New Year, New Ag Policy
In the last week or so, there have been a couple of rather large announcements that could impact agriculture and those involved in 2020. First of which is the governor’s unrolling of $30 million through the Ohio Department of Agriculture through the new H2Ohio program. The program will incentivize voluntary conservation practices of the next five years in counties, including Henry, that lie in the lower Maumee watershed. There are information meetings scheduled, with the Henry/Putnam meeting being at the Fogle Center in Leipsic at 6 p.m. on February 20th.
Other news over the least week also included the signing of a Phase 1 China trade deal, which is intended to increase the amount of agricultural exports into China. U.S. soy, pork, and beef, entering China are all part of the deal.
Also, on the policy side of things farmers need to remember to make Farm Bill appointments with the FSA office as the enrollment deadline is March 15. There are a few meetings scattered around the area, we have details available in the office.
Around the home, things are fairly cold, and spring is a few weeks away yet but there are some things we can do to prepare for the upcoming garden season. If you saved seeds from the last growing season and wonder if they will germinate when planted this spring, you can discover the average rate of germination before the planting season begins. It’s easy to check vegetable and flower seed viability, and it can save you time later when the gardening season begins.
The following home germination test is a simple way. find out whether a variety of seed will germinate and grow: Dampen a paper towel and place 10 seeds an even distance apart. Roll up the towel and place in a plastic bag. Leave the damp, rolled towel in a warm area or a window for two to five days, lighting doesn’t matter. After the two-to-five days, check to see how many of the seeds have germinated. The percentage of seed that germinated in the towel will be similar the amount that germinates in the garden.
Some seed types last longer than others. Typically seed from sweet corn, parsnips, and spinach generally will only remain viable for only a year. On the other hand, beans, carrots, cole crops, collards, squashes, tomatoes and turnips are good for at least three years, when properly stored.
Seed is best stored through the winter at 50 degrees with 50 percent humidity. Store unused seed packets in a sealed jar with a desiccant or powdered milk at the bottom to absorb moisture. Then store the sealed jar in a cool room, cellar, or refrigerator over the winter.
There is still time to register for NW Ohio Crops Day in Deshler! I’ll end this week with a thought from one of my favorites, Mark Twain: “Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.” Have a great week.
1/23 Beef Quality Assurance
2/7 NW Ohio Crops Day
Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator
OSU Henry County Extension