Leadership Highland Agriculture Day

Leadership Highland participants at the World Equestrian Center on October 30, 2019. Left to right: Brooke Beam, Kathy Bruins, Mel McKenzie, Amanda Hall, Courtney Gallimore, Blaine Williams, Amatha Farrens, Bill Davis, Jacob Alexander, and Scott Lewis.

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

November 4, 2019

On Wednesday, October 30, the 2019-2020 class of Leadership Highland met to learn about agriculture in the region. Leadership Highland class members toured the Highland County Extension Office, Brown Farms, Premier Grain, Bright Farms, and the World Equestrian Center.

The first stop on the Leadership Highland agriculture day was at the Highland County Extension Office. Brooke Beam and Kathy Bruynis provided an overview of the variety of Extension programming offered in the county, which includes 4-H, agriculture and natural resources, community development, family and consumer sciences, and SNAP Education. Dr. Beam provided an overview of the fertilizer and pesticide recertification courses offered for farmers annually, as well as the daily operations in the Extension Office.

The second tour of the day was to Brown Farms, where the group met with Nathan Brown. Mr. Brown, a first-generation farmer, learned by working with another local farmer to become established in the industry. Mr. Brown discussed the challenges facing the agriculture industry, cover crops, and mental health in the farming community. Brown Farms raises grain crops and beef cattle near New Vienna.

The third visit of the Leadership Highland agriculture day was to Premier Grain in Leesburg, where the group met with John Surber. Mr. Surber is the owner of Premier Grain, which operates several gain mills in the region. On this particular day, Premier Grain in Leesburg was filling shipping containers with grain for overseas markets. Mr. Surber discussed the logistics of transporting Highland County grain to Asia and the different uses of grain locally.

Due to the inclement weather, the afternoon of the Leadership Highland agriculture day was spent at indoor facilities. The first stop of the afternoon was to Bright Farms in Wilmington, Ohio. Bright Farms is a hydroponic greenhouse that raises multiple varieties of leafy greens. The greens are mature in 12 to 14 days after planting depending on the variety. Once harvested, the lettuce is delivered fresh to regional grocery stores and restaurants, which include WalMart, Jungle Jim’s, Damon’s in Wilmington, and the Escape Bar and Grill in Wilmington.

The final stop of the day was to the World Equestrian Center outside of Wilmington. The World Equestrian Center hosts 28 USEF rated hunter/jumper horse shows annually. The winter season of shows will begin in November. The tour of the facility included the show rings, stables, shops, and the Paddock Restaurant.

The next meeting of Leadership Highland is scheduled for the end of November, highlighting health and public safety. For more information about Leadership Highland or other Extension programming, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

Grain Bin Safety for Fall

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

October 10, 2018

The harvest season has begun in southern Ohio. While it is a very busy season for farmers, taking additional time to follow safety practices is an important step to ensuring a safe and successful harvest season. Stress levels during harvest are always high and the hours are long. This year there are added pressures because of the commodity prices and tariffs. Remember, you are the most important part of your farming operation and take precautions to take care of yourself so you can have a safe harvest this year.

One of the easiest safety procedures is to maintain a clean environment around grain bins. While this may be a challenge depending on the design of the grain bin facility, removing excess corn bees wings from concrete can help prevent slick surfaces after rains. Maintaining a clean environment around grain dryers and grain bins also reduces the chance of fires.

Maintaining grain quality in storage is another way to prevent grain fires. According to Nationwide Insurance, “storage and handling of poor quality grain increases the potential for fire and thus personal injury due to exposure to smoke and heat.” Hot spots in grain are particularly dangerous for fires. Grain fire prevention can be achieved through the use of proper aeration and cooling of grain.

In 2017, there were 23 cases of grain entrapment and 12 fatalities in the United States. Between 2007 and 2016, there were 10 fatalities attributed to grain handling and storage in Ohio.  These fatalities were caused by suffocation, entanglement, or being struck or falling from something, according to Rory Lewandowski an Ohio State University Extension Educator.

Safety features on the inside of grain bins can help prevent these types of on-farm fatalities. Having exit ladders and permanent safety ropes inside grain bins are key safety precautions. Always shut off the power to grain moving equipment before entering a bin. Make sure other individuals working with you are aware you are entering the grain bin and that they are able to assist you in the case of an accident. Having small groups of people working together when handling grain has been shown to improve the safety at harvest, according to South Dakota State University.

Safety should be a priority this season for everyone. Remember to keep a clean environment to prevent slick surfaces, enact safety precautions to prevent fires, and work in groups when entering a grain bin to have a successful and accident-free harvest season. For more information about grain bin safety, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.


Upcoming Events:

Beef Quality Assurance Training: 

  • Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6:30 P.M., Producer Stockyards, Hillsboro, Ohio

Call your local Ohio State University Extension Office to register for the BQA training. The Highland County Extension Office can be reached at 937-393-1918.