Safety at the Fair

Around the area, county fairs have already started up, the state fair will being later this month and our own Noble County Fair will be here before we know it! As you plan to attend any local or state fair take some safety precautions to ensure safety near animals as well as any food you may consume.

General safety tips to remember include paying attention to weather forecasts and be appropriately prepared. This includes wearing sunscreen and remembering to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Additionally, wear closed toe shoes to protect your feet. Always be sure to wash your hands after petting animals and especially before eating. If you aren’t sure if hand-washing stations will be available, pack wipes or hand sanitizer. This is especially important for young children who may not necessarily touch an animal, but may come in contact with enclosures and touch their faces or put their hands in their mouth. Additionally, remember to wash your hands after playing games or going on rides.

Ask permission before petting an animal. Most likely the owner will be nearby and will let you know if it is safe to pet the animal. Some animals do not like to be touched and the owner will let you know if this is the case. They may be able to direct you to a friendlier animal. If they don’t wish for you to pet any of their animals, respect their wishes and ask another person.   Remember, the animals are at the fair to be exhibited and are not a petting zoo.

Most likely while you are at the fair you will be eating some delicious fair food or you may bring along your own. Foodborne illnesses increase during the summer months so it is even more important to follow food safety steps. The usual safety control points are not always available when eating outdoors such as refrigeration and appropriate hand washing facilities. Consider the cleanliness and employee food handling practices before choosing to eat at a particular stand. If you do bring food from home and it is going to be warm out, be sure to keep things properly chilled inside a cooler or insulated bag and don’t let food sit out for more than two hours. If you have any question if your food is still safe, throw it out. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety, especially if you have young children, older adults or are pregnant.

Teach your children to remain calm if they become separated from you while out in public and pick out a place where they can meet you if you do become separated. Lost children can be difficult to locate if their location continues to change. Look in to getting your own lost child tag you can place on your children in public or check to see if they are available where you are visiting.

The fair can be a very enjoyable place full of new experiences, but it is important to take precautions in order to stay safe and healthy!

Is it Bagworms or Fall Webworms Damaging My Trees?


As Chris Penrose mentioned in a post last month, damage from bagworms is often seen this time of year by homeowners. Bagworms are the insects which make the pine-cone like structures at the ends of branches on many evergreen and other tree/shrub species in the landscape.  As the larva feeds and grows, often unnoticed throughout the summer, it enlarges the bag and begins to incorporate bits and pieces of plant material. By mid-August, the larvae are mature and they often move to a sturdy branch or other structure where they attach the bag firmly with a strong band of silk. We are now to the point where spraying insecticide on your tree or shrub at this time of year will not kill the larva inside the bag. Hand picking the bag at this time of year is the best strategy. The mature larvae usually attach their bags to a branch by wrapping extra silk, which does not decay rapidly. This band of silk may girdle the branch as it grows, resulting in dead branches several years later. Be sure to cut or scratch off this silk band when removing bags from a plant. FOR MORE DETAILS:


Fall Webworm

Another pest often noticed this time of year is the fall webworm. It is actually the second generation of nests that are being seen now. The first generation nests (usually in June-July) are seldom as numerous or as large in size as those produced by the second generation. First generation nests normally involve only a few leaves.  Female moths however, often lay their eggs on or near the nests from which they developed, thus second generation caterpillars expand the nests once occupied by first generation caterpillars. The second generation nests in Ohio typically reach their maximum size in the fall (late August thru October) which accounts for the common name. The fall webworm is not usually a serious pest in woodland forest stands, but infestations are of greatest concern to homeowners on shade, ornamental, and landscape trees. Here, loss of foliage and unsightly webs seriously reduce the aesthetics of the trees in the yard. In this circumstance, control of the fall webworm may be desirable. Control measures should be initiated when the webs and the larvae are small. Large webs make it difficult for insecticides to penetrate and contact the larvae within. Smaller larvae are also easier to kill. For effective control spray the web and the foliage surrounding the web. Many insecticides (such as (Sevin), orthene, BT or Malathion, etc.) may be used. Hand eradication is also possible when smaller webs are spotted early. Note…burning webs out of your trees with fire usually does more damage to the tree than the damage caused by the webworm. FOR MORE DETAILS:


Fruit and Vegetable Lost Yield Documentation for the Racine Locks and Dam Peninsula Area in Meigs County

Farmers in Meigs are suffering significant yield losses due to the extreme weather the area has experience this summer. We just finished one of the wettest Junes on record in Ohio. While obtaining a precipitation report for the months of May and June from the Racine Locks and Damn, Kim Johnson, NPR, pointed out that June of this year is the highest monthly total of precipitation that we have recorded for several years. The heavy rainfall, consistently wet weather, and cool temperatures are creating serious problems in the fields. A few major problems include (but not limited to): saturated and flooded fields, bacteria and fungus explosions, rapid weed growth, and leaching of field nutrients. Getting into the fields to combat these problems was extremely difficult due the to constant rain events and soil compactions issues.

These fruit s and vegetable producers have also been experiencing another problem in addition to field damage and diseases; unsellable produce. Producers have been undergoing short windows to harvest available produce. However, produce in the field has become water logged causing aesthetic problems (blemishes and crack) and transportation issues. Although some of the produce is perfectly edible, it is still being rejected due to aesthetic reasons. As a result, customers are reducing and cutting orders. For example, one farmer experienced a 1200 box (10 lbs/box) order cut from a major grocery store chain. This is only one example of such cuts.

All pictures were taken by OSU ANR educator Marcus McCartney on farms across the Racine locks and dam peninsula area to document the damage and diseases associated with the extreme wet weather events experienced during the months of June and July.

#1. Flooding

A. Pepper Field                                                  B. Tomato Field                                  C. Watermelon field    and    D. Watermelon field after water receded

IMG_0649IMG_0624  IMG_0672  IMG_0674

*NOTE:  Peppers are growing in the Lakin loamy fine sand soil series. According the NRCS soil description, the natural drainage class is listed as “Excessively drained.” However, due to the amount rain    and rainfall events, ponding and flooding occurred in highly drainable soils.

#2. Phytophthora blight in peppers

A) water-soaked patches                      (B) “Powdered sugar” Phytophthora spores    (C)  Infected row              (D) large section of field infected


#3 Early Blight

A)  concentric rings surrounded by a yellow halo   (B) elongated spots with lighter-colored centers  (C) Infected row

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#4 White Mold explosion

A) Underneath watermelon                (B) Cantaloupe                                      (C) Cucumbers                                        (D) White mold on weed in field

IMG_0614  IMG_0615 IMG_0023IMG_0611

#5 Poor quality and rejected produce

A) Rejected tomato fruit due to cracking                    (B)  Cabbage – loosely rolled heads, not tight leaf layers

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The above information and pictures were generated into a report to depict the damage in Meigs County due to the excessive rainfall.  This report was sent to FSA and then forwarded to Columbus.  Also, the above pictures and information is just a sample from the report’s content.

OSU Local Foods Week August 9th-15th

Local Foods Week

The week of August 9th-15th, 2015 is Local Foods Week in Ohio and if you don’t already support locally grown food, now is a great time to start! Right now is a perfect time to support locally grown food in our state due to the wide variety of fresh produce available! Tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, apples, peaches, and berries are available just to name a few!

Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry that contributes jobs for one in seven Ohioans and more than $107 billion to the state’s economy. Ohio has many rural areas, but several metropolitan areas in close proximity, which links the rural and the urban consumer. This allows growers and their communities to produce and consume food from small, medium and large-scale family owned farms.

While Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct sales to consumers of a wide variety of foods that include eggs, milk, cheese, honey, maple syrup, bread, vegetables, fruit and many other food products one in six Ohioans are food insecure and lack the access to fresh, healthy local foods. You are all a part of the food system of Ohio by making the daily decision on what foods you will consume.

When making your food decisions many people consider where the food was grown or raised and make an effort to develop personal connections with growers and producers to enjoy flavorful, safe, local food. The focus of Ohio Local Foods week is not only about enjoying the wonderful taste of local food but to also become more aware and better informed about the nutritional, economic and social benefits of local foods in Ohio.

The Ohio State University Extension Local Food Signature Program invites everyone to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week this week. We encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to grow, purchase, highlight and promote local food all the time, but we ask you especially emphasize it this week. We are also inviting everyone to participate in a challenge to spend $10 this week on local foods. Two convenient places to spend $10 on local foods in Noble County include the Farmers Market on Friday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. or the Witten’s trailer located in the BP parking lot. You will be surprised just how much you can get for $10, too! In the past I have purchased a cantaloupe, half a dozen ears of sweet corn and a couple tomatoes for $10.

To follow the event search Ohio Local Foods Week on Facebook or Twitter and post your foods you are enjoying this week. Sign up for the $10 challenge at

OSU/WVU Extension Radio Programs for the Month of June…

Weekly Programs from Dan Lima in Belmont County (OSU Extension) and Karen Cox from Ohio County (WVU Extension) discussing agricultural topics and trends for the week.

Right of Ways and leases, what should the land owner know?

Yellow Poplar Tulip Weevil, Black rot, and other insect pests after a wet season.

Flood safety and disease trends during wet seasons.