AG News

High input costs coupled with low grain prices anticipated in 2016 means that growers have to make smarter, calculated choices to grow profitable crops this year.  Also important is the need to build and maintain healthy soils to help ensure good water quality, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer.  Reeder is an organizer of the annual Conservation Tillage Conference (CTC) offered March 2-3 by The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).


As farmers prepare for spring planting, much of their planning will focus on where and how to cut costs for 2016 without reducing net income, Reeder said.  “Many growers are tightening their belts because of tight budgets, low prices and not much money in the bank,” he said.  “For a few years, grain farmers were making good money.  But in 2015 grain prices fell sharply, with 2016 prices looking to stay low.”


CTC will offer numerous presentations designed to help growers learn where to cut back while ensuring they have healthy soils, healthy water and hopefully a healthy bank account, Reeder said.


The program includes a “Corn University” and “Soybean School” that will be offered during the annual conference.  Topics to be discussed during the Corn University March 2 include corn yield forecasting; new molecular methods for insect control; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium management highlights for corn; taking a second look at hybrid performance and technology; along with crop-effective and environment-responsible nutrient placement in strip-till and no-till corn.


Topics to be discussed during the Soybean School March 3 include Ohio soybean limitation survey results; managing weeds in soybeans; fertility management, managing soybean insects; the future of soybean breeding; and the top 10 ways to improve yield, without breaking the bank.


The Corn University and Soybean School are just two of a total of eight concurrent sessions during the conference.  More than 900 participants are expected to attend the event, which is organized by OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), with assistance from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCD).  OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms of the college.


The conference will offer the latest research, insight, tips and techniques on precision fertility, cover crops and manure, water management, technology and equipment, nutrient management, and advanced cover crops.  It features some 60 presenters, including 25 CFAES researchers and Extension educators, as well as farmers and industry representatives.  Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) continuing education credits are available with an emphasis on soil and water, and nutrient management hours.


Topics presented during the two Cover Crop sessions include understanding the legal aspects of manure application; on-farm experiences with cover crops and manure; enhancing soil mycorrhizal fungi to retain nutrients; improving soil carbon for healthier soils; and sustainable agriculture programs from Campbell Soup Company.


The Conservation Tillage Conference will be held at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada.  The full schedule and registration information can be found at  Participants may register by mail through February 21 or online through February 26 for $65 for one day or $85 for both days.  Walk-in registration is $80 for one day or $105 for both days.

Other conference sponsors include the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Soybean Council, Farm Science Review, John Deere, Ag Credit, Seed Consultants, and the Ohio No-Till Council.  For more information about this year’s CTC, contact Mark Badertscher, Hardin County OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at 419-674-2297.


The Hardin Northern FFA´s Senior class is participating in the Little Buddies Program where we have separated into groups that go down to help the younger elementary students with schoolwork. Our goal is to help the younger students and build up a bond with them so that they are comfortable around us. Each student is assigned 1-2 students to help them read, do math, and other activities that the teacher´s have set up for that day.


The Riverdale FFA recently had several accomplishment at the Regional FFA Award Evaluations. Evaluations include a quality check of record books and applications for American Degrees, State Degrees, and proficiencies. Officer books are also judged for Secretary, Treasurer, and Reporter. The American Degree is the highest degree that can be earned by an FFA member after exhibiting premier leadership and earning $10,000 with their SAE. American Degrees to be received October 2016 were:  Paul Frey, Katelyn McCoy, and Julia Naus. The State Degree is awarded by ones FFA after a member has been active in Chapter and State FFA activities, SAE earnings of $2,500 and a high attendance and scholastic record. State Degree to be awarded May 2016 include Rianne Kruiter, Car Pauley, Kohlten Shane, and Shantell Rowe. The secretary’s book includes records of our membership, meeting agendas, committee reports, meeting minutes, and correspondence. Secretary, Maria Shane, received gold rating with a score of 150/150. The treasurer’s book includes a chapter budget, individual member records of deposits, all expenses and income of the Chapter, and monthly report. Treasurer, Natalie Snook, earned a gold rating with a score of 150/150. The Reporter’s book is a Chapter scrapbook of all Chapter activities and articles published in the school and area newspaper. Reporter, Carrol Pauley, received a silver with a score of 120/150. Congratulations to all member with this year’s evaluations.


The annual Hardin County Dairy Banquet will be held on Saturday, March 12 at 12:00 noon at the Plaza Inn Restaurant, Mt. Victory.  Tickets this year are $13.00 for adults and $7.00 for children 12 and under.  Junior Fair Dairy Exhibitors from the 2015 Hardin County Fair are eligible for a complimentary ticket by contacting the Extension office.
Tickets are available until March 7 from the following county Dairy Service Unit Directors: Philip Bauer, Nate Cromer, Keith and Jean Dirkson, Mary Gurney, Chad Hazelton, Bret Rager, Larry and Janice Rall, Parry Rall, Vaughn Rall, Clair and Sue Sanders, Dan and Molly Wagner, or from the Extension Office at 1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103, Kenton.  The entertainment for the banquet will be local guitarist and vocalist Jim Boedicker.
The Hardin County Dairy Service Unit will be awarding a scholarship at their annual banquet. Funds raised from the association’s semi-annual cheese sale are used to support higher education with this scholarship program.  Eligible students must live on a dairy farm, have been raised on a dairy farm, work on a dairy farm, be pursuing a dairy related education, or have shown a dairy heifer or dairy cow project at the Hardin County Fair.  
The Dairy Service Unit is also looking for a 2016 Dairy Princess.  The Dairy Princess will represent the Hardin County Dairy Service Unit with promotion of the dairy industry at the county fair and other scheduled activities. Contestants must be unmarried, age 15 to 19 inclusive, or freshman in high school as of January 1, 2016.  They must live on a dairy farm, must have a dairy project in 4-H or FFA and show at the fair, or work on a dairy farm. 
Applications can be picked up at the Extension office for both the scholarship and princess at 1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103 in Kenton or from Hardin County FFA advisors, high school guidance counselors, or download the application from The dairy scholarship application must be completed and returned to the Extension office by March 4, 2016.  The dairy princess entry form must be completed and returned to the Extension office by February 26, 2016


The Riverdale FFA recently had Madison Sheahan, Ohio FFA State President at Large, visit and conduct leadership workshops in all classes.  She focused on opportunities in the FFA, stereotypes, and how to leave a better mark on our own Chapter. She also joined the officers for a potluck lunch. We look forward to our interactions with Madison as the school year continues.


Agricultural fertilizer applicator certification is now required for farmers who apply fertilizer to more than 50 acres of agricultural production grown primarily for sale. This requirement was signed into law in June 2014, and also requires certification for commercial agricultural fertilizer applicators. Farmers who have their fertilizer applied by co-ops or custom applicators are not required to be certified.
Farmers and commercial applicators need to attend a training course offered by Ohio State University Extension to become certified. Those who have a pesticide applicator license need to attend a two-hour fertilizer certification. If an applicator does not have a pesticide license, they will be required to attend a three-hour fertilizer certification. Fertilizer applicators who received Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training in the fall of 2014 or during 2015 do not need to be trained again in 2016. Applicators who are a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) or Certified Livestock Manager (CLM) are not required to attend the training.
Fertilizer is defined for the regulation as any substance containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, or other plant nutrient in a dry or liquid formulation. All application types such as broadcast, side dress, sub-surface, knifing and other are included in the certification requirement. Lime and limestone are not included as fertilizer for the certification and farmers who only use starter fertilizer in their planter boxes are exempted. The agriculture fertilizer certification is not required for manure applications as these are currently regulated, unless farmers are applying livestock or poultry manure from a Concentrated Animal Feeding Facility (CAFF). In this case, they would need to have either the CLM or Ohio Fertilizer Certification.
A three-hour certification program for any applicator who does not have a pesticide license will be offered March 1 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm in the McIntosh Center at Ohio Northern University. The address for the location is 402 West College Avenue, Ada. Please arrive by 12:30 pm so that materials can be distributed and the program can start on time. This free training will meet the certification requirements for those with and without a pesticide license. There will also be a two-hour certification program on March 10 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm for applicators who currently hold a pesticide license. This training will be held at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory as part of the annual pesticide recertification training. Pre-registration is required for both the Ada and Mt. Victory locations. Online registration is available at You can also register by calling the Hardin County Extension office at 419-674-2297.
Applicators who meet the criteria for the fertilizer certification must attend training by September 30, 2017. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is the agency issuing the certification for agriculture fertilizer applications. Their website has information regarding the regulation at For more information about other training sessions or general materials for the agriculture fertilizer certification, visit or contact Mark Badertscher, Hardin County OSU Extension at


The Hardin County Sheep Improvement Association will hold their annual Lamb Banquet on Saturday, March 5 at St. John’s United Church of Christ at 6:30 pm. Tickets for the banquet can be obtained from the Extension office at 1021 W. Lima Street, Suite 103, Kenton. Adult tickets are $15, Children $7, and 2015 Hardin County Junior Fair Sheep Exhibitors FREE with a reservation given at 419-674-2297 by February 29.
Tickets can be purchased until February 26 from the following county Sheep Improvement Association Directors: Adam Burbach, Megan Burgess, Scott Elliott, Barry Musselman, Cory Wagner, Dave Burkhart, Kristie Fay, Max Garmon, Don Haudenschield, Kenny Williams, Jeff Bowers, Bruce Oberlitner, Peter Previte, or Russell Senning. Tickets can also be purchased from Madelyn Lowery. The banquet entertainment will be a presentation on the International Sheep Tour to Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland by retired Hancock County OSU Extension Educator Gary Wilson.
The Hardin County Sheep Improvement Association is looking for 2016 Lamb & Wool Queen contestants and scholarship applicants. A queen applicant and their parent/guardian must be residents of Hardin County or a Hardin County School District prior to entering the contest, and live on a farm where sheep are produced or have a sheep project in the Hardin County Junior Fair to be eligible. Applicants must be 15 to 20 years of age as of January 1, 2016. Contestants must complete an entry form. For further information about the Lamb & Wool Queen contest, please contact the Sheep Improvement Association Queen Committee Chair, Kristie Fay at 419-673-8264.
The Hardin County Sheep Improvement Association is also offering a five hundred dollar scholarship to a student entering/attending college for the 2016-2017 school year. An applicant and their parent/guardian must be residents of Hardin County or a Hardin County School District prior to entering college, and must have had a sheep project and shown at the Hardin County Fair. The applicant must be maintaining a 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
For more information about the scholarship, please contact the Sheep Improvement Association Scholarship Committee Chair, Peter Previte at 419-634-2202. Applications and rules for both the Hardin  County Lamb & Wool Queen and the Scholarship are available from your school’s FFA advisor, high school guidance counselor, or can be obtained from the OSU Extension office and its website at Applications must be received at the Hardin County Extension Office by February 27,


The Riverdale FFA Chapter had 3 teams of 2 compete in the tractor trouble shooting contest at Cory Rawson High School on January 21, 2016. Tractor Trouble Shooting consists of finding and fixing what is wrong with farm machinery. Caleb McCoy and Caleb Leatherwood got 22nd with 78 points. Kohlten Shane and Martin Little got 16th with107 points. Caleb Egner and Gert-Jan got 1st with 155 points. Caleb Egner and Gert-Jan Kruiter will advance on to the District Contest on February 12, 2016.


Hardin County has a rich tradition of active livestock commodity group organizations. There are organizations for each of the major livestock species, and these groups have royalty and scholarship opportunities to recognize the youth of the county. In addition, each livestock organization has directors that plan and lead activities for their membership throughout the year. Besides promoting the youth of the county who have livestock, each group provides programs and activities for the adult producers to help promote their respective species.
One of the most common programs offered to livestock producers during the winter months in Hardin County are the livestock banquets. Most of the banquets have a speaker or entertainment as part of the program, along with a meal and often door prizes sponsored by the generous donations of local agribusinesses and individuals. Most of the livestock banquets have been ongoing events for many years, with the exception of the Horse Banquet, which was new last year.
This year’s Horse Banquet will kick-off the winter banquet season on February 27. The banquet will recognize the equine industry, including the youth and adults who work with horses in the county. It will be held at the Kenton Moose Lodge starting at 6:30 pm.
The Sheep Improvement Association will be holding their annual Lamb Banquet on March 5. This event will be at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Kenton starting at 6:30 pm, and will feature different cuts of lamb on the menu.
Two livestock banquets are being held on March 12. The Dairy Service Unit will be holding their Dairy Banquet at the Plaza Inn Restaurant in Mt. Victory starting at 12:00 noon. This banquet will feature dairy products as part of the menu. The Pork Producers will also hold their annual Pork Banquet on March 12 starting at 6:30 pm. It will be held at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Kenton.
The Cattle Producers will wrap up the livestock banquets by holding their annual Beef Banquet March 26. This event will be held at the Community Building on the fairgrounds, starting at 6:00 pm. Tickets for the horse or livestock commodity banquets can be obtained from each organization’s directors or from the Hardin County Extension office, located at 1021 W Lima Street in Kenton. Get your tickets soon for your family to be able to enjoy these wonderful events that bring together the agricultural community.
For more information about this year’s livestock banquets, contact OSU Extension or visit the Hardin County OSU Extension web site at, the Hardin County OSU Extension Facebook page, or call Mark Badertscher, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator at 419-674-2297.


Do you have an interest in gardening, want to improve your skills, and at the same time, enjoy sharing your knowledge with others? The Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardeners will partner with Allen County OSU Extension Master Gardeners to host a Master Gardener Volunteer training course for new Master Gardener Volunteers this spring. 
The classes will begin March 8 and end April 26, with participation in an all-day Master Gardener Seminar, ‘The Art of Gardening’ on March 19.  The classes will meet at OSU-Lima on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00-9:00 pm. There will be an orientation to the Master Gardener Volunteer program that will take place in Hardin County for local residents.  The cost for the course is $150, which includes a Master Gardener Volunteer manual, course handouts, and class refreshments.  The fee also covers expenses to bring in guest speakers who are experts in their fields.  Prospective Master Gardener Volunteers will also need to get fingerprinted for a background check at their own expense.
The Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program provides intensive training in horticulture to interested Ohio residents who then volunteer their time assisting with educational programs and activities for Ohio residents through their local Ohio State University Extension county office.  Volunteers are not required to have gardening skills or knowledge; but a passion for learning about gardening and sharing this knowledge with others is a must!
Working with county Extension personnel and a local Volunteer Coordinator, Master Gardener Volunteers provide such educational services to their communities as: answering gardening questions from the public; conducting plant clinics; gardening activities with children, senior citizens, or disabled persons; beautifying the community; developing community or demonstration gardens; and other horticultural activities.
For more information about the Hardin County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, visit their Facebook page.  Go to to find out more about OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.  You can also call the Hardin County Extension office at (419) 674-2297 or email Dave McPheron ( for more information and to obtain an enrollment form.


Winter eventually arrived bringing daily cold temperatures. Farmers have outdoor tasks that need to be done regardless of the weather or temperatures. Livestock producers have to feed and care for animals and the grain farmer has to check or load stored grain. Wood may need to be cut for fuel. 


Prolonged exposure to cold, wet, and windy conditions can be dangerous. In these conditions, farmers are at a higher risk for many injuries, such as frostbite, overexertion, muscle strain, falls, or heart attack. Kent McGuire, Ohio State University Extension Ag Safety and Health Coordinator, recommends the following guidelines for farmers while working in winter conditions.


Wear appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Even a simple task may take longer than planned so prepare for cold conditions. Remove or replace wet or damp clothing as soon as possible, including gloves. If possible, perform work during the warmest part of the day and take frequent short breaks in a warm dry area to allow the body to rest and warm up.


Keep travel paths free from ice and snow. Be observant to areas such as water troughs or leaking roofs/gutters that may allow water to accumulate and freeze in walking areas. Stretch your muscles before you begin to shovel snow or remove ice.  Do not overload the shovel, and take frequent breaks to stretch your back. Bend your knees and let your legs do the lifting. Avoid twisting motions which can lead to pulled muscles.


When walking on an icy or snow covered area, take short steps and walk at a slower pace to be able to react quickly to slips. Keep hands out of pockets when walking to reduce the risk of falling or losing your balance while walking on ice or snow. Use 3 points of contact when mounting or dismounting equipment (one hand/two feet or two hands/one foot contact). Be aware of potentially slick ground conditions when dismounting equipment.


Be aware of vision transitions moving from outdoor to indoor environments. Wear sunglasses to reduce glare and protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays being reflected from snowy surfaces. Remember that visibility can be reduced to near zero in the immediate area during snow removal operations such as plowing, sweeping, and snow blowing. Utilize a visual reference point to stay on course and avoid any potential hazards. Use caution with gas powered equipment. Dangerous carbon monoxide can be generated by gas-powered equipment as well as alternative heating sources. Use these items only in well-ventilated areas.


Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear lobes or nose tip. Also, watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, seek a warm location, remove any wet clothing and warm the center of the body first. Get medical attention as soon as possible for both frostbite and hypothermia.


Farm activities do not stop just because of the cold. However, just as the farmer takes care of their livestock during the cold, they also need to take precautions to protect themselves. 


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