Webinar on 2014 Farm Bill Scheduled

We are pleased to announce a Webinar program focused on the 2014 Farm Bill taught by Dr Carl Zulauf on March 21, 2014 starting at 8:00 am. The webinar is free and no registration is required. You can log in and test your system starting 24 hours prior to the webinar at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/ohioagmanager.  The webinar address will be the same the morning of the webinar.

Participants will have the opportunity to type in questions in the chat box and we will try to get all of them answered during the webinar.  Please know that the regulations have not been written, so this will be a general overview and the specifics of the decision between PLC (with or without SCO) and ARC is not available yet.  We will hold further webinars as the details become available.

If you are not available to attend this webinar it will be recorded and posted on the http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu website under the resources link on the left site of the front-page. Interested parties can view it later at their convenience.  

2014 Farm Bill Crop Safety Net Decision: Key Considerations

by: Carl Zulauf, Professor, Ohio State University, February 2014

Overview:  This post builds upon the recent farmdoc posts, “2014 Farm Bill Farm Safety Net:  Summary and Brief Thoughts” by Carl Zulauf (available here) and “Evaluating Commodity Program Choices in the New Farm Bill” by Jonathan Coppess (available here).  The focus is considerations in choosing among the three crop safety net options: (1) Price Loss Coverage (PLC) – a target price program; (2) county Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) – a county revenue program, and (3) individual ARC – an individual farm revenue program.  A reference table at the end of this article contains a brief, comparative list of key program parameters for each option.


►   The decision, to be made in 2014, covers 5 crop years, 2014-18.  It is not a one year decision.

►   Payments are made on historical base acres, not current planted acres.

►   Operators can keep the current distribution of base acres among program crops or update the distribution to reflect the distribution of acres planted to program crops over 2008-12.  The distribution closer to the distribution of expected 2014-18 planted acres will reduce the chance a crop’s revenue will be less than the cost of production due to potential government payments.

►   Table 1 presents key prices for the crop safety net decision, including the U.S. loan rate, PLC reference target price, and current estimate of the U.S. 2013 crop year price,.  An estimate of the implied ARC price also is provided for the 2014-2018 crop years.  The estimate assumes the current expected price for the 2013 crop year continues through the 2018 crop year.  The 2013 price is the midpoint of the price range reported in the February 2014 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASADE) (http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/).  The ARC implied price is 86% (ARC’s coverage level) times the Olympic average (removes high and low price) for the five preceding crop years.

►   Note, ARC is a revenue program.  Thus, ARC’s implied price is only a rough, simple indicator of potential payments.  Above normal yields reduce the chance of ARC payments, hence ARC’s implied price.  Below normal yields increase the chance of payments, hence ARC’s implied price.

►   For each year, ARC’s price component is the higher of the crop’s 5-year Olympic average price or the crop’s reference price (see above).  Thus, ARC’s price component can never be less than the PLC reference price.

►   In Table 1, the relationship between the PLC reference price and the estimated ARC implied price for 2014-18 differs notably by program crop.  This difference suggests payment entities may choose different programs for different crops, a feature allowed in PLC and county ARC but not in individual ARC.  Thus, operators may want to consider diversification of program choice as a risk management strategy.

►   Expectations about prices over the 2014-18 crop years will likely be an important consideration.  Expectation that market price will stay above the PLC reference price in most years will likely lead to an initial look at ARC.  In contrast, expectation that market price will be below the PLC reference price in most years will likely lead to an initial look at PLC.

►   Because 2009 was a low price year and an Olympic average discards the high and low prices, ARC’s implied price will not change much in 2015 compared with 2014.  Moreover, ARC’s implied price in 2016 does not change by much and often increases if the 2013 crop year price continues during the 2014 and 2015 crop years (see Table 1).  Thus, ARC may provide more risk protection than expected.  However, if market prices decline notably in 2014 and 2015 from current levels, ARC’s implied price will decline notably by 2017 and 2018.  This discussion underscores the importance of expectations about the path of prices through 2018.

►   PLC’s reference price provides a potential floor on a crop’s per unit revenue because PLC makes price deficiency payments if market price is between the reference price and loan rate.

►   The last three bullet points suggest that a key decision factor may become the prices for the 2014 crops during the last week of program sign-up.

►   A second key decision factor may become the known yield of a 2014 crop harvested before the sign-up deadline as well as expected yields of 2014 crops yet to be harvested.

►   Payment limits could be a bigger issue than in the past because risk management programs can make large payments when a risk occurs.  Moreover, these years are never known in advance and these payments may be needed due to the low revenue resulting from the occurrence of a risk.  It is worth underscoring that peanuts has a separate payment limit but all other program crops have a combined, single limit of $125,000 per payment entity.

►   The Supplemental Insurance Coverage Option (SCO) is available only to crops in PLC.  The county-based SCO could be an important consideration is this decision, but individual farm insurance is more specific to an individual farm’s risk than is county insurance.  Moreover, SCO’s subsidy rate of 65% exceeds the subsidy rate for the commonly-chosen enterprise insurance only at the 85% coverage level (53% subsidy).  When combined, these considerations suggest that the use of SCO could be limited to the 80% to 86% range of insurance coverage.

►   Individual ARC is in essence a whole program crop farm safety net for all FSA farms that an individual payment entity elects into individual ARC.  Because of this feature and because payment will be made on only 65% of base acres, it seems reasonable to speculate that individual ARC may be most attractive for relatively small farms with contiguous acres in a microclimate and soil profile not representative of the county and in areas with variable yields.


The 2014 farm bill encourages farmers to think strategically about their farms through at least 2018.  An important strategic risk management question is the ability of a farm to withstand multiple years of low farm prices and revenue.  Managing multiple-year risk involves a set of interrelated considerations, including the expected path of prices and revenue until 2018.  The multiple year nature of this assessment points to the value of consulting decision calculators.

This publication is also available at http://aede.osu.edu/publications


Table 1.  Price Parameters for U.S. Crop Program Options, 2014-2018 Crop Year






———- Estimated ARC Implied Price ———-




[2014-18 price is assumed to be 2013 price]


















































































Footnote: units are $/bushel for all crops except peanuts ($/pound) and rice ($/100 pounds)

Comparative Reference Table:  Key Parameters by Crop Program Option, 2014 U.S. Farm Bill

Carl Zulauf, Ohio State University, February 2014



(Price Loss Coverage)

County ARC

(Ag Risk Coverage)

Individual ARC

(Ag Risk Coverage)



Same For All 3 Options:  (1) 1 option elected for 5 years covering 2014 -18 crop years; (2) election made in 2014; (3) all FSA farm payment entities must make same choice or lose payment for 2014 crop and forced into PLC in 2015



individual program crop on individual FSA farm

individual program crop on individual FSA farm

all program crops on an individual FSA farm

Payment Acres

(generic base is former cotton base)

85% of program crop base acres on a FSA farm plus generic base acres planted to program crop

85% of program crop base acres on a FSA farm plus generic base acres planted to program crop

65% of all program crop base acres on all FSA farms  the payment entity elected for individual ARC plus generic base acres planted to any program crop



Same For All 3 Options:  current base acres   OR   total current base acres allocated according to program crop’s share of FSA farm’s total acres planted

 to program crops over 2009-12 crop years




for a program crop, U.S. market year average price is less than reference price

for a program crop, actual revenue is less than ARC revenue guarantee

for whole program crop farm of payment entity, actual revenue is less than all farm ARC revenue guarantee



FSA farm current counter-cyclical yield   OR   90% of FSA farm average plant yield for 2008-12 crops



Reference Price

(see table 1)



Revenue Guarantee


86% of program crop revenue benchmark

[equals prior 5 year Olympic average (remove high and low) of county yield   times prior 5 year Olympic average US crop year price]

86% of whole program crop farm revenue  benchmark  [equals sum of revenue benchmark for each program crop on all FSA farms of  operator weighted by crop’s share of total program acres]



reference price   minus

loan rate

10% of program crop revenue benchmark

10% of whole program crop farm revenue benchmark

Loan Rate

Same For All 3 Options:  current rates (see table 1)

Supplemental Insurance Coverage Option

SCO available

SCO not available

SCO not  available

SCO is option to buy county insurance to cover yield or revenue loss between 86% and coverage of individual policy; 65% subsidy



Same For All 3 Options:  $125,000 per legal entity;  $250,000 for person and spouse; limit excludes gains from forfeiting nonrecourse loans;  separate limit for peanuts



Same For All 3 Options:  benefits denied to payment entities with an AGI (adjusted gross income from farm and nonfarm sources) over $900,000


2014 Farm Bill Farm Safety Net: Summary and Brief Thoughts

by: Carl Zulauf, Professor, Ohio State University, January 2014

Overview:  This post contains a summary of key farm safety net provisions.  Details are minimized to focus on key features.  A few brief observations conclude the post.  Mistakes are possible given the short turn-around time and interpretation of bill language.  Apology is extended for any mistakes.

Title 1.  Commodity Programs

►   Direct payments are repealed except for reduced transition payments to cotton for the 2014 crop and even smaller payments for the 2015 crop under specified, limited conditions.

►   Programs authorized for the 2014-2018 crop years and through December 31, 2018 for dairy.

►   A crop farm has a one-time, irrevocable opportunity to elect either Price Loss Coverage (PLC) or county Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) on a crop by crop basis.  The producer may also elect individual farm ARC, but this election applies to the entire farm.  If no choice is made, the farm defaults to PLC.  All producers on a farm must make the same election or face potential loss of payments for the 2014 crop and are placed in PLC for the 2015-2018 crops.

►   PLC payments occur if U.S. average market price for the crop year is less than the crop’s reference price.  Reference prices are: wheat, $5.50/bushel; corn, $3.70/bushel; grain sorghum, $3.95/bushel; barley, $4.95/bushel; oats, $2.40/bushel; long grain rice, $14.00/hundredweight (cwt).; medium grain rice, $14.00/cwt.; soybeans, $8.40/bushel; other oilseeds, $20.15/cwt.; peanuts $535.00/ton; dry peas, $11.00/cwt.; lentils, $19.97/cwt.; small chickpeas, $19.04/cwt.; and large chickpeas, $21.54/cwt.

►   County ARC payments occur when actual crop revenue is below the ARC revenue guarantee for a crop year.  County ARC guarantee is 86% of county ARC benchmark revenue.  Coverage is capped at 10%, meaning coverage is between 76% and 86% of the county ARC benchmark revenue.  County ARC benchmark revenue is based on the Olympic average (removes high and low values) of county yields and U.S. crop year average prices for the 5 preceding crop years.  For each year, ARC’s price component is the higher of the crop’s 5-year Olympic average price or the crop’s reference price (see above).  Thus, ARC’s price component can never be less than the PLC reference price.

►   Individual farm ARC is a whole program commodity farm program, not individual crop program.  In essence, it is based on the farm’s average covered commodity experience.

►   For both PLC and county ARC, payment acres for a crop are 85% of the farm’s base acres for the crop plus any generic base acres (former cotton base acres) planted to the crop.  Individual ARC payments acres are 65% of the sum of the farm’s total base acres and any generic base acres planted to covered crops on the farm.

►   Total base acres on a farm are the same as current base acres.  However a farm can elect to reallocate base acres among the farm’s covered crops according to each covered crop’s share of the farm’s total acres planted to covered crops over the 2009-2012 crop years.

►   The Secretary of Agriculture is to develop procedures for identifying and eliminating base acres on land that has been subdivided and developed for multiple residential units or non-farming uses and is unlikely to return to agriculture uses.

►   PLC payment yields can be updated to 90% of average planted yield for the 2008-12 crop years.

►   The 2008 Farm Bill’s nonrecourse marketing loan and loan deficiency payment program and associated loan rates are extended, except for modifications to the loan rate for cotton, which now can range between 45 and 52 cents per pound.

►   The Dairy Product Support and MILC programs are replaced with a Dairy Production Margin Protection Program based on the difference between the price of milk and feed cost of producing milk.  A producer elects a coverage level between $4 and $8 per cwt.  No premium is paid for the $4 coverage level; premiums are paid for higher coverage levels.  Premium schedules are specified for production of 4 million or fewer pounds and for production greater than 4 million pounds. No supply control provision is included.

►   A Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance program is funded permanently.  It includes a Livestock Indemnity Program for livestock losses from adverse weather or attacks by federally reintroduced animals; a Livestock Forage Program for losses resulting from drought or fire; a program of emergency relief to producers of livestock, honey bees, and farm raised fish not covered by the two previous programs; and a Tree Assistance Program for natural disasters.

►   So-called permanent laws of 1938 and 1949 are not repealed.

►   Payments indirectly or directly received by a person or legal entity under Title I are limited to $125,000.  Limit for a person and spouse is $250,000.  A separate payment limit for peanuts is retained.  Only Title 1 crop program not included in this single payment limit is the benefit derived from forfeiting nonrecourse loans.

►   USDA is to write new regulations defining “active engagement in farming.”

►   A single farm and nonfarm adjusted gross income (AGI) limit of $900,000 exists for certain commodity as well as conservation programs.


Title 11 – Crop Insurance

►   Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) provides farms the option to purchase county level insurance that covers part of the deductible under their individual yield and revenue loss policy.  Coverage level cannot exceed difference between 86% and underlying individual policy coverage level.  Subsidy rate is 65%.  SCO is not available if enrolled in ARC.  Implementation must begin by the 2015 crop year.  A slightly different Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX) is offered for cotton.

►   The higher subsidy levels for enterprise insurance are made permanent.

►   A new revenue-minus-cost margin crop insurance contract is authorized.  The initial target is rice for the 2015 crop year.

►   Several provisions encourage data sharing, with a focus on U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies.  One objective is to increase availability of county-based insurance products.

►   When calculating a farm’s APH insurance yield, the plug yield remains 60%.  But, a producer can chose to exclude a yield for a crop year in which the county planted acre yield was at least 50% below the average county yield over the previous 10 consecutive crop years.

►   Budget limitations are placed on renegotiations of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement, including budget neutrality with regard to the crop insurance programs.

►   Insurance benefits are reduced if a farm tills native sod for production of an annual crop.

►   Enterprise unit insurance is to be offered separately by dryland and irrigated acres of a crop.

►   Beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher subsidy rate on insurance.

►   Insurance subsidies are not reduced for high income payment entities.

►   The Risk Management Agency is given a clear mandate to focus on developing insurance products for underserved commodities, notably specialty crops.  Immediate priorities are revenue insurance for peanuts, margin insurance for rice, and a specialized irrigated policy for grain sorghum.  Studies are authorized of insurance for swine and poultry catastrophic disease, poultry business interruption; and food safety.  Insurance for organic crops is to offer price elections that reflect the retail or wholesale price, as appropriate.  Index-based weather insurance pilot programs are a priority.


First Look at PLC – County ARC Comparison

The PLC – ARC decision involves many considerations, but a key one is the level of downside protection.  Figure 1 presents a very crude, first look at this consideration in the context of the PLC – county ARC decision (individual ARC is not considered here).  Figure 1 compares the estimated implied guarantee price for ARC to the PLC reference price for the 2014 crop year.  The ARC implied reference price equals ARC’s coverage level of 86% times the Olympic average U.S. price for the 2009-2013 crop years.  This comparison suggests that for 2014 ARC’s’ price coverage level is more favorable for corn and soybeans while PLC’s reference price is more favorable for peanuts, rice, and barley.  The figure implies the same farm may choose different programs for different crops, a feature this farm bill allows.  However, Figure 1 is only a starting point because the decision involves all 5 crop years between 2014 and 2018 and comparing price (PLC) vs. revenue (ARC) programs, fixed (PLC) vs. moving average (ARC) programs, and other important differences.  Farmdocs will offer more detailed and complete discussion of these decision options in the future.


Summary Thoughts

►   Much has been made of the delay in completing this farm bill, including the implication that the farm lobby has lost power.  I suggest caution.  It is quite an accomplishment to complete a farm bill in the current divided political environment.  Few initiatives have gotten this far.

►   This farm bill was the first to be distinctly impacted by multilateral international trade agreements.  Other than the marketing loan program, cotton will eventually have no safety net against multiple year low returns.  Such an outcome was unlikely without the World Trade Organization ruling in the U.S.-Brazil cotton case.  It should give pause to U.S. farm safety net supporters about the consequences if programs become too generous.

►   Due to its size but also expansion in this farm bill, cost and performance of crop insurance will likely be a notable focus of the next farm bill debate.

►   Last, this farm bill did not settle the question of what is the best policy for multiple year assistance, price or revenue and fixed vs. moving targets.  The next farm bill will continue this debate but with experiences that at present appear likely to be based on a period of more normal to low income.  In other words, the context of the next farm bill debate will likely significantly differ from the context of this farm bill debate, raising the potential for different outcomes.


This publication is also available at http://aede.osu.edu/publications

Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) Changes to Tiered Structure for Minimum Payments beginning in 2014

by: David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator

Most farm and agribusiness in Ohio are aware of the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) which is the annual tax imposed for the privilege of doing business in Ohio, measured by taxable gross receipts from most business activities. Businesses with Ohio taxable gross receipts of $150,000 or more per calendar year are subject to the tax.

Background on CAT:

The CAT was enacted in House Bill 66, passed by the 126th General Assembly in 2005. Most receipts generated in the ordinary course of business are included in a taxpayer’s CAT base. This tax applies to all types of businesses: e.g., retailers; service providers, such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors; manufacturers; and other types of businesses.

The CAT applies to all entities regardless of form, e.g., sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and all types of corporations. The tax does have limited exclusions for certain types of businesses such as financial institutions, dealers in intangibles, insurance companies, and some public utilities if those businesses pay other specific Ohio taxes.

The term “gross receipts” is broadly defined to include most business types of receipts from the sale of property or in the performance of a service. Note that certain receipts are not taxable receipts and are excluded from a taxpayer’s CAT base, such as dividends, capital gains, wages reported on a W-2, interest income (other than from credit sales), and gifts.

It is important to note that, in general, persons with $150,000 or less in taxable gross receipts are not subject to the CAT.

So what are the tax rates?

Up until December 31, 2013, the rates were as follows:  The first $1 million in taxable gross receipts (from $150,000 to $1,000,000) was taxed at an annual minimum tax of $150, and then taxed at 0.26% for any receipts above $1 million.

For tax periods beginning on January 1, 2014 and thereafter, the annual minimum tax (AMT) will become a tiered structure and taxpayers will pay an amount that corresponds with their overall commercial activity (legislative change in Am. Sub. H.B. 59 of the 130th General Assembly). The additional 0.26% tax for any receipts above million has not changed and continues to apply to those taxpayer’s with taxable gross receipts over $1 million.

The taxpayer will utilize its previous calendar year’s taxable gross receipts to determine the current year’s minimum tax.  For taxpayers with $1 million or less in taxable gross receipts the minimum payment will not change.  It will stay at $150. The annual minimum tax for taxpayers with total taxable gross receipts of more than $1 million but less than or equal to $2 million will be $800.  The annual minimum tax for taxpayers with taxable gross receipts more than $2 million but less than or equal to $4 million increases to $2,100.  Finally, the annual minimum tax for taxpayers for taxpayers with taxable gross receipts over $4 million will be $2,600.


Taxable Gross Receipts

Annual Minimum Tax


$1 Million or less


No Additional Tax

More than $1 Million but less than or equal to $2 Million


0.26% x (Taxable Gross Receipts – $1 Million)

More than $2 Million but less than or equal to $4 Million


0.26% x (Taxable Gross Receipts – $1 Million)

More than $4 Million


0.26% x (Taxable Gross Receipts – $1 Million)

CAT examples

Marrison Farms LLC is an annual taxpayer.  The farm reports taxable gross receipts of $500,000 for the reporting period of January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 on its annual return in May, 2014. Marrison Farms LLC will pay an annual minimum tax for 2014 of $150 with the 2013 annual return filed in May, 2014.

John B. Landowner owns 400 acres in northeastern Ohio and is a teacher at the local high school.  He leases his land for oil & gas exploration for $3,000 per acre. He receives a bonus payment of $1,200,000. To calculate his CAT obligation, Mr. Landowner would pay $800 for the first million dollars and then apply the 0.26% tax rate for the remaining $200,000, which equals $520.  He has no other commercial business activity so his total CAT obligation would be $800 + $520 = $1,320. His wages as a school teacher are not subject to the CAT.

Note: Landowners that receive bonus and royalty dollars received for shale oil and gas leases are subject to the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) if the payments total over $150,000 annually.

How to pay CAT

Electronic registration for paying the CAT is available online through the Ohio Business Gateway at: http://business.ohio.gov.  Additional instructions on registering and paying the tax are available on Ohio’s CAT at: http://www.tax.ohio.gov/commercial_activities.aspx

Please contact the CAT Division at 1-888-722-8829 with questions regarding this release or any other CAT matter.


Ohio Department of Taxation, Commercial Activity Tax Website


Monthly Webinars to Help Growers and Producers Enhance Marketing, Improve and Expand Sales

Growers and producers – have you ever wondered how to go about marketing your hops to Ohio’s microbreweries? Or how about getting your meats into area grocery stores or restaurants? Have you ever wondered how to make sure your food business or operation has a strong, income-building presence in the mobile media arena?

Answers to these questions and more are available to growers, producers and anyone in the agriculture and food industry through a series of free monthly webinars offered by food and agriculture marketing experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The webinars are designed to teach participants how to effectively use direct marketing as a way to improve their businesses’ financial bottom line, said Brad Bergefurd, a horticulturist with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Having an effective and succinct marketing plan is key to any business’ potential for success, he said.

“Everything comes down to the marketing of your products,” Bergefurd said. “Growing the crops doesn’t make growers money — marketing the crops is what makes the money.

“You have to have your marketing plan put together well in advance before you even start producing your products. You have to know where and how you can sell the products that you produce in advance of production in order to save time, money and effort and to be able to make a profit.”

The seminars hit on a broad array of topics and interests, he said.

The webinars are offered the last Thursday of every month through October, from noon to 1 p.m.

Topics include:

Feb. 27 — Top 10 Direct Marketing Trends, by Mike Hogan, an OSU Extension educator and Sustainable Agriculture coordinator. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/dmtrends.

March 27 — MarketReady, Selling to Schools, also by Hogan. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/schoolmarket.

April 24 — Maps & Apps, Mobile Media Marketing, by Rob Leeds, an OSU Extension educator. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/mapsandapps.

May 29 — Aquaponics Production and Marketing, by Bergefurd. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/marketaqua.

June 26 — Farmers Markets, by Christie Welch, a farmers market specialist at Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/farmersmarkets.

July 31 — Food Hubs by Tom Snyder, manager of OSU South Center’s Ohio Cooperative Development Center. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/foodhubs.

Aug. 28 — Marketing Hops to Ohio Microbreweries, by Bergefurd. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/hopsmarketing.

Sept. 25 — Marketing Meat, by Mark Mechling, an OSU Extension educator. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/marketmeat.

Oct. 30 — Value-added Food Production and Marketing, by Emily Adams, an OSU Extension educator. The webinar will be available to view at http://carmenconnect.osu.edu/valueadded.

The webinars are free to view. For more information on the webinar series, contact Bergefurd at 740-289-2071, ext. 136 or email bergefurd.1@osu.edu. More information on direct marketing can also be found at http://directmarketing.osu.edu.


Tracy Turner



Brad Bergefurd
740-289-2071, ext. 136

2014 East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension and Kent State University (KSU) -Tuscarawas Small Business Development Center have collaborated to host the 2014 East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference.  The conference is planned for Friday, March 28, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the KSU Tuscarawas Campus Science and Technology Building.  All women and young women (high school age) who are interested, involved in, or want to become involved with food, agriculture, natural resources or small business are encouraged to attend.

According to Heather Neikirk, Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resources for OSU Extension in Stark County and a member of the Women in Agriculture Conference Planning Team, “2007 USDA Census data showed that the number of women farm operators is significantly large for our area of Ohio.  In fact, Stark, Wayne, Holmes and Ashtabula counties comprise four of the nine counties in the state who had over 600 women farm operators”.

The conference program features a networking fair and twelve breakout sessions focused around the themes of community connections, food and family, business and finance, and make it, grow it, sell it.  A special youth session will also be presented by the Ohio FFA Association State Officer Team for young women participants (high school age).  Peggy Kirk Hall, Assistant Professor and Director of OSU Extension’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program will serve as the keynote speaker.

Interested individuals can register for the conference on-line at www.regonline.com/womeninageast.  Cost of the conference is $55 for adult participants and $30 for students.  Conference fee includes conference participation, continental breakfast, lunch and conference handouts.   For more information, please contact the Coshocton County OSU Extension office at 740-622-2265.  Deadline for registration is Friday, March 14, 2014.

Ohio State University Extension provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information: http://go.osu.edu/cfaesdiversity.

Farm Building Lease Survey

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

Each year Extension Educators in Ohio receive questions about cash rental rates for buildings used for livestock production and storage of crops and machinery.  Landowners and tenants would benefit from knowing what typical rental rates are various structures and facilities when developing farm lease agreements.  We would like your help with a new survey being carried out by Extension farm management specialists in the north central region of the U.S.

If you have clients who are renting livestock facilities, storage structures or rural housing from an owner, or who own such facilities and are renting them to farm operators, please forward the message below to them (you may delete the top portion of this message).  We are asking them to complete our on-line survey by going to the following link:  Farm Building Lease Survey.  Your name or the respondent’s name will not be connected to the information provided in any way.  Results of the survey will be posted at http://aglease101.org/.  Survey deadline is February 21.

Ohio Farm Custom Rate Survey 2014

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

A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation.  Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Custom farming providers and customers often negotiate an agreeable custom farming machinery rate by utilizing Extension surveys results as a starting point. Ohio State University Extension collects surveys and publishes survey results from the Ohio Farm Custom Survey every other year. This year we are updating our published custom farm rates for Ohio.

We need your assistance in securing up-to-date information about farm custom work rates, machinery and building rental rates and hired labor costs in Ohio.

This year we have an online survey set up that anyone can access. We would ask that you  respond even if you know only a few rates.  We want information on actual rates, either what you paid to hire custom work or what you charged if you perform custom work. Custom Rates should include all ownership costs of implement & tractor (if needed), operator labor, fuel and lube. If fuel is not included in your custom rate charge there is a place on the survey to indicate this.

You may access the survey at: http://aede.osu.edu/customrate2014

The deadline to complete the survey is March 7th.





Understanding the “Small Farms Rider” and OSHA Inspection Authority on Farms

The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) generated controversy recently when several of its enforcement actions against farms with grain bin storage hit the news headlines.   The enforcement actions are contrary to a general understanding in the agricultural community that OSHA does not have authority to enforce its regulations against farms with ten or fewer employees, referred to as the “small farms rider.”  While claiming that it does not intend to enforce beyond its authority, OSHA justifies its actions in an internal agency memorandum that interprets the small