Soil Health Tour and Event Scheduled for Northwest Ohio

Farmland, Half, Soil, Ground

By Rachel Cochran, OSU Extension Water Quality Associate

Paulding County Extension will be hosting two events in Northwest Ohio in August: a soil health tour and a follow-up event with a guest speaker. The soil health tour includes stops around Northwest Ohio showcasing different practices to help improve soil health. A map of tour stops can be found at go.osu.edu/soilhealthtour and will be updated as tour stops are confirmed. Continue reading

Manure Science Review Coming August 10th

By Glen Arnold- OSU Extension

The annual Manure Science Review will be held on Tuesday, August 10 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at MVP Dairy near Celina, Ohio. Attendees will see and hear about this state-of-the-art dairy’s 80-cow rotary milking parlor, manure handling and management for the 4,400-cow herd, and regenerative farming practices. Speakers will provide updates on the effectiveness of saturated buffers in reducing runoff in Grand Lake Saint Marys as well as issues of legacy phosphorus runoff and the KDS/Quick wash system for manure nutrient recovery. Field demonstrations will include solid and liquid applicators, the Cadman Side-dress System, Oxbo Equipment, in-season manure side-dress demos, and more.

Continuing education credits have been approved for Certified Crop Advisors, Certified Livestock Managers, and Indiana State Chemist certifications. Registration costs are $25 per person until August 1st and $30 per person after that date. For program and registration details, click on the link at ocamm.osu.edu or contact Mary Wicks (wicks.14@osu.edu; 330.202.3533).

Farm Office Live is Back!

Farm Office Live” returns virtually this summer as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, farm business analysis, and other related issues from faculty and educators with the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.  Attend “Farm Office Live” online on July 23, 2021, at 10 AM (EST).  To register, please visit https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive 

Producers with Crop Insurance to Receive Premium Benefit for Cover Crops

From the RMA Website 

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2021 – Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they planted cover crops during this crop year. The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), offered nationally by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems, despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic.

The PCCP is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, a bundle of programs to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions.

“Cultivating cover crops requires a sustained, long-term investment, and the economic challenges of the pandemic made it financially challenging for many producers to maintain cover crop systems,” said RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy. “Producers use cover crops to improve soil health and gain other agronomic benefits, and this program will reduce producers’ overall premium bill to help ensure producers can continue this climates-smart agricultural practice.” Continue reading

Ohio Legislative Update: County Fair Funds, Water Quality Bonds, Animal-drawn Vehicles, Regulation, Broadband Services, Eminent Domain, Beginning Farmer Funds, Wind, Solar

Hopefully, Ohio’s planting season will soon be as busy as its legislative season.  There’s a lot of activity down at the capitol these days, with many bills on the move.  Here’s a summary of bills that could impact agriculture and rural communities. Note that the summary doesn’t include the budget bill, which we’ll address in a separate article.

Water quality bonds.  A joint resolution recently offered in the Senate supports amending Ohio’s Constitution to create permanent funds for clean water improvements.  S.J.R. 2, a bipartisan proposal from Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Hts.) would place a ballot issue before voters in November.  The issue proposes amending the Constitution to allow for the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund clean water improvements.  Up to $1 billion over 10 years would be permissible, with no more than $100 million allocated in any fiscal year.  Bond funds would create a permanent source of funding for the H2Ohio program, which is now dependent upon the state budget process.

Continue reading

Federal bills target carbon reduction practices on farms and forests

President Biden announced a major goal this week–for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half over the next decade as compared to 2005 levels.  Agriculture will play a key role in that reduction by “deploying cutting-edge tools to make the soil of our heartland the next frontier in carbon innovation,” according to President Biden.  Several bills introduced in Congress recently could help agriculture fulfill that key role.  The proposals offer incentives and assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to engage in carbon sequestration practices.

Here’s a summary of the bills that are receiving the most attention.

Growing Climate Solutions ActS. 1251.  The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee passed S. 1251 today.  The bipartisan proposal led by sponsors Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) already has the backing of over half of the Senate as co-sponsors, including Ohio’s Sen. Sherrod Brown.  The bill has come up in prior sessions of Congress without success, but the sponsors significantly reworked the bill and reintroduced it this week.  The new version includes these provisions: Continue reading

What Questions Should Farmers Ask about Selling Carbon Credits?

Originally Published in FarmDocDaily:  Sellars, S., G. Schnitkey, C. Zulauf, K. Swanson, and N. Paulson. “What Questions Should Farmers Ask about Selling Carbon Credits?.” farmdoc daily (11):59, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, April 13, 2021. Permalink

By: Sarah Sellars, Gary SchnitkeyKrista Swanson, and Nick Paulson, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois & Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

Agricultural carbon markets exist through privately and publicly owned companies with aim to reduce carbon emissions through trade of carbon units sequestered at the farm level. The sale of carbon credits presents an opportunity for farmers to receive financial benefits from changing to more environmentally beneficial agricultural practices, although carbon prices may not currently be high enough to cover the cost of switching practices. Information about carbon markets can be challenging to navigate because each company typically has a different structure for payments, verification, and data ownership. This article provides a brief background about carbon markets, information about the breakeven price for carbon sequestration practices, and some questions for farmers to consider about selling carbon credits. Continue reading

Call for Cooperators – 2021 On-Farm Research

By Rachel Cochran, Water Quality Extension Associate, and Sarah Noggle, Extension Educator

As we begin to approach Spring planting, it’s important to think about the intricacies of the growing season – what fertilizer to use, how much to apply, how to apply it, etc.  If you’re unsure what rate would most benefit your crop while earning you the largest profit, on-farm research may be a good way for you to determine that. If you’re unsure what effects different management practices are having on the health of your soil, on-farm research may be a helpful tool. For almost any question you may have about your operation, an on-farm research trial may be a good way to better understand what the best practices may be for your farm.

This year, we plan to continue the eFields Soil Health Study that was started in 2020. In this study, soil samples are pulled from three depths: 0-4”, 0-6”, and 0-8” within a field. A variety of different tests are then performed on that soil, including routine nutrient analysis, pH, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC), total organic matter, aggregate stability, and Permanganate Oxidizable Carbon (POXC). The results of these tests will be grouped with fields of similar management and published in the 2021 eFields book and will help to give you a snapshot of the health of your soil.

OSU Extension Paulding County is here to help you find out what’s best for your operation, whether it be through sharing of information or planning of research trials on your farm. Reach out to Sarah Noggle, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, or Rachel Cochran, Water Quality Extension Associate, if you’re interested in doing any type of on-farm research this growing season. We will be happy to set up a trial for you to get the answers you need.

Contact our office at (419) 399-8225, or email noggle.17@osu.edu or cochran.474@osu.edu for more information.

2021 Weed Control Guide and NEW Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations Now Available

Are you looking for up-to-date weed control or fertility information before planting season? The OSU Extension Paulding County Office now has copies of the 2021 Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois Weed Control Guide and Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybean, Wheat, and Alfalfa available for purchase.

The 2021 Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois Weed Control Guide explains the importance of weed control and gives suggestions on herbicide management strategies for corn, soybeans, small grains, and forages. Also included are special sections on marestail, Palmer amaranth, and waterhemp. An index to all tables regarding herbicides is listed on the back cover for easy navigation and quick referencing. The cost of the publication is $17.25 plus $1.25 in tax making the total for the booklet $18.50.

The updated Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa reflects changes in regional field crop production practices,  including general reductions in tillage and crop rotations, greater plant populations and grain yields, new pests and diseases, and the emergence of precision soil sampling and fertilizer rate and placement technologies. The updated fertilizer recommendations aim to aid farmers in managing mineral fertilizer sources in field crop systems as judiciously and profitably as possible. The cost of the publication is $9.00 plus $.65 tax making the total for the booklet $9.65.

Both publications are available for purchase by either cash or check at the OSU Extension Paulding County Office (1425 East High Street, Suite 112, Bryan) Tuesday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., no appointment necessary. To pick up an order call office associate, Katie Gorrell or email her at gorrell.42@osu.edu. Please call ANR Extension Educator Sarah Noggle at (419) 399-8225 with any questions specific to the publications.

How Will Your Farm Emerge from the Coronavirus Pandemic?

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County, David Marrison, Extension Educator, ANR, Coshocton County and Mike Estadt, Extension Educator, ANR, Pickaway County

Click here for a PDF version of the article

It has been more than a year since Coronavirus was declared a pandemic.  Everyone has been touched by the pandemic either directly or indirectly.  As an industry, Agriculture has experienced market disruptions and slowdowns in the processing sector due to the pandemic. In response, the United States government provided billions of dollars in economic relief in 2020 to assist farmers affected by the disruptions. This assistance has continued into 2021 as just recently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced details about the “Pandemic Assistance for Producers” Initiative.1  This article takes a look at federal farm support, forecasts for net farm income in 2021, and challenges farm managers to examine how their business will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading

Farmer Advocates wanted!

Do you know of a farmer who would be an excellent candidate with leadership, enthusiasm, and passion for soil health and water quality management as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation? You can nominate them by completing an online form. Select the button for the application.

The Nature Conservancy is looking for farmers who are currently utilizing cover crops on their farms in the Maumee River Watershed of the Western Lake Erie Basin. We are looking for a diverse group of farmers; large acreage, small acreage, corn and soy, small grains, livestock, new and experienced, willing to reach out and share their knowledge and experiences with other farmers in their area. Selected farmers will be compensated for their time. Select the button for this application.

If you are interested in being part of this exciting farmer-led outreach project and would like to apply as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation please complete the online application form by selecting the button above.

The application period is open for farmers in the Western Lake Erie Basin that are interested in sharing their conservation farming practices with other farmers.  Farmer Advocates will be compensated for their time to attend the training and work with other farmers @ $30/hour.  The focus of the project is to promote farmers learning from each other about building soil health and managing water.

To apply as a Farmer Advocate for Conservation or to nominate a farmer you believe would be an excellent candidate please use the online application and nomination forms on the landing page found at https://sites.google.com/view/farmeradvocate or please contact Stephanie Singer, Stephanie.Singer@tnc.org.

Expect Farm Liquidity to Decline in 2021

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

Liquidity is the ability of a farm business to quickly convert current assets to cash to pay short-term (less than 12 months) cash obligations, debt, family living, and taxes. It is one of several measures used to gauge farm financial performance over time. The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) is forecasting a decline in farm sector liquidity in 2021.  This article will discuss working capital, current ratio, and times interest earned ratio financial measures.

Working Capital

Working capital is calculated by subtracting current liabilities from current assets.  Let’s assume a farm has $300,000 in current assets and $175,000 in current liabilities.  This farm has $25,000 ($300,000 – $175,000) in working capital.   There is no standard dollar amount of working capital needed for businesses as it will vary by farm size.   Comparing total working capital to gross revenues does provide an indicator of whether a farm’s working capital is “enough”.  USDA-ERS forecasts a 13.6% decline in working capital in 2021 from 2020. If realized, this would be the largest decline since 2016. Continue reading

Projected Returns for 2021 – Increasing Fertilizer Prices May Force Tough Decisions

From Barry Ward and John Barker

The profit margin outlook for corn, soybeans, and wheat is relatively positive as planting season approaches. Prices of all three of our main commodity crops have moved higher since last summer and forward prices for this fall are currently at levels high enough to project positive returns for 2021 crop production. Recent increases in fertilizer prices have negatively affected projected returns. Higher crop insurance costs, as well as moderately higher energy costs relative to last year, will also add to overall costs for 2021.

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be modestly higher compared to last year with higher fertilizer, fuel, and crop insurance expenses. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2021 are projected to range from $386 to $470 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2021 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $216 to $242 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2021 are projected to range from $166 to $198 per acre. Continue reading

The Status and Changing Face of Ohio Agriculture

by: Ani Katchova, Associate Professor and Farm Income Enhancement Chair, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University

Farmers deal with many stressors, most of which are out of their control: extreme weather, market changes, COVID-19, trade wars, fluctuating market prices, and environmental challenges. In 2019 particularly, a harsh winter followed by high spring and early summer rainfall led to damaged hay fields, delays in the planting of corn and soybean crops, and an inability to harvest early season crops in a timely manner. Tariffs on exported farm products led to declines in soybean and corn prices and contributed to uncertainty about the long-term security of global trade relationships. Continue reading

Farm Office Live Continues!

By:  Barry Ward, David Marrison, Peggy Hall, Dianne Shoemaker, and Julie Strawser – Ohio State University Extension

“Farm Office Live” continues this winter as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis and other related issues from faculty and educators with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Each Farm Office Live begins with presentations on select ag law and farm management topics from our specialists followed by open discussions and a Q&A session. Viewers can attend “Farm Office Live” online each month on Wednesday evening or Friday morning or can catch a recording of each program.

The full slate of offerings remaining for this winter are:

  • March 10th, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
  • March 12th 10:00 – 11:30 am
  • April 7th, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
  • April 9th, 10:00 – 11:30 am

Topics to be addressed in March include:

  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
  • Proposed “American Rescue Plan of 2021” – New Stimulus Legislation
  • General Legislative Update
  • Ohio Farm Business Analysis – A Look at Crops
  • Ohio Cash Rental Rates: Outlook and Discussion on Lease Alternatives

To register or view past recordings, visit https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive

For more information or to submit a topic for discussion, email Julie Strawser at strawser.35@osu.edu or call the Farm Office at 614-292-2433. We look forward to you joining us!

Reminder – Enrollment Deadline for ARC & PLC Programs is March 15

Now is the time to make your decision about whether you will use ARC or PLC for your operation in 2021.  March 15 is THE LAST day to make what is likely one of the most important business decisions you will make for your farming operation this year.  Please contact your FSA County office to set up an appointment today.  There will not be an extension of this deadline.  Producers who fail to elect either Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) by March 15, 2021, will NOT receive a 2020 payment and their 2021 election will default to the prior farm bill election.

Ohio FSA Service Center Status:
Many USDA Service Centers in Ohio continue to restrict in-person office visits. However, all Service Centers remain open for business and our staff will be in the office and will work with our producers by phone, by email, or by using other online tools. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business FSA should call ahead and schedule an appointment.

Ohio Farm Business Analysis Program

The message is clear: farms must know their costs of production for corn, soybeans, hay, milk, meat, and any other commodities they produce.  Why?  To make informed marketing, production, and financial management decisions that contribute to the overall profitability of the whole farm business.

Farm business analysis is a tool that can be applied to any farm, regardless of size, crop, or livestock enterprise. Financial management is critical to the success of every farm business, and with analysis, farms are able to better understand the numbers behind their profits or losses. Continue reading

Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents 2021 Survey

From the desk of Barry Ward

We are once again surveying ag professionals/farmers/landowners across Ohio to generate information for those interested in farmland. You can assist us by completing the online survey (new option this year) or by completing the attached survey and returning by email to: (ward.8@osu.edu). (Paper Survey Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents 2021 Survey)

We are asking you to please complete the online or attached survey by March 31st, 2021. The Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents 2020-21 Survey is being conducted by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. (I hope that you’ll excuse any duplicate requests that you may receive.)

The online survey is available at:

OhioCroplandValuesCashRents202021 or https://osu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eXlA7B6jbgSoRGC

  • For those that don’t have information to report on Flexible Cash Leases or Crop Share Leases please skip Parts 2 and 3 before you proceed to submit your survey.
  • All survey data will be anonymous and distributed only in a summary format. (See last year’s summary at the web address below.)

Summary conclusions from the latest survey of agricultural professionals, the “Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rental Rates 2019-20”, are available online at:

https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management-tools/farm-management-publications/cash-rents

I would like to thank the many of you that have taken the time to share your thoughts and information with us in the past and thank you all in advance for your valuable time in providing data for this research! We expect it to benefit you and your clientele. Summary data of this research will be available via our Farm Office website: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/ and the free online OSU Extension newsletter, “Ohio Ag Manager”. Subscribe to receive this electronic newsletter at http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu/

Thank you!

U.S. Farm Profits Projected to Fall in 2021

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) on February 5th released their projection for U.S. farm income in 2021.  Farm income is projected to fall this year primarily because government payments received by farmers are expected to decline to $21.8 billion (46.3%) after increasing $24 billion (104%) in 2020 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.  U.S. Net Farm Income and Net Cash Farm Income, 2000 – 2021 Forecast

Net cash farm income (NCFI) is calculated by subtracting cash expenses from gross income.  This figure is expected to grow 23.7% in 2020 but drop by $10.4 billion (7.5%) in 2021.  Net Farm Income (NFI) is considered a broader measure of profitability that includes changes in inventories, depreciation, and gross imputed rental income.  Like NCFI, the U.S. NFI is expected to increase in 2020 and decline 9.7% to $111.4 billion in 2021.  If this happens, it will be the first time since 2016 that NFI has fallen.  However, NCFI and NFI would remain above their respective averages during the 2000 – 2019 period.  A bright spot from the USDA-ERS report is that farm commodity cash receipts are expected to increase by 3.6% in 2021.

Planning

Based on these projections, budgeting is going to be very important for 2021.  Ohio State University Extension has corn, soybean, and wheat budgets available here: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-mgt-tools/farm-budgets.  I encourage you to use your financials and these budgets as a planning tool.  Scheduling an appointment with your lender, accountant, and Extension Educator to discuss options will be time well spent.

CFAP Payments Halted Until Review Conducted by Biden Administration

by David Marrison, OSU Extension

In accordance with the Regulatory Freeze Pending Review memo issued by the White House on January 20, the United States Department of Agriculture has suspended the $2.3 billion of additional assistance to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program put in place during the final days of the Trump Administration.

The Trump administration had previously announced on January 15 providing additional assistance of CFAP expanding eligibility for some agricultural producers and commodities as well as updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for the program.  The expanded eligibility was targeted primarily for contract pork and poultry producers and others previously excluded from the relief payments. Continue reading