Farming with Weather Extremes


Planting season 2019 tested the limits of resilience for many farmers across Ohio and the Midwest. How anomalous has the weather been? Does it fit current trends? How likely are we to experience this again? For more information and answers to commonly asked questions as we navigate this extreme season, please visit the CFAES – Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges.

On Thursday July 18th, 2019, about 130 farmers, lenders, insurance agents, and Extension educators came together for Climate Smart: Farming with Weather Extremes. This meeting was hosted by OSU Extension in the College of Food, Ag, and Environmental Sciences as well as the State Climate Office of Ohio, a partnership with Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, the Department of Geography, and OSU Extension – Ag and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University.

The purpose of the event was to evaluate the challenging weather season of 2019 in the context of our changing climate and extend beyond the impacts to think about building a strong foundation to withstand similar impacts in the future. Dr. Jeff Hattey focused on water management topics including erosion factors, water storage, and cover crop and residue management. Dr. Ben Brown presented on a producer framework for mitigating production and price risks made all the more challenging by the weather threats this year. Our keynote speaker, Tyler Williams, provided a perspective from Nebraska and the flooding challenges that they have weathered this season. Finally, we ended the day with a farmer panel to discuss what it means to be “climate smart”, tiling and conservation roles, involvement from young farmers, impacts on livestock, and how OSU Extension can better serve these communities as we build resilience toward an economically profitable and environmentally sustainable Ag future in Ohio.

This event was graciously supported by our Platinum Sponsors, farmCredit-MidAmerica, Pullins Drainage and Excavating, and the North Central Climate Collaborative – an initiative of the North Central Region Water Network, Gold Sponsors Premiere Crop Insurance, SuttonBank, Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn & Wheat, and AgCredit, and our Silver Sponsors DTN, Farmers State Bank, Ohio Agribusiness, Williamson Insurance Agency, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, and Department of Geography. We thank you all for helping us provide this important information to our community.

Speakers (Click on title for recording of presentation)

Dr. Gary Pierzynski – Opening Remarks

Dr. Pierzynski provided some opening remarks on the program. Gary serves as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Education at College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science (CFAES). Gary joined CFAES from Kansas State University, where he was a university distinguished professor and head of the Department of Agronomy, a comprehensive unit with a $14 million budget and significant roles in teaching, research, and extension. As department head, he more than doubled undergraduate enrollment with 100 percent graduate placement; enhanced graduate student stipends; and created an advisory board for the department. Prior to that, Gary was interim director of Kansas State University Research and Extension and interim dean of its College of Agriculture. He is president-elect of the American Society of Agronomy and previously served as president of the Soil Science Society of America. He serves on the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He received his Ph.D. in soil chemistry from The Ohio State University in 1989, and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan State University in 1982 and 1985, respectively.

Dr. Aaron B. Wilson – Agricultural Face of a Changing Climate in Ohio (PDF)

Dr. Wilson is an Atmospheric Scientist with The Ohio State University (OSU), holding a joint appointment as a Research Scientist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and as Climate Specialist with OSU Extension. His expertise includes weather, applied climatology, and climate change, and he works in the State Climate Office of Ohio. He enjoys engaging students of all ages, focusing recently on local Ag impacts to changing weather patterns.  He encourages all of us across the rural to urban gradient to think about the personal face of climate change and how it impacts our lives.

Dr. Jeff Hattey – Impacts of a Changing Climate on Water Management (PDF)

Dr. Hattey was raised on a small family farm near Kansas City, MO, however as a teenager his family moved to Albuquerque, NM where he developed a strong interest in the environmental issues. This ultimately led him to the study of soil science where he has linked his life-time interest in agriculture and the natural resources. Jeff received a B.S. in Agriculture University of Central Missouri followed by his M.S. and Ph.D. work at the University of Arkansas in Agronomy. His research emphasis was in soil chemistry/fertility of wheat-soybean-rice production in the Mississippi basin.  He held positions as post-Doctoral Fellow at Auburn University and moved through the ranks to Professor in soil and environmental sciences at Oklahoma State University where his research focused on long-term use of animal waste in irrigated cropping systems of the southern High Plains. Jeff joined Ohio State in 2011 as Assistant Dean in Academic Programs with primary responsibilities in student success. In 2018, Jeff joined SENR in teaching, extension and research duties related to soil management. At Ohio State, Jeff is currently working with other soil science faulty to enhance extension outreach efforts addressing key soil management issues for Ohio agriculture producers and urban families.

Dr. Ben Brown – Price and Production Risk (PDF)

Dr. Brown is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Agricultural Risk Management located in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at The Ohio State University. A native of Missouri, growing up on a diversified row crop and cattle operation, he is learning to love Ohio. Active in 4-H and FFA, Ben has a passion for Extension and Outreach. Ben received undergraduate degrees from Kansas State University in 2015 in Agricultural Economics and Agronomy and a Master’s in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Missouri- Columbia where he was a graduate assistant to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI-MU). His area of focus was on U.S. farm policy with specific work on the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Commodity Programs in the Agricultural Act of 2014. At Ohio State Ben has severed as the Director for the Farm Management Program that shares knowledge between department faculty, industry, and extension specialist in the areas of Farm Risk Management. He has many areas of focus including cooperative management, commodity markets, and agricultural policy.

Keynote Speaker: Tyler Williams – When Extreme Climate and Extreme Weather Meet: March 2019 in Nebraska (PDF)

Tyler is a Nebraska Extension Educator focusing on cropping systems and climate resiliency located in Lincoln, NE. Tyler has led Extension activities in Nebraska, the United States, and internationally to educate producers and community members on climate science, as well as adaptation and management strategies to deal with climate variation and extreme weather.  Tyler earned his B.S. in Meteorology/Climatology with a minor in Mathematics and a Masters in Agronomy both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Tyler grew up on a ranch in south central Nebraska and still enjoys working with livestock and spending time with his wife and three children.

Farmer Panel:

Fred Yoder

Fred Yoder is a fourth-generation farmer who has lived and farmed near Plain City, Ohio, for more than 38 years. Along with his wife, Debbie, and his two children, he grows corn, soybeans and wheat on his farm of 1,500 acres. Fred has served as President of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and in the Ohio Corn Growers Association in various leadership positions. He also served as Chairman of the NCGA’s Biotech Working Group, which helped to develop protocols to ensure that new emerging technologies could be used safely on the farm while protecting other existing crop systems. Fred actively addresses issues of pending climate policy, conservation, and sustainability concerns. He is a charter member of the Board of Directors of “Solutions from the Land,” which is a non-profit organization working with the World Bank in organizing the “Global Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance,” enabling developed and developing countries to ramp up global food production and distribution in a sustainable way.

Paul Pullins

Paul Pullins’ father started a drainage business in 1958, and Paul went to work every day I was not in school. He joined the drainage business full time in 1970 with his father. When his father retired in 2007, he purchased the drainage business and all the equipment.  Paul has two sons presently in the drainage and conservation construction business with him. His company installs anywhere from 3.7 million to 5.2 million feet of drain tile per year.  They also construct 40,000 to 70,000 linear feet of conservation practices as well as constructing 20 to 60 acres of wetlands each year. Paul was the third drainage contractor in the United States to install global positioning system (GPS) grading on the drain tile machines. His company currently owns 3 Komatsu dozers, which are equipped with self-GPS grading controls. Paul is a past president of the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors Association (OLICA) and past contractor of the year award from the OLICA. Project Manager – Ohio for Land Stewards October 2014 – February 2017 for the Rover Pipeline project and Kinder Morgan – Utopia Pipeline. Paul received Champaign County Farmer of the Year Award in February 2019 from the Urbana Rotary Club. Paul is presently working for Precision Pipeline, LLC as a Drainage Superintendent in which he oversees the repairing of the drain tile on the Rover Pipeline Project in Ohio and Michigan. He has testified as a drain tile expert or consultant in court proceedings. 

Corey Hendricks

Corey operates a 45 head cow/calf operation in western Mahoning County. He finishes a number of grassfed animals grazing about 135 acres and making 165 acres of hay. He started in 2010 with the purchase of a 2nd generation farm and their willingness to help him along as he grew, and they retired.

Liza and Bennett Musselman

Liza and Bennett Musselman are from Orient, Ohio. They are fourth generation farmers farming with Bennett’s parents and their two sons Lane and Levi in Pickaway, Madison and Franklin Counties. Both Liza and Bennett have off-farm careers as well. Liza is an accounting manager at WillowWood, owns a photography business, is active in Ohio Agri-Women and chair of the Pickaway Competitive Network Agriculture Committee with PCCF. Bennett is a vice president and agribusiness banker at Heartland Bank. He is also vice president of Pickaway County Farm Bureau, on the Pickaway County Fair Sales Committee and a Pickaway County Farmers Club member. Bennett and Liza currently serve as the chair couple of Ohio Farm Bureau’s State Young Ag Professionals Committee.

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