Master Gardener training class to begin in March

By Deborah Reinhart Brown - Ag Update

Yeah, it’s that time of year: Looking for a Christmas gift for that hard-to-buy-for person? Our Master Gardener training class will begin in March. This eight-week series includes topics such as fruit and vegetable production, lawn care, ornamentals, tree care and pruning, basic botany and plant propagation, soils and fertility, controlling pests, invasive species, and much more! This could be the “perfect gift” for that parent/grandparent/retired friend who likes to “work in the yard” and always wants to learn more! The cost for the class is $150 and we are currently taking applications. You can contact our office for more information or to have an application sent to you.

A four-part webinar series on minimizing costs when feeding livestock is now available to view online. Links to the 2015 Ohio Beef Feedlot School are at The webinars, which were filmed earlier this year, feature presentations by Francis Fluharty, a professor of ruminant nutrition in the college. The webinars, each about two to 2.5 hours long, focus on beef feedlot nutrition and maximizing profits by increasing feed efficiency and using byproducts to reduce feed costs.

Topics covered in the series include the following: Ruminant digestive physiology, rumen function and carbohydrates; Protein digestion and metabolism, protein sources, and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS); Receiving and growing strategies for calves versus yearlings, and Holstein growing and finishing; and Methodologies to enhance marbling and feed efficiency. (Now, the “teacher” in me suggests that even non-cattle-farmers might want to watch that first one, especially: It’s *science* and an introduction to how a ruminant’s digestive tract is different than our own! Yeah, I’m a nerd … !)

Do you have a written lease for your crop acres? Why not? Oh, yes: You’ve had a verbal agreement for years and that’s worked just fine. Good for You! You don’t need to read any further …

You know, a lot of unexpected things can happen:

• What if one of the parties dies? Is the lease terminated? When — date of death? End of year? After harvest?

• Does the tenant have the right to keep farming the land if it’s sold? What if he’s just planted a long-range crop (alfalfa for hay)? Can he manage/harvest it for the next three-to-five years? If not, does he get reimbursed for his establishment costs?

• Who’s responsible for care of the land and improvements (tile, etc.)? Is the tenant assured that his expenses (repairs, nutrient maintenance) will benefit him? What if the landlord doesn’t approve of the practices being used?

A written cropland rental or lease agreement can protect both landowners and tenants. Creating a written lease agreement doesn’t suggest a lack of trust by either party; it’s done for the benefit of all parties involved, to reduce the amount of risk or uncertainty inherent in a verbal agreement, a way to think through all kinds of questions or potentially problematic situations before they come up. Not only does it clarify the terms and conditions, it can also help prevent legal problems down the line.

As the agriculture industry becomes more complex with a more volatile market, it becomes tougher to maintain verbal agreements. Without a written agreement, this leads to more risk. Some issues that are typically included in a farmland lease agreement include a legal description, address and acreage of the land parcel, and the signatures of all landowners and the tenant. More information on written leases and leasing, in general, can be found at and

Have a Great week! Maybe I’ll see you at the SWCD Banquet Thursday evening!!

By Deborah Reinhart Brown

Ag Update

The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at

The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at