Discounted Farm Science Review tickets still available.

Through September 20th, tickets are $7 at the Licking County Extension Office, and at participating agribusinesses which include these Licking County locations:

Farm Credit, Utica

Granville Milling in Granville and Johnstown and Pataskala

H. W. Martin and Son, Hebron

Hanby Farms / Heritage Co-op, Nashport

Legend Farm and Feed Supply, Newark

Utica Feed and Hardware, Utica

Tickets are $10 at the gate. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free.

Hours for Farm Science Review are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21–22 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 23. or more information, visit fsr.osu.edu.

LONDON, Ohio—The Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review, which was held online last year because of the pandemic, will return this year to be live and in person for the 59th annual event.

The premier agricultural education and industry exposition is set for Sept. 21–23 at Ohio State’s Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 State Route 38, near London.

“While research, teaching, and serving communities throughout Ohio never stopped during the pandemic, we are grateful to once again be in person, working together, to advance our industry,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

CFAES is the host of Farm Science Review, which brings in more than 100,000 people annually.

Kress called the event a “critical component of our land-grant mission to provide research-based information and practical education to the people of Ohio and beyond.”

Jacqueline Kirby Wilkins, a CFAES associate dean and the director of the college’s Ohio State University Extension outreach arm, said Farm Science Review gives a “wonderful opportunity” to explore the latest CFAES research.

Featured at the event will be more than 100 educational sessions, including “Ask the Expert” talks; 600 exhibits; the most comprehensive field crop demonstrations in the United States; a career exploration fair; and immersive virtual reality videos of agricultural activities.

There will also be a new online component, said Nick Zachrich, Farm Science Review’s manager. Called “Farm Science Review Live,” it will “bring content from the Molly Caren Ag Center to wherever you are in the world with internet access,” he said.

It’s a next big step in ramping up the event’s digital tools, which in recent years have seen the addition of a mobile app and a digital directory, both designed to help people navigate the grounds.

“Our staff has strived to make it easier for visitors to find the exhibitors and information they need. But seeing the entire 100-acre exhibit area is a tall task, especially when stopping to discuss business with exhibitors or attend a session,” Zachrich said.

“Farm Science Review Live” will help people see what they might have missed, or will let them go back to watch and learn again, he said.

“It builds on our commitment to use the best tools available to make connections between farmers and other professionals in agriculture with our exhibitors and educators.”

 

JOIN FARM OFFICE LIVE FROM OSU’S FARM SCIENCE REVIEW ON SEPTEMBER 23

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

Farm Science Review is back!  OSU’s Farm Office Team will be there, and we’ll broadcast the next Farm Office Live from our farm office at the Review.  We can’t promise we’ll be able to ignore biscuits and gravy, pork tenderloins, bahama mamas, or milkshakes during Farm Office Live, but we can promise you updates on recent developments in the world of farm management and agricultural law.

The broadcast will be on Thursday, September 23 beginning at 10 a.m.  Here’s what’s on the agenda:

  • Carbon market programs and carbon agreements
  •  Legislative update
  • 2022 crop budgets
  • 2020 Farm Business Analysis program results from crop farms
  • Ohio cash rental rates
  • Dairy Market Volatility Assistance Program
  • Highlights of FSR and upcoming programs

Who’s on the Farm Office Live Team? OSU experts ready to help farmers, landowners and agribusiness professionals navigate the issues we all deal with in the farm office.  Our team includes:

  • Peggy Kirk Hall – Agricultural Law
  • David Marrison – Farm Management
  • Dianne Shoemaker – Farm Business Analysis and Dairy Production
  • Barry Ward – Farm Management and Tax

To learn more and register for Farm Office Live, visit https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive.  Recordings of our previous Farm Office Live webinars are also available at that site.

Agriculture Legal Case Updates

 

Farm Office Blog

The Ag Law Harvest

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

Written by Jeffrey K. Lewis, Attorney and Research Specialist, Agricultural & Resource Law

 

 

Did you know there is a sea creature capable of producing bubbles that are louder than a gun and hotter than lava?  Pistol shrimp, also known as snapping shrimp, are the super-powered creatures under the sea that no one talks about.  These bite-sized crustaceans have a special claw that allows them to form the deadly bubble to shoot at unsuspecting victims or enemies.  The sound of the pop of the bubble has been measured at 218 decibels, which is louder than a speeding bullet, and the heat generated by the bubble has been measured to reach almost 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit, making the bubble four-times hotter than lava.  Like the pistol shrimp, we have brought you the heat in this edition of the Ag Law Harvest.

This Ag Law Harvest brings you agricultural and resource issues from across the country that have created their own noise, including animal liability laws, the reversal of relaxed environmental regulations, and requiring federal agencies to consider the impact of future agency activities on the environment.

Farmers and ranchers begin to enjoy new protections under Texas animal liability laws. Texas House Bill 365, which expands protections under Texas’ Farm Animal Liability Act (“FALA”), went into effect on September 1, 2021.  House Bill 365 was passed in response to a 2020 Texas Supreme Court ruling which found that farmers and ranchers were not protected under FALA and could be liable for injuries that occur on working farms and ranches.  The new law prevents an injured individual from holding a farmer or rancher liable for their injuries, so long as the injuries are a result of the inherent risks of being involved in routine/customary activities on a farm or ranch.

Federal Court revokes Trump Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The U.S. District Court in Arizona recently ruled that the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”) must be vacated because the rule contains serious errors and the Trump Administration’s rule could do more harm than good to the nation’s waters if left alone.  Opponents of the NWPR argued that rule disregards established science and the advice of the EPA’s own experts in order to redefine the phrase “waters of the United States.”  Specifically, opponents to the Trump Administration’s rule voiced their concern that the NWPR failed to take into consideration the effect ephemeral waters would have on traditional navigable waters. And the Court agreed.  The Court found that the NWPR must be vacated because the rule “could result in possible environmental harm.”  The Court also reasoned that because the EPA is likely to alter the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Biden Administration, the NWPR should not remain in place.  Proponents of the NWPR claim that the Court’s ruling creates uncertainty for farmers and ranchers across the country.

EPA revokes Minnesota attempts to relax feedlot regulations. Earlier this year, Minnesota passed a law that relaxed the requirements to obtain a “Feedlot General Permit.”  The Feedlot General Permit is usually only for Minnesota’s largest feedlots, some 1,200 farms.  The permits are required under federal clean water laws but enforced by the state.  Prior to the law being passed, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency required those farmers that applied manure during the first two weeks of October to implement one of four approved nitrogen management practices.  However, Minnesota lawmakers wanted to relax those regulations by prohibiting regulatory authorities from requiring farmers to take new steps to limit nitrogen runoff during October.  But, the EPA “vetoed” Minnesota’s relaxed regulations, which it can do when a state’s law conflicts with a federal law or regulation.  The EPA sent a letter notifying Minnesota that the relaxed regulations would be inconsistent with the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) and would result in an improper modification to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s authority to administer the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”), which administers the feedlot permits.  Proponents of the new Minnesota law claimed that the existing permits were not flexible enough and that regulatory authorities focused on an arbitrary calendar date rather than focusing on natural conditions when limiting a farmer’s ability to spread manure.  Opponents to Minnesota’s law argue that the EPA did the right thing by using “common sense improvements to prevent manure runoff.”

Department of Homeland Security found to have violated environmental regulations for its border-enforcement activity.  The Center for Biological Diversity and U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva (the “Plaintiffs”) filed suit in federal court claiming that the Department of Homeland Security and its agency, Customs and Border Protection, (the “Defendants”) violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).  Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants failed to update their programmatic environmental analysis for border-enforcement activity since 2001, as required by NEPA, and that Defendants failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) about the impacts of border-enforcement activity on threatened or endangered species, as required by the ESA.  In its opinion, the U.S. District Court of Arizona ruled that the Defendants did violate NEPA but not the ESA.  The Court found that NEPA has two primary goals: (1) require every federal agency to consider the environmental impact of the agency’s actions; and (2) require the federal agency to inform the public that it has considered the environmental impact.  NEPA also requires a federal agency to supplement its environmental impact statement if there is ongoing action being taken by the federal agency.  The Defendants claimed they did not violate NEPA because they conducted and provided site-specific or project-specific environmental assessments.  However, the Court ruled that although the Defendants did conduct project-specific analysis, they are required to supplement their environmental impact statement for the activity/program, as a whole, unless they legally opt out of the supplementation, which Defendants did not do until 2019.  Therefore, the Court found the Defendants did violate NEPA prior to 2019.  The Court also ruled that the ESA does not require federal agencies to consult with the FWS on a broad and continuing basis.  The Court felt that the Defendants had met any requirements under the ESA by meeting with the FWS for any site-specific or project-specific analysis.  Although the Court found that Defendants had violated NEPA, the Court concluded that Plaintiffs had waited too long to bring the lawsuit and that no remedy was available to Plaintiffs for the previous procedural violations of NEPA.

USDA announces changes to CFAP 2. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced changes to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (“CFAP 2”).  As a result of the changes, contract poultry, egg, and livestock producers, and producers of “sales-based commodities” – mostly specialty crops – can modify existing or file new applications by October 12, 2021, using either 2018 or 2019 to measure lost revenue in 2020.  The changes were published on August 27, 2021, and can be found here.

Pond Clinic

Pond Clinic

Monday, October 4, 2021
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
13167 Morse Road SW
Pataskala, OH 43062
US

Get all your questions about ponds answered!
This workshop is bringing the best resources regarding ponds together in one place. Experts will present on such topics as building and maintaining healthy ponds, fish stocking, and wildlife management. Weather permitting, the West Licking Fire Department will demonstrate a dry hydrant and Fairfield Soil & Water will show us how a Hydrone boat is used to inspect commercial retention ponds.

Agronomy Update

Thursday, August 26, 1pm  -4pm  at Durbin Farms4227 Durbin Rd. SE, New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Topics include – Carbon markets, parts and equipment shortages, and building a farm shop (lessons learned).

Please click here for flyer with details: Agronomy Flyer August 2021

The pathway to net zero emissions runs straight through the farm

Brent Sohngen, Professor of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Ohio State University.

These days, it seems, farmers can get paid for all kinds of stuff.

While it’s most common for Ohio farmers to earn a living by growing corn and soybeans, farm revenues have diversified in recent years as increasingly, farm and forest land is used to produce natural gas and renewable energy.

These uses are growing, but they still occupy only a small fraction of Ohio’s 22 million acres of farm and forest land, and they benefit only a small number of farmers.

A new alternative, however, is catching on.

Nowadays farmers can be paid to take carbon out of the atmosphere through practices like conservation tillage, cover crops and tree planting, and hold it on their farms.

These natural climate solutions aren’t new, but a market for them is growing rapidly.

To achieve net zero emissions, it turns out these land-based options are pivotal. Furthermore, they are cheap, and they provide other benefits that society wants, like wildlife habitat, erosion reduction, and water quality improvements.

Because companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple want to become carbon neutral quickly they are investing millions in efforts to increase the capacity of America’s landscape to store carbon. The market is already bigger than $50 million per year, and it’s poised to grow into the billions over the decade.

Excitement about natural solutions doesn’t look like an empty promise, after all US farms and forests already remove over 770 million tons of CO2 per year, or about 10% of our emissions, from the atmosphere.

Current studies suggest that we can increase this by 200 to 300 million tons with an investment of $10 to $20 billion per year.

The big question, though, is whether private markets should be left alone, or whether the government should get involved. The case for private markets is compelling. Today, consumers are driving companies to become green, and the resulting effort to reduce carbon footprints is driving companies to buy carbon credits from landowners.

Sure, the government has experience with programs like this.

After all, they already spend $2 to $3 billion per year on water quality, soil erosion and habitat protection on farms. But creating a new government program that spends $10 to $20 billion per year is a whole different scale. Besides, if government pays for the carbon, don’t they have to create a new program to sell it to businesses?

Sounds messy.

It’s better to leave the carbon in the hands of farmers and let them sell their carbon to companies if they wish and to let the companies buy it if they want? The private sector seems much better suited to exploit this opportunity.

Some people complain that these nature-based solutions aren’t real at all and that they’ll never work. For over 20 years, a large group of scientists in governments, academics, NGOs and private companies have worked together to develop a strong set of industry standards to guide their development.

Regulatory markets in California, Canada, New Zealand, and Colombia are allowing nature-based carbon credits to offset other emissions using these standards. New government regulation could stifle innovation by companies, landowners, and other market participants, which ultimately will hinder our effort to reduce net emissions.

It’s truly an exciting time to be a farmer these days. Not only are there many new options for profit, but it’s become abundantly clear that today more than ever, the pathway to net zero emissions runs straight through the farm.

 

 

Why Tap Walnut Trees? Walnut Sap Flow and Syrup Production

Join us Friday September 10th for this unique webinar – Why Tap Walnut Trees? Walnut Sap Flow and Syrup Production

Many landowners grow walnut for timber production and/or nut production.  Now perhaps there is a third reason – syrup production.  Join Mike Rechlin of Future Generations University in this webinar as he introduces you to the research they are doing on using walnut as another syrup producing tree species.

Registration is open here go.osu.edu/walnutsyrup

ISA and SAF continuing educations credits will be available.

The legal roundup: ag law questions from across Ohio

Farm Office Blog

The legal roundup: ag law questions from across Ohio

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

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

I recall sharing my concern with a professor when I was in law school:  how will I ever know all the answers to legal questions?  No worries, he said.  You can’t know the answer to every legal question, but you do need to know how to find the answers.  I think of that advice often as legal questions come across my desk.

We’ve had a steady stream of them this summer, and the questions provide a snapshot of what’s going on around the state.  Here’s a sampling of questions we’ve received recently, complete with our answers—some we knew and some we had to find.

What do you know about the $500 million to be set aside at USDA for meat processors—who will administer it and what is the timeline?  USDA published a notice on July 16, 2021 titled “Investments and Opportunities for Meat and Poultry Processing Infrastructure” seeking input on how to allocate the funds.  The notice solicits comments on how to address challenges and increase competition in meat and poultry processing through the $500 million in infrastructure and other investments.  USDA is looking at current programs, combinations of programs, and potential programs that can leverage the funds to expand and diversify meat and poultry processing capacity and make the supply chain more resilient.  A review of the questions USDA raised in the notice gives a good indication of the types of programs we might see, and administration of the programs could be at both the federal and state levels. The comments are due by August 30, 2021 and USDA will review them before moving forward.  It will be at least several months before decisions are made and the funds are available.

If I enroll my land in the Wetlands Reserve Program, does the land still qualify for Current Agricultural Use Valuation tax treatment?  Yes.  Ohio’s CAUV law allows eligible land to be assessed as agricultural land for property taxation under the CAUV formula.  Eligible land is “land devoted exclusively to agricultural use.”  The definition of that term is important, and the relevant section that places wetlands and other conservation practices within that definition is ORC 5713.30(A)(1(c), which states that “land devoted exclusively to agricultural use” include tracts, lots, or parcels of land with at least ten acres which “were devoted to and qualified for payments or other compensation under a land retirement or conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government.”  According to court cases in Ohio, wetlands enrolled in federal conservation programs fit within this term and should qualify for CAUV treatment, even wetlands used as a mitigation bank.  An Ohio Attorney General opinion disagrees that a wetlands mitigation bank is a government conservation program, but that is an advisory rather than binding opinion and a mitigation bank is not the same as the federal Wetlands Reserve Program.

Are there any special requirements for a cottage food producer for selling “gluten free” or “vegan” products?   Yes.  You need to ensure that you meet federal regulations to use “gluten free” terminology on your cottage food label.  There isn’t a label review and approval process for using the language, though, as it’s “self-policing.” You must be sure that your product does not include any gluten containing ingredients.  And because low levels of gluten could result from cross contamination in your kitchen, your product must be below the tolerance level of 20 ppm of gluten.  There isn’t a testing requirement to prove that you’re under 20 ppm before you sell it, but if for some reason someone challenged your product or ODA randomly sampled it, it must meet the 20 ppm standard.  You can have your food lab tested if you want to have that assurance.  Otherwise, you should carefully manage your kitchen to reduce cross contamination.  The FDA provides the gluten free labeling rule on its website  and has a helpful FAQ page also.  FDA has said it will be updating the gluten free rule, but I haven’t seen anything new yet.

Vegan labeling is a lesser regulatory concern.  If you use that or related terms like “animal free” on your product, federal law requires that you be “truthful and not misleading” to the consumer.  There isn’t a federal or state definition of “vegan” to help with that determination, but the agencies explain the term basically as not containing any animal products.  Your ingredient list should confirm any vegan or animal free claims on the product.

Are there regulations pertaining to online sales of perennial plants?  Yes. The seller must obtain a nursery license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  The type of license will depend on their type of sales.  A phytosanitary certificate might also be required by the importing states where their sales will take place; ODA also handles those certificates.  Additionally, the seller will need to obtain a vendor’s license from the Department of Taxation to collect and submit sales tax on the plant sales.

Does a “Scenic River” designation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources allow the agency to take my property that’s along the river?  No.  The language in the Scenic Rivers statute is misleading, as it states that “the area shall include lands adjacent to the watercourse in sufficient width to preserve, protect, and develop the natural character of the watercourse, but shall not include any lands more than one thousand feet from the normal waterlines of the watercourse unless an additional width is necessary to preserve water conservation, scenic, fish, wildlife, historic, or outdoor recreation values.”  Without reading the entire statute, it does sound as though ODNR could be laying some type of claim to up to 1,000 feet of the lands adjacent to the river.  However, further along in the statute is this language that prohibits the agency from having any authority over the private land:  “Declaration by the director that an area is a wild, scenic, or recreational river area does not authorize the director or any governmental agency or political subdivision to restrict the use of land by the owner thereof or any person acting under the landowner’s authority or to enter upon the land and does not expand or abridge the regulatory authority of any governmental agency or political subdivision over the area.”  The designation is a declaration, and not a land claim, transfer of rights, or a taking.  Additionally, my further research indicates that ODNR has never used eminent domain to take private property along a scenic river, nor does it have funding allocated from the legislature to purchase scenic river lands.

Do I need a license to make and sell egg noodles from the farm?  Yes.  Egg noodles don’t fall under Ohio’s Cottage Food Law, which allows you to make and sell certain low-risk “cottage foods” with little regulation or licensing requirements.  Instead, producing egg noodles for sale from a home kitchen requires a home bakery registration.  You obtain the registration from the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Division.  It requires that you submit a request for inspection form, pass an inspection of the home, and submit a $10 fee.  The inspection will confirm that walls, ceilings and floors are clean, easily cleanable and in good repair; the kitchen does not have carpeted floors; there are no pets or pests in the home; the kitchen, equipment and utensils are maintained in a sanitary condition; the kitchen has a mechanical refrigerator capable of maintaining 45 degrees and equipped with a thermometer; if the home has a private well, proof of a well test completed within the past year showing a negative test result for coliform bacteria; the food label meets labeling requirements.

Is raising and training dogs considered “animal husbandry” for purposes of d the agricultural exemption from township zoning authority?   Yes. The Ohio Supreme Court held in Harris v. Rootstown Twp. that “the raising and care of dogs constitutes animal husbandry and is included in the term “agriculture” within the meaning of R.C. 519.01.”  This means that the agricultural exemption in Ohio Revised Code 519.21 applies to raising and caring for dogs, and township zoning can’t prohibit the use of any lot over five acres for those purposes.  The township would have limited regulatory authority over dog raising on smaller lots in some situations, though.  There is often confusion among townships over how to classify dogs, and that may be because they differ from what we typically think of as “farm animals.”  But the Rootstown Twp. case, along with many other appellate level cases in Ohio, confirm that dogs are to be treated the same as “livestock” for purposes of the agricultural exemption from zoning.

Can both landowners be assessed half the cost of removal of noxious weeds that are growing in a partition fence?  Maybe.  The Ohio line fence law does allow a township to step in and clear the fence row of noxious weeds, brush, briers and similar vegetation if a complaint is filed by one landowner against an adjacent landowner who refuses to clear the weeds.  The costs for doing so are assessed back on the refusing landowner whose fence row was cleared.  If the noxious weeds arise from both sides of the fence, are growing in the fence, and must be cleared from both sides of the fence, the township trustees would have the authority to assess the costs of removal back on both landowners. I’ve never heard of that happening, but it’s certainly one of those “be careful what you wish for” situations.