Meet Our Summer Intern: Kyle Lawson

Kyle Lawson, Highland County Extension’s summer Acre Intern, on his family’s farm in Ross County.

Brooke Beam, PhD, Highland County Agriculture and Natural Resources/Community                              Development Extension Educator

Kyle Lawson, Acre Intern

July 10, 2019

Kyle Lawson is the newest addition to the Highland and Ross County OSU Extension Offices as a 2019 Acre Intern. Lawson currently attends The Ohio State University where he is working towards his degree in Agriculture Systems Management. His past is filled with scars and stories from high school and college wrestling, where he won 3 Ohio State High School Wrestling titles. Lawson graduated from Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio, but has moved back home to his family’s farm in Ross County. Lawson currently raises more than 20 acres of sweet corn with plans of expanding in the future. Lawson enjoys running in the countryside and runs anywhere from 3 to 10 miles a day.

This summer you can find Lawson out in the fields of Highland and Ross Counties taking soil samples for tests and managing fungicide test plots. He has already taken more than 50 soil tests for Soybean Cyst Nematodes and plans on increasing that number as the year goes on. If you are interested in having your fields tested, or for more information about this research opportunity, please contact the Highland County Extension Office at 937-393-1918.

In addition to collecting research on Soybean Cyst Nematodes, Lawson will be assisting with the Germinate International Film Fest and is developing a virtual reality experience on roadway safety for tractors. For more information about research opportunities or any upcoming programs, contact the Ohio State University Extension Office in Highland County at 937-393-1918.


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.

Germinate International Film Fest will be held on August 16 & 17, 2019. Tickets will be available next week through the Ohio State University Extension Office. The Germinate International Film Fest has over 70 films and photography exhibits for attendees to view.


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.


Highlights of Highland County Agriculture Virtual Reality Video

For those of you who were unable to attend the Highland County fair, below you will find the virtual reality video that was shown. The video highlights several Highland County farms and a variety of agricultural production practices, as well as a prominent community event.

Special thanks to White Clover Farm, Karnes Orchard and Starlite Dairy for allowing their farms to be recorded for the project.

White Clover Farm near Hillsboro, Ohio.

Dr. James Linnie owns and operates White Clover Farm, a grassfed beef operation located outside of Hillsboro, Ohio. Dr. Linnie started the farm in 2005 while he was working part-time as a gastroenterologist. Today, Dr. Linnie’s business consists of a herd of 100 percent grassfed beef that are rotated every few days to fresh pastures. The scene shown in the VR video is of Dr. Linnie moving his cattle from one section of the pasture to another. If you compare the two pastures in the video, you can clearly see the difference between which pasture the cattle have been grazing and the pasture they are going to be grazing. In fact, the cattle had only been gazing in the previous pasture for 24 hours.

Karnes Orchard

The Karnes family has a history of having an orchard on their family farm since 1876. In March of 2012, the Karnes family replanted 2,200 fruit trees and in 2013 planted an additional 2,000 trees for a wider selection of fruits. Karnes Orchard now raises over 30 varieties of apples, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries. In addition to fresh fruits, fresh apple cider is available in the Karnes Orchard Market seasonally. The scene filmed in the VR video shows picking Honey Crisp apples in the orchard as well as the washing, sizing, and packaging process.

Starlite Dairy

Starlite Dairy is owned and operated by Tom and Janet Shawhan near Marshall, Ohio. At Starlite Dairy, the cows are milked twice a day. During optimal weather conditions, a cow can produce an average of 80 pounds of milk a day. The milking parlor at Starlite Dairy holds 16 cows at a time and it takes between 6 to 8 minutes to complete the milking process.