Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics has a New Look Website

By: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

 The Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics has a new look to its website. There are many changes to the site that will enable users easier access to class and instruction information, extension/outreach information, research and events. The front page ( ) offers the “Latest News” about faculty, students, instruction, research and Extension related to the Department. A section on “Upcoming Events” allows users to check the calendar for important upcoming events.

The website is broken down into several sections that will help clients find the appropriate subject matter.  These sections are as follows:  Undergraduate Program, Graduate Program, Programs and Research, and Publications. Extension/Outreach users will find most of the information that they seek in the “Programs and Research” section or the “Publications” section.

The “Undergraduate Program” section contains information on courses offered, required coursework for AEDE undergraduate majors and minors, scholarships, career opportunities, the Agribusiness/NAMA Club and other information.

The “Graduate Program” section  includes information on current courses offered, The Masters Program, The Doctoral Program, Admissions, Professional Placements and others topics.

The “Programs and Resources” section includes sections on the Agricultural and Resources Law Program, the Agricultural Outlook and Policy Program, the Andersons Program, the C. William Swank Program, the Center for Farmland Policy and Innovation, the Environmental Policy Initiative, the Exurban Change Program, the Farm Income Enhancement program, OSU Income Tax Schools, the National Program for Integrated Dairy Risk Management Education and Research, OSU Farm Management, the Ohio Business Retention and Expansion Initiative, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, the Ohio Dairy Web, the Retail Market Analysis program, the Rural Finance Program, and the VanBuren Farm Management program.

The publications section will contain Departmental publications targeting the needs of AEDE clientele. The web address is:


Resolution to Discrimination Claims regarding USDA Program Delivery

By: Julia Nolan Woodruff, Extension Educator, Erie County

Several months ago a settlement was reached regarding the allegations against the USDA claiming discrimination toward Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers when seeking USDA farm loans. The USDA is working to get the word out to these individuals who might have been part of this group that was discriminated against.

The program provides up to $50,000 for each Hispanic or woman farmers who can show that the USDA denied them a loan or loan servicing for discriminatory reasons for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000. Successful claimants are also eligible for funds to pay the taxes on their awards and for forgiveness of certain existing USDA loans. There are no filing fees or other costs to claimants to participate in the program. However, the USDA cannot provide legal advice, so those who would like to seek legal advice will have to do so, on their own.

Individuals who would like to participant in the claims process or have questions will need to contact the USDA to receive a claims packet. You may do this by calling in to the Farmer and Rancher Call Center at 1-888-508-4429 or visiting the website:

Farm Finance for Women Workshop to be offered in August

By Julia Nolan Woodruff, Extension Educator, Erie County

After a successful winter workshop series, OSU Extension will be offering a summer version of the Farm Finance for Women workshops. This workshop is designed to address the area of financial risk management. There are a series of four classes; one held each week in the evening from 6:30 – 9:00 pm. The summer workshop will be held in Knox and Delaware Counties. The first two classes will be at the OSU Extension Office located at 1025 Harcourt Rd., Mount Vernon and the second two classes will be held at the OSU Extension office in Delaware County located at 149 N. Sandusky St., Delaware. The classes will be held on August 9, 16, 23, 30. Click for Brochure

A more in-depth study of the components of financial risk related to agriculture is discussed by the educators teaching this workshop. Educators will provide tools for women to utilize in order to increase their current financial risk management skills. The program is inspired by the recent Annie’s Project Workshops and organized much like those workshops. However, there is only one area of risk management focus, unlike the past Annie’s Project Workshops.

Specific topics that will be addressed include: cash flow, balance sheet and income statement development, Quicken basics for farm recordkeeping, and benchmarking. The workshops will include hands-on activities, computer entry for the Quicken workshop, and homework.

Three workshops were piloted this past winter with 47 women participating, with one workshop still to come this summer. Evaluation results showed that women improved their knowledge of the balance sheet, increased their confidence level when dealing with financial issues and improved their ability to conduct a financial analysis of their operation.

The class fee is $50 and registration deadline is August 3, 2011. For registration information please contact the Knox County office at 740-397-0401 or the Delaware County office at 740-833-2030.

Ohio Supreme Court decides agricultural zoning case

Court rules in favor of Myrddin Winery

The Ohio Supreme Court has clarified how the “agricultural exemption” contained in Ohio zoning law applies to wineries.  The Court agreed with appellant Myrddin Winery in ruling today that Ohio law does not grant a township or county zoning authority over buildings or structures used for the vinting and selling of wine if they are on property used for viticulture, which is the growing of grapes. 

The case before the Court, Terry v Sperry, involved a Milton Township property  in northeast Ohio located in a district zoned as residential.  Prior to establishing the winery on the property, the Sperrys asked the township whether a winery was a permissible use of the property.  The township zoning inspector advised that the winery was an agricultral use that did not require a zoning permit pursuant to Ohio’s “agricultural exemption” from zoning.  The Sperrys proceeded to establish and operate Myrddin Winery, making wine from a small number of grape vines grown on the property and from grape concentrate purchased from other sources.  The Sperrys sold the wine, as well as food items, to customers who visited the winery. 

When the township later received complaints about the winery from neighbors, the township decided that the winery was no longer a permissible agricultural use.  Rather, the township claimed that the use constituted a restaurant and retail business that was not permitted in the residential zoning district.  The township sought an injunction to close down the winery.  The Sperrys argued that the township could not exert zoning authority over the winery because of the agricultural exemption in Ohio zoning law.

Both the Mahoning Court of Common Pleas and the Seventh District Court of Appeals agreed with the township, and held that it could exert zoning authority over the winery.  The courts examined the “agricultural exemption” contained in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 519, which limits township and county zoning authority over agricultural land uses.  The courts concluded that the agricultural exemption did not apply to Myrddin Winery because the winery did not fit within the statute’s definition of “agriculture.”  The definition includes “viticulture,” but also states that the processing and marketing of agricultural products are included in the definition of agriculture only if those activities are secondary to agricultural production.  Pointing to the small number of grape vines grown on the property, the township argued that the winery was not “agriculture” because the processing of grapes and marketing of wine were the primary uses of the property, and grape production itself was secondary to the processing and marketing activities. 

The Ohio Supreme Court disagreed that the statute’s definition of agriculture dictated the outcome of the case.  The Court turned instead to additional language regarding wineries contained inORC 519.21(A), another part of the agricultural exemption.  That provision states that a township has no power to prohibit the “use of buildings or structures incident to the use for agricultural purposes of the land on which such buildings or structures are located, including buildings or structures that are used primarily for vinting and selling wine and that are located on land any part of which is used for viticulture.”  (Emphasis added).   That provision, stated the Court, is a “clear and unambiguous” exemption from zoning authority for winery buildings, as long as grapes are also grown on the property.  Because of the unambiguous exemption, the township need not refer to the definition of “agriculture” or analyze the number of grapes or whether grape growing or processing and marketing are the primary uses of the property.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision in Terry v Sperry brings much needed clarification to Ohio’s agricultural zoning exemption, a complicated statute whose interpretation has long created headaches for local zoning officials.  When Ohio legislators granted zoning authority to townships and counties years ago, agricultural interests expressed concern that agricultural land uses would be “zoned out” of many rural areas.  The agricultural exemption addresses those concerns by limiting local zoning authority over agricultural land uses.  The problem arises with the statute’s attempt to determine what is or is not an agricultural land use.  The distinction is often muddy, but today’s decision provides some clarity:  in regards to buildings used for making and selling wine on property where wine grapes are growing, the township or county has no zoning authority.

Read the Terry v Sperry opinion here.

2011 Ohio Swine and Sheep Enterprise Budgets

By: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

Newly updated Swine and Sheep Enterprise Budgets for 2011 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 Budget projections updated so far for 2011 include: Corn-Conservation Tillage; Soybeans-No-Till (Roundup Ready); Wheat-Conservation Tillage, (Grain & Straw), Alfalfa Hay and Grass Hay.

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. Detailed footnotes are included to help explain methodologies used to obtain the budget numbers.

Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) Signup Begins in Ohio

By David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator

On June 15, 2011 the USDA announced the establishment of four additional Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas to promote the cultivation of giant miscanthus that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels, and bio-based products. One of the areas accepted was been Ashtabula County in Northeast, Ohio and targets 2011 enrollment of 5,344 acres in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull, Ohio, and Crawford, Erie, and Mercer counties, Pennsylvania. The sponsor for this project is Aloterra Energy, LLC and the project area surrounds the company’s biomass conversion facility in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Selected producers are eligible for reimbursements of up to 75 percent of the cost of establishing a perennial bioenergy crop. They can receive up to five years of annual payments for planting miscanthus. Assistance for the collection, harvest, storage and transportation of crops to facilities will be also available for two years, per producer, in the form of a matching payment for up to $45 per ton of the delivery cost.

BCAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, is a primary component of the strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, improve domestic energy security, reduce pollution and spur rural economic development and job creation. The sign-up period to receive BCAP money began on Monday, June 20, 2011. Click here to read the complete information on the BCAP Program.The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will be administering the program with conservation planning assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Producers interested in participating in the project areas should visit their local FSA county office (check out

Ohio Estate Tax Repealed

By: Peggy Kirk Hall

The Ohio legislature has approved a repeal of the Ohio estate tax, but the tax will remain in effect for another 18 months. The new law removes the Ohio estate tax obligation for any person who dies on or after January 1, 2013. Governor Kasich signed the provision into law on June 30, 2011 as part of the state’s budget package. The final version of the repeal differed from the language proposed earlier this year in H.B. 3, which proposed ending the estate tax as of January 1, 2011 (click here to view earlier post).

“Transferring Your Farm Business Workshop to be held in Northeast Ohio”

By: David L. Marrison, Ag & NR Extension Educator

Click here for the registration flyer

As the age of farm operators increases, transferring the ownership and management of the family farm will become one of the most important issues farm families will face. This workshop has been designed to help farm families in Northeast Ohio plan for the transfer of their family farm. To help farm families plan for the future, OSU Extension will be hosting a Transferring Your Farm Business workshop on August 23, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the OSU Extension Office in Trumbull County located at 520 West Main Street in Cortland.

This workshop will challenge you to actively plan for the future. Farm families are encouraged to bring members from each generation to this workshop. Kick off your estate planning discussion with the tools offered at this workshop. Learn from the estate transfer nightmares encountered by other farm families. This workshop is one which will help you develop a plan for the future, discover ways to increase family communication, and learn strategies for transferring management skills and the farm’s assets from one generation to the next.

Some of the topics which will be addressed include: Getting the Family to Talk About Estate Planning, Getting Your Affairs in Order, How to Use Farm Business Arrangements in Estate Planning, Estate and Transfer Strategies, Providing Income for Multiple Generations, How Do I Treat Each Offspring Fairly When It Comes to Dividing up our Farm, and Long-Term Care Issues.

The workshop teaching team will include: David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator in Ashtabula & Trumbull Counties, Dr. Chris Bruynis, OSU Extension Educator in Wyandot County; Dr. Jim Skeeles, OSU Extension Educator in Fairfield County, and Paul Wright & Robert Moore, Attorneys-Wright Law Company. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Registration fee is $50 for the first family member. This fee includes morning refreshments, lunch, program handouts and a great family resource notebook. Additional family members are encouraged to attend for $15 per person (includes refreshments, lunch, and program handouts). Pre-registration is required by August 15 and registrations are limited to the first 60 attendees. Make checks payable to OSU Extension and mail to OSU Extension, 520 West Main Street, Suite 1, Cortland, Ohio 44410. If you have any questions please call 330-638-6783 or email David Marrison at This workshop is being sponsored by the OSU Extension offices in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Summit, & Trumbull counties.

Eliminating Direct Payments and Potential Impacts of Extending Ethanol Tax Credit

by Chris Bruynis, Extension Educator

The University of Missouri recently released two articles that are of interest to farmers. The first examines the effect on the agriculture economy if direct payments would be eliminated from the next Farm Bill while the second examines the potential impacts of extending the ethanol tax credit.

Eliminating direct payments is expected to increase the participation in ACRE or similar options in the next Farm Bill, have no effect on acres planted by crop, and reduce land values slightly. For more information go to Potential Impacts of Eliminating Direct Payments.

The ethanol tax credit article can be found at FAPRI U.S. Biofuel Baseline and impact of extending the $0.45 ethanol blenders credit. Although this article looks at the benefit and probable outcomes of extending the credit, the reader can infer what the probable outcome may be now that the tax credit has been voted out by the Senate.

Ohio estate tax will disappear in 2013

The Ohio legislature has approved a repeal of the Ohio estate tax, but the tax will remain in effect for another 18 months.  The new law removes the Ohio estate tax obligation for any person who dies on or after January 1, 2013.  Governor Kasich signed the provision into law on June 30, 2011 as part of the state’s budget package.  The final version of the repeal differed from the language proposed earlier this year in H.B. 3, which proposed ending the estate tax as of January 1, 2011 (see our earlier post).