Ohio Crop Progress

Source: USDA

Ninety percent of corn was in or past dough, 40 percent of Ohio corn was in or past dent, and 2 percent was mature. Corn for silage was 11 percent harvested. Ninetyfive percent of soybeans were setting pods and 3 percent were dropping leaves. Corn and soybean condition were 80 and 76 percent good to excellent, respectively. Second cuttings of other hay were 94 percent complete. Third cuttings of alfalfa hay and other dry hay were 75 and 51 percent complete, respectively. Fourth cuttings of alfalfa hay were 29 percent complete.

Ohio Crop Progress


Seventy-nine percent of corn was in or past dough, and 30 percent of Ohio corn was in or past dent. Ninety percent of soybeans were setting pods. Corn and soybean condition were 79 and 76 percent good to excellent, respectively. Second cuttings of other hay were 88 percent complete. Third cuttings of alfalfa hay and other dry hay were 69 and 44 percent complete, respectively. Pasture and range condition was rated 66 percent good to excellent, up from the previous week.

The Ag Law Roundup: your legal questions answered

Source: Peggy Hall, OSU Extension

Is a tree service business considered “agriculture” for purposes of Ohio rural zoning?

No, tree trimming and tree cutting activities are not listed in the definition of agriculture in Ohio’s rural zoning laws, although the definition does include the growing of timber and ornamental trees. The definition ties to the “agricultural exemption” and activities that are in the “agriculture” definition can be exempt from county and township zoning.  Here is the definition, from Ohio Revised Code sections 303.01 and 519.01:

“agriculture” includes farming; ranching; algaculture meaning the farming of algae; aquaculture; apiculture; horticulture; viticulture; animal husbandry, including, but not limited to, the care and raising of livestock, equine, and fur-bearing animals; poultry husbandry and the production of poultry and poultry products; dairy production; the production of field crops, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees, flowers, sod, or mushrooms; timber; pasturage; any combination of the foregoing; and the processing, drying, storage, and marketing of agricultural products when those activities are conducted in conjunction with, but are secondary to, such husbandry or production.

What are the benefits of being enrolled in the “agricultural district program” in Ohio, and is there a penalty for withdrawing from the program?

There are three benefits to enrolling farmland in the agricultural district program:

  1. The first is the nuisance protection it offers a landowner.  A landowner can use the defense the law provides if a neighbor who moves in after the farm was established files a lawsuit claiming the farm is a “nuisance” due to noise, odors, dust, etc.  Successfully raising the defense and showing that the farm meets the legal requirements for being agricultural district land would cause the lawsuit to be dismissed.
  2. The second benefit is that the law also exempts agricultural district land from assessments for water, sewer and electric line service extensions that would cross the land.  As long as the land remains in agricultural district program, the landowner would not be subject to the assessments.  But if the land is changed to another use or the landowner withdraws the land from the agricultural district program, assessments would be due.  The assessment exemption does not apply to a homestead on the farmland, however.
  3. A third benefit of the agricultural district program law is that it requires an evaluation at the state level if agricultural district land is subject to an eminent domain action that would affect at least 10 acres or 10% of the land.  In that case, the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture must be notified of the eminent domain project and must assess the situation to determine the effect of the eminent domain on agricultural production and program policies.  Both the Director and the Governor may take actions if the eminent domain would create an unreasonably adverse effect.

Continue reading The Ag Law Roundup: your legal questions answered

Farm Real Estate Values and Cash Rents

Source: USDA

The 2023 average Ohio farm real estate value, including land and buildings, averaged $7,800 per acre, according to Ben Torrance, State Statistician of the USDA, NASS, Ohio Field Office.

Farm real estate values in Ohio were up 8.3 percent from 2022. Ohio is in the Corn Belt region, which also includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri. The Corn Belt region value was $8,100 per acre, up 7.1 percent from 2022. The value of farmland in States bordering Ohio were: Indiana, $9,100 per acre; Kentucky, $4,700 per acre; Michigan, $6,400 per acre; Pennsylvania, $7,610 per acre; and West Virginia, $3,200 per acre.

Ohio’s cropland value was $8,200, an increase of 8.6 percent from the previous year. The Corn Belt region experienced a 7.7 percent increase to $8,540 per acre. The average value of cropland in the United States increased 8.1 percent from 2022 to $5,460 per acre. Ohio’s pasture value was $3,700 per acre, up 2.8 percent from 2021.

Ohio’s cropland cash rent was $178 per acre in 2023, up $8.00 from the previous year. Cropland cash rents in the Corn Belt region increased $13.00 from last year to $236 per acre. The cropland cash rents in the States bordering Ohio were: Indiana, $226 per acre; Kentucky, $168 per acre; Michigan, $148 per acre; Pennsylvania, $107 per acre; and West Virginia, $45 per acre.

Pasture cash rents in the Corn Belt region increased $1.00 to $42.50 per acre. Pasture cash rent in the United States was $15.00 per acre.

Click here to download the report

Determining a Fair Cash Rent Value in Knox County


Farmers Remain Cautiously Optimistic About Agricultural Economy

Source: James Mintert and Michael Langemeier, Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture

Click here to download the full report.

Agricultural producer sentiment improved slightly in July as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose two points above its June reading to an index value of 123. This month’s two-percent rise in the barometer was primarily the result of farmers’ improved perception of current conditions on their farms as the Index of Current Conditions rose 5 points to a reading of 121. The Index of Future Expectations changed little compared to June, rising just one point to 124. This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from July 10-14, 2023.

Farmers’ rating of financial conditions on their farms was virtually unchanged in July, compared to June, as the Farm Financial Conditions Index rose just one point to 87 vs. a reading of 86 in June. Looking back to May, however, the percentage of producers rating their farm’s financial performance as better than last year improved from 14% to 17%, while those rating financial performance as worse than a year ago fell from 38% to 30% of respondents. When asked to look ahead one year, there was a one percentage point increase in farmers expecting farm financial conditions to improve in July vs. June and, correspondingly, a one-point decline in the percentage of farmers expecting conditions to worsen. And farmers’ longer-term perspective on the U.S. agricultural economy improved somewhat in July, as the percentage of respondents expecting bad times in the upcoming 5 years fell from 41% in June to 39% in July.

Figure 1. Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, October 2015-July 2023.
Figure 1. Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, October 2015-July 2023.
Figure 2. Indices of Current Conditions and Future Expectations, October 2015-July 2023.
Figure 2. Indices of Current Conditions and Future Expectations, October 2015-July 2023.
Figure 3. In a year, will your farm operation be better off financially, worse off, or about the same as now?, October 2015–July 2023
Figure 3. In a year, will your farm operation be better off financially, worse off, or about the same as now?, October 2015–July 2023

Continue reading Farmers Remain Cautiously Optimistic About Agricultural Economy

Ohio Supreme Court decision explains eminent domain procedures

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Attorney and Director, Agricultural & Resource Law Program

When a landowner legally challenges an agency’s use of eminent domain to appropriate property, Ohio law requires a trial court to hold a hearing to determine the agency’s right to make the appropriation, according to a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court. The Court held that an appeal to a higher court is not permissible until the trial court holds such a hearing and rules on the issues raised in the hearing. For landowner Diane Less, the ruling means the trial court–the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas–must hold a hearing to determine whether Mill Creek MetroParks had the right to make the appropriation of her land and whether that appropriation is necessary.

The case is one of several lawsuits and long-running controversies over Mill Creek MetroPark’s use of eminent domain to appropriate land for a bike path. The Mahoning County disputes are one reason behind a current legislative proposal to revise Ohio’s eminent domain laws, which includes a prohibition against the use of eminent domain for recreational trails. The legislation is at a standstill, however, with many opponents lining up against the recreational trails and other provisions of the bill.

Basis for the decision

The current Mill Creek MetroParks v. Less case made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court after the Seventh District Court of Appeals reversed the Mahoning County court’s summary judgment decision that MetroParks was authorized to use eminent domain to take Less’ land. MetroParks appealed that decision to the Ohio Supreme Court. But rather than addressing the issue of authority to take the land, the high court focused on the procedures outlined in Chapter 163 of the Ohio Revised Code. The statutes “provide a uniform eminent domain procedure for all appropriations sought by public and private agencies,” including procedures for when a property owner contests an appropriation. The Court reviewed the statutory requirements in ORC 163.09, which require a trial court to hold a hearing when:

  1. A property owner files an answer to a petition for eminent domain that specifically denies the right to make the appropriation or the necessity for the appropriation,
  2. The answer alleges sufficient facts in support of the denial, and
  3. The appropriation is not sought in a time of war or other public exigency or not for the purpose of making or repairing roads.

Continue reading Ohio Supreme Court decision explains eminent domain procedures

Ohio may soon have new regulations for solar energy development

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Attorney and Director, Agricultural & Resource Law Program

A long process to update Ohio’s regulations for solar energy facility development has nearly reached its end.  On July 20, the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) adopted new rules that include revisions to rules that apply to solar facilities under its jurisdiction—those that have a nameplate capacity of 50 megawatts or more.  The rules will next go to the Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) for a final review before they can become effective.

The OPSB began the rules review in 2020.  The process included stakeholder meetings, public workshops, a draft proposal of revisions, and a review of comments to the draft rules.  Many parties and interested individuals followed the process, and the agency received formal input from 20 parties and over 400 informal public comments.  The OPSB recognized that the rules review “inspired a robust discussion from numerous interested stakeholders.”

What are the proposed changes?

OPSB summarizes the rule changes it adopted as follows:

  • Public information: Siting project applicants must host two public informational meetings for each standard certificate application. The first meeting will describe the scope of the project. The second meeting, held at least 90 days before an application filing, will focus on the specifics of the application.
  • Site grading: Applicants must provide a preliminary grading plan that describes maximum graded acreage expectations.
  • Drainage and field tile: Applicants must describe and map field drainage systems and demonstrate how impacts to those systems will be avoided or mitigated, describe how damaged drainage systems including field tile mains and laterals will promptly be repaired to restore original drainage conditions and describe the data sources and methods used to obtain information for field drainage system mapping.
  • Vegetation management: Applicants must prevent the establishment and spread of noxious weeds within the project, including setback areas, during construction, operation, and decommissioning. Applicants must provide annual proof of weed control for the first four years of operation with the goal of weed eradication significantly completed by year three of operation.
  • Noise: Noise limits for renewable energy facilities cannot exceed the greater of 40 decibels (dBA) or the ambient daytime and nighttime average sound level by more than 5 dBA.
  • Surface water protection: Solar energy facility applicants must develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan, a spill prevention control and countermeasure plan, and a horizontal directional drilling contingency plan, to minimize and prevent potential discharges to surface waters.
  • Fencing: Solar energy facility perimeter fencing must be small-wildlife permeable and aesthetically fitting for a rural location.
  • Setbacks: Solar energy facility panel modules must be setback at least 50 feet from non‑participating parcel boundaries, at least 300 feet from non-participating residences, and at least 150 feet from the edge of the pavement of any road within or adjacent to the project area.
  • Regulatory: Compliance monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure applicants meet the commitments and conditions contained in each OPSB certificate.

What happens next?

Parties have 30 days from the July 20 adoption date to file a request for a rehearing on OPSB’s decision to adopt the rules.  A rehearing request to OPSB must be based upon an argument that the rules are unreasonable or unlawful.  Absent a rehearing request, the OPSB will forward the rules package to JCARR, a committee consisting of five representatives and five senators from the Ohio legislature.  JCARR must hold a public hearing to hear comments on the rules between 31 and 45 days after receiving them, then must review the rules to ensure they don’t exceed OPSB’s authority, conflict with existing rules or legislative intent, and include analyses of fiscal and business impacts. The committee will next either approve the rules or recommend invalidation of some or all of the rules by the Ohio legislature, and both the House and Senate would have to pass resolutions to follow JCARR’s invalidation recommendations.  If JCARR approves the rules, they’ll go into effect right away.

Weekly Commodity Update

Brownfield’s Weekly Commodity update featuring former OSU Extension Ag Economist Ben Brown.  This week, Will and Ben discuss ethanol production and continued interest rate pressure.

– Market recap
– Corn demand, ethanol production up
– Export sales remain unimpressive
– Federal Reserve action moving forward
– U.S. crop conditions
– Reports to watch

Market recap (Changes on week as of Monday’s close):
– September corn down $.49 at $5.04
– December 2023 corn down $.43 at $5.13
– September soybeans down $.83 at $13.70
– November soybeans down $.75 at $13.31
– September soybean oil down 5.10 cents at 63.11 cents/lb
– September soybean meal down $6.60 at $423.80/short ton
– September 2023 wheat 80 $.80 at $6.65
– July 2024 wheat down $.73 at $6.91
– June WTI Crude Oil up $3.51 at $81.88/barrel

Weekly Highlights
• Finally, one part of US corn demand is showing some life. US weekly ethanol production rose to a 28-month high last week at 322 million gallons.
• The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, citing still elevated inflation as a rationale for what is now the highest US central bank policy rate in 16 years.
• Weekly US agricultural export sales were neutral last week with corn, soybeans and collective wheats up week over week. Sorghum was down week over week. Everything was within expectations.
• Open interest positions were down for corn (-2.8%), soybeans (-0.5%), soybean oil (-6.6%), and soybean meal (-0.1%) while being up for cotton (+11.5%), and rough rice (+15.3%).
• In the wake of renewed Russian attacks in Ukraine money managers bought back 73,529 positions of Chicago corn giving the commodity a net long while producers and merchants were sellers of 47,896 contracts. Managed money traders added 24,925 positions to their already long position while producers and merchants sold another 33,410 positions.
• US agricultural export inspections were on the higher end of all expectations and relatively strong compared to recent weeks. Wheat exports exceeded all pre-report expectations.
• US crop conditions largely fell more than market traders had expected this week. Corn and soybeans were down 2% while spring wheat was down 7% all compared to an expected 1% week over week decline, cotton fell 5%.
• 80% of the US winter wheat crop has been harvested compared to 81% at this time last year and a three-year average of 83%.

What Factors are Driving the Current Grain Market Volatility?

By: Seungki Lee, Assistant Professor, Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

Click here to access PDF version of the articles

During the last few weeks, grain futures markets have showed significant swings in response to several events: the expanding drought, USDA’s June Acreage Report, and the looming Black Sea Grain deal. The heightened uncertainty in the commodity market is causing concern among US growers about market prospects. Given the current influence of multiple variables on prices, relying solely on price indices may lead to a misinterpretation of the market outlook. Therefore, in this article, we will look into three primary factors individually that have the potential to impact the market in the upcoming months.

  1. Expanding Drought Conditions and USDA’s July WASDE Report

The first and very perceivable force that raises uncertainty is the domestic growing condition – the expanding drought in the Midwest. A striking example is that 98% of Minnesota’s crop land are currently experiencing drought (Brown, 2023). USDA’s July WASDE report adjusted down corn yield to 177.5 bushels per acre, 4 bushels down from last month, whereas soybean yield forecast was not changed. However, a substantial change in the acreage projection (corn up and soybean down) in the June USDA’s Acreage Report mainly determined the overall production estimates. This indicates that the market has not fully accounted for the potential yield reduction caused by the drought. Despite the undeniable impact of the drought, the exact extent of harvest reduction remains uncertain, further contributing to market unpredictability. Even though commodity prices hold steady, growers can be largely worse off (Probert et al., 2023). Table 1 provides a quick summary of July WASDE updates for new crop corn, soybean, and wheat.

Table 1. Summary of July WASDE Estimates

  Corn Soybean Wheat
Marketing Year 23/24F ∆Jun ∆22/23 23/24F ∆Jun ∆22/23 23/24F ∆Jun ∆22/23
Yield (bu/acre) 177.5 -4.0 +4.1 52.0 ** +2.5 46.1 +1.2 -0.4
Production 15,320 +55 +1,590 4,300 -210 +24 1,739 +74 89
Total Supply 16,747 +5 +1,615 4,575 -185 0 2,449 +51 -21
Feed & Residual 5,650 +225            
Ethanol 5,300 +75            
Crush       2,300 -10 +80      
Domestic Use 12,385 +305 2,426 -10 +85 1,132 +20 +1
Exports 2,100 +450 1,850 -125 -130 725 -34
Total Use 14,485 +755 4,276 -135 -45 1,857 +20 -33
Ending Stocks 2,262 +5 +860 300 -50 +44 592 +31 +12
Price ($/bu) 4.80 -1.80 12.40 +0.30 -1.80 7.50 -0.20 +1.33

Note: The default unit is a million bushels if not specified.

Continue reading What Factors are Driving the Current Grain Market Volatility?

Ohio Budget bill includes many non-budget changes for ag

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Attorney and Director, Agricultural & Resource Law Program

While Ohio’s “budget bill” is important for funding our agencies and programs, it always contain many provisions that aren’t at all related to the state’s budget. The budget bill provides an opportunity for legislators to throw in interests of all sorts, which tends to add challenges to reaching consensus. Though many worried about having the current budget approved in time, Ohio lawmakers did pass the two-year budget bill, H.B. 33, just ahead of its deadline on June 30.

We’ve been digging through the bill’s 6,000+ pages of budget and non-budget provisions and the Governor’s 44-item veto. Some of the provisions are proposals we’ve seen in other legislation that made their way into the budget bill. Not included in the final package were Senate-approved changes to the Current Agricultural Use Valuation law that would have adjusted reappraisals in 2023, 2024, and 2025. Here’s a summary of items we found of relevance to Ohio agriculture, not including the agency funding allocations. We also summarize three vetoes by the Governor that pulled items from the budget bill.

Township zoning referenda – ORC 519.12 and 519.25

There is now a higher requirement for the number of signatures needed on a petition to subject a township zoning amendment to referendum by placing it on the ballot for a public vote. The bill increased the number of signatures from 8% to 15% of the total vote cast in the township for all candidates for governor in the most recent general election for governor.

Legume inoculators – ORC 907.27 and 907.32

The bill eliminated Ohio’s annual Legume Inoculator’s License requirement for businesses and individuals that apply inoculants to seed. All other requirements for legume inoculants remain unchanged.

Agricultural commodity handlers–Grain Indemnity Fund – ORC 926.18

Ohio’s agricultural commodity handlers law provides reimbursement to a grain depositor if there is a bankruptcy or failure of the grain elevator. The bill revises several parts of the law that provide a depositor with 100% coverage of a grain deposit when there’s a failure:

If a commodity handler’s license is suspended and the handler failed to pay for the commodities by the date suspension occurred, the new law increases the number of days by which the commodities had to be priced prior to the suspension– from 30 to 45 days.
If a commodity handler’s license is suspended and there is a deferred payment agreement between the depositor and the handler, the new law:
Requires that the deferred payment agreement must be signed by both parties.
Increases the number of days by which the commodities had to be priced prior to the suspension — from 90 to 365 days; and
Increases the number of days by which payment for the commodity must be made pursuant to the deferred payment agreement — from 90 days to 365 days following the date of delivery.
Requiring 100% coverage when commodities were delivered and marketed under a delayed price agreement up to two years prior to a handler’s license suspension. The delivery date marked on the receipt tickets determine the two-year period. The bill also states that the Grain Indemnity Fund has no liability if the delayed price agreement was entered into more than two years prior to the commodity handler’s license suspension.
Two circumstances for 100% of loss coverage from the Grain Indemnity Fund remain unchanged by the bill: when the commodities were stored under a bailment agreement and when payment was tendered but subsequently denied. For all other losses, the new law will reduce the fund payment to 75% of the loss. Current law covers 100% of the first $10,000 of the loss and 80% of the remaining dollar value of that loss. Continue reading Ohio Budget bill includes many non-budget changes for ag