Statewide Sheep Tour

Hardin County – A statewide sheep production tour of Knox, Licking, and Crawford Counties has been planned for Ohio Sheep Producers the weekend of Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16, 2022. This year’s tour is jointly sponsored by the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association and Hardin County OSU Extension. Join us for a drive your own, sheep production tour focusing on dry lot/confinement sheep operations. There will be four tour stops on this year’s statewide tour, with each farm stop only being offered at the time listed.

The first farm stop will be at Cable Family Lamb Feedlot (10491 Canal Road, Hebron, Ohio 43025). This Licking County stop will be at 10:00 am Saturday, October 15. The Dave Cable family is the host of this stop which includes a large contract lamb finishing feedlot in Ohio feeding several thousand lambs from all over the United States. This farm has more recently added a dry lot/confinement ewe flock to produce additional lambs for the Cable Farms feedlot. Primary facilities include hoop buildings. Lunch will be on your own at 11:30 am.

The second stop on the tour will be Lone Pine Ranch (25267 Blanchard Road, Howard, Ohio 43028). This Know County stop will be at 1:00 pm Saturday, October 15. Greg and Bev Miller are the host of this stop which is in the prime sheep producing area of Knox County. Historically known for their pasture-based sheep production systems, but for the purpose of this production tour, we will be concentrating our educational efforts on their buildings and facilities, where they lamb out their 160 commercial ewe flock and feed out their own lambs for market.

The third stop on the tour will be Skyline Farms (14501 Skyline Drive, Danville, Ohio 43014). This Knox County stop will be at 3:00 pm Saturday, October 15. The Don Hawk family will be the host of this stop, which is a large contract lamb finishing feedlot in Ohio feeding several thousand lambs from all over the United States. This operation has more recently added a dry lot/confinement ewe flock to produce additional lambs for the Skyline Farms feedlot. The primary facilities include renovated turkey barns. There will be a scheduled overnight stay in the Mt. Vernon area. If you need hotel accommodations, contact Hardin County OSU Extension Educator Mark Badertscher at badertscher.4@osu.edu or 419-767-6037 for details. Dinner will be on your own.

The second day of the tour will feature a stop at Hartschuh Livestock (6348 Parks Road, Sycamore, Ohio 44882). This Crawford County stop will be at 10:30 am Sunday, October 16. The Greg Hartschuh family will be the host of this stop, which has recently added a dry lot/confinement commercial and Club Lamb operation in combination with their confinement dairy herd. The recently built confinement/lot building has new and innovative methods of feeding the ewe flock and concentrate many resources to high quality forages due to the dairy cattle part of the operation.

Producers and others who are interested in participating on this statewide sheep tour should register at https://www.ohiosheep.org/osia-programs.html#tour to let the tour hosts know how many people to expect at each stop. Hotel reservations need to be made in advance to assure room availability. Tour participants will be responsible for their own hotel room and meals. As in the past, we have rented a van for Hardin and Hancock County area producers to travel together. If there is enough interest from our area, we will meet for breakfast and travel together in the van. Let me know how many from your family plan to attend so we can make local arrangements.

Leaf Rubbings, Scarecrows & Scavenger Hunts

Children’s Program at Friendship Gardens

Hardin County – The Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers are hosting a children’s program at the Friendship Gardens called “Leaf Rubbings, Scarecrows & Scavenger Hunts” on Saturday morning, September 24. This event is from 10:00 am until noon and will provide several activities for kids of all ages. Each child will be able to leave with a leaf rubbing and scarecrow that they made themselves with the help of the Master Gardener Volunteers. There are also garden scavenger hunts planned for the kids. The event will take place at the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County, which is located at 960 W. Kohler Street in Kenton.

Each child is asked to bring either an old button-down kid’s shirt, hat or maybe even both, to dress their scarecrow. Children of all ages are welcome with a responsible adult.  The adult must remain with their children for the entire event. Wear old clothes as making scarecrows involves participants painting faces on their project. The event is free and open to the public with no registration necessary. Come enjoy fall activities in the garden! Questions about this event can be directed to the Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardeners Facebook page or by calling the OSU Extension office at 419-674-2297.

Carcass Show of Champions

Hardin County – Have you ever wondered how well the grand and reserve champion fair animals will grade out on the rail?  The OSU Extension office is announcing that the 2022 Hardin County Fair Carcass Show of Champions will be held in-person at Jenkins Meats, 670 E. Marion Street, Mt. Victory on Monday, September 19 starting at 6:00 pm. Viewers will be also be able to watch the OSU Meat Judge giving oral reasons and results at both the Hardin County OSU Extension and Ohio State – Hardin County 4-H Facebook pages in addition to the hardin.osu.edu website after the event. The carcass show will evaluate the meat value of the grand champion and reserve champion steers, barrows, gilts, and lambs from this year’s Hardin County Fair.

Carcass value will be determined by evaluating the dressing percentage, yield grade (external fat thickness, ribeye area (in2), internal fat, and hot carcass weight), as well as quality grade (marbling score and skeletal maturity). Carcass information is very important to breeding livestock operations for making genetic improvements in their seed stock animals; and serves as an effective marketing tool for producers who sell their livestock for meat. The Hardin County Fair Carcass Show of Champions is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, Jenkins Meats, the Hardin County Fair Board, the Hardin County Sheep Improvement Association, the Hardin County Cattle Producers, and the Hardin County Pork Producers.

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 https://www.bqa.org. Register for this Kenton training at https://go.osu.edu/HardinBQA 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 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 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 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.

 

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 https://go.osu.edu/HardinPAT-FACT 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 https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/plant-health/fertilizers. For more information about other training sessions or general materials for the agriculture fertilizer certification, visit nutrienteducation.osu.edu or contact Mark Badertscher, Hardin County OSU Extension at badertscher.4@osu.edu