for some snow.

After limited snowball fights, almost no opportunities to take the kids sledding and nary a snowman in the last couple of winters, I am hoping for some snow and frosty weather in the months ahead. Along with opportunities for some outdoor fun, I always am fascinated to walk the fields surrounding my house to look for wildlife tracks with the children.

What seem to be empty fields during daylight hours turn into wildlife highways by night around my house. I never realize how much critter traffic there really is until I pull on my boots and take a crisp winter stroll in the snow and see the vast array of tracks from opossums, raccoons, skunks, mink, fox, and coyotes (among other things) that have traveled the landscape the previous night. My son, especially, loves to find and identify the tracks, and I am always surprised about the volume of them out there.

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Elimination of Section 199 proposed in tax reform

While a myriad of details are currently being hashed out in Congress regarding the tax reform measures that are a priority for the Trump Administration, there are some concerns in rural America concerning the debate. Language in the House version of the tax cuts includes eliminating the Section 199 deduction. The Section 199 deduction (or Domestic Production Activities Deduction) was enacted in 2004 as a part of the American Jobs Creation Act. The deduction applies to proceeds from agricultural products that are manufactured or marketed through cooperatives. The majority of co-ops pass the benefit through directly to their farmer members.

The House has passed H.R. 1 that includes the repeal.

“The deduction returns nearly $2 billion annually to rural areas across the country, so it has been good for agriculture and for rural America,” said Chris Henney, president and CEO of the Ohio AgriBusiness Association. “In its current form, H.R. 1 repeals Section 199 with the assumption that cooperatives and their members would benefit from the proposed reduction in corporate and individual tax rates.

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