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
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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.