Agriculture

Corn harvest
United Soybean Board / Flickr/Creative Commons

All of this summer's rain isn't just ruining your outdoor plans—it's taking a toll on Ohio's $100 billion farming industry.

Ohio’s largest industry is taking a big hit thanks to this summer’s wet weather. Ohio Farm Bureau spokesman Joe Cornely says a lot of the state’s corn and soybean crops didn’t get planted in time, and those that did are getting drowned out.

City of Springfield, Ohio.
City of Springfield, Ohio.

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Clark State Community College permission to fly a drone in parts of Clark County and it will fly over land owned by the City of Springfield, but leased to local farmers.

Clark State recently announced it would integrate drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, into a new precision agriculture program. Getting FAA authorization to fly was the next step. Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin indicated that the students should benefit.

Satellite view of toxic algal bloom on Lake Erie
NASA Earth Observatory

Toxic blue-green algae blooms, or cyanobacteria, are a growing problem in Ohio’s lakes, and grabbed the attention of the whole country after the bacteria shut down Toledo’s water system last summer.

Corn harvest
United Soybean Board / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Midwestern corn harvest is just getting underway, and the region is predicting record corn crops. That means depressed prices for producers—and possibly, trouble with getting that corn where it needs to go.

Senator Sherrod Brown (right) compared algae-filled water with clear water on a recent visit to Stone Lab on Lake Erie. Researcher Justin Chaffin is on the left.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Ohio’s U.S. Senators have introduced two bills that address the problems with toxic microcystins, a result of the bacteria known as blue-green algae, in the state’s waters. Toxins from algal blooms in Lake Erie caused a two-day shutdown of Toledo’s water system in August, and algal blooms have been reported in lakes around the state including Grand Lake St. Mary’s and Buckeye Lake.

The bitterly cold winter is making things tougher for Ohio growers - and that could translate to higher food prices later in the year.

The sub-zero temperatures have caused Ohio wine-grape, blackberry and peach growers to lose much of this year's crop, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The value of the crops lost to the cold weather hasn't been determined. Laboratories are analyzing grapevines, blackberry canes and strawberry plants for damage. And, of course, the winter is not over yet.

Openclipart

 Conservative leaders from Ohio are headed to Washington this week to lobby for immigration reform in a collaboration between businesses, evangelicals, and law enforcement. Twenty Ohio leaders are among the hundreds who have meetings set with House Republicans Tuesday. While the Senate passed a comprehensive bill earlier this year, the House has yet to bring a bill to the floor.

(WYSO/Lewis Wallace)

  U.S. Senator Rob Portman met with farmers in the Dayton area Wednesday to talk about the farm bill. The bill, which is up for renewal, subsidizes both agribusiness and food stamps.

The farmers want a new bill passed soon to protect crop insurance, a federally-subsidized program that helps farmers cope when nature destroys their crops. But Portman recently voted against the Senate version of the omnibus bill.

U.S. Senator Rob Portman will meet with farmers in the Dayton area today to answer questions about the farm bill.

For most farmers, the first concern about the farm bill is making sure there is a farm bill. The bill expires every five years, and the U.S. House and Senate have until October to agree on a new version or extend the old one.

Governor John Kasich has signed an executive order he says will help farmers affected financially by Ohio's recent drought conditions.

The order signed Wednesday instructs state agencies to help farmers seeking federal assistance on loans. That includes emergency low-interest loans for crop losses, relief payments for non-insurable losses and temporary deferral payments on federal loans.

The order also gives farmers permission to cut hay for livestock from land set aside for conservation.

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