Ohio’s farm crisis: Why leaving a field unplanted can hurt it

Some 1.5 million acres of Ohio’s farm fields—an area twice the size of Rhode Island—didn’t have any corn, soybeans, or other cash crops planted on them this year. Reason: Record spring rain made the ground too wet to plant. Now those fields are at risk of problems from something called fallow syndrome, which is caused by the loss of crop-friendly microbes that live—or lived—in the fields’ soils.

Experts from CFAES explain. (Photo: Getty Images.)

Ohio’s farm crisis: Flooding-tolerant forages?

A talk set for next week’s Farm Science Review will feature alternative forage plants that tolerate flooding and drought.

Why it’s important: Ohio’s hay supply for livestock is currently extremely low due to spring’s excessive rainfall. Growing flooding-tolerant forages to feed livestock could limit the risk from such rain in the future. (Photo: Tall fescue, James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.)

Ohio’s farm crisis: Crop diseases a threat

CFAES experts say late-planted corn and soybeans could be vulnerable to higher than normal crop disease levels this year. So farmers should stay on guard.

Record rain this spring forced many Ohio farmers to plant their crops late. A CFAES website offers help for farmers in dealing with the impacts of that rain. (Photo: Soybeans, Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

Ohio’s farm crisis: Disaster aid levels still uncertain

The disaster declaration for nearly half of Ohio’s 88 counties extends low-interest loans to farmers. But CFAES experts say many growers are hoping for changes that could offer more financial help.

Further details on Ohio’s rain-caused farm crisis can be found on CFAES’ frequently updated Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges website.

Ohio’s farm crisis: New website gives help

CFAES recently launched a new website for farmers hit by Ohio’s record rain. Called “Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges,” the site gives help on topics related to the ongoing rain-caused farming crisis—from prevented planting to crop insurance to managing stress and more.

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Ohio’s farm crisis is visible from space

Ohio’s unplanted, late-planted, and drowned farm fields, along with those present throughout the Midwest, are actually visible from space, according to a July 2 Washington Post story that interviewed, among others, CFAES soybean expert Laura Lindsey. As seen by satellite, the story says, the region’s beleaguered fields are “more brown belt than farm belt.”

“Right now, farmer stress levels are really high,” Lindsey is quoted as saying in the story. “Farmers are worried about losing their farms.”

CFAES’s “Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges” website, launched in response to Ohio’s record rain, offers resources to help those farmers.

Ohio’s farm crisis: ‘Climate Smart’ conference is Thursday

A reminder that CFAES’ Climate Smart: Farming with Weather Extremes conference is this Thursday, July 18, in Plain City, northwest of Columbus. The event will look at what farmers can do to adapt to weather and climate changes.

Aaron Wilson, CFAES climate specialist and a speaker at the event, says “the idea is to get people to start thinking about building resilience to the changes we see.”

Admission to the conference is free and open to the public, but the deadline, unfortunately, has passed for reserving lunch.

Read CFAES’ press release about the conference.

Ohio’s farm crisis: What farmers can do to deal with extreme weather

What can Ohio farmers do about the state’s recent record rainfall? How can they handle prevented planting and other issues caused by that rain? Going forward, how can they help their farms adapt to our wetter, warming world? Those and other questions will be answered at Climate Smart: Farming with Weather Extremes, a conference set for Thursday, July 18, in Plain City.

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Ohio’s farm crisis: What to do about prevented planting

An event offered twice on Wednesday, July 3, will help farmers decide what to do if rain has kept them from planting their crops. The issue is becoming a crisis: The past 12 months have been the wettest on record in Ohio, and due to the rain and muddy fields, many corn and soybean growers haven’t planted this year’s crops yet; they might not be able to plant them at all.

The event, called Managing Prevented Planting Acres, will share details on considerations including crop insurance, weed control, forage production, and cover crops. Experts from CFAES will serve as the featured speakers. The event is set for 9 a.m. to noon in Paulding and 2–5 p.m. in Bryan. The agenda is the same at both locations. Admission is free and open to the public.

Find further details. (Photo: Getty Images.)