Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farm Futures top 12 blogs

Take the time to check these out!!!

ECOFA meeting next week

DOVER, OHIO - At the January 6, 2016, 7:00 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA)we will have, Michael Witt a versatile local, regional and national award winning photographer.  His work has been published in brochures, books, calendars, outdoor magazines, and on the Internet.
Michael conducts workshops, seminars, make presentations to nature and photo groups, plus teaches nature and creative photography courses.
He is the author, photographer, and publisher of a nature photo book about the Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve, Stark County's only State Nature Preserve--and that is the subject of Wednesday's program: THE JACKSON BOG: A PHOTOGRAPHERS PERSPECTIVE.

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 the Dover Library, 525  North Walnut St. Dover, Ohio

First Ohio bear trapped and collared

An adult male black bear was radio collared Nov. 14 in Vinton County by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife biologists. This is the first black bear radio collared in Ohio, and was the first step for ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists to determine details of black bear demography, density, distribution, and rate of population growth in Ohio.

Because of its age and size, biologists believe this bear to be a resident bear. Vinton County has long been a hot spot for bear activity and was believed to have a resident bear population. The GPS collar deployed on this bear will provide 2 locations per day for up to five years. The data will allow biologists to analyze the bear’s movement, home range size and habitat use. In addition, if it is indeed a resident bear, a female bear will be present within the home range. This will allow biologists to concentrate their efforts to trap and radio collar a female, so biologists can document reproduction and population growth.

The bear was trapped on private land where staff from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services were removing feral hogs with the cooperation of the landowner. The bear had been photographed feeding on hog bait several times in September, and a culvert trap was deployed at the site in October. 

ODNR Division of Wildlife staff anesthetized the bear to measure, weigh and radio collar it. The bear was not completely anesthetized by the drugs, so specific measurements and the extraction of a tooth for aging were not possible. However, Al LeCount, retired Arizona Game and Fish bear biologist, estimated the bear’s weight at 250-275 lbs. and its age at least three and a half years old. 

Before settlement black bears were found throughout Ohio. However, unregulated hunting and extensive deforestation during the mid-1800s lead to a sizable decrease in the number of bears residing within Ohio, and by the 1850s black bears had vanished from the landscape. As black bear populations began to increase in neighboring states, bears have started to make their way back into Ohio. 

Black bears are now listed as a state endangered species in Ohio, and are primarily found in south-central and southeastern Ohio. Ohio’s bear population is estimated to be anywhere from 50-100 individual bears. In 2014, there were 135 documented sightings involving an estimated 88 individual black bears. The majority of bears in Ohio weigh between 125-250 pounds, and are juvenile male bears searching for new habitat.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Environmental Benefits of Christmas Trees

Your Tree Has Uses After The Holiday Season Too
Christmas trees are biodegradable- the trunk and branches can be chipped and used as mulch for gardens, or used on paths to help prevent erosion. The mulch provides a protective barrier for the roots of other plants and vegetation while preventing weeds from growing. The mulch then decomposes, providing the nutrients plants need to thrive.
Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially at beaches and on stream beds.
Sunk into private fish ponds trees make excellent refuge and feeding areas, and good habitat for fish.
Christmas trees can be used to make bird feeders, adding color excitement to the winter garden. Utilize orange slices, suet, bread and seed to attract the birds. Try rolling pinecones in peanut butter and then birdseed, and hanging these from the branches.  Birds will come for the food and stay for the shelter in the branches.
Use needles for making aromatic stuffing for sachets.
Remove and use branches as garden mulch.
Tree recycling provides a tangible and real completion of the recycle circle. So, real Christmas trees are a good choice for your community, the environment, and your family.

Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup in chimneys.
Towns/cities can provide curbside pickup and deliver trees to a chipping site. Chipped material can then be recycled as mulch, allowed to compost for municipal or residents use, and/or made available for sale (Chipping trees creates a recycled product that can be used as a mulch for walkways, flower beds &/or other ground cover uses- composted chips provide an excellent soil amendment when used as part of a total waste composting program).

Researchers map U.S. bee loss hot spots

The first national study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they're disappearing in many of the country's most important farmlands--including California's Central Valley, the Midwest's Corn Belt, and the Mississippi River valley.

Read rest of article   HERE

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Top 10 reasons Santa could be a farmer

10. He takes care of the needs of the world.

9. He covers a lot of ground in a hurry when the pressure is on.

8. He’s used to getting in and out of tight places.

7. His wife is an excellent cook.

6. He could stand to lose a few pounds (see reason #7).

5. He’s good with kids.

4. He works outside, even in bad weather.

3. He knows how to get by with the same equipment season after season.

2. He’s good with livestock.

1. He works all year, just to give his stuff away.

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Trees to Textbooks

ODNR:  The sale of timber from state forests this year will provide more than $2 million for schools and other local governments, the Department of Natural Resources reports.  The funding, which goes to 15 rural entities, was announced by ODNR Director James Zerhringer during a "Trees to Textbooks" event at Central Elementary School in McArthur. The agency said the total was an increase over last year's distribution of about $1.765 million.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bill Heading to President

A measure from Sen. Portman and cosponsored by Sen. Brown to protect Lake Erie and other resources from microbeads is now headed to the President for signing.  The bill targets harmful effects of microbeads, which can be found in products such as soaps. The plastic particles then wash down the drain and are discharged into lakes and rivers where they can be detrimental to wildlife that ingest them.  A study from the State University of New York determined that Lake Erie has about 46,000 particles of plastic per square kilometer. That's much higher than the 6,000-8,000 ratio over the same area in lakes Superior and Huron and the 17,000 particles per square kilometer in Lake Michigan.
"Plastic microbeads are devastating to wildlife and human health, and I'm pleased our bill will now be law so we can phase them out in a way that's fair to Ohio companies and keeps them on a level playing field with their competitors," Sen. Portman said in a statement. "Lake Erie is not only a precious natural resource, but also essential for Ohio jobs and tourism and our bill takes appropriate steps to protect this important asset for Ohio."

Sen. Brown also applauded its passage.  "Ohio's waterways, like Lake Erie, are an important source of food and we must protect their wildlife from the threat of synthetic microbeads," Sen. Brown said. "By banning microbeads, we can help ensure that the food Ohioans' eat is free from toxic chemicals."

2016 Ag Fair Schedule now available

Follow this link for the 2016 fair schedule

ODNR Oil & Gas report

Shale Production: Production in Ohio's oil and natural gas wells this year has already surpassed that of 2014, the Department of Natural Resources recently announced.  During 2015's third quarter, Ohio's horizontal shale wells produced more than 5.6 million barrels of oil and 245.7 Mcf of natural gas, according to ODNR figures released this month.  That means Q3 2015 production included 15.7 million barrels of oil - an 111% increase over Q3 2014 - and 651 million Mcf of gas - a 126% increase over Q3 2014.  Ohio wells produced 15 million barrels of oil and 512.9 Mcf of gas in all of 2014.  "Quarterly production continues to set new records as horizontal shale well production totals have increased by more than 100 percent from 2014's third quarter totals," according to ODNR's release. "Additionally, Ohio's horizontal shale wells have produced more oil and gas in the first nine months of this year than all of Ohio's wells produced in 2014."  The department found 1,134 wells in Ohio - 1,087 of which produced results. Forty-seven others had no output since they are awaiting pipeline infrastructure, ODNR said.

CRP enrollment underway

Enrollment underway for 49th CRP period
USDA begins 49th enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program.

FAQ: USDA's Conservation Reserve Program got its start 30 years ago. Today's CRP isn't the same as the original. The 49th enrollment period began Dec. 1, 2015 and ends Feb. 26, 2016. What does this latest CRP version have to offer?

Answer: U.S. Ag Sec. Tom Vilsack is reminding farmers that the next general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) began Dec. 1, 2015, and ends on Feb. 26, 2016. December 2015 also marks the 30th anniversary of CRP, a federally funded program that assists producers with the cost of restoring, enhancing and protecting certain grasses, shrubs and trees to improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

THE CRP AT 30: December 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the nations most successful voluntary conservation program. First and foremost CRP is aimed at controlling erosion. It also provides wildlife habitat. And its an economic program to take some cropland out of production, raising corn and bean prices.
THE CRP AT 30: December 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the nation's most successful voluntary conservation program. First and foremost CRP is aimed at controlling erosion. It also provides wildlife habitat. And it's an economic program to take some cropland out of production, raising corn and bean prices.
As of September 2015, 24.2 million acres were enrolled in CRP in the U.S. CRP also is protecting more than 170,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world seven times. For an interactive tour of CRP success stories from across the U.S., visit, or follow on Twitter at #CRPis30.

Changing with the times: CRP is 30 years old

"Over the past 30 years, farmers, ranchers, conservationists, hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts have made CRP one of the most successful conservation programs in the history of the country," says Vilsack. "Today, CRP continues to make major environmental improvements to water and air quality. This is another longstanding example of how ag production can work hand-in-hand with efforts to improve the environment and increase wildlife habitat."

Participants in CRP establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as "covers") to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive farmland. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. In times when commodity prices are low, enrolling sensitive lands in CRP can be especially attractive to farmers and ranchers, as it softens the economic hardship for landowners at the same time that it provides ecological benefits.

Farmers with expiring contracts need to evaluate options

Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish native plant species on marginal ag lands for the primary purpose of preventing soil erosion and improving water quality and related benefits of reducing loss of wildlife habitat.

Contracts on 1.64 million acres of CRP are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2016. Producers with expiring contracts or producers with environmentally sensitive land are encouraged to evaluate their options under CRP.

For 30 years, CRP has provided various benefits

Since it was first established on Dec. 23, 1985, the Conservation Reserve Program has:

* Prevented more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding, enough soil to fill 600 million dump trucks

* Reduced nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95% and 85% respectively

* Sequestered an annual average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases, equal to taking 9 million cars off the road

* Since 1996, CRP has created nearly 2.7 million acres of restored wetlands

For more information about FSA conservation programs, visit a local FSA office or at 1300 Clark St, Cambridge, OH.  740-432-5621

The CRP program was re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

Friday, December 18, 2015

4R program

Ban Lifted

Department of Agriculture: Director David Daniels and State Veterinarian Tony Forshey on Thursday announced the lifting of a ban on bird shows prompted by concerns over spreading avian flu, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.  The order, which impacted the Ohio State Fair and dozens of county fairs across the state, was issued June 2 in the wake of a national outbreak and was originally to remain in place until April 2016.

"Ohio is home to more than 50 million domestic birds which makes our state particularly vulnerable to an outbreak. Thankfully, the disease never took hold here," Director Daniels said in a statement. "I believe this is a justification of the steps taken by our producers and exhibitors to mitigate the risk of an outbreak."

There were no confirmed cases of the disease in Ohio even though more than 48 million birds nationally were affected nationally last year, ODA reported. On November 18, the World Organization for Animal Health issued a final report on the outbreaks, deemed them resolved and declared the U.S. to be free of avian influenza for the time being.

"I would like to extend a sincere thank you to OSU Extension and the youth exhibitors for their understanding and to their advisors for turning this unfortunate outbreak into an important educational moment," Mr. Daniels said.

Ohio is the second largest egg producer in the country and home to 28 million laying chickens, 12 million broilers, 8.5 million pullets and 2 million turkeys, ODA said. The Ohio's egg, chicken and turkey farms create more than 14,600 jobs and contribute $2.3 billion to the state's economy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

QUALITY vs QUANTITY: A Closer Look at Deer Herd Condition Trends in Ohio (from ODNR-DOW)

   The Ohio Division of Wildlife is in the process of revising county deer population goals and is asking hunters that receive a mailed survey to help by completing and returning it as soon as possible.

Information about balancing deer numbers versus deer quality can be found in the publication:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

OSU offers cover crop education workshops

Cover crop workshops across the state starting next month.  Farmers who plant cover crops can expect to see lower input costs and healthier soils for both crop and livestock production, according to soil expert Jim Hoorman an Ohio State University Extension educator and an assistant professor studying cover crops and water quality issues.   The registration cost for each workshop is $35 and includes lunch, handouts, fact sheets and the new Midwest Cover Crop Field Guide. All workshops start with registration at 8 a.m. and last no longer than 4 p.m. at the following locations:
·         Jan. 7, OSU Extension East Regional Office, Caldwell. Contact Clif Little, 740-489-5310,
·         Jan 14 Plaza Inn Restaurant, Mt. Victory. Contact Mark Badertscher, 419-674-2297.
·         Jan. 20, Wood County Fairgrounds, Junior Fair Building,   Bowling Green. Contact Alan Sundermeier 419-354-9050
·         Jan. 29, Madison County Engineer's Office, London. Contact Mary Griffith, 740-852-0975, ext. 13.
·         March 21, location to be announced. Contact Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, , Montgomery County, 937-224-9654, ext. 109

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Deer kill numbers up from 2014

Hunters checked 73,399 white-tailed deer during Ohio's 2015 deer-gun hunting season, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). This represents a significant increase over last year's harvest of 65,484 deer. During the 2013 deer-gun season, 75,408 deer were checked.  To date, for the 2015 deer hunting seasons, hunters have checked 152,554 deer. Last year at this same time, hunters had harvested a total of 148,821 deer.  Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio's counties were well above goal. In the last few years, through increased antlerless harvests, most counties are now at or near goal. Therefore, to help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced, and antlerless permit use has been eliminated in most counties for the 2015-2016 season

Only 4 minutes. Good listen.

The science behind plant health

Monday, December 7, 2015


Guernsey SWCD employees Jason Tyrell, left, and Levi Arnold, right, recently completed technical development training designed to enhance their expertise in their areas of specialty.  
Jason is now certified at Level II as an Ag Resource Specialist, and Levi, who is the Wildlife/Forestry Specialist,  is certified at Level I.  
The training is over a wide range of topics including soils, surveying, hydrology, engineering tools, and construction materials.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

World Soil Day December 5th

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. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Guernsey youth harvest 188 deer this year

Ohio's young hunters checked 7,223 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 21-22, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. In Guernsey County, young hunters killed 188 deer while Noble County hunters harvested 114 deer.

"The weather this year provided our youth hunters with a great opportunity to enjoy their time in the field," said ODNR Director James Zehringer. "Providing exclusive youth hunting seasons is a great way to provide our kids with a mentored and educational environment to learn and succeed in the field."

Youth hunters could pursue deer with a legal shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun or specific straight-walled cartridge rifle and were required to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult during the two-day season.

The youth deer-gun season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed to offer a dedicated hunting experience for young hunters. Youth hunting seasons are available for small game, wild turkey and waterfowl.

Ohio offers many more opportunities for hunters of all ages to pursue deer.

The deer-gun season is Monday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 6, and Dec. 28-29. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 9, through Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Deer-archery season is open now through Sunday, Feb. 7.

Find complete details in the 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations at

For summaries of past deer seasons, visit

Youth hunters can commemorate their hunt with a First Harvest certificate, available at Participants can upload a photo and type in their information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

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. In most counties, deer populations are at or near target levels.

Therefore, to help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced, and antlerless permit use has been eliminated in most counties for the 2015-2016 season.

In general, deer hunters will likely find deer populations similar to last year. However, because of the regulation changes (smaller bag limits and limited availability of antlerless permits), fewer antlerless deer will be harvested, and the overall deer harvest will likely be down 4 to 8 percent.

For summaries of past deer seasons, visit

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ohio's Deer-Gun Season Opens with more than 22,000 Deer Harvested

COLUMBUS, OH - Hunters checked 22,256 white-tailed deer on Monday, Nov. 30, the opening day of Ohio’s deer-gun hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Ohio’s deer-gun season remains open through Sunday, Dec. 6. New this year, an additional two days (Monday, Dec. 28, and Tuesday, Dec. 29) have been added to increase the opportunity for people to hunt with firearms. Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at Past year’s harvest summaries and weekly updated harvest reports can be found at
Deer Management Goals
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.
Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above goal. In the last few years, through increased antlerless harvests, most counties are now at or near goal. Therefore, to help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced, and antlerless permit use has been eliminated in most counties for the 2015-2016 season.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is in the process of resetting Ohio’s population goals and is asking hunters that receive the survey to help by completing and returning the survey as soon as they are done hunting or at the end of the season. Landowner surveys have already been distributed, and hunter surveys should arrive in the mail later this week. Hunters for this year’s survey were randomly selected from the list of hunters who purchased a license and deer permit by Nov. 16. Public input is an important part of Ohio’s deer management program, and survey participants are asked to complete and return their surveys.
Hunting Popularity
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 theNational Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website
- 30 -
Editor’s Note: A list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during opening day of the 2015 deer-gun hunting season is shown below. A report of last year’s opening day harvest is attached.
Adams: 373; Allen: 116; Ashland: 483; Ashtabula: 772; Athens: 420; Auglaize: 99; Belmont: 429; Brown: 248; Butler: 66; Carroll: 571; Champaign: 104; Clark: 52; Clermont: 154; Clinton: 79; Columbiana: 522; Coshocton: 888; Crawford: 177; Cuyahoga: 7; Darke: 74; Defiance: 316; Delaware: 110; Erie: 66; Fairfield: 219; Fayette: 33; Franklin: 31; Fulton: 140; Gallia: 372; Geauga: 167; Greene: 54; Guernsey: 647; Hamilton: 44; Hancock: 135; Hardin: 149; Harrison: 556; Henry: 125; Highland: 300; Hocking: 521; Holmes: 552; Huron: 367; Jackson: 377; Jefferson: 386; Knox: 619; Lake: 44; Lawrence: 224; Licking: 563; Logan: 249; Lorain: 195; Lucas: 27; Madison: 28; Mahoning: 165; Marion: 120; Medina: 152; Meigs: 418; Mercer: 76; Miami: 52; Monroe: 334; Montgomery: 28; Morgan: 387; Morrow: 184; Muskingum: 722; Noble: 352; Ottawa: 20; Paulding: 157; Perry: 399; Pickaway: 107; Pike: 209; Portage: 157; Preble: 80; Putnam: 90; Richland: 462; Ross: 320; Sandusky: 76; Scioto: 207; Seneca: 273; Shelby: 97; Stark: 248; Summit: 24; Trumbull: 468; Tuscarawas: 658; Union: 97; Van Wert: 63; Vinton: 401; Warren: 61; Washington: 490; Wayne: 211; Williams: 327; Wood: 87; Wyandot: 227. 
Total: 22,256.
For more information, contact:
John Windau, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Matt Eiselstein, ODNR Office of Communications

Tree Farm Inspector of the Year

Jeremy Scherf, forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), has been named the 2016 U.S. North Central Region Outstanding Tree Farm Inspector of the Year. Scherf is one of four regional foresters that will be recognized by the American Tree Farm System at the National Leadership Conference, which will be held in February 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  Scherf is one of 19 ODNR service foresters assisting woodland owners throughout the state. His project area includes Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson and Belmont counties in eastern Ohio. He is also inspector training chair for the Ohio Tree Farm program.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ECOFA meeting December 2nd

DOVER, OHIO - At the December 2, 7:00 PM meeting of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA)we will have, Dr. Jeff Goff, a chemistry professor from Malone University, he is a certified collector of yellow jackets and hornets for 2 pharmaceutical labs that specialize in providing purified venom for allergy centers that diagnose and treat sting-allergy patients using venom immunotherapy.  Although Jeff's formal training has been in chemistry, his interest in all things biological started very early.  Goff became an avid birdwatcher by age 9, an accomplished bug identifier by his junior year of high school, and worked for the Indiana Dept of Natural Resources monitoring gypsy moth outbreaks during his freshman yr. of college.  Dr. Goff's talk will highlight the natural histories of 6 species of hymenopterans in NE Ohio 

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 the Dover Library, 525  North Walnut St. Dover, Ohio

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Chief of ODNR-DOW

Department of Natural Resources: Former Division of Wildlife official Ray Petering is coming out of retirement to serve as chief of the division, the agency announced Friday. He will assume his new post Monday.  "Ray's background and experience in the field of fish and wildlife resources, as well as his success in establishing and maintaining partnerships to strengthen wildlife conservation, made Ray the ideal candidate for this job," ODNR Director James Zehringer said in a statement. "Under Ray's leadership I anticipate the Division of Wildlife will make great advancements in furthering ODNR's efforts to improve Ohio's fish and wildlife management."  Sue Howard, assistant chief of the division, has been serving as the acting chief since the resignation of Scott Zody last month, ODNR reported. She will resume her role as assistant chief with responsibilities for fish and wildlife management as well as the business, federal aid and information and education sections of the division.  Mr. Petering has more than 30 years of professional fish and wildlife experience in Ohio having retired from the ODNR Division of Wildlife in 2011 as the acting assistant chief and executive administrator in the fish management and research section. More recently he served as a project manager for the division and authored the State Wildlife Action Plan, according to the agency.  Mr. Petering holds degrees from Ohio State University and the University of Georgia.
In a separate announcement, the agency said it will provide a public update on the beginning of the construction phase and site preparation work for the Buckeye Lake dam project on Monday, Nov. 16.  The event is set for 2 p.m. at Buckeye Lake State Park, 2905 Liebs Island Rd. in Millersport. It will include staff from ODNR, Gannett Fleming and the newly selected construction management firm, ASI. The agency said state and local elected officials and community members will also be on hand to participate.
ODNR also said this week it is taking applications for the Ohio Geology License Plate Fund grant program that helps support graduate students conducting geologic research in the state.  The program, funded through renewals of the Ohio Rocks! license plates, will provide two $1,200 grants to earth science students at Ohio colleges and universities for graduate-level research on Ohio's geology. The awards will be selected on the quality of the student applications, their professors' letters of reference and the relevancy of the research.  The deadline for application submission is Jan. 15, 2016. The application and complete submission guidelines can be found on the agency's website.

Latest Utica Shale Numbers

 Utica Shale: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has issued 2,078 permits for drilling in the Utica shale since December 2009, according to an analysis of the latest figures by the Ohio Energy Resource Alliance.  That includes 13 more permits since the ODNR's most recent update on Oct. 31.  Since December 2009, 1,635 Utica wells have been drilled, 1,034 of which are in production.  Carroll County has the most permits with 497 while Harrison County is second with 378 permits and Belmont County is third with 292 permits, according to the OERA.
In other shale news, a new report from Bricker & Eckler LLP outlines more than $5.7 billion in new investments made in Ohio since spring 2015 as a result of shale development.  "Since we began tracking shale development two years ago, growth has been consistently on the rise," partner and Oil & Gas Industry Group co-chair Matt Warnock said in a statement. "Not only do we continue to see new projects, but the level of investment continues to be significant - in the billions. Ohio continues to reap the benefits of active, ongoing, and new development in the energy sector."  The 16-page report touches on several large scale investments, including:
  • A potential $5.7 billion ethane cracker currently being explored for Belmont County.
  • *$640 million invested in natural gas gathering and water services assets in Belmont and Monroe counties by Rice Midstream Holdings and Gulfport Energy Corp.
  • An eastern Ohio pipeline from Marathon Oil and Price Gregory estimated to bring in $1 million in weekly payroll.
  • A $1.75 billion pipeline effort in Ohio and two other states.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The magic behind farm fresh eggs

SHOREVIEW, Minn. — Most flock raisers will tell you there’s something special about walking to the backyard and grabbing a few eggs for breakfast. In the ‘pets with benefits’ equation, farm fresh eggs are protein-packed gifts that families across the country have come to love.image006 (2)
Gordon Ballam, Ph.D., a flock nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition, says the magic behind each farm fresh egg is a 24-26 hour process, with much of the work happening overnight.
“The biggest involvement for the hen is creating the egg shell. The shell defends the yolk from bacteria and keeps the chick or yolk safe,” he says. “Because of this importance, hens spend much of the process making sure the calcium-rich shell is strong and protective. When the lights are off and the hens are sleeping, that’s when most of this internal work happens.”
The fact that shells are created at night is clear when looking at the egg formation timeline. For example, if a hen started the process at 7 a.m., she would be creating the egg shell, starting around 12 p.m. and continue for 20 hours during the evening and through the night when the birds are not eating.
“Through this entire process, hens incorporate nutrients from their feed into the egg and shell,” Ballam says. “For instance, hens offered a nutritionally-complete feed with calcium can lay eggs with vibrant, yellow yolks with strong shells. The addition of flaxseed meal can help hens produce eggs with high levels of valuable omega-3 fatty acids.”
Following is an approximate outline of the egg production process:
Ova release (1/2 hour): Each female chick is born with thousands of immature yolks, known as ova. Over time, the ova mature. When the first ova is developed and ready to start the egg production process, it is released into the hen’s reproductive funnel. This release takes about half an hour.
Initial egg white is created (3 hours): As the egg enters the reproductive tract, the egg white begins formation, starting with a clear, protective yolk casing called the vitelline membrane. As the ova enters the magnum, layers of thick and thin proteins, known as the albumen, begin forming, creating the egg white.
Egg shape is formed (1 hour): The developing egg then travels to the isthmus. Here, the ova is shaped into the oval-shape recognized as an egg, a process that takes about one hour. The inner and outer membranes are also formed during this stage.
Shells are formed (20 hours): The most significant piece of the egg formation process happens in the uterus or ‘shell gland’ of the hen. The developing egg spends about 20 hours in the shell gland, where the shell is formed and its color is added during the last 5 hours.
The shell formation takes the most amount of time to complete.
“Strong egg shell formation requires very high levels of calcium. If the hen does not have the nutrient to support shell production, she may pull the calcium from her specialized (medullary) bones to support shell formation,” Ballam explains. “To support egg shell formation, select a complete layer feed that includes oyster shell. Oyster shells break down slower than traditional calcium, helping to supply calcium to hens at night, when they need it most.”
Once the shell is formed, pigments, called porphyrins, are secreted from cells within the uterus to add color to the egg shells. Chickens that produce eggs with white shells do not produce any of these pigments.
Bloom is added and egg emerges (1 hour): The formed egg travels to the vaginal area where bloom is added to the shell. Bloom, or the cuticle, is a protective coating that helps protect the egg from bacteria. A natural lubricant is also added to the shell for a safe exit through the cloaca.
“After laying the egg, the hen will either start the process again or take a day off after completing a clutch of eggs,” Ballam says. “To help the process go smoothly and keep hens healthy and productive, a quality ration is important. After all, the formation of nutritious eggs is contingent on what the birds eat.”
To learn more about backyard flock nutrition and management, visit or connect with Purina Poultry on Facebook or Pinterest.
Purina Animal Nutrition LLC ( is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States. Driven by an uncompromising commitment to animal excellence, Purina Animal Nutrition is an industry-leading innovator offering a valued portfolio of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Headquartered in Shoreview, Minn., Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Because of factors outside of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC’s control, individual results to be obtained, including but not limited to: financial performance, animal condition, health or performance cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Purina Animal Nutrition LLC.
—Purina Animal Nutrition LLC

USDA launches new conservation effort to aid monarch butterflies

KANSAS CITY, MO, Nov. 12, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a new conservation effort to help agricultural producers provide food and habitat for monarch butterflies in the Midwest and southern Great Plains. This targeted 10-state effort by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $4 million in 2016 to help combat the iconic species’ decline.

“These once-common butterflies are growing less familiar, and we know private lands will continue to play a crucial role in aiding the recovery of this species that serves as an indicator of ecosystem health,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said.  “America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are stewards of the land, and this effort helps them make voluntary improvements that benefit working lands and monarchs.”

NRCS Associate Chief Leonard Jordan unveiled this new conservation effort today in Kansas City, Missouri at the annual conference of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. Missouri is one of the target states in this effort that benefits the orange-and-black butterflies known for their annual, multi-generational migration from central Mexico to as far north as Canada. Monarch populations have decreased significantly over the past two decades, in part because of the decrease in native plants like milkweed – the sole source of food for monarch caterpillars.

NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance to help producers and conservation partners plant milkweed and nectar-rich plants along field borders, in buffers along waterways or around wetlands, in pastures and other suitable locations. NRCS also help producers manage their pastures in ways that increase critical populations of milkweed and nectar plants while also improving the health of their rangelands.

Assistance is available to producers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. These states are at the heart of the monarch migration. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and remaining funds from the former Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) provide funding for this work. Additionally, NRCS is offering support for related enhancements through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to establish monarch habitat. These enhancements are available nationwide.

NRCS accepts EQIP and CSP applications from producers on a continuous basis. Producers interested in participating should contact their local USDA service center to learn more. WRP funds will be used to enhance monarch habitat on existing wetland easements.

These conservation improvements not only benefit butterflies, they also strengthen agricultural operations, support other beneficial insects and wildlife and improve other natural resources. Appropriate buffer habitats and better rangeland and pasture management practices reduce erosion, increase soil health, inhibit the expansion of invasive species and provide food and habitat for insects and wildlife.

NRCS’ effort contributes to a multi-agency, international strategy to reverse the monarch’s population decline in North America, estimated to have decreased from one billion butterflies in 1995 down to about 34 million today. The Obama administration, through the National Strategy to Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat offsite link image    , has a goal of increasing the eastern population of monarchs back up to 225 million by 2020.

Producers not in the regions targeted by this effort are also eligible for assistance to make conservation improvements to their land that can benefit monarch butterflies and many other pollinators, such as honey bees and native bees. More than three dozen conservation practices offered by NRCS can provide benefits to pollinators. Additionally, this effort works hand-in-hand with a three-year-old NRCS honey bee conservation effort in the Midwest and Northern Plains.

Learn more about the Monarch Habitat Development Project and other pollinators. For more on technical assistance and financial resources available through NRCS conservation programs, visit or your local USDA service center, 740-432-5621.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Center For Regulatory Solutions Report, Ag Groups At Odds On Corn-Based Ethanol

A new report and media campaign from the Center for Regulatory Solutions targets corn ethanol production, saying it is harming the environment and driving up fuel costs.  Specifically, CRS takes aim at the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, a policy rolled out in 2005 by Congress and designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions by increasingly expanding biofuels including corn-derived ethanol.
Supporters say the benchmarks prompt more investment in ethanol, protecting the environment, diversifying the nation's fuel sources and boosting jobs. But opponents say the standards resulted in a surge of corn growth which ended up driving up ozone-forming emissions, water usage, soil erosion and transportation costs.  The 38-page report comes less than a month before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases its finalized proposed rule for the RFS, which could maintain or deviate from Congress's established benchmarks. The report's Thursday release is timed to coincide with an anti-RFS television ad campaign by the American Council for Capital Formation that launched this month.

CRS President Karen Kerrigan said the report "puts the spotlight directly on the failures of Washington's corn ethanol mandate for Ohio."  “Supporters of corn ethanol promised economic and environmental gains from using corn in our fuel supply," Ms. Kerrigan said in a statement. "Ten years later, we are left with broken promises and a lose-lose mandate for both the environment and the small businesses that power our economy."

Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association President Tadd Nicholson criticized the report in an interview, saying the farmers that would be negatively impacted by an RFS reduction are small businesses.

"Certainly we have a whole lot of data that would absolutely show that in terms of environment there's an over 30% reduction in greenhouse gas reduction due to ethanol," he said, citing a 2007 study from Argonne National Labs. "We know very well, indisputably this is a cleaner burning fuel for the environment."

He called the report's claim that ethanol production has driven up transportation costs "especially egregious."

In its report, CRS argues the standards have resulted in:

Nearly 1.92 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and ozone-forming emissions
An additional 5,000 tons of volatile organic compounds and 28,000 tons of nitrogen oxides between 2005-2014
4.5 billion gallons a year in water consumption between 2008-2014
More than 8,500 tons of cumulative soil erosion in Ohio between 2005-2014
$400 million in additional transportation fuel costs in Ohio during 2014
"It is clearer now than ever before that the RFS benefits very few at the expense of very many," the report argues. "The corn ethanol lobby remains a powerful force in Washington, to be sure, but even corn-producing states like Ohio are beginning to recognize that the costs of the RFS far outweigh the benefits."

CRS argues that a recent poll of Ohioans shows the tide is turning as the standards fall out of favor with more citizens. When first asked, 73% of those polled indicated they were unfamiliar with RFS. After receiving an explanation of the mandate and its goal, respondents were fairly split with 44% approving the RFS and 45% disapproving.

When told that the U.S. EPA has said the original congressional targets under the RFS were too high because of the decreasing demand for gasoline, 62% of respondents said that made them less likely to support the existing RFS and higher ethanol mandate targets.

Overall, nearly 90% of respondents indicated they would be less likely to support RFS if ethanol production and consumption led to decreases in air quality or increases in greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuels.

"Now is the time to put aside a failed policy and repeal this costly Washington mandate," Ms. Kerrigan said.

In contrast, the OCWGA and other agriculture-based groups are hoping the EPA's final proposal adheres to the benchmarks already established by Congress. A national poll released last month by the National Biodiesel Board found that 80% of voters supported a renewable fuel standard.

Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornely said any study on ethanol's impact should account for the benefits the industry adds - including jobs.

"It's like any public policy arena. There are going to be differing view and you're going to see fancy reports from all of those views so this is just one of many," Mr. Cornely said. "I think the educated consumer will read and study a variety of sources of information, not just one."

Friday, November 6, 2015

High Court Rules on Oil And Gas Leases

 A recorded oil and gas lease is a title transaction, whereas the unrecorded expiration of an oil and gas lease is not, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday.  The court, in a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, found that under Ohio law, the unrecorded expiration of an oil and gas lease does not amount to a title transaction.  "It is self-evident that the termination or expiration of a lease returns the lessor and the mineral estate to the status quo prior to the lease," Chief Justice O'Connor wrote in the court's decision. "Upon expiration, the lessee loses his status as lessee by virtue of the terms of the agreement and no longer has an exclusive, vested right to the mineral estate.
Thus, the expired or terminated lease no longer affects the lessor's title in the mineral estate."
The case stems from a 90-acre parcel of land in Harrison County from which mineral rights were leased to a mining company in 1958, according to the court. Since that time there have been several transactions involving the mineral rights and surface property.  The court's determination is based on the state's Dormant Minerals Act, adopted in 1989 and amended in 2006, its news arm reported.

Under the law, a mineral interest severed from the surface property rights is deemed abandoned and reunited with the surface rights unless at least one of six "saving events" has occurred in a 20-year period.  "Construing the mere expiration of a lease as constituting a saving event would not contribute to the clarity of the record of title that the Dormant Mineral Act seeks," Chief Justice O'Connor wrote. "Likewise, allowing the mere existence of an oil and gas lease to toll the 20-year time period for abandonment during its life does not further the purpose of the statute."

The court, however, was more divided on the question of whether a recorded oil and gas lease constitutes a title transaction.  Chief Justice O'Connor, along with three other justices, found that because the Dormant Minerals Act defines a title transfer as "any transaction affecting title to any interest in land, including title by will or descent, title by tax deed, or by trustee's, assignee's, guardian's, executor's, administrator's, or sheriff's deed, or decree of any court, as well as warranty deed, quit claim deed, or mortgage," a recorded oil and gas lease does meet that standard.  "If the General Assembly wanted to limit the qualifying title transactions to those transactions transferring title to ownership of land, it could have said so. Instead it defined a 'title transaction' as 'any' transaction affecting title to 'any' interest in land," the chief justice wrote for the majority.

Justice Sharon Kennedy concurred with the court's answer to the question, however, dissented in its analysis.  Justice Paul Pfeifer and Justice Terrence O'Donnell found that an oil and gas lease is not a title transaction.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District Announces Local Workgroup Meeting

The Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will conduct a Local Workgroup (LWG)  meeting on Monday, November 16th at 1PM to identify resource concerns, discuss conservation priorities, and develop potential solutions.  The meeting will take place at the SWCD office at 335C Old National Rd, Old Washington, which is on the Guernsey county fairgrounds.
While the Local Work Group membership is limited to Federal, State, county, tribal, or local government representatives who are familiar with agriculture and natural resources interests, the meeting is open to the general public, who is invited to participate and provide input on local conservation issues and resource challenges.  LWGs support locally led conservation efforts by coordinating USDA programs with other conservation programs in an effort to provide an integrated solution to addressing natural resource concerns. 

For more information, contact the Guernsey SWCD office at (740)489-5276.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Soybean Scholarships Offered

The Ohio Soybean Council Foundation is offering $36,000 in scholarships for the 2016-17 school year.  The scholarship program is aimed at encouraging undergraduate and graduate students to consider opportunities available in agricultural careers, the foundation said. Funding will be provided for Ohio students who pursue degrees in fields that support the industry, including business, communication, economics, education, engineering, science and technology.  "In order to fulfill the workforce needs of agriculture in the 21st Century, we need to engage the best and brightest in all fields from engineering and chemistry to agronomy and economics," Amy Sigg Davis, OSCF scholarship selection committee member and soybean farmer from Warren County, said.  There are eight undergraduate scholarships available, including six general scholarships of up to $3,000 each, the foundation said. One undergraduate student pursuing a degree related to science, technology or soybean research will receive the $5,000 Bhima Vijayendran Scholarship and another studying agricultural business or communications will receive the $3,000 Farmer, Lumpe and McClelland Excellence in Communications Scholarship.  Two scholarships of up to $5,000 each are available to graduate students who are enrolled at an Ohio university and conducting research in bioproducts, biobased materials, biotechnology, bioengineering, biopolymers or a related field, and focused on advancing the soybean industry.  The deadline to apply for the scholarships is Jan. 15, 2016.

Link to scholarship applications.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

73rd Annual Election and Banquet

Bill Bertram, Ed Kennedy, Jo Lucas, and Rusty Roberts were the candidates for 2 board positions, serving 3 years beginning on 1-1-2016.   Bill Bertram and Jo Lucas were the top 2 vote getters. Congratulations to them, and sincere thanks to all four for their interest and commitment to the conservation of natural resources in Guernsey County!

Guernsey SWCD Annual Meeting and Election

On Wednesday, October 29th the Guernsey Soil and Water Conservation District held its 73rd annual meeting banquet and election.  The meeting was held at Mr Lee’s Restaurant. Bill Bertram and Jo Lucas were elected and will serve a three-year term beginning January 2015 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.  The special guest for the evening was Abraham Lincoln, who regaled the crowd with stories from his presidency.  He ended the evening with the Gettysburg Address. 

During the annual meeting, the Co-operator of the Year award was presented to Celeste and Brent Mnich.  The Guernsey SWCD partners with Farm Credit, and USDA-NRCS to recognize co-operators who have shown a commitment to conservation of natural resources.  The Mnichs were presented with a sign, provided by Farm Credit Services.    

The Minchs have worked with the district over the past few years to improve their property for the benefit of the livestock as well as the environment.  They have installed pressurized watering facilities to provide water directly to their pastures.  They have fenced out both sides of their stream to avoid erosion and livestock waste contamination of the stream, and installed 2 stream crossings.  Still to be completed are a feeding pad, access road, and more fencing to divide their pastures to better manage cattle grazing of their pastures. 
The Minchs have not yet seen the full effects of what they have added to their farm, but in the next few years, both their cattle and their land will benefit from these practices.  In the mean time, they are attending every educational program provided by the district and by OSU extension in an effort to learn more of how to better manage their land.

The second award of the evening, The Friends of Conservation, went to the Hodges family, which has a long history of assisting the district in its conservation efforts. Beginning with Bob Hodges, who served on the board from 2004 to 2009, and his wife, Dee, who served on the auxiliary board and volunteered her time for children’s education programs, the family’s service spans 3 generations.  The district was near and dear to Bob’s heart, especially Moore Memorial Woods and the Conservation Day Camp the district has held for children each summer since 1985.  When Bob passed away in August of 2012, his family honored that commitment by asking that donations be sent to the district to support that education program.  The district recently honored Bob’s memory with a park bench at the woods.
Bob’s son Bruce and his wife Anna have taken on the farm now that Bob is gone.  While Bob was still with us, he hosted a training for Sanitation Engineers in the surrounding counties, where a soil pit was use to teach suitability of different soils for septic systems.  This summer, Bruce and Ana again allowed the district to dig a big hole on the farm – this time to hold a soils class for area farmers. 

Anna and the kids – Beth, Katie, Karen, and now their youngest, Patrick, have helped for several years with conservation camp.  Anna is so creative and teaches crafts each year, and the girls are essential to the camp as counselors who lead the kids and keep them in hand.  Patrick has enjoyed attending the camp, and is looking forward to taking on his new mantle as a counselor. 

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.