SU Extension to Host 5th Annual East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension will host the 5th Annual East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference.  The conference is planned for Friday, April 6 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. at the RG Drage Career Technical Center, 2800 Richville Drive SE in Massillon.  All women and young women (high school age) who are interested, involved in, or want to become involved with food, agricultural, or natural resources production or small business are encouraged to attend.

The conference program features a networking fair, sixteen breakout sessions, and two extended breakout sessions presented by OSU Extension educators, producers and partner agencies.  Sessions are focused around five themes: Business & Finance, Plants & Animals, Communication, Home & Family and Special Interest (branding and online marketing).  The keynote speaker will be Rose Hartschuh – farm wife, mother, Agvocate, and recent winner of the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Registered participants, community organizations or businesses interested in sponsorship information, and/or securing an information/vendor table, should contact the OSU Extension Coshocton County office at 740-622-2265.

Interested individuals can register for the conference on-line at .Cost of the conference is $55 for adult participants and $30 for students.  Conference fee includes conference participation, continental breakfast, lunch and conference handouts.   A special discount is available for those women and students who also plant to attend the Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference on Saturday, April 7. Deadline for registration is Friday, March 23. For more information contact the OSU Extension Holmes County Office at 330-674-3015.



Estimates for Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Payments for Program Year 2017

by: Ben Brown, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics- The Ohio State University

Click Here to Access the Entire Article With Figures/Tables

The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2014 ushered in two programs to the safety net for producers in Ohio and across the country: Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC0-CO) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Both programs serve as shallow loss programs protecting against large variations in revenue and price respectively. The two programs operate differently and should not be compared as substitute programs. However, producers were allowed a one time choice at the beginning of the farm bill to enroll each commodity in either ARC-CO or PLC. Participation rates in Ohio largely followed the national participation rates for corn and soybeans but differed for wheat. The national participation rate for wheat favored PLC, whereas in Ohio, producers favored heavily toward ARC-CO. Nonetheless there are producers in Ohio that are enrolled in ARC-CO and PLC for corn, soybeans, and wheat. This report looks toward the end of the marketing year to estimate county level payments for ARC-CO and PLC in Ohio. As a reminder, payments finalized in October 2018 will be for program year 2017. This information will be important for producers and lenders wishing to estimate their autumn cash flow.

In October of 2017, the majority of producers in Ohio received some form of commodity program payment for the program year 2016. In fact, every county across Ohio triggered a corn ARC-CO payment except Ashtabula county. Soybean ARC-CO payments for Ohio in program year 2016 were smaller and sparce compared to corn.  The majority of Ohio counties triggered a wheat ARC-CO payment, but smaller base acres of wheat exist. In program year 2017, it is estimated fourteen counties triggered corn payments while nearly half triggered soybean payments and two thirds triggered wheat payments.

Data Source and Calculation:

ARC-CO payments are based on a formula separated into two parts: historical revenue benchmark and actual year revenue. The historical revenue benchmark is the Olympic average of yields and prices for the five previous cropping years at 86% of the total. The actual year revenue is the current year yields multiplied by the Marketing Year Average (MYA) price for each commodity. In the case where the current year revenue falls below the historical revenue benchmark, a payment is triggered up to a 10% cap. If the current year revenue is higher than historical revenue then no payment is triggered.

As a reminder both ARC-CO and PLC payments are calculated from a formula using Farm Service Agency (FSA) yields and marketing year average prices. The estimations for this report use National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) yields for 2017. It should be noted that FSA yields are historically lower than NASS yields and should be treated as a lower bound for possible payments. NASS does not provide county yields for all counties, particially due to a low survey response rate. Counties with a NASS yield are included.

The corn and soybean marketing year is September 1st to August 31st meaning that final prices won’t be known for several more months. Using World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) average prices from February, MYA prices of $3.30 for corn, $9.30 for soybeans, and $4.60 for wheat are applied. As the marketing year progresses, it is likely that these estimates will flucuate with price. Higher price results in a smaller payment, similarily, a lower price results a larger payment.

MYA prices used in the historical calculation are as followed:

MYA 2012/13 MYA 2013/14 MYA 2014/15 MYA 2015/16 MYA 2016/17
Corn $6.89 $4.46 $3.70 $3.70 $3.70
Soybeans $14.40 $13.00 $10.10 $8.95 $9.50
Wheat $7.77 $6.87 $5.99 $5.50 $5.50

Years where the MYA price finished below the fixed reference price are replaced with the respective value and represented in bold above. Payments would be lower if the actual MYA price was used in the calculation. Soybeans have never finished below the reference price. Crossed out prices represent the highest and lowest values; these are thrown out in the Olympic average.

Established in the program payment calculations is a limit for payments on 85% of base acres. For simplicity purposes, these figures are adjusted to rates that represent the payment on 100% of enrolled acres. Because of the Budget Control Act of 2011, a 6.8% government sequester has been applied similar to payments made in program years 2014, 2015 and 2016. There is uncertainty as to how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will impact the sequestration level.

Corn Estimates

Expectations for program year 2017 corn ARC-CO payments will be smaller and rare across much of Ohio. This is largely because of the formula benchmark lowering each year as a result of lower prices. In previous years the historical five year revenue included high prices from MYA 2011/12 and 2012/13. Those have been worked out of the formula and the probability of triggering a payment has lowered. The 5 year olympic average price in 2016 was $4.79 compared to a price of $3.95 in 2017. Payment variations across counties happen due to variations in yields. Highland County triggers the largest estimated payment at $37 per acre as a result of a 2017 yield of 167 bu/acre compared to a 2016 yield of 176. The average payment in 2016 was $57 whereas in 2017 it is estimated at $12. Fewer counties are expected to receive a payment with a smaller average payment in comparison from 2016.

Soybean Estimates

In a complete reverse of 2016, the majority of counties in Ohio are expected to trigger a soybean ARC-CO payment due to smaller county soybean yields and a lower historical revenue benchmark. County yields across Ohio were closer to historical trend than previous years and the five year MYA prce was $10.86 in 2017 compared to $11.86 in 2016. Payments are projected larger in the northern part of the state where soybean acres are more prevalent. In 2016, 29 Ohio counties triggered an ARC-CO payment whereas in 2017, 49 counties are expected to trigger a payment.  The average payment in 2016 was $23, whereas in 2017 the average payment is projected at $19. In difference to corn more counties are expected to trigger a payment, but similar to corn the payments are expected to be smaller in 2017.

Wheat Estimates

Corn and soybeans represent the majority of commodity base acres in Ohio with over 4 million base acres of corn and over 3 million base acres of soybeans. Wheat has just over 800 thousand base acres enrolled in ARC-CO or PLC.  However, 82% of wheat base acres have ARC-CO enrollment. In 2016, all but four Ohio counties triggered an ARC-CO payment with an average payment rate of $32. In 2017, the estimated average payment rate is $24 in roughly two-thirds of Ohio’s counties. The lower rate is a product of a higher expected MYA price for the current year of 2017/18. The largest payments are located along the Indiana/Ohio boarder.

PLC Payments

PLC county payments estimates can be made at this time, but with less certainty. Largely because the PLC program has a higher focus on the current MYA price, which is being replaced with the WASDE estimated average price. In Ohio, 3% of soybean base acres, 7% of corn acres and 18% of wheat acres are enrolled in the PLC program. PLC calculation includes taking the positive difference of the fixed reference price minus the current MYA price. Fixed reference prices are as followed: corn- $3.70, soybeans- $8.40, and wheat- $5.50. Given current WASDE projections for a high, low and average MYA price, a PLC payment is triggered at all three levels for corn and wheat with differing levels of size while soybeans do not trigger a payment at any level. PLC payments are expected to be larger for corn than last year while smaller for wheat. Soybeans have never triggered a PLC payment since the creation of the farm bill.


Payments for ARC-CO and PLC will not be made until later in the calendar year, but for cash flow, planning an estimate can be seen as important. Estimates for program year 2017 include fewer counties in Ohio triggering a corn ARC-CO payment in 2017 compared to 2016 with a smaller average payment of $12. This is due to a lower historical benchmark after high prices were removed from the five year Olympic average. In relation to 2016, more Ohio counties are expected to trigger a soybean ARC-CO payment with a smaller per acre average payment rate. Yields closer to a historical trend line have created a higher probability of a soybean payment for half of Ohio’s 88 counties. Like corn, a similar story exists for wheat where fewer counties are expected to receive a payment with a lower average per acre payment rate compared to 2016. A higher expected current year marketing year average brings the current year revenue above the historical benchmark for a third of Ohio’s counties. PLC payment rates are expected to be higher for corn and lower for wheat in 2017 than 2016, but applies to a small percentage of Ohio base acres. Soybeans are not expected to trigger a PLC payment. Estimates for ARC-CO and PLC for each county are included in the appendix.

These are estimates of what payment rates could look like in the majority of Ohio’s 88 counties. Yields and prices will be finalized by the Farm Service Agency later in the calendar year.

Data Sources:

United State Department of Agriculture- Farm Service Agency. ARC/PLC Program. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, 2018.

United States Department of Agriculture- National Agricultural Statistics Service. County Yields. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, 2018

United States Department of Agriculture- World Agricultural Outlook Board. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, WASDE-574, February 8, 2018.


Management in Today’s Dairy Economy

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR – Tuscarawas County

The dairy economy is extremely difficult today and there is no definitive answer as to when it might improve.  I have talked and sat around the kitchen table with a number of families who are concerned about their situation and future.  Times are not easy and the decisions that need made are difficult and filled with emotion.  While it will not solve the problem, understand you are not alone and most of your peers are facing the same difficult decisions.

There are a number of potential options to consider when analyzing farm financial records and looking at ways to trim expenses.  There is no ‘recipe’ for solving each situation because each farm is unique.  Below are some things I’ve talked with farm families about when exploring options.

Communication – is always important and becomes more critical when finances are tight.  Open communication must occur between and with:

  • Business partners & spouses
  • Lender
  • Veterinarian, nutritionist, suppliers, etc.
  • Items such as new equipment purchases vs. repairing existing equipment, knowing your financial situation, developing a plan to stay or get current with your expenses, are examples of items to communicate.

Present Situation

Start by knowing where you are today.  Regardless of the system you use to track farm income and expenses, analyze the numbers you have.  Do you know your cost of production? Has your farm historically been profitable or have you struggled for a long period of time to be profitable?  What’s holding you back from achieving consistent profitability?  Have you analyzed the profitability of individual enterprises that make up your farm?

Potential Options

Every farm is different and each situation is unique when it comes to evaluating options.  Factors such as the number of cows, number of family and employees, level of milk production, debt, number and type of crop acres, among others, make it impossible to give a ‘recipe’ that will be appropriate for each farm.  Based on my discussions with families, below are thoughts on possible options.

  • Evaluate areas for potential cost savings.
    • Talk to your nutritionist. Ask questions about ration ingredients, their purpose and cost.  Can you remove something from a ration without negatively impacting animal health or milk production?  Can you adjust the dry cow diet or management to reduce expenses without a negative result?
    • Can changes be made in your cropping program? Are you soil testing?  If so, are you following the recommendations?  Lime is sometimes the first crop input to be reduced, but I caution you in doing so.  A pH imbalance can result in poor nutrient uptake and reduced yields.  OSU Extension has conducted a number of on-farm research studies you may find useful when looking to reduce costs.  Consult your OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for more information.
  • Talk to your lender
    • Explain your situation, goals, and ask about options. Can you stretch any of your debt over a longer period?  What is your plan to pay the debt?  How will it cash flow?
  • Sell scrap and/or unused equipment
    • This is a one-time cash infusion that will not help over the long-term.
  • Sell timber/coal/other minerals
    • Selling timber or other resources provides cash for the immediate term, but does little to help in the long-term. In the case of timber, depending upon a number of factors, it may 20 or more years before another harvest can occur.
  • Sell livestock
    • Again, this gives some cash, but you can’t keep selling the cows that are producing milk. However, you should eliminate from the herd those cows that are poor producers, have health issues, are difficult breeders, etc.
  • Sell land
    • Is there some acreage that you don’t need, is poor quality, or doesn’t yield well? Depending upon your level of debt, this may be a viable option worth consideration.  Can you retain enough acres to continue with a different venture?
  • Off farm employment
    • You or your spouse may need to explore potential off farm employment. The extra income can help lessen the burden on the farm and reduce stress.
  • Sell the farm
    • It isn’t what you want to do, but may be your only option.

Consider Implications of Your Decisions

This list of potential options is not exhaustive, but is meant to serve as a starting point for discussion.  Some options may not be viable, while others may be worth giving consideration.  Regardless of the decision you make, keep in mind there may be tax or legal implications for which you must prepare.  Make certain you contact professionals in these areas who can answer questions and provide direction.

Seek  Outside Advice

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are plenty of people, including family, clergy, friends, OSU Extension professionals, licensed therapists, and counselors, willing to listen, provide support, and assist you.  The decisions to be made are often filled with much emotion.  While understandable, allowing emotions to drive your decision making can result in poor outcomes.  Seek the advice of an outside party to help you and your family evaluate options and arrive at a decision that best suits everyone.

(Note: This article was originally published in Farm & Dairy on March 16, 2018)






OHIO SMART AGRICULTURE Programs to be held across Ohio in March

OSU Extension would like to invite producers from across Ohio to help plan for the future of Ohio Agriculture by attending one of the OHIO SMART AGRICULTURE programs which will be held across Ohio this March.  The meeting dates are March 5 ( OSU South Centers); March 8 (Clark County); March 14 (Wood County); March 15 (Wayne County); and March 16 (Fairfield County).

This series of meetings are seeking FEEDBACK from Ohio producers and agriculture stakeholders to help identify, design, and deploy strategies to support SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE in Ohio to feed not only the world, but especially our most vulnerable neighbors right here in Ohio.  The goal is an ACTION PLAN for RESILIENT AG.   Please join us to share your views and recommendations at this forum.  Meet and discuss with fellow stakeholders from the agricultural, environmental, food security and health fields about safeguarding agriculture for Ohio’s future.

There is no cost to attend any of these meetings.

 To help to plan for program handouts and refreshments, please RSVP to: Shannon Mott at

More information can be found at:

2018 NE Ohio Living Your Small Farm Dream Conference

The 2018 NE Ohio Living Your Small Farm Dream conference will be held on Saturday, April 7 at the RG Drage Career Center, located at 2800 Richville Drive SW in Massillon Ohio.  The conference provides education and topics of interest for small farm and rural landowners.  Participants will walk away from the conference with knowledge and ideas of how to improve existing enterprises or marketing opportunities.  For those who have some acreage but don’t yet know what to do with it, the conference is an opportunity to consider possibilities, gather information and make contacts.

The 2018 Living Your Small Farm Dream conference offers 26 different breakout sessions divided between five different track topics; Horticulture, Livestock, Marketing, Farm Management and Specialty Crop.  Presenters include OSU Extension specialists, Extension Educators, Business owners, and small farm producers/entrepreneurs.  Conference participants will have the opportunity to attend four different sessions over the course of the four breakout sessions.  The Small Farm conference trade show offers another opportunity to learn and gather information.  The trade show vendors/exhibitors feature goods and services used in small farm operations.  The conference schedule includes time between each breakout session and over an extended noon hour to visit the trade show.

The specialty crop track features sessions on malting barley and hop production to tap into the growing microbrewery businesses.  One session involves a panel discussion with several local microbreweries who will share their stories and use of locally sourced ingredients in their products.  The horticulture track offers sessions on growing grapes, brambles, vegetables, flowers, beekeeping, use of soil amendments, and managing soil health.  The livestock track includes sessions on raising and marketing pasture produced beef and poultry, as well as hay production and Ohio livestock care standards.  The farm management track includes Ag law, business planning, tax issues, farmland renting, health care issues, and creating profitable small farm enterprises.  The marketing track includes a two-hour super session focused on developing on-farm agritourism and agriculture entertainment businesses as well as sessions on how to scale up your small farm business to take advantage of marketing opportunities and a session on developing a distribution system for locally grown foods.

Conference registration/sign-in and the trade show opens at 8:00 am on April 7.  Following some brief conference opening comments at 9:00 am, the first breakout session begins at 9:30 am.  The conference concludes by 4:00 pm.  Conference registration is $60/person or, if attending the Women in Agriculture Conference at the same location on April 6, plus the Small Farm Conference on April 7; $100 for a combined registration.  Student discounts are $30 for attending the small farm conference alone or $50 if attending both the Women in Agriculture and the Small Farm conference. Pre-registration for both the Small Farm conference and the Women in Agriculture conference is due March 23.  On-line registration is available at  A Living the Small Farm Dream conference brochure that lists session topics and presentation times along with a mail-in registration form, and a document with descriptions of all the presentation topics is available at

For more information about the Living Your Small Farm Dream conference contact Rory Lewandowski in the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722, email:; or Emily Adams in the Coshocton County Extension office at 740-622-2265, email: .

Swine Contract Finishing What You Need to Know

by: Garth Ruff-  ANR Educator – OSU Henry County Extension

Napoleon, Ohio — With the new Clemens Food Group packing plant up and running in Coldwater, Michigan there is a need for contract finishing facilities within close proximity to the plant. Northwest and Northcentral Ohio offer tremendous opportunity as Ohio integrators continue to expand their herds in response to the increase in packing capacity. Furthermore, as corn and soy price projections look steady for the foreseeable future, contract swine finishing may be a way to diversify your farming enterprise.

If you have considered or are interested in becoming a contract swine feeder, join OSU Extension on March 1 at the American Legion Annex, 500 Glenwood Avenue, Napoleon. Topics will include barn siting, contract agreements, loan acquisition, manure management, and outlook for the pork industry.

Contact her for Program Flyer

On hand, to present the above topics will be OSU Swine Specialist, Dale Ricker, lenders from AgCredit, Garth Ruff, Henry County Extension Educator, and a panel of Northwest Ohio’s newest swine growers. Plan today to be part of the swine industry tomorrow.


Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production Cluster to Ohio Economy – County Level Analysis


Contributors: Ben Brown, Ryan Brune, Connor Frame, and Megan Ritter

Click here for the entire PDF Article for the County Level Report

In November of 2017, researchers in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics released The Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production to the Ohio Economy report with analysis of Ohio’s entire Agricultural and Food Production Cluster. Details of that report are included, but this serves as a parallel analysis of agriculture to each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. Key results match initial assumptions in those counties with large concentrations of equipment manufacturing, professional services and diary & milk production led total economic contribution by the production agriculture subsector. In addition, counties containing relatively high food processing see the largest total sector contributions, and that counties with relatively small populations experience a higher percentage of employers involved in food and agriculture related careers. Large population centers within Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties produced high economic contributions, but had low total population participation in agriculture. Data obtained from IMPLAN, a North Carolina based economic software company, provided the most recent total values, while the North American Industry Classification System was used to determine the percent agriculture contributed to each sector. The IMPLAN model estimates value added for 536 separate subsectors within Ohio’s economy. Unlike the statewide report, these county level calculations do not include the contribution from restaurants and bars. It also includes Farm Inputs, Equipment and Farm Professional Services in the agricultural production subsector.

Key findings in the statewide report: Ohio’s Agricultural and Food Production Cluster plus Restaurant and Bars account for $1 in every $13 of Ohio’s GSP and 1 in 8 jobs in Ohio. Each county differed in these ratios, but as expected large population counties were negatively correlated with small population counties in economic contribution and percentage of workforce involved in agriculture. The total statewide economic value added contribution of the Agricultural and Food Production Cluster minus Restaurants and Bars was $32.5 billion dollars and accounted for a little over 5 percent of the state’s gross state product. Value added being the sum of sales minus input costs for each sector. Example: corn production minus seed, fertilizer, ext. The sector employed 402,874 Ohioans in 2015 and because of purchases outside the cluster; a multiplier of 1.6 was used for every dollar of valued added making the total contribution $53 billion. Multipliers are a way of capturing the money spent within Ohio made from an agricultural sector that is then used to purchase additional products, like household items, into the economic contribution.

Declining commodity prices for corn, soybeans and milk in recent years have lowered the value added contribution of some counties, especially those that have corn, soybeans and milk ranked in the top three subsectors. Other subsectors including fruit and vegetable production have shown an increase to the value added contribution. Along with decreasing commodity prices, increasing productivity due to technology advancements have correlated with a decrease in employment within agriculture and food production. Ohio’s characteristic as a top agriculture producing state remains strong, but external factors like increasing pressure on land values could be seen as a potential challenge for the production agriculture subsector.

The three main divisions of the Agricultural and Food Production Cluster: Agricultural Production, Agricultural and Food Processing and Food Wholesale/Retail are included in Table 1 with subsectors broken out under their respective division. Different from the statewide report is the inclusion of Farm Inputs, Equipment and Professional Services under the division of Agricultural Production instead of an isolated division.

Table 1: Classification of Sectors

Agricultural Production Agricultural and Food Processing Food Wholesale/ Retail  
Farm Inputs, Equipment and Professional Services Processed Meat, Fish, Poultry & Eggs Food and Forestry Wholesale
Dairy Cattle and Milk Production Dairy Processing Food and Forestry Retail
Beef Cattle Production


Processed Food & Kindred Products
Poultry & Egg Production


Grain Milling & Flour
Hogs & Other Farm Animals Fats & Oils Processing
Grain Production


Beverage Processing
Soybeans & Other Oil Seeds Wood/ Paper/ Furniture Manufacturing
Misc. Crops, Hay, Sugar, Tobacco & Nuts
Fruit & Vegetable Production
Greenhouse, Nursery & Floriculture Production
Forestry, Hunting & Fishing
Sum of Agriculture Production Sum of Food Processing Sum of Food Wholesale/ Retail Total Agricultural and Food Production Cluster


Starting with Total Value Added from the Agriculture and Food Production Cluster it is not surprising to see in Figure 1 that the top five counties also match five counties with large population centers. With Franklin, Hamilton, and Cuyahoga counties being the location of Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland respectively, it was expected and found that the contribution of production agriculture in terms of both value added and employment was the smallest division contributor, with food processing being the largest contributing division in Franklin, Hamilton, Butler, and Stark Counties. Food wholesale/ retail was the largest contributing division for Cuyahoga County.  Statewide, the food processing sector was the largest contributing division at $14,986 million and 2.43% of the states’ Gross State Product (GSP).

Franklin County had a high food processing contribution due to the beverage processing sector at $916 million. Notable companies in the area include Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., BrewDog USA, Coca-Cola and others according to the Columbus Economic Development Annual Report. Employment within the Cluster was also largely contributed from the beverage processing subsector. For Hamilton county, the beverage processing subsector was also the largest contribution to the food processing division. Boston Beer Company, the parent company of Sam Adams Beer, and The J.M. Smuckers Co., parent company to Folgers Coffee are major contributors to the subsector. Boston Beer Company produces 20 percent of all Sam Adams Beer within Hamilton County. Cuyahoga County was the lone county in the top five where the top contributing division was Food Wholesale/Retail. Multiple subsectors in this division contributed to the large value, but noticeable was the smaller value for the beverage processing subsector in the Food Processing division. Analysis was not conducted across all 88 counties, but based on the top total value added counties, counties with large beverage processing subsectors had food processing divisions that made up the largest portion of the county’s Agricultural and Food Cluster contribution. While Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton Counties are only 3 out of 88, the population represents roughly 29 percent of Ohio’s population based on U.S. Census Bureau data and make up a large portion of the Cluster’s impact to Ohio.

Figure 1: Top Five Value Added Counties

In Figure 1, counties producing the largest total values of economic contribution from agriculture and food were identified, and it isn’t surprising that counties with relatively large total economies also had the largest contributions of agriculture. However, in none of the top five producing counties was production agriculture the top contributing division. To look at the relative value of production agriculture to a county’s economy we can use the value added from agricultural production as a percent of the counties total economic output and indeed counties with larger agricultural output in regards to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) do rise to the top.  However, this should not be interpreted as the five counties with the largest total value contribution from production agriculture. The 2016-2017 Ohio Agricultural Statistics Annual Bulletin shows that land use for agricultural purposes in Mercer, Darke, Paulding, Putnam and Union Counties are 93%, 89%, 83%, 99% and 88% respectively, where land use is the sum of cropland, pastureland, and woodland. Figure 2 illustrates where the five counties lie within Ohio.

Figure 2: Top Five Counties

County agriculture contribution profiles for Mercer and Darke counties were similar as both counties had the same two subsectors contributing the majority of value added products to the county economies: Poultry & Egg Production and Pork Production. For Paulding and Putnam counties there was not a specific subsector that stood above the rest, but more of a balanced distribution. Soybeans & Other Oil Crops had relatively high values for both counties. In contrast, Union County had a top contributing subsector of Farm Inputs, Equipment & Other Professional services that made up 9% of the entire counties economy. This subsector made up 90% of the contribution of the Agricultural and Food Cluster.

While one indication of contribution to a county’s economy is through the value added calculation, another indicator is the number of people employed with-in the Cluster. Similar to the total contribution illustration above in Figure 1, counties with high food processing and relatively large populations also have the largest total number of employment in agriculture, but have a low percentage in relation to the entire county population. Figure 3, identifies the five counties with the highest percentage of the population involved in the Agriculture and Food Cluster. As seen above, Franklin County had the largest total value added to the economy and the highest employment at almost 38 thousand people, but represents roughly 4% of the counties workforce. Whereas Jackson County did not make the top five in total value added contribution, but has 25 percent of its workforce involved in the Cluster.

Figure 3: Percent of Population involved in Agriculture and Food


Understanding components of the statewide economy are important, as trends within the sector help identify strengths and weaknesses. However, county analysis helps those within and around the industry become stronger more informed decision makers in issues relevant to the Agricultural and Food Production Cluster. Not surprising, counties with larger populations had the highest total value added contribution to the county’s economy and the highest number of employees within the work force, but had lower percentages of the county total in values and employees to those counties with small populations. In counties with large value added from the entire cluster, Food Processing was the largest contributing division for the majority of counties in the top five. A strong beverage-processing subsector helped elevate the Food Processing division for these counties.  Isolating the Production Agriculture division including Farm Inputs, Equipment and Professional Services as a percent of the county’s total economy identified five counties that have relatively high land use in agriculture and high total sales from agriculture commodities.

Individual county fact sheets for all eighty-eight Ohio counties are listed here:

Appendix I. includes a list of counties and their value of total contribution, value of production agriculture contribution, and employment. State rankings are in parentheses.


“Columbus Region: Food and Beverage.” Columbus 2020, 2017.

DiCarolis, Janice. et al. The Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production to the Ohio Economy. 2017.

IMPLAN. 2017. 2015 Ohio state data package.

Turner, Cheryl, and Brooke Morris. Ohio Agricultural Statistics 2016-2017 Annual Bulletin. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2017.

US Census. 2017a. County Business Profiles.

  Agriculture Production Value Added Ag Production % of Employment Total Cluster Value Added Total % of Employment
Adams $26,132,407 (72) 10% (5) $56,773,236 (77) 14% (13)
Allen $78,125,934 (19) 2% (65) $319,126,539 (24) 7% (64)
Ashland $74,074,340 (24) 5% (36) $184,902,491 (48) 10% (38)
Ashtabula $46,313,267 (52) 3% (56) $170,069,071 (50) 8% (59)
Athens $10,832,931 (82) 2% (63) $84,474,544 (69) 6% (74)
Auglaize $71,793,513 (25) 4% (39) $265,307,529 (34) 10% (33)
Belmont $48,773,321 (50) 3% (58) $145,203,550 (55) 8% (54)
Brown $32,761,777 (68) 7% (20) $61,715,467 (76) 11% (28)
Butler $49,768,789 (48) 1% (81) $1,323,431,575 (4) 6% (73)
Carroll $27,087,761 (71) 6% (22) $52,115,212 (78) 10% (37)
Champaign $41,533,589 (62) 5% (28) $106,563,182 (65) 11% (30)
Clark $49,500,983 (49) 2% (69) $287,447,821 (29) 7% (62)
Clermont $38,145,667 (65) 2% (70) $290,746,554 (27) 6% (75)
Clinton $53,920,762 (42) 4% (42) $132,673,146 (57) 8% (51)
Columbiana $56,804,685 (35) 3% (54) $264,737,172 (35) 9% (41)
Coshocton $60,830,386 (31) 7% (17) $187,589,390 (47) 15% (7)
Crawford $56,705,986 (37) 4% (40) $94,785,325 (67) 8% (57)
Cuyahoga $97,944,901 (9) >1% (86) $2,870,230,295 (3) 4% (88)
Darke $239,806,461 (4) 8% (12) $301,799,993 (25) 12% (23)
Defiance $74,738,470 (21) 5% (33) $132,202,917 (58) 9% (43)
Delaware $71,115,273 (26) 1% (78) $414,656,942 (15) 5% (81)
Erie $40,597,271 (64) 2% (62) $168,143,020 (51) 6% (68)
Fairfield $57,092,509 (34) 2% (64) $286,483,386 (30) 7% (66)
Fayette $41,430,653 (63) 4% (44) $203,165,951 (45) 13% (19)
Franklin $163,203,968 (5) > 1% (87) $4,233,913,386 (1) 4% (86)
Fulton $74,574,695 (22) 5% (34) $195,829,037 (46) 10% (32)
Gallia $15,592,444 (77) 6% (27) $37,233,957 (81) 8% (49)
Geauga $56,208,056 (38) 3% (61) $237,554,367 (40) 7% (63)
Greene $43,688,591 (56) 1% (77) $215,452,629 (43) 4% (83)
Guernsey $20,965,101 (75) 6% (26) $74,530,511 (72) 10% (35)
Hamilton $111,589,093 (8) >1% (88) $3,094,701,906 (2) 4% (85)
Hancock $56,118,896 (39) 2% (67) $385,962,349 (18) 9% (46)
Hardin $82,800,471 (14) 8% (13) $138,666,355 (56) 15% (11)
Harrison $10,621,659 (83) 7% (18) $28,975,047 (84) 13% (16)
Henry $54,239,652 (41) 6% (24) $334,766,774 (21) 18% (3)
Highland $45,616,926 (55) 9% (9) $76,818,531 (71) 13% (18)
Hocking $6,799,259 (87) 5% (32) $47,538,393 (79) 12% (22)
Holmes $132,411,907 (7) 7% (16) $385,876,069 (19) 22% (2)
Huron $89,862,265 (11) 5% (37) $324,490,460 (22) 11% (26)
Jackson $22,937,105 (74) 4% (47) $239,977,669 (39) 25% (1)
Jefferson $9,879,886 (84) 2% (71) $79,391,785 (70) 6% (69)
Knox $50,521,887 (47) 5% (30) $122,081,622 (62) 10% (34)
Lake $82,942,001 (13) 1% (80) $630,592,252 (10) 6% (76)
Lawrence $6,325,381 (88) 4% (41) $40,616,956 (80) 8% (55)
  Agriculture Production Value Added Ag Production % of Employment Total Cluster Value Added Total % of Employment
Licking $80,959,369 (17) 3% (57) $290,176,991 (28) 7% (61)
Logan $47,525,570 (51) 4% (45) $129,164,871 (61) 8% (58)
Lorain $75,209,443 (20) 1%  (73) $376,334,667 (20) 5% (78)
Lucas $65,557,760 (29) >1% (84) $745,401,227 (9) 4% (87)
Madison $69,435,722 (27) 4% (38) $113,507,126 (64) 8% (53)
Mahoning $43,627,477 (57) 1% (82) $413,002,404 (16) 5% (80)
Marion $82,089,222 (16) 3% (50) $261,902,767 (36) 10% (36)
Medina $67,362,783 (28) 2% (72) $492,849,630 (13) 6% (67)
Meigs $12,179,096 (81) 9% (6) $22,478,977 (87) 13% (17)
Mercer $287,020,607 (2) 7% (15) $486,428,489 (14) 16% (5)
Miami $41,628,715 (61) 3% (59) $320,490,163 (23) 9% (44)
Monroe $13,856,148 (79) 12% (2) $21,979,543 (88) 15% (12)
Montgomery $53,434,618 (43) >1% (83) $965,102,826 (8) 4% (84)
Morgan $13,011,573 (80) 9% (8) $23,902,013 (86) 14% (14)
Morrow $42,743,432 (59) 9% (7) $70,494,294 (73) 12% (20)
Muskingum $30,721,596 (70) 3% (55) $272,726,649 (33) 8% (47)
Noble $8,823,935 (85) 10% (4) $29,242,985 (83) 16% (6)
Ottawa $42,511,100 (60) 4% (43) $89,869,973 (68) 8% (56)
Paulding $54,709,543 (40) 12% (1) $66,561,674 (75) 15% (9)
Perry $14,860,292 (78) 8% (14) $30,646,479 (82) 12% (24)
Pickaway $58,449,378 (33) 5% (29) $104,937,335 (66) 9% (42)
Pike $20,526,229 (76) 4% (48) $69,036,918 (74) 11% (25)
Portage $33,902,467 (66) 1% (75) $282,939,009 (31) 5% (79)
Preble $52,009,567 (46) 9% (10) $171,486,943 (49) 15% (10)
Putnam $145,093,953 (6) 10% (3) $299,022,297 (26) 13% (15)
Richland $60,865,434 (30) 2% (66) $241,549,299 (38) 6% (72)
Ross $33,267,855 (67) 3% (52) $281,600,791 (32) 10% (39)
Sandusky $74,346,534 (23) 3% (53) $212,843,255 (44) 8% (48)
Scioto $24,304,785 (73) 3% (51) $117,445,217 (63) 7% (60)
Seneca $56,748,780 (36) 6% (25) $153,350,740 (52) 10% (31)
Shelby $80,446,033 (18) 3% (49) $226,462,435 (42) 9% (45)
Stark $82,669,192 (15) 1% (79) $1,225,863,198 (5) 7% (65)
Summit $53,052,421 (44) >1% (85) $1,086,245,523 (6) 4% (82)
Trumbull $46,191,278 (54) 1% (74) $256,092,067 (37) 6% (77)
Tuscarawas $52,437,891 (45) 3% (60) $227,995,907 (41) 8% (52)
Union $459,647,601 (1) 7% (21) $549,639,730 (12) 9% (40)
Van Wert $89,276,531 (12) 7% (19) $131,848,326 (60) 11% (27)
Vinton $8,559,330 (86) 8% (11) $27,107,972 (85) 17% (4)
Warren $46,224,334 (53) 1% (76) $552,430,711 (11) 6% (70)
Washington $30,966,222 (69) 4% (46) $132,119,584 (59) 8% (50)
Wayne $283,008,467 (3) 5% (31) $1,002,275,825 (7) 15% (8)
Williams $43,262,519 (58) 5% (35) $145,407,816 (54) 11% (29)
Wood $97,920,671 (10) 2% (68) $387,193,635 (17) 6% (71)
Wyandot $60,516,234 (32) 6% (23) $149,052,657 (53) 12% (21)


Ohio State Researchers: Milk Date Labels Contribute to Food Waste

Written by Tracy Turner; Sources by Brain Roe and Dennis Heldman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Got milk?

If so, you may be among the majority of consumers who throw that milk out once the date on the carton or jug label has passed.

But Ohio State University researchers say not so fast — that pasteurized milk is still good to drink past its sell-by date.

Scientists in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) say that arbitrary date labels on food contribute to significant food waste because the date labels serve only as an indicator of shelf life, which relates more to food quality than safety.

Brian Roe, a CFAES professor of agricultural economics, co-authored a new study examining consumer behavior regarding date labeling on milk containers. The goal of the research is to help consumers reduce food waste through improved food labeling systems and consumer education.

The study, which will appear in the June 2018 edition of Food Quality and Preference Journal, surveyed 88 consumers who were asked to sniff half-gallon jugs of milk that were 15, 25, 30 and 40 days past the date they were bottled. Some milk samples were dated and some were not dated.

The study found that 64 percent of respondents said they would throw the milk out that had a date label, while only 45.8 percent of respondents said they would throw the same milk out if they didn’t know the date label of the milk.

“Date labeling doesn’t tell you when a food will spoil,” said Roe, who also leads the Ohio State Food Waste Collaborative, a collection of researchers, practitioners and students working together to promote the reduction and redirection of food waste.

“Consumers often view dates as if they indicated health or safety, but those dates are really just about the quality of a product determined by manufacturers,” Roe said. “There’s a difference between quality and safety.

“Pasteurized milk is safe past the sell-by date unless it has been cross-contaminated. While it may not taste as good — it can go sour and have flavors that people don’t like and may make them feel nausea — but it isn’t going to make them sick.”

Roe said the study focused on milk because it is one of the most wasted food products in the United States, representing 12 percent of consumer food waste by weight. And past research suggests the date label is a critical reason why milk is discarded, he said.

“Innovations in date labels and explaining what the date labels mean will allow more consumers to save money by keeping milk longer and reducing food waste, which has social implications as well,” Roe said. “It’s very resource intensive to produce milk — from the land needed to grow feed for the cows, to the water used for cows to produce the milk, to the energy that goes into housing cows and to processing and transporting the milk.

“Not to mention the retailers, who spend a lot of time managing the milk case at the grocery store as well.”

Confusion regarding food label dates leads to significant food waste nationwide, with the average American household spending more than $2,000 annually on wasted food, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

So what do the date labels on food mean?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the:

  • “Best if used by/before” date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or a safety date.
  • “Sell-by” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
  • “Use-by” date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except when used on infant formula.

“If we make changes to the date labeling, we have to make sure the regulatory system understands how the changes will impact their regulations,” said Dennis R. Heldman, a CFAES professor of food engineering, a member of the Food Waste Collaborative and a study co-author.

Heldman is also studying the effect on consumers of an indicator that would be attached to containers of perishable foods to monitor their shelf life. The indicator would gradually change color during storage and distribution of a food or beverage.

So a change in color, say, from blue to red, would tell consumers that the product has reached the end of its shelf life.

“Using this method, consumers can be confident as to when the product should and shouldn’t be consumed,” he said.


Values on Agricultural Land Are Expected to Decline by 11.2%/ acre on Average

Ani Katchova, Associate Professor and Farm Income Enhancement Chair

Robert Dinterman, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

There are two types of tax values that are on the minds of farmers: market value (the value per acre for highest and best potential use) and current agricultural use value.  Farmers who farm more than 10 acres and participate in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program typically benefit from lower tax bills because tax is calculated based on below true market values.  The program began in 1973 with the intention of leveling the playing field for farmers by computing farmland values based on crop yield, soil conditions, interest rates, and crop prices that have proven to be volatile.

Projections just released by agricultural economists in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) forecast that agricultural land is expected to see a decline of around 11.2% from 2017 values that averaged around $1,153.  The projected average 2018 CAUV value is expected to be $1,023 per acre for the 24 counties in Ohio receiving either reappraisals or adjustments to their properties’ assessed value.

Ani Katchova, Associate Professor and Farm Income Enhancement Chair, and Robert Dinterman, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics are releasing their projected CAUV values months before the Ohio Department of Taxation will release the official CAUV values.  They say the reduction will help farmers lower their expenses and help stabilize declining farm incomes.

“It is good news for farmers because it will reduce their tax bill,” says Katchova. “Adjustments to assessed values occur once every three years and this represents a 26.3% decrease from the 2015 average CAUV value of $1,388 which had been the assessed value for the past 3 years for counties receiving an update in 2018.”

Dinterman explains further, “these same 24 counties saw their taxes rise in 2014 due to rising commodity prices and a falling capitalization rate.”

He furthers that CAUV values are anticipated to be even lower in the future, because we still have the phase in process and the CAUV formula is based on seven-year averages of several inputs.  CAUV has undergone significant changes to its formula in the past few years – mostly by changing its formula for the capitalization rate – which impacts the OSU agricultural economists’ projections for the 2018 CAUV values.

To calculate the projected values, Dinterman and Katchova used official Ohio Department of Taxation and USDA data, and data on non-land costs.  The Ohio State agricultural economists anticipate that the decline in CAUV values for 2018 will be a continued trend for at least the next 3 years.

Even though the average value of CAUV is expected to decline by 11.2%, not all soil types will decline by the same percent.

“CAUV is calculated for each of over 3,400 soil types in Ohio,” Dinterman clarifies. “And the factor that differentiates the soil types is how much corn, soybeans, or wheat the soil is expected to produce. Farmland with higher expected yields will be more affected by these CAUV changes than farmland with lower productivity.”

Katchova and Dinterman caution that their projections are not the official Ohio Department of Taxation estimates. They claim it is possible for the average CAUV value to decline by as much as 20.6% while it is also possible for the average CAUV value to rise by over 20.6%. However, an increase is viewed as unlikely.

Review of “Constructed wetlands for water quality improvements: Benefit transfer analysis from Ohio”

by N.B. Irwin, E.G. Irwin, J.F. Martin and P. Aracena

Bodies of water provide many benefits to residents through recreation and use but run-off from agriculture and urban areas can impair water quality. While Ohio has worked on improving water quality in its rivers and large streams, with 80 percent meeting aquatic life goals, less than 13 percent of its lakes meet such a standard. A possible solution to this problem is the construction of treatment wetlands to remove excessive nutrients from water bodies. Constructed wetlands utilize the natural environment as a form of water treatment and act as a filter to remove excessive nutrients and pollutants in runoff water.  Compared to other forms of water treatment, wetlands deliver water quality improvements with significantly smaller lifetime operation and maintenance costs.

This study examines the feasibility of using constructed wetlands to improve water quality in sample of 24 inland lakes from Ohio. Using water quality data collected from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, data on population, housing prices and incomes from the U.S. Census, and information on recreational visitors, the total cost of creating and operating free surface water wetlands to improve water quality by 10 percent through the removal of phosphorous is estimated. Additionally, the study derives the willingness-to-pay for a 10 percent water quality improvements by both homeowners and recreation users. Nearby residents benefit from improved water quality through higher house prices while recreation users value the changes in water quality through an expansion of possible outdoor opportunities.

The total cost of constructing wetlands for all 24 lakes is over $107 million, with size and surrounding land cost for each lake differing greatly. The willingness-to-pay estimates for both the surrounding homeowners and recreation users averages over $606 million, depending on the model specification. The most conservative estimates indicate that constructed wetlands could provide a lifetime cost benefit ratio of 1:2.92 or a $2.92 return for every $1 invested. The average per capita benefit per resident or recreation user would be $68. These results indicate that wetlands are clearly an effective means of both reducing nutrient loadings in surface water and providing positive economic returns to homeowners and recreational users.

The study also examines the cost implications for constructed wetlands to be used as a strategy to meet hypothetical statewide standards for phosphorous concentrations in lakes at 50 µg/L and 25 µ/L per lake. At the lower standard of 50 µg/L the estimated cost is $870 million, whereas at the stricter standard of 25 µg/L costs would exceed $2.7 billion and require 0.5% of all arable land in Ohio. Using wetlands for achieved phosphorus reduction goals is not a cost-effective strategy. Instead, a comprehensive approach to nutrient reduction and water quality is necessary.

To read the complete article follow the link:


Summarized by Ben Brown, Program Manager: Farm Management Program