I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is looking forward into beginning a new year in the coming days. Well 2017 was certainly an exciting year both in the world of agriculture and for myself on a personal note. It has been great to be able to meet so many people and learn so much about agriculture here in Henry County. I look forward to continuing to do so in 2018.
Here in the next couple of months I will be highlighting the different Extension meetings and programs that will take place here in the county and NW corner of Ohio, so stay tuned for that information going forward.
One of those meetings will be a combined Pesticide Applicator Training and Fertilizer Applicator Recertification. The Henry County meeting will be at 5:30 on March 15 at the new Senior Center located at 203 Rohrs Street in Napoleon. The 1-hour fertilizer training will take place first, followed by the traditional 3-hour pesticide training.
I have had questions about who needs to attend the fertilizer recertification recently. Any applicator, both private and commercial, that went through the first round of certification in 2015 needs to attend. Those applicators have a yellow fertilizer card that expires either on March 31st or May 15th. If you need recertification be sure to mark that date on your calendar, and if you would prefer to register online there is a link on our office website, or you can call the office to RSVP. We like to have a head count in order to have enough materials for everyone.
As the snow blows and things freeze up, it is a great time to do some thinking about the future of your farming operation. As current prices for corn and soybeans look to become the status quo for some time going forward, it may be time to consider diversifying your farming operation.
Those in parts of the county where vegetables can be grown have probably seen the benefits of other enterprises as grain prices fell over the past couple of years. Other potential avenues of adding to your farm portfolio that I have worked with producers on include contract feeding beef cattle, primarily holstein steers, finishing hogs, raising some additional small grains, or even starting a hops yard. We have a tremendous amount of information and resources available regarding any enterprise that may be considered in the coming year.
Lastly, for those farmers interested in taking their finances one step farther, we have a Farm Financial Analysis Technician starting in Defiance county as part of a 3-year project. In the first year they will be working to provide enterprise benchmarking data to Ohio farmers and then follow up the next year with a full blown farm financial analysis using technology from the FINPACK program. If are interested in this opportunity let me know immediately.
I’ll end this week with a thought from Benjamin Franklin who said “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” Have a great week and a happy New Year.
Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
OSU Henry County Extension