Camelina in Ohio

Recent interest in alternative feedstock oils for Ohio biodiesel manufacturing has prompted interest in growing camelina in Ohio. Camelina (Camelina sativa) is a member of the Brassicaceae family that includes mustard, cabbage, and rapeseed. It is also know as false flax and has been cultivated in Europe and is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asian areas.

While Ohio has experience with other oilseed crops like soybean, sunflower and canola, camelina is being studied for some potential advantages. The oil content of camelina seed has ranged from 29 – 41 percent but the reason it has been used for oil is that it can be grown on marginal, low productivity soils and requires lower inputs of nitrogen and water. Much of the current camelina production is in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and other High Plain States. Camelina has been added to the continuous spring wheat production system to add crop rotation on land that would not support corn or soybeans due to marginal, low productivity soils. The nitrogen input for camelina is as much as 50% less than canola.

Camelina is not expected to displace corn and soybean acres in Ohio especially at current commodity prices. However, research is studying if camelina could be added to Ohio’s low productive land options or be integrated into a double crop or winter crop system.

Camelina is being evaluated for lbs of oil produced per acre. As with soybeans, there are two crop components that need studied and evaluated for their economic return. Those components are oil and meal. If low productive land supports 40 bushels of soybean per acre with a 20% oil content, the land yields 480 lbs of oil, plus the value of the meal. If the same low productive land supports 1400 lbs of camelina per acre with 40% oil, the land yields 560 lbs of oil, plus the value of the meal. Camelina meal is currently not GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) approved for livestock and dairy production.

The current research is answering the question, “Will camelina grow in Ohio?” Further economic questions and system integration need to be evaluated to determine if camelina is a realistic alternative oilseed crop for Ohio.

For more information regarding Camelina research in Ohio, please contact Bruce Clevenger at

OSU Enterprise Budgets – 2008

Budgeting is essential to helping you make important decisions regarding the commitment of resources to the most profitable enterprises on the farm. Budgeting will help you answer many questions. Crops or Livestock? Corn, Soybeans, or Wheat? Should I invest more of my resources in high-value crops?

Budgets that are well thought out and prepared, showing all revenue and costs can help you answer these questions. Without some form of budgeting and some method to track your enterprises’ progress, it will be a very difficult process to determine your most profitable enterprise(s) and if you’ve met your goals for the farm.

Ohio State University Extension has had a long history of developing “Enterprise Budgets” that can be used as a starting point for producers in their budgeting process. Newly updated Enterprise Budgets for 2008 have been completed and posted to the Farm Management Website of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. These budgets can be found at the following website:

Enterprise Budgets updated for 2008 include:
• Corn – Conservation Tillage (NH3, UAN and Urea as Nitrogen sources)
• Soybeans – Round-up Ready, No-till
• Wheat – Conservation Tillage, (Grain and Straw)
• Alfalfa Hay – Spring Seeding
• Grass hay – Large Bale System
• Dairy Cow and Replacement – Large Breed
• Ewe and Lamb – Winter Lambing
• Retail Sweet Corn – Conservation Tillage, Hand Harvested
• Large-Scale Popcorn – Conservation Tillage

Our enterprise budgets are compiled on downloadable Excel Spreadsheets that contain formulas for ease of use. For those of you without Microsoft Office, you can use the freeware office suite “OpenOffice” to view these files. You can access this at Users can input their own production and price levels to calculate their own numbers. These Enterprise Budgets have a new look with color coded cells that will enable users to plug in numbers to easily calculate bottom lines for different scenarios. We have included detailed footnotes to help explain the methods and sources used to obtain the budget numbers. Starting this year, we will be updating these Enterprise Budgets periodically during the year to reflect any large changes in prices or costs. Budgets will include a date in the upper right-hand corner of the front page indicating when the last update occurred.

Another major update to these budgets is the addition of a “Machinery Costs” page. We make it available to show all the steps involved in the calculations of the machinery. Click the “Machinery Costs” tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet to view these expanded calculations.

Included in the Sweet Corn budget is a new system for calculating chemical costs. As an alternative to inputting the chemical costs directly, the budget separates the chemical applications by different growth periods (i.e. at planting and during silking for insecticides). Users can input the application rate (by typing the number in the yellow box, then selecting the unit in the dropdown cell in green) and their cost per unit (the unit will automatically change, so users can leave this as is) and the budget formulas will do the calculations for you and give you the chemical costs at various stages. This system is a trial and we are asking for feedback. Please e-mail your constructive feedback to: Brian Freytag,

Highlights (or lowlights) of this years Crop Enterprise Budgets include increased prices for diesel and nitrogen. Three different Corn Production Budgets were developed to view the cost implications of using different nitrogen sources. We have included Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3), UAN (or 28% Nitrogen), and Urea. To help streamline your ability to view the costs of the fertilizers per acre, simply go to the Fertilizer footnote in any crop budget (usually footnote 3 or 4) and input the costs per ton of Nitrogen, MAP and Potash, and the budget formula will automatically calculate the cost per lb. of actual N, P2O5, or K2O for you.

The entire set of Enterprise Budgets can be accessed at:

ACRE (Average Crop Revenue Election) Provisions In Conference Farm Bill

Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) is a farm program option for all covered commodities and peanuts for the 2009-12 crops, 2010-12 crops, 2011-12 crops, or 2012 crop. Once made, the election is irrevocable. The election applies to all covered commodities and peanuts grown on the farm. ACRE must be selected (current suite of farm programs is the default selection). Read Dr. Zulauf’s full article here:

The Day U.S. Agriculture Changed: March 17, 2008

On March 17, 2008; elevators in many areas of the U.S. stopped offering farmers forward price contracts for crops of corn, soybeans, and wheat to be harvested in 2008 and beyond. Forward contracts were reestablished a few days later. On March 31, 2008, the same sequence of events occurred: forward contracts were no longer offered, but reestablished later. Forward contract prices are used extensively by farmers to (a) guide decisions on which crop to plant and (b) to manage the risk that prices will be lower at harvest than at planting. It is not inappropriate to argue that forward contracts are a centerpiece of most farmers’ risk management strategies. Read Dr. Zulauf’s full article here:

On-Farm Safety

No matter the commodity or the season, it is always the season for safety. This time of year, agricultural chemicals are in high use. Producers spend careful attention in selecting the right chemical for the job, and likewise spend a lot of hard-earned dollars purchasing and applying these chemicals. So it is only right that they spend a little effort respecting these agents for the harm they can cause to human health.

Many of the ailments that affect farmers are from low-level long-term contact with chemicals. There is increasing evidence that incidental exposure to pesticides can lead to certain cancers and other conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Product-handling guides are included on every chemical label, and include the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed to safely handle the agent. If the handler is unsure about the product or wants additional information, the manufacturer is required by law to provide this information.

Heed the label instructions! At a minimum, chemical resistant gloves should be used when handling the containers and any activities involving mixing or loading into the application equipment. There are many gloves that fit the chemical resistant description, including latex, vinyl, and nitrile. The specific chemical used will determine the type of glove needed. Several of these glove types can be found in local farm stores, hardware stores, and sometimes at the larger grocery/department stores. Hard to find styles can be found in online safety catalogs, or at the agricultural chemical supplier. Leather and cloth gloves should NEVER be worn when handling chemicals; they absorb the product and hold it close to the skin.

Carry enough chemical resistant gloves so they can be changed often. Handling a steering wheel with bare hands after touching it with chemically coated gloves is not a good practice. Another useful tip is having disposable wipes or hand sanitizers available to clean chemical residue from hands and other objects. Lunch and snack breaks are great times for using those hand sanitizers!

Besides hand protection, chemical handlers need to be concerned about other clothing choices. The ball cap is one of these items of concern. Just like cotton gloves, ballcaps can absorb splashing and spraying chemicals, and hold these agents close to the skin. Then each time the cap is worn, and sometimes this can be for many months thereafter, the forehead is reintroduced to that chemical exposure.

Disposable chemical resistant overalls are perfect protection to cover shirts and jeans. Normal work clothes have high absorption rates, and should be properly covered and protected from chemical exposure. It is recommended these articles, including footwear, be removed before entering the house. This action prevents the home environment or unsuspecting family members from being exposed; children are especially at higher risk for harsh chemicals. Never hug or hold a young child while wearing chemical contaminated clothing.

All clothing exposed to chemicals should be properly laundered. It is recommended that these articles be washed separately and as immediately as possible after contamination. Use the highest possible water setting on the machine, even with the light load. This allows for better cleansing action and complete dilution of the chemical.

Many producers feel they are safe from chemical exposure if they work in cab tractors. While these cabs do provide protection from the weather elements, they are not 100% effective in filtering out chemical contaminants. Operating a tractor with the windows open, or using an air conditioning system not specifically designed to remove airborne particulates, will not prevent the operator from coming into contact with agricultural chemicals. Field applicators, even if they did not handle chemicals directly, should take proper action in protecting themselves from chemical contamination.

Staying safe around chemicals is important. Chemicals can be found in many forms, and have many uses on the farm as well as in the garden. Respect the agent for what they were designed to do, and understand that humans are living things – just like the plants and pests they are combating. Invisible residues can cause long-term harm to many healthy bodies.

This article was provided by Dr. Dee Jepsen, Extension Agricultural Safety Specialist, and Mr. Tim butcher, OSHA Coordinator, in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering at OSU. Authors can be reached at or

Migrant Labor Resources

Helping You Help Yourself
For both employers and Hispanic workers in Ohio’s agricultural, horticultural, dairy, and nursery & landscaping operations, economics is the thing: production and profitability. It’s why producers invest so much and workers travel so far. It is the bottom line.

Though the factors of on-the-job activities are primary, there is an important secondary focus on the social and personal issues of the workforce. Workers may need medical help or immigration information. Pre-season arrivals may initially lack food and money resources. Spanish-only workers may ask about English classes and religious services. With a producer’s focus on the job at hand, where do the solutions for these worker issues come from? While workers often seek their own answers, and often get help from their employer, there are benefits to a positive relationship with individual agencies or networks like FALCON in Northwest Ohio.

Your Tax Dollars at Work
Many agencies and organizations provide programs and services that actually are your tax dollars at work. There are state, federal, local, and non-profit organizations working under budgets and grants geared specifically to supporting both producers and their Hispanic labor. Their services come at little or no cost to employers or workers, since many are funded through tax monies as well as through charitable donations. The focus is on the issues, needs, ideas & support of both labor and producers to promote Ohio’s agriculture and farm economies.

Ohio Dept. of Jobs & Family Services
As an individual organization, ODJFS is a merger of the old Ohio Bureau of Employment Services and the Ohio Department of Human Services. County JFS offices may provide services or information related to food & housing, daycare, health & medical, education, and transportation, issues that may concern your labor.

Recruitment of labor is addressed through Interstate Clearance Orders for U.S. labor and through H2A orders for foreign labor. The ODJFS Farm Program interacts with both producers and workers using a 4-District plan, including outreach staff and the Migrant Ombudsman. Developing good relations with supply-state agencies has also helped to inform workers about Ohio agriculture and social programs and services. Texas Migrant Council and Texas school districts with migrant families have included Ohio in Parent Conferences and health fairs. (Contact:Benito Lucio, Jr., 800-282-3525).

FALCON Network
As a network of collaborating agencies, FALCON is committed to serving Ohio’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers and agricultural employers. Monthly meetings chaired by the Ag & Hort Labor Education Program serve to share information on programs and services for producers and their labor. Contact with workers is both in-office and on site. An annual FALCON Pre-Season Conference has agencies, producers and guest speakers planning for the coming year by discussing issues of labor availability, immigration and programs and services.

Texas and Florida farmworkers have voiced that the provision of good programs and services to meet their off-job needs is an important recruitment and retention concern for them. Therefore, a good relationship among producers, workers and agency networks like FALCON will help farm operations deal with these issues. Some successful projects achieved with the collaboration of producers, communities and the FALCON network include:
• FALCON Pre-Season Conferences
• Retaining the Migrant Rest Center Operation/Liberty Center
• New Migrant Head Start Center/Fremont
• PRC Cash Program for producers and labor

Networking Tips to Remember
Though FALCON is centered around Northwest Ohio, various member agencies operate statewide. Wherever you are in Ohio, working with such agencies and their resources can be beneficial to your daily relations with your labor and even their recruitment and retention. Help them help you by discussing your issues and ideas.

• Learn about the agencies in your area; file their information/resources.
• Let service providers know your specific needs and those of your workers.
• Establish and maintain working relationships with agencies and networks.
• Try to participate in or promote agency-sponsored programs and activities.
• Let your workers know that you support agency programs and services.

Great Lakes Manure Handling Expo

Manure application may be an option for growers looking for alternatives to high-priced commercial fertilizers, and an event spearheaded by five land-grant universities in July will cover the economics and management of manure as a crop production resource.

The Great Lakes Manure Handling Expo will take place July 9 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center (home of Farm Science Review) in London, Ohio. Admission to the Expo is free and the gates open at 8:30 a.m. Certified Crop Advisor and Certified Livestock Manager continuing education credits are available for each educational session and demonstration. The expo is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Michigan State University, Purdue University, Penn State University and Cornell University. Additional sponsors include Ohio Composting and Manure Management and the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association.

The theme of the Great Lakes Manure Handling Expo is “The Economics of Recycling,” and will include commercial field demonstrations, educational demonstrations, educational sessions, and commercial vendor displays.

Session topics participants can look forward to include: calculating the value of manure nutrients, the importance of accurate record-keeping, how communication among applicator, producer and regulatory agency can improve application and the bottom line, safety precautions in manure application and storage, and case studies of farmers who will share their stories about manure management.

Educational demonstrations taking place during the event include solid manure application, liquid manure application, stockpiling best management practices, soil compaction, slurry seeding and equipment safety.

Additional details about the Great Lakes Manure Handling Expo will be available in the near future. To learn more, log on to, or contact Tami Combs at (614) 292-6625 or

Climate Change Economics Articles

In the recent edition of Choices magazine, there is a series of articles on climate change economics. Choices is an online peer-reviewed magazine published by the American Agricultural Economics Associate for readers interested in the policy and management of agriculture, the food industry, natural resources, rural communities, and the environment.

According to Jason Shogren, Guest Editor and Stroock Professor of Natural Resource Conservation and Management at the University of Wyoming, this thematic package in Choices celebrates the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work, its Nobel prize and the significant contributions of agricultural and resources economists to the IPCC process and reports. These nine papers present work which overviews the major aspects of climate change and its implications for agriculture and natural resources written by people who have been intimately involved with the IPCC.

The articles can be read in full here: