The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

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.

A Holstein cow similar to those shown by the McCoy family over more than half a century. (photo submitted)

A Holstein cow similar to those shown by the McCoy family over more than half a century. (photo submitted)

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.

POSTED: 08/23/14 at 7:14 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

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.

About ABM

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

POSTED: 06/27/14 at 6:25 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

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.

Wild parsnips plants can be dangerous to humans. (photo submitted)

Wild parsnips plants can be dangerous to humans. (photo submitted)

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.


POSTED: 06/21/14 at 1:30 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

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.

OSU Extension logo 4-2009There 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: (drilled) ; (15-inch rows); and (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.


POSTED: 06/17/14 at 6:27 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News


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)

POSTED: 06/07/14 at 2:19 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, Youth

New Dairy Queen 5-2014

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)

POSTED: 05/05/14 at 6:41 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, Youth

Ohio Agriculture Dept. information

REYNOLDSBURG — Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels presented a check for $38,000 to the Ohio FFA Association during its state FFA Convention. The funding, provided by the Ohio Rural Rehabilitation fund, will support the 2014 Agricultural and Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP).

Jointly administered by the Ohio FFA Foundation, Ohio FFA Association and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), the ARCOP helps local FFA chapters finance worthy community development projects.

FFA logo 5-2014“We are proud to support a program that allows students to participate in local development projects, teaching them the value of giving back to their communities while gaining experience as agricultural leaders,” said Daniels.  “It’s an experience we hope that keeps youth interested and involved in the agriculture industry as they look towards future careers.”

Last year, 13 local FFA chapters were awarded funding for projects in a variety of areas including agriculture and emergency safety training, agricultural science, animal welfare, and targeting hunger needs of school children and rural populations.

Local FFA chapters receive grant funds ranging from $750 to $2,500. FFA Foundation Director Melissa Bell will announce the 2014 grant winners by May 30.

In addition to presenting the check, Daniels also provided copies of the 2014 Growing Ohio magazine to FFA convention participants. The publication, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, helps spread the word about agriculture in the state, educates community leaders about the impact of agriculture on the local and state economy, and promotes agriculture to a growing audience concerned about their families’ food source.

Copies of the publication can be requested by contacting ODA’s Office of Communication at 614.752.9817 or

POSTED: 05/05/14 at 6:12 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, Youth

Ohio Dept. of Agriculture information

REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture today issued a stop-sale order for all 1.5 cubic foot bags of mulch produced by Ohio Mulch before April 6.

Following up on a complaint, the department’s Division of Weights and Measures inspectors tested 1.5 cubic foot bags of Ohio Mulch products being offered for retail sale at Speedway, Thornton’s and Certified gas stations. ODA inspectors randomly selected 18 bags from three different product lines on March 31, 2014: Absolute Black, Absolute Red and Premium Cypress. Six bags were tested for each product and every bag failed to contain either the stated amount of 1.5 cubic feet or an amount within the maximum allowable variation of 5 percent.

Inspectors visited the Ohio Mulch manufacturing facility and tested bags being filled. The company indicated a faulty bagging machine was removed and replaced on April 6. Each of the bags tested at the manufacturing facility were found to either contain the correct amount of product, or to be within maximum allowable variation.

Inspectors also recently began testing other mulch products from Ohio Mulch and other mulch manufacturers. Random samples taken from a retailer in Franklin County were tested and failed to contain the stated amount. A total of 819 bags of 2 cubic feet mulch were ordered off-sale at that location and the department will continue conduct random sampling of mulch bags and respond to complaints.

The company has indicated it will offer 50 cents per bag refunds, plus 50 cents for postage for every customer who purchased these products, and discounts for future purchases. Customers need to mail proof of purchase of the products to Ohio Mulch, P.O. Box 650, Blacklick, OH 43004. Customers with questions should contact the company at 614.592.2793.

POSTED: 04/25/14 at 7:21 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture information

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that eligible farmers and ranchers can now sign up for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs restored by passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

“We implemented these programs in record time and kept our commitment to begin sign-up today,” said Vilsack.  “To ensure enrollment goes as smoothly as possible, dedicated staff in over 2,000 Farm Service Agency offices across the country are doing everything necessary to help producers that have suffered through two and a half difficult years with no assistance because these programs were awaiting Congressional action.”

Depending on the size and type of farm or ranch operation, eligible producers can enroll in one of four programs administered by the Farm Service Agency.  The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.  The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.

Enrollment also is open for the Tree Assistance Program (TAP), which provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.

Producers signing up for these programs are encouraged to contact their local FSA office for information on the types of records needed and to schedule an appointment.  Taking these steps in advance will help producers ensure their application moves through the process as quickly as possible.

Supporting documents may include livestock birth records, purchase and transportation receipts, photos and ownership records showing the number and type of livestock lost, documents listing the gallons of water transported to livestock during drought, and more.  Crop records may include purchase receipts for eligible trees, bushes, or vines, seed and fertilizer purchases, planting and production records, and documentation of labor and equipment used to plant or remove eligible trees, bushes, or vines.

Producers have three to nine months to apply depending on the program and year of the loss.  Details are available from any local FSA office.

For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office or USDA Service Center.

POSTED: 04/21/14 at 5:42 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

Ohio Dept. of Agriculture information

REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is now accepting registration requests for the Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry (OSCR), a voluntary informational tool designed to provide stakeholders with an effective way to communicate and protect sensitive crops and apiaries.

Designed by staff in ODA’s Plant Health division, OSCR allows registered users to outline their sensitive locations on maps, allowing pesticide applicators to search the maps and locate these areas. The registry is for pesticide-sensitive crops, as well as organic crops and apiaries that meet the registration requirements.

“This is an exciting development for our state’s applicators and producers, as OSCR will help bring these parties together to more effectively communicate about their needs” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels. “Those working in agriculture are always on the cutting edge of innovative ways to implement new technology into their everyday practices and we feel OSCR is another great tool to be used by Ohio businesses.”

Users who wish to voluntarily submit their locations to the registry will need to create an account, as will those who want to search the registry. Potential users should note that there are registration eligibility guidelines such as a minimum acreage requirement. Pesticide applicators can also create an account and search the registry for sensitive locations around the areas they intend to spray. Maps of these areas, as well as lists of location and producer details, can be downloaded by applicators and used to plan spraying schedules and routes.

“We know the benefits a tool like this can bring to producers and applicators in the state, which is why our staff has worked hard to develop OSCR. The intricacies of the registry reflect that hard work,” said Matt Beal, Chief of ODA’s Division of Plant Health. “The intent of OSCR is to create an easy, accurate, and secure method for applicators to learn of sensitive locations, and to communicate with producers. We are very excited to launch this registry and see users start utilizing it in the days to come.”

The Ohio Sensitive Crop Registry can be accessed at

POSTED: 03/04/14 at 2:17 am. FILED UNDER: Farm