Deadline to Submit Photos and Films to Germinate International Film Festival is June 30, 2019

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator


June 25, 2019


The deadline to submit a photo or film to the Germinate International Film Fest (GIFF) is rapidly approaching on June 30, 2019. Photographs and films related to agriculture, the environment, food, natural resources, workforce development, and rural communities will be accepted for the competition. Entries can be submitted through

This is the inaugural year for the GIFF, and it is the only film festival in the United States focused on agriculture production, the environment, and rural communities. Local submissions will receive a priority to participate in the competition. Photographs can include any subject matter as long as it relates to the festival theme. Entries from photographers and filmmakers of all skill levels and ages will be accepted.

Photographs and video of crop production, livestock, waterfalls, 4-H projects, architectural buildings, and community organizations are appropriate for competition. If you have additional questions, contact Brooke Beam at 937-393-1918 or via email at

Tickets will be available for the Germinate International Film Fest in early July. The Ohio State University Extension Office of Highland County is looking forward to hosting you in Hillsboro, Ohio, for a fun-filled weekend related to agriculture, rural communities, local foods, photography, and film on August 16 and 17, 2019.


Upcoming Events:

Leadership Highland applications will be accepted through July 15, 2019. Applications can be obtained through the Ohio State University Extension, Highland County website or by visiting the office. For more information about the Leadership Highland program, contact Brooke Beam at 937-393-1918.

A Hops Workshop will be held on July 18, 2019. Cost to attend is $30.00 per person. The workshop will include lunch and a tour of Old Dutch Hops. Preregister at 937-393-1918 or visit the Highland County Extension office. The workshop will be held at the Ponderosa Center at 545 S. High Street, Hillsboro, OH.

Rabies in Livestock

Timothy McDermott DVM, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County (originally published in Farm & Dairy)

Many diseases can affect animals on pasture. The most difficult ones to stay aware of are the diseases that are uncommon, where the producer or livestock may never encounter the disease. Many diseases that affect livestock have presentation forms that can mimic multiple other diseases that are more common, leading to a delay in veterinary care or producer awareness. One disease that can affect livestock that fits this description, but should stay firmly in a producer’s awareness is rabies.

Rabies is an ancient disease caused by a virus. The Latin translation of rabies means, “To rave or rage”. The virus spreads in its host in an unusual way compared to how most people think of viral spread. While many viruses spread through the bloodstream, enter via the respiratory tract or digestive tract by ingestion, rabies is a neurotropic virus, meaning it spread along the nerves in the nervous system. After an infected host bites an animal or human, the virus enters the wound via the contaminated saliva and starts to move along the nervous system towards the brain. Contact with infected saliva or tissue can transmit the disease in the absence of a bite if the skin is broken. Rabies has also been transmitted through tissue transplants of infected donor tissue in one documented case.

Animal species most commonly affected by rabies in Ohio include bats, raccoons, skunks, cats, dogs, horses and cattle, with the largest number of positive test results occurring in bats. Many other mammal species can contract rabies if exposed including fox, coyote, opossum, chipmunks and deer. The virus that causes rabies does not live long outside the host. It has persisted in the environment for thousands of years by living from animal to animal through transmission.

Grazing animals are naturally curious, often investigating a small mammal acting oddly in the pasture, instead of avoiding it as they would a predator or larger mammal such as a human. This behavior puts them at risk of a bite from a rabid animal such as a bat, skunk or raccoon. Common bite sites include the nose or legs. Once bitten there is an incubation period that can be extremely variable, lasting as short of a week but as long as months. Clinical signs usually start within a 3 week to 3-month period, depending on the location of the bite or viral entrance site.

While the commonly known presentation of rabies is the furious form secondary to central nervous system excitement, the list of potential clinical signs is vast. These signs include incoordination, difficulty swallowing, profuse salivation, restlessness, agitation, and partial or full paralysis. These signs can easily be mistaken for other more common problems such as choke, colic, nutritional disease, toxicity, or trauma. Rabies progresses to death in a species showing clinical signs.

Since 2010, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of rabies in bats, raccoons, skunks, dogs, cats and cattle in Ohio. What should a producer do to prevent exposure to this disease? First, when walking pasture or working animals around the barn, if a producer encounters an animal such as a raccoon or skunk, that is acting oddly, especially in daylight, avoid the animal at all costs. Exercise caution if the animal appears dead in case the animal is affected by the virus and paralyzed. Next, the producer should familiarize themselves with the signs of disease listed previously in this article. Contact a veterinarian immediately if rabies is suspected. Vaccines are available for most livestock and companion animal species. Vaccinate dogs and cats on the farm for rabies in every case and keep records of vaccine dates. Work with your veterinarian to develop a livestock vaccination protocol. Keep rabies on the list of diseases that while not common, can have devastating consequences if encountered.

Cover Crops Can Provide Added Benefit

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

October 29, 2018

Cover crops are a frequently discussed topic among agriculturalists of both livestock and crop production. Primarily used to manage soil erosion and soil quality, cover crops can provide added benefit to many farming operations. While cover crops are not always a traditional crop that is planted with the intention to be harvested, they can provide other benefits which may result in higher profits by improving the soil.

Cover crops have been used for centuries, but have made a comeback in popularity due to environmental and ecological efforts, according to Alan Sundermeier, an Ohio State University Extension Educator. Benefits of cover crops include improvements to soil quality, erosion control, fertility improvements, suppression of weeds, and insect control. Cover crops can be planted as soon as the previous crop has been harvested or consumed. For instance, once a field of soybeans has been harvested in September, wheat could be planted immediately following.

There are a variety of plants that serve well as cover crops. These plants include hairy vetch, alfalfa, clovers, rye, oats, wheat, and forage turnips. Sundermeier said, “a combination of two or more types of cover crops may be beneficial for quick establishment and improved nutrient utilization.”

Dr. Jim Linnie, a Highland County grass-fed beef producer, has utilized cover crops on his farm to extend the grazing season and improve the soil quality. Linnie no-tilled his cover crop seed into his existing perennial pastures after his cattle had grazed the pasture to a low height. He used a combination of forage oats, nitro radish, purple top turnip, rape, and hairy vetch. Linnie said his cattle will enjoy this “salad bar” in November and December.

Cover crops planted in Dr. James Linnie’s pasture near Hillsboro, Ohio. Photo credit: Dr. James Linnie. 

As you consider cover crops for your farming operation, think about the use of the land and how long the fields or pastures are green. Fields that experience longer periods of growing seasons can be healthier due to added nutrients, enhanced soil biology, and improved organic matter in the soil. Linnie partnered with Peter Donovan of the Soil Carbon Coalition to study how many days his pasture had a green growing season. The Soil Carbon Coalition utilizes Google Earth Engine’s catalog of satellite imagery to detect the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which is an indicator of the activity of photosynthesis or the presence of green vegetation.

The Soil Carbon Coalition has an interactive map of the Little Miami watershed, which includes portions of Highland County, available to view on their website. If you are interested in seeing the impact of cover crops from a local perspective, check out the map at For more information about cover crops and how to incorporate them into your farming operation, contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.


Upcoming Events:

 The Global Climate Change Update with Dr. Thomas Blaine from The Ohio State University will be held on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, from 6: 30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. The program will be held at the Brown County Fairgrounds, Rhonemus Hall. The cost to attend is free, but registration is required. For more information or to register, contact James Morris at morris.1677@osu.eduor at the Brown County Extension Office at 937-378-6716.

The next Highland County Monthly Extension Program will be held on December 10, 2018, at 10:00 A.M. at the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Hillsboro, Ohio. More details will be coming soon, please save the date and plan to attend.