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October 2012


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Issue 8

BROWN COUNTY: Workers gather tobacco on land farmed by Richard Trester.


HIGHLAND COUNTY: Jason and Rick Unger stand atop one of their combines.

BROWN COUNTY — Whoever said “cotton is king” has clearly never been to the tobacco country of southwestern Ohio. I climbed up on a tobacco wagon and gazed out into the fields at the men harvesting this season’s tobacco. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the cotton-picking of the 1800s as the men quickly moved from one plant to another, bending and sweating, cutting and spearing — all that rigorous work. “It’s all manual labor,” said Richard Trester. “I raised my first crop when I was 16. Even though I had another job, tobacco’s always been in my life.” Continued on page 3A

Harvest season  throughout  Southwest Ohio Adams County See page 5A

 Clinton County See page 8A

 Fayette County See page 7A

 Highland County See page 6A

No longer science fiction:


Turning agricultural waste into natural gas


OSU’s New Dean


Counties Named Disaster Areas


WOOSTER — About 30 people crammed into a conference room at the Ohio State University branch campus Sept. 6 to learn about a new energy production method straight out of a sciencefiction movie: anaerobic digestion. Many of those present at the conference were from quasar energy group, a waste-to-energy company that has a lab at the Wooster campus and has been involved in the digestion movement for some time. People from the University of Missouri and the University of Hawaii, the USDA, and even some farmers sat through the day’s several lectures and the lab tour that comprised day one. Day two featured several more talks by academics, a panel discussion of current digester users, and a tour of the campus’s digester. The day’s lectures began with an informative talk from Dr. Yebo Li, assistant professor at Wooster’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Devel-

10 Farm Science Review

13 4 Rs of Fertilizing

14 Corn Mazes 16 Pork Producers Feed the World

1B Women On Photo by Lee Jones

Lab tech Stephen Park shows off a reactor during the lab tour. This is a mini-digester used to test feedstocks for output.

opment Center (OARDC). He does extensive work in the campus’ laboratory and his hour-long session gave a general overview of the digestion process and how it is being implemented. The process Anaerobic digestion essentially turns waste into natural gas by putting

“feedstocks,” like food waste or cattle manure, into a tank depleted of oxygen called a digester. The material ferments and releases methane within a period of 20-30 days. The gas is captured as it is produced and turned into fuel. Some of the feedstock is then saved to be used as seed for the next batch

The Farm

1B Growing Gourds

heading into the tank. “It’s a two-sided thing,” Li said. “It reduces waste and produces energy, like electric and natural gas.” The by-product of digestion is called digestate and it can even be used for compost or animal bedding.

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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

Farm Science Review showcases the future of farming

of Southwest Ohio


October 2012

Publisher — Pamela Stricker Editor — Gary Brock Layout — Jayla Wallingford

Sales Adams County (937) 544-2391 Lee Huffman, Publisher Brown County (937) 378-6161 Steve Triplett, Publisher Clinton County (937) 382-2574 Sharon Kersey, Ad Director Fayette County (740) 335-3611 Sherri Sattler, Ad Director Highland County (937) 393-3456 Mickey Parrott, Ad Director Subscriptions Brenda Earley, Circulation Manager (937) 393-3456, Contact ACRES of Southwest Ohio: 761 S. Nelson Ave. | Wilmington, OH 45177 | (937) 382-2574

ACRES of Southwest Ohio is published monthly by Ohio Community Media, LLC and is available through the Georgetown News-Democrat, Hillsboro Times-Gazette, Ripley Bee, Washington CH Record-Herald, West Union People’s Defender and Wilmington News Journal. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue in whole or in part is prohibited. ACRES of Southwest Ohio is available for purchase at each of the newspaper offices for $1/copy or contact us to subscribe. Subscriptions $19.95 per year.

Please Buy Locally & Recycle.

Today, American farmers feed not only American consumers, but the hungry people of the world. Will we be able to say that in 50 years? That was the question on the minds of many people at the 50th annual Farm Science Review near London in mid-September. Today, the world is six billion people. There may be nine billion or more in 50 years. Will the American farmer be capable of feeding that many people? What changes in agriculture technology will be needed to increase both yield and nutritional value in the crops we Americans produce? Will there be enough farmers in the United States in 50 years to meet the world’s needs? Chuck Gamble, the Manager for the Farm Science Review is optimistic about the future. He said this year’s theme, “Forecasting the Future” is appropriate. “This year we are looking at the future, and how we are going to feed the people of the world 50 years from now,” he said. This year more than 120,000 people attended the Farm Science Review. The annual event draws people from not just Ohio and the nation, but visitors from all over the world. Everyone wants to see what the future of farming and agriculture will look like, and there is no better place to learn the future than at this gathering

Gary Brock is Editor-InChief of Acres.

sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. That big title is important because the educational support from a major university is what makes this event unique. When you walk around the 200-plus acres you immediately are struck by the OSU presence. There are dozens of staffers in the different agricultural sciences from OSU on hand to hold training sessions and workshops, as well as look at future trends in farming. Walking around the

grounds of the Farm Science Review is an overwhelming experience for anyone who has never attended the three-day exhibition. Hundreds of vendors, displays, new and future farm equipment, demonstrations and tons of food line the “streets” of this agricultural city. But one interesting point was made to me following the event by one of the people working at one of the vendor buildings. The Farm Science Review isn’t an event just for farmers and those in agriculture. Fayette County’s Jason Gentry points out that it is a great event to attend for everyone. Gentry, Seed Advisor, Southwest Ohio for Beck’s Hybrids, said Friday that anyone would enjoy attending the event to “see all the changes there have been in

See more on this event on page 10A the farming and agriculture industry.” He added that there is also a lot of great food there and plenty of information and displays on other topics such as gardening. That’s a great point. You don’t have to be a farmer or directly involved in agriculture to enjoy this event. In fact, everyone would benefit from attending, since all Americans benefit from what farmers do every day feed the world. It is a great idea to learn more about how that is done and how feeding the world will be done in the future. I will be there in 2013, and hope to see many of you there! (Gary Brock is Editorin-Chief of ACRES.)

Photo by Gary Brock New dairy milking technology was on display at the Farm Science Review near London Sept. 18-20.

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ACRES of Southwest Ohio BROWN COUNTY, Continued from page 1A

Trester, 60, retired from The Kroger Co. a few years back, but is now a full-time farmer. He’s a tall, bearded man with a friendly, deep voice — authoritative and knowledgeable, but very welcoming and amiable at the same time. His arms have a brown tint to them, no doubt from all the summer sun. He oversees and works approximately 17 acres of tobacco on the southern outskirts of Bethel just north of Felicity — land that he’s worked for about 30 years. I first met Trester days before, when I randomly pulled into the farm’s drive and asked him about his tobacco operation. Ever since I moved to the area, people have been quick to inform me about its history with the plant, be it in central Brown County, eastern Clermont, or down by the river. I knew nothing about it until Trester invited me back a few days later to watch his team harvest the tobacco. On this particular morning, the air was still cool because the sun hadn’t come out just yet, and the grass was still damp. Out in the fields, he had six men working for him. “A lot of farmers around here use migrant workers,” Trester said. “I don’t, personally. I use the boys from the community right here in Felicity, and I’ve always been able to get good help with these guys.” If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with tobacco, but for those who don’t know (like me), prior to being at the harvest status, the seeds are planted in March, grown in a greenhouse, and are later transplanted to the field. We stood next to the fields as he educated me about the process. “We grow the plants in greenhouses, kind of like hydroponics are grown in water, and they’re in trays,” Trester said. “We bring the trays straight to the field and transplant them.” Stakes are placed in the ground using what Trester calls a “high boy,” which is a piece of

Trester traditionally cures his tobacco by hanging leaves upside down in the curing barns for two to three months depending on the weather.

drivable equipment that shoots the stakes into the ground and can also be used for spraying. The number of stakes per acre just depends on how a farmer chooses to set them, the row spacing and the row width. Trester’s land has approximately 1,200 stakes to an acre. “From there on, it’s just a process of taking care of them — cultivating them, making sure insects are taken care of,” Trester said. “We’re at the harvest stage right now. Once this is in the barn it’ll be approximately around Thanksgiving before we’ll be able to take it down and strip it and send it to market.” Fleas, tobacco worms, and mud are just a few of the threats the plants face throughout the growing season. He walked with me through a row, alongside the workers. “This is burley — this is cigarette tobacco — growing in this area,” Trester pointed out. The tobacco was a little taller than I am before it was cut down and I’m about five feet five inches. According to Trester’s contract, he can pick and choose the types and varieties of burley he grows. “Right now, they’re cutting

off each branch of each plant by hand, putting it on a stick, which is the way we hang it in the barn on rails,” Trester said as we walked. Once the plants are cut and staked, they’re left where they are in the field for a short amount of time. “We actually leave it out at least two days and let it wilt,” Trester said. “It takes some of the weight and some of the moisture out of it so it’s easier to house. If you were hanging what they’re cutting right now, you’ll lose half those leafs. It’s brittle. They’ll break off. So when it sets there and wilts you don’t lose as many leaves when you bring them to the barn.” The next step in the harvest is the actual curing of the tobacco. While there are different methods of curing, Trester uses a traditional one. He motioned us toward a large wooden barn. It’s one of several he uses for curing. “They call it open-air curing,” he said. “It makes the plant cure down at a slow rate. The more moisture that’s in the air as it’s curing down, the better color you get because the companies want a certain color and a certain texture. It’s all about the color.

Continued on page 5A


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They don’t want any green on leaves that are already cured.” The leaves are hung upside down in the curing barns for approximately two to three months, although it could vary depending on the weather. “The curing process depends on the conditions, because the temperature, moisture in the air — it all has something to do with the curing process,” Trester said, “but normally if we’re harvesting late, August into September, usually by the first of November some of them are starting to strip and getting ready for market.” Once the tobacco is cured, the team takes the stakes out of the barn, takes all the tobacco down, and takes it to what Trester calls the processing or “stripping” room — located behind the field — where they strip the tobacco leaf by leaf, and all by hand. Then, Trester’s team strips the leaves and divides them into 80100 pound bails of tobacco by stalk position depending on leaf type. “You’ll have a trash, you’ll have a cutter, you’ll have a lug — or a red leaf — and a tip,” Trester said. “The bales are tied up and then it’s taken to the receiving stations.”

October 2012 3A Trester has a contract with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, so his receiving station is in Morehead, Ky. The company is the manufacturer of Camel, Century, Doral, Magna, Monarch, More, Now, Salem, Sterling, Vantage, and Winston products. “At that time, they grade it by stock positions — that’s how you get your prices,” Trester said. “Once we drop it off it’s out of our hands.” He lead me to an open side of the barn where I could see layers upon layers of tobacco hanging upside-down. He reached in and grabbed one plant as an example, starting from the top (really the bottom of the plant) down. “See this at the bottom? We call that trash,” Trester said. “It’s at the bottom of your stalk, it’s the trashy part of the stalk itself. Some companies like this, some companies don’t, depends on the company.” He moved down. “You come down to the next leaves, maybe two or three — it’s still a little trashy here — but it’s a longer leaf,” Trester explained. “Sometimes they’ll use those and call them ‘cutters,’ but it’s just a second stalk position. Then, you get into the lug — your longer leaves — and they’ll change color: they’ll start looking a little redder as it goes down, they get longer, and last you get into your tips which will be darker — a little black looking.” Separating the leaves by stalk position is how the company prefers Trester process his plants. It’s called stripping by stalk position. He pointed to another plant. “See how brown that one is right there?” Trester said. “That was hung two weeks ago. That’s how fast it cures down — and you cannot sell it until it’s completely cured down like that.” Out of all Ohio’s 88 counties, Brown County produced the most tobacco in 2007. But interestingly enough, tobacco wasn’t No. 1 in sales for Brown County that year: grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas were. By acreage, soybeans were the top


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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

OSU names new ag VP, dean COLUMBUS — The Ohio State University has named alumnus Bruce McPheron vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. McPheron is currently dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at

The Pennsylvania State University and will start his new appointment on Nov. 1, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees. He will succeed Bobby Moser, who has served as dean and vice president since 1991. Moser announced his retirement in September

ANAEROBIC, Continued from page 1A

But it gets more complicated. Not all feedstocks are created equal. Food waste has proven to be the most effective gas-producer, more than double the production when compared to dairy manure’s output. Many municipalities have started putting biosolids, or sludge that is treated out of city water, in digesters. This material has the smallest output of methane, but, given the amount collected at treatment plants, it is a viable option for those operators. Basically any organic material can be used as a feedstock, but many of these solid sources need to be pre-treated to make them easier to liquefy, which is the ideal state for a feedstock. Li said the ideal feedstock would contain fats, proteins and sugars, as they tend toward higher methane production. “Simple sugars in a liquid feedstock will produce biogas very quickly,” Li said. There are also different kinds of digesters. Agricultural waste should be put into a plug flow digester, which is a long and narrow tank made of concrete with a gas-tight cover to trap the biogas. The tank is heated and also partially buried in order to make manure col-

2011. “Dr. McPheron is an Ohioan by birth, an Ohio State alumnus, and spent three years working as a county Extension educator in the state,” said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. “He brings a global view and worldwide experience back to Ohio to lead one of Ohio

Ned Mast, of quasar, discusses scrubbing techniques for the biogas his company uses.

lection easier. Then there is the covered lagoon, which is not temperature controlled and is really only used in the south. Lastly there are complete mix digesters, which are capable of using all sorts of solid feedstocks but use mechanical mixers. Current uses Mark Suchan, Biomass Procurement and Logistics Manager at quasar, spoke about the state of anaerobic digestion use in the States. He said there are about 180 digesters being used in the U.S., with the average system producing enough gas to power a 350 kW generator. One of the major problems with quasar’s digestion work comes with de-packaging the food waste they use in the digester. Cardboard and plastics, in which food waste is normally packaged, have no place in the digestion process, so the company has to find ways of effi-

ciently stripping the feedstock of inorganic matter. This is easier said than done. “But you do get some great recyclables out of this,” Suchan said, “We can capture 93 percent of the organic stuff after we get it away from the packaging.” He also showed a video of what quasar’s work entails. Viewers saw a mountain of iceberg lettuce piled against a wall while a backhoe unloaded a dumpster of oranges onto a garage floor. These items were destined for digestion. Quasar engineer Ned Mast detailed how the company repurposes the heat that is a natural byproduct of the digestion process, as well as explaining some of the more technical ways of “scrubbing” the gas for compression. Lo Niee Liew, of quasar and also a researcher at the OARDC, spoke about the lab analyses of digestion-

State’s most important educational programs. I am delighted that we have been fortunate enough to attract him back home.” Originally from Kenton, Ohio, McPheron began his career as a 4-H county Extension educator in Ohio in the early 1980s and, since 1988,

has worked in research and teaching at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. For more than a decade, he has served on the college’s leadership team, first as associate dean and director of the Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station and as dean since 2009.

derived gas. She broke feedstocks down into “total solids” counts and “volatile solids” counts, which determines how effective the feedstock will be at production. These counts were crucial to the laboratory portion of the day’s events. All participants were brought to the lab at the edge of the campus, where they could take in demonstrations of reactors, feedstock testing, and feedstock storage. Farmer’s new tool? This technology sounds great for a farmer, but there are a few issues with making that future a sustainable goal. Alan Johnson, Vice President of Project Management at quasar, said the combination of several factors is essential to establishing an AD system. “You have to have something to pay the way,” Johnson said, “And that is the tipping fee.” A food processing company or other organic waste producer will often pay a digester owner to haul away that material for use in their machine. That payment is called a tipping fee, and it is essential for feasibly operating a digester. In some places, like Germany, the tipping fees are exorbitant and government subsidies for the green energy production make the decision to digest even more lucrative.

But not in the U.S., where digestion is just taking off. Johnson said the way for a farmer to make such a system sustainable is to acquire food waste and, combined with the manure the farm produces, create gas which can be sold to a energy-hungry company that is nearby. “So it is a waste management technique,” Johnson said, “For a farmer this gets him a revenue stream and it creates a benign fertilizer.” Ideally, the business model is a “circle of energy,” which takes waste from a company to a digester. After that digester creates energy from the waste, that energy is then sold to the company, creating a sustainable, symbiotic business relationship. Farmers’ reactions David Briggs, who runs the Michigan-based Briggs Farm, attended the conference and left a little deflated. “I was pretty optimistic and now I’m moderately discouraged,” Briggs said. He operates a farm that would produce plenty of manure: 2,500 dairy cattle, 4,000 hogs, and plenty of corn, soybeans and wheat packed into 3,000 acres. “Unless it’s financially feasible I’m not interested,” he said. The upfront cost of building a digester would just be too high at this juncture. “I don’t think much of

Bruce McPheron Photo courtesy of Penn State Department of Public Information

what is being discussed here is designed for or practical on a farm,” he said. But Briggs’ hopes are not entirely dashed. He thinks the future could bring about changes that would bring the technology into his barns. “I do think there’s hope,” he said, “They didn’t build Rome in a day after all.” Burt Brown, who attended the conference on behalf of the Blue Stream Dairy, of Ohio, was very interested in checking out the lab facilities at the end of the first day’s conference. “Electricity costs are really high in Ohio,” Brown said, “At some point the costs will make digestion more attractive.” He has seen how digestion has worked for other large dairies and was interested in seeing how the process might benefit Blue Stream, which keeps 1,300 dairy cattle. Energy independence is important to him, and not only from a utility cost perspective. “There was that nasty wind storm earlier in the summer and we went 10 days without power,” Brown said, “It’s good to be able to guarantee power.” (Lee Jones writes for the Sidney Daily News and the Urbana Citizen.)



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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012


J.P. Wheeler stands next to his corn he planted near the end of April.

BROWN COUNTY, Continued from page 3A

crop item, followed by corn, forage (land used for all hay and haylage, grass silage, and greenchop), wheat, and then tobacco. The Ohio Tobacco Museum is even located right in our area, in Ripley. Despite the tobacco history of the region, the tobacco industry definitely isn’t in the heyday it once had, especially around this region. During the tobacco buyout of 2004, companies bought out tobacco farmers and started using contract systems, making it very hard for someone without a contract to make good money off their crop. “If you don’t have a contract with a company nowadays it’s very hard to sell it,” Trester said. “There is an open market, but the prices aren’t as good as with the contract stations. Contracts usually last a year, some you can sign up to a three-years, but basically it’s year by year.” Trester says there aren’t a lot of small-scale tobacco farmers around Miller’s Bakery on Wheat anymore and that the popRidge. ulation of them has gone Local farmer and studown dramatically for dent of Peebles High several reasons, including School J.P. Wheeler is not anti-smoking campaigns, having high hopes for his new regulations, and the crops this year. Wheeler buyout. farms roughly 100 acres of “In this community, corn and soybeans. there might only be five Wheeler said not even 50 or six of us out of the 35 percent of his crops are or 40 that there used to be good. He plans to get about 10 years ago,” Trester 14 bushels to the acre. said. “It was the govern“This harvest will not ment buyout. A lot of be anything like last year,” them quit — a lot of them Wheeler said. The drought just completely quit when seriously affected his crops they took the buyout.” for the worst. Wheeler A shaky economy also plans to start harvesting in impacted the industry. October. “It’s harder to produce (Chelsea Hall is an now than it ever has been intern at The People’s De- — because of the regulafender in Adams County.) tions, the rules,” Trester

Drought, extreme temps make mixed impact on farmers By CHELSEA HALL

The most important time of the year is quickly approaching for farmers of Adams County. Time to see the end product of all the farmers hard work and dedication for the past months. According to David Dugan the OSU extension educator for Ag and Natural Resources, some soybeans were planted late enough not to be affected by the summer drought and extreme heat. The yield checks that have been done look very good, maybe even better than last year. The corn that was

planted early might be low producing this year. In June corn was five dollars per bushel, now it is above eight dollars per bushel. “It went from one extreme to another,” local farmer Alan Clough of Peebles said. He is not very happy with what the outcome of his crops looks like this year. Clough plants corn and soybeans and is expecting a 60 percent loss in his corn and a 30-40 percent loss in his soybeans. He believes the drought and extreme heat are the factors that resulted in what could be a very poor crop this year. Clough bought crop in-

surance and planned on having an agent come out and look at his field and get an estimate of what the yield actually is. He started harvesting at the end of September. Local Amish farmer Marvin Yoder of Tater Ridge is very pleased with the way his vegetables have turned out so far. Yoder plants zucchini and tomatoes. The drought didn’t affect his vegetables too much because he has used irrigation to keep them in good condition. He said this year has been better than ever, and he will continue to harvest tomatoes until frost. Yoder sells his vegetables at


said. “Another thing is the price of everything we have to buy: the price of fuel, the price of fertilizer, the price of hard labor.” “A lot of them took a lump sum payment and got completely out,” Trester said. “Some of them took the payments per year. The ones that wanted to continue to raise had to go and get contracts from companies, so that’s why we’re still raising.” Trester is unique because he used to be a grain farmer, but changed his crop to tobacco, instead of vice-versa. On top of that, there’s the biggest factor that can make or break a good harvest season: the weather, which Trester said wasn’t good to the crops this year, in any industry. In fact, the tornadoes back in March destroyed two barns on another property that Trester used to cure his tobacco. “This year is not as good as normal,” Trester said. “It’s been too hot and too dry for everybody. Grain farmers are hurting because it’s just been too hot, and tobacco production is down — it’s going to be down.” Despite all the manual labor, all the sweat, all the early mornings and late evenings, and having a drier season, Trester remains pleased with his work, as he should be. “I wouldn’t do this — go through all this — if I didn’t enjoy it,” he said with a smile. I went home that day with a new appreciation for tobacco, and for the people throughout our region we pass every day who work so hard without us even realizing it. (Carly Tamborski is a reporter for the New Democrat and Ripley Bee newspapers in Brown County.)

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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio


Harvest might reveal toxin, mold problems in crops By ANGELA SHEPHERD

The fall harvest in Highland County and the surrounding areas is just beginning. The long hours of planting and planning are about to culminate across the area as farmers take to the fields and reap what they have sowed and find out just how the hot and dry conditions of the summer have affected their crops. Highland County OSU Extension Educator Dave Dugan says he hasn’t seen a lot of harvest yet. Nonetheless, he said he has heard of some issues with some of the crop coming in, particularly the early planted corn and levels of toxins and mold. After the hot and dry weather over the summer and then with the late rains Dugan said the ears of corn take on water. A possible side-effect of the drought conditions is the formation of aflatoxins and mycotoxins, according to Dugan. “I have had reports from farmers but I have yet to see it with my own eyes,” said Dugan adding that farmers and facilities alike are testing for the toxins. “I am not sure what different levels we have in the area,” Dugan said. He

said it is something that they don’t deal with every year but it is something that is not new either. Smaller yields are to be expected this year because of the adverse conditions over the summer. “The main thing this year are the yields and the toxins,” Dugan said. Because of weather conditions this year Dugan said the “big variances” can be expected as well from crop to crop, farm to farm, field to field and even within a field, he said. One area farmer, Jimmy Vanzant of Greenfield, farms about 2400 acres in Highland, Fayette, and Ross counties. He has only recently begun to harvest soybeans, about 220 acres of the nearly 1000 he has planted. Vanzant, who has farmed for about 18 years, said, “There is a lot of prep work,” in regard to getting ready to harvest. The main thing for him though aside from equipment maintenance, he said, is to make sure the grain storage facilities are “up and running and ready to go.” Vanzant said, a few years ago he started to build grain bins and has acquired farms with them already present. He said it gives him the ability to

Rick Unger is showing the “shattered out” soybeans.

store what he harvests and to have more control over when he sells instead of going from the field to the mill and having to take what grain prices are offered on that day. The planting and the harvest times are seemingly the busiest in a farmer’s schedule even though there is plenty of work to be done between those times with spraying and fertilizing and equipment maintenance and preparing for another year. “It’s a thinkahead thing now,” Vanzant said in regard to already having seed and fertilizers ordered for next year before even knowing the outcome of this year’s varieties. He said he has five or six varieties of corn planted in different parts of his farming area but he has yet to begin the harvest there. “I am a little nervous about what I am going to find,” he said. He said the roughly 220 acres of soy beans harvested so far have yielded amounts better than he had anticipated. According to Vanzant, harvest time brings some stress. “You worry about the markets, you worry about the crop. You worry if you are going to have to battle getting this stuff in,” he said in regard to the weather. “You have to manage getting the crop to the bins and then maintaining the quality of the product.” Despite the worries encountered at harvest time Vanzant said there is also some relief. “You get moving and you see what you’ve got and where you are heading. I kind of look forward to it,” he said. “I enjoy it, there is no doubt,” adding that it is the challenges and the freedom and seeing the rewards of his labor that are the best parts of farming.

Jimmy Vanzant with his John Deere tractor.

“You are growing and you are learning. You learn things every year.” Other area farmers are seemingly in the same boat. Rick and Jason Unger have just begun their soy bean harvest. The Ungers are fifth and sixth generation Highland County farmers, respectively. Rick Unger said that harvest time is “the best time of year. You see the fruits of your work.” Although, he said, this year is not going to be as much fun as previous years. “Having a good crop is more fun.” Leading up to the harvest the Ungers prepare equipment, the trucks and the tractors and the combines. Unger said that they are already prepared for next year as the seed and the fertilizer are already ordered. “I think the beans are going to be a little better than we thought,” Unger said. He said an average growing year can produce yields of 60 to 65 bushels per acre. He said Sunday that he ran one field in the 20s and one in the 40s of bushels per acre.

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He said in some of the soybean acreage he has seen some “shattering out” in the planted areas on hilltops and the “gravel ground.” He said this is in the drier areas, the places that have not retained the moisture, where the beans have died off sooner than the rest of the crop. The shattering out is part of the fall out of the dry weather from earlier in the summer. Soybeans are more susceptible to moisture as they absorb it more readily than other crops, like corn. With the absorption and subsequent release of moisture, the beans expand and contract, putting stress on the pod that houses them. The possible result is the bean pods can break apart allowing the seeds within to fall to the ground equaling a lost crop. Unger said he has talked to other farmers and the general consensus is that the corn crop yields are “going to be worse than what we had hoped.” While Unger has not begun the corn harvest yet he is projecting yields of 50 to 70 bushels per acre, based on what he has seen

on ears in the field, as opposed to the 150 to 180 bushels per acre he said are typical yields for an average year. Regardless, the Ungers are looking to a shorter harvest due to fewer yields. Soon they will begin to plant next year’s wheat crop. Unger said that once the beans are done the corn is short work. While harvest duration is dependent on the weather he said that the corn is less susceptible to the rain while the beans absorb the moisture more and then he has to wait for them to be dry enough to harvest. “A year like this, it just keeps getting worse,” he said. Unger, a life-long farmer, said that despite that, “We are thankful and blessed to have what we’ve got.” He said he can get a crop in the ground and do everything that he is supposed to do but that the rest is out of his hands. “This is a job that reminds us every day that God is in control,” said Unger. (Angela Shepherd is a staff writer for the Hillsboro Times Gazette.)



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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012

85 Ohio counties declared disaster area COLUMBUS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted Governor John R. Kasich’s request for a Secretarial disaster designation for 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties following the severe heat, rainfall shortages and other weather-related disasters that struck large areas of the state over the spring and summer. The designation includes all southwest Ohio counties. The designation gives eligible Ohio farmers access to drought-related federal assistance such as emergency low-interest loans for crop losses, relief payments for non-insurable losses, the temporary deferral of payments on federal loans and permission to cut hay for livestock from acreage otherwise set aside for conservation. Adam Shepard, Fayette County Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, said recently that he is not sure how many Fayette County farmers would be eligible for the relief and how many would be applying for the funding. “It is hard to say right now. That (applying for disaster relief) would happen after the harvest,” he said. He said it is likely that farmers who grow corn have been impacted by the drought more than those who grow soybeans or other crops. He said there has been uneven pollination and irregular kernel size. “There are poor ears of corn across the county.”

However, the county is not doing badly compared to other Ohio counties. In Fayette County, he said their is a huge variation in the corn crop yield. He said some fields were generating 30-40 bushels an acre, while other parts of the same field would have 140 or more bushels an acre. “Agriculture is an essential component of Ohio’s economy and our heritage, and if our farmers and Ohio’s food industry are suffering, Ohio suffers. The federal declaration will help keep farmers on their feet and mitigate some of the damage caused by the bad weather,” said Kasich. Shepard said southern Ohio farmers with questions about the disaster relief can call their Farm Service Agency office for more information. In July, Kasich signed Executive Order 201211K which, among other things, instructed state agencies to help farmers reduce the negative impacts of the drought and to seek federal assistance. Additionally, the EO instructed state agencies to work with Ohio’s farmers to minimize the potential environmental and economic impact of an agricultural drought. To this end, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio State University Extension and FSA hosted a series of meetings in September at which the public was able to speak with experts on drought mitigation practices.



Making the most of fall harvest By RYAN CARTER

Fayette County farmers have made the most out of what was a very challenging set of circumstances as the harvest season is now well under way. The dry weather over the summer has caused the corn to dry faster and earlier than it normally does, according to Adam Shepard, Fayette County Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Overall I would guess the percentage of corn harvested in the county is probably close to 20 percent give or take,” said Shepard. “Soybeans have matured rapidly in the past 10 days and I would guess roughly 10 percent of soybeans in the county being harvested and the amount of producers switching from corn to soybeans is growing.” Although yields throughout much of the county will be lower than the five-year average for corn, farmers are hopeful that the favorable commodity prices will help

growers make up for the lower yields. “The majority of corn I have had the opportunity to look at has very good test weight of anywhere from 58-60 bu/ac (for corn on bushel equals 56 pounds), so the quality of grain is very good,” said Shepard. “Moisture will continue to come down with the corn at the county farm starting at 20 percent and down to 18.4 percent at the end. As moisture gets lower, it will not lose moisture as fast.” Corn is considered dry at 15.5 percent moisture. Corn yields around the county have been reported anywhere from 80-170 bu/ac, according to Shepard. Soybean yields are at a range of 30-55 bu/ac, however, that is a smaller sample size with growers just getting started on beans. “We’re about halfway finished on the corn and just got started on the beans,” said local farmer Andy Dill, who farms close to 2,000 acres. “It actually hasn’t been too bad. It’s really surprisingly good considering the year that we’ve

had.” Dill said with the drought-like conditions, expectations around the county were low, however, the harvest season at his farm has exceeded those. “The lighter soils didn’t do a lot,” Dill said. “The darker soils did pretty well. They held enough moisture to produce something out of it.” Dill said that on his farm, they started the harvest season a little bit earlier than many farmers. “We find that we have better luck trying to get it out a little earlier,” he said. “We actually started in the second week of September.” Jed Bowers, another local farmer, said it’s been a trying season due to the drought. “It put us in a tough situation,” he said. “The crops aren’t as good as what they normally are, but overall, they’re doing better than what we anticipated given the circumstances.” (Ryan Carter is the Managing Editor at the Record-Herald in Washington C.H.)

Photo by Martin Graham A local farmer began harvesting his soybean field recently on State Route 38 near the runway of the Fayette County Airport.


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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio


Fields yield better crops than expected By ANDREA CHAFFIN

After area farmers spent much of the summer agonizing over the effects of high temperatures and low rainfall on their fields, the humming of combines was heard a few weeks earlier this year in Clinton County. As many expected, the highly anticipated first days revealed a patchy result throughout Ohio: some crops seemed average, while others were in the worst shape in decades. But, according to the county’s farmers, local acres turned out better crops than expected. Steve Murphy is one Clinton County farmer who got an early start on the harvest season in September. He farms 3,500 acres of soy beans and corn in Green Township, south of the Wilmington Air Park. During harvest season, he and his two sons, brother, and one hired hand climb into their tractor seats at about 7:30 a.m. and call it a night between 8 and 9 p.m. “If the weather cooperates, we can do harvest in about six weeks,” said Murphy, who has spent 40 years in the fields. This year, Murphy’s harvest started two to three weeks earlier than usual, coordinating with the 30day head start the family had on planting the crops this spring. “The weather was so nice and we had a lot of dry hot weather in summer in June and July which re-

Photo by B. Regan From left to right, Fred, Jeff and Keith Middleton take a break during the harvest season. The brothers operate a farm off of Wilson Road in Clinton County.

ally sped up the crops,” he explained. Although he was afraid the corn would fare worse, yields are still about 25 percent less than normal, he admitted. “You always worry about that,” he explained. “The rainfall was hit and miss and it seemed like when we needed a shower of rain we got some, but we didn’t get all we needed.” Still, it’s nothing compared to the 1988 season,

he remembered. “It was a lot hotter and dryer and the variety of corns and soybeans used at that time were more adversely affected than they are today,” he said. “They’ve improved varieties that can take more abuse than 20 or 30 years ago.” According to the Associated Press, farmers planted more corn this year than in any other since 1937, so despite one of the nation’s worst

droughts in decades, the U.S. is expected to produce its eighth largest corn crop on record. Total corn production for this season is now forecast at 10.73 billion bushels, down slightly from last month’s estimate. Farmers planted about 96 million acres in corn, a large increase from just a decade ago when less than 80 million acres were planted. The U.S. Department of Agriculture slightly low-


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ered its forecast for the nation’s drought-damaged corn crop in a September report, pegging the average yield per acre at its lowest point since 1995. The USDA kept its estimate of the total area of corn harvested for grain at 87.4 million acres, bucking predictions from some analysts that the figure would drop given reports of farmers chopping down underdeveloped corn plants to feed their livestock. But the yield per

acre estimate dropped from 123 bushels to 122.8 bushels. Richard Thompson, who farms 3,500 acres of corn, soy beans and wheat in Chester and Union townships, also credited higher quality seeds in hybrid forms. The 70-year-old has been farming since 1962 — “you do the math,” he commented with a laugh — and also feeds hogs and cattle with his three-manoperation that includes two sons. Like Murphy, Thompson planted corn in March, two to three weeks earlier than normal. The USDA said about 11 percent of the crop was harvested prior to the Sept. 1 start of the 2012-2013 crop marketing year. That allows for about 1.2 billion bushels of new corn to be available before the end of the previous marketing year, helping alleviate some of the supply pinch. “Actually crops are looking better than I anticipated,” Thompson said. “A lot depends on location. South of Wilmington had a lot more rain than we did out here on the western side — it really varies.” The beans are “pretty good” and the wheat is “not any better than usual,” he added. Still, it’s a lot better than 1988. “But we haven’t got into our worst drought yet,” he advised. (Andrea Chaffin is a staff writer for the Wilmington News Journal.)

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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

September 2012







Look for ulture more Agric in ts snapsho ns future editio! of Acres

AGRICULTURE % 2007 2002 change Number of Farms ..............................................776......................819.............-5 Land in Farms...................................162,533 acres .....168,568 acres.............-4 Average Size of Farm ..............................209 acres ............206 acres ............+1 Market Value of Products Sold ...........$77,725,000 .......$50,558,000 ........+ 54 Crop Sales $69,509,000 (89 percent) Livestock Sales $8,216,000 (11 percent) Average Per Farm..................................$100,161 ..............$61,731 ........+ 62 Government Payments..........................$2,867,000 .........$2,089,000 ........+ 37 Average Per Farm Receiving Payments..........$6,699.................$6,568 ...........+ 2

Economic Characteristics

Greene County – Ohio Ranked items among the 88 state counties and 3,079 U.S. counties, 2007 State Quantity Rank

Item MARKET VALUE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS SOLD ($1,000) Total value of agricultural products sold Value of crops including nursery and greenhouse Value of livestock, poultry, and their products

County Profile


Farms by value of sales: Less than $1,000 .....................................................................186 $1,000 to $2,499 .......................................................................57 $2,500 to $4,999 .....................................................................113 $5,000 to $9,999 .......................................................................74 $10,000 to $19,999 ...................................................................65 $20,000 to $24,999 ...................................................................24 $25,000 to $39,999 ...................................................................44 $40,000 to $49,999 ...................................................................22 $50,000 to $99,999 ...................................................................62 $100,000 to $249,999 ...............................................................57 $250,000 to $499,999 ...............................................................29 $500,000 or more......................................................................43 Total farm production expenses ($1,000) .............................61,767 Average per farm ($)............................................................79,597


U.S. Rank


77,725 69,509 8,216

41 29 63

88 88 88

1,132 616 2,160

3,076 3,072 3,069

VALUE OF SALES BY COMMODITY GROUP ($1,000) Grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas 55,049 Tobacco Cotton and cottonseed Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes (D) Fruits, tree nuts, and berries 535 Nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod (D) Cut Christmas trees and short rotation woody crops 50 Other crops and hay (D) Poultry and eggs (D) Cattle and calves 1,978 Milk and other dairy products from cows 727 Hogs and pigs 4,621 Sheep, goats, and their products 130 663 Horses, ponies, mules, burros, and donkeys Aquaculture (D) Other animals and other animal products 46

31 9 24 12 33 (D) (D) 70 77 30 35 11 31 56

88 12 88 88 87 84 88 88 88 86 88 88 88 53 88

531 (D) 701 (D) 598 (D) (D) 2,310 1,466 539 901 346 (D) 1,402

2,933 437 626 2,796 2,659 2,703 1,710 3,054 3,020 3,054 2,493 2,922 2,998 3,024 1,498 2,875

62,841 61,606 5,735

34 30 61

87 88 88

407 513 2,189

2,039 2,634 3,060

4,129 (D)

48 1

87 18

1,060 (D)

2,481 761

21,744 4,434 1,459 1,405 1,325

25 72 32 58 26

88 88 88 88 88

499 2,517 892 1,339 706

2,958 3,060 3,066 3,024 2,891

TOP CROP ITEMS (acres) Soybeans for beans Corn for grain Wheat for grain, all Forage - land used for all hay and haylage, grass silage, and greenchop Corn for silage TOP LIVESTOCK INVENTORY ITEMS (number) Cattle and calves Hogs and pigs Sheep and lambs Quail Horses and ponies

Net cash farm income of operation ($1,000) ........................22,777 Average per farm ($)............................................................29,352

Operator Characteristics


Principal operators by primary occupation: Farming................................................................................................341 Other ....................................................................................................435 Principal operators by sex: Male .....................................................................................................651 Female..................................................................................................125 Average age of principal operator (years)............................................56.2 All operators by race: American Indian or Alaska Native ............................................................4 Asian ........................................................................................................2 Black or African American ........................................................................2 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander .................................................White.................................................................................................1,187 More than one race ..................................................................................1 All operators of Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino Origin...............................13


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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

Farm Science Review draws thousands By GARY BROCK

LONDON — More than 120,000 people attended this year’s 50th Anniversary Farm Science Review near London, in Madison County, drawing thousands from Ohio, the nation and the world. Chuck Gamble, the Manager for the Farm Science Review is optimistic about the future of agriculture, and it showed in the theme and programs at this year’s threeday gathering on more than 200 acres of land packed end to end with educational exhibits and high tech companies. This year’s theme, “Forecasting the Future” is appropriate, he said. “We are looking at the future, and how we are going to feed the people of the world 50 years from now,” he said. Today, the world is six billion people. There may be nine billion or more in 40 years. Will the American farmer be capable of feeding that many people? Many of the exhibitors and seminars held at this year’s Farm Science Review focused on the future, and the technological trends of farming in the future. The annual Farm Science Review is sponsored by the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The university has a major presence at the event, with dozens of staffers in the different agricultural sciences from OSU on hand to hold training sessions and workshops, as well as look at future trends in farming. Gable said that this sponsorship by OSU is unique in the nation, and makes for many agricultural opportunities. That may be why among the 120,000 or so who attended this year there were visitors from all parts of the United States and even the world in addition to those from here in Ohio. Betsey Ludwig, who works for in the Communications and Technology Department of the OSU College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, was manning the OSU Extension “eStore” booth in one of the buildings on the grounds, said that business was brisk and farmers were looking for some very specific information.

“Books on weeds have been very popular,” she said. “Also, a book on asparagus and other fruits and vegetables.” The Farm Science Review isn’t an event just for farmers and those in agriculture. Fayette County’s Jason Gentry points out that it is a great event to attend for everyone. Gentry, Seed Advisor, Southwest Ohio for Beck’s Hybrids, said Friday that anyone would enjoy attending the event to “see all the changes there have been in the farming and agriculture industry.” He added that there is also a lot of great food there and plenty of information and displays on other topics such as gardening. Gentry, who worked at the Beck’s Hybrid booth this week, said attendance this year was good. “We had a good day on Tuesday, and Wednesday we saw the most people we have seen in five year, and Thursday was a little down,” he said. What he licks about Farm Science Review are all the people they meet and the contacts they make. Photos by Gary Brock “We really appreciate all the cusA demonstration of silo rescue was conducted Sept. 20 at the Farm Science Review near London in Madison County. tomers who visited us,” he said. During the Farm Science Review, there were a number of seminars on topics that included: Hops: A New Crop Alternative for Ohio?; Farm Record Keeping; Honeybees and Pesticide Damage; Deer Farming 101; Commercial Blueberry Production in Ohio; The Oil and Gas Industry in Ohio; Drought and the Farm Bill; and Easy Garden Design. There were a number of field demonstrations for farmers including corn and soybean harvesting, tillage, fertilizer and manure application and GPS technology. But for Frank Roby, a retired farmer who lives near Plain City, what he enjoys most about Farm Science Review is seeing all the “monster”-size farm equipment. Roby is a volunteer with an antique farm equipment group, and enjoys seeing his friends and taking care of the vintage tractors, wagons and combines on display at the event. “But I really love to see all those monster farm machines on display and all of the new equipment that comes out each year,” he said. (Gary Brock is Editor-in-Chief Betty Ludwig, right, and Dave Davisson, center, and Heather Gates, left, all with Ohio State University, man the "eStore" booth at the Farm Science Review near London. of ACRES.)

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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012


50 years and counting… Graham has been to every FSR

By Kevin Dye

This year, Madison County welcomes Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review for their 50th overall agricultural exhibition, the 30th at the university’s Molly Caren Agricultural Center site. One Madison County resident joined the celebration on Wednesday keeping his perfect attendance record alive. Madison County farmer Bill Graham visited the Farm Science Review on Wednesday for his 50th straight year of attending the yearly agricultural exhibition. Graham traveled around the Molly Caren grounds with his wife Kay, daughter Katrina and grandsons Nick and Ryan. His son Bill could not escape working on Wednesday, and thus missed the excitement. Graham said he has always been interested in farming and the Farm Science Review was a place to check on any industry changes and see the latest farm equipment. “I’ve been going since the very first one,” Graham said. “The early ones were at Don Scott Airport and they had a lot of exhibitors, but everything was very close together there. There weren’t many other places to go and see such large farm exhibits. Back then the Ohio State Fair had some large farming equipment exhibits, but that didn’t last. So the Farm Science Review is the place to go to see the new equipment.” Graham’s family have been farming the John Bricker farm in Pleasant Township for over 70 years as well as other

Photo by Kevin Dye Madison County farmer Bill Graham (center-right) attended his 50th Farm Science Review with his wife Kay, grandsons Ryan Graham (far right) and Nick Graham and daughter Katrina (far left) on Wednesday. Graham has attended every Farm Science Review since its inception in 1953.

farms for private owners. Graham said it is still considered a family farm and really does not need the expensive equipment on display at this year’s Farm Science Review, but enjoys seeing the new equipment and change in technology. “I like to see the big equipment,” Graham said. “You really need to farm thousands of acres now to afford this size equipment. I’m still an old generation farmer and I don’t have


computers or any such things on my equipment. It’s really something for old folks to see the Farm Science Review today with all of this high tech machinery.” Bill said that his family all stepped in and pitched in to help with the farming when Bill had to have open heart surgery last year. He is quite proud that his son Bill and grandsons Ryan and Nick are all interested in farming and hopes his family

farm tradition continues. “It is great that they are taking over with the farm,” Bill said. “The farm will stay in the family as long as we are all alive,” Katrina Graham said. As for Bill’s preference for farm equipment, he says he gets a lot of ribbing from his John Deere friends for his use of Massey-Ferguson farm equipment. He said that back when he was younger, J.B. Anderson

was very close to his farm and they sold MasseyHarris products (illustrates how long Bill’s loyalty is), which was very convenient to get parts and service. He has seen no reason to switch brands now. “Oh, my friends get on me about Massey-Ferguson versus their John Deere, but I give it right back to them,” Bill said. “I’ve bought their equipment for several years now and I’m not changing.”

Bill laughed and said that he usually calls himself an agricultural engineer at an event like the Farm Science Review. “That didn’t work at a conference in Las Vegas,” his wife Kay said. “The woman listened to Bill say agricultural engineer and the woman looked at him and asked if she could just write down farmer.” (Kevin Dye is a staff writer for the Madison Press.)



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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

Preserving the harvest Home canning is making a comeback with the young and old

By Randa Wagner


here was a time when I thought canning food in mason jars was something country women and grandmothers did because they thought it was noble to spend hours paring fruit or vegetables, stand over a hot stove on an even hotter day and ‘put up’ 12 quarts of tomatoes or peaches. Why would anyone work that hard, I wondered, when all they had to do was go to the supermarket and buy a can of tomato sauce or peaches? Now I know. It took a long time but, in 2009, the canning ‘bug’ took hold and I’ve been hooked since. What started as a campaign to become less dependent on electricity for food preservation turned into an attempt to preserve anything that could be safely canned at home, because I could and because I knew exactly what was going into that jar. No chemicals, preservatives, ‘guar gum’ or modified this and that… just fruit and sugar and water. As I researched canning methods, techniques, ideas and recipes online, my most pleasant surprise was how many younger adults –

women and men alike, are doing the same thing. Gardening and canning is hard work, and that is why I am so impressed by the number of folks out there rolling up their sleeves and taking it on. It also tells me people are concerned about what’s in their food as much as the rising price of groceries. Supplies It doesn’t have to be expensive to can food. I obtained an old 1946 National Model 7 Pressure Canner from my husband’s buddy Mike in 2009. We ordered a new sealing ring (gasket) for the lid and a Ball canning guide from the Presto company, who stock hard-to-find parts for Presto, Mirro and the now-defunct National Pressure Cooker Co. The old dial gauge was in working order so we didn’t replace it. A jar lifter, a magnetic lid lifter and a funnel (I prefer stainless steel) are really about all I use in the way of specialty tools. The rest you have right in your own kitchen. The majority of the canning jars I have used so far have come out of friends’ basements or barns, garage sales and second hand stores. Most I got free or paid very little for and, after a good soaking and scrub-

bing, they’re good as new if they aren’t chipped. All they need are new lids and occasionally new rings, which is much less expensive than buying new cases of jars all the time. Jars range in size from half-gallon to 4 ozs., so there’s always a size to suit your needs. I prefer wide mouth jars when I can get them because solid foods, such as meats, are much easier to remove. For liquids or soft foods, the regular mouth jars are just fine. Canning fruits and high acid foods: Water bath canning Apples, peaches, plums, tomatoes, jams and jellies are just a few foods most commonly processed in a water bath canner. High acid foods and recipes using vinegar (as in pickles and sauerkraut) can be safely canned at 212 degrees. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy summer and fall fruit all winter long, not to mention relishes, pie fillings, jams, jellies and sauces. In the winter, you can take advantage of holiday sales on oranges or citrus; late spring brings strawberries. If you buy fruits on sale at the grocery, you can process them year round. I save most of my canning for fall and throughout winter because it warms up the kitchen and I have more time, since I am not occupied with flower gardens or other outside activities. Pressure canning: vegetables and meats The device I used to fear has become an irreplaceable aide to me. We’ve all heard those “pressure canner horror stories” through the years: canners blowing their tops, imbedding jars in the ceiling; how dangerous they

are, etc. It may have happened once out of a million canner loads 80 years ago, folks, but it just doesn’t happen anymore. Models made before the 1970s were heavy-walled kettles with clamp-on or turn-on lids. They were fitted with a dial gauge, a vent pipe in the form of a petcock or covered with a counterweight, and a safety fuse. Most modern pressure canners are lightweight, thin-walled kettles; most have turn-on lids fitted with gaskets. Modern pressure canners have removable racks, an automatic vent/cover lock, a vent pipe (steam vent), and a safety fuse. As intimidated as I was by the very name of the device (PRESSURE canner) I was equally determined to master it. Another friend of my husband’s, a devout canner of vegetables and meat, helped me test an initial load in the old canner and got me started on my way. I cannot remember what I first canned; I just know that I got so hooked my relatives just shake their heads now and sigh, “There she goes again” and joke about what I’ll try next. The best discovery I have made from pressure canning is: meat is the easiest thing of all. You don’t have to peel it, blanche it, or make a syrup for it. Just trim the fat off your raw chicken, ham, pork, beef, venison, fish, etc, slice it to fit the size of jar you’re using, pack it with as few air pockets as possible, and stick it in the canner. (The only meat you have to precook are ground meats.) Set a timer, check the gauge every 10-15 minutes and let the canner do the rest.

The ‘up’ side to canning It’s satisfying work. It’s so handy to just grab a jar off the shelf and have forktender meat to use for a meal - just heat and serve. Apples already sliced for pies and tomatoes are there for the taking. It’s also an opportunity to take advantage of a great sale at the supermarket and not have to make space in the freezer. In my zeal for the craft, I have crossed the line and canned some unconventional foods not approved by Ball or the FDA. Some have worked and some have not. It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube. I canned butter in jars in 2009 and it’s still fine. I canned cheese but it burns easily and soft cheeses don’t work very well. (I’m determined to find a way to do it better, though.) I canned cider and it worked out well. Last year I tried canning milk - a real ‘iffy’ project and not recommended at all by experts. It comes out like evaporated milk. It’s fine after 6 months or so but the longer it sits on the shelf the more it separates. I just opened a jar over a year old and it tasted a bit off but was not spoiled. I did can meat loaf and though it looks like Alpo when you slide it out of the jar, it tastes a whole lot better. My meat loaf-loving husband can now have a ‘fix’ anytime he wants it. Even he was impressed by that one. The white button mushrooms in the produce section are very easy to can and come out looking just like the commercially canned mushrooms. So do green, red and yellow sweet peppers, and chilies. I canned sweet onions because I love them, but did-

n’t like the way they turned out. The longer they sit, the softer and mushier they get. I canned a lot of white potatoes thinking I would have them on hand to mash on a moment’s notice but they, too, soak up the water they are canned in, swell, and get too soft. I’m not ready to give up on that notion yet, so I will try another type of potato. There are ‘accidents’ from time to time. A jar will break in the canner because there was an air pocket between the glass and the food, a jar won’t seal, etc. But problems are few and far between. Sometimes, after canning, I leave the jars of vegetables or meat sit on the counter for a couple of days so I can admire them. Sounds silly, but I have heard other ‘canners’ say the same thing. My relatives joke that I will can anything. Not true. I saw someone canning hot dogs on YouTube and I do NOT intend to try that. Too weird, even for me. But I did can bacon after I found out Yoder’s has been canning it commercially - using the same method - for 25 years. I saw a method for canning bratwurst and pepperoni I intend to try (at my own risk, of course). I suppose I’ll get this “canning bug” out of my system one of these days. Maybe it’s what middleaged women do when they get to that ‘practical’ stage of life. Last night I stood over a hot stove and ‘put up’ 16 pints of tomato juice and 8 pints of cider. After all, I am somebody’s grandmother. (Randa Wagner is the editor of the Morrow County Sentinel.)

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Only an hour from the city but a step back to the simpler days of small town life.... On a recent stop in Hillsboro, the heart of Highland County, a visitor noted “this looks like the America I always read about”. From the 1842 court-house that is still in use to the locally owned shops and restaurants the city has retained the flavor of small town life while being firmly established in the 21st century. Within the borders of Highland County can be found a thriving Amish and Mennonite population as well as high tech companies that service the aircraft and auto industry. A high volume, automated candle works co-exists with locally made natural soy candles that are manufactured at their uptown store. Modern grocery merchants compliment the many local produce markets and butchers. Residents enjoy the best of modern life but in a peaceful, beautiful setting in the foot hills of Appalachia. From the city it is just a short, scenic drive out Route 50 into the center of the county or from Route 32 it’s a short drive up Route 62 to Hillsboro. At the intersection of Routes 50, 73, 124, 62 and 138 the journey is a pleasant one that avoids traffic and congestion while enjoying the sights of southern Ohio’s countryside. The communities of Greenfield, Leesburg and Lynchburg are minutes away from the main city of Hillsboro and each offer unique attractions for a day or weekend trip. Starting the day early could include a real country breakfast at one of the locally owned diners or a quick stop at the Amish bakery for donuts and coffee. A day might include visits to the numerous shops in the county or a day on one of the two lakes in the county. Nightlife is relaxed and friendly with a downtown theater offering local talent and a rural barn makes a great setting for nationally known blues and rock bands. Several locally owned hotels and bed and breakfast homes offer low cost accommodations as well as cabins and camping at the state parks. Your weekend trip to Highland County might be the best value around. More information can be found at

~ Calendar of Events ~ October 20th • Heritage Music Series held on 3rd Saturday of each month at Highland County Historical Society, 151 E Main St. Hillsboro, Ohio 45133, 937-393-3392

November 16th • Holiday Members Only Open House held at Highland County Historical Society, 151 E Main St. Hillsboro, Ohio 45133, 937-393-3392

October 25th • Log Cabin Cookout held at Highland County Historical Society, 151 E Main St. Hillsboro, Ohio 45133, 937-393-3392

November 17th • Heritage Music Series held on 3rd Saturday of each month at Highland County Historical Society, 151 E Main St. Hillsboro, Ohio 45133, 937-393-3392

October 25th • Boo Fest 5pm to 7 pm, upton with safe and sane Trick or Treating along the shops and restaurants of Hillsboro. Music, pet shows and costume contests and “Baby’s First Rock Show” at the Colony Theater at 7pm.

November 24th • Hillsboro Uptown Business Association Christmas Parade 2pm, with floats and Miss Snowflake of 2012

December 1st • Childrens Holiday Tea Party 2pm, Pioneer Kitchen Gift Shoppe December 7th • Uptown Christmas First Friday Event, shopping, carolers, food and fun to start the season. Nativity display and petting zoo. December 15th • Heritage Music Series held on 3rd Saturday of each month at Highland County Historical Society, 151 E Main St. Hillsboro, Ohio 45133, 937-393-3392


ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012


The 4 Rs of fertilizing Right source, Right rate, Right time, Right place BY JERRY MAHAN

The “four “Rs”? No, I am not talking about reading, writing and so on, but a new approach to the utilization of fertilizer to promote crop growth and protect the environment. The 4R Tomorrow Nutrient Stewardship program refers to using the right source of fertilizer; applying it at the right rate based on soil tests and crop needs; applying the fertilizer at the right time to coincide with crop needs, weather, and ease of application; and applying the fertilizer at the right place based on plant root and soil dynamics and to limit off-field movement. The overall goal of the program is to increase the effectiveness of these materials while minimizing environmental problems.

Don Leeds of the Greene Soil and Water Conservation District laid out the challenge to Ohio farmer to continue to work on ways to apply fertilizer in a responsible fashion at the Aug. 21 Field Day held at the Craig Corry farm. This will help to minimize some of the algae blooms in our lakes and streams as well as enable the fertilizer to do what it is intended by providing the needed nutrients by crops in the best possible manner. Without additional efforts in this direction Ohio farmers may be looking at the possibility of fertilizer application becoming a licensed activity in the state and possible further degradation of our waterways. For more information on the 4R program, go to

Crabgrass and Other Problems in Your Lawn With the early summer, and dry hot weather it has been a great year for weeds in your lawn. In some lawns there is a lot of yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) (Cyperus esculentus L.). It is light green in color and is a grass-like perennial plant with a triangular shaped stem. Yellow nutsedge is really a sedge and spreads primarily by underground rhizomes and tubers. A single plant can produce hundreds of offspring in a year. Pulling them out as they appear can work for small areas but bigger infestations will probably need a weed killer like Basagran or Certainty herbicide. These products are not available in small quantities; are pricy and best applied by a lawn care company. For a good pic-

Don Leeds of Greene Soil and Water Conservation District shares thoughts about the 4R program at the Aug. 21 Agronomy Field Day.

ture of this weed log on to: //weedinfo.cfm?weed_id= 80. The fall is usually the best time to control many perennials in the landscape with a weed killer. In the fall weed killers go to the plant roots as compared to spring applications where applied materials are going up into the leaves etc. Granular products are usually not as effective as liquids in controlling broadleaf weeds. The granules get caught on the leaves and do not reach the roots of the weeds. I had a chance to hear Dr. John Street O.S.U. Ext. lawn specialist at the Ohio Lawn Care Assoc. field day in August. He cleared up an issue I am seeing in lawns- the apparent escape or poor control of crabgrass. Granted we had earlier than normal warm temperatures which caused the crabgrass to germinate before some of you had applied your crabgrass preventer. However as Dr. Street showed us some of the crabgrass look-alike Three were inducted into the Greene Co. Agriculture Hall of Fame at the Aug. 16 Annual Meeting of the Greene Co. Farm Bureau. Pic- plants are really dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum Poir). tured, left to right, are Herman Randall; Virgil Ferguson, accepting for his deceased father; and Craig Corry.

It is a perennial grass which resembles crabgrass but has very different seed heads and the leaves are often twisted in appearance. It spreads by seed and rhizomes. Control is difficult with no selective herbicide (weed killer) on the market short of using a spot treatment like Roundup or another glyphosate product which will kill everything. To be sure what you have log on: //weedinfo.cfm?weed_id= 203 for pictures. Queen Weed for Farmers For 2012 this honor goes to marestail. Marestail or as some people call it horseweed can be seen in many soybean fields towering above the soybean canopy. It is a winter or summer annual which means it can germinate in late summer or spring. With the late harvest in 2011 many farmers had to forgo fall treatments for this weed and with the early spring treatment was not a priority. The plant gets its name from the fact the mature plant resembles a horse’s tail. Since other

weeds use the same common name the scientific name is Conyza Canadensis (L.) Cronq. Fields where the weed has become a problem will need fall herbicide (weed killer) treatments along with spring applied herbicides. For more information on controlling this weed look in the Ohio and Indiana Weed Control Guide, Bulletin 789 which can be found at: pecialists/weeds/specialistlinks/2010%20Weed%20C ontrol%20Guide.pdf. Good pictures of marestail can be found at: Tire Amnesty Collection Do you have old auto, truck or tractor tires lying around? The Greene Soil and Water Conservation District (GSWCD) have teamed up with the Greene County Environmental Services Department to offer a tire amnesty collection program for Greene County residents. Continued on page 17A

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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

JUST A-MAZE-ING! Fall fun on the farm: Get lost in a maze of maize BY SHARON SEMANIE

Those who consider crossword puzzles as a “corny” way to spend one’s day will be delightfully challenged by the eightacre corn maze at VanDemark Farm in Shelby County where field checkpoints offer clues to the across and down boxes commonly found in printed puzzles. Dwight Moore, whose family has owned and operated VanDe-

Photos submitted by Sharon Semanie Shown above is Dwight Moore of VanDemark Farm. The farm’s corn maze design, at right, was sponsored by Scott Family McDonalds in Piqua.

mark Farm for over 100 years, is the mastermind behind this year’s corn maze design which features the “Golden Arch” from Scott Family McDonalds in Piqua along with boxes simulating a crossword puzzle. Clues test “maze” walkers’ knowledge of McDonalds food products and related trivia. Those who traverse the maze of 9-foot high corn are offered a $2 admission discount Continued on page 15A

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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012

AREA AUTUMN ATTRACTIONS Looking for some family fun this fall? Autumn is synonymous with car trips to farms and produce markets in search of pumpkins, gourds, candied apples and decorative corn husk dolls. Below are several sites where you can find a pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayrides or other Halloween treats.

BROWN COUNTY Cherry Ridge Farm and Stables: Family oriented fun, including scarecrows, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, flashlight nights, food and country craft vendors. Open Saturdays and Sundays throughout October; 4158 Vinegar Hill Road; (937) 444-3757.

HIGHLAND COUNTY Blair’s Fall Harvest and Corn Maze: Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays through October; 650 U.S. 62, about 10 miles south of Hillsboro; 937-927-5257

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY Maple Lane Tree & Garden: Old-fashioned fall activities on the farm including a 16-acre corn maze, children’s maze corn pit, water balloon slingshot, gem mining, hayrides, a “No Right Turn” maze and the “Rubber Ducky Speedway” where racers use hand-driven water pumps to wash their ducks to victory. General admission is $7.95 and includes all three mazes, the hayrides and the corn pit. Open 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 7 p.m. Sundays through October, weather permitting; 3484 Ohio 29 East; (937) 484-7222;

MIAMI COUNTY Adams Greenhouse & Produce: Pumpkin patch, honey from hives on the farm, prepicked produce, farm animals. Open Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.; U.S. Route 36, Covington; (937) 416-5533. Fulton Farms: Pumpkin patch, pumpkins, hayrides to pick your own pumpkins, ice cream, popcorn, edible soybeans, fresh fruit slushy, horse drawn wagon rides through plantations. During October, visitors at $5 per person can enjoy a hayride to pumpkin field, mazes, animals and a free pumpkin. Open through December, Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 2393 Street Route 202, Troy; (937) 339-8246.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY Majestic Nursery and Gardens: Pumpkins, hayrides, corn maze, play area, petting zoo, apple butter, fall garden mums. Open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through October; 2100 Preble County Line Road, West Alexandria; (937) 833-5100. Oak Creek UCC Annual Pumpkin Patch: Pumpkin patch already gathered from the field. Open 24-7 through October on honor systems payment system; 5280 Bigger Road, Kettering. Tom’s Maze and Pumpkin Farm: Pumpkins, gourds, fall decorations and an eight-acre corn maze with three miles of paths. (Bring flashlight at night.) Open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays through Thursdays by appointment; 8295 Farmersville W. Carrollton Road, Germantown; (937) 8662777. Tuken’s Maze and Pumpkin Farm: Pumpkin patch and pick-your-own, pick-your-own apples, tractor-pulled hayrides, honey from hives on the farm, farm market, gift shop restaurant, picnic area, petting zoo, farm animals, school tours. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays through October; 15725 Eaton Pike, West Alexandria; (937) 687-3848. Windmill Farm Market: Families can board hay-filled wagons, splash through big puddles and go up steep hills, pick your own pumpkins, play on beautiful Amish playgrounds with a castle, pirate ship and choo-choo trains, animals to pet and feed, gift shop with fruit, baked good and other seasonal items, 1454 E. State Route 73, Dayton; (937) 885-3965.

MAZE, Continued from 14A

and, upon completion of the puzzle, are given a coupon redeemable at participating McDonalds. Situated parallel to Interstate 75-off Exit 90south of Sidney, VanDemark Farm has become a mega-entertainment center for families who’ve hiked the Lost Land Corn Maze since 2001. Between 6,000 to 10,000 visitors navigate their way annually through paths of corn stalks to locate checkpoints which eventually lead them back to their point of destination. It is estimated that a hiker can complete the path within 45 minutes. Moore, who also owns Moore Sandblasting, developed the first corn maze in 2001 to provide a recreational venue for families. With the help of an Iowa potato farmer who owned a company called Great Adventures, a military satellite-type navigational positioning system (GPS) was used to create a dinosaur design covering a 20-acre plot of land. Since that time, he and his brother Dwane, have crafted other extravagant designs including a castle and dragon, a United States map complete with flag poles installed at strategic locations, a farm scene, a salute to the U.S. armed forces, a map of Ohio roadways and “Go Bucks” slogan, a fullsized football player, a tribute to the century-old VanDemark Farm homestead — which sadly was destroyed by fire in 2007 — with a horse drawn plow in front, an air balloon, and this year’s tribute to McDonalds. Since its fourth year of operation, VanDemark Farm has utilized the services of Harvest Land Co-op in Indiana to help

design and execute the mazes. “I usually design the maze and they place my idea into a computer program,” he explained. “They will then come to the farm and, together with a satellite receiver on their back and a computer in front will use a GPS and follow a blinking light through the cornfields walking over the image while I follow behind on a five-foot wide mower to cut the pathway.” To prepare for their visit, Moore, a former soybean and corn farmer, generally plants 114-day corn — which is considered a healthier and longer-growing variety — the last day in May. By the time the corn is “knee high” in July the maze operators arrive for the cutting operation which generally takes three to four hours. When asked if the corn maze craze is a profitable business, he smiled “Not yet but I expect we’ll hit all cylinders within the next two years.” In comparing this type of business on the same amount of land planted for harvestable crops, Moore said it all depends upon the weather and that corn mazes can yield considerable revenue based upon the number of customers. Of course, he added, this year’s drought “stunted” the growth of this year’s

corn crop. Still the maze resembles a healthy jungle of seven to 10-foot cornstalks whose pathways offer guidance to maze trekkers. The majority of visitors, said Moore, walk the corn maze at night either bringing their own flashlights or purchasing ones on site. Visitors to VanDemark Farm can also purchase pumpkins of various sizes grown from pumpkin patches at Crossway Farms on Cisco Road in Sidney. The “extreme outdoor fun” farm also includes newly-constructed zip-line adventure courses, a giant swing, and an 18-hole naturally landscaped miniature golf course which is also handicapped accessible. There are also hayrides, a petting zoo, pond, bonfires and a rental hall facility for corporate events, auctions, church groups, schools, private parties and class reunions Located at 2401 S. VanDemark Road, the VanDemark Farm is open at the following times: 511 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays and 12-8 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit their website at (Sharon Semanie is a stringer for the Piqua Daily Call.)

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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio


A better, more efficient way By ROSE COOPER


hile one American farmer today feeds 155 people — six times as many people as 50 years ago — one in seven people in America is still hungry. By the year 2050, it has been estimated that there will be more than 9.3 billion people, one-third more people than are on the Earth today, said John Surber who operates a finishing hog farm in Clinton County, near Sabina, with his wife Connie and their family. “Keeping up with the world food demand is an enormous challenge and it is getting larger every day,” John said. “That means we’re going to have to double the food supply if we’re going to feed those people. Meat production will also have to dou-

ble as developing countries improve their diets,” he said. Farmers have always worked to fight hunger by creating new and more efficient ways to produce food through modern farming practices, the Surbers agree. Connie said the production of milk has increased 400 percent per cow since 1944. “Those dairy farmers are doing it with less land and with less water,” she said. In 1961, an acre of wheat fed two people, John said. Today that same acre will feed more than six people. “Advancements in agriculture science and technologies has made these gains possible,” he said. “As we try to feed more people, are we going to tear down more forests to create more land to grow more food? That’s not OK. There’s just sim-

ply not enough tillable acres available to do the job. We have to do more with less. We have to do it smarter and in a more sustainable way.” Looking at the pork industry, John said farmers have used science and technology to provide more efficiency than ever before. He said, “In fact, pork production, compared to other animals in the industry, has probably utilized more technology than any other animals and it has created more production.” John said when he came to Clinton County in 1975, it was the No. 1 hog-producing county in Ohio, but that is no longer the case. With 3,700 hog farms in the state, Ohio ranks ninth in the nation for pork production. These farms create over 10,860 jobs that generate $1.3 billion for the state’s economy.

As Americans became aware of the link between fat in their diet and their health and as a society, began to change their diet, the demand for pork fell 4 percent per year between 1975 and 1985. “On the other hand, the sale of chicken surged,” Connie said. “But the pork industry responded by adopting new science, new technologies and new management practices to produce lean, nutritious pork efficiently,” she said. The Surbers said today’s pork has many of the nutrients, minerals and vitamins required for a healthy balanced diet. Three keys made that possible, John said. First was genetics. “We’re actually breeding a leaner and more of a meaty animal,” he said. “Second is nutrition. Feeding that animal to

reach 100 percent of its genetic potential. And finally, from a health standpoint, preventing disease and, if disease occurs, providing the proper treatment.” “On our family farm, we work each day to provide a safe and wholesome product for our consumers,” John said. “We do this by caring for our animals, the environment and supporting our local community.” Most hogs are no longer raised outdoors, John said. “By bringing animals indoors, we prevent extremes in disease and weather, as well as predators,” he said. “When you look at the indoor operation, we produce a higher quality animal than at any time in history. If you look at pork production per sow, since 1960, it has more than doubled.” Continued on page 17A

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*Assuming market price of $6.50/bushel.

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012

SURBERS, Continued from 16A

He said that was accomplished with modern technology and a more nutritious and safer product. Connie said animals with the best care produce the highest returns. “Housing pigs inside barns has allowed us as producers to provide animals with the best care possible,� she said. In their finishing operation, the Surbers accept baby pigs and finish them for the marketplace. Raising a baby pig to an adult takes six months and as adults, they weigh 260 to 275 pounds. The indoor climate is controlled to keep the animals comfortable and they have plenty of fresh air. The barns provide adequate space, ventilation, large feeders, fresh water and a comfortable temperature. “They’re designed to optimize the health and the comfort of the animals,� Connie said. She said the barns are kept very clean with high-pressure washing. “Every day when we go in to take care of our animals, we shower, put on clean clothes and clean boots before we even go into the rooms where the animals are. An item or tool taken into the barn is washed and disinfected before it is taken into the barn. Preventing disease is a high priority and it reduces our need for treatment. We are very judicious the way we use medicine. Animals are treated accordFERTILIZER, Continued from 13A

To participate in the program contact the GSWCD office at 937372-4478 or email jill.obanion@oh.nacdnet.n et with the name, address and number and type of tires being recycled. There will be a minimal cost per tire dependent on type and size. The tire drop off will take place later this fall at the Greene County Environmental Services located on Greenway Boulevard, Xenia, Ohio. For more information


Nearly 30% of all pork produced in the U.S. is exported ing to our veterinaries.� The Surbers utilize all of the latest environmental techniques and technologies in their hog finishing operation. “We use modern waste management systems for controlling the waste, as well as air emission,� John said. Manure management procedures used by the Surbers are based on recommendations of the U.S. Soil and Water Conservation Service and they voluntarily have the Environmental Protection Agency to come to their farm to approve their procedures. John said any greenhouse emissions are too much, but the swine producing industry is utilizing more and more technologies to minimize the issue. Nearly 30 percent of all pork produced in the United States is exported to other countries, according to John. “We truly are feeding the world,� Connie added. John said consumers need the right to choose the food that

call the phone number above or log on to www. Test Your Well Water If you have concerns about your well water consider this opportunity. On Thursday Sept. 20 from 45:30 p.m. a Test Your Well Water event will be held at the Xenia Community Center located at 1265 West Second Street in Xenia. You can bring in water samples to be tested for nitrates and iron for free. Be sure to bring your water sample in a clean jar; collect the sample on

Connie and John Surber present a program on farming to Clinton County Farm Bureau members and guests.

they need and want for their families. “The farmer needs the ability to choose modern technologies to produce the high quality food that is higher quality than any place in the world,� he said. “Let’s not ever let anyone take away your right to choose.� To illustrate their commitment, the Surbers practice responsible pork production, participate in quality assurance programs and acknowledge responsible producer initiatives. One program they are involved in is called “We Care,� which was introduced by the Ohio Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board.

the 20th and refrigerate it until you leave for the event. Arsenic sample bottles for testing can also be picked up at the event. A maximum of 60 free screenings are available. If you want to test your water for bacteria you can also pick up a test kit for a reduced price of $15 (reg. $50) at the event. Also lead testing kits will be available for $20. All information from the tests is confidential and for more information contact the Greene Co. Combined Health District at 3745600 or the Greene Soil

This program involves farm families, like the Surbers, committing to six guiding principles that include: produce safe food; safeguard natural resources in all industry practices; provide a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry’s other ethical principles; contribute to a better quality of life in communities; protect and promote animal well-being; and ensure practices to protect public health. “These principles define who we are and what the pork industry’s values are,� said Mrs. Surber. “At our farm, we want our consumers to understand that we are doing the right thing

and Water Conservation Office at 372-4478. Make this an annual activity to help keep your family safe. More information can be found at Candidate Forum in Greene Co. Several organizations involved in agriculture have gone together to sponsor the Sept. 12 Candidate Forum to be held at 7 p.m. in the Buckeye Room at the Greene Co. Fairgrounds behind the Grandstand. The event is

to provide safe food by caring for our animals and the environment.� Eager to share their story, and help others better understand and learn about their farm, the Surbers worked with the Ohio Pork Producers Council to create a video about what pigs eat on today’s farms, rather than ‘slop’ feeding like the past, which is featured at To learn more about the Surber family, and to get their favorite ham loaf recipe, visit (Rose Cooper is a staff writer for the Wilmington News Journal.)

free and open to the public. For more information contact the Tecumseh Land Trust at 937-7679490. Three Inducted into Ag Hall of Fame Herman Randall, Donald Ferguson (deceased) and Craig Corry were inducted into the Greene Co. Agriculture Hall of Fame at the Aug. 16 Annual Meeting of the Greene Co. Farm Bureau. Virgil Ferguson received the plaque for his father. Herman has been active in several capacities includ-

ing president of the Greene Co. Fairboard for several years. Donald Ferguson was active in the Greene Soil and Water Conservation District where he served as president. Craig Corry recently retired from teaching agriculture at the Greene Co. Career Center and was active with the FFA, Agronomy Board and Greene Co. Beef Cattle Association among others. (Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County.)


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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

Farm Bureau membership up again in 2012

Common deer disease found in Ohio cattle

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has increased its membership for 2012, the Bureau reported in late September. Both total membership, at 214,400, and farmer membership, at 59,754 exceeded last year’s numbers. This is the 44th time in the past 45 years that OFBF has attained overall membership growth. Credit for the accomplishment is given to the organization’s volunteers and staff as well as to Farm Bureau’s long-standing partner, Nationwide Insurance. Farm Bureau emphasizes its grassroots campaign through which members invite others in their communities to join. In a special promotion this year to recognize the work of volunteers, Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau member Eric Prysi won the grand prize — a 2012 Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Other Farm Bureau members who won prizes were Ruby Kinsey, Tuscarawas County (lifetime OFBF membership), Jenifer Pemberton, Mahoning County ($1,000 CD from Nationwide Bank), Karin Litvak, Portage County (OSU football experience), Dale Adkins, Clinton County (iPad) and Rose Bell, Jefferson County ($500 Sherwin Williams gift card). The winner of the 6500 watt portable Generac Generator is pending confirmation. The special promotion “recognized Farm Bureau’s long history of neighbors talking to neighbors about the value of working together,” said Keith Stimpert, Ohio Farm Bureau senior vice president, organization. He also cited the contributions made by Nationwide to bring new members into the organization. “Nationwide is our leading member benefit provider, but more importantly we share common values. Their commitment to helping build Farm Bureau membership is greatly appreciated,” Stimpert said. Established in 1919 as an agricultural organization, OFBF has grown to include members from across the food chain from farmers to consumers. It is engaged in public policy and communications, and provides a variety of products and services to its members including special pricing on Nationwide products and services, Medical Mutual individual health plans, $500 discounts on most GM vehicles and various cost savings for businesses and families.

REYNOLDSBURG — Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) officials have confirmed the discovery of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) – a virus that commonly affects white tailed deer – in a Portage County cattle herd. Officials stress that EHD poses no threat to human health or to the safety of meat consumption. The ODA Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Reynoldsburg confirmed Sept. 19 EHD in cattle in northeast Ohio. The virus occurs annually in deer herds in some parts of North America but is less common in cattle. The disease in cattle may cause fever, lameness, and sore mouths. Most cattle recover within a few days. In deer, EHD is typically fatal. Both cattle and deer contract EHD from gnats or biting flies. The virus cannot be spread from animal to animal or from animal to humans. Insects, however, can contract the virus from infected deer or cattle and pass it on to surrounding populations. This summer’s drought has forced animals and insects to common watering spots, increasing the spread of EHD. Typically, the onset of cold weather suppresses the disease as frosts drives insects into winter inactivity. State wildlife and animal health officials have confirmed localized outbreaks of EHD in whitetailed deer in ten Ohio counties including Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Guernsey, Holmes, Paulding, Portage, Preble, Ross and Summit. According to the University of Georgia’s annual Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS), EHD is the most common ailment affecting deer in the Eastern United States. The disease is common in portions of the northern Great Plains and the southeastern United States. It was first identified in 1955 in New Jersey. SCWDS has received EHD reports from much of the United States this year and to date has confirmed deer mortality due to EHD in 15 states. Mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope are also susceptible to the disease.

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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012


PRODUCERS BEWARE: Drought-stressed corn may exhibit poor stalk strength By TONY NYE

The 2012 harvest is in full swing and if weather holds, this could be a harvest completed earlier than normal. Yields will vary and be all over the board due to the excessive heat and very dry conditions at many critical times throughout the growing season. Ohio State University agronomy specialists, Peter Thomison and Pierce Paul, warn producers that the drought conditions experienced during grain fill often increase the potential for stalk rot and lodging problems in corn. When stalk rot occurs late in the season as it often does, it may have little or no direct effect on yield. However, stalk lodging, which results from stalk rot, can have such an impact on harvest losses that many plant pathologists consider stalk rots to be the most significant yield limiting disease of corn. For a corn plant to remain healthy and free of stalk rot, the plant must produce enough carbohydrates by photosynthesis to keep root cells and pith cells in the stalk alive and enough to meet demands for grain fill. When corn is subjected to drought stress during grain fill, photosynthetic activity is reduced. As a result, the

carbohydrate levels available for the developing ear are insufficient. The corn plant responds to this situation by removing carbohydrates from the leaves, stalk and roots to the developing ear. While this “cannibalization” process ensures a supply of carbohydrates for the developing ear, the removal of carbohydrates results in premature death of pith cells in the stalk and root tissues, which predisposes plants to root and stalk infection by fungi. As plants near maturity, this removal of nutrients from the stalk to the developing grain results in a rapid deterioration of the lower portion of corn plants in drought stressed fields with lower leaves appearing to be nitrogen stressed, brown and/or dead. Other plant stresses which increase the likelihood of stalk rot problems include: loss of leaf tissue due to foliar diseases (such as gray leaf spot or northern corn leaf blight), insects, or hail; injury to the root system by insects or chemicals; high levels of nitrogen in relation to potassium; compacted or saturated soils restricting root growth (recent flooding); and high plant populations. Thomison and Paul note that most hybrids do not begin to show stalk rot symptoms until shortly be-

fore physiological maturity. It is difficult to distinguish between stalk rots caused by different fungi because two or more fungi may be involved. Similarly, certain insects such as European corn borer often act in concert with fungal pathogens to cause stalk rot. Although a number of different fungal pathogens cause stalk rots, the three most important in Ohio are Gibberella, Collectotrichum (anthracnose) and Fusarium. For more information on stalk rot in corn, consult the OSU Plant Pathology website “Ohio Field Crop Diseases” ( for more details and pictures of the disease symptoms associated with these pathogens. The presence of stalk rots in corn may not always result in stalk lodging, especially if the affected crop is harvested promptly. It’s not uncommon to walk corn fields where nearly every plant is upright yet nearly every plant is also showing stalk rot symptoms. Many hybrids have excellent rind strength, which contributes to plant standability even when the internal plant tissue has rotted or started to rot. However, strong rinds will not prevent lodging if harvest is delayed and the crop is subjected to weath-

ering, e.g. strong winds and heavy rains. A symptom common to all stalk rots is the deterioration of the inner stalk tissues so that one or more of the inner nodes can easily be compressed when squeezing the stalk between thumb and finger. Thomison and Paul suggest it is possible by using this “squeeze test”

to assess potential lodging if harvesting is not done promptly. The “push” test is another way to predict lodging. Push the stalks at the ear level, 6 to 8 inches from the vertical. If the stalk breaks between the ear and the lowest node, stalk rot is usually present. To minimize losses from stalk lodging, avoid harvest delays.

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Identify fields which are at greatest risk and harvest these fields first. Fields which experienced drought stress, defoliation due to hail, foliar disease injury, etc. would be prime candidates for early harvest. (Tony Nye is the Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for the OSU Extension, Clinton County.)


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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

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1977 J I CASE 1370 5707 HOURS, 156 HP., GOOD RUBBER, RUNS GOOD, $10,500



1966 JOHN DEERE 2510 4681 HRS, 55 HP, HIGH QUALITY PAINT JOB, $11,000

2002 KILLBROS 1400 30.5L32 RBR, SCALE PACKAGE, 750 BU, TARP, $22,500

1998 CASE IH 2388 2728 HRS, 280 HP, 2WD, 2004 SEP HRS., NICE, $85,500



1995 FORD 1320 1193 HRS, 20 HP, 2WD, 60”DECK, LIKE NEW COND, $8,500




1979 J I CASE 2390 161 HP, 2WD, MECHANICALLY GOOD, LOOKS NEW, $18,500

1976 DEUTZ D3006 1685 HRS, 30 HP, 2WD , LOOKS AND RUNS GREAT, $8,000



1987 CASE IH 1660 4208 HRS, W/20 FT. 1020 HEAD, ENG. OVERHAULED, $35,000






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B Section

of Southwest Ohio Issue 8

October 2012



Working for a Living, Working for a Life By PAT LAWRENCE

amona Mootz always knew farming was hard work. One of eight children raised on a family farm, she grew up planting, harvesting, feeding animals and finding frugal ways to solve everyday problems. “My dad had cattle, hogs, whatever it took to make the farm successful. We always had dairy cows. If cattle were down, we’d buy more hogs. When I was a little girl, I was sure I didn’t want to be doing all that hard work when I was grown up. So, of course, I ended up doing just that.” A lifetime later, she still relies on the lessons she learned from her farming parents about hard work, faith and thrift. Ramona says, “When Tim and I married, we were in our early thirties, both working, both with kids, but basically, we had nothing! Tim had always wanted a farm, so we rented a place with a few cattle. We did custom work, mowed and combined for other farmers; we bushhogged for other people to make money. We both ran the machinery; we had to work together to get ahead.”


Continued on page 2B Ramona Mootz, at left, manages about 2,500 combined acres around Highland County with her husband Tim. Photo by Pat Lawrence

Growing gourds By Faye Mahaffey

It is officially Autumn and everywhere you look pumpkins, squash and gourds are for sale. Since I have limited garden space, and even more limited ambition to deal with trailing vines, I proudly “buy local” and let the experts do the growing for me! Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, Growing and Curing Gourds in the Home Garden (HYG-1630-96), available on, provides the first-time gourd enthusiast with important research-based information. There are 3 types of gourds covered in this fact sheet: the cucurbita, or ornamental gourds; the lagenaria, which encompass the large, utilitarian gourds; and the luffa, or vegetable sponge. The cucurbita include the colorful, variouslyshaped gourds often used in fall arrangements. Plants of this group produce large orange or yellow blossoms that bloom in the daytime. The lagenaria group includes the Martin or Birdhouse, Bottle and Dipper gourds. These plants produce white blossoms that bloom at night. Lagenaria gourds are green on the vine, turning brown or tan,

with thick, hard shells when dry. Luffas have an outer shell that is easily removed to expose a tough, fibrous interior that can be used as a sponge. Luffas produce prolific vines with yellow blossoms and require the longest growing season of all the gourds. Gourds are ready for harvest when the stems dry and turn brown. It is best to harvest gourds before frost. Mature gourds that have a hardened shell will survive a light frost, but less developed gourds will be damaged. Take care not to bruise the gourds during harvest, as this increases the likelihood of decay during the curing process. After harvesting, gourds should be cleaned with soap and water, dried, and rubbing alcohol applied to the surface. Curing cucurbita gourds is a two-step process which may take 1 to 6 months depending on the type and size of the gourd. Surface drying is the first step in the curing process, and takes approximately one week. During this time, the skin hardens and the exterior color of the gourd is set. Place clean, dry fruit in a dark, well-ventilated area. Arrange gourds in a single layer and make certain that the fruits do not touch each other. Check

gourds daily and discard fruit that show signs of decay or mold and any that develop soft spots. Internal drying is the second step in curing and takes a minimum of four weeks. Keep the gourds in shallow containers in a dark, warm, well-ventilated area. If any mold appears on the outside skin, gourds can be wiped clean and allowed to continue drying. Periodically turn the fruit to discourage shriveling and promote even curing. Providing warmth during the internal curing process will accelerate drying and dis-

courage decay. Adequate curing is achieved when the gourd becomes light in weight and the seeds can be heard rattling inside. Cured gourds can be painted, waxed, or decorated. Saving seeds from gourds could prove to be an interesting experience. Considerable cross-pollination occurs in the cucumber family. The gourd, squash and pumpkin seeds purchased from garden centers or through seed catalogs are from varieties grown in areas free from pollen of any other variety. Even so, a cross may sneak

in now and then. Seeds saved from gourds grown in the garden will likely produce a cornucopia of fruit of different shapes, sizes and colors, none of which may resemble the fruit form which the seed was saved. Frost warning for tonight! I am headed to the potting shed to pull out sheets to cover my pallet garden on the deck. I took a walk around the yard today and said, “Goodbye” to most of the plants. What usually comes inside for the winter at my house? The list is short: Rosemary and

Lemon Grass. I am ready to use the green tomatoes in a new recipe, but we will certainly miss the ripe tomatoes at dinner time. It’s not too late to register for the Master Gardener Training Classes that begin on Oct. 9! For more information about the classes, you can call the OSU Extension Office in Adams, Brown, Clermont or Highland Counties. The class will last 8 weeks and will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Faye Mahaffey is an OSUE Brown County Master Gardener volunteer.)

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October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

MOOTZ Continued from page 1B

They raised five children. Once the kids were in college, for ten years, Ramona also worked nights at Airborne Express, “so we could have health insurance. I’d work nights, sleep till noon, then get up to do whatever needed to be donemow, bale hay, haul grain. We finally got enough ahead to buy a small farm in Highland County. It was 56 acres. It had three small grain bins and that was all. We cleared it, put in waterways, straightened the ground up. We’ve had sheep and cattle and we’ve always raised hay. We got the cattle to utilize the hay that doesn’t get sold. We used to raise tobacco, too. That was hard work! As opportunities came up, we’d lease a few acres, then a few more. Eventually, we were renting a few hundred acres, too. We gave up custom work, there was just no time for it anymore. As we got more farm land, Tim quit trucking for other farmers and we kept two semis for our own. Now, in the winter, when we’re done with harvest we start hauling grain to the city.” In 1998 the opportunity came along to run a bigger farm. Ramona quit her night job and joined Tim on the farm full time. Today the couple manage about 2,500 combined acres in several locations around Highland County. “We raise soybeans, corn and a little wheat, when we can get it in. And, we have some beef cattle. We make a lot of hay, the large round bales and the small square bales that mostly go to Kentucky. A few years ago, we were raising hay but there wasn’t enough help. It’s hard to find people that know how to stack and costly to pay them. So we bought a self-propelled stack

cruiser. It stacks the bales nice and square. The job used to take 3-4 men, but now the two of us do it.” Ramona runs the baler and Tim picks up the bales and puts them in the barn. The couple does their own harvesting using two John Deere combines and a pair of thousand-bushel grain carts. Ramona generally runs the combine; Tim does most of the hauling. They like John Deere equipment “for the resale value” and although Ramona drives and operates all the machinery they own, she’s most often on the 9400 tractor. “The 90220 tractor has auto-steer directed by satellite and all you have to do is push the button. The time it saves and the accuracy it provides is a big bonus but my generation is used to smaller equipment. The 9400 is still my favorite. That’s why it always needs washing!” They installed a grain storage system on their largest farm and are gradually adding legs at their other locations. As the business grew, so did the workload so three years ago they added a full time employee, but there’s still plenty of work to do. Managing multiple locations means additional travel time and additional buildings, but, like her parents taught her, Ramona simply keeps doing whatever it takes to make the farm successful. Every day is full, no day is ever the same and, despite their careful scheduling, things often don’t go as planned whether it’s a crop going in or a calf coming out. And, as she says, “Cooking, cleaning and laundry don’t take of themselves.” Ramona takes it all in stride. “That’s just farming. The good part, the best part, is working together with my husband for a common goal.

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Fly into Las Vegas for one night. Then you will begin your tour and visit landmarks in NINE NATIONAL PARKS. Witness the giant Redwood trees in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, then be amazed at the rock formations and waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. Visit majestic Lake Tahoe and Reno, stop in historic Virginia City, Winnemucca and Wendover, Nevada. In Utah tour the world’s largest man-made excavation – the Kennecott Copper Mine plus the Great Salt Lake! Next tour the unique rocks Arches’ National Park; and Canyonlands, with enchanting vistas carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers. Next visit Capitol Reef and drive through the Dixie National Forest to Bryce Canyon National Park. Then it’s the grandest of all National Parks, The Grand Canyon, for both a day and night. Finally, try your luck in exciting Las Vegas with an included day excursion to Zion National Park.


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Travel with other farmers departing January 30, 2013 on this famous Hawaiian Farm Tour offered by YMT every year since 1974. You’ll visit all four main islands with sightseeing on every island including Honolulu & Pearl Harbor, Punchbowl Crater, The Iao Valley, Lahaina; The Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation; the Wailua Riverboat Cruise & Fern Grotto; Kauai Steel Grass Farm, growing bamboo, vanilla and cacao; and on the “big island” a Hilo Orchid Nursery and Macadamia nut factory; Black Sand Beaches; a Giant Fern Tree Forest; Volcanoes National Park; Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation; and The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii, a reseach facility of ocean thermal energy conversion that not only generates electricity but enables Aquaculture to flourish. Next visit The Big Island Abolone farm that produces its own feed: 13 tons of home grown algae per week. Includes a flower lei aloha greeting, 14 nights in quality hotels, baggage handling, inter-island flights & transfers, plus your Polynesian tour director on every island.

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farm for our retirement farm, so when we do retire, this 240 acre farm will sustain us.” Not that she’s thinking of retiring; Ramona hasn’t slowed down one bit. She still does the bookkeeping and paperwork by hand rather than computer and doesn’t expect to change. Housekeeping chores are tucked in between animal husbandry and crop management, repairs and maintenance. She and Tim do as much themselves as they can. “It’s an advantage that Tim is a mechanic.” Despite what most people would call a punishing schedule, Ramona says, “My dad and mom, and Tim’s parents, were the ones who really had it hard. My mom did without a lot of things for my dad to be successful. So did Tim’s mother. Back then, women didn’t run the equipment, but they worked just as hard as the men did. They put in as many hours and dedicated their lives to the farm and their families. Along the way, they gave us the work ethic that has made us successful and the faith that we’ll get the rain we need.” Behind the wheel of a tractor or a truck, trying to get two days of chores done by noon, Ramona often reflects on her life in farming. She says, “Maybe I learned too much, but I love it and I still enjoy it. What I do for fun, is farm.” (Pat Lawrence is a contributor to Acres of Photos by Pat Lawrence Southwest Ohio.) In the photos above, Ramona is shown working in her home and around the farm.

Start in New Orleans for two days and nights and tour ‘The Big Easy,’ including the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street, the Ninth Ward devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Lake Pontchartrain, the new flood gates and rebuilt levees, plus travel on St. Charles Avenue, following the Mardi Gras route. Then before boarding the NCL Star, visit the museum “Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond.” Aboard ship enjoy the renowned Norwegian Freestyle cruise experience with 10 different dining rooms with no assigned seating. In the Western Caribbean visit the exciting ports of: Costa Maya, Mexico, with Mayan Ruins and unspoiled coastal paradise; Belize City, Belize (in Central America), an English colony as late as 1963; Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, a peaceful, eco-tourist’s dream, teaming with marine life and prestine reefs; and Cozumel, Mexico, an isolated island with a laid-back charm. After seven nights at sea, spend a final night in New Orleans to tour two, pre-civil war mansions and plantations. *Add $250 for Feb. 8 departure date and $100 for Feb. 22 departure date. Air supplement from some airports.

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That’s very satisfying. We make decisions together, we sit down and talk about what we’re going to do. We figure out what’s needed and how we’re going to get it done. Some things may have to wait till we get the money, but we’ll get to them eventually.” Her father passed away in 1998, but when her mother died in 2008, Ramona and Tim ended up buying the family’s home farm, the house Ramona was raised in. She and Tim moved from their house in Danville only a year ago. Ramona says, “This place needed work and more room; we took it down to the bare walls.” The renovated farmhouse is now a spacious, welcoming homestead with polished hickory floors and a big, open kitchen with windows looking out over their land on all sides. Eighteen chickens and three dogs ramble over the grounds. Ramona chuckles that, “The chickens belong to my granddaughter. I feed them and gather the eggs, but they’re her chickens!” Ramona and Tim have extended family in the area, Tim is from a family of fourteen himself, and they enjoy their grandkids. But, Ramona says, “They understand that in the spring and fall, we can’t always be available for their events. We’re still building our life and our business for the family. We’re still working on the legacy we will leave them.” Still, as usual, she’s thinking ahead. “We’re preparing this

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October 2012



School doors opened on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The house seemed pretty empty after the six youngest left for school at 7 a.m. They had Rich for their bus driver again which made them happy. Rich has been the bus driver for the children ever since we moved to Michigan eight years ago. He is a good bus driver. (Editor’s Note: Amish schooling differs from place to place. In some communities Amish children primarily attend parochial schools, in others it is public. In Lovina’s settlement, children attend public school, attend the Amish parochial school or are home-schooled). Son Kevin enjoyed his 7th birthday on Sunday. Daughter Loretta baked a cake for Kevin. She didn’t know he wanted cupcakes instead but he said it didn’t matter. I decorated his cake using candy to write “happy birthday.” He looked pretty happy when he saw it. We gave him a bike for his birthday. He has never had his own. He would just use the other old bikes we have around here. He is so proud to have his very own bike and all of his free time riding. I even caught him riding it in our basement the other night. He found a big bottle of baby powder and sprinkled “trails” on the basement floor. He was biking on the trails until I came downstairs and stopped him. He told me since we told him he couldn’t bike on

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get practice with their bows. They are getting excited for opening day of deer season. The boys picked five big buckets of tomatoes out of our garden last night. Susan and I did laundry this morning and it looks like we will be working up tomatoes this afternoon. I am glad to fill more jars. Sister Emma will drop off Steven, 5, in a little bit. She has to take one of her children to a doctor appointment this afternoon. Since Steven goes to school in the morning I imagine he will have plenty of stories to share with us. Kevin was excited to have Steven at school this year.

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the roads that he was trying to make roads in the basement. It left quite a dusty floor and mess to clean up! Loretta is getting nervous about her surgery which will be on Monday. We will all be glad when it is over with. I hope and pray everything will turn out okay. She is very tired after a day spent at school. My husband Joe and Joseph took the boat out on the lake on Monday, Labor Day. They fished most of the day. Elizabeth and Benjamin went with Elizabeth’s friend Timothy on a boat on a different lake. They all came home with some fish which were mostly bluegill. The rest of the children and I spent the day relaxing at home. It was a nice day and would have been a good afternoon to do laundry, but we waited until Tuesday, though, so Susan and I could do it after the children left for school. We all needed that break. Elizabeth was glad to have a day off from the factory. They are putting in long-hours everyday. It sounds like she will have to work Saturdays now. When I worked at a sewing factory before I was married I did not like working Saturdays. It seemed like enough to work five days and Saturday was the day to get caught up on work at home. A lot of the deer hunters are doing tar-

Brothers Choose Ross County The brothers and their families love Ross County and the surrounding area. The people are friendly and down to earth. It’s never far to a good road if you want to travel. And the bike trail from Chillicothe to Washington C.H. is wonderful. 35 leads you to the best Amish store in Ross County. Stop in next time you’re through. The entrance and parking area work for everything from a bicycle to a semi with a grain trailer. Only 15 minutes east of Washington C.H. At Frankfort (CR87) exit and St. Route 35 Hours: Monday thru Friday 8:30-5:30 Sat. 8:30-4:00; Closed Sunday Exit CR 87 Washington CH



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The three brothers that own and operate The Old Home Place in Frankfort have lived in Ohio their entire lives. They lived in Wayne County, Jackson County, and Perry County. Then in 2003, the Mennonite church they were a part of grew large enough to begin a new congregation. They prayed and looked and the Lord led them to Ross County. In 2005, Mose, Dave, and Andy built a brand new bakery and bulk food store with meat and cheese. It opened in November of ’05 and has been running ever since. With time, they add new lines and make other changes. But there are some things that they want to keep the same. The owners are very involved in daily operations. They work on keeping the store clean. They do their best to keep the food fresh. And it’s very important to have friendly, helpful employees.


October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio


Recently I have been told by local farmers that some of the early harvest of this year’s corn crop has more issues. Some mold is showing up in the harvested corn and has been rejected when it is taken to be sold. When this happens the next question is what to do next with the corn, or what can be done with it. Recently there was an article that addresses options for feeding this corn to livestock. It will need to be tested and then blended in most cases. The article was one of many that have appeared in the daily Beef Blog that I forward onto beef producers that want to read up to date information. If you would like to receive the Beef Blog send me an e-mail requesting to be added. There are several other mailing lists that deal with agricultural news and events. The article that I referred to addresses the limitations for feeding. This is a portion of that article including the levels for specific livestock. Livestock are usually the market for mycotoxin-infected commodities, he added. “Livestock can tolerate some level of mycotoxin, but levels above legal limits can cause problems in livestock. Reduced performance, immunosuppression, liver damage, and in extreme cases even death can be the result of feeding high levels of aflatoxin,” Meteer said. (David Dugan is Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources Ohio Valley Extension Education Research Area Adams/Brown/Highland Counties.)

Making good use of old tires Farmers are always looking for ways to make things work with what they have. Farmers are also looking for ways to cut costs in their operation. With that said, many things have been developed for on farm use. If you have not seen this before, you sure could have seen some great ideas that have been developed this way over the years at the Farm Science Review. So, as we are always looking for the next good idea, we may have an opportunity to double dip. We can kill two birds with one stone with this one. The solid waste landfill is something that we all need to be aware of, too. Ways to reduce the amount of waste is a good thing, so if we can save money, make something work better and reduce the amount of waste are all worth looking at. From time to time we need to replace tires on tractors and other farm equipment. Those used tires have to go somewhere. For years I have seen the rear tractor tires used in landscaping for flower beds. Here is an idea for another use of those used tires that may help solve another

problem. How many of you have the mineral feeders that have a plastic bottom with three sections and a rubber cover to protect the mineral from the weather? If you have one or more of these you may have the problem of finding it from time to time. The feeders that I have seen come with three holes near the base, but keeping it secure can be an issue. You may need to measure the base of your feeder to find the correct size tire. Most are in the 28 to 30 inch range that I have seen used. I can’t take credit, but I have sure used tires to mount these mineral feeders. Someone shared the idea with me and I only have one of these that is not mounted to a tractor tire. I had to go find it recently when the cattle pushed it down into the creek. The feeders mounted to tires stay put even in a bull lot. So, save a headache of looking for the feeder while saving space in our landfills. It even makes it a little easier to put the mineral into the feeder as it sets about a foot or more off the ground.

Use old tractor tires to save the headache of looking for feeders pushed around by livestock while saving space in the landfills.

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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012


A farmer his toys


Miniature tractors a reminder of the past By GARY BROCK

When Jerrold Fields takes his collection of tractors on the road, they are a sight to behold. But his tractors are not real tractors, they are miniatures; a part of his life-long collection of toy farm equipment and machinery. The Orient, Ohio, resident recent made available more than 30 of his collection of small scale tractors, trucks, combines and other equipment for a show at the Fayette County Historical Society Museum in Washington Court House. “I don’t take them on the road very often,” Fields said in a recent interview. He has more than a hundred in his collection. “My cousin, Barbara Vance (with the Fayette County Historical Society) asked me to bring them to the museum for a display.” A life-long farmer, Fields, 59, started collecting farm toys when he was a boy. But his

“hobby” as a collector really started when he was in high school. All of the miniatures are either die cast or cast iron in the case of the really old ones. “I have about 100 tractors, plus combines, trucks and other farm equipment,” he said. The oldest in his collection are from the 1910s, ‘20s and ‘30s. He said these cast iron ones have less detail and are more “rough” than the die cast ones from the 1950s and more recent. Collecting toy and miniature tractors and farm equipment is a growing hobby in the United States. Over Labor Day, there was a major toy tractor/farm toy show in Hillsboro. Such farm toy shows take place almost every weekend across the country. There are also a number of organizations and clubs for collectors to gather and show off their collections. Fields says he used to attend many of these shows, but doesn’t go to many of the shows these

Photos by Gary Brock

Above, Jerrold Fields poses with a couple pieces on display at the recent show at the Fayette County Historical Society Museum. Shown also are other examples from his collection.

days, and is not active in any of the clubs. “With the Internet now, I mostly look online,” he said. Why collect toy tractors? Fields says it is a connection to his past. “I like to have models representing the same tractors we had on our farm over the years,” he said. “I started with collecting those, and just

branched off from there.” Fields says he doesn’t have any immediate plans to take his toy tractor collection on the road again, but expects he will some time soon. He enjoys seeing people enjoy the craftsmanship and fine work of the die cast tractors. It is a treasure he likes to share. (Gary Brock is Editorin-Chief of Acres.)


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ACRES of Southwest Ohio

A few reminders for the fall harvest season By ADAM M. SHEPARD

It sure doesn’t seem like five months has gone by already. My first week Isaac Garland and I were rushing around trying to get the crops planted at the County Farm, now five months later doing maintenance on the combine in preparation for harvest. While the majority of us are ready to put this difficult year far to the back of our minds there are a couple things to remember before we get going this fall. As every year poses different struggles with the setup of harvest equipment this year will be no different. Dry weather during pollination has left us with larger than normal kernels and less than perfect pollination. Corn fields affected by early season winds can also be of concern with goose-necked stalks. Ear placement this year is also variable with some ears being placed very low on the stalk due to lack of vertical growth. All of these variables must be considered to help achieve

proper combine settings. For most of us that did not have wheat to harvest this summer we also need to pay proper attention to the monitors in our machines. Take some time to verify the proper data is listed in your monitor to ensure trouble free documentation in the fields. Our yield monitors and precision agriculture equipment is only as productive as we allow it to be. Time is important to everyone this fall but a few extra hours at the beginning of harvest to calibrate the yield monitor can provide valuable data to analyze this winter. Be aware of the features your precision agriculture equipment offers and try to utilize those features to make decisions for next growing season. Make notes of hybrids and varieties in each field to get a better idea of what worked well and what you might want to consider for next year. Any information you can note while harvesting this fall will help make more informed decisions for your operation next year. It seems like every year you can drive around the county and see

one or two new grain bins being put up. As we head into fall it is important to make sure and spend some time getting storage facilities ready for use. Most of us finish hauling in the winter and don’t spend too much time at the grain facilities until we are ready to put the first load in the wet bin. Now is the time to check spreaders and perform maintenance on stir-alls and grain fans/dryers. Make sure harnesses and safety gear is on hand to be used if you have to open lids or set augers. Clean up any old grain and dispose of accordingly. Give the grain dryer some attention and verify that any gates and flow switches are working accordingly to save a cleanup down the road. Harvest always seem to sneak up on us, if we take the time to perform these tasks now then when it comes time to head to the field we will be ready. Thanks to those that were able to attend the Estate Planning seminar on Aug. 30, we had right at 70 participants who asked great questions and offered good conversa-

tion to the group. Those in attendance came from Highland, Ross, Clinton and Fayette. I have handouts available in the OSU Extension office for those that were unable to attend but interested in the information. Now that I have had some time to get settled in I would appreciate some input from you all about what kinds of things you would like to see us do this winter. I’m in the process of kicking around some ideas of things I think are important but anything you would be interested in hearing about please give me some ideas. I’m also considering some sort of a monthly newsletter to give general observations and report on each end of the county along with offering some information on current events and a calendar of upcoming dates. If you have any ideas or suggestions I welcome you to send them to (Adam M. Shepard is Fayette County Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources.)

Upcoming Events Rockin R Ranch Old West Pumpkin Fest : Through Oct. 28 Best Pumpkin Patch & Fall Festival in northeast Ohio. Enjoy day-long, unlimited activities for one low price. Unlimited hayrides to the pumpkin patch, pony rides, live stage show with costume characters, face and pumpkin painting, petting zoo, fun house, old west town, activity area, free trinkets & more. Also, available food concessions, produce, pumpkin souvenirs and gem mining. Hours: Every Sat & Sun, noon to 5 p.m. Location: 19066 East River Road, Columbia Station Contact: (440) 236-5454 Stir Farm Family Fall Festival : Oct. 1-Nov. 1 Pumpkins, pick your own or chose one already picked, along with hayride, bond fire with hotdogs and apple cider, face painting and bounce house. Join us for a real farm adventure with farm animals to see and pet a can’t miss festival. Hours: Noon to 7:30 p.m. Location: 8050 madison Walnut Road, Ashville Contact: (740) 497-2935

Preble County Grow it, Know it — Cooking : Oct. 24 If you’re on the go, homemade, fast food provides the family with great meals in a short time. Learn simple, creative techniques for preparing quick, easy meals for your family. Plus, learn how to prepare food in advance. We will demonstrate some of the tools of the trade. Hours: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Location: Grace Lutheran Church, Eaton Contact: (937) 456-5400 Preble County Grow it, Know it: Specialty Cooking and Baking : Oct. 27 Prepare for the upcoming holiday season and learn about hosting large groups. This Grow it, Know it session focuses on making different kinds of pies and yeast rolls. Plus, attendees will make at least one batch of candy. Expecting large gatherings this season? Come and learn how to cook for a crowd. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Location: Grace Lutheran Church, Eaton Contact: (937) 456-5400

Learn To Spin Class : Oct. 27 For this class you must have a spinning wheel that is in good working condition. Treadling at home for 2-4 hours prior to class is highly recommended. We will be learning about the spinning wheel and its parts, how to thread the wheel, set the proper tension and ratio, how to finish the yarn, how to ply, how to wind onto a Niddy-Noddy, create a skein, and set the twist. The cost for the class includes four ounces of alpaca fiber to spin. Class is free with the purchase of a spinning wheel! Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Location: Alpaca Meadows, Mansfield Contact: (419) 529-8152 Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival : Nov. 9-10 Bluegrass and acoustic music have outsold and outgrown all other American music forms in the past decade, and Ohio has always been home to many great outdoor music events. However, this event is the area’s only indoor Bluegrass festival. Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Location: Roberts Centre, 123 Gano Road, Wilmington Contact: (937) 372-5804

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Christmas Ornament Felting Class : Nov. 17 This class will be an introduction to needle felting. No experience necessary - no knitting or crocheting required! We will be felting Christmas Cookie Ornaments and Christmas Ball Ornaments. All materials are included. Tools and foam forms needed will be furnished for the class, and available for purchase for more felting fun at home! Class size is limited and advance registration in necessary. Online registration is available or call (419) 529-8152. Hours: 1 to 3 p.m. Location: Alpaca Meadows Contact: (419) 529-8152 Hometown HoliDazzle Illuminated Parade & Festival : Nov. 24 Downtown Wilmington closes its streets and opens its doors for everyone to see our hometown all lit up, from the twinkling decorations to the thousands of lights decorating the nighttime parade. Santa Claus, indoor carnival games, delicious food and strolling musicians help bring in the holiday season. Hours: 2 to 10 p.m. Location: Downtown Wilmington, Main St., Wilmington

Contact: (937) 383-9090 Lebanon Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival : Dec. 1 Historic Lebanon Ohio sets the perfect backdrop for the 24th annual Lebanon Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival. Over 100 horse drawn carriages decorated for the holidays parade thru downtown Lebanon for an afternoon parade and evening parade. Horses include adorable minis, ponies, Belgians, Percherons and the notorious Clydesdales. Between parades shop in the 80+ antique and specialty shops or stroll the festival which includes craft and food vendors, visits with Santa and Mrs Claus, live entertainment throughout the day or take a ride on the North Pole Express. There’s something for everyone. Hours: Festival 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Parades 1 to 7 p.m. Location: Downtown Lebanon Contact: (513) 932-1100

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

October 2012


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MUMS MUMS MARVINS MUMS $4.99 or 5 for $20 we also wholesale check us out on Craigslist MARVIN TREE FARM 9645 US 22 Clarksville, Ohio (937)218-3503 (937)289-3503

T Adv

John Deere X324 4 wheel steering, lawn tractor, 22 HP asking $2,750. 937-382-7942 in the evening

Sheryl Sollars “The Kitchen Lady” Columnist for Salt and other newspapers


Door Prizes # Free Totes # Over 40 Vendors VIP Seating # Fashion Show


October 2012

ACRES of Southwest Ohio

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SW 10/12  

The Southwest edition of Acres Midwest for October 2012

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