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  • Fracking and Farmland: Stories from Ohio’s Fields | OEFFA News
    his neighbors have signed fracking leases and he s concerned that a process known as mandatory pooling will force him into a lease We ve been approached I think four times now by Chesapeake and BP about signing leases he said and so far they have not offered any terms that we consider adequate to protect what we are doing on the farm Mandatory pooling allows the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to authorize access to non leased land once oil and gas companies have acquired leases for 65 percent of the land in a drilling unit Gardner says it s disappointing that private interests can trump his rights as a landowner It feels as if the land is ours until somebody else wants to do something with it he declared And you know it s not even public domain it s a private company Gardner is one of several producers sharing their personal story from the field about how the fracking boom is affecting their land and operations The profiles are featured in a new online series offered by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association The stories can be found at policy oeffa org frackingfarmland The web pages feature several stories including a cattle producer from Windsor Ohio concerned about contamination from nearby injection well sites and a poultry producer in Stark County worried about the negative effect of fracking on the connection between successful farming and the health of the soil water and air Post navigation American Meat Documentary to Screen at OEFFA Conference Farmers in Ohio divided on fracking 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

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1032 (2016-02-17)
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  • 2 key programs die as farm bill expires | OEFFA News
    The cost share program gives farmers the opportunity to offset those costs by up to 750 a year Without this low cost program we are likely to see the number of certified organic farmers drop Organic certification helps consumers know that their food is held to the standards set by the National Organic Program To address the aging population of agricultural workers the development program helps to provide essential training to America s next generation of farmers and ranchers New farmers have many obstacles to overcome with resources and training available under this program we are able to put a little more wind in their sails These programs need their funding to be reauthorized It is vital for Congress to pass the 2012 Farm Bill in the upcoming lame duck session in November SHANE RICHMOND Granville OH Shane is a policy intern at OEFFA Post navigation Door opens for Ohio meatpackers Federal program lets state inspected shops ship beyond borders Managing Weeds on a Midwest Farm A Profile of Ken Rider 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

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=903 (2016-02-17)
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  • Why We Need to Save the Farm Bill | OEFFA News
    access to the food It s expected to cost just under 1 trillion dollars over 10 years It s a big deal The current Farm Bill passed back in 2008 is set to expire on September 30 That leaves Congress with just 16 business days to act The chances of fully renewing the Farm Bill by the deadline are looking slimmer by the day It is therefore possible that Congress will pass an extension bill and then return to debate at a later point But any extension should continue to fund the food and farm programs that are set to expire on September 30 th Which programs The Farmers Market Promotion Program FMPP the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program BFRDP Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative OREI and National Organic Certification Cost Share Program NOCCSP just to name a few Not to mention all of the USDA Rural Development programs such as the Value Added Producer Grants VAPG which fund farmer projects to increase their income through smart marketing and other tools These programs ensure the success of local and organic food systems and are the future of American agriculture Here s what you can do to help keep these and other important programs alive Send a message to Congress Don t put rural America organic and local food and the next generation of farmers on hold Find a way to continue these important programs Visit congress org type in your zip code and contact your representatives about food and farm programs and policies that matter to you You can also check to see if your congressmen are part of the Senate or House Agriculture Committee since those members are especially involved in the process Finally sign up for National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition action alerts to get the latest

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=897 (2016-02-17)
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  • Farm bill’s expiration lamented | OEFFA News
    renewing the existing farm bill Both houses of Congress had proposed a replacement bill but they were far apart on unifying legislation with the House proposing a bill with 35 billion in cuts to meet budget deficit restrictions and the Senate proposing cuts of 23 million Either way cuts were going to happen Ms Lesicko said but Ohio farmers were hopeful a bill could be crafted that still met the needs of farmers without making drastic reductions But Congress adjourned without passing an extension and with it now in recess until after the Nov 8 election there is no telling when the matter will be taken up again In the meantime several programs paid for by farm bill funding are expiring First on the list is MILC or the Milk Income Loss Contract program which compensates dairy producers when domestic milk prices which can be volatile fall below a specified level MILC payments will be made through November but after that dairy producers are out of luck Next to go is the Specialty Crops program which could affect all northwest Ohio fruit and vegetable growers and specialty nurseries The program provides block grants to help organizations and individuals pay for research assistance and marketing for specialty crops and floriculture businesses Also to expire shortly due to lack of funding is the Conservation Reserve program which encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover such as grasslands or shade trees The CRP program has been particularly effective in northwest Ohio to control flooding and promote wildlife It s all kind of starting now as these programs start to expire and we ll get progressively worse as we continue to go Ms Lesicko said At an undetermined point theU S Department of Agriculture won t be able to enter into new trade contracts which will hit Ohio farmers particularly hard and hurt programs designed to promote trade of commodities such as corn wheat and soybeans Ms Lesicko said It s any person s guess as to what might happen she added For now monies to help offset this summer s drought disaster are covered and payments to several northwest Ohio counties listed as disaster area will go to farmers as scheduled And overall the 2008 law that expired on Sunday covers all of 2012 s crops It s next year that we re worried about Mr Wise said The Farmers Union president said he believes funding levels in existing programs in the 2008 farm bill are likely to be reduced in whatever replacement bill gets passed either this year or early next year by the new Congress I see consequences of not getting this done early and it s difficult to tell how they ll manifest themselves I think a lot of programs will be cut or consolidated Mr Wise said The thing about farm legislation is it s generally an investment It s money that creates a return he said For example it s said

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=886 (2016-02-17)
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  • Farm Bill Expiration Puts Forward-Thinking Food Policy at Risk | OEFFA News
    rebuild local and regional food systems to invest in emerging farmer and community owned food businesses with high consumer demand and to transfer land to young farmers will also be put on hold These are casualties of Congressional inaction Many commentators note that SNAP food stamp benefits and federal crop insurance subsidies the two largest categories of farm bill spending continue unabated and that is true But they re missing the fact that these lesser known programs have no funding starting on Monday These lesser known farm bill programs have an outsized impact They drive innovation They create jobs They help solve environmental problems and boost energy independence They support the next generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs When the Senate passed a new five year farm bill in June it was difficult to imagine we would find ourselves in this situation The House Agriculture Committee passed its version in July with bi partisan support but the House left town last week to go home and campaign without House Republican leaders ever bringing the new farm bill to the floor for amendment and approval Now Congress is tasked with passing a new farm bill during the short busy lame duck session after the election Many House members are trying to reassure their constituents that because food stamps and crop insurance are taken care of and because there is a little bit of time before commodity subsidy programs implode it was all really no big deal to kick the can down the road Don t try telling that to young farmers enrolling in training programs to landowners trying to restore wetlands or to researchers working to make a healthier and more sustainable food system They know they have been left in the lurch and they are looking to Congress to do

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=882 (2016-02-17)
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  • Farm Policy | OEFFA News | Page 5
    use of new technologies for Electronic Benefit Transfer EBT for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP at farmers markets and other direct retail outlets Expanding Access to Broadband for Rural Communities Brown also introduced legislation the Connecting Rural America Act that would strengthen existing USDA programs that provide for the construction improvement and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service to underserved rural communities This legislation was included in the Senate farm bill which would reauthorize the existing Rural Broadband Loan Program and add a grant component to the program to target funds to the small towns and rural communities that need it most With new or increased broadband access communities will be able to compete on a level playing field to attract new businesses schools can create distance learning opportunities medical professionals can provide cost efficient remote diagnoses and care and business owners can expand the market for their products beyond their neighborhoods to better compete in the global economy The investments will create jobs in the short term and help establish a new foundation for long term economic growth A Q A on Fracking with MacKenzie Bailey of OEFFA June 20 2012 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren June 20 2012 Edible Columbus By Colleen Leonardi MacKenzie Bailey With the natural gas industry moving into parts of Ohio with the aim of drilling for natural gas using a process known as fracking we wanted to learn more about the relationship between fracking and farmland Policy Program Director at the Ohio Ecological Food Farm Association MacKenzie Bailey answered some of our questions Colleen Leonardi What is fracking and what s its history here in the U S MacKenzie Bailey High volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing commonly referred to as fracking is a method of oil and gas extraction that injects a mixture of water toxic chemicals and sand at high pressure deep underground to break apart rock formations such as shale limestone sandstone or coal beds Various forms of fracking have been around for decades first used commercially by Halliburton in 1949 But fracking today looks very different than it did back then Today s technology allows companies to drill much deeper and in tighter rock formations Horizontal wells which can extend up to a mile underground use more toxic chemicals and millions of gallons of water CL Why has the natural gas industry moved into parts of Ohio to begin to drill MB Due to new technological advances the fracking industry has been able to tap into shale rock formations that contain oil natural gas and natural gas liquids propane butane and ethane that were previously not economically feasible to exploit The eastern half of Ohio rests upon the Devonian Marcellus and Utica Shale formations The Ohio Geological Survey reports that northeast Ohio has the most oil and gas potential including parts of Ashtabula Trumbull Portage Stark Mahoning Columbiana Carroll Tuscarawas and Coshocton counties In central Ohio the Utica Shale underlies parts of Marion Delaware Union and Morrow counties CL How does the natural gas industry gain permission from a farmer to use their land to drill MB Oil and gas companies need to obtain signed leases from the property owners in a drilling unit in order to operate on the land or collect the mineral resources below the surface Once 65 percent of the land is leased the company may move forward with applying for a drilling permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources These leases are legally binding documents Landowners that are approached about signing a lease should seek advice from an experienced lawyer who ideally has a background in oil and gas law as well as contract negotiations Some lawyers will claim a percentage of the sign on bonus and or royalty payments meaning they benefit only if their client signs a lease For landowners that prefer not to sign a lease it may be worthwhile to seek a lawyer that charges a flat fee Ohio recently passed an energy bill that falls short in some significant ways including the ability to protect the rights of private property owners when negotiating an oil and gas lease CL What effect does fracking have on the land and the natural resources of that farmland MB Fracking can potentially have a huge impact on land air and water resources These new drilling operations are resource intensive and can use up to 300 times more water than conventional fracking This water is combined with sand and a mixture of toxic chemicals creating a brine known as frack fluid According to new Ohio laws the exact formula used in frack fluid does not need to be disclosed by the companies protected as a trade secret however this fluid can contain hundreds of dangerous chemicals including benzene methane radioactive materials such as strontium uranium and radon and heavy metals such as lead mercury cadmium chromium barium and arsenic After this fluid is injected underground some of it comes back up as wastewater where it may have picked up other naturally occurring heavy metals and radioactive materials Both the frack fluid and wastewater need to be transported to and from the site At every step of the fracking process from injection and recovery to storage and transport there is the potential for contamination of water and soil through underground fissures spills leaks and blowouts Well failures are fairly common at drilling sites In 2011 Pennsylvania levied 141 violations against Chesapeake Energy alone Of those 24 involved failures of well integrity or underground leaks Scientists at Duke University published the first rigorous peer reviewed study of water pollution at drilling and fracking operations Examining 60 sites in New York and Pennsylvania they found systematic evidence for methane contamination in household drinking water Water wells half a mile from drilling operations were contaminated by methane at 17 times the rate of those farther from gas development Land use and air pollution are also of concern Semi truck trailers transport frack fluid wastewater and drilling equipment to and from the fracking site In addition to the drill pads and compressor stations which can take up acres of land themselves roads and pipeline may need to be built The increased development has been known to elevate air pollution particularly ozone levels in rural areas CL How might those effects influence the quality and sustainability of the food from Ohio farms MB Farmers livelihoods depend on the integrity of the soil clean water and pollution free air If there is a spill leak or blowout food could become contaminated by fracking fluid or wastewater If contamination occurs on land that is certified organic that land will be taken out of organic production for at least three years and the farmer will lose that income Livestock are attracted to the salty toxic brine used in fracking and therefore are particularly vulnerable if there is contamination to soil and water According to a Food and Water Watch report in 2009 16 cattle in Louisiana died after drinking spilled frack fluids Other similar reports have been made Air pollution near fracking sites can have an impact on a farm s production For instance elevated levels of ground level ozone due to natural gas drilling as has been seen in southwestern Wyoming can lower soybean crop yields Ohio s largest agricultural commodity Other crops that can be affected by ozone include spinach tomatoes beans alfalfa and other forages Although burning conventional natural gas is known to have a lower greenhouse gas effect than burning coal or oil a 2011 Cornell University study showed that gas obtained from shale rock could actually have a greater footprint This is because the release of methane which is very potent greenhouse gas from shale rock can escape into the atmosphere This could contribute to climate disruption which leads to unpredictable growing seasons CL Does fracking have any effect on the farmers and people surrounding the farmland MB Although fracking can have positive short term economic impacts for lease signers and local businesses the long term health and environmental impacts cannot be ignored Contact with the toxic chemicals used in fracking or air pollutants can affect more than just farmland productivity it can have serious public health implications Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to a wide range of health impacts affecting the endocrine cardiovascular immune nervous and respiratory systems Of course that depends on which specific chemicals a person is exposed to and in Ohio oil and gas companies can keep certain chemicals secret from the public Ohio law allows only after a person has been affected by chemical exposure medical professionals to request a full chemical disclosure list from the company Additionally the large amount of industrial infrastructure that is needed in order to support a drilling site causes land fragmentation putting land out of agricultural production In Pennsylvania organic farmers have surrendered their certification because they are losing too much land to be able to have enough feed for their animals and meet access to pasture requirements for their livestock Finally gas development can also lower land and property values that make resale difficult This can happen for a few reasons First once a lease is signed it is legally binding and stays attached to the land potential home buyers may be more reluctant to purchase such a property Second fracking sites are noisy and unsightly and most buyers do not want this in their backyard Finally if contamination were to occur it could immediately lower property values CL According to Don t Frack Ohio Governor John Kasich has stated a goal of expanding the number of fracking wells in Ohio to over 4 000 within 4 years What does the future of sustainable agriculture in Ohio look like in your mind if Governor Kasich meets these goals MB That is a good question and there are still many unknowns On one hand we could see an economic boom in rural communities from natural gas development On the other we could experience land fragmentation and contamination of soil water and air that puts small farmers out of business or leaves them sitting on land with little or no value What I do know is that the Governor recently signed an energy bill that provides oil and gas companies with a lot of leeway and very little accountability Companies do not have enough incentive to prevent contamination of our water protect the health of our communities or even employ workers from the state of Ohio At the same time there is almost no opportunity for local governments to interject or Ohio residents to publicly comment or appeal a drilling permit decision With such an extreme expansion of natural gas and oil extraction in this state we need to proceed cautiously rather than allowing big corporations to have free reign over our land CL What can people do to learn more about fracking and take action MB To learn more about OEFFA fracking or to take action please visit our website at policy oeffa org fracking Fix our broken food system June 6 2012 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren BY ALISON AUCIELLO The Toledo Blade June 3 2012 The congressional wrangling over this year s farm bill is even more tortured than usual The legislation will guide U S agricultural food and nutrition policy for five years and will spend hundreds of billions of dollars Yet the 900 page bill was kept secret until only a week before the Senate Agriculture Committee spent a few hours debating it The full Senate is scheduled to consider the measure this week The farm bill is always a controversial balancing act of regional agricultural interests vital funding for nutrition initiatives such as the food stamp program and a host of projects and earmarks The Senate version cuts support for programs that needy families depend on fails to provide an adequate safety net to protect farmers when prices are too low and does nothing to address the increasing power of big agribusiness over farmers consumers and the food system Many of the problems in our system stem from agribusiness having too much control over our food A few big firms control everything from seed to supermarket These companies limit the choices farmers can make can gouge them in the prices they pay for seeds and fertilizer can shortchange them when they sell crops or livestock and significantly reduce choices while raising the prices consumers pay at the grocery store Consolidation and lack of competition are especially acute problems in the livestock market About four out of five cattle and two out of three hogs are slaughtered by just four companies in each sector With few national buyers farmers rarely get a competitive price for their livestock Locally there are often only one or two meat packers buying livestock Packers frequently won t buy from independent producers Big meatpackers have the power to drive down the prices farmers get for hogs and cattle Meatpackers often control and feed their own livestock exerting unfair market power over farmers These companies can buy cattle and hogs when prices are low and slaughter their own livestock when prices rise In the long term this lowers the prices farmers get for livestock allowing meatpackers to manipulate prices Low livestock prices push farmers out of business Between 1993 and 2007 according to the U S Department of Agriculture Ohio lost 8 300 hog farms three fourths of its total and 1 600 beef cattle operations or one in 10 Such losses hurt the rural economy Fewer farms support fewer feed stores equipment dealers and local small businesses Consolidation in the meatpacking industry has pushed other firms out of business as well In Ohio according to the U S Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of slaughterhouses fell by 15 percent between 2001 and 2010 The number of slaughterhouse workers and their total wages fell by nearly half Lower livestock prices are not passed on to consumers Prices of bacon and ground beef continue to rise even as farmers and workers are paid less With so few processors in the market there is no incentive for big meatpackers to share savings with consumers U S Sen Sherrod Brown D Ohio is a champion of livestock fairness issues He has defended the country of origin labeling law from attack by our trade partners He supported livestock market fairness rules that the meatpacker lobby derailed Senator Brown can help move the 2012 farm bill in the right direction by supporting a proposed amendment to the legislation that would ban meatpackers from owning livestock That proposal enjoys broad support among independent livestock producers The Ohio Environmental Council Ohio Farmers Union Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and other state groups endorse the packer ban Senator Brown can stand up for Ohio farmers and consumers by committing to cosponsor and vote yes on the packer ban amendment Alison Auciello is the Ohio based organizer for Food Water Watch a nonprofit consumer group that works to ensure clean water and safe food Ohio Farmers Feeling the Effects of Fracking Boom March 15 2012 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren March 15 2012 COLUMBUS Ohio Hydraulic fracturing fracking is expanding in Ohio and debate is heating up over the process A lot is at stake for farmers especially those who use sustainable practices Oil and gas companies are approaching landowners across Ohio and asking them to sign leases to permit drilling for natural gas in shale formations Matthew Starline whose organic farm near Athens is surrounded by leased land says the potential for air soil and water contamination could threaten his organic label and business That could be soil contamination that would result in loss of my organic certification If I water the ground with contaminated water there s a possibility that my certification would be in jeopardy During fracking experts say wastewater returned to the surface can contain radioactive materials They add that heavy metals such as lead or mercury can contaminate the soil through spills leaks or during venting and airing Supporters say fracking could create hundreds of thousands of much needed jobs and increase revenue in the state Ohio has nearly 53 000 acres of certified organic pasture and cropland much of it in areas containing shale deposits Starline is a member of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association which represents 3 000 farmers businesses and individuals MacKenzie Bailey the group s policy program coordinator says they support a moratorium on the process because so little is known about fracking s long term effects Ohio needs strong regulations to protect our farmers and consumers from the risks associated with hydrofracking including the disclosure of chemicals prior to injection and significantly increasing transparency in the permitting process Local governments have little opportunity to speak up Bailey says adding that promoting local control of fracking is critical A few months ago Starline says many farmers in his area didn t believe fracking would become an issue for them Now he says they re being bombarded with information about the gas industry and fracking All of a sudden now we have over 140 000 acres that are being leased off by three different land groups So it came in with amazing speed and everyone wanting to jump right into it Starline says state leaders need to take a step back and evaluate environmental concerns before allowing any more drilling Mary Kuhlman Public News Service OH Video from outside NY Monsanto Motion to Dismiss Oral Arguments February 5 2012 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren On Tuesday January 31 family farmers from around North America filled Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald s courtroom in Manhattan The topic was the landmark organic community lawsuit OSGATA et al v Monsanto and the oral argument for Monsanto s pre trial motion to dismiss which it filed last July Plaintiffs from at least 21

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=9&paged=5 (2016-02-17)
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  • OEFFA in the News | OEFFA News | Page 6
    the morning last week It was Dylan Cooperrider Olivia a registered Berk from the Shipley farm in Mt Vernon was having piglets I arrived at the farm at 3 10 and the second was just born In total she had two males and seven gilts Dylan knows his pigs he has a barn full of sows and gilts behind Olivia Olivia s first born was the largest boar We named him Alfonso I have 50 full blooded Topline Yorkshire boar named Oliver at the farm also I am building a pig barn with a farrowing room at Oliver farms this fall I will raise show pigs and breeding stock for our soon to come Oliver farms all natural non GMO pork line Olivette our second registered Berk is due on Sept 3 Oliver Farms I am currently gearing up for sauce and condiment production at the end of this month I am going to share for the first time my eggplant caponata recipe This sauce is multipurpose for a salad served cold or warm a pasta sauce or a condiment on a sandwich Please enjoy Until next article cook with your heart and soul Alfonso Eggplant Caponata 1 1 2 Each eggplants peeled and cut in to med dice 2 1 4 teaspoons kosher salt 1 Pound Italian sausage loose Perry County Blue Ribbon Brand 1 Each red onion diced very fine 1 1 2 Tablespoons garlic peeled and finely minced 1 2 Cup golden raisins 1 Teaspoon ginger peeled and freshly minced 3 Teaspoons capers chopped fine 1 1 2 Cups tomato concasse 1 Cup orange juice 3 Teaspoons curry powder 1 2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 Teaspoon honey 1 Cup water 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 Tablespoons fresh basil chopped 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped 1 1 2 Teaspoons fresh rosemary de stemmed and chopped 2 Tablespoons scallions chopped Sprinkle eggplant with salt In large skillet heat up oil and saute eggplant on all sides until golden brown about 10 to 15 minutes Remove eggplant from pan and drain on paper towels Reheat pan and add sausage and cook over medium heat until golden brown and cook until done Drain grease from sausage and discard Chop sausage roughly when cool Reheat pan and add olive oil saute garlic and onions until translucent add reserve sausage eggplant raisins ginger capers tomatoes orange juice curry powder pepper flakes honey and water and the remaining salt and simmer for 3 5 minutes Pull from heat and stir in all fresh herbs Cool and store in refrigerator covered until needed Or serve hot over pasta or place in mason jars and put in canner and seal for the winter months Enjoy Farmers and Chefs Partner to Help Ohioans Connect with the Land August 18 2014 Other Lauren Public News Service by Mary Kuhlman 8 18 14 WESTERVILLE Ohio With an increasing interest in local foods some Ohio growers and producers are using agritourism to help people connect with the land and learn how the food they eat is grown Tours weddings and farm to table dinners are among the events regularly held across the state showcasing Ohio s agricultural tradition and the fresh seasonal offerings of area farms Val Jorgensen the owner of Jorgensen Farms in Westerville says opening her gates provides an opportunity for people to learn about the role of local foods in building a sustainable food system A lot of the consumers I meet at farmers markets are committed to buying local food but sometimes they don t have the opportunity to really visualize or understand where that food is coming from says Jorgensen This gets them one step closer Agritourism also allows farming operations to diversify their income Jorgensen is hosting a benefit dinner Sunday Sept 7th called The Farmers Table where diners can tour her organic farm and enjoy an evening of local food and drinks prepared by top area chefs Farms throughout the state also offer you pick fruit fall festivals and educational activities While the majority of Jorgensen s operation is used for growing and production she says she enjoys holding events to give consumers a glimpse of what happens on the farm The biggest reward for me is being able to stand back either just before or during an event and watch the enjoyment of others says Jorgensen That gives me a sense of making a difference in people s lives where they can really connect She adds events like The Farmers Table also allow farmers and producers to share the beauty and bounty of Ohio agriculture It s going to be something where they can experience the ultimate in seasonal food right here at the farm says Jorgensen The exciting part is we re able to pull together not only the growers but the chefs and the community Meet Us at The Farmers Table August 18 2014 Other Lauren Edible Columbus 8 1 14 We couldn t be more excited for the OEFFA s gathering on September 7th to celebrate Ohio farms and flavors The dinner is being held at Jorgensen Farms one of central Ohio s most beautiful certified organic farms and as we all know our friend Val Jorgensen is a passionate steward of her land and a leader in Ohio s sustainable agriculture community Val s farm produced ingredients will be featured in the menu and guests will be able to tour the farm to see how the food was grown The OEFFA is working with central Ohio s finest chefs to create hors d oeuvres and a four course dinner that sources ingredients from farms across Ohio The cocktail hour will feature locally distilled spirits and microbrews Even the decorations will feature locally grown flower arrangements from the beautiful Sunny Meadows Flower Farm Carol Goland Ph D Executive Director Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association said OEFFA s mission is to help farmers and consumers reconnect and together build a sustainable food system

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=3&paged=6 (2016-02-17)
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  • Lauren | OEFFA News | Page 6
    summarizing the poll results can be found at http policy oeffa org gepoll Farm trend watcher has high hopes for Ohio farmers in the new food movement March 2 2015 Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren By Vivian Goodman WKSU 2 20 15 One of the nation s leading agricultural journalists is sounding a hopeful note for Ohio s small family farmers Alan Guebert s syndicated column The Farm and Food File appears in 70 newspapers in the U S and Canada For more than two decades he s covered the rise of factory farms the growth of the organic sector and the push and pull between industrial and sustainable agriculture The first foodies Guebert grew up on an Illinois dairy farm in the 1960 s While we did not know it then we were the original foodies These younger people you know how they want to eat They want to eat today like we used to because we ate from our farm to our table We just did it right there on the farm And we were locavores before anybody invented the word And my point is for generations for centuries we ve eaten this way We got away from it just this past generation All I really do is watch things I got a good set of eyes and I just watch those trends like that And we re just going back to where I was 50 years ago And I can t wait Guebert delivered an upbeat keynote address at this past weekend s annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association His audience was mostly small farmers committed to sustainable agriculture They use organic methods and sell directly to consumers from their farms or at farmer s markets Sales growth Sales of organic produce increased more than 11 percent nationwide to 35 1 billion in 2013 the fastest growth in five years The organic sector is still just 4 of the overall food market but Guebert sees it continuing to grow I think it s the sky s the limit Why Because he says we re living in revolutionary times Fast food empires are fading and more Americans are asking for good safe healthy food There s going to be more and more effort on the part of people who seek out good food who will pay more for good food We do it now Look at the growth of farmers markets And if you ve ever shopped at a farmers market you can buy food cheaper elsewhere If you ve ever gone to a farm to fork table restaurant You can buy stuff a lot cheaper than that But you can t buy it any better You can t buy it any healthier You can t buy it and have more satisfaction And I think that s what the new food movement is about Last year about 80 percent of U S consumers bought organic at least sometimes And there s been explosive growth in the number of farmers markets But Guebert says conventional farmers try to downplay it I read just this past week how organic farmers markets must be worried because they only grew 8 last year where in the past they ve averaged 12 and 16 years ago there was 16 growth Wouldn t the corn and soy bean farmers love the fact that their markets grew 8 last year Of course they would So that s big Ag s message to counteract the great story that we see in farmers markets and in the growth of organic sales We re just going back to goodness Good easy straight forward uncomplicated delicious food Where Big Ag comes in But is anybody holding us back from going back What about Big Ag what about Big Food Well they would like to have a real impact on current food trends And in fact they re really trying Big Ag would like to see those choices limited And by that I mean they don t want labeling They don t really want GMO labeling for sure because they say it will work against them Well prove it Prove it Until then I think giving consumers the right to know what they re eating is important Guebert s been watching the trends for a long time He s been writing his column for about 22 years now When did he see the light bulb go off in people s heads When did this happen this food revolution I think we ve worked very hard my generation your generation to be sure that our children are very well educated And we raised them to be independent Well what we raised were smart kids We raised them in a manner that they were curious and questioning and that they sought out what they thought was good options and made informed choices That s all they re making They re making informed choices They re looking at food and they re going Well I think I ll have green beans tonight and I ll go to the farmers market He s seen it in his own family His daughter lived in D C and shopped at the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill It was on her way home so she could always stop and pick up something for supper that was fresh And in fact that s how they still do it in all of Europe You go to Europe the refrigerators are about the size of your suitcase And why Because they don t store food like we do They go to the store for food They don t store it Changes in the way Americans shop for and think about food and the growth of sustainable agriculture fuel Guebert s optimism about the future of the food system but he still worries about the power of Big Ag to influence government policy If you re going to have a subsidized system yeah the small farmer the sustainable farmer out here is going to have one hell of a bad time But if they can just get people to eat their food they ll have a customer they ll have a friend and they ll probably have a salesman for the rest of their lives So I think that s what sustainable people rightly focus on where food and people meet where they interface where they can taste tomorrow And the way farm writer Alan Guebert sees it tomorrow is yesterday 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

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?author=2&paged=6 (2016-02-17)
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