Around Home & Farm: Scholarships


Greene County Farm Forum will award up to $5,000 in scholarships to deserving current year graduating high school students or college freshmen pursuing higher education in a field related to agriculture.

Those applying must be a resident of Greene County or have attended Greene County schools. Applications are due April 20 and for an application email scholarship chair Jim Byrd for Greene Co. Farm Forum at: [email protected] or call him at 937-429-1805. Over the past eight years Greene County Farm Forum has awarded over $14,600 to deserving recipients studying programs in agriculture.

Farm Forum

Doug Shannon who is the Commercial Lending Officer for Merchants National Bank of Hillsboro will share his thoughts on some financial tips for helping farmers make the transition in today’s changing farm economy at the Monday, Feb. 27 meeting of Greene County Farm Forum. Doug is not only an ag loan officer but farms as well.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Union United Methodist Church located at 393 Washington Road in Xenia. A meal will be served prior to the program at a cost of $10 per person. Please RSVP Paul Ayres by Friday Feb. 24 if you intend to have dinner.

No reservations are necessary if you just wish to attend the meeting. For reservations contact Paul Ayres at 937-352-6379 or email him at [[email protected]%20][email protected]. The meeting is open to the public and is sponsored by Greene County Farm Forum.

Tree pruning now

I sadly see too many trees “topped” this time of year and the result is usually a tree harmed forever. When I say topped I mean the tree was cut off at a certain height and the tree lost its original shape- like giving the tree a flat top. The resulting growth after the topping is usually weaker than previous growth and the tree quickly resembles a large shrub in a few years. In my case I have three silver maples in my backyard which were topped several years ago.

One can easily see the results of the pruning and my only alternative has been to prune the tree every four to five years while trying to keep the general shape of the plant intact as much as possible. Silver maple trees have inherently weak growth anyway and the “topping” only made it worse. I always use Certified Arborists to do the pruning but once a tree is topped you are limited in what can be done to reshape the tree.

This is a good time to have tree pruning done while the tree is dormant. Cutting those broken limbs or getting branches off power lines can be done this time of year as well as removing diseased limbs or branches. Be careful about hiring someone because they have a chainsaw and pickup truck. By hiring a certified arborist you may pay a little more but the tree will be shaped properly and the work will be covered with liability insurance and workman’s compensation in case someone gets hurt or property damaged.

A Certified Arborist has training in proper pruning techniques and understands how trees grow. Do not hesitate to ask for references from a company you are considering ( and check on them) as well as a certificate of insurance certifying they have coverage in case the tree or part of it drops on your house, car or your neighbor’s car or house etc. or someone gets injured.

You can find a certified arborist by checking the company’s website or add as well as logging onto this website: will take you to the Ohio Chapter International Society of Arboriculture. From here click on “find a certified arborist” and fill in the country, state and zip code. Not all certified arborists will be on this website but you can also check a company to see if they are certified.

My money workshop

If you have been putting off working on your estate plan this is a great opportunity to start. The 2017 It’s My Money! My Stuff! My Life! Program is set for 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb 28, March 7, 14, 21 & 28 at the Xenia Community Center 1265 W. Second St.

The program details and registration can be found on the Greene County Council on Aging website ( or you can request to have it e-mailed/sent by contacting the Council at 937-376-5486 or [email protected]. Register by Feb. 17 and the cost is $40 per household which includes handouts, refreshments and area professionals covering topics such as Wills, Advanced Directives, Assets, Trusts, Probate & Taxes, Insurance, Medicare & other Health Insurance.

This is a great opportunity to do something for yourself and your family. The speakers are there to help you not to sell you something.

Submitted photo A photo of a local “topped” tree. photo A photo of a local “topped” tree.

By Jerry Mahan

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at: [email protected].

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