Alayna DeMartini

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Production Agriculture, Farm Science Review.
  1. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Fertilizer applied years ago still affects Lake Erie

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Although corn or soybeans could not be planted on 1.6 million acres of Ohio farmland last year and little to no fertilizer was applied to those fields, the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Erie still was high. That might seem odd. After all, many of those unplanted acres were in northwest Ohio, the region that feeds into the Maumee River and ultimately into Lake Erie. But a lot of phosphorus was already present in fields from fertilizer applied years before, and older phosphorus is another contributor to the level of phosphorus in Lake Erie, said Greg LaBarge, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Phosphorus runoff from...
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    News tips and events for the week of Feb. 10

    Tip 1: Sowing Seeds of Success—Anyone just starting out in farming or interested in doing so could learn some basics about raising produce, managing livestock, and how to market their products, at the March 14 Small Farm Conference and Trade Show at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. Sponsored by Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the event will include talks on growing produce in greenhouses, timber harvesting, fencing for livestock and raising hops, hemp, and barley. Anyone unsure about how to make a sufficient profit on just a few acres of land or how to raise or market produce could gain some helpful advice from attending this daylong conference. For more information, visit go.osu.edu/osufarmconference2020. Tip 2:...
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    Burned out caring for someone? Attend this workshop

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—As people age and some become disabled, they may need a caregiver, and while that role can be fulfilling, it also can be exhausting and sometimes isolating. Anyone who cares for another likely has experienced the stress and possibly the feelings of helplessness that can come with taking care of an ailing person. To help caregivers through the many hurdles, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is co-hosting a workshop on Feb. 22. The workshop is for people who care for someone who is disabled or sick, adult children concerned about aging parents, as well as those who work for long-term care facilities. “Caregiving can be very meaningful work. And it’s also really hard work, ” said...
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    Ohio hemp growers: Tread slowly

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Got a hankering to grow hemp? Consider the gamble: The crop could generate hundreds, even thousands, of dollars per acre. Or, quite possibly, nothing at all. The market price for CBD oil, which is derived from hemp flowers, has declined recently because of an oversupply on the market. Farmers in some states are awaiting payment for hemp they grew but could not sell. Some other growers are finding it can be very easy for hemp to exceed the legal limit of 0.3% THC; when this happens, the plants must be destroyed.   “Don’t jump in,” said Peggy Hall, an agricultural and resource law field specialist for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (...
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    Warmer and wetter, Ohio's climate is shifting

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Little snow, warmer days. It’s been an unusual winter. Or has it? For the past four decades, Ohio’s winters have been warming twice as fast as its summers. And the state is getting more rainfall as well. 2019 was the sixth wettest year in Ohio and the 12th warmest, said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).   “It was certainly our wettest decade on record,” Wilson said. On average, Ohio’s annual rainfall has increased 5%–15% since the early 1900s, with the largest increases in areas such as north-central Ohio where fall rainfall has risen by 31%, Wilson said. So far, this winter is proving to be warmer than average....
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    Meetings to help farmers sign up for ag risk programs

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Farmers who prefer planting over paperwork could gain a lot from a series of upcoming meetings that will guide them through the tedium of signing up for farm safety net programs and crop insurance. Ohio State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are partnering to offer free meetings across Ohio to help growers of commodities decide on a government farm program that will help protect them against dips in farm income. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). By March 15, farmers of corn, soybeans, and wheat have to decide which one of three government farm programs they want to enroll in. Each offers different benefits. Those who sign up for...
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    U.S.-China trade deal unrealistic?

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—A new trade deal reached between the United States and China might significantly increase China’s imports of American agricultural products, including soybeans. A pause in the ongoing trade war between the two countries might seem like good news to farmers, but the planned annual increase in China’s imports of U.S. agricultural goods is likely higher than either country can deliver on, said Ian Sheldon, an agricultural economist and professor with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Under the U.S.-China trade deal, which is expected to be finalized Jan. 15, China has committed to buying at least $40 billion worth of U.S. agricultural goods by the end of 2020. China purchased $24 billion in U.S...
  8. Wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen will appear Jan. 21 at the Ohio State campus in Columbus.

    News tips and events for the week of Jan. 13

    Tip 1: Life in the Wild—Wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen will discuss on Jan. 21 his exhibit containing 40 photographs, all taken in the wild over four decades of his career. The event will be at the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) building, at The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. Mangelsen’s photos reveal the wide array of nature and wildlife he has photographed in his travels to all seven continents. The exhibit of Mangelsen’s photographs, which first appeared at the Durham Museum in Mangelson’s home state of Nebraska, will be at COSI in Columbus starting Jan. 15 until January 2021. His in-person appearance on Jan. 21 will be from 7–8:50 p.m. The event launches the fifth Environmental Film Series, hosted by the...
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    Late planting leads to wetter harvested grain

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—More Ohio farmers invested extra time and fuel this year to dry their harvested corn and soybeans because both grains were planted several weeks late and had less time to dry in the field. While drying harvested corn in a mechanical dryer is typical each year, some producers in the state dried soybeans this year for the first time ever. “Soybeans dry a whole lot better outside when it’s 70 degrees and you can run around in short sleeves. Farmers are harvesting in winter coats,” said Eric Richer, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Fulton County, on the far northwestern border of the state. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). If grain...
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    News tips and events for the week of Dec 2

    Tip 1: A bottle of red, a bottle of white: Learn the art of wine grape growing and wine production during the 2019 Grape and Wine Analysis Workshop Dec. 5 at The Ohio State University South Centers. Sip some wisdom and wine at the event, which is for established grape growers, wine makers, and anyone interested in getting started in the industry. Proven techniques for growing wine grapes and managing a vineyard will be revealed along with information about vine establishment, vine training, and vineyard maintenance. The $25 workshop, which includes lunch, will be at 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon. The South Centers is part of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). To register and for more information, go.osu.edu/wineworkshop2019 Tip...
  11. News tips and events for the week of Nov. 4

    Tip 1: What’s on the horizon for Ohio farmers in 2020? Speakers at the annual Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference on Nov. 12 at The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus will aim to answer that question, among others. Topics at the conference will include U.S. trade relations with China and other countries, and the impact of those relations on farmers; farm-income trends and projections; and export demand for corn and soybeans. The event is sponsored by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). It will be held at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus. For an agenda and more information on the event, visit go.osu.edu/...
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    Ohio farm incomes forecast to rise—again

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Even during a growing season when 1.5 million fewer acres of soybeans and corn were planted in Ohio, average farm incomes in the state are likely to increase compared to last year, according to an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University. That’s primarily because of higher government payments made to farmers nationwide in 2019, said Ani Katchova, an associate professor and chair of the farm income enhancement program at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Across the country, government funds paid to farmers through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) more than doubled this year to $10.7 billion. That money is intended to help compensate farmers for a decline in demand for crops and livestock sold abroad...
  13. MIgrant workers in Huron County play a crucial role in harvesting vegetables throughout the season. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

    Need farm workers? It could get easier

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Hiring migrant farm workers will become cheaper and easier as a result of several upcoming changes to the process, according to a labor economist with The Ohio State University. The new rules on getting visas for temporary foreign workers will allow agricultural employers to pay migrant workers an hourly wage based on what other domestic workers employed in the same position in the area are paid. “That should help keep costs down for farmers,” said Joyce Chen, an associate professor in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The current formula for calculating wages requires farms to average the hourly wages of both U.S. supervisors and their field workers to generate an hourly wage for temporary...
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    Soil health at risk on fallow fields

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—With so many Ohio fields left unplanted this year, farmers should consider the risks to next year’s crops, soil experts from The Ohio State University warn. If wind or rain carry away the topsoil of a bare field, it can take years to rebuild that topsoil, said Steve Culman, a soil fertility specialist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Topsoil is the layer richest in microscopic organisms, which fuel plant growth. Besides losing topsoil, not having any living roots in a field can cause microscopic fungi in the soil to die off, harming the soil’s ability to support a healthy crop, Culman said. However, it’s unlikely that fields left...
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    News tips and events for the week of Oct. 7

    Tip 1: Insects Galore: How pesticides pose a risk to bees and how healthy plants can help prevent landscape pest problems are among the topics that will be discussed at the upcoming Insect University. The Oct. 30 event sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will also feature discussions about tracking and managing plant pests and how to protect yourself in nature from Lyme disease and West Nile virus. The daylong event at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, Columbus, Ohio, includes a bug zoo and an optional tour of Ohio State’s Museum of Biological Diversity. For more information about the event, visit go.osu.edu/insectU or contact Denise Ellsworth, program director of CFAES...
  16. Waterhemp is spreading quickly across Ohio. (Photo: CFAES)

    Warring with Weeds

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—They can sprout up anywhere in a field and they increasingly do: weeds, specifically a family of weeds known as pigweeds. As they harvest, farmers should watch for patches of pigweeds, which are quickly multiplying across the state. A campaign dubbed “No Pigweed Left Behind” is aimed at encouraging farmers to stop those weeds from spreading any further. This year could be especially challenging because the state’s record rainy spring caused many crop fields to be left unplanted, ideal conditions for weeds to move in.  Ohio is home to five types of pigweed, each of which can cost a grower a lot to eliminate. Farmers and gardeners love to hate weeds in general, but pigweeds are especially problematic because they grow fast, produce a...
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    More diseases and lower yields forecasted for corn and soybeans

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—The late start to the planting season stunted growth in many corn and soybean fields across Ohio, and yields for both crops are expected to be the state’s smallest since 2008. Last spring’s unrelenting rain caused shallow roots to develop in both soybean and corn plants because the roots did not have to reach far down into the soil for moisture, say crop experts with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Planting in wet soils also led to soil compaction in which particles of soil became pressed together, reducing space between them and limiting the flow of water. Then summer brought little rain in much of the state, further hindering the plants’ ability to absorb water. “The issues...
  18. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

    Farm Science Review 2019: Delayed harvest bolsters attendance

    LONDON, Ohio—Even during a challenging year for farmers, the 57th annual Farm Science Review topped recent years’ visitor totals with its first-ever career fair, more than a hundred educational talks, and new technology. This year’s late harvest boosted attendance at the farm show, which attracted 114,590 people over three days. Typically at this time of the year, many farmers are driving combines. Instead, some were eyeing brand-new combines and tractors displayed at the show, taking pictures of their children and grandchildren behind the wheel. Under sunny skies and welcoming mild temperatures, visitors learned about the economics of producing malting barley, legal issues associated with growing hemp, the most common mistakes made by family-run farms, and tactics...
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    Hemp holds potential for Ohio farmers

    LONDON, Ohio—Ohio’s recent legalization of growing and processing hemp comes at a time when the state’s farmers might be especially interested in finding more sources of income. Though costly to grow, hemp can be profitable particularly as a source for cannabidiol (CBD) oil, an extract produced from hemp seeds and used to treat various illnesses, said Peggy Hall, agricultural and resource law field specialist for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Markets for Ohio-grown hemp products are just starting to be developed. Still, hemp holds potential for farmers in the state, Hall said. An unprecedented number of Ohio farmers this year had to either plant late in the season or could not plant at all because of...
  20. (Photo: Getty Images)

    News tips and events for the week of Sept. 9

    Tip 1: Solar farms spreading in Ohio: With large-scale solar energy development on the rise in Ohio, some of the state’s farmland owners are being sought out to lease their land for these projects. In the past two years, the Ohio Power Siting Board has approved six large-scale solar projects with generating capacities of 50 megawatts or more, and three more projects are pending approval. Typically, lease agreements between solar energy developers and landowners require a long-term legal commitment of 25 years or more. Leasing land for a solar energy development raises implications for the land, family, farm operation, and community. Legal and energy experts from the The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have developed a free...
  21. Switchgrass and Indiangrass, both prairie grasses, can survive flooded conditions and even drought. (Photo: CFAES)

    Planting alternative grasses that can handle lots of rain

    LONDON, Ohio—Like many of us, farm animals want to eat what they’re used to. And because livestock are not adventurous eaters, farmers have to train them to try something new by limiting their access to the food they’re most familiar with. That can be done by growing new grasses in a different field, and then moving the livestock to graze on that field. It’s kind of like when parents don’t give the option of chicken fingers and buttered spaghetti to their picky child and instead serve just roast and broccoli. Many farmers in Ohio might be trying to grow and feed their animals different grasses this year, as supplies for hay and traditional forage grasses are exceptionally low. Ohio’s hay supply is the lowest since the 2012 drought, and the...
  22. A class on exercises that can be done while sitting in a farm vehicle is among the offerings at the upcoming Farm Science Review. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Exercise in a combine?

    LONDON, Ohio—With all the bending, lifting, and repetitive moves that farming demands, the career can exact a toll on a person’s body—young or old. Pain might seem unavoidable, the inevitable cost of cultivating the land. However, there are ways to prevent long- and short-term injuries, in part through exercises that can be done while sitting in a tractor or a combine. More exercise? “When you’ve already worked 14 hours a day, you don’t want to work out. But there is a way to fit some exercises and stretching into your routine without having to go to the gym,” said Laura Akgerman, disability services coordinator for Ohio AgrAbility. The program, which is offered by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental...
  23. Lake Erie is among the bodies of water in Ohio affected by phosphorus runoff from farm fields. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Attracting more farmers to participate in water quality efforts

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Skepticism, more than anything else, is keeping farmers from changing how they apply fertilizer to their fields, according to a behavioral scientist at The Ohio State University. Many farmers question whether the conservation measures they are being asked to do, such as applying fertilizer underground rather than on the surfaces of fields, will actually improve water quality in Lake Erie, said Robyn Wilson, a professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). And they also question whether they can carry out those measures on their farms, particularly small farms that typically have less equipment and fewer workers and financial resources than larger farms have, Wilson said. So, offering farmers more evidence about the link...
  24. (Photo: CFAES)

    Farm Science Review media credentials available

    LONDON, Ohio—This year’s Farm Science Review, set for Sept. 17–19 offers numerous events, exhibits, and presentations of interest to members of the media. The annual farm show, sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) takes place at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. Media members will need tickets to get in and parking passes for the news media lot. For those, please email Sherrie Whaley, media relations coordinator, at whaley.3@osu.edu on or before Sept. 2. Please provide in the email your name, title, organization, and contact information; how many tickets and parking passes you need and any special needs or requests you might have. We’ll mail the requested number of...
  25. Suzanne Steel (Photo: CFAES)

    Farm Science Review’s Hall of Fame winner chosen

    LONDON, Ohio—A long-time journalist, communicator, and promoter of the annual Farm Science Review, Suzanne Steel, has been inducted into the 30th class of honorees in the FSR Hall of Fame, where 78 others are honored for their contribution to the event. For 23 years, Steel worked in the marketing and communications department of the event’s main sponsor, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. During that time, Steel promoted FSR through contacts with national, state, and local media. FSR will take place this year from Sept. 17–19 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 State Route 38 NE, in London, Ohio. The show offers visitors an opportunity to view the latest in technology and gain insights from...

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