I hope you have been able to enjoy your summer as much as possible given our circumstances.
This year has been a wild ride, and it continues to roll out some memorable hits, including suspicious seed deliveries from China, the discovery of the longhorn tick species in Ohio and, unfortunately, continued depressed markets for many agricultural products.
Many times this year I have wondered if we are all trapped in a bad novel.
The seed deliveries from China appear to be part of a larger “brushing scam” in which retailers send unsolicited packages to addresses to mark a sale as verified. This scam is used to give the appearance that a retailer is more successful than it is in reality.
It’s weird, but it is not an uncommon practice in the world of Amazon and eBay, where a higher number of verified purchases can bump your products higher on an internet search.
If you have received any such seed deliveries (ones you did not actually order), do not plant them or throw them away. Our office is collecting any seed packets and we will send them to the correct location for disposal.
You can schedule a drop-off time by calling 330-638-6783 or emailing me. We do ask that you confirm that the package contains seeds before dropping it off.
Slightly more terrifying than getting a seed packet in the mail is the arrival of the Asian longhorned tick in Ohio. This tick was recently confirmed on a stray dog in southern Ohio, and it is cause for concern with livestock owners.
What is unique about the longhorned tick is that it can reproduce asexually, so you only need to have a female present for a population to take hold. Populations can grow quickly and high infestation levels have been known to severely harm or even kill livestock.
Unlike our more common dog and black-legged (deer) ticks that have some color variation, the Asian long-horned tick is entirely brown. You can see pictures for identification on the CDC’s website.
Fortunately, they do not appear to like humans (I’ll call that a win in 2020), but prefer animals with fur. Be sure to keep your tick control up-to-date for any pets, and inspect your livestock for infestations.
The ongoing pandemic has thrown all markets into uncharted territory and the agricultural sector is no different.
Back in the spring, you likely saw empty shelves and product rationing at the grocery store. That was not necessarily from a supply shortage, but from a sudden shift in market demand. Dairy farmers were forced to dump milk while grocery stores were limiting purchases to one or two gallons of milk at a time. There were shortages of meat for purchase while there were plenty of animals to be butchered.
This inability to move product to through markets resulted in a sharp drop of prices paid to dairy farmers and livestock owners who sold primarily at open sales. Paychecks from those dark months made it to the farmers early this summer and while they are rebounding, they are still quite low.
Crop farmers are also taking a hit as demand falls, including the decreased demand for ethanol as fewer people are traveling.
There is no easy answer to improve the financial outlook, but we can only hope that the pandemic doesn’t last too long, and the sooner an effective vaccine arrives the better. I’ve never been more excited to get a shot in my entire life!
OSU Extension Trumbull County is still here to serve you during the pandemic. Our office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday, but we are available any day of the week by appointment.
We hope you all stay safe and healthy.
Submitted by Lee Beers, OSU Extension Educator. He can be reached by email.
OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.