AG News

The American Degree Recipients (L-R) Haley Sherman, Morgan Houser, Brandi Barrett, and Damion Sheldon


On October 28th, 2015, seventeen students from the Kenton FFA Chapter left for National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. On the first day students had some free time at the career show and FFA mall where they were able to visit many different college and business booths. They attended the opening session with keynote speaker Dr. Rick Rigsby, where there were over 50,000 FFA members across the nation attending. That night students attended the FFA concert with Jake Owen and Maddie and Tae. On Thursday, members went on a tour at Food Chain, where they learned about how their business is ran, and how aquaponics works. Students spent the whole afternoon at the Expo Center where they attended the Second Convention Session and saw the former National FFA Western Region Vice President give his retiring address, and attended a Hypnotist show as a chapter. That night they attended the Buckeye Bash where they were able to meet many different FFA members across the state of Ohio. On Friday, they spent the whole morning touring the Kentucky Horse Park and learned about and saw many different breeds of horses, and enjoyed the gift shop. In the afternoon they took a tour of Harvest Moon Dairy Farm where they learned about how they milk the cows, what they feed them, and what the normal day of a Dairy farmer is like. That evening they attended the 7th session of Convention with Keynote Speaker Brad Montague, Creator of Kid President. On the final day of Convention, Saturday, they attended the final session of the convention where they watched Kenton FFA Members Brandi Barrett, Morgan Houser, Haley Sherman, and Damion Sheldon get their American FFA Degree, the highest degree the National FFA can award an FFA Member.



Farmers will have the opportunity to learn about cover crops and soil health in an all day workshop at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory on Thursday, January 14. This program will be held in the banquet room of the Plaza Inn, 491 S Main Street, Mount Victory, OH 43340. The workshop will begin at 8:00 am and end at 4:00 pm. The cost of the all day workshop will be $35 and will include lunch, Cover Crops Field Guide, and other reference materials.


Topics taught during the workshop will include ECO Farming, Ecological Farming Practices, Soil Ecology & Nutrient Recycling, Biology of Soil Compaction, Soil Demonstrations, Keeping Nutrients out of Surface Water, Economics of Cover Crops, Using the Cover Crop Selector Tool, Raising Homegrown Nitrogen, Managing Grasses & Brassica in Your Crop Rotation, and an Open Discussion: Using Cover Crops in a Crop Rotation


Instructors for the program will be Jim Hoorman, OSU Extension – Putnam County, Mark Badertscher, OSU Extension – Hardin County, and Wayne Dellinger, OSU Extension – Union County. For more information, go to or call the Hardin County Extension office at 419-674-2297 for details and to register. Participants need to be pre-registered by January 11.


The Hardin County Agriculture Hall of Fame has announced the 2015 honorees, to be inducted at the thirteenth annual Agriculture Hall of Fame recognition banquet.  The 2015 inductees include: Clinton Archie McNutt and Family, Thomas E. Sprang, Robert L. White, and Merritt & Hazel Wilson.  The banquet will be held on Tuesday, December 1st, beginning at 6:30 pm at St. John’s United Church of Christ on East Carrol Street in Kenton.  The public is invited to come to honor these inductees and their families, and to recognize their many accomplishments.


The purpose of the county Agriculture Hall of Fame is to recognize outstanding agricultural contributions by Hardin County people and to honor those who have brought distinction to themselves and the agricultural industry.   Gary Jackson will present the keynote address.  Jackson is an award winning farm broadcaster and multi-media guru who brings a wealth of knowledge and an unbiased look at how business and agriculture are linked to the economic growth of our great state.



Clinton Archie McNutt graduated from Forest High School.  He attended The Ohio State University, where he earned a 2-year certificate.  Known to others as Archie McNutt, he was a lifetime farmer.  In addition, he was a veterans’ class instructor at Mt. Victory for 15-20 years, an active community leader, and early innovator and promoter of alfalfa production, making hay for many Hardin County farmers on the halves.  He married his wife Mildred and together they had seven sons and one daughter.  All seven sons received the State Farmer Degree.  All of the sons were college graduates, and their daughter became a nurse.  Archie and Mildred raised this family on 138 acres.  The family careers included county agents, a veterinarian who was also president of the state veterinary association, an insurance instructor, vocational agriculture and other school teachers, as well as a radio and television agriculture contributor.


McNutt served on the Hardin County Fair Board from 1943-57, was a charter member of the Hardin County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and also a Farm Bureau Council member.  He was recognized with the Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award.  Receiving the FFA’s State Farmer Degree himself, he was a major supporter of Dunkirk and Hardin Northern Vocational Agriculture and FFA, where he also served on the Hardin Northern Board of Education.  McNutt belonged to the Dunkirk Masonic Lodge, served as Dunkirk PTA President, and was a strong supporter of the band boosters.  He was a board member of the Hardin Soil and Water Conservation District and was a member of the Grange.  He received the Purple Heart in World War I for an injury in Europe, and was a member of both the American Legion and VFW.  McNutt was both a Blanchard and Jackson Township Trustee, served as Patterson Methodist Church Superintendent and Sunday school teacher in addition to being on the rebuilding committee after the church burned. 



Thomas E. Sprang graduated from McGuffey High School in 1963.  Tom, as he was known to family and friends, started farming with his father and brother-in-law when he was still in high school.  His farming operation grew to 170 acres that he owned and another 600 acres that he rented with his son Scott.  In addition to farming, Tom worked at Rockwell/Meritor until he retired in 2002.  He was a supervisor with the Hardin County Soil and Water Conservation District, and also served the Indian Lake Watershed Board as a representative for Hardin County landowners.  Tom was also a Lynn Township Trustee, making sure township ditches were properly maintained and snow was plowed from the roads in the winter.


Sprang was also busy helping youth as an advisor to the Lynn Valley 4-H Club for 32 years.  A member of the Hardin County Cattlemen’s Association, he was presented with the Cattlemen’s Service Award.  During fair week he could be seen working at the Steak Barn at the Hardin County Fair.  He served as president of the Hardin County MRDD board.  He also served as treasurer of the Kenton Moose Family Center.  He was also president of St. John’s United Church of Christ Council.  He was a member of the Quest Federal Credit Union, serving 25 years on the credit committee.  He also served on the Farm Credit Services Advisory Board.  Sprang enjoyed working to maintain classic and antique farm tractors and equipment as a member of the Hardin County Restorers & Collectors Club.  



Robert L. White graduated from Mt. Victory Dudley High School in 1961.  Bob has been a farmer, a licensed insurance agent and CEO of Ohio State Grange Members Service Corporation, and had worked at Rockwell International for 19 ½ years.  He was awarded the Honorary Chapter Farmer Degree by the Kenton FFA in 1986, named Hardin County ‘Citizen of the Year’ in 2009, had the 4th of July Fireworks Show dedicated to him in 2014, and was also recognized for his years of service to the Hardin County Fair.  He was inducted into the Hardin County Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.  He is best known for his work with the Grange, where he is currently serving as Ohio State Grange President.  He has served as Grange Youth Director and was instrumental in making the Hardin County OSU Extension Levy successful as chairman of that effort in 2009.  He has testified to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on the farm bill, and before the Ohio Legislative Committees numerous times on agricultural and rural issues.  He was on the national installation team that organized the Alaskan Grange, and has served on the National Grange Task Force to revitalize the Grange organization.


White has served on many boards, including the Ohio State Grange Executive Board where he also served as Northwest Ohio District membership director, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Ag Advisory Committee, Hardin Community Federal Credit Union, Hardin Memorial Hospital Board, Hardin Sheep Improvement Association Board, Southeast Hardin Ambulance Board, BKP Ambulance Board, Ridgemont School Board, Hi-Point Joint Vocational Board, Hardin Senior Citizens Board, Hardin ESC Board, Farm Bureau Board, Extension Advisory Board, and Mt. Victory Dudley School Memorial Hall Board.  In addition to these boards, he has been a member and served in many leadership roles of the Painter Creek and Pomona Granges, Ohio Farmers Union, Hardin Lions Club, LaRue Methodist Church, and LaRue Masonic Order of Masons.  He has served as a Dudley Township Trustee and a member of Zoning Board in addition to serving the Hardin County Board of Elections as a poll worker.  He has also served as a member of the Democratic County Central Committee.



Merritt and Hazel Wilson both graduated from Forest High School.  Merritt attended an OSU Winter Short Course to learn about agriculture while Hazel attended Bliss Commercial College to become a commercial teacher.  Merritt was a third generation farmer, raising hogs, sheep, and registered dairy cattle.  Hazel was well known for her huge vegetable gardens, egg producing flock of chickens, poultry meat sales, and her total involvement with the farming operation even after the death of her husband.  Merritt hosted dairy judging contests featuring his prized Jersey cows and land judging contests for FFA chapters.  He willingly shared his knowledge of animal husbandry, farm and soil management programs, farm engineering, feed practices, and keeping production records of each cow.  Hazel was the record keeper of the total household and farming operation, using analysis from The Ohio State University Extension Service and the United States Department of Agriculture from 1930-1968.  Her flock of 1100 White Leghorn chickens produced eggs for a hatchery, while extra poultry were sold for customer orders to feed local families.  Grade A milk from the family dairy herd was sold to Sealtest and San-A-Pure Dairy where it was tested for butterfat, processed, and distributed.


Merritt was a member of Hardin County Jersey Cattle Club, Forest IOOF Lodge, and served as an advisor to the Forest Boys Victory Livestock 4-H club.  He was also a member of the Wyandot-Hardin Camp of Gideon’s International, while Hazel belonged to the auxiliary organization.  Hazel was a member of the Hardin County Genealogy Society, a charter member of the Extension Homemakers Council, as well as a charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 259.  She was also recognized for being an Ohio poll worker for 25 years and was featured in a 1993 Kenton Times article, recognizing her as an ‘Unsung Hero’ for her work in local prisons through the Bill Glass Prison Ministry Team.  Her prison work has been featured in both print and pictures in the book Doin’ Time by author Rick Nielson and photographer Ron Kuntz.  She received the Meritorious Service Award from the Canton Christian Home, a Church of Christ based nursing home.  Both Merritt and Hazel were active members of the Blanchard River Church of Christ, Hardin Farm Bureau Council, American Jersey Cattle Club, and Purebred Dairy Cattle Association’s National Honor Roll for herd development and butterfat production.  The Ohio Dairyman’s Association recognized the Wilson farm on the DHIA Honor Roll for production of milk fat in 365 days.  Their farm is recognized as a Century Farm by both the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  In October 2015, the Wilson Homestead celebrated its 150 years of only Wilsons named on the deed and only Wilsons living on the farm.


Tickets for the Hardin County Agriculture Hall of Fame Banquet must be purchased in advance.  Tickets are $12, and available at the Hardin County Extension office (419-674-2297), or from the committee members: Andrew Flinn, Robert McBride, Ruth Oates, Kerry Oberlitner, Paul Ralston, Don Spar, Luke Underwood, Robert Wood, and Mark Badertscher.


The Riverdale FFA Chapter hosted a 5K on November 7, 2015. The participantsgave items for soldier care packages. We had 13 people run including two marines Jordon Flemming and Montana Kimmel. From 1st to 5th place was Kim Rall at 23.17 minutes, Montana Kimmel at 24.22 minutes, Scoot Penwell at 24.50 minutes, Jordon Flemming at 25.57 minutes, and  Brakken Rall at 29.23 minutes. We would like to thank everyone for supporting the men and women fighting for our freedoms.


Eleven Ohio FFA chapters were chosen to receive a $500 grant to participate in the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program’s (OSGMP) nutritional-awareness campaign, “Food for Thought Challenge”. 
Introduced at the annual Farm Science Review, Food for Thought is a statewide competition among FFA chapters to increase awareness about the nutritional value of a diet with whole grains, among other healthy behavior changes, in their schools and communities. Participants will create a campaign that will promote small grains in any way they choose.
Participating FFA chapters submitted campaign entries in September and were selected in October based on the originality of their campaign ideas. 
FFA chaptered selected to participate in the Food for Thought challenge include:
• Cory-Rawson
• Cedarville
• Eaton-MVCTC
• London
• Madison-Plains
• McComb
• Mowrystown
• North Union
• Ridgedale 
• Riverdale
The selected chapters met on November 10th at the Ohio FFA center to kick off the contest. Participants met past winners who are serving on the Youth Advisory Board, learned about gluten, received their $500 checks and brainstormed creative ideas for this year's contest.
Many chapters have already begun implementing their campaigns, which include tactics such as promoting the use of student food journals, organizing educational fairs with health-related groups and providing healthy snacks between classes. 
The FFA chapters will present their campaigns to a panel of judges at the 88th Ohio State FFA Convention on May 3 and 4 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. One chapter’s efforts will also be selected as the winner and they will be honored with the $2,000 grand award.


Members of the Riverdale FFA Chapter that attended the national convention.
The Riverdale FFA Chapter had seven members attend the National FFA Convention this year in Louisville, Kentucky. Members travelled with students from Cary, Mohawk and Upper Sandusky FFA Chapters. The members enjoyed a tour of Consolidated Grain and Barge in Cincinnati, a ropes challenge course at Mega Caverns in Louisville, a career show, the Belle of Louisville Dinner Boat Cruise, a tour of Boone Creek Cheese Creamery in Lexington, a tour of Tucker Tobacco Farm in Shelbyville, the World’s Toughest Rodeo at Broadbent Arena and a tour of Louisville Slugger. The members also attended several sessions of the Convention and saw guest speakers Kick Rigsby, Amberley Snyder, and Brad Montague. They also witnessed Dr. Jim Wand hypnotize their advisor, Ms. Steinmetz. Members enjoyed meeting other members from all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.



With the help of fifteen volunteer rainfall reporters, the Hardin County Extension office has collected unofficial township rainfall data for the past twenty-three consecutive years.  The 2015 growing season started with a relatively warm and dry planting period.  Although most corn was planted early to mid May, excessive rainfall starting later in the month greatly reduced yields.  This continuous rainfall persisted into mid July.  During this time period, the area didn’t have five good crop growing days in a row.

Root systems were weakened by the excessive rainfall, restricting their growth.  A dryer period followed in August and September, accompanied by mild temperatures.  Timely rains in August allowed plants to have access to water.  This was important because inadequate root development restricted available water that could have been otherwise obtained from the soil at deeper depths.  Unfortunately, several cornfields were damaged beyond repair from earlier rains, causing variability in yields.  Inability of soils to drain excess water flooded out several acres of soybeans, causing overall yield reductions in several fields.

During the growing season, from April 15 through October 15, average rainfall was 24.70 inches.  This is 1.01 inches above the ten-year average growing season precipitation, and 3.66 more inches of rain than last year’s growing season.  Harvest came earlier this year, with most fields being done by November or before.   The most rainfall recorded during the growing season was 30.38 inches in Liberty Township by Phil Epley.  Hale Township was close behind with 29.71 inches as reported by Tim Ramsey.  The least amount of rain was recorded in Goshen Township by Brien Brothers Farm, with 20.82 inches for the season.  A range of 9.56 inches in rainfall accumulation from high to low across the county is an indication of the variability in rainfall throughout Hardin County in 2015.

Corn yields were inconsistent, depending on the area rainfall, and ability to drain excess water.  Some yields varied greatly in fields, bringing in lower bushels.  However, moisture levels in corn were dryer, eliminating the need for running grain dryers as much as other years.  Soybeans did better than expected in areas that did not flood out, however these yields were also lower than normal.  Lower yields for the growing season were also accompanied with lower crop prices.  Fall planting of winter wheat has emerged with good stands initially in areas that had adequate soil moisture, but then growth slowed because of the dry fall.  Cover crop emergence and growth has also been challenged in some areas for the same reason.  Because of the early harvest, there has been a large amount of fall tillage in the county.  This has also allowed for fertilizer and lime applications in selected fields.


With low crop prices and higher input costs, many farmers, producers and farm business owners may be faced with having to make hard financial choices to stem potential losses and lessen financial stress, said a farm business expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. 

To help farmers, producers and farm business owners who want to gain insight into improving financial management, Ohio State University Extension is offering a free, four-part webinar series on managing risk and financial management.

The series, called “Ready, Set, Go: Preparing Farms to Successfully Manage Risk,” can help participants better understand their financial situation by focusing on financial statements and using them to their
advantage, said Chris Bruynis, an OSU Extension educator. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college

The webinar will offer participants information to help them gain a better understanding of various financial statements and how to use them to make management decisions about their farm business
going forward, Bruynis said.

“One of the goals is to help participants get their financial affairs in order so that they can weather these times,” he said. “The information that’s being offered will be of interest to many farmers and farm families, with crop prices going down over the past two years, leaving profits well below where they’ve been in recent years.

“So it’s going to be more critical that we get our finances right. We’re heading into a time where we need to watch our operating capital, not overextend our credit, and make sure we are paying a fair rent on land that allows us to make a profit.”

The webinars run on November 16, 23, 30 and December 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register for the free series, go to Those registered by November 12 will receive the login information and course material on November 13 by email, Bruynis said.  Participants will then view the programs from their own computer online.  If someone does not have a computer or a fast enough internet connection, they can call OSU Extension Educator Mark Badertscher at 419-674-2297 to make arrangements to view the programs at the Hardin County Extension office.

The webinar series will begin November 16 with Farm Business Planning and Systems Management including: Is the operation large enough and profitable enough to provide family living draw?; Is the business plan built on economic considerations?; Is there an adequate system for obtaining management information and monitoring business performance?

The second webinar will be on November 23 and will focus on Introduction to Financial Statements including balance sheets, income statements, statement of cash flows, statement of owner equity, and projected cash flow budget.

The third webinar will be held November 30 and will include “Legal 21” financial ratios, Liquidity: what are options to correct liquidity concerns?; Solvency: what options does a farm owner have in correcting this?; Profitability: rate of return on farm assets — can I really affect this?; Repayment capacity: do I have the ability to repay the loan on the next farm?; and Financial efficiency: am I using my money to its fullest potential?

The fourth and final webinar will be December 7, with topics such as using financial data to drive decisions, determining risk capacity, capital improvement plan —short and long term, individual enterprise analysis to determine profitable enterprises, and decision time using case farms. A North Central Extension Risk Management Education Grant funds the webinar series, Bruynis said. For more information about the webinar, contact Bruynis at or 740-702-3200.


Kenton FFA members that attended the October Meeting that was also the Hardin County Cookout. This is  with neighboring schools from county. State officers, Madison Sheanan, State Vice President At-Large, and Matthew Klopfenstein, State President joined FFA members and engaged members in famous FFA camp activities, creating bonding throughout the county between members. Also, thanks to Althauser Honey Farms, members were able to paint pumpkins of their choice. They delivered them away as gifts to the community's nursing homes.


The Riverdale FFA Chapter from Riverdale High School will be showcased this weekend, November 7-9, 2015, on “This Week In AgriBusiness”, a weekly, one-hour television agri news program hosted by two of the country’s most well-known farm broadcasters Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson.
The Riverdale FFA Chapter Tribute will include information about the chapter’s history, activities and community service. It also includes several photos of the students and their participation in chapter activites.
Viewers can see the Riverdale FFA Chapter Tribute during “This Week In AgriBusiness” which is aired on RFD-TV, a 24-hour television network for rural America.  RFD-TV is carried on Dish Network channel 231 and on DirecTV channel 379, as well as a number of other cable systems. “This Week In AgriBusiness” airs four times on RFD-TV throughout the weekend. Broadcast times are 7:00a.m. on Saturday;  5:00a.m. and 5:00p.m. on Sundays; and 8:00a.m. on Mondays (Central Time Zone). 
In addition to being highlighted on RFD-TV, the Riverdale FFA Chapter has a chance of winning $1,000, $500, or $250 through an online voting contest. To vote, go to:, register and vote daily for the Riverdale FFA Chapter! One vote per day will be counted and voting ends December 15th, 2015. Please support the Riverdale FFA!


This season, farmers are at a high risk of having a field fire. In the past couple of weeks,there have been several field fires in area counties. What is fueling these fires you may ask? We had a tremendous amount of rain this past growing season, which in turn produced a corn crop with a lot of fodder. We also have had a very dry harvest season this fall. Add in high winds, a discarded cigarette or a blowing ember from a trash fire and you have the opportunity for a major field fire.
Field fires can grow out of control in a matter of minutes. Adjacent homes, buildings and standing crops Additionally the conditions present during harvest season include dry plant material and grain dust that are highly combustible.  Hot equipment or engine sparks are great ignition sources.  It is not uncommon for exhaust pipes or catalytic converters to exceed 1,000°F. Add a little wind and there is a perfect opportunity for a field fire. 
Fighting a field fire can be quite the challenge and should be directed by the fire department in charge. You may be of assistance if you have a tillage tool ready to go to “plow” a barrier. When plowing the barrier you do not want to attempt to till the ground at the fire. You would want to keep a safe distance between the fire and your tractor. Directly tilling the ground at the fire may result in severe damage to the tractor and a risk to the operator.
Being prepared to handle field fires is important for all workers and transport drivers.  Combines, tractors, grain trucks, and pick-ups should all be equipped with a trustworthy fire extinguisher as the first lines of defense.  Combines should carry an ABC 10-pound fire extinguisher in the cab and a larger 20-pound unit at the ground level. Tractors and trucks are recommended to have a 5-pound minimum extinguisher available.  These extinguishers should be in EACH vehicle in the field.  Nothing is worse than watching the combine go up in flames while you're running to the end of the field to retrieve the fire extinguisher on the grain cart. Having an extinguisher on each piece of equipment ensures you will be ready to react on the first signs 
Don't get caught with a false sense of security.
If you follow the recommendations and own enough fire extinguishers, then you must also follow the maintenance recommendations.  Check the pressure gages periodically, making sure the needle remains in the "charged" zone.  If a unit has been partially discharged, it must be fully recharged before using it again.  Even a slight discharge can create a gap in the internal seal of the extinguisher valve, causing the pressure to leak out.  The pressure needle may linger in the charged zone; however there may not be adequate pressure to expel the contents.
Extinguishers could use a little shake a few times a year. By inverting the extinguisher and shaking it several times each season makes sure the powder doesn’t get lodged at the bottom of the unit. Equipment vibrations are notorious for compacting the reactive ingredients of fire extinguishers; making them worthless when they are needed. Extinguishers should also be inspected periodically by a fire professional.  Fire service companies can be found in community directories.  Your local fire department or insurance company can also point you in the right direction for service companies.  Some extinguishers are not designed to be refilled, or are too old to be refilled.  These units should be replaced when they expire.  Having these old extinguishers around does no good when the time comes to pull the pin. 
Follow other fire prevention practices.
It is also important to keep machinery in good repair.  Apply grease to bearings and oil chains regularly to reduce friction.  It is recommended to perform maintenance checks at the end of the day, rather than at the beginning, to detect any hot smoldering areas that may break out into flames overnight. Keep machinery clean and free from plant materials, especially around the wrap points.  Wipe up any fuel or oil leaks to eliminate additional fuel sources; and do not leave oily rags on equipment or in the Use an air compressor or leaf blower to remove crop residue, and a pressure washer to remove built up oil or caked-on grease. Take time to cool down the equipment each night, and check for any hot spots.  These steps can make a difference to save equipment, facilities, commodities, and lives. Being prepared to handle field fires is important for all workers.  Having machinery equipped with a trustworthy fire extinguisher is one of the first lines of defense.
Use an air compressor or leaf blower to remove crop residue, and a pressure washer to remove built up oil or caked-on grease. Take time to cool down the equipment each night, and check for any hot spots.  These steps can make a difference to save equipment, facilities, commodities, and lives. Being prepared to handle field fires is important for all workers.  Having machinery equipped with a trustworthy fire extinguisher is one of the first lines of defense.


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