Regional Policy & Outlook Meetings to be held Across Ohio

Eight regional Policy & Outlook meetings have been schedule throughout Ohio during November and December.  Topics vary according to location but will include Grain Outlook, Farm Input Costs, Farmland Values and Rents, Macroeconomic Trends, Cap-and-Trade Policy, and Dairy Markets and Policy.  Scheduled locations are in Celina, Urbana , Wooster , Waldo, Circleville, Defiance , Ashland , and Attica . For details on topics at each location and registration information, visit the Policy & Outlook Program website at or contact your county OSU Extension office. These meetings are sponsored by the OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, county offices of OSU Extension, and local businesses.

Animal Welfare Symposium Presentations Available

With the interest in animal care and welfare spawned by Issue 2, the presentations at the Animal Welfare Symposium, held October 16, 2009 at The Ohio State University are appropriate for public audiences and now available online at

Most of the individual presentations given at the October 16, 2009 symposium are available at the above web site. This symposium was co-organized by Dr. Candace Croney, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine and Naomi Botheres, Department of Animal Science, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

  • Official announcement of Ohio State partnership with the Animal Welfare Science Centre, Dr. Jim Kinder, chair, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University.
  • Keynote Address: “The Australian approach to addressing farm animal welfare: What lessons have been learned and how can Ohio apply this information?” Dr. Paul Hemsworth, Director, Animal Welfare Science Centre, Australia.
  • What does the science say about welfare of laying hens in conventional & alternative systems & what do we still need to know? Dr. Ruth Newberry, Center for the Study of Animal Well-being, Washington State University.
  • What does the science say about welfare of sows in conventional & alternative systems & what do we still need to know? Dr. Harold Gonyou, Prairie Swine Centre, Canada.
  • Panel discussion with above speakers
  • Addressing animal handling and worker education, Dr. Naomi Botheras, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University.
  • Is self-regulation enough or is legislation necessary? Lessons from the EU and beyond, Dr. Janice Swanson, Director of Animal Welfare, Michigan State University.
  • Panel Discussion – Moderator: Dr. Gary Varner, Texas A&M. with Jack Advent, Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary, Mike Bumgarner, Ohio Farm Bureau, Julie Maschhoff, The Maschhoffs, Steve Moeller, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Dr. Timothy Barman, Cooper Farms
  • Summary of presentations and close: Dr. Candace Croney, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University.

Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures

One of the unique things about agriculture is that most ag producers are also their own chief financial officer. As agriculture becomes more and more complex, farm and ranch managers need to understand and communicate in the financial world. The Center for Farm Financial Management has created a new online workshop series to help ag producers (and anyone who works with them) understand and use common financial statements and measures. Our new website, Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures (IFSaM), is intended to teach producers the basics of interpreting the 4 major financial statements and the 21 financial measures recommended by the Farm Financial Standards Council.

IFSaM is a series of online videos that producers can work through at their own pace. Each session provides benchmarks, based on actual farms, that producers can use to evaluate their own financial position and their financial performance. Case farm examples are used to bring the data to life. There are also optional “test your knowledge” quizzes at the end of each session. In total, there is over 2 ½ hours of information.

Best of all, it’s free. This series was created with funding from the North Central Risk Management Education Center. IFSaM is located at

Please take a look at this series for you own personal knowledge and also forward this to ag producers who could benefit from this series.

Ohio Income Tax Schools to be held in 8 Locations

The Ohio State University ‘s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics Department is pleased to be offering eight OSU Income Tax Schools across Ohio from November 12 through December 11. These schools are designed for tax preparers with some experience preparing and filing federal tax returns for individuals and small businesses. Instruction focuses on tax law changes and on the problems faced in preparing tax returns. The two day schools will also provide an Ohio income tax update. Highly qualified instructors will explain and interpret tax regulations and recent changes in tax laws.

Participants in the Tax Schools receive a 700-page workbook prepared by the Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation especially for the income tax schools held in Ohio and 30 other states. The workbook is available only as a part of tax school registration. The tax school workbook also covers the changes in filing Ohio tax returns. This workbook includes a searchable CD for the 2004-09 workbooks. This year participants will also receive RIA’s Federal Tax Handbook. The registration fee includes the workbook and other reference materials, instructor fees, meals, meeting rooms, and other expenses.

The tax school locations are as follows:

Fremont – November 12-13
Ole Zim’s Wagonshed
1375 State Route 590
Gibsonburg, Ohio 43431

Columbus – November 16-17 (New Location)
Bridgewater Banquet & Conference Center
10561 Sawmill Parkway
Powell, OH 43065

Kent – November 18-19
Kent State University
Student Center
Summit Street
Kent, OH 44242

Dayton – November 23-24
Presidential Banquet Center, Dayton
4548 Presidential Way
Dayton, OH  45429

Ashland – December 1-2
Convocation Center, Ashland University
820 Claremont Ave.
Ashland, OH 44805

Chillicothe – December 3-4
Ross County Service Center
475 Western Avenue
Chillicothe, OH 45601

Lima – December 8-9
Lima Civic and Convention Center
7 Towne Square
Lima, OH  45801

Zanesville – December 10-11
Ohio University Campus Center,
Zanesville Branch
1425 Newark Road
Zanesville, OH 43701

2-Hour Ethics Class – 5:15-7:15 p.m. (Three Locations Only)
Columbus – November 16
Kent – November 18
Lima – December 8

Workshop information, a downloadable registration form as well as on-line registration are available at the following website: Information can also be received by contacting Dr. Warren Lee, Ohio Income Tax Schools, at 614-292-6308 (or )

When to Sell Grain-Basic Assumptions

One of the most difficult decisions for farmers is when to sell grain. Basically, a decision to sell grain should incorporate the following assumptions:

1.   Farmers should create and utilize enterprise budgets to calculate the costs of the commodity raised. An enterprise budget accurately details your fixed and variable costs on a per acre or bushel basis to raise the commodity. It is often not possible to know if a grain price is good or bad without this information. Go to the following website to download crop budgets ( ), or stop in at an Extension Office for copies of OSU enterprise budgets.

2.   Grain marketing decisions by farmers should be based upon:

a.   What is offered to you by existing grain markets, crop insurance products, and government programs?

b.   By knowledge of grain marketing alternatives

•  Costs and returns to storage

•  Analysis of historical market trends. For example for the period of 1990-2007, University of Minnesota, Center for Farm Financial Management found 75% odds that corn spring price will exceed fall price.

•  Knowledge of local cash markets and concomitant basis trends. For example, in some areas a strong positive basis for early soybeans may be offered or an opportunity may exist in some years to contract grain at higher moistures without discount into an ethanol plant or livestock finishing operation.

3.   Farmers cannot consistently predict major market moves and therefore should not speculate excessively.

4.   Grain marketing should be based upon probabilities. This may seem like gambling, but a farmer who plants a crop in the spring is using a probabilistic approach. A farmer believes that there is a good chance a crop will be produced to market in the fall. This type of thinking is based on probability. Ask yourself when the last time was that you didn’t have at least a half crop to sell. Many might respond “2002”. Even then, corn in our area of Ohio ( Crawford County ) averaged 73 bushels/acre. The point is this: it is likely you will produce at least an average crop this fall.

5.   Grain marketing should be based on your risk bearing ability . If you have many debts to service, you should not allow marketing opportunities to pass when the total costs of production can be paid and therefore debt be serviced.

2010 Ohio Corn, Soybean and Wheat Enterprise Budgets

Budgeting helps guide you through your decision making process as you attempt to commit resources to the most profitable enterprises on the farm. Crops or Livestock? Corn, Soybeans, or Wheat? We can begin to answer these questions with well thought out budgets that include all revenue and costs. Without some form of budgeting and some method to track your enterprises’ progress you’ll have difficulty determining your most profitable enterprise(s) and if you’ve met your goals for the farm.

Budgeting is often described as “penciling it out” before committing resources to a plan. 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 2010 have been completed and posted to the Farm Management Website of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. Updated Enterprise Budgets can be viewed and downloaded from the following website:

Enterprise Budgets updated so far for 2010 include: Corn-Conservation Tillage; Soybeans-No-Till (Roundup Ready); Wheat-Conservation Tillage, (Grain & Straw).

Our enterprise budgets are compiled on downloadable Excel Spreadsheets that contain macros for ease of use. 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 bottoms lines for different scenarios. Detailed footnotes are included to help explain methodologies used to obtain the budget numbers. Starting this year we will be updating these Enterprise Budgets periodically during the year is large changes occur in price or costs. Budgets will include a date in the upper right hand corner of the front page indicating when the last update occurred.

Nutrient Management Workbook Now Available

Do you have a nutrient management plan for your farm? Many producers avoid developing nutrient management plans because they can be time consuming and hard to understand. With that in mind the OSU Extension Environmental Management team and other state agencies with support from the Ohio Soybean Council set out to create a nutrient management plan that farms of every size could easily use.

The Nutrient Management Workbook uses information from crops grown, commercial fertilizers and manure to calculate how many nutrients a field needs and how much is applied. One can easily fine tune a farming operation to prevent over application of nutrients and save money on purchasing commercial fertilizers.

Working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Conservation, we have come up with criteria that can be met by producers that would qualify the plan to be approved by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. If the plan is approved and followed it can proved the operation with an affirmative defense in a private civil action for nuisances involving agriculture pollution. For example, the amount of manure that was calculated and approved in the Nutrient Management Workbook is applied to the field on a day where no rain was in the forecast but a pop-up storm drops an inch of rain causing run-off and someone complains. If you followed the approved plan, it can be used as a defense against the complaint. If you are interested in pursuing this option, contact your county Soil and Water office.

The workbook is divided into sections with detailed explanations and examples for each section. In Section A: Field Information, the planned crop, yield goal, previous crop and field size are entered. Soil test information is also taken into account. It is recommended to have soil samples pulled every three years and you must have current soil test information to become approved, but if you do not have soil test values, a chart with maintenance values is included. Maintenance values will have you apply the same amount of nutrients that the crop withdraws from the soil.

Section B: Manure Information goes through everything needed to calculate nutrients available in the manure: when it is applied, whether it is incorporated or not and within how many days it is incorporated. Books values are listed for those who do not have manure tests.

The next sections get into calculating how many nutrients are need and applied. Starting off with crop nutrients needs based on charts from the Tri-state Fertilizer Recommendations and Ohio Agronomy Guide publications. The charts from these publications for major crops in Ohio are included in the workbook. Next, if applied, starter fertilizer is subtracted from crop nutrient needs. An example and formulas are listed for calculating the manure application rate and nutrients applied at that rate. There is another section for additional nutrients applied if a field is side-dressed or has fertilizer applied to it in some other way. After doing the math you are left with the crop nutrient balance. If there is excess potassium and phosphorus, formulas for calculating how many years worth of nutrients that are banked in the field is demonstrated. You can also calculate the value of those excess nutrients based on current commercial fertilizer prices. This will help you realize the value of those nutrients and show that application of more nutrients in the next years would be useless and a waste of money.

If applying manure, one very important step included in the plan is spreadable acres. This will guide you in determining setbacks from sensitive areas and the amount of acres remaining. There is also a section for manure storage management that goes through the amount of manure produced on a farm by the animals, the volume applied to a field and the volume remaining so you can effectively plan when to apply manure to prevent storages from becoming full or the need to apply on frozen and snow covered ground.

This workbook was developed with the average Ohio producer in mind so it is easy to use and does not take a lot of time. Developing long detailed farm plans is pointless if they sit on the shelf. The Nutrient Management Workbook aimed to avoid that situation. For information on ordering the workbook along with an instructional video go to .

Legal Questions and Answers about Issue 2, The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Ballot Issue

What is Issue 2?

Issue 2 is a ballot issue that Ohio voters will decide in the November 3, 2009 general election. The issue proposes an amendment to the Ohio Constitution that addresses the care of livestock in Ohio.

Click below for a PDF version of this article.


How did Issue 2 get on the ballot?

There are two ways to propose an amendment to the Ohio Constitution: by citizen initiative or by a joint resolution passed by Ohio ‘s legislature, the General Assembly. Both methods require that the proposal be placed on the ballot for majority approval by Ohio voters. Issue 2 arose through a joint resolution in the General Assembly. The Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate both approved the proposed constitutional amendment. As required by law, the Ohio General Assembly then submitted the enacted resolution to the Ohio Secretary of State, who chairs the Ohio Ballot Board. The five member Ballot Board reviewed the resolution and developed a summary of the joint resolution for the ballot. The Ohio Attorney General certified that the Ballot Board’s summary is an accurate depiction of the joint resolution, and the summary will appear as Issue 2 on the November 3, 2009 general election ballot. You may view the joint resolution passed by the Ohio legislators here , which is the actual language that would be included in the Ohio Constitution if approved on November 3, 2009. The Ballot Board’s summary of the joint resolution, which is the actual language that will appear on the ballot as Issue 2, is here . To learn more about the ballot initiative procedure in Ohio , visit this page .

Is a constitutional amendment the same as a law?

Yes. Ohio ‘s Constitution is one source of law; Ohio also has statutory law (the Ohio Revised Code), administrative law (agency rules), and common law (written court decisions). However, the Constitution is Ohio ‘s “supreme” law because it establishes the framework for Ohio ‘s governmental structure, sets forth powers of the government, provides for fundamental individual rights, and is difficult to change. Only a majority vote by Ohio voters can change the Ohio Constitution.

What does Issue 2’s proposed constitutional amendment do?

Issue 2 proposes to amend the Ohio Constitution by including language in the Constitution that:

•  Creates an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board that would have the authority to establish standards for livestock care in Ohio .

•  Gives the Ohio Department of Agriculture the authority to oversee and enforce the livestock care standards.

•  Grants the Ohio General Assembly the authority to enact laws necessary for creating the Livestock Care Standards Board and overseeing, implementing and enforcing its standards.

Who would be on the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board?

Issue 2 establishes a thirteen member Livestock Care Standards Board. No more than seven members on the board may be of the same political party. The Ohio General Assembly would have the power to set the terms of office for the Board members and determine any conditions for the Board members’ service. The proposal states that the Board would consist of:

•  The director of the department of agriculture, who would serve as chair of the Board;

•  Ten members appointed by the Governor with Senate approval, which must include:  one family farm representative, one member knowledgeable about food safety in Ohio; two members representing statewide farmer organizations; one veterinarian licensed in Ohio; the State Veterinarian; the dean of an Ohio college or university’s agriculture department; two members of the public representing Ohio consumers; one member representing a county humane society

•  One family farmer appointed by the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.

•  One family farmer appointed by the President of the Ohio Senate.

What is a “family farmer” for purposes of Issue 2?

Issue 2 does not contain a definition of “family farmer,” nor does Ohio ‘s statutory laws.

How would the Board create the livestock care standards?

Issue 2 does not specifically detail how the Livestock Care Standards Board would go about creating the livestock care standards, but it does state that when developing the standards, the Board must consider factors that include, but are not limited to, agricultural best management practices for such care and well-being, biosecurity, disease prevention, animal morbidity and mortality data, food safety practices, and the protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers. Issue 2 also directs the Ohio legislature to enact laws to help the Board carry out its duties, which would allow the legislature to establish a process for the Board to follow when developing the livestock care standards.

Who would enforce the livestock care standards ?

According to Issue 2, the state department that regulates agriculture (which is currently the Ohio Department of Agriculture) would have the authority to implement and enforce the standards developed by the Livestock Care Standards Board, and could create administrative rules and regulations necessary to do so.

How much will a Livestock Care Standards Board cost and how will it be funded?

The Office of Budget and Management has prepared a fiscal analysis for Issue 2. The analysis projects costs based upon similar Ohio boards and programs. OBM assumes that funding will derive from the state’s General Revenue Fund, since the proposal does not designate a funding source. See the OBM’s cost projections here .

Do other Ohio laws affect the care of farm animals?

Yes. Ohio currently has laws related to the care of domestic animals, commonly referred to as our animal cruelty laws. The laws prohibit acts such as torture; confinement without adequate shelter, fresh air, food or water; and unnecessary or cruel harm to an animal. Unless the Ohio General Assembly changes them, these laws will remain in effect and will apply to farm animals even if Issue 2 passes. The Ohio General Assembly could choose to amend the existing animal cruelty laws to include the livestock care standards developed by the Board. See Ohio ‘s animal cruelty laws here .

If Issue 2 passes, could it ever be changed?

Yes, but because Issue 2 proposes an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, it could only be changed by another proposed constitutional amendment that must be approved by Ohio voters.

How does Ohio ‘s Issue 2 differ from Proposition 2 that passed last year in California ?

The ballot initiative known as Proposition 2 passed by California voters last fall amended California ‘s statutory law. It was not a constitutional amendment like Ohio ‘s Issue 2. The California law does not address the care of all livestock, but instead prevents certain actions for certain types of livestock. California ‘s law prohibits the tethering or confinement of pregnant pigs, veal calves and egg-laying hens in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its legs or turning around freely for a majority of the day.

Could a ballot proposal like California ‘s Proposition 2 come to Ohio if Issue 2 passes?

In addition to allowing initiatives that amend the Constitution, Ohio law allows citizens to propose new statutory laws through the ballot initiative process. A person or group could use the ballot initiative to propose a law like California ‘s Proposition 2 in the future, and the proposal could be placed on the general election ballot for voter approval. If Issue 2 passes, however, a future ballot proposal that conflicts with Issue 2’s constitutional amendment could be challenged legally.

Do other states have laws like the one proposed by Issue 2?

A number of states have addressed the issue of farm animal care, but none have enacted a law similar to Ohio ‘s Issue 2. Rather, the laws follow California ‘s approach of prohibiting certain practices for certain types of livestock. Only Florida has enacted a constitutional amendment on farm animal care, and the Florida provision applies only to confinement of pregnant pigs. For links to other state laws on farm animal welfare, see our website at

or visit Michigan State University ‘s Animal Legal & Historical Center at .

Better Milk Prices Require Fewer Milk Cows

The current discussion front and center for everyone involved in the U.S. dairy industry involves how broken the current system is and in what manner can this be repaired. This article provides Dr. Thraen’s explanation on what in the world is going on with U.S. dairy, milk prices, and dairy farm financial health. Dr. Thraen state’s the U.S. dairy industry needs to shed an additional 200,000 head of cattle to return to a “state of normalcy” where production is more in balance with domestic demand.

Click below to access this complete report