Friday, November 29, 2013

Remember Tree Stand Safety when hunting

With deer gun season underway statewide December 2 to 8, the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) urges those who hunt from treestands wear a Full Body Safety Harness (FBSH) and use a climbing safety strap whenever their feet leave the ground.

Tree stands are one of the most popular pieces of equipment used by deer hunters in Ohio and nationwide. However, due to human error and/or equipment failure, the number of debilitating or fatal injuries resulting from their use is higher than it should be. Statistically, one out of three hunters will fall from a tree stand at some point in his or her hunting career. Given that statistic, it is imperative that the proper safety gear be used — and used correctly.

All hunter and hunter education organizations recommend wearing a Full Body Safety Harness that distributes the hunter’s weight throughout their shoulders, chest, waist and legs thus securely supporting a fallen person without causing added harm or injury.

Here are a few tips to help prevent accidents this hunting season:

• Always use a FBSH and read manufacturer instructions before use.

• Before using your FSBH in the field, practice using it at ground level.

• Always use a climbing safety strap. Most accidents occur when climbing up or down from a tree stand.

• Never climb with anything in your hands. Always use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment.

For more safety tips visit the Division of Wildlife’s Tree Stand Safety page or to check your knowledge of tree stand safety take a free, online Tree Stand Safety Course from The Treestand Manufacturer’s Association at

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Be thankful for Ohio’s wildlife

Michelle Wood is the program administrator for the Holmes Soil and Water Conservation District. She is a graduate of Mount Union College with a degree in communications, and has been involved in natural resources and agriculture throughout her career

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks of course, but many hunters are especially thankful that it signals the start of deer gun season the following Monday.

I think I see more pickup trucks parked along the road the first day of gun season than are on the road. And while hunting is now for sport more so than necessity, many of us do not fully appreciate that the wildlife we see in abundance today, and maybe even complain about, could easily not exist at all or in small numbers. Let me digress a bit to explain some history.

Wildlife and land use
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has a set of great maps developed in 2003 to celebrate the bicentennial that illustrate what Ohio looked like every 100 years in terms of wildlife and land use. Educators use these maps to show students how Ohio has changed since its settlement.

Forest cover
The map of 1803 shows forest cover over all of Ohio, with the exception of the Great Black Swamp in the northwest and prairies in the southwest. Ohio was a dark, deep forest teeming with wildlife. It was said that a squirrel could cross Ohio without ever touching the ground. Surprisingly, also present were elk, black bears, wolves, mountain lions beaver, otters, bison and passenger pigeons. Written accounts cite flocks of passenger pigeons that were so large that they blocked the sun.

Beaver and other furbearers were trapped for their valuable pelts, a lucrative business that brought more and more people to Ohio. Beaver hats were the big thing in Europe at the time so beaver were trapped until they were extirpated, which means they could be found in other areas but not Ohio. There were no limits or laws regarding wildlife.

Cleared the land
As settlers arrived, they cleared the forest for farmland and towns. Rivers were straightened and canals built for transportation. From 1803 until 1883 the amount of forest in Ohio went from 24 million acres to four million acres. When the land use changed, so did wildlife populations.

Agriculture land
The map illustration of 1903 looks much different than 100 years prior. Much of Ohio is now agricultural land, with a small section of forests in the unglaciated southern part. Wildlife represented includes coyotes, cottontail rabbits, raccoons, muskrats, foxes and some otters in the northeast. Notice I did not mention whitetail deer or wild turkeys—they were extirpated. Only animals could adapt to the more open land habitat existed in decent numbers.
Not that these species are less important than the others, but there certainly wasn’t much wildlife diversity.

Conservation becomes popular
Conservation started to catch on when it became evident that wildlife regulations and conservation practices were needed for sustainability. The Dust Bowls of the 1930s led to the creation of soil and water conservation districts, and prior to that, wildlife regulations were implemented. Conservation leaders, both nationally and locally, got the message across that our natural resources could not be depleted without dire consequences. Conservation practices like contour strips, no-till, manure management, crop rotations and forest management are now the norm on farms, but at one time these were innovative practices. The results are less erosion, cleaner water, and wildlife increased wildlife habitat.

Abundant wildlife
Back to those wildlife maps—in 2003, the map illustration of Ohio looks a lot more like it did in 1803 than 1903, with bald eagles, river otters, beaver, Trumpeter swans, wild turkeys, and whitetail deer depicted. Wildlife management, conservation practices, and wildlife species reintroduction has led to healthy populations of wildlife that can be watched, trapped or hunted again. I’m thankful for that abundance.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving and water quality tips

Tips from Franklin SWCD

Did you know that what you do in the kitchen can influence water quality? When sanitary sewers have back-ups, the sewage can end up in your basement or spilling over into local streams and rivers. To prevent either of these occurrences, be careful what goes down the drain before and after your feast.

Grease should never be rinsed down a kitchen drain. When grease cools, it hardens and sticks to the walls of sewer pipes. This is one reason restaurants must have grease traps, which are carefully maintained. At home, I use a coffee can kept under the sink and then tossed in the trash.

Another common Thanksgiving problem is the overuse of the in-sink disposal. This usually leads to problems within the house or in the line out to the sewage main–resulting in clogged drains and the need to find a plumber over the holiday. But when enough households are putting so much organic waste into the sanitary sewer system, it can also cause clogging in the larger lines that could lead to overflows.

If you have a septic tank and leach field or an aerator system, you must be even more careful about what goes down the drain. Make sure that your guests know that nothing goes in the toilet except human waste (and toilet paper) and that nothing goes down the sink except liquids. Try to schedule laundry so that you don’t run the washing machine the same day you have lots of kitchen prep and washing up.

Thanksgiving is a good time to remember the compost bin. The trimmings from vegetables and salad-fixings will add needed nitrogen to the carbon of all those leaves you’ve just raked!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Workshop To Help Older Farmers

Aging farmers who want insight on how to remain productive in agriculture, continue gardening and stay active outdoors can hear tips and techniques from the Ohio AgrAbility Program at Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences during a workshop designed to address the evolving needs of older farmers.

The workshop, "I'm Not as Young as I Used To Be," seeks to show how to remain safe and productive as an older farmer, says Kent McGuire, Ohio AgrAbility program coordinator for Ohio State University Extension.

Read rest of article  HERE

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Compost Water Heaters

For those of us who have successfully composted in the past, we know that a properly made compost pile produces a substantial amount of heat. In fact, when the pile stops creating heat it is usually done “cooking” and ready for the garden.
Jean Pain was a French innovator who lived in southern France from 1930 until his passing in 1981. He was able to create a compost-based energy production system that was capable of producing 100% of his energy needs.
Using compost alone, Jean was able to heat water to 140°F. He used this water for washing, cooking and heating his home. We aren’t talking about a small amount of water either. His system was able to heat water at a rate of 4 L per minute; or almost 1 gallon per minute.

Read rest of article HERE

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turkeys Are A Bargain

Holiday shoppers can expect less-expensive turkeys and moderate price increases on other Thanksgiving staples this holiday season, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist says.

Read rest of article   HERE

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New effort helps farmers with tools to measure conservation impacts

By Ciji Taylor
With a suite of services, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is continuing to improve the science behind the techniques that help protect natural resources across the country.

NRCS is helping farmers install monitoring stations to test the quality of water flowing off their fields, measuring the effectiveness of conservation systems.

With an investment of $3 million, NRCS is partnering directly with farmers to voluntarily establish 20 edge-of-field monitoring stations that will measure the benefits of conservation systems, including cover crops, nutrient management and irrigation water management.

"Edge-of-field monitoring helps us know the true impacts of conservation," NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. "We are really excited because this data not only helps us and the producers but also helps us make a case for the value of conservation."

Information collected with the monitoring stations is not shared, Weller said. "We treat producers' information carefully," he said.

Participating farmers have partnered with university scientists, non-governmental organizations and other experts who will install and maintain the monitoring stations for them.  These farmers will implement suites of conservation practices appropriate for their farms, and partners will provide the results of the edge-of-field water quality monitoring back to them.

The financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, to install and maintain the monitoring systems for up to nine years, giving time to measure the impact of conservation systems on water quality.

Wayne Honeycutt, NRCS deputy chief for science and technology, said the monitoring stations will provide highly accurate measurements of conservation benefits.

“These monitoring stations allow us to measure the benefits of conservation for improving water quality right at the edge of farm fields, rather than assume conservation effects from in-stream measurements that are subject to influences outside of the farmer’s control,” Honeycutt said.

For example, a farmer along the North Tippah Creek in northern Mississippi is setting up a monitoring station that will track how cover crops reduce erosion and nutrient runoff. The farm is divided into different sections – some with conservation work and some without.

“This will help us measure the effectiveness of in-field conservation practices on nutrient and sediment runoff,” said Mississippi State University professor Robbie Kroger, who is collecting and analyzing data from the monitoring system.  “We will also be able to highlight the agronomic benefits of the practices showcasing environmental and agricultural benefits.”

Because of the cost of the monitoring systems and data analysis, many, like Mississippi State, have partnered with NRCS to make this program affordable to landowners.

“We realized from over 78 years of voluntary conservation assistance, that collaboration would be key to the success of these efforts,” Honeycutt said. “NRCS included partners, universities and other agencies in developing what we now have as the edge-of-field water quality activity standards.”

“In particular, scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service worked closely with the NRCS to ensure the scientific integrity of nearly every aspect of these new standards,” he said.

Farmers in Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Vermont were selected for the effort this year. Arkansas’ participation through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, which pools conservation efforts to improve water quality in the river, led to the most involvement at 14 systems.

“NRCS is working aggressively to improve the health of small watersheds in the state and the Mississippi River basin,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist in Arkansas. “These producers are working with our conservation partners to put more conservation on the ground to improve water quality, maintain productivity and enhance wildlife habitat.”

The monitoring stations are part of the agency’s MRBI and watershed initiatives that help focus the right kind of conservation on the right acres to improve water quality across the country.

“Although NRCS has been treating resource concerns on private lands for more than 78 years, the top resource issues across the nation continue to be water quality and soil erosion,” said Tom Christensen, acting associate chief for operations.  “Edge-of-field monitoring will help to define the best solutions and will also be used to calibrate our models to get the most benefit from voluntary private lands conservation investments."

Information gained through edge-of-field monitoring will be evaluated each year to determine if additional stations are needed to measure conservation benefits for different soils, crops and conservation practices.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fence rows provide insights into restoring healthy soils

“Any farmer can tell you his or her fence rows have the best soil on the farm,” says Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor and Extension educator for Ohio State University.
“The organic matter there, where the soil was built naturally, may be 5 to 6 percent or higher depending on soil type,” Hoorman says. But organic matter levels have been cut in half on tilled soils.
“And the critical part of what’s missing is the active organic matter that comes from live roots. So what we’re trying to do is create farm fields with soil like the fence rows,” he says.
That means eliminating tillage and creating continuous living cover on the land. Hoorman has worked with farmers who have regained organic matter to levels as high as 5 percent with the system.
“Three of our primary goals for healthier soils and sustained yields are to get rid of compaction (improve soil structure), add organic matter, and jump-start microbial activity in the soil,” Hoorman says. “With that in mind, the best place to start no-till is in a long-term alfalfa field or in a CRP grass field where you already have healthy microbial populations.
“On the other hand, if you start in fields where you’ve been tilling for years, you have layers of compaction with the wrong microbes. The transition can be made, but it takes longer and it takes more nitrogen.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SE Ohio School uses class to build garden

STEWART, Ohio — During his "exploratory" class, Eric Nuber, eighth-grader at Federal Hocking Secondary School, knelt down next to one of the school's garden beds and gently tugged at the lime green leafy stems until he pulled out a bright red radish.
He brushed off the dirt, broke off the stem and took a bite.

Read rest of article  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wildlife-Related Workshop For Educators To Take Place in Portage Lakes

AKRON, OH – Educators who work with students pre-kindergarten through high school are invited to attend a free workshop on Friday, November 22, 2013. The workshop focuses on two supplemental curriculums which help teach wildlife-related conservation concepts using everyday subject areas like math, science, and social studies. Growing Up WILD (for ages 3-7 years) and traditional Project WILD (K-12) guidebooks will be provided to all participants who stay for the duration of the program.

The workshop will take place at Wildlife District Three headquarters, 912 Portage Lakes Drive in Akron (Portage Lakes) from 9am-4pm. All educators including classroom teachers, Scout Leaders, naturalists, program volunteers, and home-school educators are welcome to attend. There is no workshop fee but registration is required as spaces are limited. Call or email Jamey (Graham) Emmert at (330) 245-3020 or

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s senses of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them.  Workshop participants will take home an easy-to-use book containing nearly 30 field-tested activities focusing on wildlife and nature. These activities blend social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive skills to help foster learning and are correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Domains.

Project WILD involves young people and wildlife, a proven formula for generating interest and participation while teaching common academic disciplines. This is a supplementary education program emphasizing awareness, appreciation, and understanding of wildlife and natural resources. Project WILD is an ideal way to supplement your curriculum and fire the imagination of your students.

Read more about wildlife education programs and workshop opportunities by visiting

Friday, November 8, 2013

Radishes offer advantages in cover crop mix

Daikon radishes interplanted with oats
Farmers are increasingly discovering the benefits of cover crops. A fairly recent entry into cover crop mixes—radishes—demonstrate some of those benefits. Joel Gruver, a cover crop expert at Western Illinois University, says radishes are “a cover crop with much potential and few residue management challenges.” But, he cautions, they are not a “silver bullet.”

For example, Gruver says opportunities for fitting radishes into corn and soybean cash grain systems are limited compared to cropping systems with crops that are harvested earlier like small grains, vegetables, or corn silage. The district overcame this limitation this year by an innovative cost share program allowing them to be flown on by plane into standing corn and soybeans.  Early reports show that this can be a successful way to seed the radishes.

In any case, the advantages for using large-rooted daikon-type roots are extensive:

1. Robust roots can extend more than 3 feet deep in 60 days—after radishes winter-kill the channels created by the roots tend to remain open at the surface, improving infiltration, surface drainage and soil warming, as
well as improving root growth on following crops.
2. The radish roots are a biological alternative to deep ripping to alleviate soil compaction.
3. A good stand of radishes can eliminate nearly all weed growth during, and for some time after, active radish growth.
4. Because radish residues deteriorate rapidly after winter kill, there are few residues to deal with at planting
5. Rapid, deep extension of radish roots makes them excellent scavengers of residual nitrogen following
summer crops, both from the topsoil and deeper layers.
6. Because radish residues decompose and release nitrogen rapidly, the crop following may get an early boost in nitrogen uptake and growth, similar to following a legume cover crop.
7. Full canopy closure in as little as three weeks after planting offers rapid soil protection against erosion.
8. Lab tests show radish residues reduce the survival of root knot nematodes and soybean cyst nematodes.
9. On-farm comparisons in four states have shown significant increases in corn and soybean yields following
radishes compared to fallow or other cover crops.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

S.K. Worm Educational Resources

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it -- S.K. Worm, the official annelid, or worm, of the Natural Resources Conservation Service helps students explore soil.

Visit his website to find interactive educational games, FAQs, activity sheets, etc to help teach your student about the vital importance of the soil in our daily lives.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pipeline easement considerations

This list of things to consider in a pipeline easement lease was provided by the Carroll SWCD office.  


            Initial Payment and Due Date
            Crop Damage-Process and Payment
            Insurance Coverage- Grantee Minimum Levels of Coverage?
Indemnification of Grantor and Heirs etc., hold harmless
Prior Notice Before Entering Property?
Recoupment of CAUV tax savings if land use changes from Agriculture to Commercial due to construction
Easement Notarized and recorded in County Recorder’s Office
Clearing brush and trees-value of timber harvested and future timber production stack harvested timber at accessible location, chip cherry leaves before fence is built, stump grinding
Payment for easement area, first pipeline, second/additional pipelines, pig valves and other above ground appurtenances, access roads, temporary water line payment, staging and storage areas

Easement Area
Ingress and Egress Routes (certified survey of location)
Access roads- Limitations and damages
Temporary Routes
            Depth of Cover over pipeline
            Right of Way Easement Width (Construction and Permanent Widths) (certified survey)
            Pipeline Location Approval
Pipeline size, number and Pressure
            Pipeline Size Limitations
Restrictions on Grantor/ Grantee Use of Easements

            Topsoil Removal and Protection
            Rock Removal and Disposal
            Pipeline Construction Method- "Double Ditch" Method
            Spring/ water supply Repair/ Replacement
Pumping Water from Open Trenches
            Additional Drainage Tile Lines
             Time limit of 1 year to begin construction or agreement voided (90 days construction
             Limit or penalty fee accessed)
Backfill Profile, and Trench Crowning
Subsoil De-compaction, and soil shattering
Repair Affected Tile Lines
Repair of Existing Conservation Practices Disturbed During Construction
Seeding and Fertilizer Recommendations, L-N-P-K Rates and Seed Varieties and rates, pasture mix( some may not want fescue included) Must be green and growing.
            Trench Washouts, Water Piping, and Blow Out Repair
            Fence Repair or Replacement, gates, cattle guards

Mowing every other year (non-cropland areas)

Termination & Abandonment

Abandonment Clause 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Turkey Vulture Program

NEW PHILADELPHIA, OHIO – Dr. Scott Pendleton, area veterinarian and birding enthusiast, will present a program about turkey vultures (buzzards) at 7:30 PM at the November 6 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.

OSU Workshops to Promote Cover Crops to Promote Soil Health, Water Quality & Yields

Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues, will hold a  workshop, “Using Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health,” on Nov. 14 and Dec.10, 2013 and on Jan. 14, 2014. The workshop will offer growers an advanced, marathon session on cover crops, with the opportunity to work hands-on with soils and seeds and learn about specific cover crops, such as the fact that legume cover crops protect the soil from erosion but also produce nitrogen for crop production, Hoorman said. 

The registration cost for each workshop is $30 and includes lunch, handouts, fact sheets and a new Cover Crop Field Guide. 
The workshops are: 
Nov 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mercer County office of OSU Extension, 220 W. Livingston St. in Celina; 
Dec10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Putnam County office of OSU Extension, 1206 E. Second Street, Ottawa; 
Jan 14, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Erie County, with the location to be determined. 

For more information or to register, contact Hoorman at 419-523-6294 or by email at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Different cover crops yield different benefits

All cover crops are not created equally. That’s both the beauty and the challenge of coming up with the right mix for each farm.
Jim Hoorman, an assistant professor and Extension educator for Ohio State University, says each cover crop has a special purpose – with specific benefits. Hoorman says legume cover crops, are typically used to produce homegrown nitrogen. Grass cover crops are used to increase soil organic matter, recycle excess nutrients, and reduce soil compaction. Brassica covers are grown to loosen the soil, recycle nutrients and suppress weeds and plant pathogens.
Other covers can be grown to suppress harmful insects or attract beneficial insects. Some cover crops may attract insect pests or become hard to kill, while others require little management.
There are hundreds of crop rotations to consider with cover crops, Hoorman says, so there’s quite a lot of thinking to do when you introduce cover crops into your operation. For conventional tillers who want to begin a no-till program simultaneously with a cover crop, Hoorman suggests two cover crop rotations to consider:
1. Wheat, sorghum sudangrass, early maturing soybeans, winter pea or crimson clover with oilseed
radish, corn, cereal rye, soybeans, back to wheat.
2. Corn, cereal rye, early maturing soybeans, brassica (oilseed radish) plus legume (crimson clover
or winter pea).

Friday, November 1, 2013

Guernsey SWCD Annual Meeting and Election

Jason Tyrell, GSWCD Technician; Josh Henderson, Farm Credit; Bill Kahrig, representing Green Valley; Joe Lehman, NRCS Soil Technician and formerly with GSWCD; and Travis Smith, GSWCD Wildlife/Forestry Specialist.

On Tuesday, October 29th the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District held its 71st annual meeting banquet and election.  The meeting was held at the Cassell Station VFD, and catered by Smokin’ C BBQ.  Steve Douglass was re-elected to the board, and will serve a three-year term beginning January 2014 on the board which provides direction, oversight, and fiscal accountability to the Soil and Water Conservation District.  Board members serve on a volunteer basis.  Current board members include Bill Bertram, Ken Ford, John Enos, Myron Dellinger and Steve Douglass.
Technician Jason Tyrell explains the district's ag programs.
During the annual meeting, the Conservationist of the Year award was presented to Green Valley Co-op.  The Guernsey SWCD partners with Farm Credit, and USDA-NRCS to recognize co-operators who have shown a commitment to conservation of natural resources.  Green Valley, represented by Bill Kahrig, was presented with a sign, provided by Farm Credit Services.    

Green Valley’s manager, Doug Kahrig, worked closely with the district on their recent cover crop program; sourcing seed mixes, promoting the program to their customers, and providing equipment and staff to help load the planes that flew the seed onto over 900 acres of Guernsey county farm ground.  Without his help, the program would never have "gotten off the ground".
Wildlife/Forestry Specialist Travis Smith introduces himself to the audience

The Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is a political sub-division of the State of Ohio and covers the entire county.  Soil and water conservation districts were first formed in the 1940's when concerns of soil erosion and the loss of our most productive soils became apparent after the Great Dust Bowl.  Local citizens gathered together to form the conservation districts to educate and provide assistance to landowners in order to reduce soil erosion to tolerable limits.  Conservation Practices such as contour strips, no-till crops, and grassed waterways have had a great impact on reducing soil erosion.

Over the years conservation districts have evolved to include issues around land use, water quality, forestry and wildlife.  They work with landowners, land users, other governmental agencies, and elected officials to solve natural resource concerns.  Your conservation district can be a wealth of information.  The mission of the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District is to promote through education and technical assistance the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.