How’s the harvest?

This season’s harvest began sooner than normal, which was a welcome delight to Ohio farmers who experienced a late, difficult season in 2009 because of soggy conditions.

In fact, it’s halfway finished, according to the Times Bulletin. One year ago, some farmers hadn’t even entered their fields.

"I've talked to several guys who have told me this is the earliest they've been able to harvest in 20 to 25 years,” said a Van Wert farmer who was quoted in the newspaper.

The story cited some weed problems with ragweed in the state’s corn crop and marestail in its soybean crop, as well as a few field fires because of dry weather. But overall, it seems as if farmers will have a relaxing Thanksgiving this year.

“Weeks of warm weather during the planting season, regular rains during the first part of summer and a warm and dry August have amounted to ‘perfect conditions’ for area grain farmers, said Tony Nye, an Ohio State University agriculture extension educator,” a Wilmington News Reporter stated.

To watch a video about the fall harvest in Clinton County, visit:

Because of the season’s dry conditions, farmers won’t have to pay nearly as much, if anything, for drying time onsite and at storage facilities to reduce high moisture content before being able to sell. Moisture content of this year’s harvested corn is averaging 17 percent.

Harvest Highlights (USDA as of 9/27)
  • Total corn production is forecast to increase 7 percent (585 million bushels)
  • Total soybean production is expected to increase1 percent (225 million bushels)
  • Corn is trading 19 to 23 cents more than in 2009
  • Soybeans are trading 31 to 33 cents more than in 2009
  • Wheat is trading 17 to 23 cents more than in 2009
  • The national corn harvest is about 27 percent complete
  • The national soybean harvest is about 17 percent complete
Corn is selling at more than $5/bushel, wheat at $7/bushel and soybeans are selling for more than $10/bushel, according to a recent Coshocton Tribune story.

For a complete report about trading data, visit:

Farmers throughout the state are grateful for the average to above average yields as they enter the home stretch.

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Farmers Experience Hunting Season

This weekend commences deer hunting season to the delight and dismay of farmers in the Buckeye State.

Farmland is prime deer-hunting environment, which causes both opportunities and nuisances for farmers.

Ohio is home to ample farmland, which is the ideal habitat for deer and other animals that are sought after during multiple hunting seasons. Farm crops have increased protein content and tend to produce deer that are bigger, healthier and fatter than woodland deer, according to Keith Sutton, an author for Studies have found that deer concentrations can be 10 times greater in the immediate vicinity of agricultural crops than in more remote wooded areas.

Though hunters are enthusiastic about hunting season, farmers don’t always have the same enthusiasm.

Some farmers are apprehensive about allowing hunting on their property, falsely believing that they can be held accountable for injury/death that can occur. However, Ohio Revised Codes 1533.18 and 1533.181, also known as the Recreational Users Law, state that "No owner, lessee, or occupant of premises assumes responsibility for or incurs liability for any injury to person or property caused by any act of a recreational user."

Other farm owners fear damage to or misuse of property, such as dust pollution from increased traffic and stray bullets in farm equipment.
But more often than not, farmers appreciate the prospect of hunters thinning out deer herds that cause damage to their crops. is an online resource that gives hunters access to farms with owners who desire deer hunting on their property. Designed in partnership by The Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODNR/DOW) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), this website is ideal for eager hunters.

“Because 95 percent of Ohio's land base is held in private ownership, hunters have been having an increasingly difficult time in finding places to hunt,” states the site. Sutton also recommends contacting local game wardens when seeking farmland to hunt. These professionals often know landowners who are experiencing serious crop damage caused by overabundant whitetails.

Permission should be requested well in advance. It’s considered poor etiquette to arrive at a farmer’s doorstep the day of one’s planned hunting outing without a prior introduction. When permission is granted, farmers and hunters should notify neighbors of the date of the hunt, which can be burdensome during harvest season.

The obvious perk associated with allowing hunting on one’s farmland is money. Another form of reimbursement is sharing a portion of the success. Many hunters also offer farm owners venison or other game meat if they’re successful. A less common repayment is when a hunter works the farmland for hunting privileges.

With all things considered, most farmers, when respected, have no reason to object to hunting on their property and welcome the opportunity.

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New blood ignites ag committee

New members are invigorating an important Federal agricultural committee. The Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, charted in 1998, helps pave the way for a continually revived industry.

According to the USDA, the committee is responsible for advising Agriculture Sec. Vilsack as programs are developed that provide coordinated assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers, while maximizing new farming and ranching opportunities. Members will also work to enhance and expand federal-state partnerships to provide financing for beginning farmers and ranchers.

“Beginning farmers are a key to 21st-century agriculture and I look forward to working with this committee to help ensure that,” Vilsack said. “These new agricultural entrepreneurs are the cornerstone to a vibrant rural America and to the future of all of agriculture. I will look to this committee to provide guidance to me as we prepare recommendations for the 2012 Farm bill.”

The committee comprises farmers, which strengthens its ability to effectively enact policies that are beneficial and desirable because of members’ first-hand experience.

The new 19-member committee has eight incumbents and 11 new members. Members serve a two-year term and can be reappointed for up to six consecutive years.

The Center for Rural Affairs states that half of all current farmers are likely to retire in the next decade. U.S. farmers older than 55 control more than half the farmland, while the number of entry-level farmers replacing them has decreased 30 percent since 1987 and now represents only 10 percent of farmers and ranchers.

To keep American agribusiness strong, the committee addresses several issues that inhibit and deter America’s potential young men and women pursing a future in farming and/or ranching:
  • Access to capital and credit
  • Access to land
  • Access to information, training and technical assistance
  • Access to new markets
According to Kathryn Z. Ruhf of the New England Small Farm Institute:

“By 2000, beginning-farmer issues were elevated on the national farm policy agenda. This awareness was heightened by the results of the 1997 Census of Agriculture, which portrayed ever more disturbing trends in the aging of the American farmer and in land ownership and transfer patterns. In response to this heightened awareness, new policy proposals are being generated at the federal, state and grassroots levels to address the full range of barriers faced by next generation farmers and ranchers.”

Several online resources are available to assist beginning farmers and ranchers such as Beginning Farmers also has a Facebook page that includes information about grants and loans, finding land, jobs, training programs, business planning, production, marketing, research, publications, events, policy issues and more.

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Women Cropping Up in Ag

Though most people associate farming and agriculture-related jobs as “men’s work,” the truth to the stereotype is that more and more women throughout America are becoming involved in the agriculture industry.

U.S. Women in Ag Facts (2007 Census of Agriculture)
  • Of the 3.3 million U.S. farm operators, 30.2 percent — or more than 1 million — were women; The total number of women operators increased 19 percent from 2002
  • Arizona boasts the most women farm operators
  • The states with the least percentages of women principal operators are in the Midwest
  • Most women operate farms that are 210 acres
  • Most women-operated farms are family or individually owned
  • Most women produce “other crops,” such as tobacco, cotton, sugarcane
  • The average value of sales from a female-operated farm is $36,440
  • Most female farm operators are 58 years old
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), male farm operators outnumber women by more than double as of 2007. There are almost three times as many male farm principal operators than female. However, there are twice as many female second-operators than men.

Because of the gender disparity in farm operations, several resources exist to help bring awareness to and close the gap.

The Farm Service Agency's website for Women in Agriculture strives to “augment the number of women in leadership positions throughout the agricultural sector and within government and our communities.” For example, it provides scholarships for women pursuing agricultural careers. is another resource dedicated to the efforts of farming women nationwide. “As farmers, moms, businesswomen, chefs and activists, women are changing the way we eat and farm. They are the fastest growing demographic to own and operate sustainable farms, comprise the largest percentage of sustainable agriculture nonprofit employees, own sustainable food businesses, cook the majority of household meals and control household budgets. ‘Farmer Janes’ are creating a more healthful, sane and sustainable food system for present and future generations,” it states. The site features profiles of women who share their individual farming experiences via a blog. launched an auxiliary site – “Women in Ag” – that is an educational, informational and inspirational resource. The interest group also has a popular Facebook account with more than 1,500 members.

The subject of women in agriculture is becoming so popular, that there is now a television program devoted to it.
The American Agri-Women Show (AAW) is a series by, for and about farm and ranch women. In this half-hour series, AAW brings a weekly topic of concern to farm, ranch and agribusiness women and shares information about how to manage risk in agricultural operations. Each show features expert advice and includes a visit with a farm woman who is addressing that issue in her farming operation. To view shows, visit

Throughout the year, several conferences highlight the role of women in farming:
  • Oklahoma: “Women In Agriculture,” Sept. 14, 2010
  • Vermont: “2010 Women in Sustainable Agriculture,” Nov. 1, 2010
  • Missouri: “American Agri-Women Convention,” Nov. 11, 2010
  • Iowa: “Women in Denim,” Jan. 21, 2011
Women will only continue to advance in the agriculture sector. It will be interesting to learn about the increases and further development of females in America’s farming community after the 2012 Census of Agriculture.

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Broadband boosts rural America

To keep pace with urban, more technologically developed communities, rural areas throughout the United States need access to broadband – high data-rate Internet access.

Broadband is often called "high-speed" access to the Internet because it usually has increased rates of data transmission.

Rural businesses are equally as dependent on Internet technology to conduct business operations that are integral to remaining competitive, maintaining efficiency and being successful. It’s now impossible to compete in the global marketplace without broadband.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “Broadband access plays a critical role in expanding economic, health-care, educational and public safety services in underserved rural communities.”

To assist the economic development of rural America, the USDA is giving 126 recipients $1.2 billion in funding, made available because of the Recovery Act, for new broadband infrastructure projects. This will be coupled with $117 million in private investment to bring the total funding invested to $1.31 billion.

Communication companies throughout the nation are receiving federal money to construct broadband networks in rural-American territories.

In Ohio, three projects received more than $118 million in Recovery Act grants to increase broadband access (
  • Horizon Telecom, $66.5 million: The project, with nearly $28.5 million in matching contributions, will allow Horizon Telecom, a Chillicothe company, to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in 34 southern and eastern Ohio counties. The project plans to directly connect 600 community institutions to broadband. As many as 1.7 million people and 37,000 businesses will benefit. The project is expected to create more than 230 direct jobs.
  • OneCommunity, $44.8 million: The project awarded to the Cleveland-based nonprofit will add nearly 1,000 miles of fiber-optic cable in 20 northeast Ohio counties. OneCommunity will connect an estimated 800 community anchor institutions, including schools, hospitals, government and public safety facilities, to the high-speed broadband network and create 200 direct jobs.
  • Connected Nation, Inc. $6.9 million: This project, with more than $3.1 million in matching contributions, will allow Connected Nation to encourage broadband adoption in Ohio by deploying 2,000 new public computer workstations, upgrading 317 computer centers and conducting training sessions at community institutions throughout the state.
The United States ranks 12th in regards to worldwide broadband connectivity, with 24 percent of the population enjoying average speeds of more than 5.0 megabytes per second (mbps), compared to 74 percent in South Korea and 60 percent in Japan, according to Web analytics firm Akamai.

“Broadband is becoming the electricity of the turn of the 20th century, or the telephone in the 1930s, when federal aid brought both to rural America through cooperatives,” stated an editorial in the Bemidji Pioneer.

Examples of agricultural rural-broadband use include monitoring commodity prices and weather reports, business-to-business marketing of seed, commodities, produce and/or livestock, and utilizing GPS systems for precision farming.

"Broadband expansion is important for farmers and ranchers because it provides them the real-time information and the capacity to market their products,” said Agricultural Sec. Tom Vilsack. "The same is true for small businesses in those towns."

As rural broadband access is intensified throughout the next few years, it will be interesting to witness its impact on the progression of American agriculture.

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