Ohio Farm Bureau

Hogs at Six Buckets Farm.
Seth Teter

Jeremy Jenkins has been running his meat processing business in Mount Victory, northwest of Columbus, for about a year. It’s typical for him to be booked up for several weeks, but now he’s turning away customers every day because he won’t be able to handle their job before Christmas.

Coronavirus Impact On Food Supply

Apr 23, 2020
Rick Wittenmyer shops for groceries at the West Side Market, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Cleveland. There were fewer shoppers this year before the Easter holiday than in previous years due to the coronavirus.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

When the coronavirus became a pandemic, people swamped grocery stores wiping out things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. However, as Ohio's stay-at-home order drags on there is growing concern for the food supply as the supply chain shows signs of stress.

In Ohio, which ranks 11th in the country for milk production, the coronavirus has been so disruptive that dairy farmers have had to dump milk that can’t be sold.

Ohio Agriculture And COVID-19

Apr 2, 2020
tractor in farm field
Jean Beaufort / Public Domain Pictures

Ohio’s agriculture industry faces an uncertain future in the age of COVID-19.

Farms continue to operate, but commodity prices haven’t caught up to skyrocketing demand for farm goods brought on by the crisis and market volatility makes it harder for farmers to plan.

Correction: In this episode, a guest states that all livestock auctions are shutdown. That is not the case.

Ohio farmers are facing low commodity prices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, even as demand skyrockets in local grocery stores.

Farms still have food in supply, said Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations Ty Higgins, and they’re working to move that supply to the stores that need it.

“Farmers are still getting up every morning and doing whatever they need to do to keep that supply chain full,” Higgins said.

The U.S. has reached two major trade agreements with international partners in the past month, with the Trump administration pitching these deals as a way to ease the burden farmers have shouldered during the trade war with China.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) encouraged a large group of farmers to keep participating in the state's water quality program, saying his administration is keeping its eye on a specific indicator to determine if their plan is reducing harmful algal blooms.

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.

farm tractor at sunset
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. 

Ty Higgins / Ohio Farm Bureau

The Ohio Farm Bureau is taking steps to prepare Ohio farmers to grow their first crop of hemp next spring now that Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law legalizing it.

Vape cartridges are on display durIng the CBD Express store grand opening in Salem, Ore.
Timothy J. Gonzalez / Associated Press

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill that allows the cultivation of industrial hemp in Ohio and legalizes the manufacturing and sale of CBD products.

American soil.

Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.

Adam Kocher cuts open a bale of fermented hay, which they grow to feed cows.
Olivia Miltner / WOSU

The Kocher family has been farming the same plat of land near the northern Ohio village of Bloomville for generations. Among other crops, they grow alfalfa hay to feed their 700 dairy cows.

A new investigation by two environmental groups cites unpermitted livestock farms as contributors to the algae problem in Lake Erie. The Environmental Working Group and Environmental Law & Policy Center collected and studied aerial photos of the Maumee River watershed.

President Trump is threatening to close the U.S.-Mexico border in response to a recent surge of people crossing illegally. In speaking to reporters about the proposal this past weekend, he said a shutdown could include “all trade.” 

Such a move would have a significant impact on Ohio, which has Mexico as its second-largest trading partner after Canada. 

Gov. Mike DeWine says it’s time for the state to do more to protect what he calls the jewel of Ohio -- Lake Erie. Those efforts will likely include working with farmers to deal with runoff.

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