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

2020 Virtual Agricultural Lender Seminar

Join OSU Extension in 2020 Virtual Agricultural Lender Seminar

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
9:00 am—12:00 pm
Registration Is Now Open
Link: http://go.osu.edu/2020AgLenderSeminarReg
Cost $25

Topics and speakers:

  • Grain Prices and Farm Policy – Ben Brown, OSU AEDE
  • Enterprise Budgets and Returns per Acre – Barry Ward, OSU Extension
  • Niche/Small Farm Legal Issues – Peggy Hall, OSU Extension
  • Growing Customer Relationships – Rob Leads, OSU Extension
  • U.S. Ag & Financial Conditions – David Oppedahl, Federal Reserve Bank, Chicago

Feel free to contact OSU Extension Defiance County at 419-782-4771 or walters.269@osu.edu

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

 

Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2020

By Barry Ward, John Barker and Eric Richer, CCA

Farming is a complex business and many Ohio farmers utilize outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform a task is more cost-effective and saves time. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply, “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2020 reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 377 farmers, custom operators, farm managers, and landowners conducted in 2020. These rates, except where noted, include the implement and tractor if required, all variable machinery costs such as fuel, oil, lube, twine, etc., and the labor for the operation. Continue reading

OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff

OSU Extension Educator, Clifton Martin had the opportunity to visit with Garth Ruff about Garth’s recent hiring as the OSU Extension Beef Specialist and current trends in the Beef Industry. During that conversation, they covered trends in Ohio, the role of the OSU Extension Beef Specialist, opportunities for outreach, the status of Beef Quality Assurance, and key opportunities for producers to stay ahead of the curve.

Enjoy that conversation here:

The transcript of this recording may be found in PDF format linked here. Continue reading

Take the OSU Extension Health Survey – Looking for Full and Part Time Farmers

  • Give us 15 minutes to tell us about your health behaviors for sun safety and 7 other areas: sleep, stress, nutrition, physical activity & a few more
  • We will not ask your name, or any other personal identifiers – your information will be aggregated with other farmer responses in Ohio
  • This information will develop future Extension programs and resources for healthy living.
  • There is a $10 gift card incentive for all completed surveys – for 100 Ohio farmers.
  • Go to our survey link directly:  www.go.osu.edu/HealthSurvey2020

For questions, contact:

Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Dee Jepsen, Ag Safety and Health, jepsen.4@osu.edu

Women for the Land Learning Circle – Targeting the Maumee Watershed

Please see attached the information concerning a women’s learning circle opportunity for the Maumee Watershed.  American Farmland Trust is hosting a series of virtual women’s circles starting early October.

Flyer: Maumee Learning Circles 12

Nearly 301 million acres of U.S. land is now farmed or co-farmed by women and at least 87 million additional acres are in the hands of women landowners.

JOIN US online, Virtual Learning Circles, and connect with other women landowners and resource professionals as we discuss incorporating soil health practices on your land.

REGISTER HERE for one circle or all 6!

Brought to you by funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative!
October Soil Health Virtual Learning Circles

  • October 7, 2 pm—3:30 EST | Session 1—Soil Health Overview Learn about the importance of soil, soil health terminology, and general soil health practices.
  • October 21, 2 pm – 3:30 EST | Session 2—Soil Health – Details of healthy vs. unhealthy soil, how to identify issues in your soil, and LIVE! soil health demos.
  • Future Sessions: November 4th, 18th & December 2nd, 16th

Sign-in information will be sent after registration. If you have limited internet access and would prefer to participate in the learning circles via phone please contact Ashley Brucker, AFT Ohio Program Manager, (614) 696-6623

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.

Improved tool can help Midwest farmers with cover crop decisions

A cereal rye cover crop planted following corn in late April on an Iowa farm. The Midwest Cover Crops Council’s new cover crop tool can help farmers determine the best types of cover crops for their fields. (Photo courtesy Tom Kaspar)

The cover crop decision tool described in this article will be used in discussions during the 2020 Virtual Farm Science Review.

The following article is a reprint from the September 9, 2020, Purdue University Agriculture News.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Cover crops have been shown to improve water and soil quality, reduce erosion, and capture nutrients. Choosing the right cover crop, however, can be difficult.

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) —made up of representatives from 12 Midwest states and universities, including Purdue, the province of Ontario, and other agricultural stakeholders — is rolling out an improved cover crop selection tool that will help farmers make those decisions. Users select their state/province and county and then select the goals they have for cover crops — erosion control, nitrogen scavenger, fighting weeds, and providing forage, etc. They also can provide information about the cash crops they are planting and drainage data for their fields. The tool offers the best cover crop options for the specified conditions. Clicking on the cover crops brings up data sheets that offer more information about each crop, seeding rates, and more. Continue reading

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

Last Chance: Act Now to Update PLC Yield

Landowners or producers with a Power of Attorney for their landowner have until September 30, 2020, to update their Price Loss Coverage (PLC) yield, also referred to as farm yield, information on file with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). PLC yields exist for each FSA farm number and commodity. This one-time opportunity to update yield information for covered commodities was a provision in the 2018 Farm Bill. The updated yields will be used to calculate payments under the PLC program for 2020 through 2023 crop years if market prices trigger payments. PLC yields have also been used before in disaster relief programs. There is no guarantee that farmers will have this opportunity again under future farm bills. If a farm chooses to not update its yield info the existing yields for the farm will be used. Not all updated yields will produce a higher yield. In the case where the new calculated yield for a farm and commodity is lower than the existing yield, FSA will take the higher of the two.  Producers who are currently enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) should also consider updating their yields as the option to change program election exists within the current farm bill in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Yields will be updated by submitting FSA form CCC-867 for each farm number and covered commodity. Each completed form will need to include one signature of a farm owner. If the reported yield in any year is less than 75 percent of the 2013-2017 average county yield, the yield will be substituted with 75 percent of the county average yield. For more information please contact your local FSA office.

The FSA form CCC-867 can be found here

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

Surface Application of Manure to Newly Planted Wheat Fields

Manure Application to Wheat

By Glen Arnold, Manure and Nutrient Management Specialist, OSU

Several livestock producers have inquired about applying liquid dairy or swine manure to newly planted wheat fields using a drag hose. The thought process is that the fields are firm (dry), there is very little rain in the nearby forecast, and the moisture in the manure could help with wheat germination and emergence.

The manure nutrients could easily replace the commercial fertilizer normally applied in advance of planting wheat. The application of fall-applied livestock manure to newly planted or growing crops can reduce nutrient losses compared to fall-applied manure without a growing crop.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted wheat. It’s important that the wheat seeds were properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating wheat seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so we don’t grow soil phosphorus levels beyond what is acceptable. Continue reading

Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents 2019-20

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension

Ohio cropland varies significantly in its production capabilities and, consequently, cropland values and cash rents vary widely throughout the state. Generally speaking, western Ohio cropland values and cash rents differ from much of eastern Ohio and parts of southern Ohio cropland values and cash rents. The primary factors affecting these values and rates are land productivity and potential crop return, and the variability of those crop returns. Soils and drainage capabilities are the two factors that heavily influence land productivity, crop return, and variability of those crop returns.

Other factors impacting land values and cash rents may include buildings and grain storage, field size and shape, field accessibility, market access, local market prices, field perimeter characteristics and potential for wildlife damage, previous tillage system and crops, tolerant/resistant weed populations, population density, USDA Program Yields, and competition for the cropland in a region. Ultimately, the supply and demand for cropland will determine the value or rental rate for each parcel. 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

Reports from National Ag Statistics for July published late June.

Reports from the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) for July 2020.

July 2020 Milk Production Report Ohio

July 2020 Milk Production Report published on August 20, 2020

Dairy herds in Ohio produced 475 million pounds of milk during July, up 4.4 percent from a year ago, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician of the USDA, NASS, Ohio Field Office. Production per cow in Ohio averaged 1,870 pounds for July, 50 pounds above July 2019. The dairy herd was estimated at 254,000 head for July, up 4,000 head from a year earlier.
Milk production in the 24 major States during July totaled 17.8 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from July 2019. June revised production, at 17.5 billion pounds, was up 0.8 percent from June 2019. The June revision represented an increase of 59 million pounds or 0.3 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate. Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,016 pounds for July, 19 pounds above July 2019. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.83 million head, 44,000 head more than July 2019, and 2,000 head more than June 2020.

July 2020 Ohio Agricultural Prices

Ohio July Agricultural Prices published on August 31, 2020

Prices Received by Ohio farmers for the full month of July 2020 are listed in the table in the link provided above.
Some Ohio highlights were: July corn, at $3.47 per bushel, decreased $0.07 from June and decreased $1.12 from last year; July soybeans, at $8.95 per bushel, increased $0.13 from last month and increased $0.30 from last year; July wheat, at $5.17 per bushel, increased $0.10 from June but decreased $0.04 from last year; July milk, at $18.70 per cwt., increased $1.80 from last month and increased $0.30 from last year.

The July Prices Received Index 2011 Base (Agricultural Production), at 87.4, decreased 2.0 percent from June and 4.3 percent from July 2019. At 90.0, the Crop Production Index was down 2.0 percent from last month but up 0.9 percent from the previous year. The Livestock Production Index, at 84.5, decreased 2.5 percent from June, and 9.8 percent from July last year. Producers received higher prices during July for milk, market eggs, potatoes, and corn but lower prices for cattle, broilers, hogs, and oranges. In addition to prices, the indexes are influenced by the volume change of the commodities producers market. In July, there was increased monthly movement for grapes, wheat, hay, and tomatoes and decreased marketing of milk, oranges, cattle, and strawberries.

Farm Bill Reminders and Deadlines

Two Quick reminders and deadlines:

  • Producers who wish to update their FSA farm yield have until September 30, 2020, to do so. A tool to determine if a producer might want to update their PLC yields is available at https://aede.osu.edu/research/osu-farm-management/2018-farm-bill/arcplc-decision-aid-tools
  • Enrollment and Election for the 2021 program year will start October 1, 2020, and end March 15, 2021. OSU Decision aides will be updated once we have annual trend yield values for historical ARC-CO yields matching the program year 2021.