Solar, Beef, and Hemp Programs Planned

Brooke Beam, PhD

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

February 11, 2020


The next two weeks are full of exciting programs to attend. Mark your calendars for the programs outlined below and plan to attend.

On Monday, February 17, 2020, Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann, a professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, will teach a calving workshop at Union Stock Yards beginning at 6 P.M. Dr. Schuenemann will bring a mechanical cow, which will allow for participants to receive hands-on experience. Space is limited so that all participants will be able to receive hands-on training. RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918 to reserve your seat.

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, Peggy Kirk Hall and Eric Romich, OSU Extension Specialists in agriculture law and solar energy respectively, will help landowners who are considering leasing land for future solar projects by teaching the basics of solar leasing. The program will be held in the Large Meeting Room of the Highland County Administration Building at 9:30 A.M. Topics included in this presentation include solar development trends, converting farmland to solar production, and key considerations to weigh before signing lease agreements for solar energy production.

On Monday, February 24, 2020, several workshops will be offered at the Ag is Everyone’s Business Breakfast. Specific to the Ag is Everyone’s Business Breakfast, there will be a beef workshop, hemp workshop, and a business round table.

For the beef workshop, Dr. Lyda Garcia, Assistant Professor for the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University, will lead an in-depth program on meat science and the beef industry. Dr. Garcia is responsible for teaching undergraduate courses in meat science, including introduction to meat science, harvest and fabrication, process meats, and meat carcass evaluation. Samples of steak from several kinds of production practices will be provided  to participants in this workshop.

Jim Belt, Ohio Department of Agriculture’s hemp inspector, will teach a workshop on hemp in Ohio. This workshop is designed to guide farmers who are interested in growing hemp through the application process, what considerations they need to evaluate before entering the hemp industry, and the regulations specific to Ohio.

The third workshop available to attend at the Ag is Everyone’s Business Breakfast is a business roundtable. This roundtable will include updates on the Willowbrook Solar Farm Project by Mike Volpe, Vice President of Open Road Renewables. Other panelists will include elected officials. Other topics relevant to agriculture production in Highland County will be discussed as well.

Tickets to the Ag is Everyone’s Business Breakfast are available through the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, 937-393-1111. For more information about any of the programs outlined above, contact the Ohio State University Extension, Highland County office at 937-393-1918.


National Sustainability Summit

Brooke Beam, PhD

Ohio State University Extension, Highland County

Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community Development Extension Educator

April 23, 2019


Scenes from the National Sustainability Conference. Hops, solar, and pelleted hops.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Sustainability Summit and National Energy Extension Summit in Tampa, Florida. It was a week packed with innovation, research, and on-farm tours. The tour I attended a tour focused on hops, solar, and locally-sourced, sustainable breweries. The theme for all of the conference sessions and programs were related to sustainability and energy.


The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF IFAS) Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) is conducting research on growing hops in the Florida climate. UF researchers have found that Florida is the only place where hops can be harvested twice a year, with harvests in June and November. The drawback of the Floridian climate and two harvests means there is a lower yield in comparison to an ideal climate. The ideal hops growing region is between 40 degrees and 50 degrees latitude, which is roughly mid-Ohio and Michigan.

While Florida isn’t in the perfect climate location for hops, researchers are utilizing LED lights to extend the number of hours of light exposure. Hops produced at the UF IFAS GCREC facility are used at local breweries in the Tampa Bay region.

The Tampa Electric Company (TECO) is investing in multiple solar farm locations. I toured TECO’s Balm Solar facility, which is a 74.4 MW facility encompassing 541 acres. This facility uses 719,640 modules and 27 inverters. In order to minimize the number of times the grass needs to be mowed; sheep are used to graze the solar farm in rotations.

Utilizing both the hops from UF IFAS GCREC and TECO’s solar-powered electric, Coppertail Brewing Company produces a variety of beverages from all-Florida sourced ingredients. Established in 2014, Coppertail Brewing Company utilizes the most technologically advanced brewing equipment available. They have changed their packaging to solely using recyclable, aluminum cans, of which they can fill 250 a minute. As the company uses only Florida-sourced ingredients, they also market their products only in Florida.

In addition to learning about Florida sustainability efforts, I learned about a variety of innovations and projects being conducted across the United States. I presented at the National Sustainability Conference on the virtual reality (VR) programs that the Highland County Extension Office has hosted in Highland County, the future of VR technology for field trips, and the upcoming Germinate International Film Fest. For more information about any of the upcoming Highland County Extension programs, contact the office at 937-393-1918.


Upcoming Programs:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019, a live-broadcast forage webinar with Christine Gelley, ANR Extension Educator from Noble County, will be held at 5 P.M. in the Large Meeting Room in the basement of 119 Governor Foraker Place, Hillsboro, OH. Gelley will discuss a variety of forage-related topics to help you prepare for the 2019 growing season and upcoming winter. This program is also free to attend, but RSVPs are encouraged to reserve your seat by calling 937-393-1918.

A Hands-on filmmaking workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 3 P.M. at the Lynchburg Library. Bring your own camera and tripod for this walking filmmaking workshop. RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

A Video Editing Workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at 3 P.M. at the Lynchburg Library. This workshop will teach basic editing principles on both laptops and mobile devices. Bring your own computer or mobile device to participate. RSVP to the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

The Germinate International Film Fest will be accepting submissions through June 30, 2019. The festival will be held on August 16 & 17, 2019, in Hillsboro, Ohio. For more information or to apply, visit Contact Brooke Beam at the Highland County Extension Office for more information at 937-393-1918.


July and August Extension Programming for Highland County

By Brooke Beam, Ph.D., ANR/CD Extension Educator, Highland County


What was previously referred to as the Farmers Club, has been revived in the form of Monthly Extension Programming. The upcoming programs will consist of a combination of agricultural, community development, and natural resources-based topics.

The first Monthly Extension Programming was held on June 25, 2018, on solar energy in Agriculture. The presentation was presented by Eric Romich, an Extension educator specializing in alternative energy.

The next Monthly Extension Program will be held on July 25, 2018, at 10:00 A.M. at the Ponderosa Steakhouse. Eugene C. Braig IV, the Program Director of the Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources’ Extension Aquatic Ecosystems program, will be the guest speaker.  Braig will present the All-Purpose Pond Management Overview, which will provide helpful information on how to construct and maintain a healthy pond.

Following Braig’s presentation, the Highland County Extension Office, Highland County Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA NRCS, USDA FSA, USDA Rural Development Office, and the Highland County Farm Bureau will provide a brief update on current programs and dates to remember.

The cost of the presentation is $5.00 a person. Call the Highland County Extension Office to RSVP and reserve your seat for the program at 937-393-1918. Lunch is not included; however, attendees are encouraged to purchase lunch on their own at Ponderosa Steakhouse.

The Monthly Extension Programming for August will be presented by Dr. Scott Shearer, the Chair of the College of Food Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Dr. Shearer will present on Big Data and UAVs in Production Agriculture.

More details on August’s program will be available at July’s program meeting.

Also new for the Highland County Extension Office is an online blog. You can access the blog via Check the blog for updates from state Extension teams and local Extension programming.

Contact the Highland County Extension office at 937-393-1918 for more information about the Monthly Extension Programming and the blog.


Upcoming Events:

The Ohio Sheep Day at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station will be held on July 14, 2018, from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. The cost to attend for Ohio Sheep Improvement Association Members is $15.00, non-OSIA members $25.00. The cost includes lunch. Topics covered during the day include sheep handling systems, lambing facilities, lamb feeding operation set-up, and a pasture walk. The Eastern Agricultural Research Station is located at 16870 Bond Ridge Rd., Caldwell, OH 43724. For more information, contact Roger High at 614-246-8299 or at

The Highland County Ohio State University Extension Office will host the second Monthly Extension Programming on July 25, 2018, at the Ponderosa Steakhouse in Hillsboro at 10:00 A.M. The guest speaker will be Eugene Braig, the Program Director of the School of Environmental and Natural Resources’ Extension Aquatic Ecosystems program. The presentation will be the All-Purpose Pond Management Overview. The cost to attend the presentation is  $5.00. Please RSVP via email to beam.49@osu.eduor by phone at 937-393-1918. Plan to purchase lunch on your own.

Join the Highland County Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio Department of Agriculture, USDA NRCS, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife for a Grazing Workshop. The event will be held at the Millstone Creek Farm at 9061 Grabill Road, Hillsboro, Ohio. The event is free, but you should RSVP to the Highland SWCD at 937-393-1922. Dinner will be provided by the Highland County Cattleman Association and Union Stockyards. The program will be held from 6 P.M. to 9 P.M.


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