The “letter of intent” for solar and wind energy development: considerations for landowners

Solar and wind energy development is thriving in Ohio, and most of that development will occur on leased farmland.  Programs in the newly enacted federal Inflation Reduction Act might amplify renewable energy development even more. The decision to lease land for wind and solar development is an important one for a farmland owner, and one […]

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Landowner crop lease termination deadline is September 1

September 1 is fast approaching, and this year it’s an especially important date for landowners leasing cropland under an existing lease that doesn’t address when or how the lease terminates.  In those situations, September 1 is the new deadline established in Ohio law for a landowner to notify a tenant that the landowner wants to terminate the lease.  If the landowner does not provide notice by September 1, the lease continues for another lease term. Read more of this post

Kitchen Table Conversations at the Farm Science Review

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension’s Ohio Women in Agriculture Program announces opportunities to Learn, Grow, Connect, Inspire and Empower at the 2022 Farm Science Review!

Some of the best conversations and discussions have occurred around the family kitchen table. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, lunch, or snack and join us from our kitchen table or yours to engage in conversations in-person or “virtually” on September 20, 21, and 22, 2022 for “Kitchen Table Conversations” hosted by the Ohio Women in Agriculture of Ohio State University Extension.

These sessions are offered during the Farm Science Review daily from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM. In-person sessions will be located on the north side of the Firebaugh Building at 384 Friday Avenue at our kitchen table. ZOOM session registration is required to participate. Register @

Programs will focus on key topics related to health, marketing, finance, legal, and production for women in agriculture.  Each topic will feature a leading expert and moderators to generate dialogue and empower discussion among participants.  A list of daily topics and leaders is provided below.


When Death Happens- Managing the Farm Without Your Business Partner

Death can change everything, especially your ability to manage the farm without your business partner.  How can you better prepare to manage your farm business without your spouse or sibling?  Learn some strategies that can help you plan for the challenge of managing a farm alone.

SPEAKER: David Marrison, OSU Extension Educator, Coshocton County


Female Farmer Financing Options: Opportunities with USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loans

Come participate in this kitchen table conversation on how you can find unique farmland financing options for females, veterans, and minority farmers. Learn a little bit more about the requirements, normal rates, and roles.

SPEAKER: Eric Richer, OSU Extension Educator, Fulton County


The Devil is in the Details: Communication and Record Keeping for Improving Farm Management

Family farms are only as good as their communication.  A record-keeping system is a valuable form of communication when the level of detail fits the needs of the farm decision-makers.  Useful record keeping can move a farm management team beyond the basic tax return to exploring problem-solving and strengthening the family farm business.

SPEAKER: Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Educator, Defiance County

Your host for the event will be Extension Professionals of the OSU Extension Ohio Women in Agriculture Team. Visit our display inside the Firebaugh Building for additional women in agriculture opportunities.

For more information: Gigi Neal,, 513-732-7070 or Heather Neikirk,, 234-348-6145

Blog site:

Organic Certification Cost Share Available from Farm Service Agency

Have you ever considered transitioning all or part of your dairy or crop enterprise to organic production?  If so, you may be interested in programs available through your local Farm Service Agency (FSA).  These include the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) and the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). 

Organic Certification Cost Share 

The Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers who are obtaining organic certification for the first time or renewing their previous certification. Organic certification is obtained through certifying agents accredited by the USDA National Organic Program. 

This program provides 50 percent of a certified operation’s allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500.  The following categories or “scopes” are included: crops, livestock, wild crops, processing/handling, and organic program fees. Cost share is provided on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funds are obligated.  This program is available until September 30, 2022. 

To be eligible, a producer must have both (1) a valid organic certification for their operation at the time of application and (2) paid fees or expenses related to its initial certification or renewal for certification from a certifying agent.  

Allowable costs under the OCCSP include: 

  • Application fees and administrative fees 
  • Inspection fees, including travel and per diem for organic inspectors 
  • USDA organic certification costs 
  • User fees or sale assessments 
  • Postage 

Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program 

The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) provides financial assistance to producers interested in obtaining or renewing USDA organic certification.  In addition to many acronyms, there are certain terms that producers need to know the definitions.  These include certified operation, educational event, soil testing, micronutrients, transitional operation, and USDA organic certification.  These terms are defined below: 

  • Certified operation – is a crop or livestock production, wild crop harvesting, or handling operation, or portion of such operation, that is certified by an accredited certifying agent. 
  • An educational event – is an event, conference, training program, or workshop, that provides educational content addressing topics related to organic production and handling. 
  • Soil testing – means soil testing to document micronutrient deficiencies. 
  • Micronutrients – can not be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant.  Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed.  Deficiencies must be documented by soil or tissue testing. 
  • Transitional operation – is a crop or livestock production operation that is transitioning to organic production in anticipation of obtaining USDA organic certification and has an organic system plan from a certifying agent. 
  • USDA organic certification – means a determination made by a certifying agent that a production or handling operation is in compliance with the Organic Production Act of 1990. 


To be eligible for OTECP, an applicant must have paid eligible costs during the program year and, at the time of application, be either a certified or a transitional operation.  Expenses that have been incurred during the program year but not paid by the applicant are not eligible for cost-share assistance.  Eligibility for the OTECP is based on the date expenses are paid, rather than on the date the organic certification is effective.  

Eligible Categories 

Certified Organic Operations may have expenses for any combination of the following categories: crops, wild crops, livestock, handling/processing, program fees, soil testing, and educational events. 

Transitional Organic Operations may have expenses for any combination of transitional operation, soil testing, and educational events. 

Payment Amounts & Limitations  

Eligible Applicants  Category of Expenses  Payment Amount 
Certified operations  Certification – crops  25%, up to $250 
Certified operations  Certification – livestock  25%, up to $250 
Certified operations  Certification – wild crops  25%, up to $250 
Certified operations  Certification – handling  25%, up to $250 
Certified operations  State Organic Program fees  25%, up to $250 
Transitional Operations  Eligible transitional expenses  75%, up to $750 
Certified & Transitional Operations  Educational event registration fees  75%, up to $100 
Certified & Transitional Operations  Soil testing  75%, up to $150 


Required Documentation 

 In addition to dividing expenses paid by category, applicants self-certify to having either a valid organic certificate or documentation to show a transition to organic.  Applicants must retain documentation in support of their application for three years after the date of approval. 

 Additional Information 

 If you are interested in learning more about this or other Farm Service Agency programs, contact your local FSA office.  Not sure which FSA serves your county?  Use this link ( to locate your nearest FSA office. 

These OSU Extension resources may be of interest:  

For Ohio-specific information about the organic certification process, consult the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association: 


Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County 


Reminder – Pumpkin and Sunflower Field Day – August 25

For over 20 years The Ohio State University has held a pumpkin field day as a source of production and pest management information for both new and experienced growers. This year we will be adding some flair as we begin to tackle the production and pest management issues surrounding the popular trend of sunflower fields for photography and cut flowers as an additional source of revenue on diversified farms. For growers who want to learn about two popular fall attractions, pumpkins and sunflowers, this is a field day that can’t be missed.

Pumpkin and sunflower

The field day will be divided roughly in half, with the first hour focused on sunflower topics ranging from grower experiences in production (Matt Sullivan, grower) to impacts from the ag tourism perspective (Kate Hornyak, OSU). A nine-hybrid sunflower demo strip trial will be in various stages of bloom for attendees to walk through and examine.

The second hour will focus on pumpkin production and pest management, with presentations on managing pollinators in cucurbits (Ashley Leach, OSU), foliar fertilizers and plant nutrition (Bryan Reed, Sunrise), a review of powdery mildew fungicide management followed by a walk through the 24 pumpkin and squash hybrid trial (Jim Jasinski, OSU).

The field day will be held August 25 at the Western Ag Research Station, 7721 S. Charleston Pike, South Charleston Ohio. The field day will begin promptly at 5:30 PM and end at 7:30 PM. Pre-registration is required for attendance and there is a $5 charge per person for handouts and refreshments (and likely a few sunflowers).

Pre-register by Aug. 23 at this link:

More details are listed on the attached flyer.
Pumpkin and Sunflower 2022 Flyer

Alert – Corn Earworm Moth Numbers Running Very High!

On the heels of the VegNet blog article posted a few days ago (, corn earworm flights continue to be very high in southwest Ohio. In the past 10 days, over 1,000 moths have been trapped at the research station in South Charleston, including 424 moths caught from Friday (12th) through Monday (15th).

This pile is what 424 CEW moths looks like.

The Hartstack trap (large metal mesh) used at the research station is placed near fresh silking sweet corn which is very attractive to CEW moths and known to catch more moths than a Heliothis trap (white plastic mesh). Be sure to use the CEW management chart, which is based on the Heliothis trap, when making management decisions. Traps placed away from fresh silking corn will not catch as many moths.

These large moth flights have yet to be recorded in the northern county tier of traps in the network ( Growers who are running Hartstack or Heliothis type traps to manage their insecticide spray intervals are advised to check their traps every few days for the next few weeks.

CEW flights in monitoring network.

Corn Earworm Flight Numbers Spike

Clark County has reported a massive spike in corn earworm (CEW) this week.

386 CEW moths caught during past week.

Other trapping locations have not reported an increase in activity yet ( This annual caterpillar pest of sweet corn and tomato should have growers paying special attention to these crops for infestation, especially during the latter part of the season. Flights of CEW typically increase through the summer as the moth migrates into Ohio from southern states such as Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. The caterpillar stage is known to attack silking corn and tomato fruit, especially when other susceptible hosts are not abundant.

CEW, aka tomato fruitworm, feeding on tomato.

Moths prefer to lay eggs on fresh sweetcorn silk and can hatch and enter the ear tip as quickly as two days under ideal weather conditions, where they are no longer susceptible to insecticide treatments. Treatments for this pest should be made based on number of moths per day and daily temperature threshold of 80F. Use the chart below to determine the recommended number of days between insecticide application to protect sweet corn as it enters silking. Insecticide options can be found in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide, remember to rotate insecticide classes to avoid resistance (

CEW spray interval chart.

Want to learn more about monitoring for CEW? Check out this original video that reviews how to set up a trap to monitor for CEW (

There is also an updated version of how to monitor for several key moths in sweet corn on the OSU IPM YouTube channel

Alert: First Report of Pumpkin Downy Mildew in Ohio and the Great Lakes Region

CDM.ipmpipe map of pumpkin downy mildew reports, August 10, 2022

We have had a confirmed report today from Bill Holdsworth of Rupp Seeds of downy mildew on pumpkins in research plots near Wauseon, Ohio, in Fulton County. This is the first report of downy mildew on pumpkins, not only in Ohio but in the Great Lakes region and in fact a big swath of the Midwest and Northeast

CDM.ipmpipe map of cucumber downy mildew reports, August 10, 2022

(map on left). Compare this to the cucumber downy mildew map on the right, with widespread distribution. As a reminder, these maps are constructed from voluntary reports of downy mildew. The disease is likely more widespread than the maps show. Bill has also seen downy mildew on gourds in the area.

The downy mildew pathogen, Pseudoperonospora cubensis, exists as two clades. Clade 2 is quite specific to cucumbers and melons and tends to circulate early in the Great Lakes region, having possibly overwintered on cucumbers in greenhouses. It also makes its way up the Eastern US from southeastern states. Clade 1 has a broader host range, attacking all cucurbits, and also originates in the Southeast, moving up the through the eastern states. Due to typical wind currents from west to east, we don’t usually see clade 1 outbreaks in the Midwest until mid-August or September, when spores can be carried in storms that are remnants of hurricanes originating in the Southeast. We don’t know with certainty yet if the Fulton County outbreak was caused by clade 1 strains, but this is likely. We hope to conduct molecular tests to confirm the clade in the near future.

Downy mildew symptoms on a pumpkin leaf (top)

Downy mildew symptoms on the underside of a pumpkin leaf.

Downy mildew can be a bit harder to diagnose in pumpkins, squash and other Cucurbita species since the lesions may be smaller and not always crisply angular as in cucumbers. Downy mildew can also cause a lot of damage on pumpkins, squash, gourds and other Cucurbita spp.

Growers should be scouting all cucurbits for symptoms of downy mildew. The best time to do this is in the morning before 9 or 10 am before the lesions dry out and the sporangia disperse. If you find suspicious symptoms you may text me photos of the underside and top of symptomatic leaves (330-466-5249) and/or send us samples for confirmation.

Growers of any cucurbits throughout Ohio should apply appropriate protectant fungicides such as chlorothalanil (e.g. Bravo). Growers in Fulton County should begin a fungicide program with downy mildew-effective fungicides now. See my July 11 post for a list of recommended fungicides.