Category Archives: Agriculture

Ohio State Fair To Focus On Agricultural & Education Competitions

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Today, the Ohio Expositions Commission announced that the 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public, and will instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and guests.

When discussing plans for the 2021 Ohio State Fair, members of the Commission expressed concern for public health, as well as the financial impact of hosting a fair that would adhere to current safety protocols and the lasting impacts of the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair.

“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” explained General Manager Virgil Strickler. “In addition, the important safety protocols that have been put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, may lead to attendance that is considerably lower than previous years. The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization. In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair’s budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss.”

Many of the typical things associated with the Ohio State Fair – rides, concerts, entertainers, live music, food vendors, and shopping – are expected to return in 2022. The 2021 Ohio State Fair will be limited to exhibitors and family members for youth and senior livestock competitions, along with educational project judging for non-livestock competitions, such as 4-H.

“I wish we had a crystal ball, but we don’t,” Strickler continued. “As such, the safest decision is to greatly limit the traditional aspects of the Ohio State Fair, sticking to our roots in agriculture. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is the best path to protect the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, as well as the safety of those involved by limiting the scope significantly.”

Detailed plans for the livestock and educational competitions are forthcoming. At this time, staff anticipates that the livestock shows will begin on July 19 and will conclude on August 8. The deadline for exhibitors to enter livestock competitions will be June 20, 2021. The 2022 Ohio State Fair is slated for July 27 – August 7.

Zane Trace FFA Awarded Among State Top 10

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The Zane Trace FFA Chapter was recently given a Gold Rating and named one of the top 10 chapters in the state of Ohio through the National Chapter Award Program. The National Chapter Award program recognizes FFA members and their chapters for the activities they plan. and conduct throughout the year.

Chapters submit an application outlining fifteen different activities they conduct that emphasize the areas of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.

The senior members of the chapter worked throughout the months of February and March to complete the application, which included detailed descriptions of activities such as the elementary Maple syrup lessons, the Sausage Breakfast, ZT courtyard construction, canning for a cause project, RCHS dog adoption day, Pioneer Pantry and more.

The honor of receiving a Gold Rating is reserved for the top 10% of all chapters in Ohio.

Zane Trace has earned a Gold Rating every year since 2015. In addition to this recognition the chapter was selected to compete for the top chapter in the state in the area of Strengthening Agriculture thanks to the Sausage Breakfast and Maple syrup production programs offered to members.

Seniors Briana Fetters and Taylor Brown presented the chapter’s plan, implementation and impact for these activities to a panel of judges via zoom meeting on Thursday, April 1st . The chapter will learn the results of the selection committee during the Ohio FFA Convention on Friday, April 30th .

The Zane Trace FFA would like to thank the entire Zane Trace community for their support of. the program throughout the years. Receiving a Gold Rating would not be possible without strong backing from supporters of our chapter. The Zane Trace FFA is a satellite of Pickaway Ross CTC.

Photo Courtesy of Zane Trace FFA

(Picture: Senior Zane Trace FFA members Briana Fetters and Taylor Brown present their chapter’s program of activities to judges as part of their interview for the top chapter in Strengthening Agriculture competition in the National Chapter Award contest.)

Zane Trace FFA Senior Selected to Perform During Upcoming Ohio FFA Convention Laine Abbott has always loved to play his guitar. Last year he started bringing his instrument to school to play for friends as they enjoyed lunch in the Ag classroom at Zane Trace. Some of them suggested that Laine should submit an audition video for the 2020 Ohio FFA Convention.

They thought he might just have a chance to be selected as one of the talent acts to take the stage during the annual gathering of over 7,000 FFA members at the Ohio Expo Center. Unfortunately, like many other events in the spring of 2020, the Ohio FFA Convention was cancelled and along with it Laine’s opportunity to audition.

Fast forward to February 2021, when Laine learns that the Ohio FFA will be including a limited number of talent acts, four total, for their upcoming hybrid State Convention. Laine quietly prepared his audition video hoping for a second opportunity to showcase his gifts. Dozens members from around the state submitted videos and only four would be chosen. Would Laine be among them?

The answer came in the form of a text message from his FFA advisor showing that not only had he been selected as one of the four talent acts for the Convention, but that he was slated to perform during the final session, when the largest audience would be tuning in. “I was at work when I got the text and I was so excited I actually jumped when I read it” said Abbott. “I’m really honored to have this opportunity.”

Anyone interested in watching Laine perform during the 1:00 pm Convention session on Friday, April 30th can tune in live on ohioffa.org and on Ohio FFA’s social media outlets under the username @ohioffa.

Photo Courtesy of Zane Trace FFA

(Picture: Senior Laine Abbott of the Zane Trace FFA was recently selected to perform during the upcoming Ohio FFA Virtual State Convention.)

Safety Tips For Preparing Easter Ham and Eggs

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If you’re reading this, chances are, you enjoy eating ham. After a day of hunting for eggs and chasing the kids around the yard on Easter, it’s time for the family to enjoy that delicious ham they have been waiting for.

Things to Know about Proper Ham Preparation

Whether you are cooking a raw ham or preparing a ready-to eat ham product, follow these steps for a ham that is cooked to perfection.

  • Ham that is not ready-to-eat but has the appearance of ready-to-eat products will bear a statement on the label indicating the product needs cooking.
  • Ham that requires cooking before consumption or fresh, raw ham must reach an internal temperature of 145°F (with a three-minute rest time). Set the oven no lower than 325°F.
  • Cooked canned ham and cooked vacuum-packaged ham, both from federally inspected plants, can be eaten right out of the package. All of these along with spiral-cut cooked ham are safe to eat cold or can be warmed to an internal temperature of 145°F, as they are already fully cooked. For cooked hams that have been repackaged in any other location outside the processing plant, heat to an internal temperature of 165°F, measured with a food thermometer, before you serve it.

For more background information on the kinds, storage and cooking times for ham, visit Ham and Food Safety.

Egg Safety

Did you know that Salmonella bacteria can be found on both the outside and inside of eggs that appear to be normal? The larger the number of Salmonella present in the egg, the more likely the egg is to cause illness.

To enjoy eggs without the risk of getting sick:

  • Store eggs in the refrigerator.
  • Discard any cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Be sure to wash hands and any surfaces (counter tops, utensils or dishes) after contact with raw eggs.
  • Cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and white are firm. Cooking reduces the number of bacteria in an egg. Lightly cooked egg whites and yolks have both caused outbreaks of Salmonella infections.
  • Recipes containing eggs mixed with other foods should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160ºF.
  • Eat eggs promptly. Don’t keep them warm or at room temperature for more than two hours. DO NOT EAT hard-boiled eggs used for an egg hunt or as decorations if they have been at temperatures above 40ºF for more than two hours; discard them.

Consumers with questions about food safety can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov, available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.

17 Year Periodical Cicada Due To Emerge This Spring

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2021 is the year for the next appearance of the 17 Year Periodical Cicada.

Massive brood emergence, usually in May and early June, is believed to overwhelm predators, typically birds. This ensures that enough survivors will be left behind to reproduce. Male cicadas are capable of making a loud buzzing noise, and they squawk when disturbed. The males often synchronize their buzzing in trees. Within each brood there are four or more species. Each species has a different call. It is believed that such droning and squawking is effective in deterring predators.

Annual cicadas usually emerge from June through August. Their emergence is scattered over this time, and they rarely emerge in noticeable numbers. Annual cicada males also sing to attract females. The cicada killer wasp often captures these insects to provision its nest in the ground.

Periodical Cicada Brood Map (Courtesy of OSU.EDU)

Periodical cicadas damage trees above and below ground. The most obvious damage is that caused by egg-laying in small twigs. This damage causes twigs to split, wither and die, causing a symptom called “flagging.” Flagging is especially serious on young plants (four years or younger) because more of the branches are of the preferred size for oviposition, ¼- to ½-inch in diameter. Some of the more favored trees for oviposition include maple, oak, hickory, beech, ash, dogwood, hawthorn, magnolia, willow, apple, peach, cherry and pear. Flowers, vines and shrubs include Rose of Sharon, rose, raspberry, grape, black-eyed Susan, hollies, spirea, rhododendron, viburnum, junipers and arborvitae. More than 270 species of plants have been noted as hosts for egg-laying periodical cicadas.

For more information on this year’s cicada emergence in the region, go to our link to the Ohio State University College Of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences website. CLICK HERE…

2021 Fish Sale Order Forms Now Available Through RSWCD

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Ross Soil & Water Conservation District now has order forms for their 2021 Fish Sale. This would be fish for stocking ponds.

Orders are being accepted through April 27th. All fish must be picked on May 4th between 9am-10am at the Ross County Fairgrounds. Bring a container with an unscented liner that is tied shut and 1/3 full of pond water.

Available fish for order include Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, Redear Sunfish, Fathead Minnow, among others.

Order online at www.rosscountyswcd.org or call (740) 772-4110- extension 116.

Pickaway Agriculture & Event Center To Host Two Ag. Education Events In Early May

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Two events are slated between May 1st-3rd that will benefit those raising championship livestock and those who want to know about composting. Both are being held at the Pickaway County Fairgrounds Agriculture & Event Center in Circleville.

Two Champions Choice Camps will be conducted May 1st and 2nd where Tracy Dendinger, a licensed agricultural educator, will show campers what they need to know about all aspects of your sheep, goat and pig projects. This includes showing, growing, managing, fitting and marketing.

Register online now as there are limited spots available. For more information, call (740) 505-6505 or email championschoicecamps@gmail.com. There website is also www.championschoice.com

Another event planned for May 3rd is a Beginners Workshop for Backyard Composting. It will be held that date between 6pm-8pm.

This workshop will be for all ages and experience levels, however, the focus will be for the beginner level. There will be a special activity and lessons for children under age 12- during the adult session.

Registration is required by April 29th. Registration fees are $5 per adult and children 12 and under get in free. There will be no refunds.

Contact Arista Hartzler at (740) 420-5451 or email ahartzler@pickawaycountyohio.gov

Fayette Sheriff Seeks Help Finding Culprits Of Fairground Thefts

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The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is investigating numerous thefts that occurred recently at the Fayette County Fairgrounds.   ​

In a press release from the sheriff’s office, it states that members of the Fayette County Agricultural Society reported that multiple camping trailers and motor homes that were stored onsite at the Fayette County Fairgrounds were discovered having been entered and several items reported missing.   ​

Sheriff’s detectives are continuing their investigation and following leads as to the disposition of the stolen property.  

The Fayette County Agricultural Society is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the ARREST & CONVICTION of the person or person(s) involved in said crimes.   ​

Anyone with information related to these crimes are encouraged to contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 335-6170 or by visiting the Fayette County Sheriff OH mobile app and clicking on “Submit a Tip”.  

For those submitting a tip, you must identify yourself to be eligible for any reward.

Ferrari Tractor Lands In Chillicothe

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The Ferrari Vega L80 tractor makes it way to the Hometown-Motors, Inc. showroom at 818 Eastern Avenue in Chillicothe. Dan Ramey/Litter Media

Hometown Motors, Inc. of Chillicothe, Ohio – a turf and outdoor power equipment superstore, announces its newest partnership and transformation into a regional power equipment distributor.

This partnership will provide the east coast with several models of Ferrari sub compact and compact tractors.

In a letter to employees, Matt Litter President of Hometown-Motors, Incorporated said; “Today, I have the privilege of announcing a truly game changing event for Hometown Motors. BCS America has appointed Hometown Motors, Inc. as their exclusive Ferrari Tractor dealer/distributor for the eastern half of the U.S. market. This marks the first time in the history of the Litter companies, one of its divisions has been appointed territory outside of Ohio. The new sales territory covers all U.S. states east of the Mississippi River.”

Manufactured in Italy, Ferrari Tractors return to the United States sporting advanced technology, innovative features, competitive pricing and world-class styling.

The Ferrari Vega L80 tractor is prepped for unloading from the hauler Tuesday morning. Dan Ramey/Litter Media

Highland County OSU Extension Offers Tips To Starting Meat Processing Business

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The Highland County OSU Extension Office is reporting that “a team of OSU business and meat science specialists have compiled a Meat Processing Business Tool Kit for people who are exploring the meat processing business”

The article appears on the Highland County Extension website, which points to the “decision-making aid for people exploring investing in or expanding a meat processing facility, this online tool kit can help entrepreneurs evaluate the business and navigate business planning”

Lynn Knipe, PhD, associate professor of food science and technology at Ohio State says the COVID-19 pandemic led to consumer shortages of meat in large supermarkets caused by disruptions in large packing plant operations. “As a result, consumers started shopping at smaller, local meat shops, that didn’t have shortages of meat. “This, in turn, increased business for the smaller meat processors to a point that people who were used to taking animals to their local slaughterhouse, had to schedule their animals much farther out than normal,” Knipe said.

For more details on the Meat Processing Business Tool Kit, go to the Highland County OSU Extension Office website article link provided below: CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS

FFA Sausage Breakfast is February 5th at Zane Trace HS

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See the Litter Media report on the 40th annual Zane Trace FFA Breakfast from February of 2018.
Zane Trace FFA Advisor Jennifer Johnston during a 2018 interview with Litter Media.

The Zane Trace Chapter of the Future Farmers of America will conduct their annual Sausage Breakfast on Friday February 5th. The event will run from 5am to 9am in the Zane Trace High School Cafeteria.

The Litter Media Cameras were at the 40th annual breakfast in February of 2018. “This involves every single class that we teach” Jennifer Johnston, Advisor for the FFA Chapter told Litter Media.

Johnston says the students go through the elementary elements of communication and teaching about being advocates for agriculture . In addition they’re taught about public relations and communication with the students about spreading the word about the breakfast.

Then there’s making the of the product.

“When it comes to actually making the sausage, that’s incorporating a lot of our animal science” said Johnston. “We talk about nutrition. We talk about the fact that pigs need to be a certain weight before the process. We go through the whole entire steps of processing the pig from carcass to plate basically. And the students participate in that through the guidance of some adults in the community that have a lot of experience in this area.”

The serving staff is made of Junior Class members while the kitchen staff is primarily members of the Senior Class.

Robert Riley, a Senior at the time of our interview explained the week of preparation for the breakfast. “Tuesday evening from 2:30pm to nine, we took twenty half-pigs, so ten pigs total, and basically from scratch cut them up, grinded them, put them into the sausage links” said Riley. “We were here Tuesday, Wednesday and this morning. We put in a lot of man hours, but it’s really been a cool experience for everybody.”

As for the 2021 breakfast on February 5th, due to the restrictions created by the pandemic, limited dine-in service will be offered. However, carry-out and drive-thru service will be available.

Suggested donation for the sausage and pancake breakfast is $5, with proceeds being donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Members of the Junior Class prepare carry out containers from the buffet during the 2018 ZT FFA Breakfast.
Members of the ZT FFA Senior Class preparing pancakes during the 2018 Sausage Breakfast.