OHIO VALLEY — Marcus McCartney, agriculture and natural resources educator from The Ohio State University Extension-Meigs County, has been extremely busy this summer.
Much of his time has been spent documenting the effects of extreme wet weather conditions in Meigs County and the area he refers to as the Racine Locks and Dam Peninsula.
The role of the county extension agent is to help residents create profitable, sustainable farms and a clean environment. Among the many responsibilities of the job are training local farmers in proper methods of fertilizer and pesticide applications, answering questions and providing assistance for concerns throught the year.
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Lakin loamy fine sand soil series found in the Ohio River Valley is listed as “excessively drained.” Due to the amount of rainfall events in June and July, pounding and flooding occurred in those highly drainable soils. The result was extreme crop damage in the affected areas, and McCarney was there to assist farmers in any way he could.
Working in a position that is currently only part-time, McCartney is tasked with a county that has a diverse agricultural offering and spends many hours researching and answering questions posed by individual farmers. While other counties throughout the state may only have wheat and corn crops, Meigs County has everything from wheat and corn to soybeans, tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, cucumbers, green beans, eggplant, berries, apples and peaches, all in several varieties. This requires more time to assess problems when they arise than when crops are restricted to only a few.
McCartney considers himself an advocate for farmers and has visited the area numerous times over the past two months. With the information he gathered, he produced a report documenting issues farmers were experiencing.
His report was given to the Farm Service Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners in an effort to provide effective, efficient agricultural programs. One of its roles is to provide assistance for natural disaster losses caused by “drought, flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation and other calamities.”
The Ohio Farm Bureau also received a copy, which provided them with infomation that can be used to potentially develop more effective ways of addressing wet weather conditions.
Many farmers will be applying for assistance this year, and McCartney said his documentation may be useful in determining the extent and causes of this year’s crop damage.
Lorna Hart can be reached at 740-992-2155 Ext. 2551
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