Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference

Plan now to attend the 19th Annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference scheduled February 21 & 22, 2008 at Ohio Northern University at Ada, Ohio.

This year’s conference will cover a wide range of topics including soil fertility, nitrogen management, planting and seed placement, tillage systems comparisons, manure science, cover crops, root development, and weed, disease, pest management, crop rotations, soil biological properties, drainage, manure management, and Precision Agriculture Technology. Over 70 sessions will be offered over the two day conference with nearly 70 different speakers including University Specialists, Ag Industry Representatives, and producer panels. An added room of seminars was included this your on Manure Science. Featured speakers include Ken Ferrie, Crop Consultant, Farm Journal; Dr. Kurt Thelen, Michigan State , Agronomist; Barry Fisher, USDA, NRCS; Dr. Doug Beegle, Penn State Agronomist; Dr. Brad Joern, Purdue Agronomist; and a couple dozen agronomists and Specialists from The Ohio State University.

Several Farm Management topics will also be presented which include Howard Doster, Professor Emeritus from Purdue Ag Econ Department speaking on “The Right Rent for Crop Production and How to Keep it Right”, “The Tenant vs. Landlord Rent Game”, and “Economics of Crop Systems” with Ken Ferrie. Our own Barry Ward from OSU Ag Econ Department will be speaking on “Custom Farm Machinery Rates” and “Estimating Cost of Production”.

Over 40 credits will be made available for CCA’s. Early registration by February 15 is $30.00 a day or $50.00 for both days. For a copy of the conference agenda and registration information contact the Hancock County Extension Office at 419-422-3851 or visit the web site at:

Ohio Treasurer To Open 2008 Application Process for Ohio Farmers to Receive Reduced Rate Loans

Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray announced that the application process for the 2008 Agricultural Linked Deposit program opened January 7 and will close on March 14 at 5 p.m.

The program allows Ohio farmers to receive loans at reduced interest rates through their local banks or farm credit agencies in order to offset the high cost of borrowing operating funds. It is one of the few ways that the state makes aid directly available to farmers, who can save up to $4,000 a year with the interest-rate reduction.

The Ag-Link program allocates $125 million of the Ohio Treasury’s portfolio for the purchase of reduced-rate certificates of deposit from banks. The lenders then pass along the interest rate reduction—up to four percent for a one-year period—to farmers who have been approved for loans.

Agriculture is the leading industry in Ohio, employing 14 percent of the state’s workforce. In 2007, 1,837 farmers received reduced-rate loans.

“Farmers in Ohio pump more than $73 billion into the economy each year. More than 200 different crops are grown here,” said Treasurer Cordray. “The Agricultural Linked Deposit Program is a way to support the tradition of family farms in our state and to encourage their economic expansion. We are pleased to offer this program as part of our effort to invest the state’s money in ways that are safe, secure, and will provide the most benefit to Ohioans.”

In order to qualify for an Agricultural Linked Deposit, farms must be for-profit with their headquarters and more than half of their operations maintained in Ohio . Additionally, the farm must have a documented need for the reduced interest rate and may request the reduction for up to the first $100,000 of a loan.

To apply the farm must apply and be approved for an operating loan or line of credit from its Farm Credit System lender or a participating bank. After approval, the farm may apply for an interest-rate reduction from the Ohio Treasury. The Treasury does not restrict how the farmer spends the loan funds, but priority for the rate reduction will be given to farmers using the funds for feed, seed, fertilizer and fuel.

Applications must be received in the Ohio Treasurer’s offices no later than 5 p.m., Friday, March 14, 2008. Postmarks and faxes marked March 14 but that arrive after the deadline are not acceptable because of the high demand for the program.

Written notification of the status of each application will be mailed no later than April 7, 2008. The Treasurer will announce the amount of money invested in each county in early April. Funding will be available as early as April 9, 2008 to assist with spring planting.

Applications and a list of participating lenders are available on the Ohio Treasury Web site at

Deducting Truck and Car Expenses

The actual cost of operating a car or truck for a business can be deducted, either by using a standard mileage rate or actual expenses. Expenses include such items as gasoline, oil, repairs, license tags, insurance, and depreciation (subject to certain limits).

The standard mileage rate can not be used if the business operates more than five vehicles at the same time. The mileage rate was $.485 for 2007 and is $.505 per business mile for 2008.

A farm business can claim up to 75% of the use of a car or truck as business use without any travel records if it is used during most of the business day directly in connection with the business of farming. The selection of this method must be made the first year the vehicle is placed in service. Once the choice is made, it may not be changed to another method later. If a person keeps records of business use, more than 75% of business use may be claimed as a business expense.

Vehicles under 6,000 pounds GVW are subject to limitations for depreciation (including Section 179 deduction). These limits are $3060 in 2007 for a passenger automobile and $3260 for a light truck or van. For heavier SUV’s (between 6000 & 14,000 pounds GVW) the Section 179 is limited to $25,000, with the excess cost depreciable under MACRS rules. Heavier pick-up trucks (over 6000 pounds GVW) are not limited to depreciation and Section 179 Expensing amounts.

Ethanol Plants to be Operational in Ohio- 2008

Farmers will have another market outlet for corn this fall. According to Mike Wagner of Buckeye Renewable Fuels, there will be seven ethanol plants receiving corn this fall. All of these plants are designed to allow trucks to be dumped and back on the road within five minutes of weighing in at the scale. Below are the location and contact information (if available) for the plants.

Poet Biorefining- Leipsic, 419-615-2928, ask for Mark Borer
Poet Biorefining- Marion
Poet Biorefining- Fostoria
Greater Ohio Ethanol- Lima, 419-567-940-9505, ask for David Cahill
Andersons- Greenville, 419-891-6585
Altra Coshocton Ethanol- Coshocton, 740-623-3050
VeraSun Energy- Bloomingburg, 740-406-8540

Ohio Ag Manager Survey Results

A big thank you is extended to many of you for responding to the Ohio Ag Manager electronic newsletter reader survey this past month. We were very pleased that 26% of our subscribers were able to provide feed back via this survey. The feedback received from this survey will help our team continue to address the farm management needs of our subscribers.

Results indicated that 100% of respondents believe the newsletter to be important to their agricultural business, 91% indicated the newsletter should continue to be published monthly, 94% believe the newsletter articles are well balanced between technical and practical, and 96% believe the newsletter contains the right amount of articles each month. Respondents to the survey were farmers (33%), educators (25%), lenders (13%), consultants (9%), ag supplier (3%), landlord (3%), and other (14%).

When asked the question, “Because of the information provided in this newsletter, I….” fifty-eight persons offered their perceptions. Some of these included: make better farm decisions, do a better job with my crop enterprise budgets, can find other educational programs, am a more confident and decisive decision maker, use the information with my bank clients, and have learned important practical things that are current and useful in running a family farm.

69% of farmers indicated that the Ohio Ag Manager Newsletter has saved their farm or business money or increased profit. The average savings per respondent was $2,406 for 2007. The consultants responding to the survey estimated their clients saved $1,500 each. 34% of the subscribers forward the newsletter to an additional 2,177 persons via email or an average of 55 individuals per subscriber. One subscriber indicated by cross posting articles on their web site, selected articles could be viewed by an additional 70,000 readers.

Subscribers were asked to choose the type of articles they like to read in the Ohio Ag Manager Newsletter. The top three preferences were farm business planning, financial management and management strategies. The total ranking of preferences can be viewed in the following table.

Preferred Articles of Ohio Ag Manager

Readers Indicating these Articles as Preferred
Farm Business Planning 83%
Financial Management 75%
Management Strategies 67%
New Technology 66%
Marketing 63%
Enterprise Budgeting 62%
Tax Management 60%
Estate Planning 53%
Information on OSU Extension Educational Workshops 52%
Information on OSU Extension Educational Resources 47%
Retirement Planning 40%
Transition Planning 39%
Investment Planning 36%
Employee Management 33%

Respondents were also asked to cite additional benefits they receive from reading the Ohio Ag Manager Newsletter. Respondents indicated the following benefits

Benefits of Subscribing to the Ohio Ag Manager

Readers Indicating this benefit
Make Better Informed Decisions 82%
Learned about Extension workshops 47%
Improved Budgeting 35%
Cut Cost 29%
Time Savings 29%
Improved Marketing 28%
Saved Tax Dollars 22%
Improved Employee Management Skills 20%

When asked to choose one additional farm management service that the Ohio Ag Manager Team could offer to clientele, the respondents ranked the following services: #1: additional OSU Extension farm management fact sheets (59%); #2: regional farm management workshops (21%), #3: podcasts (12%); #4: blogs (7%) and #5: highlight relevant research results of Ohio agriculture (1%).

To close the survey, respondents were asked to make additional comments about the newsletter. Some of the comments included: If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, very helpful, this is a valuable extension tool, and keep the good information flowing. The Ohio Ag anager Team would like to thank Dr. Tom Archer for assisting with this survey and would like to thank each of you for responding to this survey. We will continue to work hard to bring you timely and pertinent farm management information.

Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2008 – Complete the Survey and Enter for Your Chance to Win Cash!

One of the most common ways custom farming providers and custom farming consumers arrive at an agreeable custom farming rate is to consult University Extension survey summaries. Ohio State University Extension together with OSU’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics is conducting the Ohio Farm Custom Rates survey this winter to update this information for Ohio farmers and landowners.

Fuel, equipment and labor costs have all increased substantially since the last survey was completed in 2006 and custom farming rates are reflecting these higher costs of doing business.

To carry out this important research we need your help. Whether you are providing custom farming services or you are in the market for custom farming services we would like your information on rates and practices that you are charging or being charged. This survey also contains questions on machinery, building, and land rental rates as well as labor rates. Fill out only those sections that pertain to you and your custom farming or rental practices. Participants that include their names and addresses on returned surveys will be entered in a drawing for cash awards as follows: 1st: $100, 2nd: $50, 3rd: $35.

The website to access the Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2008 as a printable pdf is at:

It can be printed out, completed and returned to me at:

Barry Ward
Leader, Production Business Management
Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
Agricultural Administration Building – Room 334
2120 Fyffe Road
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1067

You can also complete the survey electronically (using the Word document version of the survey available at:
and email it to me as an attached file at

Understanding Personality is Important to Effective Management

Have you ever wondered why you seem to ‘click’ so easily with some people and others seem to be difficult to work and communicate with? Each person’s temperament plays into how they communicate and react to others at home, in the workplace and in social settings. One’s temperament is developed by a combination of natural instincts and life experiences. Your personality temperament provides the lens through which you view life and how you interact with others. Over time, as you experience new things your temperament may change slightly. As a manager, it is your responsibility to understand how to best interact with your employees.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about family members or non-family employees, there can be communication challenges caused by differences in each individual’s personality temperament. By learning more about your own temperament, as well as those you work and live with, you can improve your communication skills. In most cases, you will not be able to change a person’s personality, so it is important to learn to understand and how to deal with others of a different personality. An improved understanding can lead to better communication and a more harmonious farm and/or household.

One way to learn more about your personality temperament is through the National Curriculum and Training Institute’s (NCTI) Real Colors® program. Real Colors® assigns a color to each of the four temperaments, Gold, Blue, Green and Orange, and is based on the research of David Keirsey. The study of personality temperament has been ongoing for hundreds of years. Keirsey’s research built upon this study and simplified it into a system that was easier to remember. NCTI added the colors twist, which assigns a set of descriptive characteristics to each of the four colors.

The characteristics help explain how those that fall into a given color group process information, their learning style, communication style, strengths, weakness, needs, etc. As a manager, understanding your employees’ color can help you design training and evaluation systems that better fit the employee. This understanding will also aid you in daily communication and employee motivation. Understanding your employees’ color temperament will help you know what incentives will motivate your employees and what will not work. Thus, it will lead to an incentive system that works in the way you planned.

It is also important to remember that every person’s personality will have varying degrees of each the color characteristics. Each of the colors has different strengths that they bring to the table, so having a workforce with each of the colors represented is not a bad thing, but rather a positive. Each color personality has a unique way of approaching daily chores as well as challenges that might arise.

If you would like to learn more about personality temperaments or participate in a Real Colors® program, one opportunity will take place this winter as part of the “Managing the Dairy of Tomorrow” workshops. Workshop participants will participate in a Real Colors® program during the first day of the three day workshops. Managers will evaluate their own personality temperament, learning their color and how to best interact with the other colors. The workshops will be held in five counties throughout Ohio, Ashtabula, Wayne, Mahoning, Paulding and Mercer. More workshop information and registration materials can be found in at:

If you have questions about the workshops, please contact Chris Zoller (330-339-2337) or Dianne Shoemaker (330-263-3799).

Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets Available

Updated versions of 2008 Corn, Soybean and Wheat budgets are now available online at:

These updated budgets have updated prices and fertilizer costs as of January 22, 2008. Machinery costs have also been updated based on changes to the algorithm used to calculate fixed costs for each piece of equipment.

Budgets are available for all of the following:

  • Corn
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat
  • Alfalfa Hay
  • Grass Hay
  • Ewe and Lamb Budget
  • Dairy Cow and Replacement, Large Breed

USDA Announces Availability of $13.4 Million in Broadband Grants

USDA, Rural Utilities Service Administrator, James M. Andrew announced the availability of $13.4 million in grants for communities without broadband service to provide residential service and connect facilities such as police and fire stations, health care, libraries and schools.

“The Community Connect Grant Program has proved to be effective in reaching those rural communities where broadband service is least likely to be deployed,” Andrew said.  “Connecting residents and essential community facilities improves local services and the protection of the citizens of these communities.”

Ohio’s GMN Tri County Community Action Committee was a previous beneficiary of Rural Development’s Broadband Grant Program in 2003 and 2007.  GMN received $383,284 to provide wireless broadband internet service to the Village of Woodsfield in 2003 and $316,840 to provide wireless broadband internet service to the Village of Graysville in 2007.  Also, Ohio ‘s Horizon Telecom-Chillicothe Telephone received $603,200 to provide wireless broadband internet service to the Village of Darbyville in 2007.  Additionally, the funding provided broadband to local fire and police and established a computer center for public access.

“Providing community residents with access to the internet and training on how to use it helps rural citizens understand the benefits of broadband service and is one more economic development tool available through USDA Rural Development,” said Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Dorr.

Applications for grants are due by close of business March 28, 2008. There is a minimum grant level of $50,000 and a maximum grant level of $1,000,000 for projects.  The application guide for this grant program can be found at:

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents.  Rural Development has invested more than $76.8 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 1.5 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s web site at