agriculture

Tech Tuesday: Dairy Farming Robots

9 hours ago
Jeff Weese / Flickr

Dairy farming in Ohio has gone high-tech. Robots are taking over milking duties on a number of dairy operations in Ohio. 

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says the new trade deal with China will level the playing field with the U.S., but he urges trade negotiators to be firm as they work on Phase Two.

Ryan Rhoades is president of the Ohio Soybean Association. Although the ag benchmarks set out in the deal are high, he doesn't think american farmers will have a problem producing enough supply.
Nick Evans / WOSU

This week, President Donald Trump signed Phase One of a new trade agreement with China. The move represents a kind of truce between the world’s two largest economies after two years of escalating tariffs.

A new initial trade agreement between the United States and China signed Wednesday brings protections for intellectual property and eased regulations for U.S. exports. China is also setting an ambitious target of purchasing $200 billion in U.S. goods by 2021.

The agreement is bringing relief to Ohio’s soybean farmers, who rely on China to sell roughly one-third of their product.

United Soybean Board / Flickr

Weather and tariffs have created some tough conditions for Ohio farmers and agribusinesses. But they can get some relief through a state program that reduces the interest on the debt they incur for their operations. 

In 2019, the federal government delivered an extraordinary financial aid package to America's farmers. Farm subsidies jumped to their highest level in 14 years, most of them paid out without any action by Congress.

The money flowed to farmers like Robert Henry. When I visited in early July, many of his fields near New Madrid, Mo., had been flooded for months, preventing him from working in them. The soybeans that he did manage to grow had fallen in value; China wasn't buying them, in retaliation for the Trump administration's tariffs.

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to farmer Kris Swartz in Perrysburg on June 19, 2019.
Nick Evans / WOSU

It looks like 2019 could be the first year in a decade where Ohio loses jobs. Will 2020 provide better job prospects in the state?

For Dan Younggren, who grows sugar beets in the northwest corner of Minnesota, 2019 was a year of plagues.

First came the water. "Ten inches, up to almost 20 inches of rain," Younggren says. The fields in his region were so wet that farmers couldn't work in them.

Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET

The tariff war has caused a lot of anxiety for business owners and farmers. But how much has it hurt the overall economy?

The stock market got off to a rocky start this week when President Trump launched a new round of tariff threats. But administration loyalists insist concern about the trade war is overblown.

Carl Wycoff / Flickr

The Ohio Farm Bureau is closing the book on its 100th year and looking to the next century as it hosts its two-day annual meeting in Columbus. 

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to farmer Kris Swartz in Perrysburg on June 19, 2019.
Nick Evans / WOSU

The USDA has issued additional money to farmers around the country who weren’t able to plant anything this spring. After Ohio suffered its worst weather prevented planting season on record, the additional 10 or 15% in crop insurance payouts is likely welcome news for many.

78 percent of the world’s seeds are now owned by three companies, and it’s those companies who decide which ones to make available to the public. 

That’s quite a turnaround from America’s early years, when the U.S. government was giving billions of seeds away for free. But it’s not just the variety of seeds being lost, it’s also the history that those seeds represent. 

Chris Dible presents a vintage Case tractor at Dible Brothers' Farm in Sunbury, Ohio.
Rivet / WOSU

Chris Dible, 17, walks past a giant red and black tractor. It’s the tractor Dible helped his dad bargain for when he was 13. Standing here, he can’t help but think about his family.

Ohio's Hemp Rules May Create Barrier For Small Farmers

Nov 25, 2019
Ty Higgins / Ohio Farm Bureau

The proposed licensing fees and planting minimums for hemp production in Ohio could create cost barriers that exclude smaller growers, farmers and industry groups said.

Ed Santillan is CEO of AgraPharm, LLC. He decided to get into the hemp industry after his wife discovered that CBD helped with her migraines.
Jared Murphy / WESA

At AgraPharm LLC’s warehouse in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the scent of cannabis is potent.

“What you're smelling today is about only a third of what it really smells like when we first harvest the crop,” said AgraPharm’s CEO Ed Santillan.

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