Time is running out to sign up for a number of educational programs!

Sign up deadlines are soon for:

Agronomy schools will start soon in Knox and Muskingum Counties


The OSU Extension offices in Coshocton & Muskingum Counties are pleased to be offering the “2020 Agronomy School” on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. This school will be held at the Dresden United Methodist Church located at 1014 Main Street in Dresden. This school will focus on topics to increase corn profitability, improve grain crop nutrient management, and understand new trends in Ohio weather. Participants will also learn more about the farm bill, commodity prices, and trade issues.

Click on this link for more details: Muskingum / Coshocton Agronomy School


The OSU Extension Office in Knox County is offering the Central Ohio Agronomy School.  This six week course that will take place on Monday evenings, in Mount Vernon, starting on February 10th.

Please click on this link for the flyer and registration information: centralOhioAg2020

Farm Bill Meeting Tuesday January 14th at 7:00 p.m.

Do you have questions about your selection options available in the new Farm Bill?  The 2018 Farm Bill allows the choice to enroll in ARC or PLC for 2019-2023.  These programs are designed to help provide protection in case of yield losses or loss of markets.  Enrollment for 2019 is currently open with the deadline set as March 15, 2020. Join OSU Extension and the Farm Service Agency for an informational meeting to learn about changes to the ARC/PLC, important dates and deadlines, crop insurance – supplemental coverage option, and using decision tools to evaluate program choices to make informed program decisions. Click on this link for dates and locations. Farm Bill Flyer

GROWING HEMP in OHIO Separating Fact from Fiction


Separating Fact from Fiction

January 24, 2020

OARDC/OSU, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, Ohio

Find out about this new crop, from opportunities to challenges faced by growers.
Information includes hemp plant basics, growing practices, rules and regulations, business considerations, and more.

Click here for program and registration details.

Click here for online registration.


Ohio Ag Law Blog–A look back: agricultural law in 2019

Written by Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

I often receive quizzical looks when someone asks me what kind of law I practice and I say “agricultural law.”  A common response is “what in the world is that”?   A look back at agricultural law in 2019 provides a pretty good answer to that question.  Our review of major developments in the last year illustrates the diversity of legal issues that make up the world of agricultural law. It’s never dull, that’s certain.

Here are the highlights of what we saw in agricultural law in 2019:

  • The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR).  Toledo citizens gained national attention when they passed a charter amendment granting legal rights to Lake Erie and its ecosystem to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.”  The amendment also allowed Toledoans to sue corporations and governments that violate the lake’s legal rights.  Ohio’s legislature quickly enacted a law prohibiting any attempt to enforce LEBOR, and Drewes Farm challenged LEBOR as unconstitutional in a lawsuit that is still tied up in federal court.  While Toledoans won’t be able to use LEBOR to recognize legal rights for the lake, the measure raised awareness of the water quality frustrations felt by Toledoans and others with ties to Lake Erie, and brought attention to similar efforts around the country to protect natural resources by granting them legal rights.  Read our review of LEBOR here.
  • Watersheds in Distress tug-of-war.  Controversial rules proposed by the Kasich administration would have expanded areas in Ohio designated as “watersheds in distress” and added regulations for farmers operating within those areas.   Governor DeWine’s new Director of Agriculture yanked the rules upon taking office in January, however, effectively ending the controversy over whether more regulations for farmers are the solution to Ohio’s water quality problems.  The governor’s H2OH initiative offers an alternative to the Watersheds in distress approach.
  • Hemp hemp, hooray.  After the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp by distinguishing it from marijuana under federal law, then authorized states to allow hemp production, Ohio passed legislation  also decriminalizing hemp.  Ohio’s proposed rules for cultivating and processing hemp are now out, and ODA held a hearing on the proposed rules on December 18, 2019.  ODA also submitted Ohio’s Hemp Production Plan to the USDA in December, and the USDA approved the plan.   Once the state rules become final, Ohio’s hemp program will open up and applicants can apply for cultivation licenses and begin growing hemp as a commodity crop in 2020.  ODA’s hemp program page is here.
  • Waves of WOTUS.  We began 2019 with the Trump administration’s proposed WOTUS rewrite in February, which is still under review and not yet effective. We followed that with the administration’s announced repeal of the Obama-era 2015 WOTUS rule in September; the repeal became effective on December 23, 2019.  There’s more:  the administration published a reinstatement of the WOTUS definition from 1996/1998 until its proposed rule becomes final.  But that’s not all.  Sprinkled in and around those dates were a slew of lawsuits and injunctions challenging the Obama-era rule, the rulemaking process, and the pre-2015 definitions of WOTUS.  By the end of the year, we were left with a patchwork of different WOTUS rules across the country and uncertainty about which are actually in effect.  Read our latest WOTUS post here.
  • Third Roundup cancer lawsuit is biggest yet.  A jury awarded a whopping $2 billion to a California couple who claimed that Monsanto failed to warn them about the health risks of using Roundup, which they believe caused their non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This was the largest of three verdicts against Monsanto to date, but the court later reduced the amount to $87 million.  Approximately 13,000 more Roundup cases are pending in state and federal courts across the country, and more Roundup lawsuits are also underway against Home Depot and Lowe’s.  Bayer announced in June that it would invest $5.6 billion on weed management research to find alternatives to the glyphosate used in Roundup.
  • Ohio’s Right to Farm law expanded.  Buried deep in Ohio’s budget bill were significant changes to Ohio’s Right to Farm law, the law that gives agricultural activities immunity from civil nuisance lawsuits.  The changes were an obvious response to the Lake Erie Bill of Rights initiative.  The revisions allow agricultural activities on any CAUV land and agricultural activities conducted by a person pursuant to a lease agreement to qualify for the immunity, in addition to the pre-existing law’s coverage for land owners enrolled in the “Agricultural District Program” with the county auditor.  The new law also attempts to clarify the types of agricultural activities that receive protection under the law, including fertilizer and manure applications and any expansions or changes in farm operations.  Read more about the changes, which became effective October 17,  here
  • Congress increases farm bankruptcy limit.  Sometimes Congress can agree on something.  The Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 is one example.  The federal bill, effective August 23, 2019, raised the debt limit for family farmers and fishermen seeking to use Chapter 12 bankruptcy law to reorganize debts and stay in business.  Farmers may now have an aggregate debt of up to $10 million when using Chapter 12, rather than the previous limit of $4.4 million.
  • Revisions to H-2A rules begin.     Long awaited revisions to the H-2A program are underway.  In October, changes were made to the labor market test for H-2A labor certification, which determines whether qualified American workers are available to fill temporary agricultural positions and if not, allows an employer to seek temporary migrant workers.   Employers will no longer have to advertise a job in a print newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment. For the final rule, visit this link.
  • Meat and eggs are not so simple anymore.  While all is quiet in Ohio, the country continues to battle over what exactly is “meat” and when eggs must come from cage free hens.  The most recent egg law arose in Michigan, whose lawmakers passed a bill that will require all eggs sold in the state by 2024 to be from birds housed in cage-free facilities.  Oregon and Washington passed similar laws in 2019.  Meanwhile, litigation in Arkansas has put a hold on carrying out a state law that prohibits labeling a food product as “meat” if it doesn’t derive from an animal. A similar law and lawsuit developed in Missouri last year.  And in Washington DC, the USDA and FDA jockeyed for regulatory authority over “cell cultured meat” and finally agreed to divide labeling and inspection authority between the two agencies.  We expect these food battles to continue in 2020.
  • Solar leasing on the rise.  Yes, solar leasing in Ohio.  Thousands of acres of farmland in Ohio will soon be home to utility-scale solar energy facilities under long-term solar energy leases.  The Ohio Power Siting Board has approved six solar facilities, with eight more in the works.  We’ve examined the legal issues raised by solar energy leasing on farmland and have summarized them in our Farmland Owner’s Guide to Solar Leasing, available here.

What might the wide world of agricultural law see in 2020?  We’ll tackle that question next, so stay tuned for more.

Ohio Maple Days on tap for January

WOOSTER, Ohio —Ohio had a great maple season in 2019 with lots of good quality syrup.  Now is the time to get prepaird for the 2020 maple season at the Ohio Maple Days workshops.

The Ohio Maple Days program, an educational event for all maple syrup producers is offered on three dates in three locations: Jan. 23 in Fulton, Jan. 24 in Fredericksburg, and Jan. 25 in Middlefield. The program will be the same at all three locations.  This year the workshops will feature speakers from Vermont the #1 maple producing state and New York the #3 maple producing state.

Featured speakers Abby van den Berg, researcher at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, will discuss research findings on reverse osmosis of syrup flavor and quality.  She will also cover the tips and tricks to efficiently obtaining higher yields of quality sap that leads to more quality syrup.  van den Berg is a leader of research on maple production from red maples and will share her knowledge with Ohio producers.  Ohio is rich in red maples in many parts of the state.

Also featured Steve Childs, New York maple specialist at Cornell University, will discuss the findings from research on tubing, tapping filtering and much more conducted at the Uihlein maple research forest.  He will also conduct a participant favorite on maple value added products.  This program teaches maple producers how to add value to the products they sell.

Another featured speaker, Dan Milo, will explain new portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act, set to be implemented this year, that affect producers of maple syrup. Milo is food safety supervisor with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety and is a hobby syrup producer himself.

Graham will present a session called “Maple Nuggets” where he’ll share additional news and updates and answer producers’ questions along with the speakers from throughout the day in a speaker panel.

There will be a trade show at each location; reports by the Ohio Maple Producers Association and by Ohio State University Extension, which is the outreach arm of CFAES.  Once again free testing of hydrometers, refractometers, and Vermont Temporary Maple Syrup Grading Kits that attendees are encouraged to bring with them to the workshops.  A hydrometer that is off can cause moldy syrup or sugar crystals both which can be avoided by checking if the hydrometer is still reading properly.

The Jan. 23 event will be at Lutheran Memorial Camp, 2790 State Route 61, in Fulton.

On Jan. 24, the program takes place at the Mennonite Christian Assembly Church, 10664 Fryburg Road, in Fredericksburg.

The Jan. 25 event is set for the Huntsburg Community Center, 12396 Madison Road, in Middlefield, which is a new location from previous years.

The hours for all three events are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Preregistration to attend at a single location is $40 and includes lunch. The deadline to preregister is Jan. 17. Registration after Jan. 17, including at the door, is $45 but doesn’t guarantee lunch.

For details click here. Registration can be mailed or  call Ashley Gerber, 330-674-3015.


OSU Extension to Offer Lunch and Learn Webinars

By: Chris Bruynis, Extension Educator

In the age of multi-tasking and convenience, OSU Extension is offering a lunch and learn webinar series for farmers. We have arranged for eight topic and speakers to provide a webinar every Wednesday starting on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 and concluding March 25, 2020. Join us for eight consecutive Wednesdays for this educational series starting at 11:45 am and lasting 1.5 hours. Learn important risk management information during this lunch and learn series from top industry, private sector, and university experts important to the success of farm businesses in 2020 and beyond.

The topics that will be covered include:

February 5:         Using Financial Statements/Ratios to Make Informed Financial Decisions

February 12:      Farm Law 101: Leasing and Financing Agreements

February 19:      Grain Contracts and Markets: What to Use When

February 26:      Where to Start with Workers Compensation Benefits

March 4:             Meeting with a Lender: What Numbers are Important

March 11:           Estate Planning: What are the Tools and Options

March 18:           Grain Marketing Strategies for 2020

March 25:           Tips for Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Farm Business Employees

Farmers interested in participating should register at https://go.osu.edu/fm2020.  At this website you can access detailed information on the speakers and the learning objectives for each session. There is also a registration link for the webinar at this site. The cost for all eight topics is $25 per registration and must be paid with credit card at time of registration.

Any question can be directed to Chris Bruynis or Marianne Guthrie at 740-702-3200 or email bruynis.1@osu.edu. We hope this program series will be beneficial to your farm business, whether you attend all the topic presentations or just some of them.