The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

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COLUMBUS – Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens has appointed State Representative Roy Klopfenstein (R-Haviland) as vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee during the 135th General Assembly.

Roy Klopfenstein

“Farming is my livelihood, so it is a true honor to be assigned as the vice-chair of the House Agriculture Committee,” Klopfenstein said. “I look forward to working on agriculturally focused legislation that will help shape the future of farming in Ohio.”

Klopfenstein has been farming his property in Paulding County for more than 43 years. He was a state committee member of the USDA Farm Service Agency and a member of the Ohio Soybean Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association and Ohio Farm Bureau. He is a former chairman of the Pauling County Extension Advisory Committee.

He was elected last November to the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 82nd House District, which includes of Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties and the southern portion of Defiance County.

“Ohio House members come from all sorts of backgrounds and each present a unique skillset,” Stephens said. “I am confident in our members’ ability to use their expertise to produce strong policies for Ohio.”

House committees can be streamed live on

POSTED: 01/25/23 at 4:42 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

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The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is helping to ensure the next crop of Ohio producers has the resources to provide for their families and those across the state. The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit is now available to those who’ve recently entered the field and those who help beginning farmers.

“Agriculture and food is Ohio’s No. 1 industry,” ODA Interim Director Tracy Intihar said. “The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit will help keep costs down for new producers and encourage others to help them. This incentive ensures that our state will continue to provide for local communities, the country, and even the world.”

To qualify, a beginning farmer is someone who:

  • Is a resident of Ohio.
  • Is seeking entry to or has entered farming within the last 10 years.
  • Farms or intends to farm on land in Ohio.
  • Is not a partner, member, shareholder, or trustee of the assets the individual is seeking to purchase or rent.
  • Has a total net worth of less than $800,000, including spouse and dependent assets, as adjusted for inflation each year.
  • Provides majority of daily physical labor and management of the farm.
  • Has adequate farming experience or knowledge in the type of farming for which seeking assistance.
    Submits projected earnings statements and demonstrates profit potential.
  • Demonstrates farming will be a significant source of income for the individual.
  • Participates in a financial management program approved by ODA.
  • Beginning farmers will need to complete a financial management program to qualify.

Along with beginning farmers, asset owners, or people or businesses that sell or rent farmland, livestock, buildings, or equipment to beginning famers may apply as well. In order for land to qualify as an asset, it must either total at least 10 acres or produce an average annual income of at least $2,500 for farming.


POSTED: 01/06/23 at 4:46 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

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FOSTORIA — AgCredit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness, is hosting a free webinar series in January and February. The webinars will focus on different 2023 outlook topics for agriculture, featuring industry professionals as the presenters.

Here is the schedule:

January 11, 2023, 7 p.m. — Budget and Market Outlook with Barry Ward, OSU Income Tax School

January 18, 2023, 7 p.m. — Grain Marketing Outlook with Bailey Elchinger, StoneX Financial

February 15, 2023, 7 p.m. — Weather Outlook with Eric Snodgrass of Nutrien Ag Solutions

Pre-registration for these free webinars is required. Register at

POSTED: 01/05/23 at 10:38 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

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FOSTORIA — Ag Credit, one of northern Ohio’s largest lenders for farmers, rural homeowners and agribusiness, announced that it is awarding $121,000 in Mission Fund grants to 23 community organizations in support of their efforts to improve the quality of life in communities primarily within the cooperative’s 18-county service territory. Three of these recipients were located in Van Wert and Mercer counties.

Parkway FFA, Van Wert County Ag Society and Van Wert County Soil and Water Conservation District were all recipients of this year’s Mission Fund Grant.

Now in its fifth year, the Mission Fund supports AgCredit’s commitment to investing in the future of agriculture and positively impacting the quality of life in rural Ohio. Recipients were selected based on their proposals to meet criteria in one or more of four key areas: Education, environment, technology and quality of rural life.

Van Wert County Soil and Water Conservation District receiving their grant check. Photos submitted

Following are AgCredit’s 2022 Mission Fund grant recipients:

  • Cardington Community Food Pantry, $5,000, Morrow County
  • Cardington Volunteer Fire Department, $5,000, Morrow County
  • Crawford County Agricultural Society, $9,000, Crawford County
  • Erie County 4-H Camp, $8,000, Erie County
  • Feichtner Memorial Swine Committee, $9,000, Huron County
  • Fort Jennings Volunteer Fire Department, $5,000, Putnam County
  • Hancock County Dairy Beef Youth Boosters, $4,000, Hancock County
  • Hancock Soil and Water Conservation District, $2,000, Hancock County
  • Kalida Volunteer Fire Department, $5,000, Putnam County
  • Lorain County Fair, $9,000, Lorain County
  • Mid-County Ambulance District, $3,000, Wood County
  • Mt. Gilead Fire Department, $5,000, Morrow County
  • New Riegel Volunteer Firemen, $5,000, Seneca County
  • Old Trinity Episcopal Church, $5,000, Seneca County
  • Ottawa County 4-H Advisory Committee, $3,000, Ottawa County
  • Parkway FFA, $5,000, Mercer County
  • Seneca County Junior Fair Goat and Sheep Department, $9,000, Seneca County
  • Seneca East Middle School Science, $1,500, Seneca County
  • Upper Sandusky FFA, $5,000, Wyandot County
  • Van Wert County Ag Society, $9,000, Van Wert County
  • Van Wert Soil and Water Conservation District, $1,000, Van Wert County
  • Wyandot County Advisory Council, $3,500, Wyandot County
  • Wyandot County Agricultural Society, $5,000, Wyandot County

“All of us at AgCredit congratulate these incredible organizations, each of which reflect the vision, service and innovation of rural communities across northern Ohio,” said AgCredit President and CEO Brian Ricker. “We’re proud to support organizations that make our communities better, safer and healthier places to live and work.”

Organizations may apply for Mission Fund grants of up to $15,000 per year. The 2023 application process will begin in March, and funds will be distributed by Dec. 31. For more information about the lending cooperative or the Mission Fund, visit

Parkway FFA students receiving their grant check.

POSTED: 12/02/22 at 10:24 am. FILED UNDER: Farm

Crestview’s FFA seniors were among those who helped host last week’s Cows and Plows event at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. The FFA members had many duties during the day. Some took a group of students to each station around the fairgrounds, some helped presenters set up and present, and some stayed in the Jr. Fair Building and got lunch for fourth grade students from Crestview, Lincolnview, Van Wert and St. Mary’s. Two students took pictures throughout the day. Not only did fourth grade students from Crestview, Lincolnview and St. Mary’s learn different things about animals, farming, and soil, but the senior helpers also learned some things they did not know. Cows and Plows was sponsored by the Van Wert County Soil and Water Conservation District. Photo submitted

POSTED: 10/06/22 at 3:43 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

VW independent staff/submitted information

Ohio State University Extension and The Nature Conservancy are partnering for the second year in a row to provide a self-paced tour of farms around northwest Ohio, including Van Wert and Paulding counties, utilizing soil health-promoting practices.

In addition to showcasing practices in Ohio, this year’s tour will also include tour stops in northeast Indiana and southeast Michigan and also new this year will be the addition of virtual tour stops. These virtual stops will also showcase soil health-promoting practices but will not require attendees to leave the comfort of their homes. Videos, pictures, and write-ups of the practices will paint a picture for participants while being accessible 24/7 during the course of the Soil Health Tour.

This map shows the various stops along the OSU Extension Health Soil Tour.

The tour will open at 8 a.m. Monday, September 19, and will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 28. Paulding County will be hosting an event to close out the self-paced Soil Health Tour at the OSU Extension Office in Paulding from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, September 29.

Along with a guest speaker, farmers who provided sites on the tour will be invited to speak with attendees about their practices and answer any questions that may have come up during the ten-day tour.

Call the Paulding County Extension Office or visit to register for this meeting. Dinner will be provided with a $10 registration fee. Registration is required to attend the Wrap-Up Event, but not required for the tour.

Soil Health is becoming an increasingly important topic within agriculture, and there are many different practices and methods that can be used to promote it. This tour is designed to showcase what local farmers are doing on their farms and how these practices have affected the health of their soils and their farming operations.

The speaker for the Soil Health Event, Hans Schmitz, is an agronomist for Indiana’s Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative (CCSI). At this event, he will be speaking on Soil Health and Climate Interactions.


POSTED: 09/12/22 at 3:43 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

VW independent staff/submitted information

PAULDING — In addition to being one of the most labor-intensive professions, farming is also considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Rushing the job to save time can be extremely hazardous – even deadly – when farming near electrical equipment.

Farmers are reminded to be especially cautious around power lines during harvest time. Photo submitted

Every year, Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative, along with North Western Electric Cooperative, Tricounty REC, and Midwest Electric see collisions where tractors and other farming equipment accidentally collide with utility poles and power lines, causing injuries and power outages. These dangerous accidents can be avoided by looking up and planning ahead when operating large farm machinery.

While preparing for harvest season, area farmers should keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Maintain a 10-foot clearance around all utility equipment in all directions.
  • It can be tough to estimate distance when raising augers or the bed of a grain truck. Use a spotter and deployed flags to maintain safe distances from power lines and other electrical equipment when working in the field.
  • Always lower equipment extensions, portable augers, or elevators to their lowest possible level, under 14 feet, before moving or transporting them. Wind, uneven ground, shifting weight, or other conditions can cause you to lose control of equipment and make contact with power lines.

POSTED: 09/10/22 at 12:14 am. FILED UNDER: Farm, News

VW independent staff/submitted information

Mark your calendars for Mercer Landmark’s First Annual AGrow Expo on Saturday, September 10. This all-day event includes a full morning and afternoon packed with a series of educational breakout sessions for local farmers and an evening full of food, family and fun to celebrate agriculture in our communities.

Mercer Landmark’s Agrow Expo will held in Latty September 10. Photo submitted

The AGrow Expo will be held at Mercer Landmark’s new Latty Agronomy facility,one mile east of Ohio 127 on Ohio 613 in Paulding County. Local farmers and community members will be able to come learn, network and enjoy tours of the new 24-acre site development. You can learn more about the Latty expansion project here.

The daytime portion of The AGrow Expo includes breakfast and/or lunch, and will focus on a variety of educational topics. Local farmers will have the opportunity to learn more about sustainable agriculture and farming practices that will minimize risk and maximize return on their farms. This includes:

– Keynote address from Mercer Landmark CEO Heath Barnes
– Breakout Sessions covering topics such as:


POSTED: 08/24/22 at 12:08 pm. FILED UNDER: Farm

Crestview FFA members Katy Williamson, Emma Wells, Kate Leeth, Abby Detrich, Dakota Parrish and Avery Figley attended the 94th annual FFA State Convention held May 5-6 in Columbus. Before leaving they stopped at Pioneer Seed in Scott to learn about the different types of seeds and how they are made. They also visited the Ohio State University of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences and were given a tour by one of the students. At the convention, the members were taught different leadership skills and learned how to strive for success. While at the convention Katy Williamson and Emily Grelauch earned their State Degrees. Avery Figley/special to the VW independent

POSTED: 05/12/22 at 12:24 pm. FILED UNDER: Farm

VW independent staff and submitted information

The recipients of the 2022 Farm Focus Inc. scholarships are Brooke Bockey, Hanna Scaggs, Evan Bowersock and Kathryn Williamson.

Bockey and Scaggs were each awarded $1,000 while Bowersock and Williamson each received $500.

Bockey is a 2019 Spencerville High School graduate and is attending Ohio State University, main campus. She is an animal science major and plans to continue her education to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.

Scaggs is a 2020 Lincolnview High School graduate and is attending Wright State University, Lake Campus majoring in agribusiness. Her career goal is agricultural financing and loans.

Bowersock will be a 2022 graduate of Lincolnview High school. He plans to attend Wright State University, Lake Campus in the fall and will major in agriculture.

Williamson will be a 2022 graduate of Crestview High school and plans to attend Wright State University, Lake Campus in the fall, majoring in animal science.

Farm Focus Inc. was founded in 1974 to promote agriculture in Van Wert County and the surrounding area. It is their continued mission to assist Van Wert County students through a scholarship program that will enable them to pursue a degree in an agricultural related field.

POSTED: 04/26/22 at 2:11 pm. FILED UNDER: Farm