Poison Hemlock – still a hot topic!

I continue to receive calls about poison Hemlock.  While it is now mature and going to seed, we still need to work together to get this weed under control.  Here is some information I put together that you may start seeing around the county.

Poison hemlock is an invasive weed that continues to spread rapidly across Licking County as well as the rest of the state.  It is on the Ohio Noxious Weed List.  Ten years ago, you would find it in a few patches here and there but now you see it along almost every roadside, fence row, stream, and nature path.  The County, Townships, and Park Districts are working to control poison hemlock in their areas, but it is critical that property owners also eradicate this weed from their property.

Why is it important? 

All parts of poison hemlock are toxic to people and animals!  This is one of the deadliest plants in North America.  This plant is toxic through ingestion or absorption through sensitive areas such as the eyes or nasal passages.  Poison hemlock is not known to cause skin rashes.  Wild parsnip may grow in the same areas, has some similar appearance characteristics, and can cause severe skin irritation from contact.  It is important to be familiar with the differences between these two plants.  Wild parsnip has yellow flowers, does not have purple spotting on the stems, and has less of a lacelike appearance on the leaves.


Poison hemlock has a 2-year life cycle and will vary greatly in appearance depending on the stage in its life.  The plants will reach 6-10 ft. tall in their second year and in early summer will have white flowers that look similar to wild carrot.  The large stalks will have a characteristic purple spotted appearance. In the fall and early spring, poison hemlock will be found as a thick rosette.

Pictures thanks to Joe Boggs – OSU Extension

Control (From Purdue fact sheet FNR-437-W)

The most effective control may be mowing to prevent seed production, followed with herbicide applications to rosettes and resprouts.

  • Manual – Can be effective for single plants or very small infestations. Pull or dig up all plants, place in trash bag and dispose of with regular trash. Always wear protective clothing, including gloves and eye protection, to prevent the plant from contacting skin.
  • Mechanical – Mowing or cutting may be effective control but must be repeated often because the taproot can send up new shoots after a single mowing. Tilling or grubbing can kill hemlock and prevent seed production but is generally not recommended because of soil disturbance.
  • Chemical – Effective for large infestations and for spot spray applications to individuals and clumps. Herbicide application should be performed while the plant is actively growing and before flowering. First year basal rosettes may be sprayed from midsummer through fall. Second-year plants begin bolting flower stalks in April and begin flowering in mid-May. Follow-up treatments will be required, as seeds already present in the soil sprout. Follow label directions and use a surfactant to increase effectiveness. – Glyphosate: Use herbicides containing at least a 41 percent concentration of glyphosate and follow label directions to mix a 2 percent spray solution. Thoroughly wet all surfaces of the plant but not to the point of runoff. Use caution: Glyphosate is nonselective and will damage or kill any plant it contacts. – 2,4-D or Triclopyr: Broadleaf-specific herbicides that will not harm grasses. Most effective on first-year rosettes or very small second-year plants.

Glyphosate, 2,4-D, and Triclopyr are active ingredients in herbicides and are sold under a number of brand names.  These are commonly sold and used by homeowners.  Ask your supplier for assistance with brands they carry.

Once the plant has bloomed, chemical control is too late.  Seed is already formed and will likely be viable.  Mowing when seed has formed will likely spread the seed further. This seed typically survives about 2-3 years in the soil.

While noxious weeds in public right of ways are cared for by government organizations such as the township, county, or park district, it is very important that homeowners do their part to help prevent the spread of noxious plants.

For further information, look up articles by Joe Boggs in the Buckeye Yard & Garden online or contact your local OSU Extension office.  In Licking County, the number is 740-670-5315.

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Implications for U.S. Agriculture – in person presentation

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has impacted all of our lives.  The extent of the impact on agriculture continues to show itself over time.  Here is an opportunity to learn about agriculture in Ukraine and how it affects us in the United States.

Chris Zoller is an Assistant Professor with OSU Extension and will be joining us to present information on this topic on Tuesday July 5th, 2022.  The meeting will be in the  fellowship hall in the basement of the Central Christian Church at 587 Mt Vernon Rd, Newark OH.  The Licking County Professional Agrarians are the host of this meeting.

The Professional Agrarians are a group of people with interest in Agriculture.  They have educational presentations at their monthly meetings and would like to invite anyone interested in this topic to join them for this meeting.  The meeting will begin with diner at 7:30 p.m. followed by our speaker.  If you wish to join us for dinner and fellowship, please RSVP to Dean Kreager at OSU Extension 740-670-5315.  The cost of the meal is $15 and we need a count of extra people to have the food prepared.  If you prefer, you are welcome to skip the meal and join us at 8:00 p.m. (after dinner) to listen to the speaker at no charge.  I would still appreciate a RSVP.

Ohio Beef Day to be held in Muskingum County

– Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Plan to attend, register today!

Field days have long been a great educational tool used to show farmers new technologies and management practices. OSU Extension is pleased to announce the return of a statewide Ohio Beef Cattle Field Day. It has been several years since an Ohio Beef Field Day has been held, and the program will make it reappearance in Muskingum County on Saturday July 16, 2022.

In order to see several aspects of beef cattle production this event will begin a Muskingum Livestock, 944 Malinda St. Zanesville where we will gather before departing on a multiple stop tour in the Adamsville area. The tour will depart with attendees driving their own vehicles as we caravan from one stop to the next. We recommend carpooling as much as possible due to limited parking at one of the tour stops.

The tour stops are as follows:

Michel Livestock is a diversified farm operation, where Dennis Michel manages the cattle feeding operation. On the farm, they maintain around 150 beef cows, feed nearly 700 head of cattle at any one time, and row crop farm several hundred acres of crops. The focus of this stop will be facility design and cattle receiving. Michel Livestock maintains a near continuous flow of purchased cattle into their receiving barns and markets fat cattle on a weekly basis. The Michel family also owns and operates Farm Supply Center in Zanesville, where the mix and sell feed and fertilizer.

Shirer Brothers Processing is one of several small meat processors in Muskingum County. The business recently transitioned principal operators, as Seth Scheffler has taken over operations from the Shirer family. Joining us at this stop will be Peggy Hall, Ag Law Field Specialist for OSU Extension. At this stop we will discuss the local meat industry and address any questions attendees may have regarding direct to consumer meat sales.

Our third stop will be at Hatfield Farms and Fencing operated by Wade and his son, Wesley Hatfield. From having a small herd of cattle and a fencing business, the Hatfield’s were able to grow the cattle enterprise when Wesley returned to the farm. Currently they maintain nearly 200 cows including several that calve in the fall. When it comes to raising beef cattle they have experimented with different management strategies. We will hear from the Hatfield’s as to what works well, what they would do differently, and get some tips on proper fence building techniques.

We will conclude the program at a Roger’s Auction Barn, a local landmark owned and operated by Roger and Dianne Kreis for many years. The Muskingum County Cattlemen will be preparing lunch. During lunch, representatives from the Ohio Beef Council will be highlighting some recent programming and share some insight into consumer trends. We will wrap up the day with Dr. Justin Kieffer, Clinical Veterinarian at the OSU Department of Animal Science discussing herd health updates and anaplasmosis management.

Pre-registration for the program is required and can be completed online at go.osu.edu/2022beefday by July 7. The program fee is $10 per person to cover costs. An information folder, refreshments, lunch, and Beef Quality Assurance certification will be provided to all attendees. If there are any questions regarding the program contact Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist at ruff.72@osu.edu or 740-305-3201. We hope to see you in Muskingum County on July 16.

Farm Service Agency Crop Acreage Reporting Deadline July 15th

Maps have been mailed out by the Licking County FSA Office for acreage reporting purposes. If you have not received your maps, please call our office at 740-670-5340.

Once maps are received, please fill them out with the crop that was planted and the plant date in each field. Once they are filled out, please return them to the office by mail or drop them off. The information will then be data loaded and the office staff will contact you to sign a form verifying the information.

Producers are encouraged to file their acreage reports as soon as planting is completed so we can avoid a rush at the deadline.

Also, producers still have the option of making an appointment to fill out their maps in the office and have the information loaded while they wait if that is preferred.

In order to maintain program eligibility and benefits, producers must timely file acreage reports. Failure to file an acreage report by the crop acreage reporting deadline may result in ineligibility for future program benefits. FSA will not accept acreage reports provided more than a year after the acreage reporting deadline.

Cover Crop Cost Share available through Licking Soil and Water Conservation District

Keeping It Under Cover- 2022 Cover Crop Cost Share from MWCD

From Licking Soil and Water

Long-term use of cover crops can increase crop yields, reduce fertilizer inputs, improve soil health, and decrease water runoff.  Different cover crop species and mixes are available to address specific needs such as controlling erosion, recycling nutrients, fixing nitrogen, reducing compaction, managing soil moisture, and producing forage.

To promote the use of cover crops, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is again providing funding for the Cover Crop Cost-Share Program to assist producers in planting cover crops to decrease erosion and improve water quality.

Last year in Licking County alone, cover crop cost-share producers planted almost 2,500 acres of cover crops and kept more than 4,600 tons of soil from eroding into our streams, 4,700 pounds of phosphorous on the land and 9,400 pounds of nitrogen out of the waterways.

Soil & Water will be accepting applications until July 8, 2022.   Applications are evaluated individually with fields being scored based on several criteria.  Fields that score high enough are approved for cost-share funding at a rate of $12/approved acre.  There is a cap of 200 approved acres per producer.

Soil test results are required on fields enrolled in the Program.  Tests must be from within the last 4 years, and a minimum of every 25 acres, e.g. 100 acres requires four soil tests, 15 acres requires one soil test.

A USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) field map must be included with the applications.  Contact FSA at 740-670-5340 to have your maps printed prior to submitting the application.

Contact Brent Dennis at BrentDennis@LickingSWCD.com or 740-670-5330 to learn more.

Click here to download the 2022 Cover Crop Cost Share Application


Tools and equipment for managing your woodland and wildlife habitat offered to woodland owners and enthusiasts in SE Ohio at Hocking College on Friday, July 15


Caring for you woodlands can be overwhelming at times.  Fortunately, there is a wide array of tools and equipment that can help to make these tasks much more efficient and effective. These tools can be as simple as a hatchet or as sophisticated as an an off-road vehicle with a GPS guided sprayer.   Join us on Friday, July 15 at Hocking College to:

  • Learn how to select, maintain, and safely use chainsaws
  • Understand how to safely operate your small farm tractors and off-road vehicles
  • Become familiar with a wide variety of power and manual tools you can use to improve your woodlands and wildlife habitat
  • Learn how to operate hand-held and vehicle mounted spray equipment safely and effectively

Our featured presenter for this program is Dale Hatfield, Hocking College-Forest and Tree Care Manager, Building and Grounds.   Dale is also an instructor for the Ohio Forestry Association’s CSAW (Chainsaw Safety Awareness that Works) training program.  Dale’s crew and Natural Resources professionals from partnering agencies including Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts will be on hand to demonstrate equipment and share pro tips.

This program will take place from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Hocking College –  Sylvania Educational Site,  17690 Sylvania Ave, Nelsonville Ohio 45764. A registration fee of $12 will cover the cost of lunch and program materials.

Please use one of the following methods to register by July 11th:

For a map and more details visit: http://u.osu.edu/seohiowoods

May Licking County Rainfall Totals

May ended with some big rainfall totals around the county.  We are 3.75 inches ahead of where we were at this time in last years growing season and even slightly ahead of where we were during the wet 2018 season.  Long term forecasts are predicting a littler drier than average the rest of the summer so it will be interesting to see what happens.  Crops have been a little late going in but seem to be doing well.  The wet weather has helped the hay grow well but has made it a challenge to get dry.

Need More Hay or Silage Storage? Consider a USDA Farm Storage Facility Loan

Eric Richer, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Fulton County

For many farmers and ranchers, on-farm storage is a key part of a comprehensive commodity marketing plan and improved feed storage. University research and practical experience has shown that forage feed quality is significantly better and storage losses are much lower when stored inside out of the weather (see Hay Storage Considerations, OSU 21-96 Fact Sheet). A unique farm program administered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is the Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program.  FSA is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which uses this program to provide low-interest financing for producers to store, handle, and/or transport eligible commodities they produce. Many livestock and/or forage producers do not realize that flat storage and bunker-type storage structures are eligible as well as the associated trucks and handling equipment. Overall, the list of eligible commodities, facilities, equipment, and upgrades is quite impressive. Generally, they include the following:

  • Acquiring, constructing or upgrading new or used, portable or permanently affixed, on-farm storage and handling facilities.
  • Acquiring new or used storage and handling trucks; and
  • Acquiring new or used permanently affixed storage and handling equipment.

A producer may borrow up to $500,000 per loan, with a minimum down payment of 15 percent. Loan terms are 3 to 12 years, depending on the amount of the loan. The May 2022 interest rate for all term lengths of the FSFL program is 2.625%.  Producers must demonstrate storage needs based on three years of production history. FSA also provides a microloan option that, while available to all eligible farmers and ranchers, also should be of particular interest to new or small producers where there is a need for financing options for loans up to $50,000 at a lower down payment (5 percent) with reduced documentation. There is a nonrefundable $100 application fee per borrower for this program.

Who is eligible?

An eligible borrower is any person who is a landowner, landlord, leaseholder, tenant or sharecropper. Eligible borrowers must be able to show repayment ability and meet other requirements to qualify for a loan. Contact an FSA office for more details. Eligible storage structures and handling equipment, having a useful life for the entire term of the loan, may be permanently affixed or portable. Facilities built for commercial purposes and not for the sole use of the borrower(s) are not eligible for financing.

Eligible Commodities

The following commodities are eligible:

  • Corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, or minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain;
  • Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, oats or barley harvested as other-than-whole grain and malted small grains
  • Other grains (triticale, rye, speltz, and buckwheat) and pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas);
  • Hay, honey, hops, hemp;
  • Renewable biomass;
  • Floriculture;
  • Fruits (includes nuts) and vegetables – cold storage facilities;
  • Maple sap and syrup;
  • Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt;
  • Eggs and meat/poultry (unprocessed);
  • Aquaculture;
  • Seed cotton;

Eligible Facilities, Equipment and Upgrades

The following types of new/used facilities and upgrades are eligible and must have a useful life for at least the term of the loan:

  • Conventional cribs or bins;
  • Oxygen-limiting structures and remanufactured oxygen-limiting structures;
  • Flat-type storage structures;
  • Electrical equipment and handling equipment, excluding the installation of electrical service to the electrical meter;
  • Safety equipment, such as interior and exterior ladders and lighting;
  • Equipment to improve, maintain or monitor the quality of stored grain;
  • Concrete foundations, aprons, pits and pads, including site preparation, off-farm labor and material, essential to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment;
  • Renovation of existing farm storage facilities, under certain circumstances, if the renovation is for maintaining or replacing items;
  • Concrete foundations, aprons, pits and pads, including site preparation, off-farm labor and material, essential to the proper operation of the grain storage and handling equipment;
  • Renovation of existing farm storage facilities, under certain circumstances, if the renovation is for maintaining or replacing items;
  • Grain handling and grain drying equipment determined by the Commodity Credit Corporation to be needed and essential to the proper operation of a grain storage system (with or without a loan for the storage facility);
  • Structures that are bunker-type, horizontal or open silo structures, with at least two concrete walls and a concrete floor;
  • Structures suitable for storing hay built according to acceptable design guidelines;
  • Structures suitable for storing renewable biomass;
  • Bulk tanks for storing milk or maple sap;
  • Cold storage buildings, including prefabricated buildings that are suitable for eligible commodities. May also include cooling, circulating and monitoring equipment and electrical equipment, including labor and materials for installation of lights, motors and wiring integral to the proper operation of a cold storage facility; and
  • Storage and handling trucks, including refrigerated trucks.
  • Other equipment options are eligible, please consult with your local FSA office.

Environmental Evaluation, Financial Review and Crop Insurance

Before a FSFL is approved, the building site must have a comprehensive environmental evaluation. FSA will request a review of the applicant’s farm finances, similar to that your lending institution; if approved, FSA will hold the first lien on the property purchased.

FSA will also require the applicant/farm to carry a minimum level of crop insurance for the eligible commodity(s) in question.

Finally, these loans must be approved by the local FSA state or county committee before any site preparation and/or construction can be started.

Locating Your FSA Office

If you are unsure which FSA office services your county, please visit: the https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=oh&agency=fsa

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Storage Facility Loan Fact Sheet. January 2021.

Small Grains Field Day

Attention all Small Grain Producers. Are you interested in learning more about wheat cultivars, updates on grain variety trials, disease and insect management, barley for brewing and how to identify wheat quality? Please join us!

Please click here for flyer with details:  small grains field day flyer 3