Agricultural news briefs

Staff Reports

USDA Gathering New Data on Organic Agriculture Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. This effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the United States.

Ag coalition reminds applicators they must be certified by Sept. 30, 2017

REYNOLDSBURG – A strong coalition consisting of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), The Ohio State University and several state agricultural organizations* are encouraging farmers to attend training courses for the Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification Program.

Signed into law by Governor John R. Kasich in May 2014, Ohio Senate Bill 150 created a first of its kind certification program for applying commercial fertilizer in Ohio. Focusing on science-based practices, the bill requires farmers applying commercial fertilizer to more than 50 acres to attend a course on fertilizer application. Applicators must be certified no later than September 30, 2017.

“As farmers look for training opportunities we would encourage them to become certified through our program as soon as possible,” said ODA Director David T. Daniels. “While they can’t plant in the winter, they can learn about the numerous practices that will save them money while improving water quality. Nearly every farmer who takes the training says they learned something, so I ask producers what are they waiting for?”

OSU Extension will hold numerous training sessions across all regions of the state this winter. The training sessions focus on best management practices and the latest research to keep nutrients in the field and available to crops while reducing nutrients leaving the field. To date nearly 12,000 farmers have become certified through the program.

“We are looking forward to seeing Ohio farmers at our nutrient application trainings this year,” said Roger Rennekamp, director of Ohio State University Extension. “There are hundreds of workshops scheduled, and we’ll be sharing the latest research-based information on how to get the most out of fertilizer applications. Farmers want to prevent nutrient run-off as much as anyone, for economic and environmental reasons.”

While applicators have until Sept. 30 to become certified, the majority of training sessions for certification will occur in the winter. ODA will strive to gain voluntary compliance but applying commercial fertilizer after Sept. 30 without a certification could result in fines and/or being charged with a misdemeanor offense.

“Between the law and voluntary efforts, farmers have proven they’re willing to help address Ohio’s water quality challenges,” said Adam Sharp, executive vice president of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “Becoming certified by the deadline is a crucial part of meeting our responsibilities.

For more information on certification training, farmers can visit Once there, farmers can learn more about the training and even sign up for classes in their area.

Agricultural Organizations encouraging farmers to get certified: Ohio Agribusiness Association; Ohio Cattlemen’s Association; Ohio Corn Marketing Program; Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association; Ohio Dairy Producers Association; Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Ohio Farmers Union; Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; Ohio Livestock Coalition; Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association; Ohio Pork Producers Council; Ohio Poultry Association; Ohio Producer Growers & Marketers Association; Ohio Sheep Improvement Association; Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program; Ohio Soybean Association; Ohio Soybean Council

Ohio Volunteer Effort Yields 28,600 Pounds of Produce for Local Communities

Program connects surplus and donated produce from local farmers with food banks and other emergency food providers

Louisville, Ky. – To improve access to locally grown produce for communities in need, more than 10 Farm Credit Mid-America employees in Ohio harvested and packaged more than 28,000 pounds of produce for communities in need during a four-month volunteer effort concluding last December. During the summer, employees volunteered their time as part of a commitment to provide fresh produce to food banks in the four-state area of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, making use of excess and donated produce from area farms. Overall, the effort netted 97,000 pounds of produce for the four-state area.

Farm Credit Mid-America partnered with Ag Clearance Program, a program that directs surplus and donated agricultural products from farmers to food bank distribution centers. From there, the produce makes its way to food kitchens, community churches and other emergency food providers throughout local communities.

“Ag Clearance Program is a home for the produce farmers either donate or cannot sell,” said Mary Courtney, who operates Courtney Farms in Bagdad, Ky. “By participating in this program, we know that we’re providing food to people who need it instead of turning it into compost.”

In Ohio, more than 100 Farm Credit employees volunteered in 10 locations. All told, the volunteers packaged 15,600 pounds of produce and harvested 13,000 pounds of apples.

like this bridge the gap between farmers in our territory and local communities in need,” said Bill Johnson, president and CEO, Farm Credit Mid-America. “Through the combined efforts of farmers, our industry partners and Farm Credit Mid-America we’re making agriculture more accessible to the public while strengthening the communities where we live and work.”

The volunteer effort went beyond connecting excess and donated produce with emergency food providers. In addition to the produce harvested and packaged across the state, volunteers also assembled 2,880 weekend backpacks, distributed 1,700 meal packages and packaged 1,606 boxes of non-perishable food.

For more about the Farms to Food Banks program, visit

About Farm Credit Mid-America

Farm Credit Mid-America is a financial services cooperative, and has served the credit needs of farmers and rural residents across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee for a century. Backed by the strength of over a 100,000 members and $22 billion in assets, Farm Credit Mid-America provides loans for real estate, operating, equipment, housing and related services such as crop insurance, and vehicle, equipment and building leases. For more information, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at

Two inducted into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame at the industry’s annual meeting in Columbus

Kenneth Schuchter and Mark Fisher recognized for their contributions to the Ohio Grape and Wine Industry

Dublin, Ohio — On Monday, February 20, the Ohio Wine Producers inducted two industry stars into the Ohio Wine Hall of Fame.

Kenneth Joseph Schuchter of Valley Vineyards in Morrow joined his father Ken in the then-fledgling family winery in 1981. Through the years, he was involved in all aspects of the family business. In support of the greater industry, he served as a board member then as president of the OWPA. He also was appointed to the Ohio Grape Industries Committee and served on its research committee.

Kenneth is the second in his family to be so honored: his father Ken was inducted into the Hall of Fame more than a decade ago.

Mark Fisher of the Dayton Daily News was the first journalist to be honored as a member of the Hall of Fame. He has worked at the Dayton paper for most of his professional career and was one of the first reporters in the country to establish a wine blog. As a free lance writer he has contributed to numerous regional and national wine related publications. The many articles he has shared about Ohio wines and our winemakers have played, over several decades, an important role in telling the story of Ohio wines to consumers across Ohio and the nation.

The Ohio Wine Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to share with the world the stories of those who have made significant contributions to the growth of the grape and wine industry in our state. The inaugural class included Nicholas Longworth, Robert Gottesman, Dr. Garth Cahoon and Dr. James Gallander. The full stories of both Ken and Mark will be shortly posted and will be found, along with additional information on all of the Hall of Fame inductees at

ADM Now Offers Growers Complimentary Agrible Morning Farm Report Subscription

Champaign, IL, (AgPR), March 2, 2017 — Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Agrible is now offering their farmer customers a complimentary one-year subscription to Agrible’s Morning Farm Report® which provides tools to forecast yields, plan field operations, reduce waste and save money. Morning Farm Report lets growers demonstrate their sustainability practices with industry-approved metrics and, together with Agrible’s technology, gives growers the insights to farm even smarter. Growers who sign up by April 30, 2017, get a second year free courtesy of ADM.

“At ADM, everything we do starts with farmers, and their success is our success,” says Wes Uhlmeyer, president, ADM Grain. “That’s why we are pleased to offer Agrible’s Morning Farm Report. Technology like Morning Farm Report is reshaping how farmers can succeed, and we are excited to help bring more value to our partners.”

“We have an opportunity to work with growers to provide key insights into their production and to help show that sustainability is not just the right thing to do, but that it ultimately makes financial sense for the grower,” says Chris Harbourt, CEO of Agrible. “Together, with partners like ADM, we are redefining the agricultural marketplace and helping to improve the way farmers grow and get their crops to market.”

ADM customers who are interested in participating should contact their ADM representative or visit for a personal promo code to receive their complimentary subscription to Agrible’s Morning Farm Report Grower 2017 AgriBundle®.

ADM and Agrible began working together in 2014 and continue to look for opportunities to bring more value to growers.

About Agrible

At Agrible, we are working to assure the global food supply is sustainably sourced, one field at a time, by connecting growers with partners, optimizing the opportunity for the grower and bringing value to the ingredients supply chain. We forecast the agronomic conditions that impact a range of crops, agricultural operations, and economic decisions. We drive value from big data, innovate within existing production methods, and are the leading source of insights for our agricultural partners. Above all, we value the role of the farmer and work tirelessly to bring the most accurate, practical information to those who need it. Learn more at

About ADM

For more than a century, the people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) have transformed crops into products that serve the vital needs of a growing world. Today, we’re one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, with approximately 32,000 employees serving customers in more than 160 countries. With a global value chain that includes approximately 500 crop procurement locations, 250 ingredient manufacturing facilities, 38 innovation centers and the world’s premier crop transportation network, we connect the harvest to the home, making products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. Learn more at

Finnarn Says CAUV Problem Will Put Farms Out of Business; Adversely Affect School Levies in Rural Areas

COLUMBUS – During proponent testimony for S.B. 36 – a bill that would make minor changes to the state’s formula for valuing farmland – Darke County attorney and Ohio Farmers Union member Ted Finnarn told senators that school funding levies will be nearly impossible to pass in rural Ohio in the coming years.

“In some counties, folks are already organizing and they’re going to vote against all levies, even renewals,” Finnarn said.

“They’re already making the yard signs,” he added.

Finnarn told the Ohio Senate Ways and Means Committee that CAUV – Current Agricultural Use Valuation – has a long and valuable history for agriculture in Ohio. He said that historically low interest rates continue to keep the CAUV formula “out of whack.”

Finnarn, a decades-long member of the Ohio Dept. of Taxation’s Agricultural Advisory Committee told Senators that since CAUV was instituted in the 1970s, the Ohio General Assembly has tweaked the formula at least six times through legislation. He also said that formula has been tweaked through state Tax Dept. authority nearly two dozen times.

“There’s been some scary information put out that school districts are going to lose money,” if S.B. 36 becomes law, Finnarn said.

“We don’t think those reports are accurate,” Finnarn said, adding that as in most every other state budget, the General Assembly will alter the school foundation formula so that public education is not adversely affected by S.B. 36.

The Ohio Livestock Coalition Unveils a New Ohio Livestock Environmental Assurance Program (LEAP) Website

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Livestock Coalition (OLC) today (March 15) announced the launch of the Livestock Environmental Assurance Program (LEAP) website – a voluntary program to help Ohio’s livestock farms take a proactive approach in protecting the land, air and water on and around their farms. The website, available at, helps farmers identify and address key management issues affecting environmental quality by providing helpful evaluation tools and resources.

“In recent years, consumers have voiced concerns about the impact of farming on the environment, which is why all farmers must do their part to make sure they are educated on what needs to be done to protect the state’s streams and waterways,” said Bryan Humphreys, OLC representative. “This program creates a win-win situation for both farmers and consumers, and now farmers across Ohio have easy access to it.”

On the website, viewers can learn:

Best farm management practices for issues, including water quality management, manure and nutrient management and storage, odor management and air quality, pest control, facility management, and more.

Current state and federal regulations for Ohio livestock farms.

Environmental assessment and evaluation tools and other related resources.

The program was founded in 1997, and previously existed only in print. The Ohio Livestock Coalition created and launched the program online to make information more easily accessible to farmers throughout the state of Ohio.

LEAP is coordinated by OLC in cooperation with The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and various commodity and farm organizations.

LEAP is a voluntary program available to all Ohio livestock farmers who are looking to take a proactive approach in protecting Ohio farm lands and creating an environment in which Ohio’s farm community can prosper and grow.

For more information about the LEAP program, visit the website at

The OLC, formed in 1997, is a statewide trade organization consisting of diverse agriculture organizations and individual farmers committed to advancing environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically viable livestock farming practices.

Cracks Can Cause Hazards in Trees

Inspection from industry certified arborists can prevent severe property damage

Tree failure is a major cause of property damage, especially after high-winds. If the wind is strong enough, even healthy trees can be uprooted or broken. But it might not take a storm or high winds to cause a cracked or rotted tree to fail under its own weight.

“Homeowners worried about trees falling and damaging property should call a qualified arborist for an on-site inspection,” advises Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Andersen notes that trees are genetically designed to withstand storms, but all trees can fail – and defective trees fail sooner than healthy trees.

“To a professional arborist,” notes Andersen, “certain defects are indicators that a tree has an increased potential to fail.”

Cracks in tree trunks can be one of the major indicators of an unstable tree. Most cracks are caused by improper closure of wounds or by the splitting of weak branch unions. They can be found in branches, stems or roots, and vary in type and severity:

There are horizontal and vertical cracks. Horizontal cracks run across the grain of the wood and develop just before the tree fails, making them very difficult to detect. Vertical cracks run with the wood grain along the length of the tree and may appear as shear or ribbed cracks.

Shear cracks can run completely through the stem and separate it into two halves. As the tree bends and sways in the wind, one half of the stem slides over the other, elongating the crack. Eventually the enlarging crack causes the two halves of the stem to shear apart.

Ribbed cracks are created as the tree attempts to seal over a wound. Margins of the crack meet and mesh but are reopened due to tree movement or extremely cold temperatures. Thicker annual rings are created in order to stabilize the developing crack at the location of the wound. This forms the ribbed appearance over a period of many years.

These cracks put a tree at high risk of failure, and are especially dangerous when combined with other defects or with advanced decay.

A qualified arborist can determine the potential for failure by measuring the shell thickness in a few locations around the tree’s circumference, determining the width of the crack opening, and looking for the presence of any other type of defect.

What is the risk?

Cracks are hazardous because they compromise the structure of the tree. They can eventually split the stem in two, and are very dangerous when combined with internal decay. The presence of multiple cracks and decay indicates a potentially hazardous tree.

Find a Professional

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best care for your trees. Contact the Tree Care Industry Association, a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture since 1938. TCIA has more than 2,300 member tree care firms and affiliated companies who recognize stringent safety and performance standards and who are required to carry liability insurance. TCIA also has the nation’s only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. For more, visit or

An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the “Locate Your Local TCIA Member Companies” program. You can use this service by calling 1-800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP Code search on

*Board Certified Master Arborist, Certified Treecare Safety Professional

Individuals have until May 17, 2017 to nominate families for ODA conservation Farm Family Awards

REYNOLDSBURG – The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is accepting nominations to honor Ohio farm families who are leaders in conservation for the 2017 Conservation Farm Family Awards. The Conservation Farm Family Award program has recognized Ohio farm families since 1984 for their efforts in managing natural and human resources while meeting both production and conservation goals.

“Conservation practices are paramount to Ohio farmers in preserving our resources for future generations,” said ODA Director David T. Daniels. “With these awards, we are able to recognize farmers who have taken extra steps toward protecting the land using conservation practices they have implemented on their own farms.”

Five area finalists will be selected from across the state and will be recognized at the annual Farm Science Review in September. They will also receive a $400 award, courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and be featured in the September issue of Ohio Farmer Magazine. The following photograph is from the 2016 ceremony.

Individual farmers, partnerships or family farm corporations are eligible for nomination, provided a substantial portion of their income is derived from farming. The judging is based on the nominee’s use of new and traditional conservation techniques, comprehensive management, individual initiative in applying conservation measures and the nominee’s willingness to share conservation information, experiences and philosophy with others.

Nomination forms can be obtained from local county soil and water conservation districts or by visiting ODA’s website at The forms can be submitted by email to or by mail to Conservation Farm Family Award, C/O Ohio Department of Agriculture 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43608. The forms must be returned by Wednesday, May 17.

The awards program is sponsored by the ODA Division of Soil and Water Conservation, Ohio Farmer magazine, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Staff Reports

USDA Gathering New Data on Organic Agriculture Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. This effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the United States.