COLUMBUS, Ohio—Amid a surge in large-scale solar energy developments across the state, Ohioans now have more influence over what, if any, land in their communities will be used for wind or solar farms.
A new state law (Senate Bill 52) that went into effect Oct. 11, allows county governments to designate restricted areas where utility-scale solar or wind facilities cannot be located. County residents now will have advance notice, a public hearing, and a right to reject any proposed solar or wind development. And county and township officials will be represented on the board, reviewing any utility-scale energy projects.
“There’s a lot of change going on in the rural landscape of Ohio because of the interest in renewable energy development. And yet many weren’t...
LONDON, Ohio—A deluge of rain might have shortened this year’s Farm Science Review by a day, but the show still drew a strong crowd, which got its fill on the latest farm techniques and technology.
Farmers have to contend with sudden shifts in the weather. So do outdoor farm shows.
Predictions of constant rainfall and powerful wind gusts that toppled some show tents and signs led to the show’s closure on the second day of what’s typically a three-day event. On the other two days, Sept. 21 and Sept. 23, a crowd persevered through wind and intermittent rain for a total turnout of 70,850 people.
“There have been so many events canceled in the last 18 months that people were really happy to be outside at a large event with others,” said Nick...
Farmers would be wise to look into, but not jump into any agreements with companies to be paid for conservation measures that remove carbon from the air.
That’s because the pay to farmers for those measures isn’t much right now, but it’s expected to increase in the next 10 years, said Brent Sohngen, a professor of natural resources and environmental economics at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
Contracts to start no-till farming or plant cover crops pay $2 to $15 per acre annually, Sohngen said. And both measures come at a cost. Cover crops can be expensive, and no-till farming can reduce yields on a corn crop. So, the expenses or potential crop profit loss would have to be weighed against the carbon...
ST. HENRY, Ohio—Among farmers, one family’s tragedy can feel like every family’s tragedy.
On Aug. 10, three brothers died from the toxic fumes of an underground manure pit on their family’s farm, sending shock waves across the agricultural community well beyond St. Henry.
The eldest brother stepped into the underground tank first. He went in to fix a problem with a pump. When he was overcome by a toxic mix of gases and passed out, another brother called for help before rushing in to try rescue his brother. Then a third brother went in to try to save the other two.
One by one, they all succumbed to the gases. One by one, they passed out, landing in the standing liquid, a tragic domino effect: Gary Wuebker, 37, Brad Wuebker, 35...
LONDON, Ohio—This year’s Farm Science Review from Sept. 21–23 offers numerous events, exhibits, and presentations of interest to members of the media.
Sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the annual farm show in its 59th year takes place at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. The event draws more than 100,000 people.
Media members will need tickets to get in and parking passes for the news media lot. For those, please sign up by Aug. 27 by visiting go.osu.edu/fsrmediapasses.
The requested number of admission tickets and parking passes will be mailed to you in early September.
Send in your request now, so you don’t miss FSR’s...
LONDON, Ohio—Ever want to climb into the cockpit of a plane and glide over a field?
At this year’s Farm Science Review Sept. 21–23, visitors will have that chance without leaving the grassy ground under them.
The upcoming, annual farm trade show will offer a series of virtual reality experiences such as operating a crop duster, high-tech planters, combines, and other equipment.
Sitting in a mini IMAX-type theater, visitors to FSR can watch videos projected on a domed screen around them. They’ll get an expansive view—a bit wider than peripheral vision—so they can feel as if they’re flying a plane. Or riding a high-tech planter. Or peering into a beehive.
To film the videos, Ohio State University Extension educators...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Cicadas may be getting a lot of hype these days for their cameo appearance, but one of the state’s year-round regulars can cause a whole lot more problems.
Less exotic looking than cicadas and far smaller, ticks are easy to miss—that is, until they bite.
With steadily increasing reports of illnesses from ticks biting people and pets in Ohio, ticks are concerning especially in the late spring and summer. During the warmest months, these tiny creatures are most active and most likely to pass on diseases.
A warmer winter triggered an earlier start this spring, so ticks will be active for more of this year, said Risa Pesapane, a tick researcher and assistant professor with the colleges of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)...
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers have identified and completed the genetic analysis of a newly discovered coronavirus – one that has evolved from a coronavirus that afflicts dogs to one that infects people and may contribute to respiratory illness.
The discovery of the first dog coronavirus found to have crossed over to infecting people underscores the treacherous nature of coronaviruses and the need to monitor animal viruses as a way of predicting possible threats to public health, researchers say.
“At this point, we don’t see any reasons to expect another pandemic from this virus, but I can’t say that’s never going to be a concern in the future,” said Anastasia Vlasova, an assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Food...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—As the weather warms and draws people to the water, tests are about to begin on a new technique for killing off harmful algal blooms in Ohio’s streams and lakes.
The technology being tested creates ozone and injects it into a waterway in the form of microscopic bubbles. Once in the water, the ozone can kill unwanted algae, destroy toxins, and boost oxygen levels, said Heather Raymond, director of the Water Quality Initiative at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
When these tiny bubbles of ozone called “nanobubbles” burst in the water, they produce hydroxyl radicals and peroxides. Those substances can further destroy harmful algae and possibly help cut off the algae’s...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—In the fight against climate change, expanding and better managing the nation’s forests are the cheapest and easiest steps to cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to new research at The Ohio State University.
Across the United States, trees take up about 12% of the carbon dioxide that cars, planes, factories, and other sources generate every year, said Brent Sohngen, a professor of natural resources and environmental economics at Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
But trees could do even more, Sohngen said—possibly taking up as much as 16% of the nation’s annual carbon dioxide emissions—nearly a one-third increase. That would happen by planting more trees across...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Entrepreneurs wanting to start a meat-processing business in Ohio may be encouraged by the hearty demand, but there’s a whole lot more to consider.
What type of meat will the business process? Pork, beef, chicken? Want to sell the meat out of state or just in Ohio? What about employees? Will there be enough workers to staff the facility?
“It’s overwhelming,” said Lyda Garcia, an assistant professor of meat science and Extension meat specialist with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
“The meat industry is a complex system. There are so many hurdles you have to jump over and loops you have to jump through. At any point, any of them can be a problem.”...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—As farmers prepare fields for planting, chances are they’ll meet up with dandelions.
The weed is making a comeback in Ohio after decades of thinning out.
The resurgence of dandelions in Ohio has been occurring over the last couple of years, said Mark Loux, a weed specialist with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
Dandelions can create deep, strong roots, and they’re extremely adaptable to herbicides, making them tough to get rid of.
“It doesn’t matter which herbicide you use, you can’t just beat it over the head if you let it go for a few years,” Loux said.
For a gardener, dandelions and weeds in general are a nuisance. For a farmer...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Weather was a major source of stress for farmers in 2019 when unrelenting rain kept some from being able to plant.
But perhaps more surprising was that health care costs weighed as heavily on their minds as businesses costs and profit margins that year, according to a survey done by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
One in three farmers in the survey reported major stress from farm economic conditions—land prices, production costs, and commodity prices—and paying for health care.
“Ohio farmers told us they were experiencing distress, and it wasn’t just because of the prices and economics of agriculture. It was also struggles over health insurance or events that...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—In 20 counties across northwest Ohio, a team of water quality specialists is working with farmers to evaluate practices that promote soil health and reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen entering waterways.
Part of the team’s work involves running field trials to determine the effects of applying varied rates of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium fertilizers to cropland. Extensive soil testing has been done on fields to see the how planting cover crops and minimally tilling the land affects soil health. And new water quality monitoring stations have been set up to show trends in nutrient runoff rates.
Farmers in northwest Ohio have been cooperative, said Heather Raymond, director of the Water Quality Initiative launched by The Ohio State University...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—If you were thinking this winter has been fairly mild so far, it has been, but gear up.
Frigid temperatures could be gripping Ohio, the Midwest, and the Northeast around the last week of January.
The polar vortex, a wide area of swirling cold air near the North Pole, has weakened and split in two, which happens from time to time when air in the stratosphere above it warms. With the split, forecasts indicate one of the portions of the vortex may drift south toward Canada and the northern United States.
These weakened polar vortex conditions often drop temperatures well below normal (think single digits and sub-zero) and may lead to more snow, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural,...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Bold when you buy them, poinsettias can wither as winter goes on.
It might be because of how they were treated. If they were exposed to cold drafts or perched by a heat vent, or if they sat in a cold car through too many errands, the leaves could turn yellow and fall off—even before the holidays or not long after.
Native to Mexico, poinsettias favor bright light and warm conditions.
“You need to find a location in your house that provides good light. Six hours of bright light are necessary every day,” said Uttara Samarakoon, an assistant professor at Ohio State ATI in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
The biggest mistakes people typically make are not providing...
Another Ohio winter is upon us.
The extra hours of darkness or slate-gray skies can easily drag down a mood already challenged by the pandemic. We’re socializing less often, hunkering down, and shelving vacation plans to warmer and brighter tropical spots.
Meanwhile, we have to tackle what seems like an endless string of Zoom meetings while trying to edge our kids into get-it-done mode, and at the end of the day, confront the same hurdle: What’s for dinner?
So how do we keep pandemic exhaustion from descending into depression?
David Wirt, a counselor with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), has some advice on how to lighten your mood in the coldest months of the year.
Get out in the sunlight every...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—People who garden may know about pennycress.
It’s also called “stinkweed” for the odor it gives off when it’s crushed.
Unlike most weeds, pennycress seeds contain a lot of oil, and that oil can be turned into fuel for jets or diesel trucks and cars.
Two researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) just began a study to create the most resilient, high-yielding varieties of pennycress for farmers to grow.
Planted in late fall and harvested in spring, pennycress could offer dual benefits to farmers. It could protect their fields from erosion in fall and winter. And it could lead to extra money in spring when harvested and sold.
COLUMBUS, Ohio—A group of spotted lanternflies, which feed on grapevines, hops, and fruit trees, was recently discovered in Ohio, triggering concerns the pest could become established and spread quickly.
In October, adult lanternflies were found outside a business in Jefferson County, adjacent to the Pennsylvania border.
Adult lanternflies won’t be seen during the winter months because they die off as temperatures drop below freezing. But before dying, the females typically lay 30–50 eggs, and come spring, their offspring could begin feeding.
“If there’s anything I’m personally losing sleep over, it’s this insect,” said Maria Smith, outreach specialist in grape production at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural,...
COLUMBUS, Ohio— A world-renowned scientist at The Ohio State University—whose global work to restore soil health, boost food production, and fight climate change has reaped another honor, this one from a Canadian-based institution.
Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of soil science in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), today received an Arrell Global Food Innovation Award.
For 52 years, Lal has been adapting methods to restore soil health globally, including helping hundreds of millions of landowners in the developing world.
“My source of inspiration has been the challenges farmers of the world face, especially the resource-poor and small landholders. The majority of these are women farmers,” Lal...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Bringing higher rates of unemployment and poverty, the pandemic has also pushed more people into a struggle to buy the basics, including food.
Grocery store food prices have gone up only about 5% since January 2019, but with so many people out of work, food banks have seen a surge in demand, said Zoë Plakias, an assistant professor of agricultural, environmental, and development economics at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
While facing an increasing demand, food banks have also received fewer food donations from grocery stores that give their excess products. When stores can’t keep their shelves stocked, there can be less available for donation, Plakias said.
With many incomes...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—A study done at Ohio meat-processing plants found very few employees were wearing required face masks.
Among the 37 workers interviewed at five meat-processing plants across the state, only nine wore face masks when surveyed at their job sites, according to the study by researchers with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
“What we found is they’re not seeing other people wearing masks, and they’re not seeing the advantage of wearing them,” said Joy Rumble, an assistant professor in CFAES and one of the lead researchers of the study.
The point of the study, done in June and July, was to determine why many meat-processing facility workers don’t wear masks,...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—During one of the most significant COVID-19 surges in Ohio, the state’s rural counties have the highest rates of new cases.
Counties in northwest Ohio lead the uptick. Putnam County, north of Lima, tops the state's list of counties ranked by the rate of cases reported in mid to late October. Auglaize and Mercer counties are listed second and third.
Though state and health officials have required everyone to wear face masks and avoid large gatherings, some have resisted, particularly in rural Ohio, which until October had largely been spared high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
What seems to be a rural-urban divide over mask-wearing can become glaring to Sam Custer when he leaves his home in Darke County and drives about a half...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Farmers in Ohio and across the Midwest might have reason to be optimistic this year.
Prices for soybeans, corn, and wheat have risen in 2020, and total net cash income from farms in the United States is expected to be up this year by 4.5%. That’s partly because of an increase in government payments to farmers.
Those payments will make up 32% of this year’s net cash income from all U.S. farms—more than double the portion those payments typically account for, said Ben Brown, an assistant professor of agricultural risk management at the The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
Traditionally, government assistance to farmers has made up about 14% of the annual net cash income from farms...
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Raising children on a farm might sound idyllic, but in a national study, most farmers with children under 18 said childcare was a challenge.
Over two-thirds of first-generation farmers, people who had not grown up on farms, reported struggles with childcare, from finding affordable options nearby to finding providers whose childrearing philosophy matched theirs.
Even multigenerational farmers, many who live near relatives, said childcare’s affordability, availability, or quality was a problem. Just over half of those farmers reported some type of childcare challenge.
“This is going to come as a surprise to a lot of people who don’t think childcare is an issue for farmers,” said Shoshanah Inwood, an assistant professor at The Ohio...