Friday, December 19, 2014

Predator problems plaguing livestock in Ohio

“I have lost a significant numbers of lambs and I have even lost a few ewes to what I think are coyotes. With the really young lambs it is hard to tell. Sometimes you can’t even find them,” said Shawn Ray, who lambs around 140 ewes in Noble County. “Sometimes you never find the lamb, you just know you weighed at tagged this number at birthing time and then a month or so later when you are doing vaccinations you see that there are some missing. The coyotes were pretty consistent this year from lambing in May until we pulled the lambs in to the feedlot. Then they stopped killing lambs, but for another month I was losing ewes. They are the worst when they have the young on. We live in a unique area where the bobcats, the coyotes and the red fox all seem to find a way to co-exist. I think our deer herd and turkey population is being impacted also.”

Read rest of article  HERE

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

AG Makes Sunshine Laws Training Available Online, Predicts Increased Participation

Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday announced that training on Ohio's Sunshine Laws will now be available through an online module.  In the past, the three-hour training course required of public officials has been administered only in person and at regional sites, Mr. DeWine said, adding the requirement has proved inconvenient for many.  All Ohio elected officials or their designees are required to attend a session during each term of service. Since 2011, 80 trainings have been held for nearly 5,400 public officials, public employees, citizens, attorneys, and journalists, he said.  "However, as we've conducted these training sessions and answered emails and telephone calls from the public, the media and even representatives from state and local government, we've been reminded that many individuals simply aren't able to carve a day out of their busy schedules to travel and attend a three-hour course on Ohio's Sunshine Laws," Mr. DeWine said at a Columbus press conference.

The free online version of the training is broken down into 13 lessons so that individuals may take the classes at their own pace and in multiple sittings, he said. Upon completion, participants are given a certificate verifying the course completion.  The training is the same that attendees receive at in-person lessons because it is a video recording of one of those sessions. Mr. DeWine said, however, the online version would lack the give and take among the audience when the course is taken live. The website does, however, offer an option to email any questions or report technical issues with the site to the attorney general's office.

"Public access to government is the cornerstone of vital and participatory democracy," AG DeWine said. "Ohio's Sunshine Laws are among the most comprehensive open government laws in the nation. Promoting open and transparent government is a priority for our office, and I'm confident this new online format will increase convenience and accessibility to our Sunshine Laws training."  He said he hopes those who take the course in person continue to do that but the online approach would open it up more widely to the public.  "I think it's important that the public understands Sunshine Laws," the AG said. "We do handle through mediation some cases where we try to resolve them where a member of the public is asking a township clerk or township trustees for certain information.  "It's not just something that public officials need to understand. It is something that anybody who wants to follow their local government unit, whether it's a school board or township trustees, if they understand what their rights are and also what the limitations are.

Mr. DeWine said since June 2012 when the office started offering free public records mediation to resolve disputes between those who request records and the local public offices, it has received 170 requests for mediation. Of those 69 were resolved before going to mediation and 23 were fully or partially resolved through mediation.  "What we've found is that when people understand the law and what it really means, we resolve a good number of disputes because these disputes, I think, arise many times from people who don't really get it," he said.  "Sometimes it's city officials, sometimes it's members of the public, and we think that people will see this, have the opportunity to take the course...and it's going to really promote open government."

Natural Resources Program Sign-up Now Available for Ohio Farmers and Forest Land Owners

COLUMBUS, OH, Dec. 9, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting new applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from Ohio farmers and non-industrial private forest land owners who want to improve the natural resources on their land.  Applications received by Friday, January 16, 2015, will be considered for funding this fiscal year.

A conservation plan created by the NRCS local conservationist and the EQIP applicant provides a foundation for the EQIP application.  The conservation plan includes the natural resource concerns on the land under consideration, the conservation practices that will improve or enhance natural resources on that land, the schedule for carrying out the conservation practices in the plan, and the cost of the conservation practices.

For example, soil erosion caused by water leaving a bare field may negatively impact both soil and water quality.  A conservation plan addressing these natural resource concerns documents the location and extent of this concern and the conservation practice or practices the farmer choses to put in place to improve soil and water quality.  Several conservation practices used together as a management system provide more environmental benefits than a single conservation practice.  In this example, the farmer may elect to use a no-till planting system to minimize soil erosion, plant a cover crop to improve soil quality, and use drainage water management structures to control sub-surface drainage and improve water quality.

Ohio NRCS received reduced funding for EQIP this year which will intensify the competition for application selection. Since EQIP is a voluntary program, an applicant may select to do as much or as little as they chose to address their natural resource issues.  However, applications with multiple conservation practices provide a greater environmental benefit, increasing an application’s chance for selection.  EQIP applications with conservation plans containing multiple conservation practices used in a system will outcompete applications without robust conservation plans.

Applications for EQIP submitted by entities, such as farmers applying as a corporation, must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR), a process that can take up to three weeks.  Information about CCR requirements, including obtaining a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number, is posted on the NRCS website at

For more information about EQIP or other technical or financial assistance programs offered by NRCS, please contact your local service center:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Long-term, on-farm research: Cover crops and yields

A cover crop of cereal rye added to a corn-soybean rotation appears to have little effect on yield. That is according to a 5-year study conducted by Iowa Learning Farms and the Practical Farmers of Iowa. Ten farmers in Iowa have devoted part of their acreage to this research for the past 5 years. When the project began, the farmers were understandably concerned the winter cereal rye would negatively impact their corn or soybean yields. But after harvest each year, the farmers found that was not the case. Read more in this Agri-View story by Jane Fyksen.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Federal Legislation Passed Senate

Legislation penned by Sens. Brown and Portman to require the Environmental Protection Agency to publish a health advisory and submit reports on the level of microcystins in drinking water passed in the Senate. "It's critical that all levels of government work together to determine if our drinking water is safe for human consumption," Sen. Portman said. "As we continue to work to ensure that Ohioans have access to safe and clean drinking water, the passage of this legislation is an important step toward knowing what is safe and what is not."  The bill was introduced in response to the high level of microcystin in the western Lake Erie basin, which disrupted the water supply of about 500,000 people in the area in August. It now goes to the House for consideration.  "This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that will ensure Ohioans are confident in the safety of their drinking water," Sen. Brown said. "Our bill will address a void in our current monitoring efforts to protect our water and address potential public health threats."

Friday, December 12, 2014

Brownfield: Cover crops benefit soil health

Soil health is a vital component to sustainable farming. Indiana farmer Mike Shuter has been no-till farming for nearly 30 years. He says cover crops play a significant role in maintaining soil health on his farm. “We’re trying to keep something green and growing on the field all year round,” he says. “It helps build nutrients for the organisms that are in the soil and in turn those organisms will help the crop whether it is corn or soybeans.”Read and listen to the report from Brownfield’s Meghan Grebner.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More than 65,000 Deer Checked during Ohio's Weeklong Gun Hunting Season

COLUMBUS, OH – Hunters checked 65,485 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2014 gun hunting season, Dec. 1-7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Rifles using specific straight-walled cartridges were allowed during Ohio’s deer-gun season. Gun hunters took advantage of the new opportunity and checked 5,360 deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles.

Hunters have checked 148,830 deer so far in all 2014 hunting seasons, compared to 162,720 at the same point last year. Hunters harvested 75,408 deer during the 2013 deer-gun season.

Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were above their target numbers. In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal, and the effectiveness of these herd management efforts are reflected in the number of deer checked this season. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population.

Counties reporting the highest number of checked deer during the 2014 gun season: Coshocton (2,308), Muskingum (2,084), Tuscarawas (2,074), Guernsey (1,788), Ashtabula (1,730), Knox (1,727), Licking (1,655), Harrison (1,491), Carroll (1,477) and Belmont (1,428).

Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. During the 2013-2014 hunting season, Ohio hunters checked 191,459 deer. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.

Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2014-2015 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at An updated deer harvest report is posted online each Wednesday. Archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 2-5, 2015.

Ohio’s first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, and hunters harvested 168 deer. Deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties in 1956, and hunters harvested 3,911 deer during that one-week season.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

Editor’s Note: A list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during weeklong 2014 deer-gun hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2014, and the 2013 numbers are in parentheses.
Adams: 1,134 (1,343); Allen: 348 (380); Ashland: 1,160 (1,162); Ashtabula: 1,730 (2,334); Athens: 1,360 (1,745); Auglaize: 278 (299); Belmont: 1,428 (1,851); Brown: 940 (932); Butler: 308 (312); Carroll: 1,477 (2,019); Champaign: 434 (414); Clark: 195 (198); Clermont: 685 (667); Clinton: 285 (250); Columbiana: 1,245 (1,726); Coshocton: 2,308 (2,658); Crawford: 515 (528); Cuyahoga: 24 (31); Darke: 241 (170); Defiance: 871 (744); Delaware: 422 (393); Erie: 219 (176); Fairfield: 708 (827); Fayette: 142 (103); Franklin: 124 (113); Fulton: 336 (341); Gallia: 1,220 (1,420); Geauga: 470 (509); Greene: 213 (224); Guernsey: 1,788 (2,401); Hamilton: 165 (202); Hancock: 443 (338); Hardin: 487 (544); Harrison: 1,491 (2,133); Henry: 334 (326); Highland: 1,004 (1,041); Hocking: 1,195 (1,456); Holmes: 1,349 (1,494); Huron: 921 (1,029); Jackson: 968 (1,156); Jefferson: 1,120 (1,494); Knox: 1,727 (1,966); Lake: 138 (126); Lawrence: 779 (1,002); Licking: 1,655 (1,887); Logan: 672 (653); Lorain: 646 (678); Lucas: 105 (131); Madison: 154 (127); Mahoning: 555 (750); Marion: 340 (348); Medina: 567 (555); Meigs: 1,270 (1,482); Mercer: 206 (219); Miami: 250 (211); Monroe: 1,056 (1,337); Montgomery: 130 (109); Morgan: 1,207 (1,445); Morrow: 671 (640); Muskingum: 2,084 (2,604); Noble: 1,031 (1,454); Ottawa: 121 (88); Paulding: 509 (499); Perry: 1,160 (1,362); Pickaway: 330 (343); Pike: 701 (818); Portage: 451 (568); Preble: 272 (274); Putnam: 315 (255); Richland: 1,159 (1,182); Ross: 1,106 (1,167); Sandusky: 261 (208); Scioto: 761 (1,099); Seneca: 710 (747); Shelby: 397 (371); Stark: 759 (883); Summit: 122 (140); Trumbull: 983 (1,298); Tuscarawas: 2,074 (2,604); Union: 313 (301); Van Wert: 283 (214); Vinton: 1,032 (1,424); Warren: 321 (285); Washington: 1,409 (1,606); Wayne: 639 (724); Williams: 831 (838); Wood: 389 (213); Wyandot: 749 (690). Total: 65,485 (75,408).

1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543)

Ohio Division of Wildlife, Wildlife News, 12/8/2014.                                                                              Retrieved on 12/9/2014 from                                       announcements/post/more-than-65-000-deer-checked-during-ohio-s-weeklong-gun-huntingseason                                                                                                                                                                           

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ohio’s Country Journal: 'The Science of Soil Health' videos feature OSU Extension experts

Soil researchers across the Midwest, including agronomists and scientists from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, want to help growers unlock the secrets of soil health to improve yields, lower input costs and increase farm income. A new series of YouTube videos, called “The Science of Soil Health,” is designed to provide new insight into how to improve soil health while benefiting the environment and lowering production costs, said Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues. Read more or view the videos.

Monday, December 8, 2014

U.S. Federal Duck Stamp Headed to $25


Waterfowl hunters in the United States will have to pay a bit more for the privilege next season when the price of the required Federal Duck Stamp will increase by $10.
The U.S. Senate passed the Duck Stamp Act of 2014 on Tuesday, a measure that would boost the price of the federal duck stamp to $25 beginning with the 2015-2016 stamp. The U.S. House of Representatives had passed the bill in November. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.
The Federal Duck Stamp program, which began in 1934, has raised more than $750 million and protected 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat. Duck stamp money is used to purchase acreage for the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as to lease and conserve other important waterfowl habitat. The program is often touted as one of the most efficient conservation efforts in North America, with 98 cents of every dollar going directly to secure habitat.
Proponents of the price increase point to the fact that the stamp has been $15 since 1991, and land values have risen dramatically since then. The additional revenue — projected to be at least $12 million annually — will boost the purchasing power of the stamp fund.
The 2015-2016 stamp will feature a pair of ruddy ducks painted by Jennifer Miller of Olean, N.Y.
Delta Waterfowl, (2014). U.S. Federal Duck Stamp Headed to $25. Retrieved from

Friday, December 5, 2014

December 5th is World Soil Day!

Soils have been neglected for too long. We fail to connect soil with our food, water, climate, biodiversity and life. We must invert this tendency and take up some preserving and restoring actions. The World Soil Day campaign aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance in our lives.

Did you know?
Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being.
It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Soils also serve as a platform and source for construction and raw materials. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Planting Prairies at Airports Could Make Flying Safer

Those landing at Dayton International Airport next year will descend from the spacious skies into the fruited plains. Thanks to aviation director Terrence Slaybaugh’s groundbreaking prairie grass program, they’ll be greeted by songbirds, wildflowers, and shoulder-high grass instead of the typical turf.

Dayton International isn’t doing it for the views. In an effort to make the airport greener, less expensive to maintain, and safer from bird strikes, the airport is turning nearly 300 acres of airport land into native prairie grasses. If a three-year trial proves environmentally and economically effective, 800 more acres may follow.

Read rest of article  HERE

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The roots shall set you free: Scientists discover the “liberating” power of cover crops

When Dr. Joel Gruver and his research team at Western Illinois University precision-planted cover crops, they discovered something remarkable. Not only did the radish cover crops scavenge nutrients from the soil, they “liberated” a surprising amount, as well.

Learn more about the nutrient-scavenging AND liberating power of these cover crops in the latest episode of NRCS’ The Science of Soil HealthClick here to watch the three-minute video. It’s science you can really dig!

State Says Federal Climate Change Rules Flawed, Unachievable

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler said Monday that the Obama administration's proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are technically erroneous and "not legal."  Director Butler's conclusion contrasts sharply with that of environmental groups, which believe the president's plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants presents an opportunity for Ohio to grow its green energy economy and benefit from lower electricity rates.
This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its "Clean Power Plan" calling on states to reduce CO2 emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The agency says the proposed rules would benefit public health while reducing electricity bills an estimated 8% through energy efficiency gains and reduced electricity demand.  The U.S. EPA also recently issued separate rules calling for reductions in ground-level ozone, or smog.
Director Butler called the proposal a "massive and unprecedented overhaul of the power generation, transmission and distribution system" that would threaten reliability of the grid, reduce employment in the manufacturing and coal mining sectors and increase electricity rates.  "Ohio EPA believes the entire proposal should be reconsidered," he said in a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that OEPA submitted along with its public comments on the rules.  "Ohio EPA has an obligation to be good stewards of the environment, and we support having a robust energy policy that is protective of public health and air quality. However, U.S. EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan is technically flawed, not legal and unworkable in its current form," he said.  OEPA said the proposal was on questionable legal ground since the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delegated PJM Interconnection to dispatch power using the least expensive resource first to meet energy demand.  "Nowhere is U.S. EPA delegated authority for states to usurp the Federal Power Act and mandate generation dispatch based on CO2 emissions rather than cost," the agency said.  Moreover, OEPA said Section 111(d) of the federal Clean Air Act prohibits the federal agency from limiting CO2 emissions since it already promulgated rules for the same power plants under a different section of the law.  Director Butler said a provision in the rules that would require electric generating units achieve a 4-6% heat rate improvement, a measure of how efficiently facilities operate, is "technically infeasible."  Meanwhile, CO2 reductions derived from a 13.8 million megawatt increase in renewable electricity sources "were derived from erroneous assumptions on current state law," he said. Other reductions based on a required 16.3 million MW increase in energy efficiency measures by 2029 "are not realistic over the long term." 
OEPA said the state's alternative energy law shows that Ohio supports renewable energy and energy efficiency.  "However, this new proposal and the associated federalization measures will dis-incentivize renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives that states like Ohio have had success implementing at the state level," the agency said. "No entity we had discussions with during our review of this proposal, public or private, communicated their desire for this state-specific activity to be afforded to U.S.EPA."  The proposed federal rules emerged just as the legislature was finishing work on a bill that eased compliance with Ohio's renewable and energy efficiency standards (SB 310). 
The Energy Mandates Study Committee, which is considering additional green energy restrictions during a two-year delay of the annual benchmarks, will likely review how the proposed climate change rules interact with the law. Ohio has already reduced CO2 emissions from 138 million tons in 2005 to 107 million tons in 2013, OEPA said in the agency's comments. Further reductions due to power plant shut downs resulting from the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standard could further reduce carbon pollution an additional 33.8 million tons between 2015 and 2016.  "As a result of U.S. EPA's recent MATS, Ohio will lose roughly 30% of 2012's coal-fired generating capacity. As generating units install control equipment to comply with MATS, this CO2 proposal layers an even greater degree of uncertainty on the industry."  OEPA also criticized U.S. EPA's cost analysis, saying it "radically underestimates the projected cost" of electricity under the changes. The agency cited a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio analysis that indicates compliance with one provision of the rules calling for a shift to natural gas generation would cost Ohioans about $2.5 billion more for electricity in 2025.