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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.

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178-acre tax incentive area formed in Warren County

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:46 PM

Warren County commissioners approved 178-acre community reinvestment area on former SUMCO site.

Warren County commissioners approved a community reinvestment area on Tuesday for 178 acres west of Ohio 48 in Hamilton Twp.

The agreement sets the stage for the township and school board to negotiate a tax sharing agreement for commercial or industrial development of the former SUMCO industrial site off Grandin Road, officials said.

The township is working with the owners of the property, the Rippe family and Nick Geraci, on a development there, administrator Michelle Tegtmeier said.

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The formation of the reinvestment area comes after land, including the former Peters Cartridge Factory development, was annexed by South Lebanon, as part of an agreement for the developer to get a tax abatement on this development, costing the Little Miami Schools tax revenue on developments.

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The abatements granted in the new area would be 50 to 100 percent for up to 15 years.

Commissioner Shannon Jones noted property taxes have dwindled on the land since SUMCO left the site eight years ago.

Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Bruce McGary said the resolution establishing the reinvestment area set up a process including the school district “at the table” for negotiations of more than 50 percent in property tax breaks.

The former SUMCO complex is expected to be demolished in anticipation of new development on the industrial site.

RELATED: $34 million in development planned at formers Peters Cartridge Factory site 

Commissioner Dave Young specified that tax incentives would not be used to subsidize residential development.

“The main purpose is to drive commercial, industrial,” said Matthew Schnipke of the county economic development office.

The area also enables Hamilton Twp. “to be competitive with other areas,” including South Lebanon and other cities capable of offering similar incentives in exchange for annexation from the township.

The tax abatement agreements are more lucrative for cities and villages, which collect earning tax from businesses, unless a township is part of joint economic development district with such taxing authority.

“We really think this would be a kick-start,” Tegtmeier said, creating a better tax base for the heavily residential township, south of Lebanon and west of Mason. “Right now, we have nothing.”

MORE: Downtown Dayton housing development growth fueled by tax incentives

Young said he typically opposes creating tax incentive areas through which communities compete with each other.

But Young noted in this case it gave Hamilton Twp. a tool it could use to prevent annexation of potential economic development.

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Amazon looking to buy abandoned Toys ‘R’ Us storefronts

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 3:35 PM


Amazon is looking to buy abandoned Toys ‘R’ Us storefronts once the company shuts them down for good.

The online retail giant is looking at the possibility of acquiring some Toys ‘R’ Us locations as it expands its brick-and-mortar footprint across the country, Bloomberg reported. The stores could be used to showcase its Echo devices.

Toys ‘R’ Us filed for bankruptcy last week. At the beginning of 2018, the chain had more than 800 stores before announcing in January that it would shutter 180 stores.

“Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys“R”Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer.

» RELATED: 5 things to know about Amazon in Monroe

The possible interest comes as Amazon enters the brick-and-mortar game. The company purchased Whole Foods lst year, and it is also opening bookstores. Its cashless convenience stores, Amazon Go, are also reportedly expanding in states across the U.S. in coming years.

So, how does Amazon Go work? Consumers use the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take the products they want and walk out. No checkout. No lines.

The store’s technology uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to automatically detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keep track of them in a virtual cart. Customers grab their items and go, and then their Amazon account is charged with the bill. The store will offer ready-to-go meals, grocery essentials and even locally made food.


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Rita's Italian Ice offering free treats on first day of spring

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:19 AM

Rita’s Italian Ice is offering a free treat to mark the first day of spring.
Rita’s Italian Ice
Rita’s Italian Ice is offering a free treat to mark the first day of spring.(Rita’s Italian Ice)

As the country says farewell to a long, harsh winter for many, it's time to celebrate springtime with a free treat.

>> Read more trending news 

Rita's Italian Ice is once again giving away a free Italian ice on March 20 from noon to 9 p.m.

The promotion has grown in popularity over the years, with almost 1 million Italian ice cups given away in a nine-hour period in 2017, according to Rita's.

For those who love cool treats, Dairy Queen will mark the first day of spring with a free cone promotion.

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Macy’s rolling out new mobile checkout at most store locations

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 7:19 AM

Macy's announced 5,000 job cuts and seven more store closures.

Macy’s Inc. is introducing mobile checkout services at most of its store locations.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told an audience at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Consumer & Retail Technology Conference in New York earlier this month that the retailer plans to test mobile checkout at about 450 of its 650 stores.

» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Macy’s outlet store to open at shopping center in Dayton area

Customers can use their smartphone app to scan items throughout the store. Then, the shoppers use the express checkout lane where employees will verify their purchases and remove security tags. It is unclear when the roll-out of the new technology will occur.

Macy’s has several store locations in the region. Macy’s is renovating one of its existing stores in the Dayton area to add an outlet store, according to a permit submitted to the Montgomery County Building Regulations Division.

» CONTINUED COVERAGE: Macy’s ‘fine-tuning’ staffing at some stores

Macy’s submitted a permit for a partial remodel of its existing Macy’s department store located at 2700 Miamisburg Centerville Road at the Dayton Mall. The estimated market value of the completed project is $75,000. The permit indicates the project is a partial building alteration to make space for a 1,300-square-foot Macy’s Backstage outlet.

»MUST-READ RETAIL NEWS: Will Macy’s become a discount store? Retailer shares grim sales report

The department store chain has invested in its off-price concept, called Macy’s Backstage. The company added 11 new Backstage stores within existing Macy’s stores in the first quarter of 2017. The stores, similar to Nordstrom Rack, offer discounted prices on brand clothing up to 80 percent off.

In January, the company announced the closure of 11 Macy’s stores — including one in downtown Cincinnati. It’s part of the retailer’s plan to close approximately 100 stores, which was announced back in August 2016.


• JC Penney cuts 360 jobs in stores, corporate headquarters

• Coroner requested after Fuyao forklift accident: What we know now

• Macy’s outlet store to open at shopping center in Dayton area

• Check out this $1 million home for sale in Clearcreek Twp.

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