Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. 4-H members. Photo: OSU Extension

    4-H Growing in Urban Communities

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Whether it be hatching chicks in the classroom to learn about the animal’s life cycle, building rockets out of 2-liter soda bottles to learn about Newton’s Laws of Motion, or taking the EcoBot Challenge turning toothbrushes into robots to clean up fake oil spills, urban 4-H programs are continuing to find new ways to increase their offerings for city kids. “Four-H isn’t just plows and cows,” said Beth Boomershine, an Ohio State University Extension educator for 4-H Youth Development. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University runs Ohio 4-H through its outreach arm, OSU Extension. The organization, which stresses Head, Heart, Hands and Health, is dedicated to supporting and developing all...
  2. Proposed Rules Set for Drone Use in Agriculture: Public Comment Open Until April 24

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Farmers who want to use drones in their operations have until April 24 to voice their opinion before the Federal Aviation Administration closes the comment period on rules it has proposed for the use of unmanned aircraft systems. The FAA last month published proposed regulations that would govern the use of small UAS in agriculture and other enterprises, said Peggy Hall, Ohio State University Extension’s agricultural and resource law field specialist. The rules would require operators to comply with a certification process, which includes passing an exam. Operators would also have to register and maintain the aircraft, and follow limitations on aircraft operation, said Hall, who is also an assistant professor for OSU Extension.   OSU Extension is the...
  3. Photo: Thinkstock

    Ohio State Offers Free Gardening Help to Faith-based Organizations to Increase Urban Agriculture

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – More faith-based organizations are turning to community gardening as a way to increase access to healthy, local foods for their members, to donate to food pantries or to give to people who live in nearby communities that may be in a so-called “food desert,” according to an expert in urban agriculture with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. In fact, many faith-based organizations have community gardens and some even offer farmers markets on site that sell produce grown in their gardens, said Mike Hogan, an Ohio State University Extension educator and sustainable agriculture coordinator. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. “More communities of faith are creating community...
  4. Goji berry. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Super Berries Production Workshop Offered March 19

    PIKETON, Ohio – ”Superfruits” have become a popular option for health conscious consumers and could provide additional farm income for growers who add them to their production lineup, says a fruit crop expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Fruits such as elderberry, aronia and goji berries are being called super berries because of their nutrition quotient, especially their rich antioxidant content, said Gary Gao, an Ohio State University Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops at Ohio State’s South Centers in Piketon. The berries, which are growing in popularity with consumers who are looking to add healthier options to their diets, could be a financial boost to farmers...
  5. Photo: Thinkstock

    Overholt Drainage School is March 16-20

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Farmers, crop consultants and others interested in learning more about proper subsurface drainage, can attend the Overholt Drainage School March 16-20 and learn key concepts in water table management, including  how proper subsurface drainage can increase yields  and benefit Ohio’s water quality. The annual five-day program, which is offered by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University, will focus on agricultural drainage as well as construction and management of soil and water conservation systems, said Larry Brown, an agricultural engineer with joint appointments with Ohio State University Extension and OARDC. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the...
  6. Weeds in a soybean field. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Growers: New Time-Lapse Video Series Shows Weeds after Herbicide Applications

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – A fascinating new series of time-lapse YouTube videos demonstrates how weeds wither and die after being sprayed with an herbicide. The videos, created by members of the weed science team in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, are meant to show growers what to expect from an herbicide as they try to manage weed infestations in their fields, said Mark Loux, an Ohio State University Extension weed specialist. OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of the college. Understanding how herbicides work is all part of helping growers get a good start for spring planting and manage weeds throughout the growing season, Loux said. “The videos are a very good demonstration of how herbicides work on...
  7. Photo: Thinkstock

    Farm to School Opportunities Growing Across Ohio

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Proposed bipartisan legislation introduced into Congress last week that calls for increased funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School program could, if passed, lead to more schools expanding or adding the fresh foods programs for their students and could increase opportunities for growers to sell fresh, local foods to schools. That’s according to local-food experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, who say the potential increased USDA funding could help more local foods make their way into more schools across Ohio, boosting economic opportunities for Ohio farmers. “The proposals call for increasing funding for the USDA Farm to School program from $5 million per...
  8. Research, Preparation Key to Getting Internships. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Research, Preparation Key to Getting Internships

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Students looking to land an internship should first make sure they’re prepared by doing background research on the company or organization they hope to work for, according to a career development manager in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Having a clear understanding of what a company or organization is and what it does not only helps students be prepared for an interview, it also helps students stand out from the competition and be more marketable to hire, said Adam Cahill, who works in the college’s Career Development Center. “The most common thing that we hear from companies that is frustrating to the internship or job hiring process is when a student isn’t prepared and asks...
  9. Corn and soybeans. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Corn University, Soybean School Offered at Conservation Tillage Conference March 3-4

    ADA, Ohio – Growers can learn about the agronomics of high yield corn and soybeans during two days of presentations by crop experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University and four other Midwest universities during the Conservation Tillage Conference, March 3-4. A “Corn University” and “Soybean School” will be offered during the annual conference, with topics designed to help growers manage for high yield crops while keeping an eye on input costs, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and a conference organizer. “Keeping an eye on input costs is really important for growers this year because the price of corn and soybeans are down and farmers for...
  10. Photo: Thinkstock

    Ohio State Guide to Weed Identification Available for Growers

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – With spring planting soon to get underway, a new guide developed by an agronomist from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University is available to help growers identify weeds in order to manage them before they take over. The 2015 Ohio State University Guide to Weed Identification is now available for free as an iBook and can be downloaded through Ohio State’s Digital Bookstore at digitalbookstore.osu.edu/book/ohio-state-university-guide-weed-identification. The guide is an excellent tool for growers presented in a digital format that offers pictures of various weed species at different stages of maturity and 360-degree movies for most species, said Bruce Ackley, an OSU Extension program specialist in weed...
  11. Photo: Thinkstock

    Water Quality Focus of Conservation Tillage Conference March 3-4

    ADA, Ohio – Improving Ohio’s water quality, particularly ways to keep phosphorus and nitrogen from impacting water resources, will be the focus of a day-long discussion by industry and university experts during the Conservation Tillage Conference, March 3-4. Starting with a session on the “Magnitude of the Phosphorus Problem for Lake Erie and Other Water Bodies,” the goal of the March 4 discussions is to gather some of the best scientists, researchers and engineers who have experience with the issue to come up with concrete solutions to keep more nutrients on the land and out of Ohio waters, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and a conference organizer. “The goal is to come up with a consensus on what are...
  12. Photo: Thinkstock

    New Research Finds Some U.S. Soybean Yield Losses Caused by Weather Variations

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers have determined that precipitation and temperature variations over the past 20 years have suppressed the U.S. average soybean yield gain — how much it improves every year — by around 30 percent, contributing to an industry loss of $11 billion nationwide. In Ohio alone, that soybean yield suppression is estimated to have cost some $2.9 billion during the past 20 years, according to a new study co-authored by a field crops expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Global annual temperatures have increased by 0.4 C (0.72 F) since 1980, with several regions exhibiting even greater increases, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University...
  13. Beekeeping is one of several topics to be discussed during March 28 Small Farms Conference. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Conference Offers Small Farmers Options to Diversify, Grow Operations

    WOOSTER, Ohio – Landowners new to agriculture or small farmers wanting to diversify their farm operations who aren’t sure where they can potentially find farm funding can learn more about the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency farm loan programs during a Small Farm Conference March 28 offered by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. In addition to offering a session on the FSA farm loan program, the “Living Your Small Farm Dream” conference and trade show will offer landowners and producers tips, techniques and methods to help make their small farm operations more successful, profitable and sustainable, said Tony Nye, an Ohio State University Extension educator and conference organizer....
  14. Pastures and fences are some of the topics to be discussed during the Small Farms Conference March 13-14. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Small Farm Conference March 13-14 Offers Expansion Options for Farmers

    WILMINGTON, Ohio – While the number of farms with less than 50 acres of land has declined slightly in recent years according to 2012 Agriculture Census data, small farm operators with specialized farms, particularly organic farms, have experienced substantial growth in recent years, the same data shows. That’s not surprising to Tony Nye, an Ohio State University Extension educator who coordinates OSU Extension’s Small Farm Program. Nye said he continues to see “a huge interest” in small farm production, particularly among farmers who are new to agriculture. “Whether they are small farmers wanting to make their farms work better or landowners who are new to agriculture and are looking for ways to utilize acreage,” Nye said, “there is a...
  15. Lake Erie (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Big Data, Water Quality Focus of Conservation Tillage Conference March 3-4

    ADA, Ohio – As more farmers gain access to and use big data to increase yield production, questions remain about how to keep that data from potentially hurting their farm profits later. Finding ways to make sure data gleaned from precision agriculture -- which is a farming management concept that uses technology such as satellites and GPS tracking systems to help farmers increase yields -- doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is just one of the topics to be discussed during the Conservation Tillage Conference, March 3-4. The annual conference, offered by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, will feature workshops and discussion on numerous farming issues, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension...
  16. Photo: Thinkstock

    New Vineyard Survey Seeks Information on Costs to Hire Workers

    JEFFERSON, Ohio – Whether it be clearing brush from the vineyard, installing wire or work as specialized as laying tile drainage, viticulturists and other experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences want to gauge how much Ohio grape growers pay farm workers and machinery operators to work in their vineyards as part of the college’s inaugural Ohio Vineyard Custom Rate Survey. The survey is being conducted by Ohio State University Extension educators as a means of determining the cost of work completed on a vineyard by others, which is often referred to as custom work, said David Marrison, an OSU Extension educator. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. The survey is targeted at both those who hired custom...
  17. Frozen vineyard. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Workshop to Offer Wine Grape Growers Insight on Managing Vines after Winter Damage

    GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio – Wine grape growers can learn how to manage grape vines after winter injury during a day-long workshop March 10 sponsored by Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Many growers across Ohio are still recovering from the prolonged and extremely frigid temperatures experienced in the region last winter, which destroyed a majority of popular wine grape crops grown in the Buckeye state, said David Marrison, an Ohio State University Extension educator.  The Ohio Winter Grape School can provide growers with information on lessons learned from the 2014 polar vortex as well as how to manage crown gall in grapes, which always increases after vines get stressed such as during the polar vortex last year, he said...
  18. Farmland Value Expected to Take Direction from Crop Margins and Interest Rates in 2015

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – While cropland values in Ohio increased in each of the past three years,  several factors, including continued low interest rates, low debt-to-asset ratios and lower profit margins, are likely going to make for a relatively flat land market in 2015, an economist from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences said. Ohio cropland value rose 8.9 percent in 2014, with bare cropland averaging $5,650 an acre, said Barry Ward, production business management leader for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. Ward, citing statistics from the Ohio Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, said he expects values to be flat to modestly lower this year...
  19. Photo: Thinkstock

    Ohio State Workshop Addresses Farmland Leasing Issues

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – As farmers and landowners consider options to include in new or renewed land leases, understanding how to use data in negotiations and how to apply legal information to leasing practices could help make the process easier for both sides, experts say. To help provide guidance and understanding of the financial and legal issues surrounding farmland leasing, Ohio State University Extension’s Agricultural and Resource Law program and Production Business Management program will discuss the topic during a workshop to be held in four sites around the state, said Peggy Hall, Ohio State University Extension’s agricultural and resource law field specialist. The workshop, which will focus on factors affecting leasing options, is intended both for landowners and...
  20. Photo: Thinkstock

    OSU Extension Offers Beef Cattle School Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and 24

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Beef cattle producers who want boost their profit potential and become more competitive in the cattle industry can learn how by attending the 2015 Ohio Beef Cattle School series Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and 24, taught by experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The three-session program covers a broad range of topics including management decisions that a producer can make to take full advantage of the beef economic outlook in the present and for years to come, said John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension and a member of the OSU Extension Beef Team. The overall goal of the program, he said, is to help producers expand their beef operations and take advantage of the increasing consumer...
  21. View of a farm taken from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Precision Agriculture Webinar offered Jan. 20

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – The more data farmers and producers can access regarding their fields, the better they can make decisions regarding how to manage their farm operations, experts say. But boiling down information from field monitored data, satellite data and remote sensing data captured using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can sometimes be challenging, said Greg LaBarge, an Ohio State University Extension field specialist and one of the leaders of Ohio State University’s Agronomic Crops Team. To help farmers with that task, a webinar on precision agriculture will be offered live by agronomic experts with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. The free event will feature “Using Precision Agriculture to Make...
  22. Photo: Thinkstock

    Statewide Farm to School Conference March 5 Offers Opportunities to Grow Successful Programs

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Producers looking for ways to sell fresh, local foods to schools — and school districts looking to start or expand a Farm to School program — can come together during a statewide conference in March that’s designed to help expand opportunities between the groups. Ohio State University Extension will host the Farm to School conference March 5 as part of an effort to continue to expand the successful program, which works to increase students’ access to healthy foods, increase their knowledge about food, health, nutrition and agriculture, as well as create economic opportunities for growers, said Carol Smathers, an OSU Extension field specialist and the program’s director. The event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Ohio State University...
  23. Hops plants (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Getting Started in Hops Production Workshop is Feb. 4

    WOOSTER, Ohio – With Ohio-grown hops in high demand from Ohio microbrewers, growers who want to learn how to get started in hops production can learn from the experts during a preconference workshop on Feb. 4 designed to offer tips on how to get in on the next big thing in Ohio agriculture. As more Ohio-based beverage producers seek to procure hops grown in the Buckeye state, interest in growing these crops continues to increase statewide among both established and potential hops growers, experts say, especially since the income potential for hops growers is significant thanks to increased industry demand. To help new growers learn how to get started growing hops in Ohio, the “Getting Started in Hops Production” workshop will be held Feb. 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in...
  24. Hops plants (Photo: Thinkstock)

    Getting Started in Hops Production Workshop is Feb. 4

      WOOSTER, Ohio – With Ohio-grown hops in high demand from Ohio microbrewers, growers who want to learn how to get started in hops production can learn from the experts during a preconference workshop on Feb. 4 designed to offer tips on how to get in on the next big thing in Ohio agriculture. As more Ohio-based beverage producers seek to procure hops grown in the Buckeye state, interest in growing these crops continues to increase statewide among both established and potential hops growers, experts say, especially since the income potential for hops growers is significant thanks to increased industry demand. To help new growers learn how to get started growing hops in Ohio, the “Getting Started in Hops Production” workshop will be held Feb. 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m...
  25. Photo: Thinkstock

    Sustainable Farming Conference to Feature 19 Ohio State Experts, Feb. 13-15

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – From berry pests and cover crop concepts to soil biology and building regional food systems, researchers and industry experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will present the latest information on some of the key issues in organic and sustainable agriculture next month during Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 36th annual conference, “Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil,” is Feb. 13-15 in Granville, Ohio. With numerous workshops and a full-day pre-conference event featuring Ohio State and industry scientists, specialists and students, participants will get an updated look at...

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