Life on the Farm

a special supplement to

THE DELPHOS HERALD
March 2012

2 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

March 2012

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March 2012

Robots on the farm
Commercial farms of the future may be staffed by robots that will identify, spray and pick individual pieces of produce from plants, even when their targets are grapes, peppers and apples that are as green as the leaves that surround them. As scientists in Israel and Europe get closer to this goal, experts say the work has a number of potential benefits. Autonomous agricultural robots could protect human workers from the harmful effects of handling chemicals by hand. And through a system of highly selective spraying, robots could reduce a farm’s use of pesticides by up to 80 percent. Robots could also offer a timely supply of labor in many places, where there simply aren’t enough itinerant workers available at the right times in the harvesting cycle. Meanwhile, attempts to create robots that can see, grasp and learn could end up having widespread applications in medicine, video games and more. And while scientists have been working to develop robots for agricultural labor for more than 20 years, a new project is taking a more cerebral approach. The goal is to teach computers to see like humans do and to get better at their jobs as they work and learn.

The Herald Agricultural Tab – 3

“The technology is ready, and now we can start seeing this penetrating into the market,” said Yael Edan, an engineer and robotics researcher at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. “I would say there will definitely be robots out there in five years -- maybe not be on every farm, and maybe not for every farmer. I think now the time is there.” Modern commercial farms are already full of tractors with automated steering and machines that can milk cows and till soil. But zeroing in on individual fruits or vegetables is a much more challenging task. That’s because the outdoor environment is unpredictable and ever-changing. Each piece of produce, for example, has a unique shape, size, color and orientation, which means that a computer can’t be programmed to simply search for a specific image. Shadows and light conditions change throughout the day and night, as well, making an individual object look different under various conditions. And green fruits and vegetables can look much like the leafy bushes or vines they grow on. To boost a computer’s ability to find order within the relative chaos of an agricultural environment, Edan’s team, along

with a European consortium of colleagues, is working on intelligent sensing systems. One strategy involves multi-spectral cameras that analyze wavelengths of light bouncing off of objects. The idea is to find a consistent pattern that would tell the robot when it is seeing, say, a pepper, no matter whether that pepper was rightside-up or upside-down. Along with other sensors and programs, the researchers aim to create a robotic “brain” that could then learn from its mistakes and improve as it works. “We will have an algorithm that will see simple shapes. And when food is partially covered by leaves, it will say: ‘OK, let’s not use the full-shape algorithm. But since we only see part of the food, let’s try to complete the contour,’” Edan said. What separates her team’s work from previous projects, she said, is that it incorporates both features of human vision and computer learning. So far, computers can easily find between 80 and 85 percent of fruits on a plant, the group has found. But their benchmark is 90 percent, and many farmers say they wouldn’t use a robot unless it hit an accuracy rate of 99 percent. Once a robot identifies its targets, the

engineers are also trying to design a grasping tool that will grab produce in the right place and pick it with the right amount of firmness. To that end, they are studying human movements and using another set of algorithms to try to imitate what comes so naturally to human hands. As the project, which began last October, ramps up and begins to produce results, agricultural robots could eventually help farmers around the world, including in the United States, said Bernie Engel, an agricultural engineer at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. “In many cases, there are challenges finding labor to do some of the harvesting of strawberries and other fruits and vegetables,” Engel said. “It’s hard work. There’s a timeliness factor, where you can’t wait a week. You need lots of labor for fairly short periods of time, which creates real challenges for keeping people employed in a sustainable manner.” “If you think about the global population at this point and the need to feed a growing population,” he added, “we have to get more efficient at the harvesting and production of these crops.”
Courtesy of Discovery News.

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4 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

Maps reveal new plant hardiness zones
(MS) Gardeners rely on a number of factors when deciding on what to plant in their gardens and around their property. One of the most important things to take into consideration is the climate. Since 1960, the go-to source for climate and relation to agriculture has been the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone map. In 1967, Agriculture Canada developed their own map that took into consideration Canadian plant survival data and a wider range of climatic variables. The maps remained constant until now. In January 2012, the USDAreleased an updated zone map. The map is now more precise and reflects microclimates, heat islands, prevailing wind, elevation, and generally better data. It breaks down the country into 13 unique zones from the previous 11. Individuals who once resided in a particular zone may find that they are now moved into another zone. This updated map has taken into consideration climate changes that have occurred between 1976 and 2005. You now may be able to try plants that you may have been skeptical about in the past. The new map now offers a Geographic Information System, orGIS, -based, interactive format and is specifically designed to be Internet-friendly. The map website also incorporates a “find your zone by ZIP code” function. Static images of national, regional and state maps have also been included to ensure the map is readily accessible to those who lack broadband Internet access. The new version of the map includes 13 zones, with the addition for the first time of zones 12 (50-60 degrees F) and 13 (60-70 degrees F). Each zone is a 10-degree Fahrenheit band, further divided into A and B 5-degree Fahrenheit zones. A hardiness zone describes a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone. Summer temperatures are not factored into the mix. Therefore, areas with similar winter patterns and average lows may be in the same zone despite having drastically different highs. Hardiness zones may not take into consideration snow cover, either. Snow helps insulate the soil and hibernating plants. Therefore hardiness zones are more like guidelines instead of foolproof methods of determining viable plants. Although a poster-sized version of this

March 2012

map will not be available for purchase from USDA, as in the past, anyone may download the map free of charge from the Internet onto their personal computer and print copies of the map as needed. When shopping for plants, most will dis-

play a hardiness zone right on the container to help you determine whether this particular plant will be acceptable outdoors in your zone. To learn more about hardiness zones, visit www.usda.gov or http://planthardiness.gc.ca.

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March 2012

The Herald Agricultural Tab –5

Did you know? Facts about America’s farmers
Every day, America’s farm families rise to meet the challenge of feeding and clothing the world. Satisfying world demand is exactly what they do. America sends her bounty all over the world, and it all starts on family farms. To these men and women, the land is more than a livelihood – it’s a legacy. It’s a resource to be cared for, preserved, improved and passed to the next generation. They’re the caretakers of our land. They make their living from it. They provide for us with it. In some way, we’re all connected to agriculture. Learn more about what America’s farmers provide for us every day. U.S. FARM FACTS • To keep up with population growth more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years as the past 10,000 years combined. • Today, the average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26 people. • Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as his parents did – using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions. • American farmers ship more than $100 billion of their crops and products to many nations. • U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world’s corn, using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world. • Farmers are a direct lifeline to more than 23 million U.S. jobs in all kinds of industries. • In the past five years, U.S. farm operators have become more demographically diverse. The 2007 census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. • The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and African-American farm operators increased as well. U.S. CORN FACTS • One bushel of corn is 56 pounds. That means U.S. farmers produce an average of more than 9,000 pounds of corn per acre. • If U.S. farmers used crop production practices from 1931 to produce an amount of corn equivalent to the 2008 crop, it would require 490 million acres—an area more than 120 million acres larger than the state of Alaska. • The U.S. produces about 40 percent of the world’s corn – using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world. • Individuals or families own 82 percent of corn farms. Another 6 percent are familyheld corporations. • Less than 15 percent of U.S. corn acres are irrigated. • Farmers today produce 70 percent more corn per pound of fertilizer than as recently as the 1970s. • Corn farmers have reduced total fertilizer use by 10 percent since 1980. • According to the USDA, one acre of corn… removes about 8 tons of carbon dioxide from the air in a growing season… at 180 bushels per acre produces enough oxygen to supply a year’s needs for 131 people. • Corn production has marched steadily upward for decades while using fewer acres. • American farmers produced the five largest corn crops in history during the past five years. Even after supplying foodmakers, ranchers, ethanol producers and grain exporters, America will again be able to save 10 percent of this year’s harvest for the future. • Farmers today grow five times as much corn as they did in the 1930s — on 20 percent less land. That is still 13 million acres, or 20,000 square miles, twice the size of Massachusetts. • The yield per acre has skyrocketed from 24 bushels in 1931 to 154 now, or a six-fold gain. U.S. SOYBEAN FACTS • Farmers in more than 30 U.S. states grow soybeans, making soybeans the country’s second-largest crop in cash sales and the number one value crop export. • Soy ink is used to print textbooks and newspapers. • The soybean is the highest natural source of dietary fiber. • The livestock industry is the largest consumer of soy meal. • In 2008, soybeans represented 56 percent of world oilseed production, and 33 percent of those soybeans were produced by the American farmer. • The U.S. exported 1.16 billion bushels (31.6 million metric tons) of soybeans in 2008, which accounted for 40 percent of the world’s soybean trade. • A 60-pound bushel of soybeans yields about 48 pounds of protein-rich meal and 11 pounds of oil. • One and a half gallons of biodiesel and 48 pounds of soybean meal can be produced from one bushel of soybeans.

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6 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

Soil quality management
How can you manage land in a way that improves soil productivity, water quality, and other soil benefits? Start with these six components of soil quality management. If you want to assess the effect of your existing land

March 2012

FARM INSURANCE

management practices, begin by asking which of your practices fall into each of these categories. Choosing specific practices within each category depends on your situation because different kinds of soil respond differently to the same practice. Enhance organic matter Organic matter management: Whether your soil is naturally high or low in organic matter, adding new organic matter every year is perhaps the most important way to improve and maintain soil quality. Regular additions of organic matter improve soil structure, enhance water and nutrient holding capacity, protect soil from erosion and compaction, and support a healthy community of soil organisms. Practices that increase organic matter include: leaving crop residues in

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Avoid excessive tillage Tillage management: Reducing tillage minimizes the loss of organic matter and protects the soil surface with plant residue. Tillage is used to loosen surface soil, prepare the seedbed, and control weeds and pests. But tillage can also break up soil structure, speed the decomposition and loss of organic matter, increase the threat of erosion, destroy the habitat of helpful organisms, and cause compaction. BELT METER™ New equipment alPLANT SOYBEANS BETTER! lows crop producwith the Belt Meter™ tion with minimal disturbance of the PRECISION METER™ soil. (Link to culti• Precision Finger Sets™ • Population Max™ Backing Plates • SkipStop™ • Population Max™ Adjustable Brush vation practices.) and focus on Farm Credit’s had a nutrients efficiently farmers and rural America manChemical MARTIN PLANTER ATTACHMENTSfor 90 years. Let us put STRIP TILL AS YOU PLANT! generations of experience to with Martin Planter Attachments work for you.
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agement: An important function of soil is to buffer and detoxify chemicals, but soil’s capacity for detoxification is limited. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers have valuable benefits, but they also can harm non-target organisms and pollute water and air if they are mismanaged. Nutrients from organic sources also can pollute when misapplied or over-applied. Efficient pest and nutrient management means testing and monitoring soil and pests; applying only the necessary chemicals, at the right time and place to get the job done; and taking advantage of non-chemical approaches to pest and nutrient management such as crop rotations, cover crops, and manure management. (Link to fertility management and pest management practices.) Prevent soil compaction Compaction management: Compaction reduces the amount of air, water, and space available to roots and soil organisms. Compaction is caused by repeated traffic, heavy traffic, or traveling on wet soil. Deep compaction by heavy equipment is difficult or impossible to remedy, so prevention is essential. Subsoil tillage is only effective on soils with a clearly I Loans and leases defined root-restricting plow pan. In the absence of a plow pan, subI Real Estate, farm mortgages soil tillage to eliminate compac-

tion can reduce yield. Prevention, not tillage, is the way to manage compaction. (Link to cultivation, compaction controlled traffic practices.) Keep the ground covered Residue management: Bare soil is susceptible to wind and water erosion, and to drying and crusting. Ground cover protects soil, provides habitats for larger soil organisms, such as insects and earthworms, and can improve water availability. Ground can be covered by leaving crop residue on the surface or by planting cover crops. In addition to ground cover, living cover crops provide additional organic matter, and continuous cover and food for soil organisms. Ground cover must be managed to prevent problems with delayed soil warming in spring, diseases, and excessive build-up of phosphorus at the surface. (Link to residue and cover crop practices.)

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As a hobby farmer, your worries aren’t limited to aphids, goat bloat and the price of fuel. Whether you have a home on the range or a few acres in the suburbs, you’re likely also concerned about issues that threaten your rural lifestyle. March 11 marks the start of National Agriculture Week. Here are the top five ruraldevelopment concerns for hobby farmers and what’s being done to address them. 1. Rural Food Deserts As rural populations dwindle so have the number of supermarkets in farming commu-

Issues facing hobby farmers
nities, creating rural food deserts. According to the USDA, more than 3.6 million people live in rural food deserts, or areas where access to fresh, healthy, affordable foods is more than 10 miles away. In its Food Desert Map, the USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that 26 percent of U.S. food desert tracts are rural. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program in 2009 to fund projects and interventions that improve access to fresh, healthy foods in food deserts.

March 2012

The Herald Agricultural Tab – 7

The Center for Rural Affairs is also increasing awareness about food deserts and implementing strategies to save small-town grocery stores. 2. Fracking The impact of hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), a process of injecting water and chemicals into deep wells to extract natural gas, weighs heavily on farmers’ minds. Fracking has been blamed for contaminating groundwater and causing reproductive and neurological problems in livestock. Researchers from Cornell University re-

leased a report, “Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health,” in January 2012 linking fracking with sudden death in cattle. Food and Water Watch, a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable food, fish and water, lists several regional actions against fracking The National Farmers Union in Canada called for a moratorium on fracking in February 2012. To date, the National Farmers Union in the U.S. has not See ISSUES, page 8

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8 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

March 2012

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Issues (Continued from page 7)
addressed the issue of fracking. 3. Farmland Preservation American Farmland Trust, a nonprofit aimed at protecting farm and ranch land, reports that 1 acre of agricultural land is lost to development every minute. To protect disappearing farmland, American Farmland Trust promotes environmentally sound farming practices and educates the public about the importance of supporting local farmers. The organization also lobbies for policy changes to protect farmland, including the Federal Farmland Protection Policy Act, which was introduced as part of the Farm Bill in 1981 as the first federal law to address the loss of agricultural land to nonfarm development. The Federal Farmland Protection Policy Act minimizes the extent to which federal projects, like airports, dams and highways, contribute to the loss of farmland, but doesn’t address the impact of private developers. Several states, including Illinois, Washington and Connecticut, have also enacted farmland-preservation programs. 4. Funding for New Farmers With the USDA’s estimate that 500,000 farmers are expected to retire in the next 20 years, the future of U.S. agriculture is threatened. New farmers are eager to take the reins but face significant stumbling blocks to starting a farm. A whopping 78 percent of young farmers cited lack of capital as the biggest challenge facing beginning farmers, according to “Building a Future With Farmers: Challenges Faced by Young, American Farmers and a National Strategy to Help Them Succeed,” a report issued by the National Young Farmers’ Coalition. The majority of farmers under age 30 who were surveyed rented farmland because farm ownership was out of reach. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency offers loans to beginning farmers, but according to NYFC, it can take up to a year to receive funds and loan limits of $300,000 are often too low to purchase farmland in many markets. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is promoting the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act—included in the 2012 Farm Bill—to improve access to land, credit and crop insurance for new farmers and provide the training and mentoring they need to be successful. 5. Price of Farmland In 2011, farm equipment manufacturer Case IH surveyed farmers about the leading issues impacting their operations and found See ISSUES, page 10

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The Herald Agricultural Tab – 9

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10 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

March 2012

Issues (Continued from page 8)
that almost 25 percent of respondents cited the availability and price of land for expansion as a top concern. Prices for land in O’Brien County, Iowa, reached $7,148 per acre, up 16.2 percent from 2009, according to an annual survey conducted by Iowa State University Extension. In fact, the average value of an acre of farmland in Iowa increased 15.9 percent in 2010, following a trend of higher prices across the Midwest. A March 2011 article in the New York Times attributed record real-estate prices for farmland to higher prices for crops, like corn and wheat, pushing up land values and low interest rates drawing investors. Across the U.S., organizations like American Farmland Trust have spearheaded regional efforts, such as purchasing conservation easements and expanding farm leasing opportunities, to make farmland more affordable and help farmers expand existing enterprises.
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Composting is important supplement for your garden soil
Compost is the single most important supplement you can give your garden soil. Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It’s also free, easy to make and good for the environment. Composting Benefits Soil conditioner. With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil. Recycles kitchen and yard waste. Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can. Introduces beneficial organisms to the soil. Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease. Good for the environment. Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Reduces landfill waste. Most landfills in North America are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials. You can also add garden soil to your compost. A layer of soil will help to mask any odours, and micro-organisms in the soil will accelerate the composting process. Do not compost meat, bones or fish scraps (they will attract pests), perennial weeds (they can be spread with the compost) or diseased plants. Do not not include pet manures in compost that will be used on food crops. Banana peels, peach peels and orange rinds may contain pesticide residue, and should be kept out of the compost. Black walnut leaves should not be composted. Sawdust may be added to the compost, but should be mixed or scattered thinly to avoid clumping. Be sure sawdust is clean, with no machine oil or chain oil residues from cutting equipment. For kitchen wastes, keep a container with a lid and a handle under the sink. Consider using a stainless steel compost pail with air filter, or the ceramic model. If you don’t mind occasional smells, use an old icecream pail. Chop up any large chunks before you toss them in. When the container is full, take it out to your composter, or, use an indoor composter such as the NatureMill. With yard and garden wastes, different composting materials will decompose at different rates but they will all break down eventually. If you want to speed up the composting process, chop the larger material into smaller pieces. Leaves and grass clippings are also excellent for compost, but should be sprinkled into the bin with other materials, or put on in thin layers. Otherwise they will mat together and take longer to compost. How to Compost Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds. Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile. Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down. Add manure, green manure ( clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass ) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along. Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job. Cover with anything you have - wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden. Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material, like straw.Note: If this all seems like too much work, you may consider a buying a rotating compost tumbler to save time and effort. Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio All compostable materials are either carbon or nitrogen-based. The secret to a healthy compost pile is simple: maintain a working balance between these two elements. Carbon - carbon-rich matter (like branches, stems, dried leaves, peels, bits of wood, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, coffee filters, conifer needles, egg shells, hay, peat moss, wood ash) gives compost its light, fluffy body. Nitrogen - nitrogen or protein-rich matter (manures, food scraps, leafy materials like lawn clippings and green leaves) provides raw materials for making enzymes. A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen. A simple rule of thumb is to use one-third green and twothirds brown materials. This allows oxygen to penetrate and nourish the organisms that reside there. Too much nitrogen makes for a heavy, smelly, slowly decomposing mass. Good composting hygiene means covering fresh nitrogen-rich material, which can release odors if exposed to open air, with carbon-rich material, which often exudes a fresh, wonderful smell. If in doubt, add more carbon!

March 2012

The Herald Agricultural Tab – 11

Simplest Composting Methods ~ “No-turn” composting The biggest chore with composting is turning the pile from time to time. However, with ‘no-turn composting’, your compost can be aerated without turning. The secret is to thoroughly mix in enough coarse material, like straw, when building the pile. The compost will develop as fast as if it were turned regularly, and studies show that the nitrogen level may be even higher than with turned compost. With ‘no-turn’ composting, add new materials to the top of the pile, and harvest fresh compost from the bottom of the bin. This can be easily done in an Aerobin Composter, or a WIBO compost bin. ~ Composting leaves If you have too many leaves to incorporate into the compost bin, you can simply compost the pile of leaves by itself. Locate the pile where drainage is adequate; a shaded area will help keep the pile from drying out. The leaf pile should be at least 4’ in diameter and 3’ in height. Include a layer of dirt between each foot of leaves. The pile should be damp enough that when a sample taken from the interior is squeezed by hand, a few drops of moisture will appear. The pile should not be packed too tightly. See COMPOSTING, page 12

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12 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

March 2012

Composting

(Continued from page 11) The pile will compost in 4 - 6 months, with the material being dark and crumbly. Leaf compost is best used as an organic soil amendment and conditioner; it is not normally used as a fertilizer because it is low in nutrients. ~ Leaf-mould tea You can also use leaves to make a nutrituous “tea” for your plants. Simply wrap a small pile of leaves in burlap and immerse in a garbage can or large bucket of water. Leave for three days, then remove the “tea bag” and dump contents into the compost. Scoop out the enriched water with a smaller bucket and use to water your plants and shrubs. Enclosed Compost Bins For small-scale outdoor composting, enclosed bins are the most practical. The least expensive method is to build one yourself from a heavy-duty garbage can. Simply drill 1.5-cm aeration holes in rows at roughly 15cm intervals around the can. Fill the can with a mixture of high-carbon and high-nitrogen materials. Stir the contents occasionally to avoid anaerobic pockets and to speed up the composting process. If the lid is secure, the bin can be laid on its side and rolled; a length of 2” cedar ( use a 2x2 or a 2x4) can be bolted to the inside, running top to bottom, to help flip the material. Without this, the contents tend to stay in place while the

bin is rolled. Another option is a compost bin, sometimes called a ‘compost digester’. Compost bins are enclosed on the sides and top, and open on the bottom so they sit directly on the ground. These are common composting units for homes in residential areas where bins tend to be smaller, yet enclosed enough to discourage pests. These bins are inexpensive, but it is difficult to turn the compost, so it can take several months to produce compost. These bins are thin-walled plastic, and may chip along the edges, especially during a freeze. The most efficient enclosed bin method is the compost tumbler. It’s possible to maintain relatively high temperatures in drum/ tumbler systems, both because the container acts as insulation and because the turning keeps the microbes aerated and active. An interior “paddle” aids aeration and prevents clumping of the composting materials. This greatly speeds up the composting process. An enclosed ‘tumbler’ system offer the following benefits: - speeds up the composting process - can compost year-round, due to higher internal temperature - cannot be accessed by rodents, raccoons, dogs or other critters - keeps compost neatly enclosed and odor-free, well-suited for residential areas Courtesy of eartheasy.com

Van Wert County Agricultural Society
1055 S. Washington St., Van Wert, OH 45891 419-238-9270 Fax: 419-238-6408 Email: vwfair@bright.net www.vanwertcountyfair.com www.ohiofairs.org

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Williamson
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August 29 to September 3, 2012

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Heritage Coop Delphos Herald Cairo Farm Tab 3 2012.indd 1 2/27/2012 10:13:30 AM

March 2012

The Herald Agricultural Tab – 13

Twice baked potatoes
8 potatoes (baked) 1 tsp. salt milk (not too much 1/4 cup butter 1/2 tsp. garlic powder Mashed, then add 6 oz. cream cheese, 4

COUNTRY RECIPES

tablespoons cream cheese, 4 tablespoons onion, 4 tablespoons parsley, 2 cup cheddar cheese. Put back in shells, sprinkle with paprika. Cover, refrigerate overnight. Bake at 400 degree, 25-30 minutes.

Beef Stew
Ingredients 1 pound cubed beef stew meat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 onion, thinly sliced 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste 1 (14.5 ounce) can low fat, low sodium beef broth 1 cup chopped carrots 3 potatoes, cubed 1 sprig fresh rosemary 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 10 ounces button mushrooms, quartered 1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed Directions Remove any bits of fat from the meat. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute the meat in the oil for 10 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove meat and set aside. Add the onion and tomato paste to the pot and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until onion is tender, stirring often. Return the meat to the skillet along with the

Scalloped potatoes
3 cups thinly sliced onions 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 tablespoons olive oil (any oil will do) 4 tablespoons butter 2 pounds tomatoes 2 1/2 lbs. potatoes 1 1/2 tsp. salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoos chopped parsley 1/4 tsp. basil 1/2 tsp. oregano 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (about 1/4 lb.) 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Saute the onions and the garlic in the oil and 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Peel the tomatoes and cut them in half, then

gently squeeze out the seeds. Let them drain upside down. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into very thin slices. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the onions, along with 1/4 tsp. of salt, pepper, the parsley, basil and oregano. Mix gently. Butter the bottom and sides of a shallow three quart casserole. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spoon one third of the tomato-onion mixture on the bottom. Add half the potatoes, /2 tsp. salt, a little pepper, 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1 tablespoons of the parmesan cheese. Repeat once again. Top with the remaining third of the tomatoonion mixture. Dot surface with 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake for two hours (at least) until potatoes are tender.

beef broth, combining with the onion and tomato paste mixture. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender. Add the carrots, potatoes, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and crushed red pepper flakes and simmer, covered, for another 45 minutes. (Note: It may be necessary to add some water if the stew seems too thick.) Finally, add the mushrooms and the peas and allow stew to heat through, about another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig before serving.

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14 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

Old country stuffing
Ingredients 2 loaves oven-dried white bread (recommended: Pepperidge Farm) 2 cups cooked white rice 1 sleeve crushed saltines 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage 2 cups chopped celery 1 large onion, chopped 7 cups chicken stock Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning 3 eggs, beaten 1/4 stick butter, melted Mushroom Giblet Gravy, recipe follows Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Crumble oven-dried bread into a large bowl. Add rice and saltines. Cook sausage in a large skillet until it starts to brown. Add celery and onion and saute until transparent, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour over bread and rice mixture. Add stock and mix well. Add salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning. Mix well. Add the beaten eggs and melted butter. Mix well.

March 2012

1 lb. chicken livers (fresh, not previously Reserve 2 tablespoons of the stuffing mix- frozen) 2 cups finely chopped onions ture for the Mushroom Giblet Gravy. 3 hard-boiled eggs Pour stuffing into a greased pan and bake 6 Tblsp. schmaltz until cooked through and golden brown, salt and black pepper to taste a few gribenes (optional) about 45 minutes. Preheat broiler to 500°. Broil livers on broiler rack 4 inches from the heat source for Mushroom Giblet Gravy: 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the 4 cups turkey or chicken stock oven and finely chop livers. Giblets from 1 turkey Melt 6 Tblsp. schmaltz in skillet and sauté 2 chicken bouillon cubes onions over medium/low heat until soft and 2 tablespoons reserved stuffing mixture just beginning to brown. Add chopped liver 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1/3 cup cold water 2 pints button mushrooms, sliced 3 tablespoons butter 1 hard boiled egg, sliced Ingredients Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 lb. ground beef (80/20)

Chopped liver

Italian Wedding Soup
2 ea. eggs 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs 3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated 3 quarts chicken broth 3 cups fresh baby spinach 1 cup carrots, diced 1 cup yellow onion, diced 1 cup celery, diced 2 cups orzo pasta ½ cup (to taste) extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste Cooking Directions Saute carrots, onion and celery in oil until soft

pieces and sauté 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Pour contents of skillet into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, chop the eggs and add them to the liver mixture. Mix in the salt, pepper, and gribenes (if using). Mix everything together until well blended. Chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving. Serving Suggestions: Serve small portions of chopped liver garnished with kosher dill pickles and pickled beet slices during the winter. Garnish the liver with fresh tomato and English cucumber slices in the summer.

Bring stock and giblets to a boil. Add bouillon and reserved stuffing mixture. Make a slurry by whisking together the cornstarch and water and add to the boiling stock; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms until browned in butter. Add mushrooms to gravy with egg and salt and pepper, to taste.

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and starting to brown. Add Chicken stock. Let the mixture reduce on high heat. While boiling, mix beef, eggs, breadcrumbs and parmesan in a separate bowl to make meatballs. Form into ½ inch balls, and set on a baking sheet. Cook meatballs on the baking sheet in 375F degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Add pasta to soup to cook. When meatballs are cooked, add them to the soup. Stir in the spinach to the soup. Boil 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

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March 2012

The Herald Agricultural Tab – 15

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OHIO CITY BRANCH 114 Carmean St., P.O. Box 187 Ohio City, OH 45874-0187 419-965-2121 CONVOY BRANCH S. Main St., P.O. Box 100 Convoy, OH 45832 419-749-2226
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16 – The Herald Agricultural Tab

March 2012

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT C & J AGRI SERVICE LLC 419-692-4332 or toll free 866-262-1291

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