Thursday, February 28, 2013

Educational Series Available

Shock Therapy: A Critical Look at Nutrients and Farm Management
By:  Van Slack, Agricultural Resource Specialist for Muskingum SWCD

Times are pretty good in agriculture right now.  Livestock prices are good, commodity prices are good but the cost of feed, seed, fertilizer, and chemicals are high and increasing.  It may come as no shock that times can change and are changing rather rapidly.  The concerns over water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys, the Western basin of Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico have put agriculture under new scrutiny.  The possibility of increased regulation on agriculture is of great concern.  Just because those areas are in another part of the state or U.S. does not mean we will not feel the effects in southeastern Ohio.
It is always good when you can invest in yourself and your operation.  Knowledge is power.  As agricultural producers, when given the tools and resources to make good decisions, we are up to the task.  You have an awesome opportunity to participate in a three part series called “Shock Therapy: A Critical Look at Nutrients and Farm Management”.  This series will give you the tools and resources to meet future challenges.
The first meeting is Saturday, March 16 at the Zanesville Welcome Center from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  The speaker for the day is Dave Pratt, President of Ranch Management Consultants Inc.  Dave co-founded the California Grazing Academy and teaches Ranching for Profit Schools.  Dave has taught schools in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Africa.  Dave was also a Range and Livestock Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension Service for 15 years.  Dave’s mission statement is “Healthy Land, Happy Families, and Profitable Businesses.”
Dave will be teaching two sessions.  The morning session will be a profitability workshop and the afternoon will be on cell grazing (rotational grazing for us in the East).  I asked Dave, “What will the participants learn at this workshop?”  Dave stated, “They will see things differently.  To some this may not sound like much but it is the most important thing that can happen.  We call it See-Do-Get.  In order to get different results you have to do things differently.  But you won’t do things differently until you see things differently.”
Dave went on to say that “in the morning session, people will see why their farm is not a business and why it is a problem both financially and personally.  What it takes to transform a farm into a business and why they should do it.  What is profit?  They will realize the difference between economics and finance and the reason most people make the mistake of putting finance first.  That there are only three ways to increase profit in a business and figuring out which applies to you will be discussed.  In the afternoon session, participants will see the difference between overgrazing and overstocking and the five principles of cell grazing.  They will also see how others have applied those principals to reduce costs, improve health of their farms, increase profits, and learn what is involved in applying those principles on their farms.  They will see that economics and ecology are not two separate topics but one…econology?  Eco – nomics?”
There are two additional sessions scheduled for Thursday, April 4 and Tuesday, June 18.  For the first person registering from an operation, the fee is $50.00 for the first two sessions.  For each additional registration from the same operation, the fee is $25.00 for the first two sessions.  The Tuesday, June 18 workshop is free and open to the public although we encourage you to attend all three sessions.  With your registration and attendance of at least the first two meetings, each operation will receive lunch on the June 16, a soil probe, an Ohio Agronomy Guide, a Cover Crop Guide, and either a Forage Guide or Corn and Soybean Guide for a combined total value of $98.00.  This is a great return on your investment, not to mention the knowledge you will gain to better yourself and your operation.
This program is made possible through a nutrient reduction outreach grant from the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission and ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources.  The Muskingum and Guernsey SWCDs and OSU Extension of Muskingum, Guernsey, and Noble Counties are coordinating the events.
Go to our educational page to download a registration form.

Say hello to our new district technician!

My name is Jason Tyrell. I am a West Virginia University graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Business Management and Rural Development with a minor in Public Relations. I have a wide range of experience in the agricultural field. Before I became District Technician, I was an Earth Team Volunteer at the NRCS and an intern at OSU Extension. During that time, I attended grazing trainings, was a 4H judge, assisted in solving agricultural problems called in to OSU Extensions helpline, and was engaged in several programs throughout Belmont and Jefferson County. I also sold heavy equipment for Southeastern Equipment and worked for Brunner Excavating.

I currently reside in Bannock, Ohio. I enjoy 4-wheeling, camping, and fishing, along with golfing, bowling and playing guitar. Most of my spare time is spent in the company of my family and close friends. I have old fashioned values and understand the importance of honesty, integrity, and a strong work ethic. I look forward to my future with Guernsey County’s SWCD. If there are any agricultural questions or concerns, I will be more than happy to help. 

Nelson Blueberry - second blueberry offered in tree sale

 Highbush type, very upright growth makes this easy to prune. Grows to 6 feet.   Yield is very high; 13-18 pounds  per plant.  Fruit is large, firm, with small picking scars.  The berry is dark blue.  The clusters are loose so ripe fruit will separate easily from the stems.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Financial Analysis for a Tree Farm

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO – Tom Weygandt, formerly a teacher in Buckeye Career Center's adult education program, will be the featured speaker at the Mar. 6 meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA).  At the 7:30 PM meeting, Weygandt will discuss important financial records and how to use them to assess the health of a tree farm enterprise.

ECOFA is an organization of persons interested in improving their woodlands and in forestry-related topics.  The public is cordially invited to attend the free meetings which are held monthly at McDonald-Marlite Lewis Conference Center, 143 McDonald Drive NW in New Philadelphia.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Elliott Blueberry - one of 2 Blueberries offered in the tree sale

Elliott is a high yielding Northern Highbush cultivar. Once mature, Elliot should yield 8 to 12 pounds. Of all the Northern Highbushes Elliott is the last to ripen. It typically ripens in August and has a 4 to 5 week harvest period. Elliott has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all blueberry varieties. The berries grow in loose clusters and resist cracking. Once picked Elliott has a storage life of up to 12 weeks. Although blueberries are self pollinating the crop will be noticeably better if pollinated by other varieties. Lovely pink-tinged flowers will grace your landscape each spring. Cold-tolerant.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Educational Program Available

A 3 part education series on livestock grazing and nutrient management

Friday, February 22, 2013

Glohaven Peach - second peach offered in the annual tree sale

Fruit is large, nearly round and uniform in size. It has very little fuzz and is reliable freestone.  Color is mostly red with deep yellow ground color. Flesh is bright yellow, firm and resistant to browning, which makes it a favorite for canning and freezing. The fruit has good shipping and storage qualities and will keep for several weeks in the cooler. Tree is vigorous and buds are very hardy against spring frosts. The Glohaven peach tree can hold up to both cold temperatures and hot, humid conditions.  Matures midAugust.   Trees are 1/2" trunks, 3-4 ft tall.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Board Supervisors

Bill Bertram(left), Myron Dellinger(right), recently elected supervisors of the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District, along with Steve Douglass were sworn into office at the regularly schedule SWCD meeting January 14th.  Mr. Douglass was appointed by the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission to fill the unexpired term of long term board member Blaine Neilley, who passed away recently.
Elected to a three year term, Bertram and Dellinger join John Enos, Ken Ford, and Mr. Douglass in administering the Guernsey SWCD’s natural resource conservation programs.
Born out of the Dustbowl years, the Guernsey SWCD was organized in 1942 to further the natural resource conservation mission.  As a subdivision of state government, soil and water conservation districts have legal authority to assist landowners with a wide range of soil, water, woodland and wildlife conservation objectives.  Another important goal is to provide information and education programs on natural resource conservation and management topics for county residents.
The mission of the Guernsey SWCD is to promote, through education and technical assistance, the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Seed treatments linked to bee deaths

“We saw a 3% loss in hives per year from 2007 to 2012 in the U.S.,” said Christian Krupke, associate professor of entomology at Purdue University. “More and more of the arrows are pointing to pesticides in a more convincing way as a part of colony collapse disorder.”
Read entire article here:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

“Living Your Small Farm Dream” conference

An Ohio State University Extension conference March 23 in Zanesville will help current and future small-farm owners make the most of their operations.
The “Living Your Small Farm Dream” conference and trade show are designed to help participants diversify their operations and reach new markets to improve farm economic growth and development, said Mark Mechling, an Ohio State University Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources.
Read full article here:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Early Loring Peach - one of 2 peaches offered in the tree sale

Early Loring produces large fruit, with excellent color and firmness and freestone when fully ripe. Good for fresh eating, cooking, canning and freezing. Excellent flavor and texture, low acid. Requires little or no thinning; excellent for the home orchard. Fruit hangs well to the tree; holds up well after picking. Has good handling and holding qualities. Self-fruitful. Trees are sturdy, vigorous, heavy croppers; with excellent resistance to bacterial spot. Blooms early. Reliable producer even when weather during bloom is cool and wet. Matures in late July.
The trees offered are 1/2 in trunks, 3-4 ft tall.

Friday, February 15, 2013

American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Pilgrim American Cranberry:   The brightest red and largest fruited variety, with many fruits larger than a nickel.  Easy to harvest, the fruits ripen late in the season on vigorous and attractive bushy ground covers.  Plant in moist soil enriched with peat.  Feed to maintain acidic soil.  These are offered in our tree sale, and are in 4" pots.
If your ground is not naturally moist and acidic, then you can grow them in a large container filled with a peat based compost without lime or nutrients. Another  solution would be to construct a sunken bed some 6-8 inches below the surrounding surface.  The bed should be dug to about 2 feet deep, and back filled with a mixture of soil and peat. Water well with lime free water, such as rainwater collected in a rain barrel. After planting your cranberry plants at 12 spacing, cover the bed with about an inch of coarse, lime-free sand to prevent the peat drying out too quickly and to help the cranberry stems root into the ground. During late spring, apply an acidic plant food as instructed by the manufacturer.

Tiny cranberry flowers

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Salamander Adventure planned for end of February!

Salamanders in Ohio are generally inconspicuous for most of the year; but in the early spring, they can make quite an exciting show for those adventurous souls willing to seek them out. During the spring breeding season they appear in large numbers apparently out of nowhere. Some species migrate by the hundreds during cool spring rains as they move toward water to lay eggs.  The Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District is planning a Salamander Adventure to find and observe these slippery, secretive salamanders, and invites you to join us!

Good salamander habitat generally consists of a wet wooded environment with standing water in the spring. These areas of standing water are called vernal pools and usually dry up by summer. Most salamanders are found in or near wetlands. They must live in these soggy surroundings because they lack the scales of reptiles, which make them susceptible to drying out. Some species have the ability to burrow underground; others use burrows created by different animals like crayfish. Salamanders are significant indicators for a healthy environment because many live in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

All salamanders are carnivores and come out from their hiding places during damp nights to hunt for prey. Most species eat large amounts of invertebrates such as worms, insects, and snails. Salamanders are equally important as food for many other animals such as raccoons, opossums, mink, river otters,
frogs, snakes, and fish.

Salamanders have a variety of reproductive strategies. The majority hatch from eggs and spend several weeks growing as tadpole-like larvae before they undergo metamorphosis to become adults. The adults will often return to breed at the same site where they were born when they reach sexual maturity. When salamanders lay their eggs some prefer running water such as in streams and rivers, while others prefer the standing water in such areas as wetlands, vernal pools, or bogs.

Ohio has a wealth of salamanders throughout the state. Finding an individual can be an adventure given that they go into hiding during the daylight hours. The best place to begin your search is in any wet, wooded environment with standing water in the spring, especially in or near wetlands.  Using child-like curiosity by searching under rocks and logs is still the best way to discover these mysterious creatures.

The best time for viewing comes at night either after or during an early spring rain when the temperature is near 50 degrees. Because these conditions are not predictable, it is not possible to set a specific time and date for our salamander adventure.  But if you call the district, we will put you on a list, and call to notify you a day or two in advance that we will be leading a salamander search.  Call our wildlife specialist, Joe Lehman, and you can join a group of likeminded adventurers as we search the vernal pools of eastern Guernsey county for these slippery, secretive salamanders.

ODNR - Oil and Gas - agency release

Rep. Bob Hagan, an outspoken critic of the oil and gas industry, recently called on authorities to prosecute the owner of a company that allegedly dumped up to 50,000 gallons of fracking wastewater into a storm drain.  In a letter to Youngstown City Prosecutor Dana Lantz, Rep. Hagan noted that Ben Lupo, owner of Hard Rock Excavating, has signed a Notice of Violation, confirming that he directed his employees to dump the waste down a drain, which leads to a tributary of the Mahoning River.
Meanwhile, Ohio Shale Coalition issued a statement praising the state's action against Mr. Lupo, which included revoking his permits.   "The rapid and decisive action by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to revoke all permits held by the alleged offender, and by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to pursue criminal sanctions, proves that these agencies have the alertness, the expertise and the manpower to protect Ohioans and to interdict this kind of behavior," the coalition said.  "ODNR's response also demonstrates that the aggressive regulatory scheme put in place by the Kasich Administration and Ohio legislators, includes the protections and authority necessary to ensure that Ohioans realize the full economic benefit of shale gas and in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tree Sale Order Blank

Click on photo to enlarge and print

Shellbark Hickory (Carya laciniosa)

The Shellbark hickory is one of 6 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2013 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include white pine, American chestnut, English oak, Osage Orange, and Chinquapin. New this year are fruit trees; both peach and apple. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry, and an America cranberry.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.

Shellbark Hickory, a slow-growing but potentially massive tree scattered throughout Ohio, is often found in moist bottomlands where Shagbark Hickory usually does not grow. Like other hickories, its heavy, dense, strong, yet elastic wood is sought after for making tool handles, athletic equipment, furniture, construction timbers, and firewood, and its wood chips are utilized in the smoking of meats. Its sweet, huge nuts are relished by squirrels and give it an alternative common name of King Nut Hickory, due to their being the largest of the hickories.

A native to the Midwestern United States, and stretching into portions of the Southern, Eastern, and Great Plains states, Shellbark Hickory is a climax forest tree in moist soils, particularly along flood plains and bottomland areas. It grows to 80 feet tall by 40 feet wide when found in the open. As a member of the Walnut Family, it is related to other Hickories and the Walnuts.

Planting Requirements - Shellbark Hickory prefers deep, moist to occasionally wet, rich soils under sunny conditions, such as are found in bottomlands, flatlands that do not drain quickly, and floodplains. It tolerates shade in its youth, when it is stretching for sunlight beneath the canopy of taller trees, and develops its deep taproot system. Like other Hickories, it is very tolerant of summer drought, even though it prefers moist conditions. It is found in zones 5 to 8.

Potential Problems- Shellbark Hickory is virtually disease and pest free, although its leaflets become frayed by late summer due to minor pest feeding. However, it sends down a constant rain of leaflets, rachises, dead twigs, immature fruits, husks, and debris from squirrel feeding from mid-summer until late autumn, presenting a constant clean-up chore and mowing hazard when it is found in urban areas.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Upcoming Grazing Management Workshop

Grazing Management Workshop - a 3 meeting series March 26, April 2, & April 9, 2013. 6:30-9:00 pm each day. Cost: $50 with notebook, $20 without notebook.  Sponsored by the Guernsey OSU extension service.  Call 740-489-5300 for more information.  Click on link for flyer.

OEPA To Pull Small Stream Pollution Rules From Pending Regulations

One year after putting off long-delayed water pollution rules, state regulators are preparing to release a revised version without controversial language designed to clean up small stream habitats.  More than a year ago, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency withdrew proposed water quality rules after industry groups objected, saying they would prove onerous and costly to implement. The rules were forwarded to the Common Sense Initiative Office, where interested parties met last summer to try and reach agreement on a compromise version.  OEPA spokeswoman Linda Fee Oros said the agency would likely file a non-controversial version of the rule package without contentious language on primary headwater habitat streams.

Friday, February 8, 2013

English Oak (Quercus robur)

English oak is one of 6 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2013 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include white pine, American chestnut, Osage Orange(hedge), Shellbark hickory, and Allegheny Chinquapin. New this year are fruit trees; both peach and apple. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry, and an America cranberry.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.

English Oak, as its name implies, is an Oak tree native to England (or more accurately Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia), and therefore is not a tree native to Ohio woodlands. Its growth habit is upright, densely oval, and symmetrical through middle age, then becoming more spreading with advanced maturity. It may reach 50 feet tall and 50 feet wide. Its leaves are shaped like the white oak, although smaller in size.

Planting Requirements - English Oak, in spite of being an imported species of oak, adapts well to the tough conditions of the eastern and midwestern United States. It prefers moist, well-drained, moderately rich soils of variable pH, but adapts very well to moderately dry soils of poor quality. It thrives in full sun to partial sun (but is shade tolerant in youth), and grows in zones 4 to 8.

Potential Problems - English Oak may develop powdery mildew on its foliage by mid- to late summer (this is the common white fungus found within the leaves of many Lilacs and Roses at the same time of season, strictly a cosmetic disease that has no long-term impact on the health of the tree whatsoever). Other than this cosmetic white blemish on its dark green foliage, English Oak is usually disease- and pest-free, although it may on occasion be subject to the standard army of pests and pathogens that afflict the Oaks.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bee Keeping Workshop

The largest educational beekeeping event of its kind in the U.S. will be held again in Wooster this year, March 1-2, featuring Ohio and national experts on queen bee rearing, pests and diseases of hives, and other issues impacting beekeeping and agricultural production.
Read rest of article here:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Allegheny Chinquapin (Castanea pumila)

The Allegheny Chinquapin is one of 6 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2013 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include white pine, American chestnut, English oak, Shellbark hickory, and Osage Orange. New this year are fruit trees; both peach and apple. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry, and an America cranberry.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.

Also known as the dwarf chestnut, it is a spreading shrub or small tree, reaching 15-20 feet tall at maturity. The bark is red- or gray-brown and slightly furrowed into scaly plates. Allegheny chinquapin is a lovely tree in late May and early June when the 2 to 6 inch, fragrant male catkins stand erect like white candles, followed by the spiny burs of the female flowers that ripen in the winter. The fruit is a golden-colored, 1.5 in diameter with many sharp spines, maturing in autumn. Each friut contains one ovoid shiny dark brown nut that is edible.  Chinquapin nuts are very sweet and were preferred over chestnuts by those fortunate enough to sample both.

Planting Requirements:  The Allegheny chinkapin is closely related to the American Chestnut, and both trees can be found in the same habitat. They prefer dry ridges and slopes in full sun, although they tolerate some shade when young.  Allegheny Chinkapin can be distinguished by its smaller nut (half the size of a chestnut) that is not flattened (chestnuts are flattened on one side). The leaves of the Allegheny Chinkapin are smaller than the American Chestnut and have less distinct teeth.

Possible Problems:  Allegheny Chinkapin, however, is less susceptible to the chestnut blight fungus that devastated the American Chestnut in the last century. While the Chinkapin does blight to some degree, it continues to send out suckers that will produce fruit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ohio's office of farmland preservation

Land is one of the most valuable resources within the agriculture sector. In order to maintain Ohio's land-based industry and all its related benefits, the Office of Farmland Preservation educates the public about the importance of saving this precious resource. The office also assists farmers and local officials with their farmland protection efforts and hosts an annual farmland preservation summit.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The American Chestnut - fallen giant

American Chestnut seedlings are available to order during the spring tree sale, going on now.  These seedlings have been selected by the West Virginia state nursery from stock that is showing some resistance to the blight that felled these forest monarchs.  
Archival photo of American Chestnut log

The American chestnut tree stood majestic across some 200 million acres of eastern woodlands, from Maine to Florida and westward to the Ohio Valley. It grew straight and tall, and was an integral part of culture and commerce for Appalachian people.
During the first half of the 20th century, a lethal fungus—the chestnut blight—infected the species. It was first discovered in 1904 in New York City, but quickly spread throughout the country. About four billion American chestnut trees, literally a quarter of the hardwood tree population of the East, were destroyed.

The blight arrived in the United States on chestnut trees imported from Asia. Spores spread the disease traveling through the air, in raindrops, and also by hitching a ride in the fur of mice, squirrels, and rabbits that used the trees for food and shelter. A spore would settle into a wound in the bark, allowing the disease to spread quickly to the wood. Native chestnuts, although mighty trees, had very little resistance. Once infected, their leaves would die off during the first season and the whole tree typically would be dead by year two.
Dead and damaged trunks of giant trees were left behind like skeletons. The New York Times wrote about the doomed chestnut tree. Ghosts of the giant trees littered the landscape. Foresters investigated, but were unable to stop the fungus from spreading. By 1950 the live species had virtually disappeared.

In its majesty, the American chestnut tree was admired for its beauty and protection. The tree was also prized for lumber. It grew straight and tall, often shooting up 50 feet before branching out. The wood weighed less than oak but resisted rot as well as redwood. Its straight grain made it favorable for woodworking and all sorts of wood products—fine furniture, musical instruments, railroad ties, shingles, paneling, telephone poles, even pulp and plywood. Chestnut wood was used from cradle to coffin.

Americans paid homage to the chestnut tree in poetry, paintings, newspapers, and books. Even its nut was popular. The song lyric “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is reminiscent of how common yet comforting the chestnut was in America.
Standing among the giants