U.S. Dept. of Agriculture information
WASHINGTON, D.C — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers that the 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA service center by June 1 in order to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support.
Most farmers already have a certification form on file since it’s required for participation in most USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance. However farmers, such as specialty crop growers who receive federal crop insurance premium support, but may not participate in other USDA programs, also must now file a certification form to maintain their crop insurance premium support.
“USDA employees are working very hard to get the word out about this new Farm Bill provision,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “While many producers will not need to take action, we want to help make sure that those who are required to act do so by the June 1 deadline. We want all eligible producers to be able to maintain their ability to protect their operations with affordable insurance.”
Producers should visit their local USDA service center and talk with their crop insurance agent before the June 1 deadline to ask questions, get additional information or learn more about conservation compliance procedures. Producers that file their form by the deadline will be eligible for federal crop insurance premium support during the 2016 reinsurance year, which begins July 1. USDA will publish a rule outlining the linkage of conservation compliance with federal crop insurance premium support. Go to http://go.usa.gov/3Wy5J to view a copy of the rule.
The Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form is available at local USDA service center or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/AD1026form. When a farmer completes this form, USDA Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff will outline any additional actions that may be required for compliance with highly erodible land and wetland provisions. USDA’s Risk Management Agency, through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, manages the federal crop insurance program that provides the modern farm safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers.
The announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has implemented many provisions of this critical legislation, providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
Ag Credit information
FOSTORIA — Ag Credit CEO Brian Ricker recently announced the member-owned cooperative had record net earnings of $51.5 million in 2014.
“The success of our members has a direct link to the financial success of Ag Credit,” Ricker said. “Our funding bank, AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, also had another excellent year and Ag Credit received patronage because of our cooperative’s relationship with AgFirst.
In early April, the association will distribute over $20 million in total patronage refunds, which includes the added bonus patronage as a result of AgFirst’s special distribution. Each year for the past 18 years, a portion of the patronage was allocated for future distribution, but this year dividends are being paid 100 percent in cash.
The board and management believe an all-cash distribution is in the best interest of Ag Credit members and the cooperative because Ag Credit is well capitalized and paying all cash will allow the cooperative to structure capital in the most effective way.
“Patronage is just one of the many benefits of doing business with a cooperative like Ag Credit,” Ricker added. “We are pleased to return profits to our members for the 28th consecutive year.”
More than 6,300 checks will be distributed to farmers and other borrowers in northwest and north central Ohio. The refunds amount to 31 cents on every dollar of loan interest accrued last year. Since 1987, Ag Credit has returned more than $209 million to borrowers in patronage refunds.
Ohio Dept. of Health information
REYNOLDSBURG — Following recent announcements confirming the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI H5) in commercial turkey flocks in the Mississippi migratory bird flyway, State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey is urging Ohio poultry owners to take extra precautions and to monitor their birds for signs of illness.
The recommendations are given out of an abundance of caution as there have been no detections in Ohio and no human infections are associated with these viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low.
“We have not had any suspect cases in Ohio, but because we are also located within the Mississippi flyway, we want poultry owners to be aware and to take proper precautions,” said Dr. Forshey. “Whether you have a fair project, a backyard flock, or are a commercial producer, you should practice good biosecurity measures and monitor the health of your birds closely, especially if they could come into contact with wild birds or are traveling this spring to poultry shows.”
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) first confirmed HPAI H5 in the Pacific migratory bird flyway, in wild birds and poultry flocks in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, beginning in late 2014. The recent announcements of positives in commercial turkey flocks in Arkansas, Minnesota and Missouri, all located within the Mississippi flyway, indicate that migratory birds may be carrying the virus east of the Mississippi River. Ohio is located within the Mississippi flyway.
“It is important to remember there have been no human infections associated with these viruses,” added Dr. Forshey. “It is perfectly safe to keep eating poultry and eggs. Cooking poultry, including game birds, to the proper temperature and preventing cross contamination between raw and cooked food is always recommended to protect against viruses and bacteria.”
Biosecurity recommendations for poultry owners
All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to their veterinarian immediately.
Good biosecurity practices for poultry owners include the following:
- Monitor flocks for unusual signs of illness such as “snicking” (sneezing,) a 1 percent or more decrease in egg production, or an increase in mortality. Other signs to look for are wheezing, lethargy, and depression.
- Practice personal biosecurity and avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.
- Keep unauthorized visitors from having contact with poultry, a good practice whether there is a disease threat or not. Authorized persons should be required to wear protective clothing and shoes before entering a commercial poultry house.
- Avoid contact between domestic birds and wild birds whenever possible due to the likely migratory nature of HPAI H5. These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick.
- Clean and disinfect farm vehicles or equipment before moving them on and off property. If traveling with birds to a poultry show this spring, Dr. Forshey recommends taking extra care to keep transport and housing areas clean, minimize opportunities for birds to co‐mingle and quarantine birds for at least 21 days before reintroducing them to a flock. Sick birds or unusual bird deaths should also be immediately reported to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health at 614.728.6220 or through USDA APHIS’s toll‐free number at 866.536.7593.
Additional information on biosecurity from USDA APHIS for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov or by visiting www.ohioagriculture.gov. The Ohio Department of Agriculture works closely with the state’s poultry producers and USDA APHIS to closely monitor the health of poultry in the state. Detailed plans and protocols are in place to allow for a quick and coordinated response in the event of an avian influenza detection in Ohio.
National FFA information
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — A team of four Crestview FFA members finished in the top 10 of the National FFA Farm Business Management Career Development Event.
The local FFA members, Layken Klinger, Hannah Leary, Olivia Leary and Lauren Schmid, finished in eighth place in the national event. Winners were announced recently at the annual awards banquet held in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Crestview team was also listed as a “Gold Emblem” team, while three of the four team members – Klinger, and both Learys – were listed as “Gold Emblem” individuals. Schmid received “Silver Emblem” recognition.
“Feeding some nine billion people by mid-century brings with it unprecedented challenges for today’s farmers,” said Amy Allen, manager of national corporate contributions for the FFA. “Farm business management skills will help producers prepare to meet this critical need.”
The National FFA Farm Business Management CDE is designed to test the ability of students to apply economic principles and concepts in analyzing farm and ranch business management decisions. Participants respond to questions concerning economic principles in farm business management, as well as a problem-solving analysis section.
Each team in the event has competed with other chapters in their state for the privilege of participating in the national event.
The event, held at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, is one of many educational activities at the National FFA Convention & Expo in which FFA members practice the lessons learned in agricultural education classes.
The national FFA organization consists of 610,240 student members as part of 7,665 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The national FFA organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs.
For more information on the national FFA organization, visit the FFA website at www.ffa.org, or find the organization on Facebook, Twitter and the official national FFA organization blog.
OSU Extension information
The Ohio State University Extension is honoring 100 women in agriculture as part of OSU Extension’s centennial anniversary celebration. An exhibit honoring the contributions of Ohio women in agriculture was displayed at Farm Science Review at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London on September 16-18.
Extension educators across the state nominated women throughout agriculture including production agriculture and agribusiness, representing the variety of roles women play in the field of agriculture. The Van Wert County OSU Extension is very proud to recognize two of Van Wert County’s “Women in Agriculture,” Kendra Heffelfinger and Robin Schumm.
Kendra Heffelfinger grew up enthralled with the Chicago Board of Trade. This ultimately led to her passion for agriculture and FFA opened the door to her education. She majored in agricultural economics. After graduating from The Ohio State University she took a position at a local elevator, then became an organization director for The Ohio Farm Bureau. After nine years there, she began working for Ag Credit as an account officer and is now serving as manager of the Van Wert branch. Kendra has served on the OSU Extension Advisory Committee, Van Wert County 4-H Endowment Board, SWCD Nominating Committee, as a 4-H advisor and as member of the Farmers ”R” Us Farm Bureau Council. Kendra is married to Mike Heffelfinger and helps support him on Heffelfinger Farms.
Kendra’s advice to future generations of women in agriculture: “Be passionate. Be bold. Be diligent in sharing agriculture’s story. It is a great industry to be a part of, work in and raise a family with. There is no one better to tell agriculture’s story than those who are a part of it everyday. Be a champion not only for the industry, but for your family, your farm.”
Robin’s involvement in agriculture began growing up on a grain farm. At a young age she helped with the planting and hauling/dumping grain. In 1993, she married Michael Schumm, starting our part of his family’s farm operations. She helps on the farm with milking; she manages their 2,400-head contract hog-finishing barn, and helps with chores for their farrow to finish hog operation, small layer chicken coop and beef cattle. She also handles the farm record keeping. She is a 20-plus year 4-H advisor, served on 4-H council, and the Van Wert Co Farm Bureau board. Through these organizations she has helped with Cows and Plows, ag in the classroom, hosted farm tours and library presentations.
Her advice to future generations of women in agriculture: “I would tell young women to be determined and persevere. I work with seven men and it is still hard breaking the barriers of women working in the agriculture arena, especially with the older generations. I would tell them that size and physical strength can be overcome by working smart. Think a situation through before giving in. It is wonderful, demanding, never ending work, but, gratifying when it all comes together.”
Ohio Dept. of Agriculture information
REYNOLDSBURG — Ohio Department of Agriculture State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey has confirmed at least four cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in horses in Ashtabula and Trumbull counties and is urging horse owners to contact their veterinarian to ensure the animal’s EEE vaccine and boosters are up to date.
“The most effective way to prevent EEE in horses is to have the animal vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian,” said Dr. Forshey. “Taking steps to manage the mosquito population, such as eliminating standing water, will also aid in the prevention of EEE and other vector-borne viruses that cause illness in horses and in people.”
The virus responsible for EEE is transmitted to horses by mosquitoes and attacks the animal’s central nervous system. In horses, onset is abrupt and usually fatal. Symptoms include unsteadiness, erratic behavior, a marked loss of coordination and seizures. Horses are particularly susceptible but the virus can also cause serious illness in people, as well as other animals such as poultry and deer.
Because EEE can also be transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes, animals sick from EEE are a sign that people should also take steps to guard themselves against mosquitoes by applying repellent and wearing protective clothing. The disease is very rare in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. There are no confirmed human cases associated with this outbreak in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is working with the Ohio Department of Health and local health officials to monitor the outbreak. Suspect horse cases should be reported to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Citizens who are concerned about an illness should contact their physician.
For more information on EEE, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/EasternEquineEncephalitis/gen/qa.html
FOSTORIA — The Board of Directors of Ag Credit, ACA, recently approved the redemption of the 2008 Nonqualified Allocated Surplus (NQAS) in the amount of $6.78 million. This distribution is consistent with the board’s plans to maintain a strong capital position for the association, yet return profits to its members in a timely manner.
This patronage distribution is possible due to the cooperative’s continued strong financial performance and the ongoing support of each of its member-borrowers. This action by the board brings the total cash patronage returned to member-owners of Ag Credit during 2014 to $20.47 million — the largest total distribution in Ag Credit’s history.
Retirement of this Nonqualified Allocated Surplus is significant because:
This allocation reduces borrowers net cost of borrowing from Ag Credit below the competitive market rate we charge up front. The low up-front rates, coupled with the profits returned as patronage, result in a low cost source of financing.
The distribution of this allocation indicates Ag Credit is financially strong. The Board approved this retirement of Allocated Surplus because the Association has met financial standards deemed appropriate by the Board as well as applicable regulatory standards.
Ag Credit is proud to be able to return this allocation to its members. The cooperative has declared $189.8 million of patronage over the past 27 years.
About Ag Credit – Ag Credit/Country Mortgages takes pride in financing the growth of rural America including the special needs of young, beginning and minority producers. With more than 6,900 customers and $1.45 billion of assets, Ag Credit is one of the region’s leading providers of credit and insurance services to farmers, agribusiness, and rural residents in northern Ohio. Learn more at www.agcredit.net.
Area farmers and landowners are encouraged to participate in a new conservation program that will help to improve water quality in Lake Erie and 5,000 miles of streams by reducing nutrient runoff.
Authorized by Senate Bill 150 that was signed into law by Governor John R. Kasich, the Lake Erie Nutrient Reduction Program (LE NRP) will assist farmers in installing best management practices that keep nutrients on fields, improve water quality and combat harmful algal blooms. The program will be supervised locally by the Van Wert County Soil and Water Conservation District. Working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) through the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative, $1.25 million will be available to producers in 27 Ohio counties. ODNR has already helped farmers implement best management practices on more than 40,000 acres in the Lake Erie watershed.
“Farmers have shown us they’re serious about improving Lake Erie,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “ODNR is pleased to partner with Ohio’s local soil and water conservation districts to get more practices installed as soon as possible.”
We all have a part to play to improve water quality in Lake Erie. The district is excited to use our existing relationships with Ohio’s farmers to improve the health of one of our state’s greatest natural resources.
The LE NRP is a voluntary program that reimburses farmers to plant cover crops or install drainage management devices such as controlled drainage structures or blind tile inlets. In addition to reducing runoff of nutrients and pesticides the practices will allow farmers to manage and maintain the water from their fields after harvest and during the growing season, ultimately enhancing production. Cropland enrolled must be approved by local SWCD technical staff and ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources area engineers.
Counties included in the new program are: Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot. Starting immediately, landowners in these counties can sign up for the program.
ODNR has committed $1.25 million to the program and anticipates planting cover crops on up to 25,000 acres as well as installing more than 300 structures. This funding is in addition to the $3.5 million already appropriated through the Ohio Clean Lakes initiative for best management practices and water quality monitoring.
Advanced Biological Marketing information
Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) announces the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 8,716,001 for a Trichoderma strain that induces resistance to plant diseases and increases plant growth. The patent was issued to Cornell University and ABM has exclusive worldwide rights.
The patent covers the technology that induces gene expression triggers for healthier and more productive plants. The Trichoderma works by first colonizing the crop root system. Its use on the seed allows the plant to grow in a more beneficial manner than it would without the Trichoderma and changes the plant’s physiology without altering its DNA.
This patented strain of Trichoderma offers an all-natural way to improve agricultural production and increase plant yields for crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, forage crops and vegetables. Additional benefits of Trichoderma include:
Greater resistance to plant stresses such as disease and drought
Bigger root systems and plant growth
Better water and fertilizer use efficiency
Increased photosynthesis, which leads to a healthier plant
ABM’s long-standing relationship with Cornell University has allowed the company to develop the technology to isolate and identify specific strains of the best Trichoderma for agriculture products. The technology was developed in cooperation with Professor Emiratis Gary Harman of Cornell University and now ABM’s chief scientific officer. Harman developed the technology to isolate and identify specific strains of beneficial Trichoderma. In this work, many thousands of strains were produced and screened.
“ABM is dedicated to providing farmers with sustainable solutions to improve their agriculture production,” said Dan Custis, ABM CEO. “Our work with Cornell University and the issuance of this patent allows us to continue producing products that offer farmers the most advanced solutions in enhancing plant growth and productivity.”
ABM currently utilizes the patented Trichoderma strain in many their commercial agriculture products. Any product that carries their iGET(TM) technology moniker contains this Trichoderma.
ABM provides solutions for commercial agriculture using biological seed treatments that increase a crop’s potential and yield. Its product line includes biological seed enhancements for corn, soybeans, wheat and many other production crops across the globe. ABM headquarters are in Van Wert, Ohio. For more information, visit www.abm1st.com.
CURTIS E. YOUNG/for the Van Wert independent
Wild parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are currently blooming along field edges and roadways. They share these sites with the poison hemlock, yellow sweet clover and wild carrots (Queen Anne’s lace). Wild parsnip like poison hemlock and wild carrot is a member of the carrot or parsley family of plants (Family Apiaceae). The plants in this family produce flowers in clusters displayed in umbrella-like groups called umbels. Wild parsnip differs from poison hemlock and wild carrot which have white flowers by producing yellow flowers. The whole plant, including the flowers, have a yellow to green-yellow coloration.
Wild parsnip is the same plant as the cultivated, edible parsnip. The wild parsnip has simply escaped cultivation and spread into the roadsides, field edges and other unmaintained areas. Parsnips are biennial plants requiring two years to go to seed. In the first year of their growth, parsnips produce an enlarged, edible taproot. In the second year of their growth, they produce a tall stem (3 – 4′ tall) atop of which they display their umbel flowers and eventually seeds. When raised for consumption, they are harvested in the first year of growth. Those that have escaped cultivation to become wild regularly cycle through their seed production.
The concern with this plant and the reason for writing this article is the plant is armed with a defensive chemical that can be damaging to skin exposed to the juices (sap) of the parsnip. The chemical that is present in the juice of the plant is furanocoumarin. This chemical is photosensitive and reacts when exposed to sunlight (specifically UV light) to produce a condition called phytophotodermatitis. When exposed to sunlight, furanocoumarin produces a type of chemical burn. Depending on how much of the chemical from the plant juices that get onto bare and sunlight exposed skin will determine how serious of a burn that can occur on the skin. Skin exposed to the chemical and sunlight may turn red and burn like a mild sunburn to burn painfully and blister like a severe sunburn with relatively short sunlight exposure times. The skin affected by this reaction will turn dark brown and can remain discolored for two or more years. This could be very embarrassing if the burns occur on the face. The chemical is present even in cultivated parsnips and one should be careful when harvesting parsnips. However, there may be greater potential of coming in contact with large quantities of plant juices when the plant has produced its flowering stalks. Simply walking through a stand of wild parsnip stems can be enough to cause the plant to release sap to get on the skin.
Some people might inadvertently and unknowingly walk through a patch of wild parsnip (e.g., walking alone a roadway, hunting for a lost item suck as a golf ball, entering a crop production field, etc.). People for whom there is a great concern are those who do maintenance work along roads and edges of fields. These people may have greater opportunities to come in contact with wild parsnip. Great care should be taken when using weed trimmers (bladed or string) and power mowers. In either case, great quantities of the plant’s juices will be released as a result of cutting the parsnips. Anyone who has used a weed trimmer knows that eventually different parts of the body will be coated with chewed up plant materials while running the machine. Power mowers can throw clouds of plant juices out of their discharge shoots that the wind can carry back on the mower. In either case, if it were wild parsnips being cut, it could be disastrous to the machine operator. Cleaning these machines after mowing wild parsnips could also be problematic.