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  • Risks of oil and gas pipelines weighed in local forum | OEFFA News
    an organization that gathers data on drilling activity in each state and constructs maps in order to provide a visual representation on each state s activity During his presentation Auch displayed several of these maps along with information on potential environmental effects that oil and gas pipelines could have in Ohio specifically Athens If we re going to talk about pipelines in Ohio we re going to talk about pipelines in Athens Auch said In his presentation Auch said that the U S Energy Information Administration had not updated its website with specific numbers of mileage and lengths of these pipelines since 2011 Auch said that he along with researchers at Mt Union College in Alliance Ohio had collected and determined more accurate and recent numbers to present at the forum The numbers are out of date the minute we say them Auch said emphasizing the importance of updated information on oil and gas pipelines According to Auch 195 989 miles of oil and gas pipelines are operating nationally with a 49 percent increase proposed Auch discussed environmental damages including damage to landscapes and ecosystems that oil and gas pipelines could cause The next speaker was Nathan Johnson an attorney for the Ohio Environmental Council Johnson discussed the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency s OEPA proposal to eliminate state review of oil and gas pipelines and surface coalmines that pose a hazard to the state s waterways This means that these pipelines and surface mines would be approved under nationwide permits without a state water quality review This ruling would also eliminate the requirement of public notice and comment on these projects Johnson concluded that the OEPA is basically abandoning the field with this proposal which would result in serious irreversible water quality impacts statewide The final speaker was Michael Hollingsworth an attorney for Shostak Hollingsworth in Athens Hollingsworth began by explaining the siting and safety jurisdictions of different project types such as production lines and natural gas distribution and what government agencies would handle them Hollingsworth exlained the problems with pipelines that are incorrectly marked and lack maps and easily understandable location references My experience with pipelines is that you often don t know whose pipeline it is and if you do it could be marked wrong Hollingsworth said Hollingsworth also discussed the Ohio Constitution s Chapter 163 which states that a company organized to transport natural gas materials through tubing pipes or conduits may enter private land to examine it for possible pipeline use and then appropriate as much land as necessary He said that many people believe that it s unconstitutional for the companies to take this land but it s only unconstitutional when the state doesn t provide options for appealing these appropriations which would amount to denial of due process rights Hollingsworth finished his presentation with advice for landowners and their rights with respect to approved pipelines According to Hollingsworth it depends on the landowner s willingness to negotiate with the company A landowner must consider

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1849 (2016-02-17)
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  • Our Ohio Special: GMOs Parts 1-2 | OEFFA News
    Rub Elbows with Sustainable Farming Experts Award Winning Journalist to Keynote Ohio s Largest Food and Farm Conference Alan Guebert to Discuss Future of Farming Archives Select Month February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1824 (2016-02-17)
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  • Organically raised food far preferable to genetically engineered crops: Carol Goland, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association | OEFFA News
    grown crops while using fewer inputs Moreover they may perform better under drought conditions Organic farmers have achieved this through their own refinement of production methods based on years of careful observation and experimentation and a farmer to farmer exchange of knowledge They have done this largely independent of the billions of federal and industry dollars that have been directed to research that benefits conventional agriculture with its heavy reliance on petrochemical inputs With even a modest increase in funding for research to improve yield develop seed varieties and refine preventive practices for livestock health there s no telling what organic agriculture could become Despite promises that genetic engineering would help feed a hungry world any yield gains attributable to biotechnology have been modest at best This is not surprising given that GE seeds were developed to be herbicide tolerant HT not to increase intrinsic yield Planting HT crops has not reduced the rate of herbicide use but it has led to a proliferation of HT super weeds Many GE crops including corn and soybeans have been developed for livestock feed biofuel and for use in high fructose corn syrup not to improve human nutrition Organic is synonymous with GE free but it is so much more Organic farming safeguards water quality builds soil organic matter and nutrients reduces greenhouse gas emissions eliminates antibiotic use emphasizes humane care and preventive treatments for livestock and poultry and protects biodiversity It supports small and mid scale family farms and reduces exposure to pesticides Because the organic label is backed up by a rigorous annual verification and inspection process consumers can have confidence in how organic food and products are produced Supporters of organic farming are not driven by anti technology attitudes nor are they advocating that we go backwards Far from it

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1718 (2016-02-17)
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  • Farm Policy | OEFFA News | Page 3
    the listening session We just can t compete said Mark Bender an Akron area farmer who has operated a farm market since 1973 The costs just got too crazy Bender still operates a self service farm market but has converted most of his produce farm to raising beef cattle and conventional crops Mike Laughlin of Northridge Organic Farm in Johnstown said as a small farm it could cost him 25 000 27 000 just to come into compliance and about 13 000 annually thereafter He fears it will hurt small growers like himself and favor larger farms that can adapt I can t raise my prices enough to cover that he said That s going to cut right into the money I make in my profit It s already pretty tight He said it s simple math If you re only making 30 000 50 000 a year and they re going to take 10 000 15 000 of that away from you that s a huge pay cut Laughlin said he s not ready to make a decision about the future of his farm until the rule is finalized But if the costs hold up he said it will be a major challenge to staying in business You just have to start thinking is this worthwhile to do he said Serious about safety Laughlin said he s not balking at food safety adding it has always been a huge part of our operation with workers trained on how to handle food and conduct operations But with the new requirements for new equipment and documentation it will become more costly The Bessemers say they want safe food as much as anyone but that the words safe food can be used for a lot of different motives Don Bessemer said he fears the inspectors will not have a good knowledge of farming and what they re supposed to inspect He s also concerned inspectors will purposefully try to find issues to keep their jobs I just keep thinking they re federal government trying to create jobs he said Carol Bessemer said the news reports about foodborne illnesses often incite more concern than the actual issue She said when even a couple people get sick it makes national headlines and legislators want to pass new laws That small percentage has got a lot of power and sympathy power she said One relief for farmers is that when the rule becomes effective they will have a pre determined amount of time to come into compliance Farms would generally have two to four years to comply with smaller farms given the most time They re giving you time but then again how much is it going to cost Carol Bessemer said The proposed rule would cover an estimated 40 496 domestic farms and 14 927 foreign farms It is available online at www regulations gov and also on the FDA website at www fda gov Food GuidanceRegulation FSMA New Food Safety Rules Too Much for Ohio s Small Farms November 10 2013 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren Public News Service September 16 2013 By Mary Kuhlman PHOTO Some Ohio growers are concerned that new federal food safety rules are burdensome enough to hurt their business and ultimately reduce access to fresh local foods Courtesy OEFFA COLUMBUS Ohio Some Ohio growers are concerned that regulations they see as overly burdensome are being proposed for reasons of food safety The Food and Drug Administration FDA wants to make changes to its Food Safety Modernization Act that the agency estimates will prevent close to 2 million foodborne illnesses However as a result small family farms such as Northridge Organic Farm in Licking County could incur expenses that the farm s owner Mike Laughlin said are higher than they can afford for changes that he sees as excessive The added expense is going to drive an awful lot of farms out of business he warned At a time when people are asking for more and more local food for their tables it s going to mean fewer venders available to sell to farm markets fewer choices for consumers According to FDA estimates a small farm would bear an initial cost of more than 27 000 and then an annual cost of nearly 13 000 figures Laughlin said could wipe out a good chunk of annual profits The FDA is taking public comment on the proposed changes until Nov 15 While he agreed food safety is an important matter Laughlin said smaller operations are already at lower risk due to their size scope and for some alternative farming practices that maintain soil and water integrity He predicted that the new rules would favor larger farms and hurt the smaller growers who will struggle to absorb the costs of new equipment and documentation required under the changes When you have rules and regulations they do need to be size specific he said It can t be a one size fits all Laughlin added it isn t just farmers who need to weigh in on the matter For the consumers who are out there shopping at the farm markets if it s something that s very important to you then you need to get involved and get a hold of the FDA and let em know what you think Farm Bill Left Hanging in Congress November 10 2013 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren 91 3 WYSO By Lewis Wallace A truck outside Mike Farm Enterprises south of Dayton A variety of farm and nutrition programs are at risk since the Farm Bill expired Oct 1 Remember the Farm Bill The omnibus law that funds food stamps crop insurance and a slew of farm subsidies At midnight Monday a nine month extension of the latest version of that bill expired which means for the moment the law reverts to its 1949 version MacKenzie Bailey with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association says the ongoing insecurity over the bill makes life harder for organic farmers Farmers rely on programs like farmers market promotion programs that help put investments in our local farmers markets the national organic cost share program which helps alleviate the costs of organic certification she said This expiration won t immediately affect food assistance or crop insurance But a safety net program for dairy farmers that keeps down the price of milk support for seniors to shop at farmers markets and international food aid in the bill are among the programs to be suspended If no new bill is passed by Jan 1 2014 consumers could see those changes on the shelves The two houses of Congress had been playing ping pong with the bill after the House stripped out the food stamp program known as SNAP and sent the Senate two separate bills The House version of the SNAP program included 40 billion in cuts rejected by the Senate which proposed around 4 billion in cuts and insisted on keeping the farm programs and nutrition programs in one bill Government impasse could have big impact on farming November 10 2013 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren The Columbus Dispatch Sunday October 6 2013 10 15 AM By Mary Vanac The federal government shutdown and the looming debt limit fight have dominated the headlines the past week But a constituency that includes small farmers has been dealing with consternation caused by a different federal concern Dozens of programs that create jobs invest in the next generation of farmers and protect the environment lost their federal funding when farming legislation expired at midnight on Monday The most profound effects could be years away when new businesses products or farming innovations fail to come to market for lack of funding Enough is enough MacKenzie Bailey policy program coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association in Columbus wrote in a statement Farmers have been without a farm bill for a year Congressional funding for nutrition and crop insurance programs which account for about 90 percent of the farm legislation budget is permanent and not affected by the lapse However funding for programs that help specialty crop growers new farmers and farmers markets as well as farm related conservation must be renewed by a farm bill typically every five years The most recent farm legislation expired a year ago and a nine month extension expired on Monday In spite of a partial government shutdown some work on a new farm bill is being done in Washington D C said Yvonne Lesicko senior director of legislative and regulatory policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Programs for dairy farmers won t be affected until the end of the year and those for farmers who grow commodities such as grain and cotton next spring However farmers who want to enroll new acreage in agricultural conservation programs will have to wait for new funding from Congress So will farmers who use agricultural export programs The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program which provides low income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for food at farmers markets roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs also has lost its funding Toledo Farmers Market used a grant from the Farmers Market Promotion Program now unfunded to recruit vendors establish and promote an electronic benefit transfer system for food stamp recipients and build relationships with community partners that provided additional funding and support said the Ecological Food and Farm Association s Bailey And a three year 740 096 grant from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program enabled Ohio State University Extension to help new farmers many of them women minorities immigrants and the disabled to start tilling tracts of abandoned land in and around Cleveland That program stopped taking grant applications on Monday The OSU Extension Cuyahoga County project helped create the 40 acre Stanard Farm and its Cleveland Crops business which employs developmentally disabled people to pick pack and sell produce grown on the farm said Marie Barni the project s director The grant also helped establish an incubator farm to train new farmers build hoop houses that extend growing seasons and set up a food processing center that soon will employ people to process food grown on the farm and sell it to local schools restaurants and institutions Barni said We would be so much farther behind without the grant she said A 16 000 Value Added Producer Grant another farm bill supported program that has temporarily closed helped Abbe Turner owner of Lucky Penny Creamery in Kent develop cajeta a Mexican caramel sauce made from goat milk We ve already been funded Turner said but it s going to affect other small agricultural producers who are trying new entrepreneurial ventures That s the sad thing she said If this program doesn t get funded then we won t see these fantastic and important projects come to fruition Ohio Farmers Ask for a Sustainable Farm Bill May 15 2013 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren Mary Kuhlman Public News Service OH May 15 2013 COLUMBUS Ohio As Congress works this week on a new Farm Bill Ohio farmers say policy changes are needed to support practices that improve public health spur the rural economy and enhance natural resources Programs they say are critical to the success of sustainable farming could be cut including the National Organic Certification Cost Share program which is used by about 40 percent of organic farmers in Ohio Abbe Turner of Lucky Penny Creamery in Kent said these programs help businesses such as hers grow When funding is allocated to small food and farm based entrepreneurs that are farming in a way that is sustainable it s good for everyone she said You get healthy nutritious products to market you get healthy food systems and economic development in areas where there might not have otherwise been Sen Sherrod Brown D Ohio reintroduced the Local Farms Food and Jobs Act as part of this year s Farm Bill It includes money and reforms for the National Organic Certification Cost Share and Farmers Market Promotion programs both of which have not been funded since October The House Agriculture Committee is to debate funding for these programs today On Tuesday the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the Farm Bill fully funding both programs Farm Bill programs can boost business for the small guys said Turner who used the Value Added Producer Grant to develop a dessert sauce made with goat s milk and take it to a food show in Washington D C She said her product will be launched this fall Just the exposure we got at the national show we have a teeny little manufacturing plant in Kent Ohio and getting national exposure regarding what wonderful products can come out Ohio she said Without the VAPG we never would have been able to do the science or the marketing It s an exciting thing Congress hasn t passed a Farm Bill since 2008 Many Ohio farmers that rely on Farm Bill programs that have been without funding since fall are waiting eagerly to find out which programs and reforms will be included in the final bill Farmers markets organic producers in line for federal subsidies May 6 2013 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren Columbus Business First By Dan Eaton 4 16 13 Ohio s organic farms and farmers markets may be in line for some renewed financial support Sen Sherrod Brown re introduced the Local Farms Food and Jobs Act as part of the farm bill The act would pump funds back into two programs that have been dormant since October while creating some new resources for those in the local foods movement The bill was first introduced in 2011 Linking Ohio producers with Ohio consumers is common sense Brown said in a press release By increasing access to fresh local foods we can expand markets for Ohio s agricultural producers while improving health creating jobs and strengthening our economy Ohio had 260 farmers markets in 2011 according to information from the Ohio Ecological Food Farm Association a nonprofit promoting sustainable and healthful food and farming The bill would put 20 million into the Farmers Market Promotion Program which hasn t been funded since October It provides grants to community supported agriculture programs and farmers markets to increase exposure through new marketing ideas and business plans Six Ohio markets received funding in 2012 for a variety of uses including adding electronic benefit transfer system capabilities for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program According to the Food Farm Association the Toledo Farmers Market for example added 1 000 customers and increased total sales by 20 percent by adding EBT The bill also would restart funding for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program which also has not been funded since October It reimburses organic producers and handlers for 75 percent of certification fees In 2011 251 Ohioans used it about 40 percent of the state s organic growers The bill also proposes investments in research training and information collection including a national program within the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative for local and regional farm and food systems research and for conventional plant and animal breeding research It also would create an insurance product through the Risk Management Agency to ensure organic farms can get adequate coverage Humane Society forms own Ohio farm board May 6 2013 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren The Columbus Dispatch By Mary Vanac 4 27 13 The Humane Society of the United States perhaps best known for its work on behalf of household pets is expanding its livestock welfare work in Ohio The group has launched an Ohio council to connect small natural and sustainable livestock farmers with consumers who are concerned about livestock Initially the five farmers who make up the Ohio Agriculture Council of the HSUS aim to inform Ohio s Humane Society membership about how farm animals should be raised Council members Warren Taylor owner of Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy William Miller an organic farmer in southwestern Ohio Mardy Townsend a grass fed beef farmer in Windsor and Joe Logan partner in Logan Brothers LLC also want to remind industrial farmers that their animals are more than commodities said Bruce Rickert owner of Fox Hollow Farm in Knox County and a council member We have Humane Society education to do and we have farmer education to do about the way livestock are treated Rickert said We re trying to build a bridge between those two communities Livestock welfare is a highly charged issue in Ohio In 2009 the Humane Society proposed an animal care ballot issue that would have banned common practices that confine pigs chickens veal calves and other animals in tight spaces Instead the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and others proposed a constitutional amendment that created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board which issued its first set of rules in 2011 The board s comprehensive farm animal rules put Ohio in the forefront of the nation Even the Humane Society was satisfied But in the eyes of Taylor the amendment threatened the livelihoods of small sustainable or organic farmers It galvanized a lot of us in the livestock industry said Taylor who is concerned that the livestock care board could give large scale producers the upper hand in marketing their products I don t see our members looking to do anything to limit big livestock producers with regard to their practices but rather making sure there is a level playing field he said Karen Minton Ohio director of the Humane Society said her organization wants the council to digest laws regulations and policies for how they affect farmers who are good stewards of the land and the environment so they can compete in the marketplace with traditional agricultural practices The Humane Society also is behind a few other agriculture councils in states such as Nebraska and Colorado The Ohio Ecological Food and

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=9&paged=3 (2016-02-17)
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  • OEFFA in the News | OEFFA News | Page 4
    food movement According to the EPA dozens of chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing which some growers say puts air water and soil at risk for contamination The Village Bakery and Café in Athens specializes in locally grown and organic foods and owner Christine Hughes says some area farmers were unaware of the risks when they agreed to allow oil and gas companies onto their land Landowners were told Oh no we don t use chemicals it s all safe so I don t blame those people for signing up says Hughes But it has put all these sustainable farms at risk and the conventional farms as well The sustainable farmers are more aware of the damage it will do to their reputation According to Hughes soil and watershed resilience are likely to worsen as drilling continues to expand A recent study found nearly 11 percent of the more than 19 000 organic farms in the U S share a watershed with oil and gas activity and 30 percent of organic farms will be in the vicinity of a fracking site or injection well in the next decade Hughes says many of her restaurant s suppliers are based in Ohio s fracking hotbed The farm that sourced her flour was directly impacted by fracking after an old injection well was re activated near the land They started bringing in truckloads of radioactive frack waste from West Virginia Pennsylvania and Ohio she says So they had to shut down their farm and ended up having to sell off their farm and move away and take jobs from their farm Hughes says many other business owners in her community are concerned about the impacts of fracking and it s not the answer to the country s economic energy and climactic challenges The horse was out of the gate long before the regulations or the science could be shown how dangerous it is says Hughes At this point a moratorium is really the only responsible thing that we could do Hughes is a member of the Ohio chapter of the American Sustainable Business Council which is among organizations calling for mandatory enforceable national standards that will apply to both new and existing gas and oil development If it s Safe for the Table Put it on the Label March 17 2015 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren By Mary Kuhlman Ohio Public News Service 3 17 15 COLUMBUS Ohio While the scientific jury is still out on the safety of genetically engineered GE foods a new poll indicates most Ohioans want to know when they are eating GE foods The survey from the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association found 61 percent of those polled disapprove of GE foods The majority of those polled at 87 percent also support GE labeling Amalie Lipstreu policy program coordinator with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association says GE foods are also a non partisan issue with 89 percent of Republicans 88 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Independents in favor in GE labeling The public is skeptical she says The public has earned the right to be cautious If it s safe for the table put it on the label It s the responsible thing to do Supporters of GE technology say it increases production saves costs and reduces the use of chemicals But Lipstreu says genetic engineering has done little to improve crop yields and the evidence is insufficient on health and environmental impacts Its estimated more than 70 percent of foods sold in the U S contain GE ingredients According to Lipstreu genetic engineering is also the concern of many farmers who worry that pollen drift from GE crops can contaminate adjacent fields There s also concerns about patenting of seeds and ownership of nature she says A recent concern is about a lot of weeds that have evolved to be resistant to the herbicides that are used along with genetically engineered crops Lipstreu says consumers have a basic right to know She notes consumers have previously been mislead to believe things were safe that actually were not Things like DDT the use of asbestos she says Later on we found out many of these things are very damaging to health and to the environment Lipstreu says the poll findings support the need for GE labeling policies at the state and federal level Over 60 countries require disclosure of GE ingredients on food labels OEFFA workshops help promote farmer skills February 19 2015 Annual Conference OEFFA in the News Lauren By Chris Kick Farm and Dairy 2 17 15 GRANVILLE Ohio If you wanted to learn something new about farming or food production the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association conference had you covered More than 100 educational sessions were presented Feb 14 15 at the conference in Granville Ohio which covered such things as field crops livestock specialty crops business and marketing decisions and farm policy Sessions were led by everyone from small scale part time producers to full time farmers and university researchers Beginning producers Ben Jackle of Mile Creek Farm in New Lebanon talked about what it takes to get started growing vegetables for profit He and his wife Emily have grown vegetables and flowers in the Dayton area since 2007 Many decisions must be made when starting a produce farm but Jackle said it all comes back to the soil Good soil means considering the chemical biological and physical properties Jackle said Biologically producers need to build soil organisms and organic matter Chemically they must balance and supply the necessary mineral nutrients and for good physical properties they need to install the right drainage to reduce erosion Beyond soil producers need to learn some of the farmer skills that it takes to grow a crop Jackle and his wife did not grow up on a farm so they ve been learning things like painting welding drilling and cutting record keeping and maintenance Even if these things aren t things that are necessarily interesting or something you yourself want to learn you re going to have to be hiring someone to do these things Jackle said because they need done Producers also need to consider whether they want to scale up their production or stay at the same size and become more efficient Raising livestock Choosing the right scale was one of the key points in a presentation about how to raise and manage livestock Jesse Rickard and Chelsea Gandy assistant managers at Fox Hollow Farm in Knox County discussed practical and innovative methods for raising livestock For Fox Hollow some animals like the farm s 300 sheep and 100 beef cattle are raised on a production level while other things like the farm s two dairy cows raised for milk are kept on a homestead level Rickard said farms can have a combination of production and homestead ventures and even a few experimental ventures if they so choose Fox Hollow Farm is nearly 300 acres and includes 180 acres of managed pasture The farm also produces chickens and pigs Livestock on a grazing operation require less infrastructure and to a great extent the animals manage on their own and that includes nutrient recycling Animals are basically employees if you manage them correctly Gandy said If you use them right you can really get them to build your soil fertility build your organic matter and they just do a fantastic job In addition to deciding what animals to raise livestock producers need to think about equipment needs water availability nutrition marketing labor and safety of farm workers These are all things that will make or break your operation Gandy said Good record keeping is also a must and so is being profitable Sustainable farming is only sustainable if we can continue doing it Gandy said Awards OEFFA presented its stewardship award to Bill Dix and Stacy Hall of the Brick Dairy Farm of Athens County The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community In 1992 Dix and Hall started Big Rumen Farm a 300 acre pasture based dairy farm in Athens County with a small herd of Jersey heifers and a milking parlor In the years that followed they joined a regional network of dairy farmers known as Prograsstinators which in conjunction with Cornell University helps producers compare financial information to improve the management and profitability of grass based dairy operations John Sowder of Franklin County received the Service Award which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA Sowder served on OEFFA s board of trustees from 1992 until 2015 including multiple terms as treasurer He lends catering skills to OEFFA by helping to organize farm to table events and OEFFA s conference meals which are locally sourced and made from scratch Breakthrough in varieties make organic apples easier to grow in Ohio February 19 2015 Annual Conference OEFFA in the News Lauren By Debbi Snook Cleveland Plain Dealer 2 16 15 GRANVILLE Ohio Having trouble finding an organic apple grown in Northeast Ohio You re not alone Most are from the state of Washington clear across the country Yet apples grown in our soils and shaped by our weather happen to taste better If we could buy organic versions more easily we could also support our local farm economy Apple scab is the main reason for the lack a fungal infection that thrives in more humid climates and leaves apples disfigured Most scab is controlled by chemicals that do not meet standards for organic certification But there s new hope to increase organic apple production in our region and two of its proponents are orchardists Don Kretschmann and Tim Gebhart from Rochester PA about 40 miles southeast of Youngstown The farming duo appeared at the recent 2015 OEFFA sustainable food conference and said there are a lot of reasons to start growing organic apples at home and on a commercial farm Here are five of them More scab resistant varieties are on the market Gebhart listed a few of his favorites Pristine yellow tastier than most early apples Liberty MacIntosh style flavor Crimson Crisp a good keeper Gebhart s favorite and Gold Rush flavorful keeps in refrigeration for many months Each is resistant to scab and many other diseases and there are more hybrids like them coming out each year Some of their favorite sources Cummins Nursery near Ithaca N Y and Adams County Nursery near Gettysburg PA The duo recommends dwarf rootstocks for easier access and spreading the roots fully when planting not curling them into place More information on growing organically is available Cornell University recently released its Organic Apple Production Guide available online The two farmers also recommend the web site and books by New Hampshire organic orchardist Michael Phillips which can also be found online More supplies are readily available Organic apple growing still requires lots of specific soil conditions serious pruning good drainage and foliar spraying to fight off pests and diseases that like fruit as much as we do A list of certified organic suppliers can be found online Surround a mudlike organic pesticide sprayed on trees to fight plum curculio that causes fruit drop is available at Ohio Earth Foods in Hartville 330 877 9356 More is known about the harm caused by conventional pesticides and herbicides Beyond effects on human health they can kill the very beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms that provide a biologically healthy soil web Find more information in the sources previously listed Also commercial growers might consider the duo s technique for warding off deer Setting up a 6 000 volt wire around the orchard attaching an occasional metal mesh covered in peanut butter Once the deer get shocked said Kretschmann they rarely come back More people want organic apples Krestchmann admits that also means more education Organic apples can look as pristine as grocery store apples but that is not always the case Still they sometimes get three times the price for whole apples by the bushel compared to the same amount they once used only in cider The education is worth it he says I can produce quality fruit to an educated customer he said I always say that using a paring knife to trim unwanted parts of the fruit are always better than using chemicals Chemicals you can t pare off Guebert tells OEFFA members big ag is unsustainable February 19 2015 Annual Conference OEFFA in the News Lauren By Chris Kick Farm and Dairy 2 16 15 GRANVILLE Ohio Bemoaning the ways of big agriculture and many of the trade groups that represent it Illinois writer and columnist Alan Guebert encouraged a return to affordable sustainable agriculture during his keynote address Feb 14 at a state meeting of organic and sustainable farmers Twenty fifteen is going to be a big year both for sustainable and a big year for unsustainable agriculture he told a crowd of about 1 100 people at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association annual conference held at Granville schools On the unsustainable side he expects farmers will continue to face steep financial burdens How sustaining is it to plant a 350 bag of seed corn on 10 000 an acre ground with a 250 000 tractor he asked Government support The only way such farmers will sustain their operations he said is with tax breaks and subsidies including government subsidized crop insurance The way they farm won t succeed and in fact on its own it s never going to succeed he said Throughout American history American agriculture left to its own devices has produced itself smack dab into poverty Aside from the financial challenges Guebert said modern farming practices are destroying fertile soil which results in 400 billion in lost food production every year American farmers and ranchers are going to have to change he said noting that all generations of farmers have had to change in order to survive But some things don t change like the demand for good tasting food that is fresh safe and high quality he said He recalled growing up on his family s crop and dairy farm in southern Illinois when most of their food came from within 10 miles of their home farm The term junk food was unheard of people were thinner and healthier and there were more neighbors and neighborhood businesses Original foodies Guebert said he and his rural neighbors were foodies long before the movement began With almost perfect ignorance we ate from farm to table he said adding Our farm to our table He said some of the things big ag is promoting like its claim of feeding the world and producing the safest food supply in the world are myths He pointed to recent salmonella cases and foodborne illnesses as proof Guebert said corporate agriculture tries to tell people what to think when it should be informing them about the facts Challenging ag If left unchallenged big ag s message would be to sit down eat and shut up according to Guebert Guebert has definitely been a challenger throughout his career which has mostly centered around ag journalism and a syndicated column called the Farm Food File which is carried by Farm and Dairy Many of his columns are critical of large farm organizations and government leaders and commodity checkoffs especially the National Cattlemen s Beef Checkoff which he faults for not doing a proper job of auditing its spending His brother Richard Guebert has taken a different approach to farming Richard is president of the Illinois Farm Bureau and now serves on the national Farm Bureau board organizations that Alan Guebert criticizes for promoting myths and misinformation Guebert said the kind of agriculture he expects to survive is that which is sustainable betting against things like genetically modified organisms and certain soil amendments If I was to bet on the food production scheme most likely to succeed in the next 50 years I d bet on the scheme that has succeeded for the last 50 centuries he said I d bet on sustainable food production Organic checkoff In a morning session he moderated a panel discussion about a proposed organic checkoff program The checkoff has been in the works for the past couple years and the 2014 farm bill contains language that could move it forward In favor of the checkoff was organic dairy farmer Gene DeBruin of Fayette County Ohio And opposing the checkoff was Carmen Fernholz an organic crop farmer from Minnesota DeBruin said he supports creating a checkoff because it would help promote and distinguish the organic brand If we re going to protect our premium market we re going to have to put some effort into it DeBruin said Fernholz who also holds a position with the University of Minnesota as organic research coordinator said he d rather see the work of a checkoff be done through a land grant college with public tax money Fernholz said he s never seen what I would call a good story from checkoffs As an organic farmer he finds himself paying to checkoffs that already exist but that don t do research into organic practices If I m not getting organic research on those dollars who s getting it he asked One of the challenges to creating an organic checkoff Fernholz said is that organic producers can t really claim it s any better than conventional food What are we going to promote he asked What promotion can you really say other than look for the organic label Organic exemption Fernholz said he s in favor of complete organic exemption from all checkoffs and more emphasis on public research But new funding even for food research can be a tough sell for taxpayers I m just afraid that ain t going to happen DeBruin said Guebert concluded the checkoff discussion by talking about the challenges of operating a checkoff and the responsibilities of its members They re checkoffs not hard

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=3&paged=4 (2016-02-17)
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  • Lauren | OEFFA News | Page 4
    her own successful farm for the last 10 years what advice would she gives others just starting or considering starting to operate a farm and what lessons has she learned over these years You have to love what you are doing You have to enjoy what you are doing The joy and satisfaction you get from what you are doing can sometimes far outweigh the amount of income you get from that activity she said If you really love the outdoors If you really love animals which I do I love the barn I love the animals I like working in the business where science is an important part of it Your animals have to be in good health so you have to monitor them You have to feed them well Their housing as to be kept clean If you enjoy all of those things then it is not work she said On the other side of that there is a very large amount of capital that goes into setting up something like this she pointed out It is hard You have to run it as a farm It has to be self sustaining In other words you have to grow your own alfalfa or you can t do what I do here You have to be able to know math to do your own books You must keep good records the accounts and your investment records You have to test the soil regularly You need a good understanding of soil management You have to know how to extract the samples send them to a reliable laboratory and then be able to understand the data so if necessary you can fix the soil so you can grow what you want to grow She said You may love the work but remember that you are working to produce a product You also have to find the market and find that market before you start at the beginning You don t want leftover product without being able to sell it or get it to market You need to know who your consumers are She is hard working but realizes that she needs to balance work with rest I make cheese seasonally rather than all year That s for my goats and for my health The winters here are cold It s a good time for me to rest and re evaluate take care of myself take care of the taxes and paperwork find the market spend time with the family If I had more help and more hands I could have a bigger herd and sell more Is she happy with the decision she made 10 years ago to start her own farm I love it I love nature and love what I do Look at this view I have she said gesturing to the west where the rolling hills of her farm seem to go on forever I love the vegetation I can walk through the woods here and tell you names of most all of the plants I just love all of this Flower farm open house touts local sustainable July 27 2015 Farm Tours OEFFA in the News Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren By Joshua Lim The Columbus Dispatch 6 29 15 In a straw hat and with the sleeves of his checkered shirt rolled up enough that you could see his tattoo of a dahlia Steve Adams revealed his obsession in the sprawling field of some of the most beautiful blooms in Columbus About 100 people attended the open house at Adams Sunny Meadows Flower Farm on the East Side on Sunday to hear about how the sharpest red and deepest blue blooms rise from the farm The open house is part of an annual series of farmers events held by members of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Renee Hunt the association s program director said tours workshops and open houses are held each year to give farmers and consumers a firsthand opportunity to learn different practices from a variety of farmers People are sharing what they know so that that information can be taken and be used elsewhere and promote any successful farming practices she said Adams and his wife Gretel started their farm in 2007 because they were passionate about buying and selling locally made products especially fresh flowers They grow flowers for mixed cut bouquets to sell at local farmers markets to florists and for weddings and other occasions Growing flowers for people to give to loved ones to express joy love sadness and remorse is something the Adamses don t take lightly And they want people to share those emotions with local products People are going to come and see what the other option is for flowers to see why local flowers are just as important as local food Mr Adams said We want people to be buying local flowers whether they re from us or they re from other growers The U S cut flower industry accounts for 7 billion to 8 billion in sales in a year according to the Society of American Florists but only a fraction of flowers come from local farms Imports make up 79 percent of the U S supply of cut flowers and greens according to the California Cut Flower Commission Adams said flowers from foreign countries might have been sprayed with chemicals that are harmful to consumers For us sustainability is a farm that can continue to provide fresh quality flowers without synthetic fertilizers and chemical inputs he said Sunny Meadows does not use herbicides and it uses compost as fertilizer Mrs Adams said The farm also uses beneficial insects to control pests Eric Pawlowski the association s sustainable agriculture educator said he has benefited from the tours because farmers often provide tips that can make or break a crop of any size It s not so much the how or the do but it s the what not to do he said In addition to the annual farm open houses the association has a number of farm tours and workshops which started in June and will end in late October More information is at www oeffa org Lindsey Baker 32 a florist in Morrow Ohio said she was interested in learning from Adams because she started growing flowers this year When you find out you can grow all this right here in Ohio we should do a lot more of that Baker said You re supporting the family you re supporting your local economy and you re cutting down on the energy to transport those flowers Alwin Chan Frederick 36 said he was impressed by the farm s sustainable practices Supporting kinds of small businesses like theirs is important for the local community he said U S House of Representatives Denies Americans the Right to Know July 24 2015 Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren Statement by Amalie Lipstreu OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Friday July 24 2015 Contact Amalie Lipstreu Policy Program Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 208 amalie oeffa org Lauren Ketcham Communications Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 203 lauren oeffa org On Thursday July 23 by a vote of 275 to 150 the U S House of Representatives passed HR 1599 misleadingly titled The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act More accurately dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know DARK Act the bill flies in the face of public opinion by denying citizens the right to choose what they eat and feed their families and throws out all state efforts to label genetically engineered GE food such as the laws already passed in Maine Connecticut and Vermont This bill s absurdity is immense Although proponents say voluntary labeling is the solution no companies have voluntarily opted to label their foods as GE The Dark Act also ends states rights to regulate food labeling and even more appallingly it allows GE foods to be labeled as natural The House placed the interests of large corporate agribusiness above the interests of an overwhelming majority of the people they represent who have consistently asked for the right to know if food contains GE ingredients A poll conducted by OEFFA in February found that 87 percent of Ohio voters across partisan lines support GE labeling I encourage all Ohioans to take the opportunity to view how their representative voted on the bill and to let them know where they stand on this issue A similar measure has yet to be introduced in the Senate and is expected to face a much tougher battle so there s still a chance for the public to make its voice heard Farm to Table Dinner Comes to Northeast Ohio The Farmers Table Celebrates Ohio Farms and Flavors July 14 2015 OEFFA Press Releases Lauren For Immediate Release July 14 2015 Contact Lauren Ketcham Communications Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 203 lauren oeffa org Milo Petruziello Program Associate 614 421 2022 Ext 206 milo oeffa org Fresh local summer ingredients from northeast Ohio will be the inspiration for a unique farm to table culinary experience this August that celebrates Ohio farms and flavors The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is partnering with Maplestar Farm and The Driftwood Group for The Farmers Table on Sunday August 30 at 4 p m The event will take place in western Geauga County at Maplestar Farm in Auburn Township OEFFA s mission is to help farmers and consumers reconnect and together build a sustainable food system one meal at time said OEFFA Program Associate Milo Petruziello who is organizing the event This dinner is a natural extension of that work designed to showcase the amazing farmers and chefs of northeast Ohio and the fresh seasonal ingredients of Ohio s farms It also gives us all a chance to celebrate our farmers our food and the local flavors which will be thoughtfully woven into every aspect of this event Guests will take a guided tour of Maplestar Farm s organic fields sample carefully crafted hors d oeuvres and enjoy beer wine and tea before sitting down to an exciting four course meal prepared by Erik Martinez Executive Chef at Cibréo Italian Kitchen featuring wine pairings The event will also feature special guest Alan Guebert award winning syndicated agricultural journalist and OEFFA 2015 conference keynote speaker who will offer a hearty toast to local food Following the dinner he ll be signing his new book The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey and sharing stories The book was recently included on Bon Appetit Magazine s 20 Food Books to Read This Summer LA Magazine s Top 10 Summer Books for Foodies and Food Tank s Summer Reading List We re pleased and honored to be hosting the Farmers Table said organic farmer Jake Trethewey who owns and operates Maplestar Farm with his wife Dawn Holding an event where people can share a meal on the farm from the farm reminds me of growing up here Quite often on the weekend people would drop by to visit or help out and my grandmother and great grandmother would cook dinner for 12 or more folks on short notice and of course a lot of what was on the table was grown here As small farms and farming communities have disappeared over the last 50 years fewer people today have the opportunity to experience the friendship and community of sharing a meal on the farm The Tretheweys have been certified organic for seven years and sell their organic produce at the farm s roadside stand at the Geauga Fresh Farmers Market through a small community supported agriculture CSA program and to restaurants The dinner will be rooted in certified organic vegetables from Maplestar Farm and include an heirloom tomato salad a modern take on a traditional fish fry featuring fresh Lake Erie perch and a main course pork trio showcasing a pastured Berkshire Chester White cross hog from Tea Hills Farms Dessert will feature an Auburn sweet corn custard tart We have a great relationship with Maplestar Farms What s important to the farm is important to us and OEFFA and this event are very important to Jake and Dawn This is a way we can help the farm bring OEFFA and a farm to table experience to their backyard and show all of Ohio what Geauga County and northeast Ohio have to offer said Chris Johnson Corporate Chef for The Driftwood Group one of Ohio s premier restaurant and catering companies Erik Martinez is the Executive Chef of downtown Cleveland s Cibreo Italian Kitchen which is part of The Driftwood Group and will be overseeing the dinner He has been a part of Cleveland s culinary landscape for more than 20 years Tickets are 125 per person or 1 000 for a table of 8 All proceeds support OEFFA s work to grow Ohio s sustainable and organic agriculture movement The Farmers Table is sponsored by The Driftwood Group Maplestar Farm Edible Cleveland Kevin Morgan Studio Organic Valley Rising Star Coffee Roasters Storehouse Tea and Tea Hills Farms For more information or to purchase tickets go to www oeffa org FarmersTable call 614 421 Ext 206 or email dinner oeffa org About OEFFA The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is a statewide grassroots nonprofit organization working to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system OEFFA operates one of the country s largest and most respected USDA accredited organic certification agencies For more information go to www oeffa org Organic is Non GMO and More New Product Logo Helps Consumers Understand the Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food June 17 2015 OEFFA Press Releases Lauren For Immediate Release June 17 2015 Contact Amalie Lipstreu Policy Program Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 208 amalie oeffa org Kate Blake Certification Program Manager 614 262 2022 Ext 223 kate oeffa org Lauren Ketcham Communications Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 203 lauren oeffa org Columbus OH While a growing number of consumers are seeking foods made without genetically modified organisms GMOs they may be getting less than they think from non GMO labeled products According to Michelle Ajamian owner of Shagbark Seed Mill in Athens Non GMO labels don t guarantee crops are grown without chemicals In fact unless the food is certified organic it may be grown with even more chemicals than GMO crops To help consumers find food that is both non GMO and environmentally friendly the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA has released a new label that OEFFA certified organic farmers and processors can use on their products in addition to the standard USDA organic seal This label reminds consumers that choosing organic foods allows them to avoid GMOs and protect public health and the environment To use the organic label foods must not only be non GMO but they must also be grown without synthetic pesticides growth hormones antibiotics and chemical fertilizers Shagbark Seed Mill chose organic certification over non GMO verification to support the farmers that go beyond non GMO by working with nature instead of against it That means cover crops crop rotations and healthy soil That means no GMO seed ever The result is a product we re confident will protect water and soil resources and feed us the best quality food on all fronts stated Ajamian whose certified organic mill sells beans flour pasta chips and other products Organic farmers undergo a rigorous annual third party verification process that includes an organic system plan multiple reviews of that plan and an inspection of the farm As a result the organic seal is the gold standard in ecological labeling and consumers can have confidence that farmers are adhering to the standards of the U S Department of Agriculture USDA National Organic Program said OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu Regardless of which version of the organic label a farmer or processor chooses the organic seal guarantees that the product was made without GMOs Organic is also the clear choice for shoppers who are concerned about the health and sustainability of their food Tours Shine Light on Ohio Sustainable Food Production June 1 2015 Farm Tours OEFFA in the News Lauren By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service 5 26 2015 PHOTO The 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series kicks off in June offering people across Ohio the chance to experience life on the farm and learn new skills Photo courtesy of Sunseed Farm COLUMBUS Ohio A lot of work goes into the production of fruit vegetables and other fresh food sold at markets and grocery stores and this summer Ohioans can get an up close and personal look at the process The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is sponsoring 15 tours and nine workshops during its 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series Communications coordinator Lauren Ketcham says it s a unique experience for both adults and children To see a tomato ripening on the vine in the field or to be able to pull a carrot out of the ground and really tangibly see how that food gets from the field to their dinner table she says Tours this year offer a variety of activities including the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of a shepherd view organic dairy production and sample local meats cheeses and preserves As part of the series there will be a one day Women Grow Ohio event at 17 locations and a benefit dinner in the fall Ketcham says OEFFA has offered the tours for more than 35 years to give growers and non growers the opportunity to learn about sustainable foods produced in Ohio communities The more consumers know about how their food is grown the better prepared there are to make informed choices about who to support with their food dollars says Ketcham The tours are a good way to gain this knowledge Ketcham says Ohio s sustainable farmers and producers

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  • Webinar and On-Farm Workshop to Help Veterinarians and Livestock Professionals Manage Organic Dairy Herd Health | OEFFA News
    farm dairy herd health workshop at Pleasantview Farm a family owned certified organic dairy farm managed by Perry Clutts and his family since 1899 He will cover herd health monitoring record keeping and perform an on farm risk assessment with an emphasis on herd health and productivity to identify areas for improvement Participants will gain hands on experience in conducting an audit using an instrument designed to identify and rank risk factors enabling veterinarians to offer this service to their clients Pleasantview Farm is located at 20361 Florence Chapel Pike in Circleville Both events are geared toward veterinarians Extension educators farmers and other animal health professionals who work with certified organic farmers and dairy herds There is no cost to attend the webinar or workshop but pre registration is required To register for the June 23 webinar click here To register for the June 26 on farm workshop contact Eric Pawlowski at 614 421 2022 Ext 209 or eric oeffa org Veterinary Continuing Education CE credits will be granted on an hour for hour basis These events are part of an educational livestock health series offered by OSU and OEFFA designed to help veterinarians and other livestock professionals gain new knowledge and expand services offered by providing important information on working with certified organic livestock and poultry For more information about the series or to see other scheduled events click here call 614 421 2022 Ext 209 or email education oeffa org This series is made possible with funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education s NCR SARE Professional Development Program Post navigation Good Earth Guide Connects Consumers with Local Farmers Ohioans Can Get The Dirt on Organic Growing from Farmers Archives Select Month February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015

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  • Good Earth Guide Connects Consumers with Local Farmers | OEFFA News
    Renee Hunt The searchable online directory identifies sources for locally grown vegetables fruits herbs honey maple syrup dairy products grass fed beef pork and lamb free range chicken and eggs fiber flour and grains cut flowers plants hay and straw seed and feed and other local farm products The Good Earth Guide gives consumers out there a one stop shop to find not only vegetable growers but people who are raising poultry and beef and a whole range of products that are close to them and grown and raised organically said certified organic farmer Jake Trethewey of Maplestar Farm in Geauga County Each listing includes name and contact information products sold a farm or business description and whether the farm or business is certified organic Many listings also include locations and maps for where the farm or business products are sold The directory includes tools that make it easy to search the listings for a specific product business or contact by county or by sales method One of the other primary benefits of the Good Earth Guide is that it helps growers get together with other growers finding out what worked for them and passing on ideas techniques and products that work for you to other growers Trethewey said That s the purpose of the Good Earth Guide said Hunt making connections Connecting consumers to local farms and businesses so that their dollars support the local community and sustainably grown food and farm products Connecting farmers with one another so they can network and develop business relationships that support a successful farming community And connecting businesses with farmers who can supply local food for restaurants and other retailers concluded Hunt The Good Earth Guide is available free to the public in an easy to use online searchable database at http

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