Friday, February 28, 2014

ODNR funding requests

Before approving nine Department of Natural Resources requests totaling more than $20 million, Rep. Redfern questioned where the agency's funding is coming from to pay for the numerous park and dam upgrades - especially since fracking won't be taking place under state park land.   ODNR's Chief Financial Officer Tom Johnston said the department has submitted requests to be placed in the capital bill. Any projects in that bill would be funded through general obligation debt, he said.   Tuesday's requests included funds for construction improvements to: the Pike Lake State Park dam; facilities within Middle Bass Island State Park; Roosevelt Lake Dam and Pond Lick Dam in Shawnee State Park; Deer Creek Lodge and Conference Center at Deer Creek State Park, and a water treatment system serving Pymatuning State Park.  The department also requested $6.25 million to fund Clean Ohio Trails grants.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Black Bears in Ohio Program slated

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO – Laura Graber, Wildlife Research Technician with the ODNR Division of Wildlife, will present a program about black bears in Ohio at the 7:30 PM March 5 meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA).

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.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coyote Clinic Flyer

GSWCD Coyote Hunting/Trapping Seminar is March 13th

The coyote (Canis latrans), is not native to Ohio, but it is present throughout the state today. Love or hate it, the coyote has the ability to make the best of a bad situation to survive or even prosper. Usually, we associate the coyote with the open, deserted lands of the west. As its presence in Ohio shows, this versatile animal can make a home most anywhere. The coyote is generally a slender animal, very similar in appearance to a medium-sized dog. Since the coyote and domesticated dog are from the same family, Canidae, the resemblance is more than a coincidence. Coyotes have a bushy tail which is usually tipped in black and is carried down at a 45 degree angle as the animal moves, unlike that of its other cousin the wolf. The majority of coyotes are gray, though some show a rusty, brown or off-white coloration. The coyote stands about one and one half to two feet tall and is between 41 to 53 inches in length. Males of this species are larger than the females and weigh anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds.

Coyotes are monogamous breeders and breeding occurs January through March. Gestation lasts approximately 63 days. Litters are born in April and May and can contain 1-12 pups.  The coyote is a nocturnal animal, active during the nighttime hours. However, when it is less threatened by man, it will hunt and move from place to place during the day. The coyote will hunt in unrelated (non-family) pairs or large groups. Coyotes are omnivorous and typical foods include small mammals (voles, shrews, rabbits, mice), vegetables, nuts, and carrion

 While most wildlife species have avoided developed areas and often declined as a result of man's expansion, the coyote seems to have thrived.  As the coyote populations continue to grow in size, so will their interaction with man.   Unchecked, they will eat livestock, particularly sheep and chickens, but will also prey on young calves given the opportunity.  To help prevent overpopulation and  minimize the negative interactions with man and livestock the ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) has implemented an open season for coyotes.  Coyote hunting and trapping has no closed season with an unrestricted bag limit. Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the statewide deer-gun season, Dec. 2-8, and deer-muzzleloader season, Jan. 4-7, 2014.      

Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District is partnering with Deerassic Educational Park, to host a Coyote Hunting &Trapping Seminar.  Join us in our partnership and learn how to assess coyote damage, the latest trapping and snaring techniques, as well as advances in hunting and calling techniques and equipment.  Whether you are livestock producer trying to protect your herd or a recreational hunter trying to bag more game, this event has something to offer you.  The event is open and free to the public.  It will be held Thursday March 13th from 6-9pm @ the Deerassic Educational Park on State Route 22.  A door prize of a FOXPRO® electronic game call valued at over 200 dollars will be given away.  For more information Call Wildlife Specialist Travis Smith at the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District (740) 432-5624

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference set for March 28

A conference offered by experts from Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will give female farm operators the opportunity to learn more about on-farm leadership, strengthening agribusiness roles and available resources to help grow their operations.

Read rest of article  HERE

Monday, February 24, 2014

8th in a Series - 2014 Tree Seedling Sale - American Chestnut (Castanea dentata)

American Chestnut was once a climax forest tree in the Oak-Chestnut dry woodlands of the eastern United States, but since the recognition of the Chestnut blight in1904 in New York, the entire forest population has been destroyed. Most of the intact, living trees in the wild were gone by the 1950's, and all that remains today are a few stump sprouts that still linger (attaining heights of about 25 feet before they succumb to the fungus). The seedlings offered are grown in the West Virginia state nursery, and have shown some resistance to the fungus since 1980.

In Ohio, the central counties of the state on a north-south line marked the most westward boundary of the American Chestnut habitat in the state. American Chestnut was predominately located in the eastern half of Ohio, where the soils are more acidic. Its nuts were a staple food of the Native Americans and pioneers, while its wood was harvested for the production of furniture, musical instruments, caskets, crates, and tannin. Dimensions of 80 feet tall by 60 feet wide were regularly obtained when it was located in the open. As a member of the Beech Family, it is related to the Oaks and the Beeches, in addition to other Chestnuts.

Planting Requirements - American Chestnut is still undergoing extensive breeding to allow its re-introduction as a tree that can not only survive the Chestnut blight fungus and yield large quantities of tasty nuts, but that can successfully compete in dry forests and re-establish itself as a climax forest tree. From a historical (and perhaps future) perspective, the traditional American Chestnut prefers moist, deep, acidic soils in full sun (being shade tolerant in youth), but thrives in dry, rocky soils. It is found in zones 4 to 8.

Potential Problems- Chestnut blight (Endothia parasitica) is the only problem worth mentioning - any and all others pale by comparison. However, young trees from the few remaining stump sprouts  are resistant to the fungus for a number of years, even in some cases to the point of being able to bear fruits before becoming infected and dying.

The American Chestnut is one of 8 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2014 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include Douglas fir, Sawtooth oak, White Pine, Butternut, Red Maple, Tulip Poplar, and Black Alder. Also available this year are 2 varieties of apples; Nova Spy and Goldrush. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry; Aurora, and Blue Ray.  New this year is a cover crop mix for gardeners.  And as usual, the district has high quality all cedar birdfeeders and houses for sale.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Put A Price On Soil

Although water has received attention as a natural resource to preserve, our Earth's outermost layer, commonly called "soil," has been ignored by the general public and the government. However, soil scientists are urging us to look at this resource and use it more wisely. Philippe Baveye, Kodak Chair of Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, has been working with other scientists and economists to create a model to value soil.

Read rest of article HERE

Monday, February 17, 2014

7th in a Series - 2014 Tree Seedling Sale - Butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Butternut Also known as White Walnut, this relative of Black Walnut is slower growing and much less frequently encountered than its well-known cousin. Butternut prefers moist bottomlands and ravines like Black Walnut, but its lightweight wood is beige-pink in color and is not nearly as sought-out for making veneer and furniture. Its kernel within the fruit gives it the common name of Butternut, as it is sweet and very oily. The Native Americans reportedly boiled the kernels to extract the oil, which was then used like butter. The kernels were also pickled in vinegar by the early settlers.

A native of the midwestern and northeastern United States, Butternut is found throughout Ohio, but is less common in the western part of the state. It may mature at 60 feet tall by 50 feet wide when it is found in the open. Although similar to Black Walnut in superficial appearance, its elongated nuts, hairy stems, and flattened, shiny ridges on mature trees make it recognizable as a different species. As a member of the Walnut Family, it is related other Walnuts and to the Hickories (including Pecan, another tree with sweet-tasting nuts).

Planting Requirements - Butternut prefers deep, moist, rich, well-drained soils under sunny conditions, especially the bottomlands of rivers and creeks. It also performs reasonably well in relatively dry, rocky soils, especially those with limestone outcrops in higher pH soils. Butternut grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 3 to 7.

Potential Problems - Butternut, like its cousin Black Walnut, produces the root chemical known as juglone, and drops its leaves prematurely due to late summer drought. However, this species of Walnut is very subject to a bark canker that causes twigs, branchlets, large limbs, and ultimately the entire tree to die. As a timber tree, it is no longer of significant value, but its elongated nuts are still prized for their sweet, buttery taste.

The Butternut is one of 8 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2014 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include Douglas fir, Sawtooth oak, American chestnut, White Pine, Red Maple, Tulip Poplar, and Black Alder. Also available this year are 2 varieties of apples; Nova Spy and Goldrush. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry; Aurora, and Blue Ray.  New this year is a cover crop mix for gardeners.  And as usual, the district has high quality all cedar birdfeeders and houses for sale.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference set

There is an opportunity for women in the area who are interested, involved or want to become involved in food, agriculture, natural resources or a small business.

The Ohio State University Extension and Kent State University-Tuscarawas Small Business Development Center are collaborating to host the 2014 East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 28 at the KSU Tuscarawas Campus in New Philadelphia.

Read rest of article HERE

The registration form can be found at

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.

Since then, more than 100,000 people of all ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.

We invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 14-17, 2014. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world!

In 2013, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in 111 countries counted 33,464,616 birds on 137,998 checklists, documenting 4,258 species—more than one-third of the world’s bird species!

During the count, you can explore what others are seeing in your area or around the world. Share your bird photos by entering the photo contest, or enjoy images pouring in from across the globe.

Help make the most successful count ever by participating this year!
Click here for more info on how to get started

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Farm Bill Signed

Cross posted from the White House blog:

President Obama traveled to Michigan State University’s equine performance center in East Lansing to deliver remarks on and sign into law the Agriculture Act of 2014 — also known as the Farm Bill, which Congress passed earlier this week.

It’s a bill whose reach extends far beyond our farms — it includes smart reforms to reduce our deficit, and the investments it makes in our rural communities will help strengthen our economy across the board.

To see exactly what that looks like, take a look at five ways the Farm Bill strengthens our economy — and if you learn something new, pass it on.

In his remarks, the President detailed how the Farm Bill makes key investments in rural communities across the board — from funding for hospitals, schools, and affordable housing to support for businesses working to develop cutting-edge biofuels — all the while cutting down on loopholes that used to allow people to receive benefits year after year, whether they farmed anything or not.

Besides keeping our rural communities thriving, the President said, the Farm Bill helps vulnerable families keep food on the table by providing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In 2012, SNAP kept nearly 5 million people — including more than 2 million children — out of poverty.

- See more at:

Local Cover Crop Forum to Explore Opportunities to Build Soil Health

Farmers, ranchers, researchers, agricultural business operators and conservationists are invited to participate in a forum on cover crops and soil health, hosted by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service at 8:45 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, at six different locations in Ohio. 

This local session is one of more than 225 forums taking place throughout the country in concert with the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Omaha, Nebraska, sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
In addition to providing a venue to discuss local cover crop and soil health opportunities, benefits and barriers, the local forums in Findlay, Owensville, Celina, Newark, Cambridge, and Lancaster, Ohio will feature live-streaming video of the national conference.  The national conference opening session will feature presentations by Howard G. Buffett of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, NRCS Chief Jason Weller, Ray Gaesser, Farmer and President of the American Soybean Association, and a panel of four leading cover crop and soil health farmers including Ohio farmer David Brandt.
NRCS State Conservationist Terry Cosby said the local-level forums will provide NRCS and its conservation partners and stakeholders a platform to more fully organize and enable state and local soil health efforts at the grassroots level.
“The local forums will provide an excellent opportunity for participants to discuss how to build soil health, improve yields, curb erosion, manage pests and build resilience in farming systems here in Ohio—and to assess opportunities for, or barriers to, the broader adoption of soil health management systems,” Cosby said. 
Cosby said the local forum participants will also have the opportunity to provide ideas and recommendations to the leaders, researchers, innovators and policy makers attending the national conference.
To participate in an Ohio forum, contact Steve Baker, NRCS State Soil Scientist, at steven.baker@oh.usda.govby February 10, 2014, to ensure adequate seating and to get additional details about the event.

Monday, February 10, 2014

6th in a Series - 2014 Tree Seedling Sales - Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

 Red Maple is a tree located throughout all of Ohio, found naturally in moist areas of open woodlands and more commonly along creeks and bottomlands where the soil is constantly moist to wet. In urban areas, it is abundantly found as a popular shade tree, noted for its brilliant red fall color.
Red Maple is native to the entire eastern half of the United States and adjoining southern Canada. Specimens found in the open may grow to 70 feet tall by 40 feet wide, and its soft wood is not nearly as prone to storm damage as is that of Silver Maple. Its branching is upright and generally symmetrical when young, becoming more rounded at maturity and generally without the downswept nature of its lower limbs (like those of Silver Maple). As a member of the Maple Family, it is related to all other species of Maple.

Planting Requirements - Although Red Maple has been called a cosmopolitan species (meaning that it can be found in many different environments in nature), it strongly prefers deep, moist to wet, acidic, rich soils. This site preference gives it the alternative common name of Swamp Maple. It grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 3 to 9.

Potential Problems- The number one problem associated with Red Maple is its being transplanted into clay soils of alkaline pH, where it often lives under constant stress and becomes stunted. Alkaline soils (also known as high pH soils) result in manganese deficiency, which results in poor iron uptake, which leads to poor nitrogen utilization, which is visualized as chlorotic (yellowing and scorched) leaves and overall stunted growth. Heavy clay soils induce an even greater degree of surface roots than is normal with Red Maple. In addition, weakened trees are more subject to pest and pathogen attack, although Red Maple usually does not have serious problems with borers or Verticillium wilt, its most frequent problems in this area.

The Red Maple is one of 8 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2014 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include Douglas fir, Sawtooth oak, American chestnut, Butternut, White Pine, Tulip Poplar, and Black Alder. Also available this year are 2 varieties of apples; Nova Spy and Goldrush. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry; Aurora, and Blue Ray.  New this year is a cover crop mix for gardeners.  And as usual, the district has high quality all cedar birdfeeders and houses for sale.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Senate Passes Bill To Give ODA Regulation Over Invasive Plants

The Department of Agriculture would have exclusive authority to regulate invasive plant species under a bill that cleared the Senate Tuesday with broad support.  Sponsored by Sen. Gayle Manning, the bill is backed by the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association as a way to improve regulatory certainty across the state, she said.  Sen. Manning said ODA was the logical choice for the new duty, which is not currently assigned in state law. The agency already oversees noxious weed lists and regulates nurseries, she added.  The sponsor said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will have a role to play in regards to invasive species, in conjunction with ODA, as it relates to the regulation of wetlands.  The bill emerged from committee last week with strong support. It cleared the full Senate without debate on a 29-1 vote.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2014 Tree Sale order blank - Deadline March 14th

Click on the SALES link at right to see a list of detailed tree descriptions.  
NEW this year - cover crop seed mix for gardens!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dos and Don'ts of Frost Seeding

By Jason Tyrell, District Technician

Well it’s here everyone!!! It’s time to decide when you are going to Frost Seed. The window is not very large, being February 1st through March 15th. But watch closely, as you do not want weather to fool you and miss your opportunity.
So I’m guessing a lot of you are asking the question: What exactly is this frost seeding? Frost Seeding is a cost efficient and cost effective way to introduce new forage or improve your current stand. Frost seeding is the act of broadcasting seed over pastures or meadows during the time where there is a freeze-thaw action. This action opens and closes the ground and allows the seed to penetrate the soil so that it may germinate.
There are several steps to help assure that you get positive results. These steps include Site Selection, Soil Fertility, Seed Selection, Seeding Rates, Seeding Time, Seeding Method, Seed Treatments and Post-Seeding Management.
Site Selection: Any location where you can maximize seed-to-soil contact is a good site to frost seed. Having good seed-to-soil contact is essential for positive results to be achieved. The best option for fields to frost seed are fields with bunch-type grasses such as orchard grass rather than a sod-forming species such as bluegrass. Soil type matters as well. Soils such as loam and clay, that have natural moisture, work the best as opposed to sandy soils, which should be avoided. When you do choose your field, make sure that you either clip pastures or closely graze in the late fall or winter to open up the stand and expose the soil.
Soil Fertility: Make sure you get your Soil Tests!! Growing, establishing and maintaining productive forage is greatly dependent upon fertility. Try to have soil tests done at least every 4 years to keep track of your soil quality and at least 6 months prior to frost seeding. This allows time to make any adjustments that may be needed. Corrective applications of phosphorus and potassium should be applied prior to seeding. Any lime needed should be applied a year in advance. If you are frost seeding a legume, nitrogen applications should NOT be made the year of seeding due to the potential for increased competition from grasses and weeds.
Seed Selection: If you choose to seed a legume, the best options would be Alfalfa, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Clover (there are several species of clover that make very different impacts). Alfalfa should be seeded on well drained soils. Birdsfoot Trefoil takes 2-3 years to establish a solid stand. Red Clover establishes quickly but only produces for around 2 years. White Clover will establish quickly and last 3 or more years. Alsike Clover takes 2-3 years to establish a solid stand.
If you choose to frost seed grasses, the best options are Perennial Ryegrass and Orchardgrass, when moisture is adequate for growth. Grasses such as Timothy, Reed Canarygrass, Tall Fescue, Smooth Bromegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass are NOT recommended when frost seeding due to light weight and cold weather tolerability when attempting germination.
If you decide that you would like a seed mixture, you must decide what type of mixture. With a legume mixture, such mixes as red clover and birdsfoot trefoil or alsike clover, the red clover establishes early and then when it is ready to die off, the birdsfoot or the alsike clover will then establish creating a long term legume presence. Grass mixtures are not recommended, as they are more difficult to establish than legumes are. If you decide to do a legume and grass seed mixture, it is recommended to separate the two seed types and spread them in two passes. Legume seed, which is heavier than grass seeds, tend to “throw” farther when broadcasting.
Seeding Rates: Make sure you know your seeding rates, so you may broadcast the proper amount to avoid under or over seeding your fields. Seeding rates can be found by either calling your local Extension office (OSU extension), or looking at their website online at for Ohio seeding rates. Remember that depending on your location and seed type, seeding rates may vary.
Seeding Time: Frost seeding must take place at the correct time proper results. In Ohio, frost seeding should occur from February 1st through March 15th. The exact seeding date you choose should depend on the weather that year and the location in Ohio. Southern Ohio areas will need to seed earlier than Northern Ohio areas.
Seeding Method: There are several options when deciding to broadcast your seed. Depending on how large of an area that will be seeded, you can choose to use a hand broadcasting seeder, an ATV broadcasting seeder or a tractor broadcasting seeder. If you are frost seeding on to snow, be cautious as rapid meltdown of snow may result in seed runoff. After broadcasting the seed, the “Trampling Effect” of high livestock densities can be an effective way to ensure Seed-to-Soil Contact.
Seed Treatments: Seed treatments containing nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria are widely available for most common legumes. Rhizobia do survive in the soil, so if the legume planned to be seeded is already present, rhizobia is not required. If the legume is not present, rhizobia seed coating is recommended.
Post-Seeding Management:  Make sure you follow the fertility program based on the soil test recommendations to ensure that adequate levels of pH, phosphorus and potassium are present along with other corrective applications that took place. Make sure if you have a legume stand greater than 35%, that you do NOT apply nitrogen. After the applied seed germinates, make sure your mow or graze the pastures as needed to remove excessive grass growth and control weeds and woody vegetation. Proper grazing management in the first year is critical. Maintaining your grazing plan will ensure proper production of your forage. Avoid overgrazing by leaving a minimum of 2-3 inches of top growth at all times.
Frost seeding is a great conservation practice that can be a quality low cost method to improve an existing forage stand or introduce a new forage species. Remember to follow all the steps necessary to ensure that quality production is possible and maintained. If you have any questions concerning Frost Seeding you may contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District office or your local Extension office.   In Guernsey county, the SWCD office is  740-432-5624.

Monday, February 3, 2014

5th in a Series: 2014 Tree Seedling Sale - European Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)

Black Alder, a native of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, was introduced to North America long ago and has escaped from cultivation, and it is sometimes seen along bodies of water, where it may successfully self-sow and form pure stands. Today, it is grown as a shade tree in urban areas, or at wet sites (ponds, creeks, drainage ditches, etc.) where it thrives and provides both erosion control and ornamental appeal.  It also is used to fix nitrogen in poor soils.
In late winter, its emergent pendulous catkins sway in the breeze, providing early ornamental appeal.  Fast growing, trees found in the open may reach 60 feet tall by 25 feet wide. As a member of the Birch Family, it is related to the Birches, Hornbeams, Filberts, and Hophornbeams, in addition to other Alders.

Planting Requirements - European Black Alder is adaptable to a wide range of favorable or harsh environmental conditions. It prefers moist to wet soils of variable pH that are rich and deep, but adapts to average or poor soils that are dry in summer. Growth is especially rapid in occasionally wet to permanently wet areas, such as floodplains , streambanks, and ditches. It grows in full sun to partial shade, and is found in zones 4 to 7.
Potential Problems - European Black Alder, while capable of having a few minor disease and pest problems, is usually trouble-free.

The Black Alder is one of 8 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2014 Tree Sale held by the Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District.  Other seedlings include Douglas fir, Sawtooth oak, American chestnut, Butternut, Red Maple, Tulip Poplar, and White Pine. Also available this year are 2 varieties of apples; Nova Spy and Goldrush. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry; Aurora, and Blue Ray.  New this year is a cover crop mix for gardeners.  And as usual, the district has high quality all cedar birdfeeders and houses for sale.  For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.