The Ag Law Harvest

By: Ellen Essman, Senior Research Associate Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
In case you didn’t notice, we are deep into the election season.  Discussion of Supreme Court vacancies, presidential debates, and local races abound.  Even with all the focus on the election, the rest of the world hasn’t stopped. The same is true for ag law.  This edition of the Harvest includes a discussion of ag-related bills moving through the Ohio General Assembly, federal lawsuits involving herbicides and checkoff programs, and some wiggle room for organic producers who have had a hard time getting certified with all the pandemic-related backups and shutdowns.

Changes to Ohio Drainage Law considered in Senate—The Ohio Senate’s Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee continues to hold hearings on HB 340, a bill that would revise drainage laws.  The bill was passed in the house on June 9, 2020.  The 157-page bill would amend the current drainage law by making changes to the process for proposing, approving, and implementing new drainage improvements, whether the petition is filed with the board of the Soil and Water Conservation District, the board of county commissioners, or with multiple counties to construct a joint county drainage improvement.  The bill would further apply the single county maintenance procedures and procedures for calculating assessments for maintenance to multi-county ditches and soil and water conservation districts.  You can find the current language of the bill, along with a helpful analysis of the bill, here.

Purple paint to warn trespassers? Elsewhere in the state Senate, SB 290 seems to be moving again after a lengthy stall, as it was recently on the agenda for a meeting of the Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs Committee.  If passed, SB 290 would allow landowners to use purple paint marks to warn intruders that they are trespassing.  The purple paint marks can be placed on trees or posts on the around the property.  Each paint mark would have to measure at least three feet and be located between three and five feet from the base of the tree or post.  Furthermore, each painted mark must be “readily visible,” and the space between two marks cannot be more than 25 yards.  You can see the text, along with other information about the bill here.

Environmental groups look to “Enlist” more judges to reevaluate decisions.  In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided it would not overturn the EPA registration for the herbicide Enlist Duo, which is meant to kill weeds in corn, soybean, and cotton fields, and is made up of 2,4-D choline salt and glyphosate.  Although the court upheld registration of the herbicide, it remanded the case so that EPA could consider how Enlist affects monarch butterflies.  The court found that EPA failed to do this even though it was required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  On September 15, 2020, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other groups involved in the lawsuit filed a petition to rehear the case “en banc,” meaning that the case would be heard by a group of nine judges instead of just three.  If accepted, the rehearing would involve claims that the EPA did not follow the Endangered Species Act when it made the decision to register Enlist Duo. Continue reading

Farmer and Farmland Owner Income Tax Webinar

By:  Barry Ward, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools
College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension

Are you getting the most from your tax return? Farmers and farmland owners who wish to increase their tax knowledge should consider attending this webinar that will address tax issues specific to this industry. Content focuses on important tax issues and will offer insight into new COVID related legislation.

Mark your calendars for December 3rd, 2020 to participate in this live webinar from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The event is a joint offering from OSU Income Tax Schools which are a part of OSU Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Purdue University Income Tax Schools.  If you are not able to attend the live webinar, all registered participants will receive a link to view the recorded webinar at a time of their convenience. This link will be available through the tax filing season. Continue reading

Recap of this week’s OSU Extension Farm Office Live

The video recap of October 7, 2020, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

The October 7th session included updates on the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2), 2020 crop enterprise budgets, farm custom rates, COVID immunity legislation, and other emerging legal and economic issues.

Download October 7 slides

 

Farm Office Live Scheduled for October 7, 2020

Join the OSU Extension Farm Office team for discussions on the latest agricultural law and farm management news.  The next session will be held on October 7, 2020, from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Farm Office Live will be back for a review of the latest on round two of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), 2020 crop enterprise budgets, new custom rates, and Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents survey summary, Ohio’s COVID-19 immunity legislation, and other current issues in farm management.

Join our experts for quick presentations and Q & A. Go to https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive to register or view past webinars and PowerPoint slides.

H2Ohio Reminder

Fall Nutrient Applicator and Tractor

By Glen Arnold, CCA, OSU Extension

Harvest is starting and farmers participating in the H2Ohio program are reminded that any fall fertilizer applications, including manure, need to be approved by their local Soil & Water Conservation Districts. This will assure the application is in compliance with their Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan and there will be no problems with the payment process.

Many farmers will be working with their local fertilizer dealerships for fertilizer recommendations, but it is still a requirement to get approval from your local Soil and Water Conservation District before the fertilizer or manure is applied.

Governor Signs Ohio Coronavirus Immunity Bill

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

It took five months of negotiation, but the Ohio General Assembly has enacted a controversial bill that grants immunity from civil liability for coronavirus injuries, deaths, or losses. Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on September 14, stating that it strikes a balance between reopening the economy and keeping Ohioans safe.  The bill will be effective in 90 days.

The bill’s statement of findings and declaration of intent illustrate why it faced disagreement within the General Assembly.  After stating its findings that business owners are unsure of the tort liability they may face when reopening after COVID-19, that businesses need certainty because recommendations on how to avoid COVID-19 change frequently, that individuals who decide to go out in public places should bear responsibility for taking steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19, that nothing in existing Ohio law established duties on business and premise owners to prevent exposure to airborne germs and viruses, and that the legislature has not delegated authority to Ohio’s Executive Branch to create new legal duties for business and premises owners, the General Assembly made a clear declaration of intent in the bill:  “Orders and recommendations from the Executive Branch, from counties and local municipalities, from boards of health and other agencies, and from any federal government agency do not create any new legal duties for purposes of tort liability” and “are presumed to be irrelevant to the issue of the existence of a duty or breach of a duty….and inadmissible at trial to establish proof of a duty or breach of a duty in tort actions.” Continue reading

Expansion of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Begins September 21

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2020 – President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin September 21 and run through December 11, 2020.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to ensuring America’s farmers and ranchers remain in business to produce the food, fuel, and fiber America needs to thrive,” said Secretary Perdue. “We listened to the feedback received from farmers, ranchers, and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.” Continue reading

Supply chain, U.S. trade policy, COVID-19 to be discussed during Farm Science Review

Farm Science Review will hold live online sessions September 22-24. Photo: Getty Images.

LONDON, Ohio—The U.S. trade policy, labor and immigration issues, agricultural commodity markets, and the food supply chain will be among the topics addressed at a panel discussion during the 59th annual Farm Science Review Sept. 22–24 at fsr.osu.edu.

The previously titled Tobin Talk, now The Talk on Friday Avenue, “Value Chains in Food and Agriculture,” on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at fsr.osu.edu, will feature comments from a panel of agricultural economists from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The Talk on Friday Avenue is among a series of presentations at Farm Science Review to address topics relevant to the agricultural industry, from controlling weeds and managing beef cattle to reducing safety hazards on the farm and growing plants indoors in water, without soil.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Farm Science Review will be exclusively virtual, so you can find out about the latest in farm technology and techniques from the convenience of your home. The show, which is sponsored by CFAES, is free. Sign up at fsr.osu.edu.

If you require an accommodation, such as live captioning or interpretation, to participate in this event, please email fsrinfo@osu.edu.

The Talk on Friday Avenue is an annual panel discussion given by agricultural economists in CFAES. This year it will focus on supply chains in food and agriculture, many of which were tested earlier this year when the nation’s major meat processors closed down temporarily as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which left many employees ill with COVID-19. Continue reading

Ask the Expert Sessions to Be Held Live During 2020 Farm Science Review

By David Marrison, Jeff Workman & Chris Bruynis

For the first time in its nearly 60 year history, Ohio State’s Farm Science Review scheduled for September 22 -24 will not be held in-person.  Instead, a virtual show will be held and the Review will come to you on your laptop or smartphone this year, and for free.  You can watch live-streamed talks and recorded videos featuring the latest farm equipment and research to pique your curiosity.

Virtual visitors can find out about the show’s offerings by going to fsr.osu.edu and clicking on an image of the show’s site. Within that image, people can click on the various icons to find the schedules for talks and demos they’re most interested in, such as field demonstrations or “Ask the Expert” talks.

Among the live-streamed talks will be Ask the Expert presentations. Viewers will enter the talks through a Zoom meeting link and be able to post their questions in chat boxes. If you miss any, you can check back after the talks to watch the recordings.

The 20 minute “Ask the Expert” presentations at Farm Science Review are one segment of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the College of Veterinary Medicine comprehensive Extension Education efforts during the three days of the Farm Science Review. Our experts will share science-based recommendations and solutions to the issues people are facing regarding weather impacts, tariffs, veterinarian medicine, and low commodity prices.

Topics for talks at FSR this year include the risks of transmitting COVID-19 to your animals, the prospects of U.S. agricultural exports abroad, increasing profits from small grains by planting double crops, climate trends, managing cash flow on the farm, farm stress, and rental rates on agricultural land.

To access all prerecorded and live-streamed talks at Farm Science Review, sign up on or after Sept. 8 at fsr.osu.edu.

Click here for a PDF copy of the 2020 FSR Ask the Expert full schedule

Battle for Lake Erie includes debate over manure-based phosphorus concentration

8/31/2020
BY TOM HENRY / THE BLADE

A major agronomic debate is being played out in Columbus now, which has potentially large ramifications for western Lake Erie and goes beyond simply looking at the staggering volumes of liquid and solid excrement produced by northwest Ohio cows, hogs, and chickens.

It focuses on the minutia of agricultural science, right down to the parts per million of phosphorus applied to soil in the form of manure.

One of the many groups raising questions is the Lake Erie Foundation, a consortium of Lake Erie-area business and environmental interests. That group and others, including Lake Erie Waterkeeper, want manure-based phosphorus applications dialed down to roughly the same concentration as commercially made, synthetic fertilizers, which is about 40 to 50 parts per million. Manure has for years been applied on northwest Ohio crop farms at much higher concentrations, usually 150 ppm. Some critics, though, claim the application rate has, in reality, gotten as high as 200 ppm to 250 ppm.

From information gathered in a public records request, the foundation believes the state of Ohio has rejected a recommendation from an independent consultant, McKinsey & Co., to promote 50 ppm as a limit for manure, even though Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture director, showed support for that in 2019. The firm was paid $1.5 million to provide advice to the DeWine administration for its H2Ohio program, which aims to improve water quality statewide through better farming techniques, more and improved wetlands, better pipelines, and other measures. Continue reading

CFAP Federal Assistance Available for Nursery (including Greenhouse) and Specialty Crops

The USDA recently opened the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to nursery crops (including greenhouse) and cut flower producers – and added numerous additional specialty crops to the list of eligible commodities.

What is CFAP? This federal assistance program is geared to help producers that have faced 5% or greater price declines, lost product due to changing supply chain issues, or have faced additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. Want more info on CFAP?

For additional details on the CFAP program, and for a list of eligible commodities, please visit farmers.gov/cfap. Continue reading

Ohio Noxious Weed Law

Its that time of year when some of our ugly weeds begin to make their presence known by rising above crop canopies, appearing along the side of the road, etc.  I typically receive many questions about noxious weed identification, control, legal issues, and more.  Below is the first page of the OSU Law Bulletin on Noxious weeds.  Click here to download the complete bulletin.

 

Facing Farm Financial Stress: Assessing the Bankruptcy Option

by: Peggy Hall, OSU Extension

Farming has always been an unpredictable way to make a living, and that unpredictability can lead to financial stress.  Whether caused by down markets, weather impacts, rising input costs, high land values, poor decision making,  medical issues, or a host of other unforeseen circumstances, serious financial stress can be a reality a farmer must face.

Filing bankruptcy can be one way to address farm financial stress.  But because of its consequences, bankruptcy is not a decision to take lightly and might not be the best option.  Our newest resources target farmers who are dealing with financial challenges and considering bankruptcy.   Facing Farm Financial Stress:  An Overview of the Bankruptcy Option offers a seven-part series of law bulletins and infographics focused on bankruptcy issues for farmers.  The series covers:

  • Assessing the bankruptcy option.  Steps to take and considerations to make when dealing with financial stress, including alternatives to bankruptcy and farmer to farmer advice from families that have been through the bankruptcy process.
  • An overview of bankruptcy law.  We explain and visualize the legal process, people, institutions, and legal terms involved in bankruptcy with a focus on Chapter 12, the law reserved for qualifying farmers and fishermen.
  • Thriving after a farm bankruptcy.  Ideas for setting a course to attain farm financial stability and reestablish relationships after filing bankruptcy, including farmer to farmer advice from those who’ve survived the bankruptcy.

Our team of authors, which included me along with OSU’s David Marrison, Hannah Scott, and Chris Zoller–created the resources with support from the USDA’s National Agriculture Library and in partnership with the National Agricultural Law Center (NALC).  The series is available on our Farm Office site here or on NALC’s site here.

The Paycheck Protection Program: Keeping up with the Changes

Written by Peggy Kirk Hall and Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, June 24, 2020

Many farmers have utilized the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to obtain federal funds to help with payroll and certain non-payroll expenses in the wake of COVID-19.  As we’ve discussed on our Farm Office Live webinars here, Congress revised the PPP with the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act earlier this month.  As a result of the new legislation, the Small Business Administration released a series of Interim Final Rules (IFRs) and a new forgiveness application.  The IFRs, available hereclarify certain points contained in the bill and provide revisions to previous IFRs.  All of these changes affect how farmers can use the funds and how much of the funds can be forgiven from loan repayment requirements. Continue reading

Recordings of Farm Office Live

One of the questions I have received this week is I can’t join the OSU Farm Office Live, where do I get these recordings.  Great News — You can view these recordings and also download the presenter slides at farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive.

I have also included the webinars from April 6 to June 11 below.  Go to the link above to review today’s session. Continue reading

CAUV Calculation- Where do I go to find more information? – Tax Value of Farmland Expected to Drop

Today on the OSU Farm Office Live, there was a great discussion about CAUV. This information is very helpful for any landowner in Paulding County.  You can listen to the recorded session at farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive

Check out this website for more information: https://www.robertdinterman.com/CAUV/

Additionally, I am adding the most recent article from Robert Dinterman.

Tax Value of Farmland Expected to Drop

There’s a bit of good news for Ohio farmers to counter the bad news caused by COVID-19, as well as by last year’s historic rain. In counties scheduled for property value updates in 2020—about half of Ohio’s 88 counties—the average value of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program should be about 40% lower than 2017–2019, or about $665 per acre. Continue reading

Ohio Department of Agriculture: dicamba use in Ohio ends June 30, 2020

By:  Peggy Hall

The dicamba roller coaster ride continues today, with a statement issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture clarifying that the use of XtendiMax, Engenia, and FeXapan dicamba-based products in Ohio will end as of June 30, 2020.  Even though the US EPA has issued an order allowing continued use of the products until July 31, 2020, use in Ohio must end on June 30 because the Ohio registrations for the three dicamba-based products expire on that day. Continue reading

U.S. Farm Liquidity Measures Projected to Decline in 2020

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR

Click here for Article (access the figures)

Liquidity is a measure of the ability of a farm to use cash or ability to convert assets to cash quickly to meet short-term (less than 12 months) liabilities when due.  Data from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) forecast a continued decline in 2020 of liquidity on U.S. farms.  This article discusses two metrics, the current ratio, and working capital, to evaluate liquidity. Continue reading

Farm Office Live Webinar Slated for Thursday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues that impact our farm economy.

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

  • Updates on the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program
  • Prevent Plant Update
  • Business & Industry CARES Act Program
  • EIDL Update
  • CFAP- update on beef classifications and commodity contract eligibility
  • Dicamba Court Decision Update
  • 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 farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive