Alayna DeMartini

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

    Tips and Events for the Week of June 18

    Tip 1: Hot, Humid Summer Gives Rise to Abundance of Mushrooms: Mushrooms thrive in tropical conditions, and this summer has definitely offered that. As a result, mushrooms have been turning up on lawns and in gardens in greater quantities this year. Jason Slot, a plant pathologist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University can discuss the trend. He can be reached at 614-688-2122 or slot.1@osu.edu Tip 2: Inventor of Gene Technology Given Lifetime Achievement Award: John Finer, a professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) on June 3 in St. Louis. Among his achievements, Finer developed Sonication Assisted Agrobacterium-...
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    Soybean Tariff: How Much Could it Cost an Ohio Farmer?

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio farmer could lose more than half of his or her annual net income if the threatened 25 percent tariff is imposed on U.S. soybeans and corn in China, a study from The Ohio State University has found. Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have projected a 59 percent loss in annual net farm income based on historical trends in yields on corn and soybeans and projections for price drops in both commodities. For the study, the researchers compiled data from six Ohio corn and soybean farms of similar size and created a representative Ohio farm comprised of 1,100 acres split evenly between corn and soybeans. They used the representative farm to determine the financial toll a tariff could take on an Ohio...
  3. Photo: Thinkstock

    Tips and Events for the Week of June 11

    Tip 1: June is National Safety Month: Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States. Ohio averages 13 fatalities on the farm per year. Tractor accidents have been the most common cause for Ohio’s farm fatalities. Farmers are also at high risk for nonfatal injuries as well. Dee Jepsen, state leader for agricultural safety and health in CFAES, can discuss the common cause of farm injuries, as well as prevention measures. She can be reached at jepsen.4@osu.edu or 614-292-6008. Tip 2: Cooperatives Could Help Boost Farm Income: In the face of declining farm income, joining or forming a cooperative can be a way for farmers to increase their access to new markets, as well as reduce costs and financial risk. The Center for Cooperatives in the College of Food,...
  4. (Photo: Lawrence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org)

    Spotted Lanternfly Settling In a Little Too Close

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — An invasive pest that was initially contained within Pennsylvania has spread to Delaware and Virginia, and insect experts worry the next stop will be Ohio. Spotted lanternflies suck sap from fruit crops and trees, which can weaken them and contribute to their death. Native to China, the insect was first found in the United States in 2014 in Pennsylvania. At this time, spotted lanternflies are still relatively far from the Ohio border. They have been found in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. However, they can be spread long distances by people who move infested material or items containing egg masses. “The natural spread would take a long time, but it would be very easy to be moved through firewood or trees that are being...
  5. New alternatives to improving the water quality of Lake Erie are being considered as the state continues to aim to achieve a 40 percent reduction in phosphorous flowing into the lake.  (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Tax or Subsidy? How to Reduce Lake Erie Phosphorus Sources

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – It may not be a popular solution, but a recent study from The Ohio State University shows the least costly way to cut nearly half the phosphorus seeping into Lake Erie is taxing farmers on phosphorous purchases or paying farmers to avoid applying it to their fields. Doctoral student Shaohui Tang and Brent Sohngen, a professor of agricultural economics, conducted the study in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). At a projected price tag of up to $20 million annually, a phosphorus subsidy to Ohio farmers or a phosphorus tax would be far cheaper than many of the proposed measures being recommended to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie, Sohngen said. These proposals are estimated to cost anywhere from $40 million per year to $290...
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    Tips and Events for the Week of May 21

    Tip 1. Water Purifiers Don’t Clear All Algal Bloom Toxins: Not all water pitchers with filters remove all the dangerous microcystins from tap water, a new study by a researcher with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES) has found. Justin Chaffin, research coordinator at CFAES’s Stone Laboratory, and his team conducted a study comparing three popular pitcher brands’ ability to clear microcystins from tap water. Of the three, two of the pitchers failed to clear all the toxins. Microcystins are sometimes produced by harmful algal blooms. Chaffin can discuss the findings of the study. He can be reached at chaffin.46@osu.edu. Tip 2. Grill Your Way Through Memorial Day Weekend: As grills get cleaned and fired up...
  7. The 56th annual Farm Science Review will be Sept. 18-20 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain)

    Farm Science Review – Larger Exhibit Area, Easier Access

    LONDON, Ohio — Visitors to the 56th annual Farm Science Review, the premier outdoor agricultural education and industry trade show Sept. 18-20, will walk away with advice they can use to improve their farm operation, large or small. The exhibit area is now 20 acres larger, and improvements have been made so visitors can better access parking as well as the exhibits and other offerings at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London. Farm Science Review is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. “We think these improvements will make a big difference to visitors,” said Nick Zachrich, Farm Science Review manager. “With close to 130,000 people coming to the show every year, we want to...
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    China Curbing Purchases of U.S. Soybeans

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Farmers in Ohio have begun planting soybeans just as the trade war with China, the world’s largest consumer of the crop, has reached another nerve-racking point. Last week, Bunge, the world’s largest oilseed producer, told Bloomberg News that China has essentially stopped buying U.S. soybeans and instead is purchasing soybeans mostly from Brazil. U.S. soybean sales to China are down compared to last year’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In recent years, China’s demand for soybeans has been strong. China is the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, and the country is Ohio’s most important soybean export market. In 2017, soybeans were Ohio’s largest agricultural export, totaling $1....
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    Farm Bill Expected to Meet Resistance

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first comprehensive proposal for a new federal farm bill calls for changes to payments to farmers when commodity prices dip or when they adopt environmentally friendly measures on their farms. The proposed legislation, which was drafted and endorsed in a partisan vote by the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee, also calls for controversial changes to the work requirements for those receiving food stamps. The federal farm bill pays for a range of programs associated with food, agriculture and rural America, including crop subsidies and insurance for farmers along with federal food programs for the poor. The current farm bill is scheduled to expire Oct. 1. Under the bill that passed the House Agriculture Committee, large farms...
  10. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Helping Farmers Out of Depression

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The corn was dying that summer. So were the soybeans, drying out, shriveling up. What was the point of spraying for pests? It was 1988, one of the worst episodes of drought across the United States. That was the summer a 52-year-old northwest Ohio farmer who had been worrying about losing his crops, woke up one July morning, put on a fresh pair of jeans, a crisp white t-shirt, white socks and walked into the farm building where he had fixed tractors and stored wheat, and took his life. Even now nearly 30 years later, his daughter-in-law, who is active in a support group for suicide survivors, struggles to think about it. She agreed to talk about his death while keeping her identity anonymous at the request of relatives who aren’t as open about it....
  11. This year is the fourth consecutive year of low milk prices. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Low Milk Prices Sending Some Dairy Farmers Out of Business

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nervous about the dramatic drop in milk prices, Ohio’s dairy farmers are leaving the business at a higher than usual rate. Every year, some farmers retire and give up their dairy licenses, but there’s been an uptick recently. In March 2018, there were 2,253 licensed dairy farms in Ohio – a drop of 59 farms in five months. “Farmers are deciding they can no longer dig any deeper into their equity to pay for what I call ‘the privilege of milking cows,’ ” said Dianne Shoemaker, Ohio State University Extension field specialist in dairy production economics. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Profits for milk are low...
  12. Inexpensive engineering consulting is now available to manufacturing companies in central and southeastern Ohio through a new partnership between CFAES and Ohio State's College of Engineering. (Photo: College of Engineering)

    Helping Ohio's Manufacturers Grow

    PIKETON, Ohio — Manufacturing companies in central and southeastern Ohio can now take advantage of a new partnership offering engineering know-how from The Ohio State University. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), which staffs programs to assist businesses at its Piketon facility, now has a new partnership with Ohio State’s College of Engineering. The connection allows manufacturing companies in 37 counties in central and southeastern Ohio to tap into the engineering college’s expertise. The goal of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is to help maintain and potentially increase manufacturing jobs in the state, which is particularly important in southern and southeastern Ohio. Through this new arrangement,...
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    News Tips and Events for the Week of April 16

    Zombie Raccoons: Strange-acting so-called “zombie” raccoons are being reported in parts of the United States, including now in Youngstown. The animals apparently are sick with distemper. Stan Gehrt of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences can speak on the subjects of raccoons specifically and urban wildlife issues in general. Gehrt, gehrt.1@osu.edu, 614-292-1930, is a professor and wildlife specialist who does research on, among other things, raccoons in cities. He was a featured expert on the 2012 PBS Nature film “Raccoon Nation.” Renewable Energy – Given the negative environmental consequences of generating electricity for homes and businesses from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, renewable...
  14. Faster growing yellow perch are one of the outcomes of research done at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

    Breeding for Faster-Growing Bluegills and Yellow Perch

    PIKETON, Ohio — Inside cool water-filled tanks in southern Ohio, the laws of nature are being defied: Female yellow perch mate with other female yellow perch; male bluegills with other male bluegills. This might make you wonder, unless, of course, your profession is selective breeding of fish, and your goal is to get them to grow faster. Hanping Wang, who manages The Ohio State University’s Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development, has succeeded in raising faster-growing fish by artificially mating them in a not so typical way. On average, the resulting offspring reach market size six months faster than bluegills or yellow perch bred out of standard male-female mating. That’s because among yellow perch, females grow quicker than males; among bluegills,...
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    Soybean Tariffs Expected to Hit Ohio Farmers Hard

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Soybeans have now been added to the list of American products slated for tariffs in China, a move expected to hurt Ohio farmers in a state whose main crop and agricultural export is soybeans. China is Ohio’s most important soybean export market, so a tariff on American soybeans likely would drive down crop demand and the price Ohio farmers receive for the crop, said Ian Sheldon, an agricultural economist, who serves as the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy with The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “I knew it was coming,” Sheldon said. “This is obviously going to hurt farmers.” In 2016, soybeans were Ohio’s largest agricultural export...
  16. Elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has propelled the growth of some plants, but more is not always better. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Higher Carbon Dioxide Levels Prompt More Plant Growth, But Fewer Nutrients

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — It might seem there’s an upside to the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Plants are growing faster. However, in many species of plants, quantity is not quality. Most plants are growing faster, but they have on average more starch, less protein and fewer key vitamins in them, said James Metzger, a professor and chair of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science in The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). This change is happening because the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 400 parts per million, nearly double what it was in the middle of the 18th century, the start of the industrial revolution. And it keeps rising, spurred by the burning of fuels....
  17. Ohio State researchers have found that the highest rates of drug overdoses in Ohio were in regions with the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Overdose Rate Tied to Jobless Rate

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The decline in Ohio’s manufacturing jobs, especially since 2000, occurred about the same time overdose deaths began to rise so sharply in the state. Researchers at The Ohio State University have connected unemployment and underemployment to the opioid epidemic in Ohio, where drug overdose deaths were the second highest per capita nationwide in 2016. Overdose deaths have not been evenly distributed across Ohio. The regions of the state experiencing lagging economic growth and few job prospects had higher rates of people dying by overdoses than other regions, said Mark Partridge, the C. William Swank Chair in Rural-Urban Policy with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). In addition to Partridge, the report...
  18. While the number of acres of corn grown in Ohio have been declining in recent years, soybean acres have been increasing, following a national trend. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Soybean Acres Increasing, Corn Declining

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — With soybeans being an easier crop to grow than corn and typically offering a higher return, an increasing number of acres are being used to grow soybeans in Ohio, following a national trend. In 2019, soybeans will cover the most acreage of any crop in the United States, surpassing corn and wheat for the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected. Though once considered a corn state, Ohio grows more acres of soybeans than corn. And while soybean acres have been increasing in recent years, corn acres have been on the decline. Wheat acres too have been decreasing, to about half of what was grown a decade ago. The trend toward soybeans seems natural. Farmers or any other business owner would pursue a path toward higher profits and less labor...
  19. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    News Tips and Events for the Week of March 19

    Tip 1: Preparing Your Garden for Spring Although the cool temperatures seem to indicate a lingering winter, spring officially starts March 20. If the ground is no longer frozen, it’s not too soon to plant, specifically vegetables that can withstand the cold including cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, spinach and peas. As for plants in perennial beds, they need to be cut back if that was not done in the fall to make room for new sprouts. Pamela Bennett, Ohio State University Extension horticulture educator and director in Clark County, can provide tips to get a jump start on the growing season. Bennett is also the statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Program director. She can be reached at bennett.27@osu.edu or 937-521-3860. Tip 2: Founder of 4-H, A.B. Graham, who was originally from...
  20. Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could have costly ramifications for Ohio soybean farmers. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Tariffs Could Spell Disaster for Ohio Farmers and National Economy

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a state whose biggest agricultural export is soybeans, growers of the crop perhaps should be leery. Tariffs on imported aluminum and steel, which President Trump imposed March 8 could have disastrous consequences, particularly for soybean farmers, according to an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University. The tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum could cause other countries to retaliate by setting tariffs on U.S. goods they import, including soybeans, which are Ohio’s top agricultural export, said Ian Sheldon, who serves as the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). If that happens, that could further drive down the price...
  21. Ohio's amount of rainfall and number of intense rain events have been increasing, causing the potential for more fertilizer runoff and erosion. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Rain, Rain, Will It Ever Go Away?

    ADA, Ohio — If it seems that you’re reaching for your umbrella more often — or wishing you had — here’s the reason. Ohio is getting a lot more rain than it used to and more intense downpours. That may seem like just an inconvenience when you want to work outside or an expense if your roof springs a leak. However, the consequences are far more significant for farmers who plant and tend crops in soggy fields and for the water quality of Lake Erie that’s affected by pollution sources including rain running off fields carrying fertilizer with it. Ohio receives 10 percent more rain per year, on average, than we did in the 20th century. “You can think of it as the ‘new normal,’ ” said Aaron Wilson, climate specialist for...
  22. News Tips and Events

    Feb. 19, 2018 Tip 1: Start Spring Indoors: Get a jump on spring by planting seeds indoors. Amy Stone, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Lucas County, can offer tips on the best ways to get seeds germinating so, come spring, your garden will be ahead of everyone else’s and the envy of friends and neighbors. Contact Stone at stone.91@osu.edu or 419-392-1308. Tip 2: The New Tax Law – How Will It Affect Me? Barry Ward, director of Income Tax School offered by OSU Extension, can discuss the changes to future income taxes as a result of the law that went into effect this year. Contact Ward at ward.8@osu.edu or 614-688-3959.   February 2018 events 19-20 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference, Embassy Suites, 5100 Upper Metro Place, Dublin. More information:...
  23. The Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference March 6-7 will include talks on building healthy soil while reducing fertilizer runoff. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Conference to Discuss Enriching Soils While Keeping Water Safe

    ADA, Ohio — Farmers who apply fertilizer to their fields, particularly manure, need to be aware that if the fertilizer winds up in a waterway, they could be facing fines as farmers in northwestern Ohio did last summer. Applying manure can be particularly tricky because it’s often in liquid form and typically applied to the surface of fields, unlike most commercial fertilizers. So, if manure is spread and not fully incorporated into the soil before a heavy rainfall, the manure could run off a farm field and into a nearby body of water. In August 2017, three fish kills occurred in separate incidents in Williams, Allen and Hardin counties. Farmers had treated their fields with manure, then a major rainstorm came through. Given the risks associated with spreading...
  24. The Ohio Grape and Wine conference offers talks from experts on every phase of making wine from growing the grapes to managing the fermentation process. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Conference Offers Tools To Make Better Ohio Wines

    DUBLIN, Ohio — With a steady increase in the number of Ohio wineries and the gallons of wine produced every year, the focus of this year’s Ohio Grape and Wine conference is making those wines taste even better. “Consumers are demanding high-quality and reasonably-priced wines now more than ever,” said Imed Dami, an Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) professor in grape growing and one of the conference’s organizers. “Quality wines are not a luxury or the exception anymore, but rather the expectation,” said Dami, an Ohio State University Extension specialist. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES. The speakers at the conference Feb. 19-20 in Dublin, Ohio, will address every step of...
  25. The Feb. 13 Tri-State Sow Housing Conference will offer advice on how manage pregnant pigs once they are moved from separate stalls to group housing.

    Moving Pigs into Group Housing: Conference to Troubleshoot Hurdles

    COLUMBUS, Ohio —It turns out that pregnant pigs act kind of like college roommates. The pigs really don’t like sharing space, at least not at first. Consider the college student who goes from having their own bedroom at home to having roommates, many roommates, and having to share a kitchen, bathroom, front room and a refrigerator. Pregnant pigs will be making the same transition as a new state regulation requires them to be housed in groups by 2025. So swine farmers are preparing for the inevitable: fights. Fights happen. And swine are a lot less merciful when they attack than warring college roommates tend to be. Pregnant pigs will chase each other and bite each others’ necks, heads and ears. Like college roommates, they’ll sometimes steal each others...

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