Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium is May 16

Attorneys with Ohio State University Extension's Agricultural and Resource Law Program will offer a day-long legal conference, May 16, designed to offer attorneys insight into key issues that affect farmers and agribusiness, organizers said.

From helping attorneys understand the new provisions of the 2014 farm bill to considering how legal tools can reduce the impact of nursing home costs and Medicaid for family farmers, the Ohio Agricultural Law Symposium is set to offer attorneys detailed information and updates on issues significant to the agricultural community, said Peggy Hall, director of OSU Extension's Agricultural and Resource Law Program.

One of the goals of this year’s conference is to bring attorneys from all around the state together to spend time learning from each other and discussing legal issues affecting Ohio agriculture, she said. 

The conference, which will be held at Ohio State University’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, in Columbus, runs from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The conference offers 4.5 Continuing Legal Education credits for attorneys.

Conference sessions will include:

•       • The 2014 farm bill and federal farm policy.

•       • A roundtable discussion on guiding clients in today’s agricultural climate.

•       • Nursing home costs and Medicaid: the one-two punch to the family farm.

•       • A discussion with several market farmers at the North Market on legal issues and challenges.

•       • Agri-tourism and direct marketing trends and liability issues.

•       • Legislative update.

•       • A bus tour of Ohio State’s Waterman Farm.

Registration for the event is $100 and includes parking, breakfast, materials and refreshments. The conference is limited to 56 participants and the deadline to register is May 9.  Registration information is available at http://aglaw.osu.edu

Support from the Paul L. Wright Agricultural Law Endowment Fund allows Ohio State to offer the conference for a minimal fee, Hall said. For more information about the conference, contact Hall at 614-247-7898 or aglaw@osu.edu.


OSU researching Ohio’s phosphorus risk index

All farm field test sites have been selected and soil samples from fall testing dates have been collected as part of an ongoing three-year project by an Ohio State University researcher.

The On-Field Ohio project, now in its second year, seeks to revise USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index to be more useful in predicting the risk of phosphorus moving off farm fields, said Elizabeth Dayton, a soil scientist in the college’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, who is conducting the project.

Dayton garnered a $1 million USDA Conservation Innovation Grant and $1 million in matching donations from Ohio farmers groups to complete the project. Her goal is to make the P Index, used by farmers as part of nutrient management plans, more accurate and increase management options to reduce phosphorus runoff. She’s also working to create a Web-based tool so farmers can easily calculate and manage their offsite phosphorus transport risk, she said.

To date, monitoring equipment has been installed on 30 farm fields in the Scioto, Grand Lake St. Marys and Western Lake Erie Basin watersheds, the latter two being the most problematic watersheds, she said.

Data is being collected on the soils, the farmers’ management practices, and surface and subsurface water runoff at the sites. The team has collected and analyzed more than 5,000 water samples thus far, Dayton said.


OSU Extension offers livestock mortality composting certification workshop

Ohio livestock producers wanting to handle the death of their animals in an economical and environmentally beneficial way can earn livestock mortality composting certification through a course offered by experts from Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Of the four approved methods for disposing of dead livestock in Ohio, composting is the most cost-effective because it not only saves farmers money, protects the environment and returns the animals' nutrients slowly to the soil, said Clif Little, an educator with the college's outreach arm, Ohio State University Extension. Other options include incineration, burial and rendering.

Certification is required by law if producers want to use composting as a method to deal with livestock and poultry mortality, Little said. Ohio requires producers attend a mortality composting training session conducted by OSU Extension.

The workshop is May 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the college's Eastern Agricultural Research Station in Belle Valley, Ohio, just off Interstate 77 in Noble County. Registration is $20 by noon on May 19 and includes a workbook and certificate. Details and a registration form may be downloaded at http://go.osu.edu/compostlivestock.


Southeastern Ohio Hay Day is June 19

Growers and producers can learn the latest tips and techniques in forage harvesting and forage handling machinery during a field day offered by educators from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The field day will be held June 19, 4-8:30 p.m. at the Eastern Agricultural Research Station,16870 Township Road 126 in Caldwell. The station is part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). 

Participants can learn new raking, baling, mowing and tedding techniques during the field day, said Breanna Pye, an Ohio State University Extension educator. In addition to the workshop, equipment dealers will demonstrate the latest in forage harvesting and forage handling machinery at the event, Pye said.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be a light meal provided. Registration and access to field equipment displays begins at 4 p.m., with demonstrations starting at 5 p.m. For more information, contact Pye at 740-732-5681 or email pye.13@osu.edu.


Indiana Dairy Producers summer tour to Ohio is June 4-5

The Indiana Dairy Producers Summer Tour will be held June 4-5, with several stops in Ohio.

The first stop in Ohio will be Select Sires' headquarters in Plain City, featuring a bull parade and an opportunity to learn from Gary Conklin, whose farm was the target of an undercover video in 2010.

Other stops include Miley Holsteins in West Salem, Pine Tree Dairy in Rittman, and Eastern Laboratory Services.

The cost of attending for IDP member farms is $125 for the first farm member and $75 for any other members. All students can attend for $75.

This price includes transportation, lunch and dinner on June 4. Participants will need to make their own lodging reservations. A block of rooms has been reserved at Comfort Inn and Suites in Wadsworth, Ohio (just west of Akron) for $99.99. This rate is guaranteed through May 5. To make reservations, call 330-336-7692 and ask for the Indiana Dairy rate.

Download a brochure with more information here. 


2014 Iowa farmland rental rates decrease moderately

 Rental rates for Iowa farmland decreased moderately in 2014, according to results from a survey carried out by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. This is the first decrease shown by the annual survey since 1999, according to William Edwards, retired Extension economist who directs the survey.

“The average estimated cash rent for corn and soybean land in the state for 2014 was $260 per acre, a decrease of $10 per acre or nearly 4% from last year,” said Edwards. “Significantly lower crop prices for the 2013 crop and lower price forecasts for this year’s crop have tempered farmers’ optimism about prospective profits.”

The cash rental rates survey results are available in the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2014 Survey. The publication details average rents in the nine Iowa crop reporting districts. The cash rental rate information presented in this publication is the result of a survey of farmers, landowners, lenders, real estate brokers, and professional farm managers. They supplied information based on their best judgments about typical cash rental rates for high, medium, and low quality cropland in their counties, as well as for land devoted to production of hay, oats, and pasture.

Typical rental rates per bushel of corn yield, soybean yield and CSR point are computed for each county and displayed as a chart in the publication. Also included are the typical charges for land growing oats and hay, for grazing pasture and corn stalks, and for renting hunting rights.

The Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2014 Survey is available online as a downloadable document from the Extension Online Store at store.extension.iastate.edu and Ag Decision Maker website.


2014 ‘Minnesota Grown’ Directory available

The annual Minnesota Grown Directory, a statewide guide to purchasing directly from local producers, is now available. The 2014 edition boasts 978 farms and includes the most Community Supported Agriculture farms and farmers markets.

Order free, printed copies of the Minnesota Grown Directory by calling Explore Minnesota Tourism at 1-888-TOURISM.  You can also order your copy online or look up local farms at www.minnesotagrown.com. The online directory makes it easy to find farms via product, city, zip code, or the interactive map.


Minnesota organic farm transition program returns

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is offering its Organic Transition Cost Share program to farmers again in 2014.

The program reimburses Minnesota farmers who are transitioning their land or livestock to certified organic status, paying part of the cost to work with a USDA accredited organic certifying agency during the transition period, which typically lasts three years.

In addition, farmers can request reimbursement for soil testing costs and registration fees to attend an organic education conference in Minnesota or a neighboring state. Farmers transitioning to organic can receive a 75% rebate of these eligible costs. The maximum payment is $750 per year for three years or until they achieve organic certification, whichever comes first.

Transition Cost Share Program application forms and a set of Frequently Asked Questions are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/organic or by calling 651-201-6012.


Wage bill makes no change to ag work week

Minnesota’s minimum wage will rise to $9.50/hour by 2016 under legislation signed into law recently.

However, according to the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, it's what is not in the legislation that is significant to dairy farmers. The law contains no changes to the state’s agriculture work week – currently at 48 hours per week – before agriculture employers are mandated to pay overtime.