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

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. 

Eligibility  

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 (https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app) to locate your nearest FSA office. 

These OSU Extension resources may be of interest: 

 https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/sag-3  

 https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-34  

For Ohio-specific information about the organic certification process, consult the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association: https://certification.oeffa.org/ 

 

Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County 

 

Fruit and Vegetable Crop Walk

Hardin County – There is a segment of agriculture in southeastern Hardin County that specializes in commercial fruit and vegetable production. Hardin County is also home to the Scioto Valley Produce Auction near Mt. Victory where much of this produce is sold. Hardin County OSU Extension has planned a Fruit and Vegetable Crop Walk program on Tuesday, August 2 from 6:00-8:00 pm to help with fruit and vegetable production issues. The location of the program will be on a produce farm at 15237 County Road 209, Kenton. It is open to all fruit and vegetable producers, whether they are commercial or home gardeners.

OSU Extension Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Jim Jasinski will provide information on using IPM techniques to control pests with produce. Ashley Leach, OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor of Entomology will provide an update on specialty crops insects. Gary Gao, OSU Extension Small Fruit Production Specialist will provide information on growing grapes and raspberries. Brad Bergefurd, Technical Specialty Crop Agronomist, Brandt Discovery and Innovation will provide an update for growers on vegetable production fertility. Hardin County OSU Extension Educator Mark Badertscher will provide information about Driftwatch; a voluntary communication tool that enables crop producers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators to work together to protect specialty crops and apiaries through use of mapping programs.

The program will be held outside so bring your lawn chair and umbrella in case of rain. There will be a diagnostic table so be sure to bring along any weeds, plant nutrition problems, plant diseases, and insect specimens in a sealed plastic bag for questions and answers. The program will conclude with a walk through a produce field, pointing out fruit and vegetable issues and steps to properly manage them. There is no cost to attend this event.

Farm Pesticide Disposal Dates

The ODA has announced the 2022 pesticide disposal dates and locations for farmers.

“The program assists farmers with a free of charge, safe, and environmentally responsible disposal of unusable, outdated pesticides. No household or non-farm pesticides are accepted, nor are pesticides accepted from commercial companies.”

For more information see the link:  https://agri.ohio.gov/divisions/plant-health/pesticides/disposal

Ticks and tick-vectored diseases are major concerns

Ticks and tick-vectored diseases are major concerns to humans, companion animals, and livestock in Ohio.  We have gone from one medically important tick twenty years ago in Ohio to five now, adding two in the past couple of years.

There is also a new fact sheet on the Asian Longhorned tick that can supplement this programming.

Farm Office Live – April Edition

The Farm Office Team will be back on April 22nd at 10 AM, for the next installment of Farm Office Live.  A look at what you can expect from April’s Farm Office Live includes:

  • State and Federal Legislation Update
  • LLC Liability Protection Review
  • 2021 Midwest Farm Performance Preview
  • Fertilizer and Crop Budgets Update
  • FSA Program Updates
  • Ohio General Assembly Website Tour

The Farm Office Team provides the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis, and other issues dealt with in your farm office.  Targeted to farmers and agribusiness stakeholders, our specialists digest the latest news and information and present it in an easy-to-understand format.

To register, please visit https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training

The Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Clermont County OSU Extension Office is announcing a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training to be held on 3/16/2022 at the OSU Extension Clermont County Office, 1000 Locust St, Owensville, OH 45160.

The training will be one day starting at 9 AM. There is no cost for Ohio produce growers. There will be an hour allotted for lunch; however, it’s not provided due to grant funding restrictions.

The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) which states ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

The course will cover basic produce safety; worker health, hygiene, and training; soil amendments; wildlife, domesticated animals, and land use; agricultural water (both production and postharvest); postharvest handling and sanitation; and developing a farm food safety plan. As a participant you can expect to gain a basic understanding of microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm; how to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks; how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm; parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one; and requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them. There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.

To receive a completion certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course.

To register for a course, contact Matt at (614)600-4272. Please leave your name, mailing address, and a phone number contact in the voicemail. We will contact you to confirm your registration.