Full Steam Ahead! What I have been up to the last few weeks.

I just wanted to take this time to give you a few updates. I am so thankful to live and work in such a wonderful community. I heard someone say if you love what you do you will never feel like you are working a day in your life. I sure do love this job.

  1. Our office is now back in full swing after our remodel project. You will see a new facelift to the office. Stop in and meet our newest staff member, Tyanna Erford. Tyanna primarily works with our 4-H/Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences program but is an additional office associate and back-up to answer questions if Katie Gorrell is not in the office.
  2. The last few weeks are flying by with the start of school and the start of harvest (silage so far). I have been busy wrapping up research projects, scouting homes and fields, and collecting data.  Additionally, I am back on the road training for the upcoming year in the areas of Farm Business Management, Rural Health/Farm Stress, and Agronomy topics. Finally, I am using up vacation time that I will lose with my upcoming work anniversary date of October 21. My office tells me I am out of the office right now more than I am in the office but our county has need my services outside the office.
  3. For about a month, I have been answering many questions (I have quit counting after over 100 calls, emails, social media messages) on Fall Armyworms.  When it comes to the homeowner side of the questions, I have thankful to have well-trained Master Gardener Volunteers assisting with our weekly in-office hotline as well as our office associate Katie on Tuesdays from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. The overwhelming number of questions has been a countywide issue in both home yards and farm fields. Today, as I was outside working, I notices some additional egg masses of the Fall Armyworms. I am working closely with my colleagues at the local, regional, and state levels to see if we are going to see the third wave of armyworms. I will keep you up to date.
  4. In July, I was the main grant writer on a Rural Health and Farm Stress grant via USDA. I am happy to announce, we have received this $500,000 grant/1 year grant in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. There will be more coming about this in the near future. The official press release is here. While this is a topic that most avoid, it is one that affects us all in one way shape, or form.  Additionally, we have launched our new website statewide on Farm Stress.  The location is u.osu.edu/farmstress. We are working on giving you the best resources when looking at general stress, farm financial stress, transition planning and so much more.
  5. Bridget Britton, OSU’s Behavioral Health Field Specialist, and I touring Darr Farms in Coshocton County. They are the largest producer of pumpkins in the state.

    Last week, I spent time training for the top topics in farm management. Our conference was held in beautiful Coshocton County where we had multiple stops on different types of farms to look at their business plan and farm succession plan. We spent two days talking about Farm Succession planning, labor and law issues in Agriculture, and how we can help you on the farms no matter what the size so we can provide you with the most relevant and up-to-date educational topics. I was happy to come home to the flatlands of Paulding County though after all those hills.

  6. Joe Roehrig of CCSI talking about the value of soil structure

    This week Rachel Cochran, (Paulding, VW, and Defiance Water Quality Associate), and I spent time training at the National Soil Health Nexus Conference at the Kellogg Biological Station in Hickory Corners, Michigan. I am Ohio State’s representative for this National Organization. The conversations during the training and the knowledge and research shared were phenomenal. One of the biggest takeaways that I want to share is we need a united voice for agriculture and the things we are doing. Generationally, we are 2-4 generations on average removed from the farm. Even if you have next neighbors in our rural community, they usually don’t understand what we are doing on the farm. We are at such a critical point in the phosphorus reduction levels that more regulation is knocking on our door. I know you are doing so many good things but you need to share.

  7. Rachel Cochran and I training at the Kellogg Biological Center.

    Here are my simple suggestions to share your story:

    • a.) invite a neighbor to ride in the combine (yes, it might be a slight inconvenience),
    • b.) post some social media pictures on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or if you are daring to make a TikTok sharing what is going on in your farm life,
    • c.) Have your child, grandchild, niece, nephew invite a friend to help on the farm for an evening – let them take some pictures of what you are doing and post them on their or your social media accounts.
    • d.) Celebrate the joy of harvest with your family with some pictures taken by a friend or neighbor at your farm. Let them capture what you are doing and share.
    • e.) If you are sharing to social media either Tag the OSU Extension Office or use the #PauldingCoAgStrong
  8. Finally, next week, I will be heading to London, Ohio for Farm Science Review Monday to Thursday. I hope to see many of you in attendance for this great showcase. I would love to catch up.  I will be working in the Agronomy Plots, the Women in Agriculture area, Farm Safety and Farm Stress, Utzinger Garden, Small Farms Conference area, and Nutrient/Manure Management areas. I am presenting a few times also with the topic of Farm Stress in the Ask an Expert, and Small Farms Area (Check out my topic with Bridget Britton titled Bury Seeds, Not Stress). As always, please reach out to me on my cell phone (419)506-1890 for answers to questions or to locate me at Farm Science Review.


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