Ohio Victory Gardens Offers Free Seeds

Hardin County – It’s time once again to get your hands dirty and start growing! The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension offices are kicking off the fifth year of the Ohio Victory Gardens program. Due to high demand, the program has expanded to include 64 counties, up from 50 counties last year. Thousands of seed sample kits are available for free to the public to get people planting.

Specific days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website, as well as planting resources and information. Hardin County OSU Extension will make available Ohio Victory Garden seed packets containing a combination of carrots, cucumber, lettuce, and sunflowers. Seeds are currently available at the Hardin County OSU Extension Office, 1021 W Lima Street in Kenton and will also be available at its annual Master Gardener Volunteers Plant Sale being held Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County located at 960 W Kohler Street in Kenton.

Victory Gardens originated during World War I, an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. People were encouraged to find any usable space, plop in some seeds, and contribute homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs to the effort. The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism.

While we’re not in wartime, we can all commiserate the past few months have been tough, mood-boosters are welcomed. So, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University are reviving the effort and once again inspiring people to get their hands dirty, realize the fruits of their labor and share with others if inspired. We believe a good day in the garden is good for the soul.

The Victory Gardens Program offers a full website with details on seed distribution, advice, and resources on every aspect of planting and harvesting produce at https://u.osu.edu/ohiovictorygardens/online. All Victory Gardens participants will be eligible to win a free starter gardening toolkit by completing a short online survey to enter.


Article written by Ohio Department of Agriculture and edited by Mark Badertscher-OSU Extension, Hardin County

Horse Banquet

Hardin County – The ninth annual Hardin County Horse Banquet will be held on Saturday, April 13 at the Kenton Moose Family Center. The doors will open at 5:30 pm for a silent auction to raise funds for the scholarship and food will be served at 6:00 pm. Banquet tickets this year are $18.00 for adults and $15.00 for ages 18 and under. A child’s meal is $7.00 with kid-friendly food.

Reservations need to be made by April 5 by calling the following Hardin County Horse Club Advisors or committee members: Jonda Cole, Wendy Hooker, Ashley Haudenshield, Laura Gossard, Cinda Bame, or Ranee Liedel. The OSU Extension office can also take reservations by calling 419-674-2297 with all tickets paid for at the door at the banquet. The menu for the Horse Banquet will include a Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, side salad, cookie, and a drink. The kid’s friendly meal will be chicken nuggets, mac and cheese with one sauce, cookie, and a drink.

The purpose of the Hardin County Horse Banquet is to recognize the equine industry, including the youth and adults who work with horses in the county. Scholarship and royalty applications are available online at https://hardin.osu.edu/news/2024-livestock-commodity-banquet-dates-and-royalty-scholarship-information with applications due March 29th. As in the past, the new 2024 Horse King, Queen, Prince, and Princess will be crowned at this event. There are plans to present a $250 scholarship. Contact Ranee Liedel at 419-679-0110 or Laura Gossard at 567-674-3421 for more information or to donate door prizes for this event.


Goat Banquet

Hardin County – The fifth annual Hardin County Goat Banquet will be held on Saturday, April 6 at the Family Center of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church located at 15436 State Route 309 in Kenton. Registration and seating will open at 5:00 pm with the public invited and the meal will begin at 5:30 pm. There is no cost, as each family is asked to bring a side dish and/or dessert. The main dish, drinks, and table service will be provided. There is no need for tickets, but pre-registration is encouraged by contacting the OSU Extension office at 419-674-2297 by April 1st.

There will be crowning of the 2024 Hardin County Fair Goat Royalty and announcing of the winner of the Hardin County Goat Boosters Scholarship. The evening will conclude with lots of fun door prizes, sponsored by businesses and individuals in the surrounding communities. There will be a silent auction, 50/50 drawing, and other raffles. Come join us for a fun evening! Questions about the Hardin County Goat Banquet can be directed to Jamie Ferguson at jamie.hazelton2020@gmail.com or by visiting the Hardin County Goat Banquet Facebook page.

Poultry Banquet

Hardin County – The 2024 Hardin County Poultry Banquet will be held Saturday, March 30th at the Family Center of the Kenton Christian & Missionary Alliance Church located at 15436 State Route 309 in Kenton, Ohio.

Chicken will be provided as the main course. Each family attending is asked to bring their most requested, best-tasting side dish and dessert to share. There will be no charge for the evening, but reservations are necessary. Doors open at 5:00 pm, dinner will begin at 6:00 pm. Table service will be provided.

The 2024 Hardin County Fair Poultry King and Queen will be crowned and winners from the 2023 Poultry Department will be recognized. Enjoy a wonderful time of fellowship and delicious food along with awesome gift baskets and raffle prizes! Prepare your favorite dishes and come join us for a pleasant and fun-filled evening celebrating all things poultry in Hardin County!

The reservation deadline for this year’s Poultry Banquet is Saturday, March 16th. Please call, text, or email Catherine Scharf at (419) 996-9234 or ceoscharf@gmail.com to make a reservation. Reservations can also be made through the Hardin County OSU Extension office.

Battle for the Belt – Corn vs Soybean

Hardin County – Should I plant corn or soybean first in the spring? What crop has the smallest yield penalty for delayed planting? Can you adjust your management practices to mitigate losses due to late planting? How are diseases affected by planting date? OSU Extension is bringing this “Battle for the Belt” program to the Hardin County OSU Extension office, 1021 W Lima Street, Kenton, on Wednesday, March 20 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

We will answer these questions and more during our Battle for the Belt Winter meetings. Come hear OSU Extension State Corn Specialist Osler Ortez and State Soybean Specialist Laura Lindsey provide the first year’s results of this statewide research project along with graduate student Taylor Dill’s field observations.

Agronomic Field Specialist Stephanie Karhoff will provide corn disease and planting considerations. State Soybean Disease Specialist Horacio Lopez-Nicora will provide soybean disease and planting considerations. There will be follow-up questions and applications facilitated by research specialist Luke Waltz.

Find out the results of this year’s research and discuss them over a catered lunch made possible by the Ohio Soybean Council and Ohio Corn & Wheat. Registration is $10 per person at https://go.osu.edu/2024hardinbattleforthebelt or call 419-674-2297.

Beef Banquet

Hardin County – The Hardin County Cattle Producers will hold their annual Beef Banquet on Saturday, March 23 in the Community Building at the fairgrounds, starting at 6:30 pm. Pre-sale tickets are $20 ($25 at the door), kids ages 7-10 are $10, and kids ages 6 and under are free. The 2023 Hardin County Junior Fair Beef Barn Exhibitors are free with a reservation given to any Cattle Producers Director or the Hardin County OSU Extension office.

Tickets can be purchased from the following county Cattle Producers Directors: Madisen Jolliff, Mackenzie Wallace, Dustin Badertscher, Adam Billenstein, Jeff Oestreich, Justin Eibling, Stacia Hall-Boughan, Derek Dunson, Kristie Royer, Brieanne Sullivan, Deana Gibson, and Dick Cronley by March 15.

Scholarship winners will also be announced the night of the banquet. The Hardin County Cattle Producers are offering $500 scholarships to qualified students for the 2024-25 school year. Scholarships will be awarded to applicants who themselves or their parents are current members of the Hardin County Cattle Producers or currently have a beef cattle project in either 4-H or FFA. Applicants for the Cattle Producers scholarships can go to go.osu.edu/2024beefscholarship to apply online by the March 15 deadline.

The Cattle Producers Service Award will be presented as well at the annual Beef Banquet. The Service Award is presented to a person or organization that has demonstrated dedication to the mission of the Hardin County Cattle Producers.

Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference March 12-13 in Ada

Hardin County – The Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference (CTC) will be held in- person March 12-13 at Ohio Northern University in Ada. The first day of this year’s conference will feature Alex Harrell, Soybean Yield Champion from southwest Georgia with a yield of 206 bushels per acre. His presentation has been made possible by sponsor Brandt Professional Agriculture.

Shawn Conley, Extension Soybean Specialist, University of Wisconsin, will return and be paired with Alex Harrell and Laura Lindsey, OSU Extension, during the Agronomic Crop Management session after lunch, Tuesday. Shawn Conley is always one of the conference’s most popular speakers.

Paul Jasa, Extension Agricultural Engineer, University of Nebraska, will return to CTC as another one of the main speakers, sponsored by Calmer Corn Heads, he will speak four times. Pioneer is sponsoring Dr. Nicolas Martin, University of Illinois, speaking on “Do Management Zones Increase Yields?”

With about 60 speakers total, CTC gives plenty of opportunities to gain valuable information. Among the speakers are Barry Fisher, a soil health expert; Dan Quinn, Purdue University; Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin; Bill Lehmkuhl, Precision Agri Services; Jane Fife, 3 Bar Biologics; Laura Johnson, Heidelberg University; Shawn Lucas, Kentucky State University; Terry Hofecker, Soil 1; and about 25 OSU Extension Educators and campus faculty.

Connect with other farmers and CCAs, experience new ideas, and increase your net income. Historically over 800 individuals will attend each day of this two-day conference, making it the largest agricultural meeting in northwestern Ohio. Plenty of CCA and CLM credits will be available. Take advantage of the opportunity to discuss one-on-one with speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and other participants. Bring a friend and/or family members.

The meeting and program have been developed by The Ohio State University Extension Specialists along with Agriculture and Natural Resources Educators in local counties with assistance from local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Farmers, consultants, industry representatives, and government officials will meet each day to listen to university specialists, industry representatives, and producers discuss new products and ideas for agriculture. Master Farmer Awards and the Ohio CCA of the Year will be announced.

Tuesday sessions will include No-till, Cover Crops, and Soil Health; Nutrient Management; Agronomic Crop Management; and Precision Ag & Technology. Wednesday sessions will include No-till, Cover Crops and Soil Health; Agronomic Crop Management; Water Quality; Climate, Carbon, and Soil Health.

Registration is $100 (https://www.allenswcd.com/cttc/) and is a flat rate of $100 if postmarked before March 1, 2024 and then $150. (On-site registration will be $150.) Registration will include access to all recorded presentations from about April 15 to July 1, including CCA and CLM credits. QR codes will be active for those weeks. (Crop Consultants must register individually to receive CCA credits.) For more information about the conference, go to https://ctc.osu.edu.

Pork Banquet

Hardin County – The Hardin County Pork Producers will hold their annual Pork Banquet on Saturday, March 16 at the Upper Scioto Valley School auditorium in McGuffey, starting at 6:30 pm. The evening will include naming of the Hardin County Pork Industry Queen and Pork Producers Scholarship Recipients, as well as pork dishes and door prizes. Adult and non-exhibitor ticket prices are $8, fair workers from the Pork Producers Pavilion are $4, and free for 2023 Hardin County Junior Fair Swine Exhibitors.

All Hardin County Junior Fair Swine Exhibitors attending the banquet will receive a hoodie from the Hardin County Pork Producers. When calling in reservations, you must give shirt sizes for the swine exhibitors by March 1st to receive your hoodie.

The banquet is open to all interested people, but advance tickets are required. Tickets can be purchased through March 8 from the following county Pork Producers Directors: Tyler Skidmore, Steve & Kelly Searson, Doug & Christine Heilman, Tim Holbrook, Mark Watkins, Matt Holbrook, LeVern & Nancy Weaver, Nathan Weaver, Rusty Bingham, Wes VanScoy, Ranae Sherman, Alyson Purcell, Jody Dye, and Dillon Rall. Tickets can also be reserved from the Extension office by calling 419-674-2297.

The Hardin County Pork Producers are offering up to six $750 scholarships to qualified students. Scholarships will be awarded to high school or college students from the six county schools. Applicants must be a son/daughter of a Hardin County Pork Producer or have been a 4-H or FFA member who has/had swine projects at the Hardin County Fair. Questions about the scholarships can be addressed to Steve Searson at 937-407-0785.

The Pork Producers are also looking for 2024 Pork Industry Queen Contestants. Eligible candidates for the title of Hardin County Pork Industry Queen must be age 15 through 19 as of January 1, 2024. To be eligible for the State Pork Industry Queen contest, the entrant must be 17 prior to January 1 of the year they will be competing. Anyone qualified and interested can become Hardin County Pork Industry Queen, but only those who reside on a farm on which hogs are raised and is the daughter of parents now actively engaged in the production of pork will be eligible for the State Pork Industry District III Queen Contest in 2024. Selection will be held before a panel of judges at the Pork Banquet on Saturday, March 16. Questions about the Pork Industry Queen can be addressed to Nancy Weaver at 567-674-0559 or Alyson Purcell at 567-674-4512.

Applications and rules for both the Hardin County Pork Producers Scholarships and Hardin County Pork Industry Queen can be found at hardin.osu.edu and must be received online by March 1, 2024.

Pesticide & Fertilizer Recertification Training

Hardin County – Some farmers have received a notice that informs them that their current pesticide and/or fertilizer applicator licenses will expire at the end of March 2024 and that they must complete their continuing education hours to renew before this date. Thirty dollars is sent to the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg to renew the license and $35 to OSU Extension for the pesticide continuing education requirement. If fertilizer recertification is needed, the cost to OSU Extension is $10 for the fertilizer continuing education requirement.

Farmers must have a private applicator license to apply restricted use pesticides on their farm or for an employer’s crops. A commercial license is required for individuals who apply products on fields other than their own or as a business. The Environmental Protection Agency determines whether a product is designated restricted or general use. Restricted use products may be organic or traditional pesticides.

To obtain a private pesticide applicator license, farmers must pass a series of exams that test their competency in pesticide safety and application knowledge. They also must be certified in one or more of seven categories in addition to Core knowledge. These categories include Grain and Cereal Crops, Forage Crops and Livestock, Fruit and Vegetable Crops, Nursery and Forest Crops, Greenhouse Crops, Fumigation, and Specialty Uses.

Farmers must have a private fertilizer applicator license if they apply fertilizer on 50 or more acres of crops grown for sale. This does not include crops that are used on the farm for their livestock or fertilizer used through the planter. It does include fertilizer applied in the fall, pre-plant, or side dressing. If fertilizer is applied by a commercial applicator, the farmer does not need to have fertilizer certification. Like pesticide applications, there must be record keeping of fertilizer applied to the farmer’s crops that can be requested by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. If an applicator does not have a fertilizer license and needs one, they can attend a three-hour training to become certified or study the fertilizer manual and take a test on their own.

A license must be renewed every three years. A farmer can meet this requirement by completing three hours of approved pesticide continuing education anytime during the three year period and one hour of fertilizer continuing education during the same three year period. Recertification training emphasizes effective management strategies that enhance crop productivity, encourage responsible use of products, and promote safe practices for applicators, the public, and the environment. OSU Extension offices are currently offering recertification programs to fulfill the three hours of the pesticide continuing education requirement and additional one hour of the fertilizer continuing education requirement for license renewal. An applicator may also choose to retest every three years to renew a private pesticide or fertilizer license in place of recertification training.

Hardin County Pesticide and Fertilizer Recertification programs will be offered Monday, March 4 at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory. The pesticide recertification session will begin at 9:00 am and end at 12:00 pm. This session is for private applicators and will consist of Core, Grain and Cereal Crops, Forage Crops and Livestock, and Fumigation. A lunch option will be made available at the Plaza Inn Restaurant for additional cost. The fertilizer recertification will start at 1:00 pm and end at 2:00 pm. Farmers need to call the Extension office at 419-674-2297, or stop by at 1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103 in Kenton to pre-register. An option to pre-register online is available at https://go.osu.edu/HardinPAT-FACT. Further information regarding make-up or specialty recertification in other areas can be obtained by contacting the Extension office by March 24.

Both pesticide and fertilizer recertification for make-up and/or specialty categories will be offered on March 27, from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Extension office in Kenton. Pre-registration is required by calling the Hardin County Extension office or registering online. Be sure to include pesticide categories needed and whether fertilizer recertification is needed. On March 27, pesticide recertification will begin at 9:00 am for three hours, followed by an hour of fertilizer recertification at 1:00 pm. Seating is limited to 25 people at the Extension office.

Training dates for commercial pesticide applicators can be found at http://pested.osu.edu/commercialapplicator. Training dates for Private Pesticide Applicators for other counties in Ohio may be found at http://pested.osu.edu/privateapplicator. The commercial and private applicator licenses are a way that commercial pesticide applicators and farmers show good stewardship in caring for our land and producing our food in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.

Drone Use in Agriculture Breakfast

Hardin County – The 2024 Conservation Tillage Club breakfast program series will conclude Thursday, February 22 at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory. The session will start at 7:30 am with a complimentary buffet breakfast followed by a drone use in agriculture program at 8:00 am.

The February 22 event will feature a program on Drone Use in Agriculture by Henry County OSU Extension Educator Alan Leininger. Drones are becoming more common in agriculture than just for scouting crops for insects, weeds, and disease. More recently, they are increasingly being used for seeding cover crops and pesticide applications in fields throughout Ohio. What types of drones are available and what are the legal and licensing requirements to use these new tools on the farm will be questions answered by Leininger.

The Conservation Tillage Club breakfast program series is jointly sponsored by OSU Extension and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Hardin, Logan, and Union Counties, and in cooperation with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Breakfast is courtesy of the generous support from agricultural lenders and agricultural businesses. All events are open to the public and no advance registration is required. Continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisers are available.