Alayna DeMartini

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Production Agriculture, Farm Science Review.
  1. The price of fertilizer, energy, seed and other expenses are expected to go up in 2019 though income for Ohio farmers likely will not increase by much, if at all, a CFAES agricultural economist has projected. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Farmers’ Costs to Go Up

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The cost of producing a grain crop is expected to rise next year, but farm income is unlikely to increase, an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University has projected. On average, profits for Ohio farmers next year will be “low to negative,” said Barry Ward, an assistant professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. For the past five years, farm income nationwide has been declining, with the exception of 2017 when it increased slightly. Next year, fertilizer, seed, machinery, labor and energy costs likely will be “modestly higher,” Ward said. “Nothing is really exploding, but we are going to see some increases,” said Ward, one of several faculty who spoke Nov. 2 at the...
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    Corn Prices Expected to Improve

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Farmers rattled by the dip in value of their soybean crop likely will see prices for their corn go up next year, one of the few optimistic projections made at a recent conference on future profits in farming. Most of the graphs presented at the Nov. 2 event hosted by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics (AEDE) at The Ohio State University offered a grim outlook: a decline in soybean crop prices resembling a steep ski slope, shrinking pie slices representing Chinese demand for U.S. soybeans. But there were a few bright spots noted at the Agricultural Policy and Outlook Conference, including a projection that corn prices could improve in 2019. As the world supply of corn shrinks, that will drive up corn prices, said Ben...
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    Tips and Events for the Week of Nov. 5

    Tip 1: Harmful Algal Bloom Level Milder Than Predicted: Lake Erie's summer algal bloom level was less serious than scientists had predicted in July. The level was 3.6 out of a possible 10, indicating a relatively mild bloom, according to an Oct. 26 report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In a July report, scientists from NOAA and Ohio Sea Grant program at The Ohio State University had predicted the bloom level would be 6 on the severity index.  While this year’s level is slightly more severe than the 3.2 measured in 2016, it was much milder than the severe bloom of 2017 in which the level measured 8. Chris Winslow, director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental...
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    Conference to Address Farm Income and Trade

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Prices on goods sold in the United States are likely to increase as an extensive array of tariffs on foreign goods, particularly from China, remain in place, according to an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University. “I don’t think we’ve seen the full effects of the trade war yet,” said Ian Sheldon, who serves as the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The Trump administration first imposed a tariff on foreign steel and aluminum, then on a range of products from various countries including about 5,000 products made in China and sold in the United States. China and other countries have in turn raised tariffs on U.S. products sold...
  5. High yields on corn and soybeans, plus expected government payments, will help farmers contend with the slump in commodity prices. (Photo: Getty Images)

    High Yields and Aid Help Offset Low Commodity Prices

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Record-high crop yields and new government aid are expected to help insulate Ohio crop farmers from significant financial losses that would have occurred because of low commodity prices, according to a recent Ohio State University study. If net income for farms across Ohio this year follows the projected national trend, then it will decrease by 15 percent compared to last year’s total. But it could have been a whole lot worse. Fortunately, Ohio farmers, on average, are basking in high yields. The average yields of both soybeans and corn are projected to beat the state’s previous record highs. Soybeans, which are estimated to average 60 bushels per acre, are expected to top last year’s average by 19 percent, and the 190 bushel-per-acre...
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    Tips and Events for the Week of Oct. 8

    Tip 1: Ready Your Farm for the Public: On Oct. 4, a 2-year-old Nebraska boy died after a gust of wind overturned a bounce pad he was on at a public pumpkin patch. The tragedy raises questions about how farmers who open their farms to the public through pumpkin patches, zip lines or pick-your-own farms can prevent dangerous situations. Lisa Pfeifer can address what Ohio residents can do to ensure safety on their farms. Pfeifer is the educational program manager with the agricultural safety and health team in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. She can be reached at pfeifer.6@osu.edu or 614-292-9455. Tip 2: The Spiritual Side of Farming: The focus of the 12th annual Stinner Summit will be on “The Roles of Faith and...
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    New Trade Deal Helps, But Hurdles Remain

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The newly renegotiated trade agreement involving the United States, Canada and Mexico offers farmers a bit more security about markets for dairy, corn and other products, but hefty Mexican tariffs still in place hinder business, according to an agricultural trade specialist with The Ohio State University. Under the new trade agreement, dairy farmers in the United States will have 3.75 percent more access to the Canadian dairy market. That means they’ll be able to sell more of their cheese, milk and other products there without those products getting taxed heavily at the Canadian border. “Dairy farmers in Ohio should be happy,” said Ian Sheldon, an agricultural economist who serves as the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and...
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    To Measure Food Waste, Ohio State Students Dig Into It

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — This sounds more like a dare than research. Student employees at The Ohio State University willingly don plastic suits and masks to dig into trash and pull out tossed food in its various forms: partly eaten, uneaten, wet and reeking. Then they weigh it. Not a task for the squeamish, for sure. But apparently the effort to measure and eventually cut food waste on campus somehow outweighs the ickiness of smelling, touching and just standing beside garbage. “It’s usually fresh garbage which is better than old garbage,” said Mary Leciejewski, who helps organize the food waste audits. True, but still. “They’re a tough bunch,” said Leciejewski, senior sustainability coordinator for Ohio State’s Facilities, Operations...
  9. Farm Science Review 2018 drew 108,074 people over three days. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain)

    Farm Science Review 2018: Plenty of Sunshine, a Larger Exhibit Area and Lots of Corn Hats

    LONDON, Ohio — Under sunny skies for three days, visitors to the 56th annual Farm Science Review took a break from harvest to learn about the latest innovations in agriculture and to shade their faces beneath the brim of free foam hats shaped like ears of corn. Farm Science Review, held Sept. 18-20, drew 108,074 visitors, who came to admire new machinery and learn about techniques and trends, test-drive all-terrain vehicles, and talk about soybean tariffs and taxes. Though it didn’t rain this year as it did during much of last year’s show, clear skies kept some farmers in the field harvesting. Water coolers drained as the mercury rose each day of the farm show sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). While farm income...
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    Public Input Wanted on Plan to Improve Ohio Agriculture

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A farmer-led group that aims to improve Ohio farm profitability while increasing the number of Ohioans who can afford to buy nutritious meals will meet next week to receive public feedback on its recommendations. In Ohio, nearly 1 in 7 households experiences food insecurity to the extent that it cannot afford balanced meals on a regular basis, a rate higher than the national average, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture. At the same time, many Ohio farmers face low commodity prices, decreased foreign markets for their crops and severe weather that has triggered crop losses. With those challenges in mind, Ohio Smart Agriculture: Solutions from the Land, a statewide farmer-led initiative that includes representatives from the College of Food,...
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    Tips and Events for the Week of Sept. 10

    Tip 1: The Weekend’s Nonstop Rain … and More to Come? The rain that saturated much of Ohio this past weekend totaled more than seven inches in southwestern Ohio near the Indiana border. Much of southern and southwestern Ohio received four to six times the rainfall typical for this time of year. The deluge is slowing harvest as crops and waterlogged fields have to dry out. With Hurricane Florence expected to reach the East Coast by Friday, more rain could be in store for Ohioans. For insights on how the rain is affecting crops, contact Elizabeth Hawkins, an agronomy field specialist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). She can be reached at hawkins.301@osu.edu or 937-286-...
  12. Glen Arnold talks with Farm Science Review attendees beside one of the Review's many demonstration plots. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain)

    When Weed Killers Miss Their Mark

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The field appears as a checkerboard: thriving green crops beside squares of shriveling beige stalks. This was not a farmer’s bad luck. Instead the field was intentionally sprayed with 13 different weed killers to show their effects on various crops as well as the consequences of herbicides that drift from their intended target. “Would a farmer do this to a field? Absolutely not,” said Harold Watters, an agronomy field specialist with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University.  “The purpose is to share what can happen when things don’t go as planned.” For farmers, weeds are more and more of a vexing problem...
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    Antibiotic Resistance: From Animals to People

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — It can be tough to stop using antibiotics on a farm. Farmers need them to prevent and treat diseases in their animals. But increasingly, certain antibiotics used to treat illnesses in farm animals and humans are not working, said Greg Habing, an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. More antibiotics are being used with humans and animals, and with each use, sensitive bacteria are killed and resistant bacteria grow and multiply. Those resistant bacteria can then trigger infections and become tougher for doctors and veterinarians to fight. “The same resistant bacteria are affecting animals and people,” Habing said. “Human use of antibiotics has a bigger effect than agricultural use, but...
  14. Farm Science Review 2018 will be Sept. 18-20. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

    Request 2018 Farm Science Review Media Credentials

    This year, Ohio State University’s Farm Science Review celebrates 56 years and includes numerous newsworthy events, exhibits and presentations. Mark your calendars for Sept. 18-20, and be sure to join us at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. The annual event is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. You’ll need tickets to get in and parking passes for the news media lot, so please fill out the form below and return it via email by Sept. 1. We’ll mail the requested number of admission tickets and parking passes during the first week of September. Send in your request now, so you don’t miss: Talks on diseases that transmit from animals to people and vice versa; hops and barley production;...
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    Tips and Events for the Week of Aug. 13

    Tip 1: Pumpkins On the Way: Though we’re a few months away from pumpkin-carving time, pumpkin plants are blooming large, orange-colored flowers, that, after pollination can turn into pumpkins. Growers interested in learning about managing diseases, weeds and insects as well as about the latest technology for growing pumpkins can attend the Aug. 23 Pumpkin Field Night at the Western Agricultural Research Station, 7721 S. Charleston Pike, in South Charleston. Media members are also welcome to attend the event. For more information, contact Jim Jasinski at 937-462-8016 or jasinski.4@osu.edu. Register by August 20 at surveymonkey.com/r/pumpkinreg18 or 937-462-8016. Tip 2: Longtime 4-H Volunteer Continues to Give: Pat Brundige has given the largest donation in the history of the...
  16. Jerry Ardrey  (left) and Clayton W. Rose III (right) will be inducted into the 29th class of honorees for the Farm Science Review's Hall of Fame.

    Farm Science Review Inducts Two More Into Hall of Fame

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Farm Science Review will induct Clayton W. Rose III and Jerry Ardrey into the 29th class of honorees for the Review’s Hall of Fame, an honor held by 76 others for their contribution to the event. The Farm Science Review, which will take place this year from Sept. 18-20 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio, offers farmers and other visitors the opportunity to learn about the latest agricultural innovations from experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Jerry Ardrey Ardrey is a native of London who has been in the automotive sales industry his entire life. He worked for his family business as a vehicle dealer and continued with the industry for his career...
  17. Outbreaks of Japanese beetles occurred in various parts of Ohio this summer, according to an OSU Extension entomologist. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Surge in Japanese Beetles to Dissipate

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Those uninvited summer guests that ate much more than expected are on their way out. It’s not unusual to spot Japanese beetles in June and July, but the number of them was much higher this summer with outbreaks in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus as well as in northeast Ohio, said Joe Boggs, an entomologist with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Though Japanese beetles typically thrive on the leaves of linden trees, grape vines and roses, this summer, they branched out, devouring other plants in Ohio including scotch pine and jewelweed.   “Sometimes during outbreaks, they’ll feed on strange things,...
  18. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

    Online Tickets for Farm Science Review Available

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tickets for the 2018 Farm Science Review, a three-day agricultural trade show Sept. 18-20, are now available for purchase online at fsr.osu.edu. This year’s show at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London will have a larger exhibit area, and improvements have been made so visitors can better access parking, the ever-popular “Ride and Drive” area as well as other offerings. “With additional exhibitors and space available in 2018, everyone in agriculture will be sure to find something new for their operation,” said Nick Zachrich, manager of the Farm Science Review. The annual event features 4,000 product lines and over 700 commercial and educational exhibits as well as workshops and presentations delivered by experts from...
  19. The trade war has brought down prices of soybeans and corn, though yields on both crops are expected to be higher than last year's.  (Photo: Getty Images)

    Federal Aid to Offset Trade War Impacts

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Weeks before Ohio corn and soybean farmers put seed in the ground this past spring, the threat of a trade war loomed. Now both crops are thriving amid a trade war that’s likely bringing down prices of the two commodities. “I hear about it every day. There’s great concern out in the countryside,” said Harold Watters, an Ohio State University Extension agronomy field specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. “Farmers are not quite sure how this will get fixed.” Yesterday (July 24), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a $12 billion package of emergency aid for farmers, including producers of soybeans,...
  20. Economic recovery has not yet reached many rural areas across the U.S. (Photo: Getty Images)

    Jump-Starting Rural Economies

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Many rural counties in Ohio and across the nation are facing dwindling populations, reduced agricultural income and lagging job growth. Since the nationwide recession ended in 2009, economic recovery in rural communities has not matched that in urban areas, said Mark Partridge, a professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. In Ohio as well as in other states, many rural counties have not transitioned well from a commodity-based economy to a new economy, Partridge said. Within the state, such areas are predominately in western and Appalachian Ohio. And areas that once had a lot of off-the-farm job options, including high-paying, unionized manufacturing jobs, now have far fewer of them....
  21. A close-up look at waterhemp. Photo: CFAES.

    Tips and Events for Week of July 16

    Tip 1: Weeds spreading: With so much waterhemp invading gardens and fields across Ohio right now, it’s important to consider one way the pesticide resistant weed is spreading. Cows, pigs and chickens are ingesting waterhemp seeds in their feed, then excreting the seeds in their manure, which is spread across agricultural fields, furthering the promotion of the weed. Mark Loux, a weed specialist with Ohio State University Extension and an expert on waterhemp, can address this phenomenon as well as discuss ways to avoid the weed from spreading. Loux can be reached at loux.1@osu.edu or 614-292-9081. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Tip 2: Corn Crop: This year’s corn crop is...
  22. Creating Incentives for Better Food Choices

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Encouraging people to choose cucumbers over, say, potato chips or milk instead of soda can be a hard sell. Federal legislators are considering ways to do that. Both the U.S. Senate’s and the House of Representatives’ versions of the federal farm bill include funding to measure how effectively financial incentives inspire people who receive food stamps to eat more vegetables and fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, said Carl Zulauf, an agricultural economist and professor emeritus with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Currently, there are no restrictions on buying food with little nutritional value. But food stamp recipients have been given financial incentives through...
  23. More Ohio farmers raising sheep.

    Farmers Flocking to Meet the Demand for Lamb

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The high slopes of southeast Ohio and other parts of the state are suited more for grazing animals than for row crops. “You can put cattle and sheep across those areas and make it productive land,” said Roger High, executive director of the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association (OSIA). Many have. Across the state, the number of sheep flocks has grown in the past decade in response to an increasing demand for lamb meat. Much of the growth has been among Amish farmers in several counties, some of them former dairy producers who took up raising sheep for a chance at higher profits, High said. Some cattle producers have recently started grazing sheep on the same pasture as their cattle. And in cities and suburbs in northeast Ohio, some are using lambs...
  24. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Pork Producers and Dairy Farmers Watchful of the Trade Conflict

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — If the world tariff conflict continues to escalate, Ohio’s pork and dairy producers could suffer from the fallout. Exports of soybeans, which have already been targeted with tariffs, are critical to Ohio, but pork and dairy products play a role in the state's economy as well. Earlier this month, Mexican authorities set tariffs on U.S. imports including a 20 percent tariff on pork and 25 percent on some cheese products. China too has targeted pork imports with a tariff of 25 percent. In Ohio, pork is the sixth highest agricultural export; dairy is the eighth. Any cut in demand for pork will likely decrease demand for corn and soybeans because both crops are used to feed pigs, said Ian Sheldon, an agricultural economist, who serves as the...
  25. Beef Quality Assurance, a training program that has been voluntary will become mandatory beginning in Jan. 19 for suppliers to Wendy's and Tyson Foods. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Happy Cows Mean Better Meat

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you’re around cows much, you probably know this: Cows move infinitely slower than the people who work with them. And you can guess which speed causes less stress for cows. Stress matters not simply because less is better than more for all creatures, but because stress in cows, particularly right before they’re slaughtered, means the meat may not pass inspection. Beginning in 2019, Wendy’s and Tyson Foods will require all their meat suppliers to be certified in a program emphasizing the most humane ways to raise cattle, according to media reports and industry officials. For years, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification has been a voluntary national program with training offered within Ohio by Ohio State University Extension, the...

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