Projected Prices for Crop Insurance Based on First Two-weeks of February

Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois

During February, projected prices used in crop insurance guarantees applicable to Midwestern states are set for corn and soybeans. These projected prices are the averages of daily settlement prices of Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) contracts during February, with the December contract used for corn and the November contract for soybeans. Through the first two weeks of February, settlement prices have averaged $5.74 per bushel for corn and $12.35 per bushel for soybeans. Continue reading at:

State Treasurer Josh Mandel Supporting Ohio Farmers Through Ag-LINK

The Agricultural Linked-Deposit program (Ag-LINK) is sponsored by State Treasurer Josh Mandel. In an effort to help Ohio farmers offset the high costs of operating funds, Ag-LINK provides an interest rate reduction on loans or lines of credit up to $100,000. This program applies to farmers, including but not limited to traditional farming, aquaculture, livestock orchards and hydroponics.

Ag-LINK has been increasing opportunities for Ohio farmers to operate and thrive for more than 25 years. As a result, Ag-LINK has helped more than 40,000 farmers receive reduced-rate financing on approximately $2.8 billion dollars. State Treasurer Josh Mandel is proud to support Ohio’s farmers through Ag-LINK.

How Do Farmers Qualify?

Eligible recipients must meet the following criteria: Be organized for profit Have headquarters and 51% of operations maintained in Ohio Obtain an operating loan or line of credit from an eligible bank or Farm Credit Lender Use loan exclusively for agriculture purposes Agree to comply with all program and bank regulations

Ag-LINK accepts applications on an annual basis from January to March. This year’s applications are due March 9, 2012.

Please contact State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office by visiting or calling 1-800-228-1102, option #3 for more information.

Is 2012 the Year to Elect the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE)?

By: Chris Bruynis, Assistant Professor & Extension Educator

Ohio farmers have previously had three opportunities to elect into the Average Crop Revenue Election provision as create by the 2008 Farm Bill. Looking back, the question is was it a good decision for those farmers that elected in previously?  There are many ways to answer that question. From a risk management perspective, the answer is yes. The downside revenue protection that was provided was worth the approximate $4.00 per acre in reduced direct payments. From a cash flow perspective, the answer is mostly no (except under certain circumstances) because the ACRE payments for wheat in 2009 and 2010 were not enough to offset the reduction in direct payments. Farmers are now into the fourth year and have the final opportunity to elect into ACRE provision. Click here to read Estimated ACRE Coverage Levels for 2012

Trend-Adjusted Actual Production History (APH) Option Available

By: Chris Bruynis, Assistant Professor & Extension Educator

Click here for a PDF version of the 2012 Trend Adjusted APH

Farmers in Ohio purchasing certain types of crop insurance will be able to elect a new provision called Trend-Adjusted Actual Production History (TA APH). This provision will allow farmers the ability to raise their farm APH in line with current expected yields. If elected, this option would adjust the farm yield to reflect increases in yields through time in the county. Trend adjustments are made on each eligible yield within a qualifying APH database based on the county’s historical yield trend, which is provided in the county actuarial documents. The approved APH yield is calculated using trend-adjusted yields, as well as any other applicable yields, within the APH database.

Many farmers feel that the 10-year average Actual Production History (APH) yields used to determine their multiple peril crop insurance guarantees do not accurately reflect their current yield potential, due to improved crop genetics and cultural practices that have been introduced in recent years. Trend-Adjusted APH has been approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Board for both corn and soybeans in most of the Corn Belt. In, Ohio there are 69 counties where trend adjustments are available. These are displayed in Table 1 in the attached document. If a county does not appear in the list, there was no trend adjustment yield approved by FCIC for that county.

In Ohio, the average trend adjustment is approximately 1.6 bushels per acre for corn. Using the average state yields for the past ten years the trend adjustment that would be calculated would increase the 2012 yield from 148.5 bushels per acre to 157.3 bushels per acre (Table 2 attached).

The question remains is this trend adjustment worth the extra effort and time needed. In speaking with some crop insurance agents, they are skeptical at best and many are advising their clients to wait one year to see if this works. In theory a farmer could simply purchase a higher percent guarantee and accomplish a similar outcome. However, if the same percent guarantee is chosen with the trend adjustment, the dollar value of coverage will be increased and the premium paid by the farmer will be slightly higher. Again in theory, if the producer elects a lower percent guarantee with the trend adjustment, the premium would be approximately the same dollars but the farmer’s share of the premium would be smaller because the percent subsidy from the USDA is higher for lower percent guarantee levels.

The Trend-Adjusted APH is available for either yield protection or revenue protection policies, at all levels of guarantee except catastrophic (CAT) coverage (50 percent yield guarantee). Group policies, such as GRIP and GRP, have used trend adjusted county yields since they were introduced, and that procedure will not change. The Trend-Adjusted APH election must be made by the insured producer by the sales closing date each year, which is March 15 for soybeans and corn in Ohio.

For specific details on your farm, contact your crop insurance agent and have them run the numbers for you. Once you have the numbers for your farm, you can make the best decision to reduce risk related to crop production for 2012.

The Value of a CCA or CPAg to a Farm Business

By: Wm. Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Educator, CCA &
Harold Watters, OSU Extension Field Specialist, CPAg/CCA

In farm business, managers solicit the advice or opinion from people near and sometimes far from the farm location. These advisers may have a specialized understanding or experience that can help improve the farm operation. When it comes to agronomic crop recommendations, a farm’s adviser has the potential influence to impact crop yields, equipment purchases, farm operations, water quality and profitability.

What are the extra letters seen following agronomy professionals that advise your farm? CCA stands for Certified Crop Adviser and CPAg stands for Certified Professional Agronomist. What’s the difference and why should I value their opinion?

Certified Crop Advisers earned their certification by passing rigorous state and international exams. For Ohio, the tri-state exam includes Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. CCAs must also sign and adhere to a code of ethics that places the customer’s needs first. CCAs meet and often exceed the high standards set by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). Technology transfer is an important part of being a CCA. Agricultural scientists offer training to CCAs and depend on them to pass that knowledge on to the grower. Up to date knowledge on the latest developments in agriculture is a pride of the CCA program and certification standards require CCAs to earn 40 hours of continuing education units every two years. In Ohio the CCA program is administer by the Ohio Agribusiness Association under the direction of the Ohio CCA Board. ASA Certification is the standard by which agronomy professionals are judged internationally for more than 30 years.

Certified Professional Agronomists earn their certification by passing an exam as well, but also have a degree in agronomy, or a related degree such as soils, horticulture, or even range science with most having a M.S. degree in their major. Even though CPAgs have been around since the 1970’s as a separate program, as of January 2012, the two programs have been merged. Now both CCAs and CPAgs are represented by a state or regional CCA board; with CPAgs also holding board positions. One difference between the CCA and the CPAg, with the degree also comes a requirement for more experience – a minimum of four years vs. two for the CCA. And the Professional Agronomist is also required to participate in continuing education programs, but must earn 50 hours every two years, with ten in the area of Professional Development. Often those extra ten hours are spent in preparing and delivering training for CCAs.

To find a certified agronomy professional or become a CCA or CPAg visit:

Management for the Future

by Chris Zoller, OSU Extension Educator

An excellent learning opportunity takes place on March 14 when OSU Extension – Tuscarawas County and the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau sponsor a workshop, Farm Strategies for the Future, at the Dutch Valley Restaurant near Sugarcreek. Registration is at 9:30am, with the program to follow from 10am – 3pm.

A dynamic group of specialists will discuss what changes farm managers can expect to see in the next decade and how they can adopt and implement these developments.

Presentations will include:
Dr. Scott Shearer, Chair of the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, will discuss farms of the future and the emerging technology to manage these businesses.

Chris Bruynis, OSU Extension Educator, ANR, will provide an overview of the Farm Bill and crop insurance and how farmers can use these tools to minimize risk.

Dr. Jerry Lahmers, Veterinarian and member of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, will describe recent developments of the board and the impact on livestock producers.

Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau, will address the present and emerging energy issues and what they mean to agriculture.
Leah Finney, Ohio Farm Bureau, will provide an update on laws and regulations for roadway use by farm trucks.

Please contact the Tuscarawas County office of Ohio State University Extension at 330-339-2337 for registration details and to make a reservation.

OSU Small Farm Programs Announces Conferences– “Opening Doors to Success” and “Living Your Small Farm Dream”

By: Tony Nye, Extension Educator

The mission of the OSU Small Farm program is to provide a greater understanding of production practices, economics of land use choices, assessment of personal and natural resources, marketing alternatives, and the identification of sources of assistance.
We at Ohio State want to help farm families improve economic growth and development on their farms.

To help small farmers become more profitable, the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program is pleased to host two conferences in March of 2012 dedicated to assisting small farm landowners.

These intensive conferences will give participants the opportunity to choose from a diverse variety of seminars that can help them be successful in their farming operations.

The first conference is the 4th annual “Opening Doors to Success” Small Farm Conference and Trade Show” to be held March 9 & 10, 2012 at Wilmington College located in Wilmington, Ohio. The conference will feature 30 breakout sessions and a trade show for small farmers.

The conference kicks off on Friday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m. with a session: “Meat Marketing—Front and Center” which will address such issues as, the obstacles to marketing meat, your label and what it means to you and your customer, the meanings of grass-fed, antibiotic free, free range, organic, grain fed, finding the right processor, and pricing my product.

On Saturday, March 12, registration begins at 7:45 a.m. and the day will conclude at 3:45 p.m. The day will feature 30 breakout sessions offered throughout the day and will cover a variety of topics that will include such examples as: Aquaculture; Bee Keeping; Cut Flower Production; Herb Production; Raised Bed Production; Invasive Species Affecting Your Woodlot, Pasture Management; Goat Production; Beef Production; Greenhouse/Tunnel Production; The Organic Process; Poultry Production; Addressing Health Issues for Livestock; Equipment Needs; Food Safety; Agricultural Law Considerations; Tomato Production, Pasture and Hay Production; Local Foods; Social Media Marketing; Financial Management; Livestock Production that will include pasture pork and poultry; Resources – How do I find the Info I Need and so much more.

The program is co-sponsored by OSU Extension Small Farm Program; Wilmington College; Farm Credit Services of Mid-America; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offices of the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Agriculture Statistic Service and Rural Development.

Registration is $20 on March 9, $50 on March 10 or $60 for both days. Registration deadline is March 5. For more information, log on to: , or contact OSU Extension educator Tony Nye at or 937-382-0901.

The third annual “Living Your Small Farm Dream” Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference and Trade Show” will be held on March 31, 2012 at the R.G. Drage Career Center from 8:30 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. in Massillon, Ohio.

The conference will begin with a keynote address, “Top Ten Trends in Local Foods and How You Can Profit from Them,” – Eric Barrett, OSU Extension followed by 23 breakout sessions attendees can pick and choose from.

Examples of breakout sessions at this conference will include: Managing the Woodlot for Profit; Leasing Farmland for Oil and Gas Production; Raising and Marketing Meat Goats; How You Can Profit from Social Media Such as Face book and Twitter; Utilizing High Tunnels to Extend the Growing Season; High Tunnels and Organic Cost-Share Programs; Grape Production and Wine Making; Direct Marketing of Meat in Ohio; Herb and Cut Flower Production; Irrigation Systems for Fruits and Vegetables; Taxes Issues for Small Farms; Pasture Raised Poultry; Rules and Regulations for Direct Marketing Food Products; Maple Production; Oil and Gas Legal Issues; Managed Grazing; Resources Available for Small or Beginning Farmers ; Starting an orchard and much more.

This program is co-sponsored by OSU Extension Small Farm Program; Farm Credit Services of Mid-America; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offices of the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Agriculture Statistic Service and Rural Development.

Registration is $50 per person. Registration deadline is March 22. For more information log on to:,, or contact OSU Extension educator Mike Hogan at or 330-324-6341.

Fixed and Flexible Cash Rental Arrangements for Your Farm – Newly Revised North Central Region Bulletin

By: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Ohio State University Extension

The North Central Farm Management Extension Committee has recently updated three lease bulletins that have been widely used by farm landowners and farm operators to evaluate lease arrangements. This article highlights the bulletin, “Fixed and Flexible Cash Rental Arrangements for Your Farm” (NCFMEC-01).

The purpose of this newly revised publication is to help operators and landowners develop equitable cash-rent arrangements and assist them in making sound decisions based on an equitable evaluation of resources. The first section of this bulletin (Part I) addresses whether a fixed cash-rent lease arrangement should be used. Part II discusses how to develop an equitable fixed cash rental rate. Part III outlines methods for developing a flexible cash rental lease and their advantages and disadvantages. Part IV discusses the importance of putting the agreement in writing. A sample lease form is also included.

This newly revised North Central Region bulletin titled “Fixed and Flexible Cash Rental Arrangements for Your Farm” is available at the “AgLease101” website under the “Document Library” tab at:

Agricultural "Outlook" for 2012 Posted Online – Listen to the "Live" Outlook presentations by OSU Extension Economists

By: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics and Bruce Clevenger, Extension Educator, Agricultural and Natural Resources, OSU Extension, Defiance County

Farmers, agribusinesses and others in the agricultural industry had the opportunity to learn more about the current farm outlook at an Ohio State University Extension 2012 Farm Outlook Program in Defiance County on December 20, 2011.

Ohio State University’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and OSU Extension made presentations that brought forth the latest outlook on the grain markets, energy, land values and rent, production inputs and farm policy.

You can listen to each of the ‘live’ presentations from that evening linked below. Featured topics and speakers include:

Carl Zulauf, OSU Extension Agricultural Economist, on Farm Policy and the Farm Bill (In Zulauf’s absence, Matt Roberts did this presentation).

Barry Ward, OSU Extension Agricultural Economist, on production economics of farmland values and input costs such as seed, chemical and fertilizer markets.

Matt Roberts, OSU Extension Agricultural Economist, on grain and energy market outlook.

The files are available by accessing the link listed below. Presentations may take a minute to load, but should play well on high speed connections.

Ohio Beef Cattle Series Providing Management Information

by Mark Mechling, OSU Extension Educator

Ohio beef cattle producers will have the opportunity to participate in the Ohio Beef Cattle School Series this winter. The series of four evening programs will focus on optimizing efficient beef cattle production in a rapidly changing business and consumer environment. The sessions will feature nationally known speakers and will be broadcast “live” at a number of county OSU Extension offices across the state.

Dates and topics of the four sessions include:

Thursday, January 26- Economic Considerations in Beef Cattle Production

Thursday, February 9- Targeted Markets and Marketing Alternatives

Thursday, February 16-Genetics, Reproduction Efficiencies and Calving Season Alternatives

Thursday, March 1- Meat Industry Perspective including Outlook; Choice/Select Spreads

Each session begins at 7:00 p.m. For more information on specific details and locations, go to: or contact your local OSU Extension office.