Kurt Knebusch

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Organic farming and gardening; sustainable agriculture; natural resources/ecology; forestry; wildlife; Wooster campus news.
  1. Greenhouse Management Workshop set for Jan. 26–28

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Registration is open for the annual Greenhouse Management Workshop by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), set to be held virtually from Jan. 26–28, 2022.  The workshop will focus on integrated management of insects and diseases, with the speakers being experts from CFAES, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and industry. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST on all three days of the program. The $60 registration fee can be paid online at go.osu.edu/CD4p or by mail using the registration form available at go.osu.edu/CD4k. Registrants will receive Zoom links for the workshop on Jan. 23, 2022. Here are the topics and speakers scheduled...
  2. CFAES Wooster event to explore robotics in agriculture

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Farming is becoming even higher-tech, and an upcoming event will talk about how. “Robotics in Agriculture: What Will It Mean to the Food You Eat” will feature five speakers from the farm industry and from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). It takes place at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 in Fisher Auditorium at CFAES Wooster, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster. “We hope attendees will broaden their understanding of the possibilities for using robotics, artificial intelligence, and related technologies to improve food production,” said co-planner Mary Wicks, a program coordinator for CFAES’ Program for Bioproducts and the Environment. Wicks said the speakers will give a variety of...
  3. Multimillion-dollar pilot watershed project set for NW Ohio

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Ohio State University will be the lead partner on a new five-year, multimillion-dollar pilot watershed project in northwestern Ohio designed to demonstrate that agricultural conservation practices—if used on 70% of the farmland in a watershed, and evaluated on a watershed scale—can help meet Lake Erie’s water quality goals. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, is providing $6.8 million in funding for the project. A further $4 million is being made available to the project by the state of Ohio through the H2Ohio water quality initiative, which the project will complement. Key to the project are investments by other partners that...
  4. Lots to see, learn at Gwynne Conservation Area: Farm Science Review 2021

    LONDON, Ohio—There’s a place you can go to discover such things as: How grazing goats can help control invasive plants in your woods. How to call turkeys, identify frogs, stock your pond with the best types of fish, and grow your own edible mushrooms in a bucket. How and when to harvest timber, and what today’s volatile lumber prices can mean for you and your woods. How to identify the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species new to Ohio that can damage your fruit and shade trees and grape vines. If you want to learn more about woods, water, wildlife, and grazing lands—and walk among them while you do it—check out the Gwynne Conservation Area at this year’s Farm Science Review. The nearly 70-acre demonstration...
  5. Manure Science Review to feature innovative MVP Dairy

    CELINA, Ohio—Manure Science Review this year will feature a cutting-edge livestock farm that’s keeping soil and water healthy by practicing regenerative agriculture.  The event takes place Aug. 10 at MVP Dairy in Celina.  Started in 2019, MVP Dairy is home to 4,400 cows, uses a variety of state-of-the-art technology, and was named 2020 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year by the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Herd Management magazine. The farm, its website says, “was specifically designed to effectively and efficiently handle manure from our cows while reducing odors and preventing potential runoff.”  Responsible manure management, the website says, “is always a top priority.” During Manure Science...
  6. Karcher named new chair of CFAES Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Douglas Karcher, PhD, an alumnus of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), is returning to the college as professor and chair in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. His four-year term begins Aug. 1, 2021, pending approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. Karcher currently works at the University of Arkansas, where he is interim assistant director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and is turfgrass specialist, professor, and assistant head in the Department of Horticulture. He started his career as an assistant professor in that department in 2000, was promoted to associate professor in 2005, and became professor in 2016. “We are excited in bringing an engaged...
  7. Three green plants showing upward growth

    Share ideas for growing the bioeconomy despite uncertain times

    WOOSTER, Ohio—With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, the U.S. bioeconomy is facing challenges. On Friday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, The Ohio State University’s Advanced BioSystems Workshop will look at those challenges and will brainstorm ways for research, technology, and the government to address them. Workshop organizer Ajay Shah, agricultural engineer with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), said plant-based fuels and products “have the potential to decrease U.S. dependence on petroleum feedstocks, improving energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating new industries.” Good for industry, climate, the nation But he said the COVID-19 pandemic and...
  8. Red ripe tomatoes

    Workshop set for greenhouse growers: Listen to your plants, improve production

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Drones. Automation. Artificial intelligence. They’re some of the new, cutting-edge ways to monitor greenhouse plants. They’re also some of the subjects to be covered by an upcoming workshop for greenhouse growers. With a theme of “Improving Production Via Listening to Plants,” The Ohio State University’s 2021 Greenhouse Management Workshop takes place online from Jan. 27–29. “Growing ornamental and food crops in a controlled environment requires careful monitoring of plants’ physical and physiological aspects,” said workshop co-organizer Chieri Kubota, professor of controlled environment agriculture with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (...
  9. Close-up of hands holding fresh healthy radishes.

    Start an Ohio Victory Garden this fall

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—It’s crazy to start a vegetable garden in fall, right? Actually, it’s crazy not to—that is, if you like having lots of fresh produce to eat.  Plus, now it can taste like Victory. Contrary to what some people think, vegetable gardening doesn’t end with summer, said Pam Bennett, horticulture educator with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Come autumn in Ohio, “there’s still plenty of time left in the growing season,” she said. Bennett directs CFAES’ statewide Master Gardener Volunteers program. And she’s helping lead the new Ohio Victory Gardens program, a joint effort by CFAES and the Ohio Department of...
  10. CFAES Water Quality Associate Boden Fisher samples soil at a farm in northwest Ohio..

    CFAES is partnering with NRCS and Cargill for better soil health and water quality

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—For Rachel Cochran, a typical day involves working one-on-one with farmers, while practicing social distancing, of course.  “It could be contacting them about pulling cores for a soil health study,” she said. “It could be talking to them about potential best management practices that they might be thinking about using.” For Boden Fisher, his workday could involve being invited to attend a farmer’s wheat harvest, allowing Fisher to measure the crop’s quality, part of a study comparing the use of top-dressed manure and commercial fertilizer. For Nick Eckel, a typical workday, and every workday in general, means helping farmers successfully implement new conservation practices. The practices, Eckel said, “...
  11. New veggie garden? 6 tips for keeping it healthy through summer

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Lots of Ohioans started gardening this spring, some for the very first time, possibly including you. In a time of pandemic and staying at home, gardening gets you out into fresh air and sunshine, keeps you properly socially distanced, and yields healthy food for your family. Call it, yes, a victory garden—one that stretches your food budget, limits your time in the grocery store, and helps ease the strain on food supply chains. So how, now that your garden is growing, can you keep it strong all summer long? Tim McDermott, an educator with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), shared his top six tips, especially for beginners. He runs the Growing...
  12. Tax value of farmland expected to drop

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—There’s a bit of good news for Ohio farmers to counter the bad news caused by COVID-19, as well as by last year’s historic rain. In counties scheduled for property value updates in 2020—about half of Ohio’s 88 counties—the average value of farmland enrolled in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program should be about 40% lower than 2017–2019, or about $665 per acre. That’s according to projections by researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The same projections say that in counties due for property value updates in 2021—another quarter of Ohio’s counties—average CAUV values should be about 25% less than 2018–...
  13. CFAES testimony at House hearing: Technology can benefit rural America

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—New technology holds promise for America’s small farms and rural businesses, but public-sector involvement—such as for expanding rural broadband access—is needed for that promise to be realized.  So said Doug Jackson-Smith, professor of water security and rural sociology in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), in comments delivered Jan. 9 in Washington, D.C., to the U.S. House Committee on Small Business’ Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development. “New technology offers opportunities for small businesses, especially small farmers,” Jackson-Smith said at a hearing convened by the subcommittee titled “Farming in the 21st Century:...
  14. So you want to grow hemp in Ohio?

    Update, Jan. 13: The optional Jan. 25 program has been cancelled. WOOSTER, Ohio—Join experts from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and beyond in discovering Ohio’s possible new cash crop. A workshop titled “Growing Hemp in Ohio: Separating Fact from Fiction,” featuring 10 sessions by 18 speakers, is set for Jan. 24 at the CFAES Wooster campus, about 60 miles south of Cleveland.  The event will look at the opportunities and challenges facing Ohio hemp growers. Subjects will include hemp plant basics, growing practices, business considerations, rules, and regulations. Also offered is an optional program from 9:30 a.m. to noon the next day, Jan. 25, featuring six sessions by speakers from...
  15. CFAES names director of new Water Quality Initiative

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) has named Ohio scientist Heather Raymond as director of its new Water Quality Initiative. She began her appointment Sept. 1. Raymond, a national leader on policies and responses regarding harmful algal blooms, joins CFAES from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, where she was state harmful algal bloom (HAB) coordinator and lead hydrogeologist. She was also recently elected to serve on the National HAB Committee.  Harmful algal blooms are the often pea-green, sometimes-toxic slime outbreaks plaguing water bodies including Lake Erie. “We’re fortunate to have recruited someone with so much expertise and experience in water quality,”...
  16. Night event WANTS lots of bugs (and kids)

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Swarms of bugs will be out in the darkness—buzzing, flying, bioluminescing—on July 13 in Wooster. And that’s good news for curious kids and their hopefully equally eager families. The Ohio State University’s annual Insect Night is set for that evening at Secrest Arboretum. The event will celebrate the many-legged creatures that call our planet home—especially the creepy-crawlies for whom the nighttime is the right time. “Insects are the most diverse animals on Earth. They affect our ecosystems, agriculture, and health,” said event co-organizer Kendall King, an Ohio State graduate student in entomology, or insect science. “This is our way of sharing our passion for insects with our local communities.”...
  17. A day for making the most of manure

    STRASBURG, Ohio—Expect plenty of fertile conversation at Manure Science Review. Designed to share ways to put manure to good use, and to do it while protecting the environment and water quality, the annual event is on Aug. 7 at JIMITA Holsteins, a 400-plus-acre family dairy farm in Strasburg. Strasburg is about 20 miles south of Canton in northeast Ohio. Manure offers nutrients that crops need to grow and can reduce a farmer’s commercial fertilizer costs, said event co-organizer Chris Zoller, educator, agriculture and natural resources, Tuscarawas County office of Ohio State University Extension. “That’s especially important as the margins in agriculture, especially in the dairy economy, have been very tight,” Zoller said. OSU...
  18. Secrest Arboretum to host plant sale, open house

    Update, May 2, 2019: Secrest Arboretum has posted hyperlinks to the plant sale lists at go.osu.edu/CuGg.  WOOSTER, Ohio—A cardinal has been pecking at the windows of the new but not yet open Secrest Arboretum Welcome and Education Center. “It wants to be the first one in,” Jason Veil, curator of the arboretum in Wooster, said with a laugh. With spring unfolding around them, Veil, his staff, and arboretum volunteers are preparing for two big events on May 11. There’s an open house slated at the welcome center, which is the public’s first chance to tour the $2 million facility. And there’s the annual Plant Discovery Day plant sale, which will be at the center, too. The open house is a “chance...
  19. Noted ‘green’ polymer scientist joins CFAES

    WOOSTER, Ohio—Polymer scientist Judit E. Puskas, who coinvented the coating on a heart stent implanted in millions of Americans, has joined The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Puskas, who is also developing an innovative way to improve breast reconstruction after cancer surgery, was appointed a professor in CFAES’ Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the start of the year. A native of Hungary, she worked most recently at The University of Akron. She will be based at the CFAES Wooster campus, where she will specialize in green polymer chemistry and biomaterials. She will also be a member of Ohio State’s newly created Sustainability Institute....
  20. Dig into soil health at Feb. 14 workshop

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—The answers to growing better crops are under your feet if you look. So says Steve Culman, soil fertility specialist at The Ohio State University, who is helping lead an upcoming workshop on how to test your soil. “Soil testing provides a window into the soil, revealing if a plant is likely to see the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive,” said Culman, based at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The workshop, called “Digging Into Soil Health: What Tests Can Tell Us About Our Soil,” will be Feb. 14 in Dayton. It’s part of the annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), which runs from Feb. 14–16. Now celebrating its 40th year, the OEFFA conference is...
  21. Japan Prize goes to CFAES soil scientist Rattan Lal

    TOKYO—Rattan Lal, a soil scientist at The Ohio State University, has been awarded the 2019 Japan Prize, considered one of the most prestigious honors in science and technology. Lal is the first Ohio State scientist and the first soil scientist to ever receive the prize. He is Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The Japan Prize recognizes scientists and engineers from around the world for original and outstanding achievements that “not only contribute to the advancement of science and technology, but also promote peace and prosperity for all mankind,” the Japan Prize Foundation said today (Jan. 16) in announcing the award. Lal, whose career in science spans five decades...
  22. Ohio Maple Days are coming, a chance to prep for syrup season

    WOOSTER, Ohio—What will Ohio’s recent weather—wet last year, warmish this winter—mean for the coming maple syrup season? It’s one of the topics at this year’s Ohio Maple Days program, an educational event for syrup producers set for three dates in three locations: Jan. 17 in Fulton, Jan. 18 in Fredericksburg, and Jan. 19 in Middlefield. The program will be the same at all three locations. Last year, Ohio ranked eighth nationally in maple syrup production, with a reported yield of 90,000 gallons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Weather effects, new maple science Featured speaker Tim Perkins, director of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, will...
  23. News tips and events for the week of Jan. 7

    Tip 1: Hoppy Together: Ohio’s hop industry is growing by leaps and bounds—the crop goes to make craft beer—and this week many of its members are meeting in Columbus. The Ohio Hop Conference (go.osu.edu/Ch5G), set for Jan. 9–10, will have sessions on topics such as maximizing yields, managing pests and diseases, sensory traits, harvesting, and drying. The event’s co-sponsors are the Ohio Hop Growers Guild; Ohio Farm Bureau; and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Media members can learn more about the conference, Ohio’s hop industry, and CFAES’ research in support of the industry by talking with Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist at The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon....
  24. Roots at the Root of Greenhouse Management Workshop

    WOOSTER, Ohio — The Ohio State University’s 2019 Greenhouse Management Workshop, set for Jan. 17-18 in Wooster, will dig all around a plant’s roots. The theme is “Root Zone Optimization.” Peter Ling, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said this year’s program is unique because it will focus exclusively on the root zone. Ling has organized the annual workshop, which is designed for commercial growers from Ohio and beyond, for each of its now 21 years. Chieri Kubota, professor in Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, said root zone optimization means surrounding a plant’s roots with the best possible chemical, physical and biological...
  25. CFAES Scientist Honored on World Soil Day

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The way Ohio State University scientist Rattan Lal sees it, many of Earth’s biggest challenges — from growing enough food to protecting water quality to reversing climate change — have answers in the soil. As Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Lal has spent his career working to find those answers. Along the way, he’s gained a global reputation for his research and advocacy on soil-related matters along with multiple honors and awards. His latest recognition, a big one, comes on an appropriate day. Today, Dec. 5 — designated by the United Nations as World Soil Day — Lal received the Glinka World Soil Prize in a ceremony at the...

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