Friday, August 30, 2013

Pipeline will run under Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve

NEWARK, Ohio — An agreement reached last week between Enterprise Products Partners and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will allow drilling for a natural-gas pipeline to continue through the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve.

Read rest of article HERE
Blackhand Gorge
Geologically spectacular narrow gorge cut through Blackhand sandstone by the Licking River, forested ridges, spring wildflowers
7 hiking trails, wheelchair-accessible paved path; old rail trestles and tunnel, canal lock and towpaths; picnic tables; latrines at parking lot
Directions:
From Newark: 8 miles east on S.R. 16, turn southeast on S.R. 146 for 1/4 mile; south on C.R. 273 for 1.5 miles to entrance

Monday, August 26, 2013

ODNR agency briefs

Department of Natural Resources -- The growing number of Ohioans who own a small woodlot can now access an online tool that provides information on tree planting, native woodland maintenance, water protection and other areas, ODNR officials said Friday.  "Small woodlots are important because they support wildlife, clean the air and water and provide renewable forest products," said Robert Boyles, state forester and chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "We hope small-woodlot owners will find the information on our website useful in their efforts to care for their woods, which will benefit all Ohioans."

The department's Ohio Wildlife Council also approved the 2013-14 waterfowl hunting season dates this week, ODNR reported.  Changes include a decrease in the scaup bag limit to three, as well as an increase in the canvasback bag limit to two. Youth waterfowl season will now take place Oct. 5-6 across the state, officials added.

In a separate release ODNR officials said they will host open houses to discuss proposed abandoned mine land projects throughout the state.  The department, in November, will apply for more than $10 million in grants from the U.S. Department of the Interior for abandoned mine reclamation projects, which are to be completed between January 2014 and December 2016.  The open houses will take place in the evenings beginning in mid-September for:  Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne: Sept. 16 at 3601 Newgarden Road, Salem;  Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Scioto, Vinton: Sept. 17 at 280 E. State St., Athens;  Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Washington: Sept. 18 at 11296 E. Pike Road, Cambridge; and, Carroll, Coshocton, Harrison, Jefferson, Tuscarawas: Sept. 19 at 2207 Reiser Ave. SE, New Philadelphia.

Friday, August 23, 2013

West Nile Virus in Ohio this year

The Ohio Department of Health identified the first human case of West Nile Virus in the state Tuesday in a 72-year-old woman in Cuyahoga County, officials have reported.  Despite the finding, ODH Director Ted Wymyslo expressed optimism over the comparatively lower rates of such incidents in the state this year.  ODH's public health laboratory previously received federal dollars to test mosquitoes for the virus. The department, however, was forced to change its program and work with local health departments in various regions of the state to conduct mosquito surveillance and testing this year following federal funding cuts.  Data acquired through these new partnerships suggests that the percent of mosquitoes that test positive for WNV remains 10 times below what it was during the same period of 2012. The first human case reported last year also came in late July, officials noted - nearly a month earlier than what's normal for the state.  Following the discovery, Director Wymyslo encouraged Ohioans to protect themselves from the mosquito-borne virus by using insect repellent and eliminating containers the collect water from yards.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Washed-out beaver dam floods Ohio 146

Oops.....sorry....
CUMBERLAND — It was a washed-out beaver dam that flooded Ohio 146 Thursday night, closing the road for about an hour and reducing it to one lane for several more.

The dam, in a roughly 1-acre pond on The Wilds’ land, burst about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, said Phil Valentine, Ohio Department of Transportation Muskingum County manager.
The water washed over a couple of hundred feet of Ohio 146 at mile marker 32.5, near the old Coal Road crossing, Valentine said.
At one point, the water was about 4 inches deep across, and the road was closed for about an hour, Valentine, said. Then it was reduced to one lane until about 11 p.m.
There was no lasting damage from the water, Valentine said.

“It just kind of passed over,” he said. “We got pretty lucky.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Planning to Succeed


By Jason Tyrell, District Technician

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” That is a statement that perfectly describes the situation that many farmers find themselves in today. In many instances, farms have been passed down from generation to generation. The practices which were appropriate when Grandpa had the farm may not be as relevant in today’s standards.

The best way to see if your current practices are pertinent to the needs of your current pasture issues are to do soil tests and see where improvements can be made. After having soil tests, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts have the ability to come to your farm and administer a Grazing Management Plan or GMP. A Grazing Management Plan is one element to a large system that helps establish a farmer with the tools necessary to create a successful farm.  Grazing Management Plans are first of all, free of charge. A GMP  will help farmers see what they currently have existing on the farm and will assist in laying out a plan on what improvements they could implement to create a better and more manageable system.  Having a GMP could increase profitability in numerous aspects. A proper grazing rotation in the GMP, could allow for an increase in the head of cattle present on the farm, which equals more cattle to sell; or allow for a longer grazing season, decreasing the amount of hay needed to be supplied in the winter. These are just some of the possibilities that may become available through creating a Grazing Management Plan.

Grazing Management Plans start when the producer calls and sets up a meeting at the farm. From that point on, the farmer and the GMP planner are part of a team. The planner will go to the producer’s farm and find what the landowner’s objectives and goals are for their operation. The next step includes the producer and the planner looking at possible resource concerns that could negatively affect the farm. They will look at soil condition and erosion possibilities, air and water quality, water quantity, plant and forage conditions and much more.

The producer and the planner will then take note of everything existing on the farm. The current number of pasture/paddocks, and the current grazing management system which is in place, the facilities located on the farm, water sources, fence, the number of livestock,  types/age/weight and breeding program will all be listed.  Anything that could be beneficial information, such as the herd health program, the current condition of the pastures using a pasture condition score sheet, the supplemental feed program and the management plans implemented during different weather situations, all need to be applied to the plan.

The producer and the planner will then sit down and talk about the possibilities of where improvements can be made. These improvement or additions can be anything from installing fence which will create new paddocks so the farmer may implement management intensive grazing, to installing spring developments or heavy use pads so the farmer may supply water to the cattle or protect heavy use areas. All aspects that could improve the grazing management system will be considered. After the improvements have been recorded, a realistic timeline will be put into place.

The planner will then create an official plan from the information taken from the visit and submit it for approval. All of the plans and suggestions are beneficial to the producer; however implementing those new plans and suggestions are completely the decision of the producer. The GMP is primarily a source of information for the producer, so that they can assess their current position and see what steps they could take to reach their destination of creating a better and more manageable grazing system.  The planner will do everything it takes to help or guide the producer to their desired destination. All it takes is an open mind and a producer willing to implement the necessary changes to create a successful and prosperous business.

Remember, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cover crops deliver strong harvest amid drought

Though little precipitation fell from the clouds last summer across central Ohio, David Brandt’s healthy soil delivered what the sky could not—moisture to his thirsty crops.
At harvest time, while other farmers in the area averaged only 60-70 bushels of corn per acre, Brandt’s yield was nearly twice that. He attributes the difference to the health and vitality of his soil — and his use of cover crops.

Read rest of article here:  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/home/?cid=STELPRDB1167197

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Update on Farm Bill situation

NACD Legislative Update:  In June, the U.S. Senate successfully passed a 2013 Farm Bill with a bipartisan vote, and the House of Representatives split the Farm Bill, passing a partial farm-only 2013 bill while cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House has not yet taken up the nutrition title, though they may do so in September with even greater SNAP cuts totaling $40 billion.  
 
Senate Farm Bill Conferees have been named as follows:
·                     Democrats
o        Debbie Stabenow, Mich.
o        Patrick Leahy, Vt.
o        Tom Harkin, Iowa
o        Max Baucus, Mont.
o        Sherrod Brown, Ohio
o        Amy Klobuchar, Minn.
o        Michael Bennet, Colo.
·                     Republicans
o        Thad Cochran, Miss.
o        Pat Roberts, Kan.
o        Saxby Chambliss, Ga.
o        John Boozman, Ark.
o        John Hoeven, N.D.

Tim Walz, Ranking Member of House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry, along with 50 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, urged Speaker Boehner to take immediate action and convene a Farm Bill conference committee before adjourning for the five-week August recess. The House adjourned for the August recess (which ends on September 9) without naming Conferees. Once they return, they will have only nine working days left in Congress before the expiration of the current farm bill.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

So You Think You Want Chickens?

Zanesville, Ohio –A few months ago my son got a new flock of chicks in the mail.  This inspired lots of questions from people we know, and at least one friend succumbed to her daughter’s request to get chickens, too.  While chickens are fun, entertaining, relatively easy to raise, provide fresh eggs and meat, and don’t require a lot of space, there are a few things to consider if you think you want to add chickens to your backyard.

Chickens can be raised just about anywhere, but that doesn’t mean your homeowners association will allow them in your yard.  Local ordinances and chicken laws should be checked out first.  You might also want to discuss this possible addition with any close neighbors.  Roosters don’t just crow at dawn; ours would crow at any hour of the day!  The hens may also get a little loud when laying their eggs or if they become alarmed or distressed.

You will need to research the breed of chickens to determine what will fit into your life the best.  There are egg layers, meat birds (broilers), and dual-purpose birds (raised for both eggs and meat).  Birds also vary in their heat and cold tolerance levels, size, personality, overall hardiness, egg production and broodiness.

There are some initial investment costs to raising chickens.  Chickens require a coop for shelter from the weather and predators.  Coops come in all sizes and types.  Feeding and water equipment will be needed.  The on-going expenses include feed and bedding.

You may also need a run to attach to the coop or a fence to contain the chickens while they are outside during the day.  Electric netting fence works well and can be moved around.  Chickens can be free-ranged, but be aware of that fact the chickens can’t tell your landscaping or garden plants from the weeds you’d like them to dig out.  Chickens also can’t tell where your property boundary is located and like to make dust bathes for themselves; your neighbors might not like holes in their yards.  They will also leave feathers and droppings.

There are several other things to consider.  Chickens need daily care, so someone will have to take care of them whenever you will be out of town.  Chickens and their bedding also create “litter”.  While it is great fertilizer, if you don’t have a garden to put it on you will need to come up with a way to dispose of it.  Also, hens have a pre-determined number of eggs they will lay in their lifetime.  Once a hen is no longer providing eggs, what will you do with her?  I recently saw an article that stated chickens are getting left at animal shelters because people don’t know what to do with them once they are done laying, or if they move, or if they simply can’t care for them anymore.  All of these questions should be answered before ordering the chicks.

We enjoy raising our chickens, and in a few months we will enjoy their eggs, too.  If you are considering a backyard flock, I encourage you to do the research necessary to make it work for you.  Information can be found on the Internet, at the local library, or at the Extension office.

Submitted by Lisa Crock, Muskingum SWCD program administrator.
http://www.muskingumswcd.org/

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Harvest Of Timber

When a tree falls -- is felled -- in a forest in Ohio, it supports a $22-billion-a-year industry and more than 100,000 jobs. And is replaced by more than two trees worth of new growth.
So says an Ohio State University specialist who is documenting the green that grows in the state's woods.

Eric McConnell, a forest operations and products specialist in Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is researching and writing a series of fact sheets on the economic impact of Ohio's forest industry, which includes timber, logging, paper, wood products and furniture manufacturing.

Read rest of article here:  http://farmprogress.com/story-harvest-timber-14-99713

OSU Extension Forest Factsheets:  http://ohiowood.osu.edu/forestfacts.asp

New technology buries dry manure in soil

 Farmers in Ohio and other agricultural states have spread wet and dry manure on their fields for years. The fertilizer helps crops grow and serves as a method of getting rid of animal waste.  But in recent years, the practice has raised questions about its effect on water quality, wildlife and even lake tourism.
Enter new technology called the Subsurfer — a machine that injects dry manure below the soil, decreasing the chance of runoff.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Beauty becomes the beast

Have you been wondering what the dense stands of attractive purple flowers are that you’ve been seeing along roadsides and wet areas? It is probably purple loosestrife, a quite attractive plant.  However, beneath this superficial beauty lies an aggressive, untamable beast.  If left uncontrolled, purple loosestrife will take over our remaining wetlands.
Native to Europe and Asia, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) was speculated to be first introduced to the United States from colonial settlers as ship ballast was unloaded from their sailing ships.  Additionally, horticulturists imported seeds for landscaping and gardens.

Purple loosestrife grows in dense stands along waterways and wetlands, choking out native wetland species.  Thick growth can reduce water flow by clogging drainage ditches. With a seed production as high as 2 million per plant, the ability to reproduce from fragments of its stem, and a high tolerance to water and variability to soils it has spread across most of the United States and can be found in many areas in Ohio. Once established, an individual plant can often live as long as 20 years.

Showy magenta to purplish flowers with 5-7 petals on long 4- 18 inch spikes makes this an easy plant to identify from July to September. Leaves are attached to the stem in sets of two or three.  Stems typically have 4 or 6 sides and are slightly hairy.  In the fall, leaves turn vibrant red in color. Plants often have up to 50 stems of up to 8 feet tall, with the whole plant sometimes as wide as 5 feet. No other wetland plants will create dense stands and have purplish flowers.

Ohio regulations prohibit the sale of purple loosestrife without a special permit from the Director of the Department of Agriculture.  Although some sterile varieties of purple loosestrife are available, they often produce viable seeds when cross pollinated with other cultivars.  If the look of purple loosestrife is what you want for your landscape, play it safe and consider using these native alternatives: Blazing stars (Liatris spp.), bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), swamp verbena (Verbena hastata), joe-pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum), and cardinalflower (Lobelia cardinalis).

Visit the Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership blog, www.appalachianohioweeds.org for more information on purple loosestrife and other invasive plant species.  If you are interested in volunteering to map purple loosestrife this summer or have any additional questions contact Eric Boyda at appalachianohioweeds@gmail.com or 740-534-6578.  Photo credit: Leslie J. Mehrhoff