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.