Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium held in Wilmington
By ANDREA L. CHAFFIN
More than 100 farmers from across Ohio gathered in Wilmington in late December to learn about issues that impact the agriculture industry the most at the 2012 Ohio Grain Farmers Symposium (OGFS).
This is the second consecutive year Clinton County has hosted the event, which is held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) and Ohio Soybean Association (OSA).
“We were really excited because there were a lot of great speakers and we were really happy with the crowd,” said Adam Ward, executive director of the Ohio Soybean Association. “Having it in Wilmington, there are always a lot of folks from southwest Ohio that can make their way over.”
Among the topics discussed during the general session were a legislative update, overview of the current Renewable Fuel Standard and market values, and a presentation from a nationally known climatologist regarding past, present and future weather trends.
Attendees also had the opportunity to choose from a variety of breakout sessions about weed resistance, water quality and the Farm Service Agency.
“All of the topics were pretty interesting,” Ward said. “But, when you take a step back, there are a lot of farmers concerned about weed resistance issues springing up across the south. Probably what hit closest to home is what’s going on with Farm Service Agency and how different programs will be affected by a lack of a passage of a Farm Bill.”
Jerry Bambauer, president of the Ohio Soybean Association, said Thursday’s event was one of the “neatest (he) had attended in a long time.” Bambauer, who currently farms 850 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat in Auglaize County, has been a farmer since the 1970s and an OSA board member for six years.
“We are trying to understand some of the things we are coming up against, and, as a farmer, I like the updates on how things are progressing,” he said.
The discussion on water quality was the most helpful for his operation, as he has been dealing with the issue increasingly for the past two years. Two watersheds are located near his farm, Bambauer said.
“It’s probably the main topic coming into the commodity groups,” he said. “We’ve all got to be conscious of it and we’re all affected by it.”
Other topics he felt were especially important were weed resistance (in reference to the herbicide resistant weed species raging through the South) and the climatology presentation by Evelyn Browning– Garriss, a historical climatologist with Browning Consultants who has served clients across the world.
“I’m not really a big global warming person, but the climatology (session) really gave a new perspective on why things are happening,” he said. “She told us why it’s happening and was able to predict some things in the future — that was pretty neat.”
When asked what next year’s weather will be like compared to the droughts of 2012, Bambauer reported that due to a “La Nina,” there will be better temperatures and moisture for crops, repeating the prediction of Browning-Garriss.
Learning from one another is what the symposium is all about, Ward said.
“One of the big things we can do is share what different problems farmers are having and their solutions,” he said. “As we continue to provide consumers with food products they want, we all have to make sure we’re learning from each other and providing the best information we can so that we’re doing our job in agriculture.”
(Andrea Chaffin is a staff writer for The Wilmington News Journal.)