2023 Small Farm Conference and Trade Show

Ohio State University Extension is hosting a Small Farm Conference in Mansfield Ohio on March 11, 2023.  The theme for this year’s Mid-Ohio Small Farm Conference is “Sowing Seeds for Success.”

Conference session topics are geared to beginning and small farm owners as well as to farms looking to diversify their operation.  There will be five different conference tracks including: Farm Office, Horticulture and Produce Production, Livestock, Agritourism/ Marketing, Natural Resources.

Some conference topic highlights include: How to purchase our family farm, food animal processing, bee keeping, sweet corn, blueberry and pumpkin production, small ruminant nutrition, agritourism laws, fruit tree pruning and cut flower diseases.

Anyone interested in developing, growing or diversifying their small farm is invited to attend including market gardeners, farmers market vendors, and anyone interested in small farm living.

Attendees will have the opportunity to browse a trade show featuring the newest and most innovative ideas and services for their farming operation. The conference provides an opportunity to talk with the vendors and network with others.

The Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Mansfield OSU Campus in Ovalwood Hall, just minutes from I-71 and US Rt 30.

For conference and registration call OSU Extension Morrow County 419-947-1070, or OSU Extension Knox County 740-397-0401.

Please follow this link for conference details and to register: https://go.osu.edu/2023osusmallfarmconf

Scholarship opportunities

Within our community there are a number of scholarships available for youth furthering their education.  Not all require 4 year programs and some  are for students already attending classes.  Please check these out as the deadlines are approaching!

2023 Hartford Fair Youth Scholarship – Due March 3, 2023. Send to The Hartford Fair, 14028 Fairgrounds Rd NW, Croton, Ohio 43013

Pest Management Committee Scholarship – Due April 1 – to: Ohio State University Extension Licking County, Attn: Scholarship Committee, 771 E. Main Street, Suite 103, Newark, OH 43055. Please see application for eligibility requirements.

Licking County Cattlemen’s Association College Scholarship – Due March 1 – to: LCCA, c/o OSU Extension – Licking County Office, 771 E. Main Street, Suite 103, Newark, OH 43055.

Licking County Dairy Committee Educational Scholarship – Due May 1 – to: Licking County OSU Extesion, 771 E. Main Street, Suite 103, Newark, OH 43055, ATTN: Dairy Committee Scholarship.

2023 Licking County Horse & Pony Council Collegiate Scholarship – Application must be postmarked by no later than Friday, May 19, 2023 and mailed to Licking County 4-H Horse & Pony Council Scholarship, c/o Licking County Extension Office, 771 E. Main Street, Suite 103, Newark, OH  43055.

Ohio State Fair Scholarships – Please mail completed applications to Ohio State Fair Scholarship Committee, Agriculture Department, 717 East 17th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43211.Completed applications must be postmarked by April 15, 2019.

Understanding Soils & Fertilizers Class

Join me to learn more about soil testing, fertility, and soil health.

Dean Kreager, Extension Educator for OSU Extension (Licking County), will discuss how to fertilize your home vegetable and flower garden correctly. Learn about soil health and its part in making your garden flourish.

Saturday, March 18, 2023
Time: 10:00 am
Cost: $5 per person + tax  (get back a $5.00 coupon toward purchases)
Limit of 20 people


Location: Wilson’s Garden Center

Click here to register

Licking County Agricultural Hall of Fame

The Licking County Agricultural Hall of Fame was established to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated a lifelong exemplary service to their community and the industry of agriculture.

We will celebrate our history at the Agricultural Hall of Fame with an induction breakfast and ceremony Friday, March 31, 2023 at the Reese Center on the Newark campus of The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College at 7:30 a.m.    This year we will be inducting two couples: Jerrold and Sue Keller, and Bill and Janet Goodman.

Reservation information will be coming.

If you would like to show your support by becoming a sponsor of this, please click here for more information:  Sponsorship Letter 2023_ v2.

The Ag Law Roundup: leases, zoning, line fences, milk insurance, and popcorn

By:Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law Tuesday, February 21st, 2023
Vintage cowgirl with a lasso on a horse

Yes, you read it right: our roundup of agricultural law questions includes a question on popcorn–not one we often hear.  Below is our answer to it and several other legal questions we’ve recently received in the Farm Office.

A farm lease landlord didn’t notify a tenant of the intent to terminate a verbal farm lease before the new September 1 deadline.  What are the consequences if the landlord now tries to enter into a new lease agreement with another tenant operator?

Ohio’s new “statutory termination law” requires a landlord to provide written notice of termination of a verbal farmland lease by September 1 of the year the lease is effective.  The law is designed to prevent a tenant from losing land late in the leasing cycle, after the tenant has made commitments and investment in the land.  The new law now establishes September 1 as the deadline for a valid termination, unless a lease provides otherwise.  If a landowner terminates after September 1, the consequences are that a tenant could either try to force continuation of the lease for another lease period or seek damages for the late termination. Those damages could include reimbursement for work already completed, such as fall tillage, nutrient applications, and cover crops; reimbursement for input costs such as seed and fertilizer that tenant cannot use or return; and lost profits from the tenant’s loss of the crop. Find our law bulletin on the new statutory termination date for farm leases on the Farm Office website.

A farmer plans to build a barn and grain bins close to the property line of a neighbor.  Does the neighbor have a legal right to stop the farmer from building so close to the boundary?

No, probably not. Because the neighbor lives in a rural area, Ohio’s “agricultural exemption” from local zoning regulations applies to the situation.  The agricultural exemption law states that except in limited circumstances, agricultural land uses and structures used for agriculture, like barns, are not subject to township or county zoning regulations and building permit requirements.  If this township has building setback requirements in its zoning resolution, for instance, the farmer is not subject to the regulations and can build the barn closer to the property line than the setback provisions require and farmer is not required to obtain a zoning or building permit for the barn.  One exception is that if the farmer’s land is less than five acres and is one of at least 15 lots that are next to or across from one another, the agricultural exemption would not apply to the farmer’s land.   Find the agricultural exemption from zoning in Ohio Revised Code 519.21.

In replacing a line fence, a landowner entered a neighbor’s property and cleared 10 feet from the fence of all brush and trees, even though the neighbor warned the landowner not to do so.  Did the landowner have a right to cut and remove the neighbor’s trees and vegetation?

No.  Ohio law in Ohio Revised Code 971.08 does allow a person to enter up to 10 feet of an adjacent neighbor’s property for the purpose of building or maintaining a line fence, but it is only a right of entry for the purpose of working on the fence.  It allows a person to access the neighbor’s property without fear of legal action for trespass.  But the law does not allow a person to remove trees or vegetation within the 15 foot area. In fact, the law specifically states that a person will be liable for any damages caused by the entry onto the neighbor’s property, including damages to crops.  Additionally, since the neighbor stated that the trees should not be removed and the landowner removed them anyway, the landowner could be subject to another Ohio law for “reckless destruction” of trees and vegetation.  That law could make the landowner liable for three times the value of the trees that were removed against the neighbor’s wishes. Find the reckless destruction of vegetation law in Ohio Revised Code 901.51.

Would a milk contamination provision in an insurance policy address milk that could be contaminated as a result of the East Palestine train derailment?

Probably not.  Milk contamination coverage provisions in a dairy’s insurance policies typically only apply to two situations: unintentional milk contamination by the dairy operator and intentional contamination by a party other than the dairy operator. Contamination resulting from an unintentional pollution incident by a party other than the dairy operator would not fit into either of these situations.  But insurance policies vary, so confirming a farm’s actual policy provisions is important when determining insurance coverage.

A grower of popcorn wants to process, bag, and ship popcorn.  Does the grower need any type of food license?

No.  Popcorn falls under Ohio’s “cottage food law.”  Popcorn is on the list of “cottage foods” identified by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) as having lower food safety risk than “potentially hazardous foods.”  A producer can process and sell a cottage food without obtaining a food license from the ODA or the local health department.  However, the producer may only sell the food within Ohio and must properly label the food.  Labeling requirements include:

  • Name of the food product
  • Name and address of the business of the cottage food production operation
  • Ingredients of the food product, in descending order of predominance by weight
  • Net weight and volume of the food product
  • The following statement in ten-point type: “This product is home produced.”

Read our law bulletin on Ohio’s Cottage Food Law on the Farm Office website.

2023 Tree Seedling Sale ~ Ordering Deadline March 24, 2023

Click here for the order form:  TreeSale_2023_Rev_01.24.23 (1)

Licking Soil & Water has partnered with multiple Soil & Water Conservation Districts around the state to provide high quality, native tree seedlings. Customers will choose the county to pick up from during check out.

Please remember all sales, regardless of order date, are subject to availability and confirmation. Licking SWCD reserves the right to make reasonable substitutions if our vendors’ supplies are limited.

Not all of the additional products are available to all counties, noted in the description.

Due to inventory limitations, if you are interested in ordering more than 300 seedlings of the same species, please contact your Soil & Water for availability.

Interested in a species not listed? Special orders must be a minimum of 100 of the same species and dependent on nursery availability and pricing.

The Auditor of State now requires all Soil & Water Conservation Districts to charge sales tax. If you use this online catalog, you will be charged Licking County’s tax of 7.25% regardless of which county you pick up in.

If you choose to order directly with your Soil & Water office with a hard copy order form, you will pay the tax of your county. Contact your Soil & Water directly for the form.

Our catalog is not configured to remove the tax, so if you are tax exempt, please use the printed order form from your county and submit it directly to them with payment and tax exempt form.

Licking County customers can find the hard copy order form and Ohio blanket tax exemption form available for download on this page. Look for the link to download under the heading “Trees are such an important part of our daily life.”

Thank you for supporting your local Soil & Water Conservation District!

New Fertilizer Applicator Certification Class March 22, 6:00 PM

From Clifton Martin

This class will meet the training requirement to obtain a fertilizer applicator certification from the Ohio Department of Agriculture in lieu of taking an exam.

Who needs a fertilizer certification?:

Fertilizer certification is required if you apply fertilizer (other than manure) to more than 50 acres used for agricultural production grown primarily for sale. If you have the co-op or other custom applicator make your fertilizer applications, you do not need the certification.

Session details:

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Rural Services Building
225 Underwood St
Zanesville, OH  43701
No Cost
RSVP by March 17, 2023

For More Information or to RSVP, contact:

Clifton Martin, Extension Educator



Trees near rural property boundaries: what are the laws?

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, February 17th, 2023

It’s the time of year when farmers are cleaning up fence rows and boundary lines to prepare fields for planting season.  Tree law questions pop up a lot during this time.  Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive about trees along boundary lines in Ohio’s rural areas.  Note that there can be different laws addressing trees within a city or village.

Who owns a tree that’s on the property line?

When a tree is on the boundary line between two properties, both neighbors have ownership interests in the tree.  However, if only the branches or roots of a tree extend past the property line and into a neighbor’s property, the branches and roots do not give that neighbor an ownership interest in the tree.

Can I cut down a tree on the boundary line?

No, not if your neighbor doesn’t agree to the removal.  Because both you and your neighbor jointly own the tree, you must both agree to cutting down the tree.  If you remove the tree without the neighbor’s approval, you could be liable to the neighbor or the neighbor’s share of the value of the tree, or for three times the value of the tree if you behaved “recklessly,” explained further on.

Can I trim the branches of the neighbor’s tree that hang over my property?

Yes, even if the tree isn’t on the boundary line and you don’t have an ownership interest in it, you still have the legal right to trim branches that hang over your property. However, you must take “reasonable care” in trimming the branches.  Failing to act with reasonable care and causing harm such as disease or death of the tree could result in liability.

How does the law determine liability for harming or cutting down a tree?

Ohio Revised Code 901.51 addresses injury to vines, bushes, trees, or crops on land of another, referred to as the “reckless destruction of vegetation law.”  The law states that a person shall not “recklessly cut down, destroy, girdle, or otherwise injure a vine, bush, shrub, sapling, tree, or crop standing or growing on the land of another or upon public land.”  The word “recklessly” means the action occurred with complete disregard to the rights of the landowner.  Violations of the reckless destruction law can result in criminal misdemeanor charges or a civil negligence lawsuit by the tree owner.  The law provides potential punitive “treble damages” that make the violator liable for three times the value of the damaged tree, crop, or vegetation.

If my neighbor’s tree falls onto my property, is the neighbor liable for the damage?

Possibly, if the neighbor had knowledge that the tree was diseased, weak, or “patently dangerous.”  If the tree was not in a weakened or damaged condition or the neighbor had no knowledge of its condition, the law would not likely create liability for the damage. You’d have to take action against the neighbor to establish liability, however.  If there is harm to a structure, your insurance provider might be involved and take the lead on establishing responsibility under the neighbor’s insurance coverage.   Even so, there is no law that creates an affirmative duty for the neighbor to clean up the tree.  Landowners are expected to use the remedy of “self-help,” i.e., to clean up natural and ordinary tree debris on their property, even if from a neighbor’s tree.  Likewise, the neighbor is expected to clean up debris from your trees that fall onto the neighbor’s property.

Can I keep the timber or firewood from the neighbor’s tree or a boundary tree that fell on my property?

Ohio law doesn’t address this issue.  The “self-help” remedy for tree debris that falls on the property suggests that you are responsible for removing the debris, which could logically allow you to do as you wish with the debris.  But if the tree is valuable or was a jointly owned boundary tree—might the neighbor have rights to the tree or its value?  Because Ohio law doesn’t clearly answer this question, it’s wise to talk with the neighbor and provide a reasonable amount of time for the neighbor to claim ownership and remove their share of the tree.  Document the notice given to the neighbor as well as the timber or firewood resulting from the tree in case the neighbor fails to respond until after tree removal and claims an ownership interest at that time.