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.
REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and The Ohio State University (OSU) announced they are beginning to offer training courses for the new Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification Program.
Signed into law by Governor Kasich on May 22, Ohio Senate Bill 150 creates a first of its kind certification program for applying commercial fertilizer in Ohio.
“Through this training, Ohio’s farmers will learn to more effectively apply fertilizer, helping them control costs while helping the environment by reducing runoff,” said ODA Director David T. Daniels. “I encourage all of our farmers to become certified as soon as possible and to adhere to the principles of applying the right fertilizer at the right rate at the right time and in the right place. This will help us meet our mutual goal of ensuring that the fertilizer we apply stays on the field where it can achieve its maximum effectiveness. “
Focusing on science-based practices, the bill requires farmers with 50 or more acres to attend a course on fertilizer application. In conjunction with OSU Extension, the following training courses are being offered to begin the program:
September 12, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Founders Hall at Sauder Farm and Craft Village
22611 State Route 2
September 25, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
The Lighthouse Banquet Facility
10055 W. U.S. 224
September 26, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
OSU Extension Office
503 Fairgrounds Drive
Future training sessions will be held throughout the state on both a county and regional basis. Persons intending to apply fertilizer on 50 or more acres must be certified no later than September 30th, 2017.
“Our educators look forward to working with Ohio farmers to protect the state’s water quality through the training on best management practices for phosphorous management,” said Keith Smith, director, Ohio State University Extension, and associate vice president for agricultural administration at The Ohio State University. “These training courses, held in conjunction with the ODA, address a critical need and show agriculture’s commitment to Ohio’s natural resources.”
For more information on the Agricultural Fertilizer Applicator Certification Program, visit www.ohioagriculture.gov/CommercialFertilizerCert.
Ohio Farm Service Agency information
USDA Ohio Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Steve Maurer has announced that, starting September 2, farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Development of the online resource was led by the University of Illinois, in partnership with the USDA and the Program on Dairy Markets and Policy (DMaP). DMaP partners include the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, The Ohio State University and Michigan State University.
“The Margin Protection Program is an important tool that allows dairy producers to build a safety net that fits the needs of their operation,” said Maurer. “This program has the potential to assist approximately 2,800 dairy farmers throughout Ohio where 267,000 head of cattle produce 5,448,000,000 pounds of milk.”
The Margin Protection Program, which replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract program, gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins September 2 and ends on November 28 for 2014 and 2015. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.
Dairy operations enrolling in the new program must comply with conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin dairy insurance program. Farmers already participating in the Livestock Gross Margin program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but the new margin program will only begin once their Livestock Gross Margin coverage has ended.
The Margin Protection Program final rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 29. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also will open a 60-day public comment period on the dairy program. The agency wants to hear from dairy operators to determine whether the current regulation accurately addresses management changes, such as adding new family members to the dairy operation or inter-generational transfers. Written comments must be submitted by October 28 at www.fsa.usda.gov or www.regulations.gov.
The 2014 Farm Bill also established the Dairy Product Donation Program. The program authorizes USDA to purchase and donate dairy products to nonprofit organizations that provide nutrition assistance to low-income families. Purchases only occur during periods of low dairy margins. Dairy operators do not need to enroll to benefit from the Dairy Product Donation Program.
The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including 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.
Visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets, or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the Margin Protection Program or the Dairy Product Donation Program.
VW County Fair information
The Van Wert County Fair is just four days away and Dennis McCoy and family are getting ready for their 57th year of showing animals at the local fair.
Dennis started showing in 4-H at the age of 10, when he took a dairy feeder calf to the fair. Over the years, the McCoy family has shown more than 200 different animals at the Van Wert County Fair.
Fairgoers will find the McCoy family housed in the Dairy Barn on the Van Wert County Fairgrounds all week of fair. A state registered historic building, the Dairy Barn is packed with dairy animals from many county herds during the fair. The Van Wert Dairy Barn is one of the largest such facilities in the state.
Getting ready for the fair starts as soon as one fair ends.
“You start picking out your best animals, age-wise, not very long after they are born or have their first calf,” McCoy said. “You teach them how to lead when they’re young.”
Before the fair, feet are trimmed, baths are given, and hair is cut. It isn’t just the Fair Board getting ready for the fair. Last year, the Van Wert Dairy Barn was improved with a new roof, while future plans include new windows and ventilation.
Furthermore, in the past several months, the Dairy Barn has found a new niche as a wedding/reception hall. The history of the barn provides a country feel like nothing else.
The Fair Board invites everyone to visit the Dairy Barn the week of the fair to see the dairy cattle and feeder calves on display — and catch a bit of history on the way.
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.
CURTIS YOUNG/for the Van Wert independent
As the planting season continues, many have finished and others are getting closer and closer to being finished with their planting of corn and soybeans. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not been totally kind to some of these newly planted fields resulting in thin stands to no stand. Now soybean producers are going back and assessing the condition of their soybean stands and discovering these less than desirable areas of some fields. The question then arises, “What does one do with these fields … replant, patch in, or leave it alone?”
Before any type of replant decision is made, it is essential to conduct a stand count to determine what the soybean plant population is left in the field. Research data from various land grant universities indicates that a relatively uniform stand of 100,000 to 120,000 plants per acre in drilled 7.5-inch rows and 15-inch rows, and 80,000 to 90,000 plants per acre in 30-inch rows in fields that were planted by mid-May, will yield 100 percent of maximum for that field. Furthermore, research also indicates that uniform plant stands of 50,000 to 55,000 soybean plants per acre of a May planted field, remaining after a stand reduction event yields only 13-15 percent less than maximum.
There are several techniques for estimating soybean plant populations in fields. One method is to measure a set length of row that represents 1/1,000th of an acre, count the number of plants in that row length, then multiple that number of plants by 1,000. The row length varies based on the spacing between rows: 69 feet, 9 inches for 7½-inch rows (drilled soybeans); 34 feet, 10 inches for 15-inch rows; and 17 feet, 5 inches for 30-inch rows. For example, if 90 plants were counted in 34 feet, 10 inches of row of a 15-inch row planting, then this would estimate a soybean plant population of 90,000 soybean plants per acre. This procedure should be repeated in several areas within a field and averaged to produce a better estimate for the field. Additionally, one should not selectively pick the worst or the best looking spots in a field within which to conduct the estimates. Evaluation spots should be randomly picked (e.g. walk to an area of a field, toss a hat away from your body, wherever the hat lands that is the starting point).
A second method is the hula-hoop method. A hula-hoop of a known diameter can be used to rapidly count plants, especially in narrow row widths. Toss or roll the hoop into the area to be counted and allow it to fall at random, then count plants inside the circle. Average at least 10 sample areas within a field for a reliable estimate of plant population. The following are multiplication factors for several hula-hoop diameters, multiple the number of soybean plants within the hula-hoop by: 10,200 for a 28-inch diameter; 8,900 for a 30-inch diameter; 7,800 for a 32-inch diameter; 6,900 for a 34-inch diameter; and 6,200 for a 36-inch diameter.
For those who would like visual instruction on plant population estimation, Purdue University Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel has short YouTube video clips for view and can be found at the following URLs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA7teyzb20w (drilled) ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8oMiqobvE0 (15-inch rows); and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JxVCxHiemw (30-inch rows).
If one determines that the stand is below acceptable population levels and elects to replant the field or replant drowned out areas of the field, remember that June planted soybeans are recommended to be planted at a higher seeding rate (10 to 20 percent higher) than May planted soybeans.
Farm Focus Inc. was founded in 1974 in order to promote agriculture in Van Wert County and the surrounding area, and it is the organization’s continued mission to assist county students through a scholarship program enabling them to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field. Scholarship winners for 2014 include Delphos St. John’s senior Kylie Fritz, daughter of Eric and Regina Fritz, who will attend the University of Northwest Ohio and pursue a degree in agribusiness; Ericka Priest of Ohio City, daughter of Kara Kreger and Bob Priest, a junior at Ohio State University majoring in ag education; and Katie Vorst, daughter of Chris and Sandy Vorst of Delphos, a sophomore at OSU majoring in agribusiness and applied economics. Shown are (from the left) Priest, Vorst, Fritz and Farm Focus President Mike Heffelfinger. (photo submitted)
The 2014 Van Wert County Dairy Princess was recently crowned at the annual Van Wert Dairy Banquet. This year’s queen is Morgan Curran, 15, daughter of Michael and Karyn Curran of Delphos. A freshman at Delphos St. John’s High School, Curran is active as the football and basketball mascot, SADD, and soccer. She is a member of the Udder Dairy 4-H Club, serves as club secretary, and will be showing Jersey cows at several county fairs this summer. (photo submitted)