From Across the Field – A January Thaw

The thermometer has warmed up (relatively speaking) here in NW Ohio over the past couple of days, which is a welcome sight for many.  The recent cold snap was a bit rough on the office, as I think we have all battled a cold since the start of the new year. I had the pleasure of thawing out some pipes in my basement, as did many others as it appears, based on the scarcity of heat lamp bulbs at the store. The forecast for the end of this week and into the weekend is a mix of good and bad, as the welcome warmer temperatures look to bring with them a dose of snow, rain, or a wintery mix.

Looking back while fairly short lived, this recent blast of Arctic air, brought some of the colder temperatures that I can remember. My parents and grandparent talk about the blizzard of 1978, but was long before my time. However, a couple of other cold spells do stick out in my mind. I was in college during the Polar Vortex of 2014, where even Ohio State had a couple of snow days. Columbus drivers are bad enough on dry pavement, let alone on ice skates. Continue reading

2018 OFMA Convention highlights

By: Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal

Each January the Ohio Fair Managers Association gathers for its annual convention to discuss exhibitions in warmer days ahead.

“The purpose of the convention is to be educational and it allows directors, especially newer directors, to come and rub shoulders with other fairs around the state. That is how you learn,” said Tom Stocksdale from Wayne County who serves as the District 5 representative on the Ohio Fair Managers Association Board of Directors. “People do not really understand the number of volunteer hours that even local fairs have. If fairs had to pay for everything that happens, they couldn’t afford to operate. So much depends on volunteer hours.”

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels was on hand this year to discuss some of the highlights expected during the upcoming Ohio fair season. Continue reading

Work Ongoing to Address Unintended Results of Tax Change That Favors Cooperatives

By: Matt Reese, Ohio’s Country Journal

While many have suggested the recently passed tax law has numerous benefits for agriculture, there are some potential negative implications for private grain companies and other privately held purchasers of agricultural goods.

A provision affecting the qualified cooperative dividend was added to the tax bill late in the process last year in an effort to avoid a tax increase for farmers previously relying on the Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction. The problem that has since surfaced, however, is that the provision may inadvertently favor cooperatives over private grain buyers due to potential tax deductions for farmers. In short, the change cuts farmer taxes on proceeds from agricultural products sold to cooperatives. Continue reading

Ohio Annual Crop Summary for 2017

From Ohio Ag Net/Ohio’s Country Journal

Crop conditions varied widely across the state, due to delays in planting, replanting, and emergence issues throughout the 2017 season, according to Cheryl Turner, Ohio State Statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Heavy rains along with cold temperatures at the beginning of the season hindered the drying of fields and caused the need for significant replanting. Dryer conditions in June brought opportunities to dry out fields to resume planting and other field activities. The dry weather continued allowing growers to catch up on replanting, apply fertilizer and cut hay. Excessive moisture throughout July created concerns in crop progress. August brought cooler drier conditions which helped stabilize crops.

Ohio’s 2017 average corn yield was 177 bushels per acre, a new State record, up 18 bushels from last year. Producers harvested 3.13 million acres, compared to 3.30 million acres in 2016. Total State production of corn for grain was 554 million bushels, up 6 percent from the 2016 production of 525 million bushels. Acreage harvested for silage was 220,000 acres, an increase of 10,000 acres from 2016. The average silage yield increased by 4.5 tons from 2016 to 20 tons per acre. The Ohio corn harvest progressed slightly behind 2016 throughout the fall and was near completion by the end of November. Continue reading

Young Farmers Face Four Key Challenges, Survey Says

By: Nate Birt, Editor Top Producer Magazine

Young farmers are eager for agricultural opportunities but challenged by four key factors, the greatest of which is access to land, according to the new report, “Building A Future With Farmers”. The publication summarizes findings of The National Young Farmer Survey, a project of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC).

Continue reading

From Across the Field – Keeping Safe and Warm this Winter

It has been a frigid start to 2018 across much of the country, with temperatures hovering around zero here in our corner of the Buckeye State. That being said, it if often a hazardous time for both people and pets once temperatures drop.

Managing the cold weather for our pets can become a challenge. If possible allow them to seek shelter in a barn, garage, or consider bring them into the home if house trained. At the very least we should provide some insulation to them in there pen or box. Straw makes a good winter insulation for multiple species, both pets and farm animals alike. Continue reading

How Did the Soybean Become Such a Common Crop in The U.S.?

By: Anna Casey

Chris Murray is a fifth-generation farmer in Champaign County, Illinois.  Like most farmers in the heartland, he grows both corn and soybeans, but says it was a particularly good year for the bean.

“We’re still probably going to be in one of our top five best soybean years we’ve ever had,” Murray said.

Farmers in the U.S. grew more soybeans in 2017 than ever before, according to USDA data. Nearly 89.5 million acres were planted this year, an increase of more than 25 million acres over the last decade.  The plant, native to Asia, has become ubiquitous across the American Corn Belt, but the crop was virtually unknown to the region until the middle of the 20th century. And the soybean’s rise can be traced back to one enterprising Illinois industrialist, A.E. Staley. Continue reading

Farm Groups Launch “Farm Town Strong” Campaign to Address Rural Opioid Epidemic

From Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net

As farming communities face mounting challenges with the nation’s opioid epidemic, the nation’s two largest general farm organizations are teaming up to confront the issue. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Farmers Union (NFU) announced a new campaign, “Farm Town Strong,” to raise awareness of the crisis’ impact on farming communities. The campaign will also provide resources and information to help farm communities and encourage farmer-to-farmer support to overcome the crisis.

The groups have launched a new website, FarmTownStrong.org, to provide easy access to information and resources that can help struggling farm families and rural communities. Continue reading

McDonald’s Testing Fresh Beef Burgers

By: Wyatt Bectel, Drovers

Move over frozen beef patties, here comes fresh beef at McDonald’s.

On Jan. 2, McDonald’s announced that it was testing a new burger, called Archburger. The burger is being tested at seven McDonald’s restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a restaurant in Plano, Texas. The Archburger is made with fresh beef and being offered in a limited run to seek both consumer and franchisee feedback. Continue reading

Make Skid Steer Safety A Priority For All

By: Sara Brown, Farm Journal
Livestock and Production Editor

Safety on the farm is a year-round worry. And livestock operations often carry the most risk—with humans and livestock—so much so that equipment companies are making an effort to promote equipment safety with livestock producers.

“Most accidents happen from trips and falls. That’s why we have safety steps—to prevent those accidents from happening,” says Craig Reidhead, training services representative at the Empire dealership in Mesa, Ariz.

The second most common cause of skid-steer accidents is operator error. “Any time you make direction changes, ease into a stop before going forward or reverse. You don’t want to operate this machine without putting on a safety belt, either,” adds Tony Newlin, who also works at the Empire dealership in Mesa. Continue reading