East Ohio Women in Agriculture Fall Dinner Program

Image result for clear the clutterJoin us for an evening of networking, idea sharing and delicious food. Identify your top time wasters and problem areas. Gain perspective and tools for prioritizing. Share tips, tools and routines that work for you!

All Dates – Fall Dinner – Program flyer-1l16kp3

You can register online for the  November 14 Dinner that will be in eastern Coshocton  County at go.osu.edu/wiadinner2017


Hands-On with Tractor Operation and Safety

Empowerment can be an overused word, but last week I was able to witness this as I watched a group of women gain more confidence around agricultural machinery. Twenty-one women from eight eastern Ohio counties met for a Hands-On Tractor Night hosted at JD Equipment in Zanesville.

Dee Jepsen is the leader for The Ohio State University Agricultural Health and Safety Program.  You can learn more about the program at:  agsafety.osu.edu . Jepsen shared several statistics about agriculture, and specifically tractor safety, that may be surprising to you. From 2004-2013, the number of fatalities on Ohio farms is on the decrease. With the exception of 2010, fatalities have decreased each year since 2006. In 2006 there were 27 fatalities and only 11 in both 2012 and 2013. I say “only,” but I am sure that the families of those who died would see the statistics differently. There were a total of 168 deaths in that ten-year period. Even one is too many.

Most fatalities occurred within three months of the year: May, July and October. These are the three times during the year when tractors are used most often. May is planting season, July is small grain harvest and hay making, and October is harvest for corn and soybeans. Tractors, by far, cause the most fatalities on farms. Of the 168 deaths, 75 of them resulted from a tractor accident. And of the tractor accidents, 67% of them were from rollovers.

In eastern Ohio especially, the need to use Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) correctly is critical. According to the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health, 1 in 10 operators overturns a tractor in his or her lifetime, and 80% of them involve experienced operators. In order to use ROPS correctly, the operator must make sure that the ROPS bar is extended and secure. The other crucial piece of the formula is wearing a seat belt. This system of a ROPS and seat belt has never failed.

Jepsen also reminded the women that one seat means one rider. Typically those extra riders on tractors are children. The age distribution of fatalities shows that 29 young people between 1-20 years old were killed in farm accidents from 2004-2013. Those numbers drop for those between 21-40 years old, but then they begin to increase. There were 47 fatalities for people under 40 years old and also 47 deaths for 41-60 year olds. However, there were 67 fatalities for farmers over 61 years of age. As reaction times slow, accidents increase.

One final thought that Jepsen shared with the group is the “3 E’s.” These are education, engineering and enforcement. She applauded the women for educating themselves about tractors – from parts ID to operation to safety. Equipment manufacturers are constantly researching ways to engineer safety features for tractors to assist operators. Farming is exempt from many of the regulations that industries have, but enforcement does not just mean laws. Farm women often have a unique opportunity to encourage farm safety practices for both young and old on the family farm.

I was so pleased to work with JD Equipment in Zanesville for the program. Heather Dunmire, Alicia Shafer, and Christyn Kurt were all extremely knowledgeable and helpful for the women. Participants were challenged with identifying 20 parts of a tractor for their ice breaker activity as they arrived. Then they were given the opportunity to drive a zero turn mower and both remove and install a loader on a compact tractor.

Today I’ll leave you with this quote from Eleanor Evert, “For safety is not a gadget but a state of mind.”


Women in Agriculture Hands-On Tractor Night

OSU Extension and JD Equipment are hosting a Hands-On Tractor Night for Women in Agriculture on August 1. The purposes of this fun evening are to provide a comfortable environment for operating equipment and asking questions, as well as networking with other women involved in agriculture in our area.

Women will have an opportunity to ask questions about terminology, function, and purpose of different sizes of tractors and types of implements. Women will also have opportunities to drive machinery and learn about advancements in technology that make equipment easier and safer to operate. There will be several stations set up at the dealership with lots of opportunities to drive all types of equipment and learn about maintenance and safety.

The evening will begin at 5:30 pm at JD Equipment, 4394 Northpointe Drive, Zanesville.  Dinner is included with the $5 registration fee. RSVP with payment is required by July 28 to the Coshocton County Extension Office. View the registration flyer Women in Ag Hands-On Tractor Flyer

Blue Ribbon and the Winner goes to…YOU!

The start of the county fair season in Ohio is just a few weeks away, Paulding County is the first Ohio fair and begins on June 12th and ending the season is Fairfield beginning October 8th. The county fair countdown begins as soon as the previous year’s fair ends. I know firsthand, my hometown has a rolling advertising sign with a daily countdown at the fairground entrance. The excitement, food, entertainment, youth displays and well, adult displays too!

Did you know that the Agricultural Societies were created for the purpose of communities to bring together farmers and homemakers to display their crops and wares? Of course, there is friendly competition but it was all based on agricultural achievement, recording of new agricultural methods and reporting those results to the State Board of Agriculture. You know, that stuff we call science and white papers to help improve our practices!

Not to long ago I watched an “Andy Griffith Show” re-run where Aunt Bee made her prized pickles to take to the county fair. Clara had been the blue ribbon winner for years and Aunt Bee was determined. She was so proud but everyone knew they were the worst tasting pickles around. But oh did they have fun watching the judging of the event. That is what it is all about, family, friends, and who canned the best pickles!

Each state has their own version of ag societies and how they recorded their outstanding production. From each state, then there is the county fair at the local level. Adults were the primary participants for many years and then youth started getting involved through 4-H and FFA projects. While our youth today seem to be the focus of our local county fairs, highlighting their agricultural achievements, record keeping and displaying their projects, (sounds familiar) I want you to think about what YOU, the adult, could participate in during your upcoming fair.

Do you have a talent for making jams and jellies, baking pies or cakes  , growing flowers, vegetables, fruits and grains? Maybe you like to preserve those vegetables and fruits.

How about sewing , needlepoint, rug making, painting, etc.

Are you an amateur wine or beer maker?

Do you like showing livestock? beef or dairy cattle, poultry, rabbits, horses, etc?

Adults can participate in the senior fair or adult portion of their local county fair, below is a short list in many categories.

  • open beef cattle show
  • bakery and pantry products
  • needle craft, art, ceramics and pottery
  • flower and horticulture
  • grains, vegetables, herbs and seeds
  • poultry
  • Grange
  • rabbits
  • wine making
  • open horse show
  • photography
  • quilting
  • antiques

Each county has their own set of rules and guidelines for participation in said events. Sometimes you can cross county lines and participate in more than one county! Visit your local county agriculture society to find out more information on the projects and events, rules and guidelines for participation.

“And the blue ribbon and the winner goes to YOU!”  

Selling Food from Your Farm or Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ Market Season is here! Lots of markets are opening this week and especially this weekend. I do hope that you will check out the markets in your area and support your local producers. And if you have ever considered selling agricultural products yourself, here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I receive.

Can I make food in my home to sell? In Ohio we have Cottage Food Law that allows individuals to make food in their own home. There is a specific list of the foods that can be made including lots of baked goods (cookies, cakes and pies); jams and jellies; and dried mixes. These foods all have minimal risk of causing foodborne illness and do not require any temperature controls to keep them safe for us to eat. There is no inspection of the home kitchen and no fee required. The foods must be properly labeled and have the declarations “This food is home produced.”

It is also possibly though to make cream pies that require refrigeration or other baked foods that are potentially hazardous like cheesecakes or noodles or fry pies. These require a home bakery license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). This is only $10 per year and requires an inspection. You can learn more about these under “Fact Sheets” at ODA Food Safety .

Can I sell salsa or sauces that I can in my home? Since these are processed foods that could be potentially hazardous, they cannot be made in the home and sold. You can make these types of foods in an approved kitchen. This can be any facility outside of your home that has been approved by ODA including another structure on your property, an ODA registered church kitchen, or a shared use facility that co-packs foods.

What are the rules for selling eggs from my farm? In Ohio we can sell eggs from our farms without an inspection or license as long as we maintain 500 or fewer birds. You can find more information from ODA at ODA Egg Producer Fact Sheet

What are the rules to sell eggs somewhere other than my farm? If you want to sell eggs at a Farmers’ Market or restaurant or retail store, then ODA will inspect your farm. They will make sure that water quality is acceptable for washing eggs, that the refrigerator is in working order, and that egg cartons are labeled properly. The only time that a license is required to sell eggs is when selling off farm at a Farmers’ Market. This Mobile Retail Food Establishment (MRFE) license can be obtained from our local County Health Department.

Today I’ll leave you with this quote from Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”