The 10th annual Ag is Everyone’s Business event was held by the Highland County Chamber of Commerce at Boeckmann Farms, north of Hillsboro last Friday as an opportunity to join the local business community with area farmers, future farmers, and business leaders.
The featured speakers were Dr. Dennis Summers, chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) Division of Animal Health, and Eric Snodgrass, the principal atmospheric scientist for Nutrien Ag.
Dawson Osborn of the Lynchburg-Clay FFA Chapter and Ohio FFA State Reporter provided remarks about the organization.
“Each of our schools have outstanding agricultural educators that see to it that their students have the opportunity to participate in activities at the chapter, state and national level,” said Osborn. “It’s hard to imagine our high schools in Highland County without these great FFA chapters. In fact, it’s hard to even imagine Highland County as a whole without the activities that our FFA chapters put on and the outstanding members they produce.”
Osborn echoed the FFA Creed of believing in the future of agriculture and said, “We’re all united by this blue jacket that I’m wearing today in furthering that FFA mission of developing premier leadership, personal growth and career success.”
“I believe in the future of agriculture, and I believe that FFA will forever play a part in helping to build that future,” he added.
Summers, who was named the chief of the ODA Division of Animal Health in December of 2021, spoke about his role in protecting Ohio’s livestock and poultry.
He said the importance of the role of animal agriculture in Ohio is significant. He noted that the state ranks 10th nationally in turkey production, 16th in cattle and calves, third in egg production, eighth in hogs and pigs, and surprisingly, first in the production of Swiss cheese.
He said that a small number of white-tailed deer have worldwide have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and cases are being monitored.
Summers said that the department is in need of a new building for its Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in order to prevent a bottleneck in testing for the state. The ODA is working to secure $72 million from the state legislature for the facility. Summers encouraged attendees to contact their state legislators about the importance of the facility.
Snodgrass provided a weather outlook for crops during the spring and summer of 2022 after the second recent La Nina weather event. He said it is uncertain if a current drought in the western United States will make its way to Ohio and pointed out that good years for crops in California tend to be bad for Ohio and vice versa.
Snodgrass emphasized the importance of monitoring the impact of the weather, particularly the impact of La Nina, on soybean production in Mato Grasso, Brazil. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of soybeans, and exports from the country create competition for U.S. growers.
“The South American growing season is off to a fast start, especially in Mato Grosso, which is a big state in Brazil,” he said. “You can fit five Iowas inside of Mato Grosso.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.