Fruit and Vegetable Crop Walk

Hardin County – There is a segment of agriculture in southeastern Hardin County that specializes in commercial fruit and vegetable production. Hardin County is also home to the Scioto Valley Produce Auction near Mt. Victory where much of this produce is sold. Hardin County OSU Extension has planned a Fruit and Vegetable Crop Walk program on Tuesday, August 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm to help with fruit and vegetable production issues. The location of the program will be on a produce farm at 15237 County Road 209, Kenton. It is open to all fruit and vegetable producers, whether they are commercial or home gardeners.

OSU Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Jim Jasinski will provide information on using IPM techniques to control pests with produce. Ashley Leach, OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Entomology will provide an update on specialty crops insects. Gary Gao, OSU Extension Small Fruit Production Specialist will provide information on growing grapes and raspberries. Brad Bergefurd, Technical Specialty Crop Agronomist, Brandt Discovery and Innovation will provide an update for growers on vegetable production fertility. Hardin County OSU Extension Educator Mark Badertscher will provide information about Driftwatch; a voluntary communication tool that enables crop producers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators to work together to protect specialty crops and apiaries through use of mapping programs.

The program will be held outside so bring your lawn chair and umbrella in case of rain. There will be a diagnostic table so be sure to bring along any weeds, plant nutrition problems, plant diseases, and insect specimens in a sealed plastic bag for questions and answers. The program will conclude with a walk through a produce field, pointing out fruit and vegetable issues and steps to properly manage them. There is no cost to attend this event.

Summer Garden Programs

Hardin County – The Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are hosting two summer garden programs at the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County located at 960 W. Kohler Street in Kenton. The events begin at 6:30 pm with an event on edible plants, “I can eat THAT??!!” on July 19 and another on “Growing Cucurbits” on August 16.

Learn about foraging for food in your backyard Tuesday, July 19 with the edible plants program “I can eat THAT??!!” There are many plants besides fruits and vegetables that are growing in your yard or woods that can be used as food. Come learn about some of them and try a taste. This is a good way to stretch your food budget. This will be presented by Master Gardeners Vicki Phillips and Kim Thomas.

What are cucurbits? Why they are squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, and gourds, of course. Learn the tricks on how to grow these delicious vegetables, and tips on how to keep them pest and disease free. This program on “Growing Cucurbits” will be held Tuesday, August 16 and will be presented by Master Gardener Stewart Coats who is an award-winning gardener.

These events are free and open to the public, rain or shine with the featured program inside the shelter house at the Friendship Gardens with seating. Registration is not necessary to attend. Master Gardener Volunteers will be stationed throughout the Friendship Gardens before and after the programs to answer your gardening questions. All interested gardeners are encouraged to attend.

Planting for Color Topic of Evening Garden Affair

Hardin County – The Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are hosting “An Evening Garden Affair” on Tuesday evening, July 12 at the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County located at 960 W. Kohler Street in Kenton. The event is from 6:30 to 8:00 pm and will feature Rachel Hoverman of OSU Extension-Van Wert County with a program about “Planting for Year-Round Color.”

Attendees will gather in the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County for tours at 6:30 pm with Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. Learn about the many different themed gardens at this educational demonstration garden. There will be snacks and drinks available before moving to Simon Kenton School gymnasium at 7:00 pm for the program presented by speaker Rachel Hoverman, Van Wert County 4-H Youth Development/Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator. Following her presentation on “Planting for Year-Round Color,” a basket of garden themed items will be sent home with a lucky winner.

This event is free and open to the public, rain or shine with the featured program inside the Simon Kenton School with seating. Registration is not necessary to attend. Master Gardener Volunteers will be stationed throughout the Friendship Gardens starting at 6:30 pm to answer your gardening questions. All who have an interest in gardening will not want to miss this event. Parking is at the garden off West Kohler Street or in front of Simon Kenton School. For further information contact the OSU Extension office at 419-674-2297.

Beef Quality Assurance Certification Training

Hardin County – Join Hardin County OSU Extension for a Beef Quality Assurance certification training scheduled for Tuesday, May 31 from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Extension office located at 1021 W Lima Street in Kenton. Beef Quality Assurance training is for beef cattle producers, needing to recertify or certify to sell cattle at auctions and other markets. Many of the major beef processors, auctions, and other markets began requiring producers to have a BQA certificate at the beginning of 2019. Beef Quality Assurance certification is for a period of three years and was previously held in Kenton in December 2018 and February 2021. Several local producers need to recertify in addition to any cattle producers who need to gain BQA certification for the first time.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) does more than just help beef producers capture more value from their market cattle. BQA also reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their market steers, heifers, cows, and bulls are the best they can be. Today, the stakes are even higher because of increased public attention on animal welfare. BQA is valuable to all beef and dairy producers because it demonstrates commitment to food safety and quality; safeguards the public image of the beef industry; upholds consumer confidence in valuable beef products; and improves the sale value of marketed beef cattle.

Training enhances herd profitability through better management. Ohio State University Extension, in cooperation with the Ohio Beef Council, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, and Ohio’s cattle auction markets, is working to offer Ohio’s cattle producers several opportunities to become Beef Quality Assurance Certified. Certification can also take place online at Register for this Kenton training at or call 419-674-2297. Registration is required and space is limited for this local no cost in-person training that is good for both initial BQA certification or recertification.


Soil Health Workshop Series

Hardin County – A series of Soil Health Workshops will be held on April 4th (Beginner) and April 6th (Advanced) at the Hardin County OSU Extension Office. Jim Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services will be the main presenter. Hoorman has worked for OSU Extension for several years as a county extension educator in Putnam County and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the Soil Health Division for Ohio and Michigan.

The first workshop will be April 4th from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, with topics ranging from soil ecology and nutrient recycling, dealing with soil compaction, and putting an economic value on soil health will be discussed in the morning. In the afternoon, topics on keeping nutrients in the soil and getting started with cover crops: clovers, legumes, grasses, and brassicas will be discussed.

The second day, April 6th from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, topics will include setting up a no-till planter, adjusting to adverse weather, making no-till corn succeed, and learning more about beneficial microbes. Afternoon topics include fertilizing for higher yields with micronutrients, using humic compounds to enhance fertilizer and plant growth, and dealing with pests (weeds, insects, and diseases).

Participation is limited to 25 attendees for each workshop. Sign up by calling the Hardin County OSU Extension Office at 419-674-2297. The cost of each workshop will be $25 per day which includes lunch and materials. Registration is requested by April 1. Participants can enroll in either or both days.

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 2022 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 Friday, March 11 and Thursday, March 17 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 Further information regarding make-up or specialty recertification in other areas can be obtained by contacting the Extension office by March 23.

Both pesticide and fertilizer recertification for make-up and/or specialty categories will be offered on March 30, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm and March 31, from 11:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Extension office in Kenton. Pre-registration is required by calling the Hardin County Extension office. Be sure to include pesticide categories needed and whether fertilizer recertification is needed. On March 30, pesticide recertification will begin at 9:00 am for three hours, followed by an hour of fertilizer recertification and then the class will carry on with any needed extra pesticide recertification categories. On March 31, fertilizer recertification will begin at 11:00 am for an hour, followed by pesticide recertification for three hours, and then the class will carry on with any needed extra categories. Seating is limited to 25 people at the Extension office each day.

Training dates for commercial pesticide applicators can be found at Training dates for Private Pesticide Applicators for other counties in Ohio may be found at 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.


Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training in Kenton

Hardin County – Two three-hour fertilizer certification programs will be held in Kenton for any private or commercial applicator who needs to obtain fertilizer certification for the first time. These trainings will be held at the Hardin County OSU Extension office, 1021 W Lima Street, Kenton, Ohio on Monday, February 7 and Friday, February 11.  The classes will begin at 9:00 am and end at 12:00 pm. There is a $30 class fee payable to OSU Extension for these trainings.

Please arrive early so that materials can be distributed and the programs can start on time. These trainings will meet the fertilizer certification requirements for those with and without a pesticide license. Pre-registration is required by calling the Hardin County OSU Extension office at 419-674-2297 or register online at no later than two days before the training.

Agricultural fertilizer applicator certification is required in Ohio for farmers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale. This requirement was signed into law in June 2014, and also requires certification for commercial agricultural fertilizer applicators. Farmers who have their fertilizer applied by co-ops or custom applicators are not required to be certified.

Applicators who are a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) or Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) are not required to attend the training. Fertilizer is defined for the regulation as any substance containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or other plant nutrient in a dry or liquid formulation. All application types such as broadcast, side dress, sub-surface, knifing and other are included in the certification requirement. Lime and limestone are not included as fertilizer for the certification and farmers who only use starter fertilizer in their planter boxes are exempted.

The agriculture fertilizer certification is not required for manure applications as these are currently regulated, unless farmers are applying livestock or poultry manure from a Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF). In this case, they would need to have either the CLM or Ohio Fertilizer Certification.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is the agency issuing the certification for agriculture fertilizer applications. Once an applicator completes the fertilizer training, the ODA will bill them $30 for their fertilizer certificate unless the applicator currently holds a pesticide applicator license.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture website has information regarding the regulation at For more information about other training sessions or general materials for the agriculture fertilizer certification, visit or contact Mark Badertscher, Hardin County OSU Extension at


New Pesticide Applicator Class

Hardin County – A class to help farmers prepare to become private pesticide applicators has been planned for January 26 at the Hardin County Extension office, 1021 West Lima Street, Kenton. In Ohio, pesticide applicators are required by law to have an Ohio Pesticide Applicators License in order to purchase and apply restricted-use chemicals. These pesticides include but are not limited to herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. This class will begin at 12:30 pm and end at 4:30 pm. There is a $30 registration fee which covers books for those enrolled.

The class will emphasize the two main categories that most Hardin County pesticide applicators need, which are Core (applying pesticides properly and safely), as well as Grain and Cereal Crops. Resources will be shared for other categories that are available for certification, which include Forage Crops & Livestock, Fruit & Vegetable Crops, Nursery & Forest Crops, Greenhouse Crops, Fumigation, and Specialty Uses. Once a trainee has properly prepared for their pesticide license, they can schedule to take a test at an Ohio Department of Agriculture testing site. Ohio Pesticide Licenses are good for three years, and then the applicator must recertify by attending a three-hour recertification meeting before license expiration or re-test.

There are several reasons why someone may wish to become a private pesticide applicator. These reasons may include that they plan to take over the pesticide certification for their farm due to retirement or a change in responsibilities, they plan to use restricted-use chemicals in addition to general-use chemicals to have more options to control problem weeds or pests, or they are new to spraying pesticides on the farm. The course is not designed for commercial pesticide applicators, as they must get training directly from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Instructors for the class include Extension Educators Dennis Riethman, Mercer County; Matt Schmerge, Shelby County; and Mark Badertscher, Hardin County. Those planning to participate in the class need to call the Extension office at 419-674-2297 by January 19 to register.

Master Gardener Volunteer Training Offered

Hardin County – The Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will host a Master Gardener Volunteer training course for new Master Gardener Volunteers this winter. The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local Ohio State University Extension county office. Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; but a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must!

Training will be a combination of a self-paced online course combined with in-person classes held at the Hardin County Extension office beginning with orientation on Tuesday, January 25 from 6:00-9:00 pm. Other scheduled in-person classes are February 1 and 15, March 1, 15, and 29 from 6:00-9:00 pm. Additionally, new interns will gain hands-on training working alongside current Master Gardeners at the Friendship Gardens in Kenton. Spring garden seminars will be an option for meeting training requirements. The training course is open to interested volunteers from any county with the volunteer commitment to be completed in the volunteer’s home county program.

Specialists from the Ohio State University Extension and experienced Master Gardener Volunteers will be teaching sessions along with some local experts. Some topics include botany, soils, entomology, plant pathology, plant propagation, herbaceous and woody ornamentals, lawns, vegetables, herbs, fruit, pollinators, integrated pest management, pesticide safety, backyard wildlife, houseplants, and therapeutic horticulture.

The cost of the training is $150.00 and includes the training manual and materials for the class. There is also a requirement for a background check at the volunteer’s expense. The program requires 50 hours of classroom training and a commitment of 50 hours volunteer time to become a certified Master Gardener Volunteer. Registration deadline is January 18.  More information is available at or by calling Mark Badertscher at 419-767-6037 at Hardin County OSU Extension. For more information about the Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, visit their Facebook page.

Conservation Tillage Club Breakfast Series Planned

Hardin County – The 2022 Conservation Tillage Club breakfast program series will begin on Thursday, January 13 at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory. Each session will start at 7:30 am with a complimentary buffet breakfast followed by the program at 8:00 am.  Other sessions will be held on January 27, February 10 and 24.

On January 13, the program will feature Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Ohio State University Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology and OSU Extension Soybean Disease Specialist. Lopez-Nicora will give a brief overview of soybean diseases that infest local crop fields and steps producers can do to help prevent their occurrence and how to manage them if they are present. He will also discuss Soybean Cyst Nematode testing and management to prevent yield loss. This pest is often unknown in soybean fields as it is not visible, however reduces yield performance if present in large enough numbers. Opportunities for soybean growers to participate in grant funded testing of soils for presence of soybean cyst nematodes and recommendations will be offered to local farmers in attendance.

The January 27 program will feature a presentation on water quality. Brian Brandt, Agriculture Conservation Innovations Director and Mark Wilson, Farming for Cleaner Water Project Manager, American Farmland Trust will discuss a local project for crop producers in the Upper Scioto River Watershed. American Farmland Trust has received a grant for improving water quality in the Upper Scioto River Watershed. Farming for Cleaner Water Project is an American Farmland Trust water quality initiative in central Ohio based on two goals: Drive Awareness and Adoption of the best farming practices to achieve both cleaner water and farmer/landowner profitability; and, Use a market-based approach to facilitate an Agricultural-municipal Partnership designed to achieve cleaner water and farmer/landowner profitability.

February 10 Bailey Elchinger, Risk Management Consultant – Grains, International FC Stone will present a program on the Grain Marketing Outlook. Elchinger will provide information to help crop producers successfully market their corn, soybean, and wheat commodities based on global supply and demand with an emphasis on market trends. Elchinger works with grain elevators, farmers, and livestock producers to help them manage their risks in the grain futures markets. After experiencing an above average yielding growing season this year with high grain prices, farmers are looking for marketing tips to make the new year more profitable. Her presentation will also provide some insight about grain marketing options to consider and tools that producers might use to help reduce risk and gain better insight to help make better marketing decisions.

The February 24 program will feature Ray Archuleta with a discussion of soil health. Archuleta is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America and has over 30 years experience as a Soil Conservationist, Water Quality Specialist, and Conservation Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). After his retirement from the NRCS in 2017, Ray founded Understanding Ag, LLC, and Soil Health Academy, to teach Biomimicry strategies and Agroecology principles for improving soil function on a national scale. Ray also owns and operates a 150-acre farm near Seymour, Missouri that he operates along with his wife and family. He will discuss how crop producers can use strategies and principles for improving soil function, resulting in increased soil health and better productivity. His presentation is sponsored by Logan Land Trust.

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 is pending.