House Agriculture Committee Reviews the Farm Credit System

Today the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to review the Farm Credit System (FCS). Members of the committee heard from representatives of the Farm Credit Administration as well as representatives from institutions that provide credit. The hearing highlighted the century-long mission of FCS to provide credit to rural communities in both good times and bad, and it reviewed the overall health of the system.

Congress established the FCS in the Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916 at a time when credit was largely unavailable or unaffordable in rural areas, and lenders avoided agricultural loans due to their associated risks. The FCS was created to provide a permanent, reliable source of credit to American agriculture.

“Modern agriculture is far more complex than it was 100 years ago. With advances in agricultural technology, increasing global competition, rising input costs, and greater regulatory burdens, U.S. producers require more capital to keep their businesses afloat. That’s why it is so essential that farmers and ranchers across the country have access to reliable sources of credit. FCS has long played a crucial role in meeting that need, and I am confident that it will continue to do so for years to come,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway.

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Chairman Conaway’s opening statement  and the archived webcast.

Witness List:
Mr. Dallas P. Tonsager, Chairman and CEO, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA

Mr. Jeffery S. Hall, Member of the Board, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA

Mr. James Dodson, Chairman, Farm Credit Bank of Texas Board of Directors, Robstown, TX

Mr. Doug Stark, President and Chief Executive Officer, Farm Credit Services of-America, Omaha, NE

Mr. Tom Halverson, Chief Executive Officer, CoBank, Denver, CO

Ohio Legislature is Set to Reconsider CAUV Bill: Chris Hogan, Law Fellow, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

The Ohio Legislature is once again considering a bill regarding Ohio’s current agricultural use valuation (CAUV) program. CAUV permits land to be valued at its agricultural value rather than the land’s market or “highest and best use” value. Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) introduced SB 36 on February 7, 2017. The bill would alter the capitalization rate used to calculate agricultural land value and the valuation of land used for conservation practices or programs. The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee.

The content of SB 36 closely mirrors the language of a bill meant to address CAUV from the last legislative session: SB 246. Introduced during the 131st General Assembly, SB 246 failed to pass into law. SB 246 proposed alterations to the CAUV formula which are identical to those proposed by the current bill: SB 36. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s report on SB 246, the bill would have proposed changes that would have led to a “downward effect on the taxable value of CAUV farmland.” The likely effect for Ohio farmers enrolled in CAUV would have been a lower tax bill.

Due to the similarity between the two bills, the potential impacts of SB 36 on the CAUV program will likely be comparable to those of the previous bill. The proposed adjustment of the capitalization rate is likely to reduce the tax bill for farmers enrolled in CAUV. More specifically, the bill proposes several changes to the CAUV formula:

  • States additional factors to include in the rules that prescribe CAUV calculation methods. Currently, the rules must consider the productivity of the soil under normal management practices, the average price patterns of the crops and products produced to determine the income potential to be capitalized and the market value of the land for agricultural use. The proposed legislation adds two new factors: typical cropping and land use patterns and typical production costs.
  • Clarifies that when determining the capitalization rate used in the CAUV formula, the tax commissioner cannot use a method that includes the buildup of equity or appreciation.
  • Requires the tax commissioner to add a tax additur to the overall capitalization rate, and that the sum of the capitalization rate and tax additur “shall represent as nearly as possible the rate of return a prudent investor would expect from an average or typical farm in this state considering only agricultural factors.”
  • Requires the commissioner to annually determine the overall capitalization rate, tax additur, agricultural land capitalization rate and the individual components used in computing those amounts and to publish the amounts with the annual publication of the per-acre agricultural use values for each soil type.

To remove disincentives for landowners who engage in conservation practices yet pay CAUV taxes at the same rate as if the land was in production, the proposed legislation:

  • Requires that the land in conservation practices or devoted to a land retirement or conservation program as of the first day of a tax year be valued at the lowest valued of all soil types listed in the tax commissioner’s annual publication of per-acre agricultural use values for each soil type in the state.
  • Provides for recalculation of the CAUV rate if the land ceases to be used for conservation within three years of its original certification for the reduced rate, and requires the auditor to levy a charge for the difference on the landowner who ceased the conservation practice or participation in the conservation program.

To read SB 36, visit this page. For more information on previous CAUV bills, see our previous blog post.

Family and Consumer Sciences Educator position open in Union County.

The Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) in Union County, will provide overall leadership to FCS programming targeted to local and area needs; work collaboratively with the team of Extension professionals to provide FCS programming within the Top of Ohio Extension Education and Research Area (EERA); give leadership to proactive program development in the broad areas of FCS including health, food and nutrition, consumer sciences including financial education, and human and family development and relationships; collaborate with appropriate agencies and organizations to provide proactive educational programming for individuals, families, agencies, organizations, and businesses; utilize formal and non-formal needs assessment techniques and secondary data to identify and prioritize needs and measure impacts of programming; network and collaborate with other agencies, organizations, and individuals in the community, area, and state; convene advisory committee(s) composed of community leaders and program users to assist in assessing needs and evaluating outcomes; deliver recommendations and education using the latest research-based information; conduct applied research as needed to expand the knowledge base and develop educational publications.

Position is located in Marysville, Ohio



Last year, wheat winter progressed quicker than usual due to warm temperatures. In our Pickaway County trials in 2016, wheat reached Feekes growth stage 6.0 by April 6. This year, with unusually warm temperatures, we may see something similar. Don’t rely on calendar date. Check your fields for growth stage.

Freezes can be a concern when wheat progresses earlier in the spring. Last year, we evaluated winter wheat freeze damage at several growth stages. At Feekes growth stage 5.0, very little to no injury was observed at temperatures as low as 14°F. At Feekes 6.0 (jointing), wheat plants were sensitive to temperatures of 24°F and lower. We are continuing our wheat freeze work this spring.

Feekes 5.0: Leaf sheaths are strongly erect. Plants will have an upright appearance, but the growing point is still below the soil surface.

Feekes 6.0: Prior to Feekes 6.0, the nodes are all formed but sandwiched together so that they are not readily distinguishable. At 6.0, the first node is swollen and appears above the soil surface. This stage is commonly referred to as “jointing.” Above this node is the head or spike, which is being pushed upwards eventually from the boot. The spike at this stage is fully differentiated, containing future spikelets and florets.

By Feekes 6.0, essentially all weed-control applications have been made. Do not apply phenoxy herbicides such as 2,4-D, Banvel, or MCPA after Feekes 6.0, as these materials can be translocated into the developing head, causing sterility or distortion. Sufonyl-urea herbicides are safe at this growth stage, but for practical reasons, weed control should have been completed by now. Small grains can still show good response to N topdressed at this time.

To identify Feekes 6.0 growth stage:

1- Pull, or better yet, dig up, several clusters of tillers with roots and soil from multiple locations in the field;

2- Identify and select three to four primary tillers from each cluster – usually the largest tillers with the thickest stem, but size can be deceiving;

3- Strip away and remove all the lower leaves (usually small and yellowish or dead leaves), exposing the base of the stem;

4- Now look for the first node anywhere between 1 and 2 inches above the base of the stem. This node is usually seen as a slightly swollen area of a slightly different (darker) shade of green than the rest of the stem. If the first node (and only that node) is seen at the base of the stem, then your wheat is at Feekes growth stage 6.

Here is a video showing how to identify Feekes 6.0 growth stage:


This is the beginning of the new Union County Agriculture and Natural Resources blog.