News Briefs

Buckeye Farm News

Farm income, expenses forecast to drop

USDA’s latest farm income forecast is predicting a 38 percent drop in farm income this year. Forecasted to be at $54 billion, 2009 farm income would be $9 billion below the 10-year average of $63.2 billion. Net cash income is also expected to drop 30 percent from 2008 to $68.2 billion; $3 billion below its 10-year average. Cash receipts, crop receipts and livestock receipts are all expected to drop in 2009 after reaching record or near-record levels last year. Conversely, expenses are also expected to decline in 2009 for the first time since 2002. From record high levels last year, expenses are forecast to be down 3.2 percent, still making 2009’s expenses the second highest level on record. Petroleum costs lead the decline in expenses, expected to drop about 30 percent from 2008, while fertilizer costs are expected to be 25 percent lower than last year.

2,200 seek broadband funds

USDA and the Commerce Department recently received nearly 2,200 applications requesting $28 billion in funding for proposed broadband projects from all states and territories in the United States. The initial round of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to expand broadband access to underserved areas. Applications were received from state, local and tribal governments; nonprofits; industry; libraries, universities, community colleges and hospitals; public safety organizations and other rural, suburban and urban entities.

New commission to address new and emerging human/animal diseases

One Health Commission, a new national commission, has been established to spotlight the connections between human, animal and environmental health, as well as the benefits of proactive and collaborative approaches toward better health for all. According to the commission, it is estimated that 75 percent of all emerging diseases are zoonotic, meaning that they can be transferred between animals and humans. The One Health Commission will address new and existing zoonotic diseases, such as avian influenza and West Nile Virus, through unified, collaborative efforts between veterinary medicine, human medicine and environmental sciences. Roger Mahr,  former president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, was named CEO of One Health Commission in August. Learn more at

Stallman stresses pork support to Obama

AFBF President Bob Stallman recently asked President Barack Obama to initiate and continue to provide relief to America’s pork producers. “Pork producers are facing dire circumstances and need the government to step up to purchase more product,” Stallman stated in a letter to the president. “The recent (price) for hogs is down $25 per head in only the last four months. If the…futures price is an accurate forecast of where hogs will be priced at year’s end, producers will be losing $50 per head.  Even the futures price for next April indicates a $25 per head loss.” Stallman asked Obama to transfer $100 million (from a $1.85 billion package to fund the government’s response to issues related to H1N1 influenza) to USDA to purchase pork for domestic food and nutrition programs. He pointed out that part of the decrease in pork prices is due to misuse of the term “swine flu.” USDA has announced intentions to purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in 2009.

Value-added producer grants available

Through Nov. 30, USDA is encouraging farmers, ranchers and other business owners to apply for $18 million in grants to help add value to the commodities they produce. USDA plans to award Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to successful applicants. Applicants are encouraged to propose projects using existing agricultural products in non-traditional ways or merge agricultural products with technology in creative ways. Priority will be given to operators of small- to medium-sized farms operating as a family farm with average annual gross sales of less than $700,000. Applicants must provide matching funds equal to the amount of the grant requested.  For complete information, visit

Web site to assist beginning farmers in Ohio

Ohio’s new and beginning farmers now have a Web site dedicated to their unique needs at Part of the Web site’s purpose is to provide listings of events of special interest to Ohio’s beginning farmers and facilitate searches for educational and funding resources to assist beginning farmers with challenges related to production, marketing and business management. The site is a collaborative effort of the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy; Ohio Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture; Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA); the Organic Food and Farming Education & Research Program of the OSU Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, and Ohio State University Extension. Ohio Farm Bureau is an affiliated partner in this effort.

Country of Origin labels requested for gas stations

Ethanol group Growth Energy wants lawmakers to craft legislation requiring gas stations to inform customers what country their fuel came from, with hopes it increases awareness about money spent on oil imported from overseas. Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, Growth Energy’s chairman, said the United States spends tens of billions of dollars per year on protecting shipping lanes for oil and noted that some of that money could be saved by increasing domestically produced oil and developing alternative fuels.

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