The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

VW independent/submitted information

4-H grows leaders! Van Wert County is host to a wide variety of clubs that can help local youngsters get there! From learning how to make healthy snacks, bottle rockets, scrapbooking, and fishing there are over 200 project workbooks to choose from. With a diverse variety of clubs there is sure to be one to fit a family’s needs. Take some time to look over this listing and feel free to call an advisor to get started today! 4-H would love to have young people join 4-H- the nation’s largest youth development organization. Learn more at or check out local 4-H on Facebook at

Barnyard Buddies is an all interest 4-H club that meets throughout the year. With many years of experience in all sorts of projects, advisors Kendra Heffelfinger (419.203.9012 or and Robin Schumm (419.203.2656 or can help members be successful with helping members find the right resources to succeed. This club is especially talented with livestock and also selects a club educational activity based on the member’s interests. Their next meeting will be February 18 at Zion Lutheran Church on Schumm Road.

Clever Clovers 4-H Club is an all interest club based in Van Wert. They meet at Van Wert Middle School in Mrs. Thompson’s Healthy Choices Room. The club has a primary focus on non-livestock projects, but all are welcome to join. Marie Markward is the club advisor. She can be reached by calling 419.238.5957 or emailing Clever Clovers 4-H Club’s first meeting will be held February 26, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Harrison Jolly Boosters 4-H Club is a historic club in Van Wert County that celebrates over 100 years of existence. The club meets at the Harrison Township House. Club advisors Mandi Scarlett (419.203.2531 or or Ashley Showalter (567.259.8443 or welcome all types of members, but are especially talented with projects for sheep, turkeys, and natural resources. Projects of all kinds can be found at the Harrison Jolly Boosters Club, which will meet March 11 from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Hoaglin Farmers is the county’s largest 4-H club. It meets on Sundays at 4 pm at Zion Christian United Methodist church. Members take a huge variety of projects, but advisor Beth Evans (419.203.2974 or can especially help with horses, hogs, and other livestock projects. Hoaglin Farmers’ next meeting will be either February 18 or 25. Contact Evans for confirmation.

Jackson Lively is a long-standing club in the county. New advisors Molly and Ernie Welch (419.302.9529 or are working to turn over a new leaf and grow their membership for 2018. Their first meeting will be at 2 p.m. February 25 at the Jackson Township House. Anyone interested should stop by and visit.

Leaders of the Future is an all interest 4-H club. Club advisors Angie Hatfield (419.605.885 or and Jodi Spear (419.203.2321 or have a long history of 4-H experiences both as members and as parents. They can help members with a variety of projects and have one of the largest memberships of Cloverbuds in the county.

Ohio Challengers 4-H Club is Convoy’s biggest 4-H club. With meetings held at Crestview schools (and right after school lets out) the flexibility that advisor Judy Wortman (419.238.9830) provides allows youths to get involved and not stress out over meeting times. Members take lots of projects especially livestock and clothing. During the summer months the club meets at the community building. Their first meeting will be February 21 at Crestview Schools in the study hall.

Ohio City Blue Ribbon Workers is an all interest project club based in Ohio City. It meets on Sundays at 4 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Advisor Brenda DeLong (419.203.3598 or helps members with a variety of projects with her extended knowledge of the 4-H program and events. Advisors Anna Kolb and Hilary Arn provide a welcoming and fun environment that youths will enjoy as they explore their first 4-H projects.

Shooting Stars 4-H Club is one of the fastest growing clubs in Van Wert County. Club advisors Mia Keirns (419.238.6248 or and Greg Gamble (419.513.1098 or  have helped many youths with a variety of projects through their club. Youth interested in poultry projects can gain insight from this club (although not a specialty club), and the club hosts a variety of older youth involved as camp counselors, ambassadors, and Junior Fair Board members. Shooting Stars will host their next meeting on February 18, from 1:30-3 p.m. at the Wee Care Learning Center.

Venedocia Lads & Lassies is led by advisor Nancy Bonifas (419.771.8611 or This club is a general club that meets at the Venedocia Lions Club building. Members from this club take everything from nutrition to livestock to rockets! This club is close for many Delphos area and Spencerville youths.


POSTED: 02/12/18 at 8:06 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, Youth

Submitted information

PAULDING — Ohio State University Extension in Paulding County will be hosting its annual Agronomy Night on Thursday, February 22, from 5-9 p.m.

Topics for the evening will include Soybean Disease and Problems with speaker John Schoenhals from the Williams County Extension Office, and Weed and Herbicide update from Jeff Stachler, Extension educator in Auglaize County. Sarah Noggle of OSU Extension Paulding County will be speaking on the opiate crisis and relating it to agricultural farms.

The featured speaker for the evening is Dr. John Fulton, associate professor for The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agriculture, and Biological Engineering, who will be speaking about precision agriculture in relation to fertilizer applications.

The evening will begin with registration and an opportunity to visit the exhibitors from 5-5:30 p.m. More than 20 booths will be set up for producers to view. Booth exhibitors and sponsors include: Ag Credit, Ag Technologies Incorporated, Baughman Tile, Beck’s Seeds, Ag Consultant Chuck Spallinger, Gaerte Ag Services LLC, Haviland Drainage Products, Helena Crop Insurance/Helena AGRI-Intelligence, Innovative Ag Management, The Kenn-Feld Group, Mercer Landmark, Paul Martin and Sons, Paulding County Area Foundation, Paulding-Putnam Electric Cooperative, POET Biorefining-Leipsic, Pond Seed Company, Redline Equipment, Rupp Seeds Inc., Schnipke Brothers Tire, State Bank in Defiance, Superior Energy Solutions, The Hicksville Grain Company, The Sherwood State Bank, Wenziger Farms, and Williamson Insurance Agency.

Beginning at 5:30, the event will feature a welcome by Paulding County Extension and a meal catered by Grant’s Catering of Antwerp. The special guest will begin at speaking 6 that evening.

Cost of the event is $25 if registered by February 16. Registration at the door is $50. All registrations include dinner, handouts, and event sessions. Many certification credits can be obtained by attending the evening including: 1 hour of Fertilizer Recertification (Category 15P or 15C); Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits: a half-hour Nutrient Management, half-hour Integrated Pest Management, 1 hour Crop Management, a half-hour Professional Development); additionally: Commercial Pesticide Credits (1.5 hours of Category 2c) or Private Pesticide Credits (1.5 hours Category).

POSTED: 02/12/18 at 7:47 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

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FOSTORIA — AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners, and agribusiness, recently declared a patronage refund of 24.57 percent for 2016 that results in $18.4 million being refunded to its member borrowers.

The patronage payment will provide a refund to the lending cooperative’s shareholders of 24 cents for every dollar they accrued in interest on their loans for the past year. The patronage refund is the equivalent of 1.21 percent net savings on interest.

Brian Ricker shares AgCredit's financial report. (photo submitted)

Brian Ricker shares AgCredit’s financial report. (photo submitted)

Over the past five years, AgCredit has averaged a 29.43 percent patronage refund rate and has paid patronage refunds for 30 consecutive years. During this time, it has distributed more than $246 million to its borrowers.

Earnings for 2016 were $49.6 million. AgCredit’s year-end numbers reflected a 4.66 percent growth rate and $80 million increase, as loan volume increased from $1.716 billion to $1.796 billion.

“Though our business continues to perform very well, due to the cyclical nature of agriculture, we are seeing an increasing number of farm operations being negatively impacted by lower net margins,” said AgCredit President and CEO Brian Ricker, who shared the co-op’s financial information with approximately 500 members and guests who attended its annual meeting April 12. “Many operations will need time to adjust to the lower margins. Even with the challenges facing agriculture, our mission to serve agriculture and our rural communities has never been stronger.”

lEven with historically high asset quality levels the cooperative lending association continues to mitigate credit risk as a preferred lender working with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency’s guarantee program.

Nearly 30 percent of AgCredit’s loan volume is secured through this program which allows it to capitalize growth by using it as an effective capital leveraging tool to enhance credit quality and credit risk.

AgCredit is a member of the Farm Credit System, which was established by Congress more than 100 years ago. For additional information, visit

POSTED: 04/17/17 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

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COLUMBUS — State Representative Craig Riedel and State Senator Cliff Hite met this past week with representatives of the Van Wert County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) at the recent annual “Conservation Partnership Meeting” held in downtown Columbus.

Ohio Senator Cliff Hite (right) poses with Van Wert SWCD staff members. (photos submitted)

Ohio Senator Cliff Hite (right) poses with Van Wert SWCD staff members. (photos submitted)

More than 650 conservation leaders consisting of supervisors and staff from Ohio’s 88 SWCDs, partners representing the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Ohio Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts employees, Ohio EPA, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), The Ohio State University, and many others were on hand during the two-day event centered around the theme “All-In for Conservation.”

The meeting challenged attendees to identify and strengthen their commitment to conservation as each work to positively impact Ohio’s economy, environment, and future. Meeting participants networked, participated in thought-provoking workshops and breakout sessions, heard from key speakers, including leadership speaker Randy Frazier; Jim Richardson from National Geographic magazine; USDA NRCS Regional Conservationist Gayle Berry from Washington, D.C.; ODA Director David Daniels; and State Senator Bob Peterson.

During a special event held in the Statehouse Rotunda, the districts met with state legislators.

“We appreciate Representative Riedel and Senator Hite for taking the time to meet and hear how SWCDs are positively impacting our local communities through a variety of programs and projects aimed to increase the economy while advancing conservation stewardship,” said Dave Kemler, vice chair of the SWCD Board.

Rep. Riedel with VW SWCD staff 3-2017

State Representative Craig Riedel (center) poses with Van Wert SWCD staff members.

POSTED: 03/03/17 at 8:55 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

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The Ohio State University Extension has four Nutrient Management Plan writers working to assist farmers in developing free Nutrient Management Plans (NMP) in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) of Ohio.

Plans provide both fertility recommendations and an environmental site risk for fields that help identify resource concerns impacting nutrient and sediment loss. The Extension has been able to do 33 plans with 17,877 acres in Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams, and Wood counties in Ohio and Lenawee County, Michigan.

OSU Extension logo 4-2009NMP Writers will be on hand in most counties in the Western Lake Erie Basin on select days this winter to work with producers on preparing a free NMP or CNMP. Writers will work with any grain/vegetable/crop producers, and/or non-CAFO livestock producers that have the following information available:

  • Soil tests from no later than 2014 in less than 25-acre zones (printed or electronic copies that can be saved)
  • Complete farm maps and/or FSA maps (printed or electronic copies that can be saved)
  • Fertilizer program, complete with amounts and N-P-K products
  • Implement details and information, and operation timelines
  • Crop rotations and yield goals for 2016-2022
  • Water locations in operation, artificial drainage practices, and type of surface drainage
  • Manure: storage capacity, acres to spread on, number of animals, feed information
  • NRCS EQIP program information (if planning to apply, or already applied)

NMP writers will be in Van Wert County from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, February 21, or Wednesday, March 8, at the OSU Extension office on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds, 1055 S. Washington St. in Van Wert.

The Western Lake Erie Basin also covers small parts of Shelby, Marion, Richland, and Huron counties, as well as the north half of Mercer County. Those who reside in one of those areas and would like a plan, should visit a neighboring county’s program day. Farmers are welcomed at any county program, regardless of their county of residence. Plan at least one hour for meetings.

Farmers can RSVP by contacting Jessie Schulze at 419.782.4771 or and provide name, county, phone number, date, and morning or afternoon for arrival. The Extension Service will accept farmers on a first come, first served basis in the morning (9 a.m.-noon) and afternoon (noon-3 p.m.). Questions can also be addressed per contact information above or visit

POSTED: 02/20/17 at 8:50 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

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REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that nine land trusts, four counties, one township, and 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state.

These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close, and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).

LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept applications from Ohio landowners interested in selling an agricultural easement on their farms. A total of $8 million will be made available in this funding round. Local sponsors have been certified to accept applications in 58 counties, and interested landowners should contact the certified local sponsor in their county for application details.

The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production. Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their local government, and not lay directly in the path of development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operations.

Funding for the program is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008. When combined with easements from all programs, 380 family farms in 55 counties have collectively preserved more than 63,000 acres in agricultural production.

For more information on Ohio’s farmland preservation effort visit:

POSTED: 11/15/16 at 7:20 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

VW independent/submitted information

ROCKFORD — The Van Wert Soil & Water Conservation District hosted a Field Day on Tuesday to highlight the installation of a blind inlet and a waterway on land belonging to Darrell Ricketts at 8847 Van Wert Mercer County Line Road near Rockford.

The blind inlet, being installed through the Lake Erie Nutrient Reduction Program, is being used to improve water quality and agricultural production by reducing nutrient runoff and controlling water levels in fields after harvest and during the growing season, ultimately enhancing production.

Blind inlets are placed in the lowest point of farmed depressions to minimize the amount of sediment and potentially other contaminants that would be transported to receiving ditches or streams.

Another benefit to the farmer using a blind inlet is the ability to drive equipment over the inlet, as opposed to having to drive around a standard tile riser.

Several people also spoke at the field day, including Mark Segar, Ohio Department of Agriculture, engineer; Craig Higbie, SWCD technician, and Ricketts.

POSTED: 08/24/16 at 7:53 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

VW independent/submitted information

Pollinator species are experiencing population declines across the United States. In particular, the monarch butterfly has drastically declined here in Ohio and in the wintering grounds of Mexico. In response to this decline, the Ohio Division of Wildlife and other partners have created the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) to educate the public and help create beneficial habitat to pollinators such as the monarch butterfly. OPHI formed after the 2014 petition to list the monarch as federally endangered or threatened. The group’s primary focus is to find opportunities and other partners to assist in the efforts to create habitat.

Monarch butterfly artwork 8-2016To help foster creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, OPHI, in cooperation with Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts, is organizing a statewide milkweed pod collection this year, starting September 1 and ending October 30. Milkweed is essential to the survival of monarch butterflies in Ohio and Ohio is a priority area for monarchs.

Monarch butterflies that hatch here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring. During September and October, everyone is encouraged to collect milkweed pods from established plants and drop them off at the nearest pod collection station located at the Van Wert SWCD office, 1185 Professional Drive in Van Wert. Any questions about the collection can directed to the SWCD at 419.238.9591.

To collect the seedpods from a milkweed plant it is best to pick them when the seed inside is brown. Do not collect pods when seeds are white or cream colored. If the center seam of the pods pop with gentle pressure, they can be picked.

It is best to collect pods in paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Avoid using plastic bags because they attract moisture. Store seeds in a cool, dry area until they can be delivered to the closest pod collection area. Harvesting pods from milkweed plants does not have any effect on the population of milkweed in established areas. All milkweed pods collected during this time will be processed by OPHI partners and all of the seed collected will be used to establish new plantings and create additional habitat for the monarch butterfly throughout Ohio.

POSTED: 08/13/16 at 7:33 am. FILED UNDER: Farm