Interested in Soil Health? Learn together with OSU Extension

Improving soil health (SH) can provide a variety of benefits including improved water infiltration, increased water holding capacity, and increased nutrient availability. However, it can be challenging to quantify these benefits in the field.

In 2020, the eFields program is kicking off an effort to help better understand how management practices influence soil health and ultimately water quality. OSU Extension has worked to identify a few soil tests that can provide helpful indicators of improved soil health. Though several health tests exist, we focused on tests that are simple, economical, and repeatable. We are looking for farmers interested in soil health and who want to participate in a statewide field survey collecting soil health data from fields under various management practices, specifically conventional tillage, no-till, organic nutrient management, and cover cropping. The results from this effort will be used to guide recommendations for improving soil health on Ohio farms. Soil health indicators are also being added to selected eFields trials including nitrogen rate and manure sidedress.

If you are interested in learning more about participating in eFields trials focused on soil health, reach out to your local Extension educator or email For more information about the soil health indicators and how to use them, visit:

Economic Assistance for Agriculture during COVID-19

Written by: David L. Marrison, Associate Professor & Extension Educator, Coshocton County; Ben Brown, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics; Barry Ward, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools & Leader, Production Business Management; Peggy Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law, Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program; and Dianne Shoemaker, Field Specialist, Dairy Production Economics

Click here for PDF Version of this article.

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly altered all our lives. The impact is being felt by families, businesses, governmental agencies, and civic organizations.  To help families and businesses alike, various levels of government have passed legislation to help lessen the economic blow of COVID-19. This article provides a brief overview of some of the assistance which has been made available. These include tax deadline provisions, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rebates, unemployment compensation, and Wind and Hurricane Indemnity Program, Plus (WHIP+)

Tax Deadline Extensions:

On March 21, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service extended the federal tax filing deadline for 2019 taxes from April 15 until July 15, 2020.  The IRS encourages any taxpayer who is owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. The Ohio General Assembly through House Bill 197 also extended the deadline on March 25, 2020, to file Ohio Taxes until July 15, 2020. Continue reading

Soil Health Digital Cafe Series

The Soil Health Nexus is hosting a series of informal soil health webinars featuring Extension soil health experts and researchers from across the region discussing the latest soil health research, resources, and news. The webinars will take place weekly starting Wednesday, April 29 at 2 pm CT. They will be an hour in length with a 20-minute presentation, followed by 10-minutes of Q&A and then a casual 30-minute Digital Cafe where attendees can continue to discuss the topic in more depth with Soil Health Nexus members. Continue reading

Grant Opportunity from Paulding SWCD for Blue Creek, Middle Creek, Prairie Creek, Flatrock Creek, Little Flatrock Creek, and Wildcat Creek

Paulding SWCD was awarded a grant with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to lead a watershed program with efforts focused on improving water quality with a focus on soil health, wetlands, controlled drainage, waterways/filter strips just to name a few. The goal of this watershed program is to adopt the best management practices listed and pursue funding to implement the BMPs.

There are a number of grant opportunities available right now to us right now through various sources. Paulding SWCD looking for your input on a list of projects/practices that you would like to do on your land which we could seek funding for. Our efforts are focused in the following watersheds that drain to the Auglaize River: Blue Creek, Middle Creek, Prairie Creek, Flatrock Creek, Little Flatrock Creek, and Wildcat Creek. See the map in the picture

We are looking for the following projects to pursue grant funding for:

  • Blind Inlets
  • Livestock manure storage
  • Wetland Restoration/Enhancement
  • Grassed Waterways

Information on each of these practices can be found at

If you wish to implement one of the following practices, want to discuss in detail, need info on any of the practices please reach out to me via email at or by phone 419-670-4499 by June 1, 2020.

Paulding County Virtual Meet & Greet with Water Quality Extension Associate Rachel Cochran

Rachel is the Water Quality Extension Associate for Paulding, Defiance, and Van Wert Counties. Rachel will be working to increase water quality and the adoption of best management practices through farmer demonstrations, research, and outreach. She has an interest in cover crops, soil health, and nutrient use efficiency. Join Rachel for virtual coffee and conversation on Tuesday, April 28th anytime between 1:00 and 2:00 PM. Come with your water quality and soil health ideas at the farm level. You can call in or connect via your phone, computer, tablet, or any other device.

  1. Call in using your phone. The number is toll-free, so you won’t be charged for the call
    • Dial 312 – 626 – 6799
    • You will be asked to enter a meeting ID number
    • Enter 950 4136 6179
    • You will then be connected to the call
    • Press *6 on your phone keypad to un-mute yourself
  2. Join via Zoom. Zoom is a free video conference service
      • Join directly by clicking this link:
      • You can also download the free Zoom app to your device from the app store
      • Once on your device, open the Zoom app and click “Join a Meeting”
      • Enter the meeting ID 950 4136 6179
      • You can also enter your name and choose to turn your video on or off
      • Click “Join” and you will be added to the conference

Prior to her water quality position, Rachel worked in the Agroecosystem Nutrient Cycling Lab at the University of Kentucky and has experience with on-field and lab research. Rachel earned a B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture from The University of Kentucky in 2019 and resides near Defiance, Ohio. Rachel can be reached at or (567) 344 – 5016.

OSU ANR Madness – Week #6

“Agriculture and Natural Resources Madness: A Tournament of Education” features online educational opportunities Monday – Friday at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. The education tournament is free of charge, and webinar links are available at Topics covered during week #6 include the following:  Women in Agriculture, Horticulture, Beekeeping, and Bringing the Farm to the Backyard.

WEEK #6 FINAL FOUR April 27-31
Monday, April 27 Bracket: The Best of the Women in Agriculture Conference
9:00 a.m. tip-off Getting to Know Ohio Women in Agriculture
Heather Neikirk, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Stark County
Noon tip-off Grab and Go Meals
Kate Shumaker, Family, and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Holmes County
3:00 p.m. tip-off Food Labeling and Regulations
Emily Marrison, Family, and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County
Tuesday, April 28 Bracket: Horticulture
9:00 a.m. tip-off Gardening for Pollinators
Denise Ellsworth, Program Director, OSU CFAES Department of Entomology
Noon tip-off Landscape Insects – Bagworms vs. The Tent Builders
Curtis Young, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension VanWert County
3:00 p.m. tip-off BGYLive! Ornamental Horticulture Updates
Jim Chatfield, Horticulture Specialist, OSU Extension
Eric Draper
Wednesday, April 29 Bracket: The Backyard Farm
9:00 a.m. tip-off Growing Grapes in the Home Garden
Gary Gao, Small Fruit Specialist, OSU Extension
Noon tip-off Backyard Poultry Production
Tim McDermott, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County
3:00 p.m. tip-off Basic Care of the Farm Dog
Tim McDermott, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County
Thursday, April 30 Bracket: Buzzer Beater: The Home Beekeeper Return to Top
9:00 a.m. tip-off Honeybee Basics
Amanda Bennett, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Miami County
Noon tip-off Beekeeping Equipment Basics
Amanda Bennett, Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, OSU Extension Miami County
3:00 p.m. tip-off Tournament Wrap-up: Coaches Corner – Moving Forward
Cathann Kress, Dean, OSU College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Jackie Wilkins, Interim Extension Director, OSU Extension
Sam Custer, Interim Assistant Director, Agricultural and Natural Resources, OSU Extension

COVID-19 Impact on Ohio Sheep Producers

By Tim Barnes OSU Extension, Marion County

Lambs are just one of the many agricultural commodities that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is never a good time for a pandemic to strike, but COVID-19 hit the sheep industry at the traditional best market price.  Spring lambs are a family favorite for traditional Easter meals (April 12), Orthodox Easter (April 23), the Muslin feasts of Ramadan (April 23 to May 23), some Jewish sects for Passover (April 8-16), and the secular May 10 Mother’s Day celebration.

America’s biggest market for fresh lamb is in the area from Baltimore to Boston.  Major East Coast packers relay on the close location of Ohio producers (Ohio has the 5th most producers in the US) to provide a steady source of fresh lamb.  The “white tablecloth restaurants” and the other segments of the foodservice industry account for over 50% of the United State lamb consumption.  As demand builds back to pre-pandemic levels, Ohio lambs will continue to be a large part of the East coast supply chain. Continue reading

COVID-19 Impact on Ohio’s Beef Industry

by: Garth Ruff, OSU Extension Henry County.

COVID-19 has had profound impacts on our food and livestock production systems here in the U.S. With regards to the beef industry the impact has been felt locally and throughout the country. Locally here in Ohio, with the JBS plant in Souderton closed, and reduced packing capacity in other regional packing plants, the local cash market for fed cattle has been greatly diminished. For the past two weeks, auction markets in the state have asked cattle feeders to hold off on bringing fed cattle to market due to packing plant closures and overall lack of packer demand.

Like most of agriculture, timing is critical for the livestock production supply chain to flow as it is designed. What is the impact of holding market-ready cattle in local feedlots? Economically, cash flow concerns for small to medium size cattle feeders may arise as packing capacity remains limited. Immediate impacts for cattle feeders include increasing days on feed, selling heavier and potentially higher yield grade cattle once the market returns. Most packing plants have discount schedules of Yield Grade 4 and 5 cattle in addition to carcass weight specifications. Continue reading

Meat vs COVID-19; The good, the bad and the ugly of supply and demand

by: Stan Smith, OSU Extension, Fairfield County

To suggest that supply in local meat cases has been disrupted since schools closed and ‘stay-at-home’ orders were issued last month might be an understatement.

The good is simply this. We have more than adequate supplies of market-ready livestock on the farm to accommodate the consumer’s demand for meat.

The bad is that COVID-19 caused disruption to the meat supply chain that created short term shortages in the meat case, and fluctuations of price in both the meat case and especially livestock at the farm. Continue reading

WHIP Not Only Applies to Baseball- Enrollment at FSA Now Open!

By: Ben Brown & David Marrison, The Ohio State University

Click Here for PDF Version of Article

Historically, Midwest producers have seen the acronym WHIP and associated it with the baseball statistic (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched), a statistic used to cross evaluate pitchers. However, Midwest producers might find it beneficial to participate in a federal aid program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the same acronym, Wildfires, and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+).

Ohio producers have rarely qualified for WHIP+ because the weather eligibility requirements could not be met. However, when President Trump signed the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act in June 2019 it provided more than $3 billion to the USDA for WHIP+ to help US producers who were affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. WHIP+ builds on its predecessor program the 2017 Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) that was authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Continue reading

Navigating COVID-19 on the Farm – Best practices for Daily Management of Sanitation, Deliveries, Equipment Repairs, and People

by:  Lisa Pfeifer, Educational Program Manager, Agricultural Safety & Health & Dee Jepsen, Ph.D., Associate Professor and State Safety Program Leader, Agricultural Safety & Health

Click here for a PDF version of this article

Practices for limiting exposure and risks related to coronavirus.

While agriculture has been a part of the essential work that continues to hum with a focus on keeping our food supply chains open amid stay at home orders, it is important not to lose sight of the fact business, as usual, will demand course correction and new plans to keep family and employees safe, and farms operable and secure. Information changes quickly in the face of the unknowns of this pandemic, but one prediction that has remained stable is the timeline for a vaccine. It will be 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is available, necessitating plans to see farms through spring planting, summer, harvest, winter, and spring a second time. To delve into some ideas on how to navigate a normal workday on the farm in the face of a public health emergency and an economic crisis it will take thinking outside of the box and a commitment to change some rote behavior and practice. Continue reading

COVID-19 – Impacts on Ohio’s Swine Industry

by: Steve Moeller, Department of Animal Sciences, State Swine Extension Specialist

Like many livestock sectors, the impact of COVID-19 on Ohio’s and the Nation’s swine industry have been multi-factorial and ever-changing.  In response, the National Pork Board has maintained an on-line COVID-19 information center at which is updated multiple times per day based on new findings.  The impact is now being felt as the number of ‘short-term’ packing plant closures seem to increase daily. Plant closures will impact the industry as a whole in a number of ways, namely: 1) U.S. production is matching packing plant capacity and both are at record levels, thus a regional lack of shackle space will likely occur, 2) Swine production is now nearly constant, centered around weekly flow and optimization of space utilization, thus pig spaces are full and need to be continually emptied to make room for incoming production, 3) Distribution channels from packing plants to consumers are not as efficient, leading to challenges in managing product movement from the packer to the consumer. Additional plant closures, particularly if they occur from Indiana eastward will place a significant burden directly on the producer; 4) The bright spot:  Export markets have helped offset some of the supply, particularly trade with traditional partners in Japan and Mexico, but with added sales to China.

Continue reading

Wheat Growth Stages and Associated Management- Feekes 6.0 through 9.0

By:  Laura Lindsey, Ed Lentz, CCA, Pierce Paul

It’s important to correctly identify winter wheat growth stages to enhance management decisions, avoiding damage to the crop and unwarranted or ineffective applications. Remember, the exact growth stage cannot be determined by just looking at the height of the crop or based on calendar dates. Continue reading

OSU ANR Madness – Week #5

“Agriculture and Natural Resources Madness: A Tournament of Education” features online educational opportunities Monday – Friday at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. The education tournament is free of charge, and webinar links are available at Topics covered during week #5 include the following:  Ohio Farm to School, Horticulture, Fruit Production, Vegetable Production, and Urban Agriculture. Continue reading

Join OSU Extension for Farm Office Live on April 20

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the third session of the “Farm Office Live” session on Monday evening, April 20, 2020, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the past week.  Topics to be highlighted include:

  • Update on the CARES Paycheck Protection Program (It is out of money!)
  • WHIP+
  • Update on commodity prices
  • Update on Dairy Margin Coverage program
  • Update on Unemployment compensation
  • Other legal and economic issues

Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at the following day.  Participants can pre-register or join in on Monday evening at 

The March 2020 Soybean Crush Report is One for the Record Books

Click here for a PDF version of this article

By Ben Brown, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University – 4/17/2020

The National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) released their March 2020 soybean estimates on Wednesday, April 15- a day that usually is not held in high regard due to US tax collections. That is until this year when federal income tax filings could be deferred to the middle of July and NOPA released a report further solidifying one of the few bright spots in the agricultural marketplace amid COVID-19 disruptions. The report indicated that monthly soybean crushing by the organization’s 13 members who account for approximately 95% of all crushed soybeans in the US reached a new monthly crush record of 181.374 million bushels.  This far exceeds any previous month and the market analyst expectation for the month of 175.163 million bushels. The March total is the first month above 180 million bushels and bested the previous record set just two months earlier by 6.211 million bushels. Soybean crush during the 2019/20 marketing year has been supported by strong domestic and international demand for soybean meal and healthy crush margins with new records being broken in four out of seven reported months- October 2019, December 2019, January 2020 and March 2020. Continue reading

April 10 AG Law Harvest

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Friday, April 10th, 2020


Although many of us are quarantined at home these days, the gears of the legal world are still turning.  Here’s our gathering of recent notable news and legal developments:

Our Farm Office is open Monday Night! Join us for the Farm Office’s live online office hours this Monday night from 8—9:30 p.m.  Our team of experts will provide updates on the Paycheck Protection Program and the dairy economy and discuss COVID-19 macro-economic and export impacts, BWC dividends, property tax concerns, potential legal issues arising from COVID-19, and other issues you want to discuss.  Register at

What’s the deal with dicamba? Our partner, the National Agricultural Law Center, is hosting a free webinar on dicamba litigation on Wednesday, April 15 at noon EST.  “The Deal with Dicamba:  An Overview of Dicamba Related Litigation,” will feature attorney Brigit Rollins, who will review each of the dicamba lawsuits, the claims made by the plaintiffs, and what the outcome of each suit could mean for dicamba use in the United States.  Go to to learn more. Continue reading

On Farm Biosecurity to Keep Us and Employees Safe

By Jason Hartschuh and  Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann

Agriculture is no stranger to contagious diseases. Drawing on sanitation experiences from outbreaks, such as avian and swine influenza or the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001, can help us through the current pandemic. Looking back at many of these experiences, we know that we can pull together maybe from a distance and get through the current human viral outbreak and keep our farms running. Unless they are sick, farmers don’t usually tell their workers to stay home, but through keeping social distance on the farm and increasing many of our tried and true disinfection protocols, we can all stay healthy.  One big difference is that instead of disinfecting our boots, we need to disinfect all surfaces around us and all our employees’ touch. This may also be a good time to review the visitation requirements you have on your farm. To keep you and your service providers safe, be sure to follow all their company requests and keep your distance when they come onto the farm or respect their calling instead of coming for a visit. Continue reading

Grain Marketing Outlook Week of April 10

In this week’s grain marketing update Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Agricultural Risk Management Ben Brown covers the updated supply and demand estimates from USDA, corn used for ethanol and the potential to see elevated corn exports moving forward.