Area farmers struggle with harvest following strange weather

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 6:30 AM

Watch a soybean harvest in the autumn twilight from the air

The weather in recent weeks has been strange and difficult for area farmers. Brisk September days. Warm, humid October nights. Drought — then almost constant rain.

The temperature last Sunday afternoon dropped some seven degrees in just one hour.

“Harvest has slowed down significantly in the last 10 days,” said Sam Custer, educator for the Ohio State University Extension in Darke County. “We have had rain events every day for the last ten days. This has brought the soybean harvest to a standstill and greatly slowed down the corn harvest.”

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In Darke County — a rural community of about 52,000 residents and nearly 1,700 farms, according to the U.S Census — Custer estimated that farmers are about 45 percent harvested on soybeans and 15 percent so far for corn.

Darke County has nearly 340,000 acres devoted to farming, according to the Census. That’s more farmland than Miami County (which has more than 184,000 acres devoted to farmland), Montgomery County (over 124,000 acres), Butler (over 146,000 acres) and Warren (over 106,000 acres).

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Strange weather this fall really has been nothing new — at least this year, Custer said.

“The harvest window was going to be long anyway because of the long planting season that was driven by a wet spring,” he said. “Many acres of corn and beans were being either planted or replanted in June.”

An issue with the long harvest will be the “standability” of the crop, he added. Any corn with a weak stalk coming into the harvest because of the spring conditions is very susceptible to weather events. Evening winds have blown some corn over. Wind events in the future will have an effect on the harvestability, he said.

The bottom line? Harvest will be affected, he believes.

“For the harvest that has taken place soybean yields and corn yields across the county I predict will be slightly below average,” he said. “There will be some places that will have very good corn yields.”

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That’s bad news for farmers who are already expected to get low prices for corn and soybeans. Prices are expected to be at $2.80 to $3.60 per bushel for corn and $8.35 to $10.5 per bushel for soybeans.

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Progress report, issued Oct. 16, indicates just 28 percent of the corn crop is harvested in the nation, but well behind the five-year average of 47 percent at the time.

In Montgomery County, farmers are mostly corn and soybean growers. There are some wheat fields and some hay is grown in the southern part of the county, said Suzanne Wasniak-Mills, agricultural and natural resources educator with the OSU Extension in Montgomery County. But the area around Dayton is mostly corn and soybean country.

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Farmers are harvesting now, she said. “So the devil will be in the details — in the yield monitors.”

A yield monitor is a piece of equipment in most combines, calculating the yield farmers get as grain goes through combine machines, she said.

“Things are just all over the board — you don’t know where they’re at,” Wasniak-Mills said. “It depends on the farm and the rain and the variety.”

Weather has been a difficulty for many farmers, she said. Extended soakings and morning fogs all delayed harvest. Last spring presented its own challenges, she said.

Autumn’s first killing frost will stop crop growth, but that doesn’t worry Wasniak-Mills right now. What farmers need more than anything else is to dry out.

“Every season has its own challenges,” she said.

Federal building to be named after Judge Rice

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 10:49 AM

Judge Walter Rice speaks in a July 2015 photo. Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald said on Facebook Friday that the downtown federal building will be named after Rice. FILE
Judge Walter Rice speaks in a July 2015 photo. Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald said on Facebook Friday that the downtown federal building will be named after Rice. FILE

The federal building and courthouse in downtown Dayton will be named after federal Judge Walter H. Rice, according to members of a panel assembled last year to choose a name for the site. 

“I was honored to serve on Congressman Mike Turner’s Citizens Commemoration Panel,” Trotwood Mayor Mayor McDonald wrote on Facebook Friday. “It was great to hear all the wonderful suggestions from citizens about who to name the Federal Building & Courthouse after.”

“After considering all suggestions, we chose The Honorable Walter H. Rice,” McDonald added. “Judge Rice has a long career in the justice system and is an amazing change agent. Join me in congratulating Judge Walter H. Rice!”

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In October 2016, Turner, R-Dayton, said he would introduce legislation to name the courthouse and building, based on what would be the panel’s recommendation.

“The courthouse has served the federal government and the Miami Valley for over 40 years and providing it with a formal designation is long past due,” Turner said last year.

The panel was chaired by Dayton attorney Merle F. Wilberding and included Amanda Wright Lane, a great-grand-niece of the Wright Brothers, Dayton History Chief Executive Brady Kress and eight other members.

Rice is one of the most familiar and respected figures across the Dayton area.

In June 1980, he was sworn in as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in Dayton, having been appointed to that position by President Jimmy Carter.

Rice served as chief judge of the court from October 13, 1996 to October 12, 2003.

He assumed “senior status” on the court in 2004. And in 2014, he received the Thomas J. Moyer award for judicial excellence.

Wilberding said Sunday the panel “unanimously concluded that our recommendation to Congressman Mike Turner was that the federal building in Dayton be named” after Rice.

 “We were all honored to serve on this committee and strongly believe it is an honor well deserved for Judge Rice,” Wilberding said in an email. 

A message seeking comment was left with a spokeswoman for Turner Sunday morning.

Honda recalls 800,000 mini-vans

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 2:28 PM


Honda said Saturday it’s recalling some 800,000 Honda Odyssey mini-vans because of an issue with seat latches that can tip the seats forward if they’re not correctly latched.

The automaker, which has some 13,000 workers in Ohio, has offered recent instructions to Odyssey owners on making sure the affected second-row seats are securely latched.

The recall affects 800,000 Odyssey mini-vans in the United States, the company said.

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Honda said the seats may tip forward if not properly latched after the seats are adjusted from side-to-side or re-installing after a seat removal.

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‘This issue will not occur if a seat is properly latched,” the company said in a statement. “Honda has received 46 reports of minor injuries related to this issue.”

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The action affects Odysseys of model years 2011 to 2017.

Seats will be repaired for free once an approved repair is available, the company said.

Local pet-meal delivery service launches

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

Jennifer Jenkins shows her Labrador mix some love. HANDOUT
Jennifer Jenkins shows her Labrador mix some love. HANDOUT

A new, locally based meal delivery service for pets?

It’s real.

Vandalia-based Ahler’s Catering and Nutritional Services — part of Demetrius of Forty Churches LLC — has announced that it will offer a pet meals program for clients in the Dayton and Springfield areas.

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Ahler’s Catering has been delivering meal kits for Ohio residents, delivering more than 500,000 meals yearly for clients of Buckeye, Catholic Social Services, Comcare, Molina, Passport and Waiver, the business said in an announcement.

The “Ahler’s Angel Pet Meals” program began enrolling client pets in October and made its first deliveries of dry dog food, in 35-pound packages, and dry cat food, in 18-pound packages, in mid-November, the business said.

Deliveries are planned on 60-day intervals, the company said.

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“We offer our clients an enormous variety of dietitian-approved meals with full choice each time they order,” proprietor Jim Harvey said in his announcement. “The goal of variety and choice is to be sure that our clients are receiving food that they want to eat.”

Studies show that sometimes seniors with pets may sacrifice their own food to feed those pets, Harvey said.

Harvey acknowledges that the idea is not new.

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In general, meal kit delivery services as an overall industry has grown to $5 billion in sales, as reported in a July 2017 report, Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S., 2nd Edition.

The list of players in the industry include Campbell Soup, Kroger, Martha Stewart, Peapod, Publix, Tyson — and of course, Amazon.

Last year, a Cincinnati pet foods business announced it would branch out into the Dayton area.

Pet Wants Dayton, an extension of Pet Wants Co., said last year it would start delivering Ohio-produced pet food to Dayton-area homes.

“We feel if we can help even in a small way to provide a high quality pet food to nourish our customers’ best friends, then they may be blessed to have them in their lives longer, living a healthy life through proper pet nutrition,” Harvey said.

To contact Ahler’s, call (937) 506-8487 or write

J. Crew apologizes after photo of black model with messy hair sparks controversy

Published: Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 1:13 AM

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12:  A  J. Crew store stands in lower Manhattan on May 12, 2017 in New York City. Comparable sales for the apparel retailer fell 6.7% in its most recent fiscal year on top of an 8.2% drop the year before. J. Crew announced on Tuesday that it was getting rid of 150 full-time and 100 open positions.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: A J. Crew store stands in lower Manhattan on May 12, 2017 in New York City. Comparable sales for the apparel retailer fell 6.7% in its most recent fiscal year on top of an 8.2% drop the year before. J. Crew announced on Tuesday that it was getting rid of 150 full-time and 100 open positions. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

J. Crew is facing criticism after a photo of one of its models and her seemingly unkempt hair surfaced online.

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One Twitter user took to the platform to express her disapproval. She uploaded the picture of the model with the caption, “J. Crew..... girl.... y’all wrong.”

Many seemed to agree with her sentiment, because the post soon went viral, racking up more than 11,000 retweets and 20,000 likes. 

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Several chimed in, accusing the fashion brand of prepping the model for the shoot without using the proper practices needed to style African-American hair. 

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Others, including the model, Marihenny Pasible, thought the look was in line with J. Crew’s relaxed and natural campaign.

Some challenged the critics, asking them to embrace the care-free look for all cultures.

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After the barrage of comments, J. Crew released a statement on Twitter.

“J.Crew strives to represent every race, gender, and background. We sincerely apologize for the styling of this model and the offense that was caused,” the company wrote.