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  • Sustainable Agriculture in the News | OEFFA News | Page 2
    poor Partly because of good grazing conditions Ohio s ranchers kept more heifers young female cows to breed and are looking to grow their herds as their operations allow Harsh said Wiley has added 20 cows to his operation Up the Lane Farm through the past couple of years but he is now at capacity Wiley said his fellow ranchers struggle with the decision to cash in their cows at today s prices or hold a few back and grow a bit to see if tomorrow brings even better returns Some of these guys are more likely to hang on when the prices are up Wiley said The animals are worth so much money it is almost too expensive to turn them into meat Calves are sold by weight and weigh between 450 to 800 pounds Prices for calves in June 2013 ranged from 640 to 1 000 the USDA said This June prices ranged from 1 000 to 1 600 We keep raising our retail beef prices to keep up Wiley said But everything we do keeps costing more everything from hay and the price of calves I would say it has doubled in about five years Because of the high price of calves and low herd count fewer animals are being sent to slaughter this year the USDA said Harsh and Wiley agree that there are fewer cows at local processors If true expansion happens it ll come slowly Predictions aren t for a rapid expansion anytime soon said Stephen Boyles a beef expert with Ohio State University Extension I see interest but I m not sure I have seen a lot of action To hold back a heifer to expand a herd through breeding and raising a calf is a two to three year commitment Boyles said That is a long term investment without a guarantee that prices will remain high Just buying a calf and raising it for slaughter takes 12 to 18 months Wiley said his customers often ask why he doesn t bring more meat to the farmers market when he knows he has a strong customer base What I tell people is that the animals I have now are the ones I bought two years ago Wiley said I didn t know you d be here two years ago Checkoffs More and more of the same July 21 2014 Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren Farm and Dairy By Alan Guebert 7 10 14 According to the U S Department of Agriculture there now are federal commodity checkoffs for beef blueberries Christmas trees cotton dairy products eggs fluid milk Hass avocados Honey Packers and Importers lamb mango mushrooms paper and paper based packaging peanuts popcorn pork potatoes processed raspberries softwood lumber sorghum soybeans and watermelons Let s see that s 1 2 3 whoa 22 These 22 federally mandated largely nonrefundable commodity checkoffs raise most of an estimated 750 million per year from U S farmers and ranchers to promote everything from well avocados to watermelons Wait there s more Long as that menu is however it s not the whole checkoff enchilada USDA operates another 35 or so federal commodity marketing orders and many states oversee dozens more local commodity checkoffs For example there are at least 22 state corn checkoffs for varying amounts per bushel some refundable some not that contribute a portion of their money to a coordinated national corn promotion effort Also many state beef groups either now have or are pursuing statewide beef checkoffs to add up to another 1 per head to fund state specific beef promotion programs on top of the 1 per head nonrefundable federal checkoff each beef and dairy producer already pays upon sale of their animals Combine state and national checkoff collections and it s guessed because checkoff data is not compiled that American farmers and ranchers pay 1 25 billion per year for commodity promotion and research Organic checkoff That pile will grow if the Organic Trade Association a self described membership based business association for the organic industry in North America is able to sway federal lawmakers to endorse an organic checkoff in the next two years OTA claims a checkoff would carry benefits for farmers and industry alike It sees the money pegged between 20 million and 40 million per year as a way to distinguish organic in the market place grow demand and help the consumer understand all that organic delivers Links to documents are posted at http farmandfoodfile com in the news To raise the money OTA is pushing an assessment plan it calls broad and shallow for everyone in the organic supply chain Everyone means not only producers according to OTA but also handlers brand manufacturers co packers and importers Exempted from paying any checkoff however would be organic certificate holders most players in the U S organic market must be certified organic by USDA with gross annual sales of 250 000 or less The proposed assessment advocated by OTA is 1 10 of 1 percent of gross organic revenue greater than 250 001 per year For example OTA explains there would be a 1 000 assessment at 1 000 000 gross organic revenue One sided While OTA s checkoff plan is relatively broader and cheaper than its federal siblings most organic farmers see little need for it Ed Maltby executive director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance recently posted a lengthy discussion on NODPA s website on what he calls OTA s one sided propaganda campaign for the checkoff In fact writes Maltby the push by OTA a trade organization using emotive language and a well financed program will be counter productive at a time when the organic community needs to be united in the face of many marketplace and USDA threats Most farmers and rancher however continued to support state and national commodity checkoffs despite little independent evidence to suggest any of billions spent on checkoffs in the last 25 years has had any material impact on prices received by farmers and ranchers Indeed checkoff detractors often point to the dramatic drop in farmer and rancher numbers over the life of current checkoffs as simple proof that farm and ranch financed promotion efforts have had little to no impact whatsoever on farm and ranch prices profits and lives They re right checkoffs should be about more farmers making more not fewer maker more As such it s hard to see how the latest checkoff scheme is little more than more of the same Wooster farmers form cooperative to sell food in Cleveland aided by USDA grant June 24 2014 Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren By Debbi Snook The Cleveland Plain Dealer March 16 2014 Monica Bongue sees Ohio like many others in the local food movement As a state rich in possibilities with three big hungry cities surrounded by a lot of productive farmland The owner of Muddy Fork Farm in Wooster sells weekly subscriptions to food she grows and individual vegetables at the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square Bongue BON gay just needed to build up that rural urban connection for her and her farming friends She was already deeply invested in the food movement making the commitment to grow certified organic crops and contributing 1 000 to the start of Local Roots Market Café the first all local farmer and consumer owned food store in Ohio where she serves as president of the board The commitment was also deep for her early farming collaborators Martha Gaffney of Ashland a native Ecuadorian who farms in the traditional ways of her homeland Marcus and Beth Ladrach of Wooster growers of certified organic grains and meats and Daniel and Jennifer Grahovac of Crooked Barn Farm in Wooster who produce Certified Naturally Grown crops Wooster home to Ohio State University s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center has great passion for these homegrown concepts but is relatively sparsely settled We were maxed out with our customers Bongue told her audience at the recent Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association conference in Granville We were farmers with not enough market A few years ago she and two other farmers signed on with a Cleveland based local food buying club They grew the food and the club distributed But the relationship was not what they wanted They felt they didn t make a large enough percentage of the profit or have enough interaction with their customers two of the biggest promises of community supported agriculture CSA programs They wanted their own CSA but as any farmer can tell you growing food and running a business especially one with customers 50 miles away is a plate piled high Bongue applied for a grant from the U S Department of Agriculture s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program SARE offers money to farmers and ranchers with innovative sustainable methods for solving their own problems Her idea was a success getting her a 22 500 grant to help start the non profit Farm Roots Connection Cooperative It was among the largest SARE farmer grants given in 2013 The awarding of funds last year came too late in the growing season to launch Farm Roots in full so Bongue set up trial runs at the Local Roots store in Wooster She also started a charitable program so that those with money can buy shares for those who cannot afford them One visit to a church netted 1 000 in donations She found small business help and money from the Ohio Cooperative Development Cente r which helped her obtain a lawyer to register the business and set up a web site She linked with Local Roots for online ordering bought computer and packing materials Fortunately the SARE grant also will help pay for her to be the cooperative s first manager Farmers are busy she said They don t have time to manage other farmers Now she needs to continue building her customer base to help pay for a manager in the future Farm Roots will drop off to customers at Gordon Square Farmers Market on Cleveland s West Side Countryside Farmers Market at Highland Square in Akron and Local Roots in Wooster The grant money comes in three installments each with a requisite amount of paperwork and documentation Joan Benjamin a coordinator for the SARE program in Ohio and other north central states said by phone last week her group s goal is not only to help farmers solve their own production problems but also solve problems shared by other farmers The best way to get information to farmers is from other farmers she said Bongue will eventually file a full program report that will be available to other farmers as well as the public Benjamin says SARE has important success stories in Ohio Farmers in the northwest part of the state have used the grant money to show how specific methods of planting cover crops rather than leaving land barren enriches the soil and helps stop the kind of runoff causing algal blooms in places such as Grand Lake St Mary s and Lake Erie Another farmer used her grant to develop breeding strategies to create resistance to gastrointestinal bugs in sheep They ve done some remarkable work said Benjamin Bongue s grant proposal was like the others reviewed by not just administrators but a panel of 25 judges that Benjamin described as mostly farmers and ranchers The issue of farmers scaling up to a livable wage is challenging said Benjamin There are so many logistical things involved in a solo farmer making it work today There used to be a lot of farms around and the infrastructure that was there is not there anymore Potential impact of fracking worries Northeast Ohio farmers June 12 2014 Sustainable Agriculture in the News Lauren The industry claims farmers concerns about water and air quality are unwarranted by WKSU s VIVIAN GOODMAN This story is part of a special series The government is now asking citizens to help in a bid to find safer ways to get at rich deposits of natural gas Farmers in Northeast Ohio say there s a lot at stake including the safety of local food WKSU s Vivian Goodman reports in this week s Quick Bite on farmers concerns and industry reassurances LISTEN Windows Media MP3 Download 4 49 The U S EPA last week called for public comment on ways to develop safer fracking chemicals Fracking or hydraulic fracturing shoots sand water and assorted chemicals deep underground But the industry has no responsibility to tell property owners what s in the chemical cocktail or to inform them about spills or pipeline breaks That worries Mick Luber a lot I run Bluebird Organic Farm We re in eastern Ohio about 7 miles from Cadiz in Harrison County which is in the heart of Ohio s fracking boom He grows vegetables and raises chickens for eggs They re a Hubbard Comet They re a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a Bard Rock The roosters are white as you can see and the hens are brown They lay a brown egg Luber called the Ohio EPA two years ago when he saw a chalky white substance trickling out of a hill above his farm where a natural gas well was being drilled He worried he d lose his organic certification if it were to contaminate the stream running through his fields of onions beans carrots tomatoes peppers and eggplant They came out and investigated They said that they ve taken care of the problem New worries in farmland But now he fears other potential impacts We climb into his truck for a bumpy ride The roads are ravaged and he tells neighbors who signed leases with the oil companies they have only themselves to blame My neighbors have taken the money So they re all in favor of it until they see the road conditions now that they ve been running big trucks across the roads destroying the roads Economic benefits along with the risks To the contrary says Tom Stewart executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association He says the industry s investment in infrastructure is a boon to local governments They are overjoyed on the money that s been invested by producers to upgrade roads that were completely trashed out in the first place In fact I heard a county engineer tell me once that they had a road going to a well site that was essentially a gravel road and they turned it into a highway Impact up in the air But when he looks up from the potholes there s another image farmer Luber can t get out of his head You can see right up through those trees the pad where they currently have fracked and are getting ready to flare When they do Luber worries about air quality for his crops below and the health of people who consume them All the particulate matter from that well are going to come down on my land and I m selling them a product to make them healthy But since he sees no current direct impact he doesn t share his fears with customers Shoppers unaware When you go to a farmers market it s sort of a sunny place where you get away from things and you get fresh vegetables Talking about what s terrible happening to you it gets old for people to have to confront that stuff on a regular basis Could something happen asks the Ohio Oil and Gas Association s Stewart Do airplanes fall out of the skies Do buildings fall down Do accidents happen Yeah accidents happen But he says if and when they do farmers can trust what he calls their industry partners Nothing to fear from partners says the industry We care about our relationships with those people because we need them in order to do business If we have a problem on property are we going to look at our partner and say Screw you No We re going to work with them and say We ve got an issue here We ve got to clean it up Do we need a law in order to do that I don t think so But the Ohio Environmental Council does It s pushing the SAFER gas act to mandate that the industry immediately alert not only government officials but also farmers when accidents occur Trent Daugherty directs the OEC s legal affairs People that lease their land aren t notified when something potentially harmful occurs on their land until there s a final report by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources And you don t want a farmer or a farmer s family children in their back 40 playing around or working in an area that s potentially contaminated or potentially unsafe Fears from afar One western Stark County farmer doubts a disclosure mandate would pass Perhaps once we get a new legislature says Alex Dragovich Most of them have accepted oil money and they have embraced these people Dragovich plows his fields the old fashioned way at his Mud Run Farm This is Tom He s a 5 year old Percheron Most of the horses we use are Percherons Mud Run is well west of the state s fracking boom but he sees it coming He s turned down several leasing agents who want access to his land My biggest concern has always been water The only water we have on this farm is the water we pull out of the aquifer down here If at any given time they would start to frack there is in my opinion a good chance of damaging any water we have He s afraid of losing his livelihood We raised our family here This has been a good place for us Water is gold Since most of Dragovich s neighbors have signed leases

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=1&paged=2 (2016-02-17)
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  • USDA Awards $113M to Support Speciality Crop Production | OEFFA News
    totaling 392 9 million for 5 484 projects including those announced Monday For example an Ohio program was awarded a grant that will increase specialty crop competitiveness by helping Ohio growers with organic production and food safety grant The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association will provide Ohio beginning and existing organic farmers direct technical support and educational programming to help improve organic production and marketing skills The project will also help transition other growers to certified organic production and will help farmers of all sizes and levels of experience to establish and implement on farm food safety plans USDA s National Institute of Food and Agriculture NIFA is announcing 50 million in grants funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative SCRI which is made available through the 2014 Farm Bill This program develops and disseminates science based tools to address the needs of specific crops across the entire spectrum of specialty crops production from researching plant genetics to developing new production innovations and developing methods to respond to food safety hazards In fiscal year 2015 NIFA made 15 new awards totaling more than 40 million Fiscal year 2015 grants includes USDA Agricultural Research Service Peoria Ill which will receive 3 672 482 Additionally in fiscal year 2015 NIFA made also made five continuation awards totaling 9 7 million for grants initially funded in prior fiscal years Continuation awards are based on available appropriations and project success Examples of funded projects include a project at the University of California working to sustain the supply of high quality lettuce in the face of changing technology and climate The University of Florida will research management strategies for Laurel wilt a lethal disease in avocadoes And Michigan State University aims to use applied genomics to increase disease resistance in cucurbit crops Since 2009

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=2199 (2016-02-17)
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  • Other | OEFFA News
    want to do what I really want to do I told my sister that I am coming back to do what I love in a place that I love She has owned her farm for the last 10 years My sons Jeremy Nicholas and Zachery were very supportive They said mom get back to the country I had looked around about a year and half I knew this region and drove around looking for farms I told my sister I think I will just start knocking on doors and telling them I am looking for a farm She said she knew she couldn t have machinery tractors are expensive I knew I needed a place I could grow and was warning about spending all of my capital on the farm and equipment She needed a farm where she could grow alfalfa and support a herd of dairy goats She grows about 40 acres of alfalfa today You have to be self sufficient when you can t afford to buy alfalfa when the price is so high Making the cheese One of her greatest pleasures is making cheese Inside her cheese production house she describes step by step how the goat cheese is made She starts with the goat s milk which she then strains She then waits 24 48 hours with the milk kept at about 40 degrees She then puts the stock pots of milk on burner until it reaches 78 degrees She then takes the pot off the burner and adds French cultures through a Canadian dairy She then adds an animal rennet After about 12 hours the curd and whey separates She pours away the whey and places the curd in molds After a number of other steps the molds are left to age for at least 60 days when they can be legally sold However Fritzhand says most of her cheese is aged at least a year when the flavor is at its best But once the cheese is made she says the most important step is actually selling it as well as her goat meat Excitedly Fritzhand talked about the upcoming religious Ramadan holiday You need to get your meat goats ready to send to the producers processors She described ways of making the most out of knowing about these specialty markets and what consumers want and when they want it You have to watch the market always if you are going to make it By using her website she can get to know her customers She ships her cheese to customers or they can pick it up at her farm And get signature confirmation she advised Words of wisdom As a woman who has operated 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 Ones to watch Young women in agriculture Thursday April 23 2015 by Farm and Dairy Staff May 11 2015 OEFFA in the News Other Lauren By the Farm and Dairy Staff Farm and Dairy 4 23 15 When we planned our eight week series on women in agriculture You Go Girl we knew we wanted to give a nod somehow to the millennials the next generation of women ag leaders So we asked you to nominate individuals to be recognized as Ones to Watch and we re in awe of the agricultural passion and work all the nominees exemplified Thank you for sharing your nominees and we look forward to watching these young women and others as they propel our great industry forward Channing Murphy 23 Miami County Ohio Her passion for animals drove her to pursue an ag related degree and career and now Channing Murphy of Miami County has both of those things and more Murphy 23 earned a degree in veterinary technology but it was at a part time job working for Honey Hill Farm Mobile Petting Zoo and Pony Rides that she found her dream job She climbed the ladder to become regional manager for Ohio and also manages the petting zoo at the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky She maintains her farm roots by operating her own farm which includes 10 sheep 10 beef heifers and big plans for the future Cattle genetics and artificial insemination are of top interest as well as animal nutrition and finding ways to improve the production and health of livestock The best advice she ever received The moment when you want to quit is the moment when you need to keep pushing Kelly Lewis 24 Grandview Heights Ohio Growing up near Columbus Kelly Lewis and her family always had a community garden plot which she credits as fostering her personal connection with food and the environment Now she s working to create more opportunities for people to connect with their food with a goal of helping to build a local sustainable agricultural economy in the Midwest Armed with a bachelor of science in agriculture from Ohio State University Kelly works as a program assistant at Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association where she helps farmers and food processors navigate the organic certification process Her past experience includes an internship at Blue Rock Station Farm and lab assistant at Ohio Seed Improvement Association She considers her biggest life achievement and also her greatest adventure the time she spent in Czech Republic studying rural sociology and agricultural economics She was able to connect with farmers and students from across the globe Sarah Stocks 31 Medina Ohio Although Sarah Stocks officially serves farmers as an independent dairy nutritionist with Barton Keifer and Associates she also often serves as adviser arbitrator management consultant and friend to those dairy family clients in Ohio and Michigan The Massachusetts native and current resident of Medina Ohio is a graduate of Cornell the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University where she earned her Ph D in animal science dairy nutrition The people in agriculture are passionate about what they do and how they do it she says which is what drives her enthusiasm about serving the farm community She is quick to engage with friends or relatives about what farmers do sharing the positives but also the difficult issues of farming and dairy production We know why we do what we do but being able to share that with the public has been difficult And she s proud to claim that role too Jess Campbell Waynesville Ohio Jess Campbell Farm Credit Mid America agri consumer loan officer is not a farm girl in a traditional sense She grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason but was always involved in 4 H and raised small animals Campbell s extended family also had a hog operation which helped form much of her early knowledge of and passion for agriculture A 2009 Ohio State University animal science graduate Campbell is also president of the Warren County Farm Bureau and operates the 55 acre Carroll Creek Farms in Waynesville with her husband Adam Casey Ellington Campbell s Women to Watch nominator called her one of the local farming community s biggest agvocates The agriculture industry needs to help young people who are passionate about farming gain access to the resources needed to get started Campbell said My role will be not only to grow and succeed as a young farmer but to advocate for others and help them access what they need Katie Esselburn 27 Shreve Ohio Katie Esselburn grew up in Wayne County Ohio on a farm that produced corn soybeans and wheat The family operation also had a commercial feedlot That early experience made Esselburn s career choice easy There is such a small percentage of people who have ties back to agriculture that agriculture needs to keep telling its story the 27 year old Shreve Ohio resident said Esselburn who graduated from Denison University with a bachelor s degree in biology earned her master s in animal science from Ohio State University and currently works for Purina Animal Nutrition as a dairy nutritionist I work with dairy farms across central and northeast Ohio Esselburn said adding that the best advice she has ever received is take ownership and pride in your work I love working with people in the dairy industry she said It is great working with people who share common interests Emily McDermott 25 Riverside California Emily McDermott didn t grow up on a farm she grew up in a touristy beach town in New England She said she knew almost nothing about farming until she attended Ohio State University At Ohio State agriculture was all around her It was here she became intrigued by invasive crop pests and vector borne crop pathogens She graduated from Ohio State in 2012 with a bachelor of science in entomology and a minor in plant pathology She is pursing her doctorate in veterinary entomology at the University of California Riverside California Currently she is researching vector borne livestock diseases specifically bluetongue virus and the biting midges that transmit it Protecting livestock from diseases is something that will become increasingly important in the future and she plans to be a part of the solution Emily sees herself as becoming a leader in the agricultural sciences community She said the enthusiasm the agricultural community has is infectious and it motivates her to do the best work she can Laura Ringler 30 Shelby Ohio Growing up the youngest of 14 children on a 200 acre grain farm Laura Ringler had her fair share of learning by doing both on the farm in 4 H and in FFA Today the 30 year old agricultural educator is sharing those life lessons in her classroom and as FFA adviser at Plymouth High School in Shelby Ohio She guides her students in managing the school s 30 acre farm field a 4 500 square foot vegetable garden and 900 square foot memorial garden People tend to fear the unknown Ringler said I hope to remove the fears about agriculture and excite the passion as we build a strong and educated generation of agricultural advocates This year she was named the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Young Member She s an amazing person who is passionate about agriculture and student success writes her nominator She isn t on the farm full time but her work in educating the agriculture and civic leaders of tomorrow is invaluable Danielle Burch 27 Winona Ohio At just 27 Danielle Burch has earned two bachelor s degrees a master s in education and she s employed as a high school teacher and dairy farmer But her biggest accomplishment in her own words is her family husband Andy and their son Doyle Together Danielle and Andy operate a dairy where she puts her love for agriculture to work Burch grew up on her family s farm where she learned responsibility and work ethics things like the animals get fed first and hard work and dedication is the key to success Burch who teaches government and psychology sociology at United Local High School is a Columbiana County Farm Bureau trustee She loves farming because farmers are a friendly group They work hard and get dirty but at the end of the day they are a group of people willing to give help and go beyond their own to help someone else Locals teach organic farming May 11 2015 OEFFA in the News Other Lauren By Wayne Allen Portsmouth Daily Times 3 11 15 Kevin and Barb Bradbury owners of Hurricane Run Farm are hosting a group this week from Wake Forest University of Winston Salem North Carolina They found out about us Bradbury Farm through a WWOOFing World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms website They got in touch with us and decided to come Barb Bradbury said According to www wwoof net the site is designed to link volunteers with organic farms and growers Barb Bradbury said the group came to the farm to learn about organic farming She said through the experience the group is gaining hands on organic farming experiences at the farm Carol Goland PhD Executive Director Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA said there are certain advantages to gaining experience with WWOOFing I do know some of our farms have turned to the WWOOF Organization to get labor I m familiar with some people who have gotten experience through WWOOFing This is a time honored way of apprenticing yourself to get that knowledge So many people are interested in farming these days are not coming to it from having grown up on a farm so they need to find that way in It s one thing to hear about it in a book or hear about it in a lecture in college but nothing substitutes hand on experience Goland said Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is a membership based grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and supporting sustainable ecological and healthful food systems Kevin Bradbury said some of the things the students will experience this week include the process of making maple syrup the process of how to prune fruit trees and berries also the process of growing Shiitake Mushrooms He said with the recent weather the area has experienced the group has been working on various projects around the farm We have several fruit trees and we ve taught them how to prune fruit trees They ve pruned apples and we raise raspberries and blackberries those have to be pruned this time of year Kevin Bradbury said He said the students are on an alternative spring break from Wake Forest University He said while some students choose to spend their spring break on a beach these students are on an alternative spring break that will allow them to gain experience working on an organic farm They seem like they ve been enjoying themselves They wanted to learn about food production and small farm agriculture because there is such a movement with people wanting to buy local and locally grown food Kevin Bradbury said They wanted to see how a small farm works and a lot of them have not been exposed to farming or gardening so they wanted to what we do here Kevin Bradbury said he s hopeful the group will get to experience how to construct a raised bed As a part of the experience he said the students are planning to travel to Hocking Hills and spend some time in Athens Kevin Bradbury said the students have set up a Facebook page for the farm where the students have shared a few photos of their experience Wayne Allen can be reached at 740 353 3101 ext 1933 or on Twitter WayneallenPDT Below students from Wake Forest University are in Scioto County this week learning about organic farming and gaining hands on experiences Three ways to extend your gardening season August 25 2014 Other Lauren Farm and Dairy by Katie Woods 8 19 14 Harvest time will arrive sooner than we know If you re not ready

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?cat=11 (2016-02-17)
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  • More Ohio farmers go organic | OEFFA News
    some organic corn and soybeans for animal feed But the big growth in Ohio s organic production has been in dairy and eggs two longtime Ohio specialties Ohio s organic milk production with 36 6 million in sales last year makes up more than 40 percent of the state s entire organic production Perry Clutts converted his family s 116 year old crop farm near Circleville into an organic dairy and he s never looked back We transitioned in 2007 and it has been nothing but asking for more and more milk he said Clutts sells to Horizon one of the largest organic dairies in the nation When his family s tenant farmer retired Clutts wanted to invest in something with a bright future He knew his family s farm with its poor soil couldn t compete with conventional growers He saw potential in organic products Demand wasn t great in 2007 but it looked like an opportunity he said It looked like something that would be around for awhile I figured people would be more interested over time than less interested in these products I wish I could pick things as well at Scioto Downs Organic egg production has seen hockey stick growth The segment had sales of about 2 million in 2008 and grew to more than 17 million last year about 19 percent of the state s total organic sales Ohio is home to enormous egg operations and trails only Iowa in egg production so it makes sense that farmers here exploit an opportunity when they see it It depends on consumer trends If the consumers are asking for more organics farmers like us will continue to produce more organics said Lisa Timmerman egg division manager for Cooper Farms in Fort Recovery in western Ohio We are seeing a strong market for organics Cooper Farms produces regular white eggs cage free eggs and about a year ago added organic eggs Organic now makes up 5 to 6 percent of its egg business Timmerman said Finding partners and making sure its operation met organic standards has been pretty smooth so far Timmerman said The company contracts with local farmers in Indiana and Ohio for its organic eggs The key is that no matter what kind of eggs cage free conventional or organic farmers will be willing to produce what the consumers want she said Though it is growing in leaps organic farming is a tiny fraction of the state s agricultural footprint Ohio has about 75 000 farms and more than 10 million acres in production The value of Ohio s bounty tops 10 billion a year Lipstreu sees Ohio s strength in conventional farming as a boon to its future organic growth A lucrative organic grain market for high demand organic meats could attract more of Ohio s large experienced grain farmers into organic production especially as prices for conventional corn and soybeans continue to fall The U S imported more than 1 4 billion in organic

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=2196 (2016-02-17)
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  • Organic farm takes root, thrives on Youngstown’s East Side | OEFFA News
    Pedaline Murphy and three part time workers farm 5 acres of the 30 acre site The remainder is mostly woods I ve always been interested in growing my own food said Taylor Marucci of Struthers a civil engineer at Marucci Gaffney Excavating Inc in Youngstown and one of the farm s part time workers I really like plants and nature she said adding that she would like to reduce her food expenses and eliminate trips to the grocery store It s a healthier way of eating Pedaline said of consuming organic food It just tastes better and it s better for the environment Murphy said Organic farmers don t use chemical fertilizers or chemically based pesticides or herbicides and they don t use genetically modified organism products Pedaline said We know where it s from and we know what s in it Pedaline said of crops grown on his farm Anybody we sell anything to we say You come to the farm and see what we do You ll see exactly what goes on You ll know what we re putting in the soil Pedaline said Early Road Gardens is certified as an organic farm by the Columbus based Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association The farm supplies food to Ely s vegan restaurant in Boardman and to Friends Specialty at the Garden Cafe at Mill Creek Park s Fellows Riverside Gardens A greenhouse and three unheated tunnel buildings extend the growing season at Early Road Gardens where crops are produced from mid March to mid December Whenever we harvest we try to replant the same day Pedaline said I think it s a great trend People are getting more aware of it Murphy said of the organic food movement I think 10 years down the road it ll be

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=2194 (2016-02-17)
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  • Ohioans Join Call to End Waste, Quakes Tied to Fracking | OEFFA News
    area in 1986 That is a real concern for us because the Perry Nuclear Power Plant is less than 20 miles away from my home and my farm she says It is one of the few areas in Ohio that has been known to already have seismic activity There are over 180 injection wells in Ohio receiving fracking waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia and state officials linked a string of quakes near Youngstown in 2011 to a wastewater injection well Industry groups such as Energy from Shale argue that hydraulic fracturing is safe and a boon to the economy if regulated properly To coincide with the national event Ashtabula County Water Watch is launching a campaign to increase awareness among residents about the dangers of fracking waste Townsend says what is known as brine is toxic radioactive and largely unregulated The concerns have to do with the possible environmental contamination she says The other concerns that the people in this county have about brine is that it is being spread as dust control on the dirt roads Townsend adds that very few people benefit from the claimed benefits of fracking while the rest are left exposed to environmental problems including possible water and soil contamination I do know of an organic farmer who is surrounded by both frack pads and compressor stations and I don t know how long he s going to be able to hold on she says Stewardship of the earth is one of the reasons we re organic farmers and fracking does not lead to good stewardship of the earth Rallies are being held in over a dozen Ohio counties as well as in Cincinnati and Columbus Post navigation A Time For Speaking Out Farmers Ranchers Are Increasingly Being Recruited For Advocacy Roles Organic farm

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  • A Time For Speaking Out: Farmers, Ranchers Are Increasingly Being Recruited For Advocacy Roles | OEFFA News
    through traditional media outlets are bombarded with communications advocating for one thing or another While advocacy is getting louder it s not necessarily getting more effective Lipstreu said who recommended that farmers interested in advocacy have the most sway with lawmakers simply by making phone calls or sending personal emails to lawmakers Personal stories are the single most effective tactic she added Personal stories plus why the issue matters to you Politicians respond best to people they have a relationship with Lipstreu said so she also suggests advocates take the time to not only thoroughly research the issue they want to promote whether that be boycotting the construction of a pipeline or protecting crop subsidies but also to research what issues are important to their state lawmakers Don t call about broad issues Call about specific legislation she said adding that as few as 10 calls on a certain angle of an issue can change a lawmaker s stance It s not unusual for farmers to be intimidated by making a phone call but hearing a voice gives more meaning to a story than reading it in an email Lipstreu said To give an overview of a typical phone call to a lawmaker s office Lipstreu introduced Jazz Glastra a college intern who worked with Lipstreu over the summer Glastra said that one of the lawmaker s aides typically answer the phone The person calling in needs to remember to give the aide his or her name residence any relevant association affiliations and the reason for the call citing a specific piece of legislation before giving a personal story and a statement as to why that lawmaker should care about your story This doesn t have to be an intimidating experience Glastra said though she did admit that the first

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=2187 (2016-02-17)
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  • OEFFA News | Ecological Food and Farm News | Page 3
    across 10 states But the reality is that farmers and organic food processors have to go through the certification process every year Goland says As a whole we are keeping up but it represents an area of growth since organics is growing Goland adds certifiers are calling for clarification and more regulation in areas like animal welfare hydroponic crops and beauty products You will see some cosmetics or body care products out on the market that are labeled organics There aren t really standards for these she says There are more than 730 certified organic operations in Ohio and nearly 20 000 in the U S Nationally organic products generate 39 billion in sales Press Conference to Celebrate 25 Years of Certified Organic Standards November 17 2015 OEFFA Press Releases Lauren FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17 2015 CONTACT Amalie Lipstreu OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 208 policy oeffa org Lauren Ketcham OEFFA Communications Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 203 lauren oeffa org What The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is holding a virtual press conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act OFPA which was signed into law by President George H W Bush on November 28 1990 A moderated panel of expert speakers will provide statements about the history of the organic movement and standards and the growth of the organic sector A question and answer session will follow to allow members of the media the opportunity to explore the issues further Prior to OFPA there were no consistent standards or regulations to define organic agriculture The first certification programs were developed by states and agencies resulting in a patchwork of standards A grassroots movement grew to develop a national organic standard to help facilitate interstate marketing which eventually resulted in the passage of OFPA and the creation of the National Organic Program which established federal regulations defining uniform standards for organic farming practices and labeling and a third party verification process to ensure compliance uniformity and transparency After years of work and public involvement final rules were written and implemented in 2002 Today there are more than 730 certified organic operations in Ohio and nearly 19 500 in the U S Consumer demand for organic food and fiber continues to grow Organic food sales have increased by an average of 10 percent per year since 2010 and sales of organic products soared to 39 1 billion in 2014 When Monday November 30 10 am ET Please RSVP to lauren oeffa org Include your name and the name of the outlet you represent Where Members of the media can join this virtual press conference by phone from the convenience of their home or office Call 712 432 0390 and then enter access code 805354 Who Carol Goland OEFFA Executive Director and event moderator OEFFA is one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country OEFFA certified to state standards prior to OFPA and worked toward the development of a national program Liana Hoodes National Organic Coalition Advisor Liana is the Co Chair of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York former director of the National Organic Coalition and previous Organic Policy Coordinator for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan Executive Director of Sustainability George Washington University From 2009 2013 Dr Merrigan was U S Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U S Department of Agriculture where she created and led the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems She previously worked as senior staff to the U S Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry where she wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food Mike Laughlin certified organic specialty crop farmer Northridge Organic Farm in Johnstown Ohio was one of Ohio s first certified organic farms under the federal standards Abby Youngblood National Organic Coalition Executive Director Abby previously served as the Food and Environment Program Officer at the North Star Fund co owned and operated a vegetable farm in New York and advocated for a strong organic standard in 2001 About OEFFA The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is a statewide grassroots nonprofit organization founded in 1979 by farmers gardeners and conscientious eaters working together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system OEFFA operates one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country and offers educational programming and support to organic farmers and businesses and those looking to transition to organic For more information go to www oeffa org What s in a Label You May Not Know with DARK Act October 21 2015 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren Ohio Public News Service By Mary Kuhlman 9 16 15 COLUMBUS Ohio With preservatives flavorings and other unpronounceable ingredients making sense of food labels is difficult enough Opponents say the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act could create even more confusion They refer to it as the Deny Americans the Right to Know or DARK Act The legislation would allow foods made with genetically modified organisms to be labeled as natural and allow some GMO foods to be labeled as non GMO Warren Taylor who produces non GMO milk at Snowville Creamery in central Ohio said the act would take away people s right to know what they re eating The cheapest commodity jug milk at a grocery store can be now labeled non GMO milk he said Every egg sold in America can be labeled non GMO eggs regardless of the fact that those animals are all being fed GMO feed The bill also would ban states from regulating food labeling which supporters say would stop a patchwork of conflicting laws While it would set up a voluntary national labeling system Taylor argued that most companies that actually use GMO foods are not going to advertise it The legislation passed in the U S House with only two Ohio lawmakers voting against it The Senate could introduce the measure soon Taylor contended that the bill undermines existing businesses like his that sell non GMO products For the past eight years he said Snowville Creamery has been breaking even and recently received a game changing offer that would have paid the company a premium for its non GMO milk but the deal didn t last because of the labeling act The day the DARK Act passed the House of Representatives a week later they called me from the cheese plant and rescinded their offer because all cheese in America became non GMO according to the DARK Act if it passes the Senate this month he said Snowville Creamery is like a cat hanging on a wall right now There are global economic concerns Taylor said At least 35 countries have laws that impose labeling or import restrictions on GMO foods Taylor said America s non GMO producers will suffer without proper labeling The purpose of the DARK Act is to not give the American people the GMO labeling that every other industrialized democracy and Russia and China have he said but rather to assure that the American people will never be able to make an informed choice A poll this year found that 87 percent of Ohioans surveyed support the labeling of genetically engineered foods Details of the legislation HR 1599 are online at congress gov The poll is at policy oeffa org New Study Highlights Opportunities for Organic Agriculture September 18 2015 OEFFA Press Releases Lauren For Immediate Release September 18 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 Columbus OH A government survey of U S organic farms shows Ohio s growth in organic sales follow the national trend and while the number of organic farms in Ohio fell slightly over the past five years Ohio farmland in organic production has increased by more than 10 000 acres since 2008 The United States Department of Agriculture s National Agriculture Statistics Service USDA NASS released results from the 2014 Organic Production Survey this week revealing a 72 percent increase in organic sales since 2008 as well as a slight decrease in the number of organic farmers and total organic acreage in the U S While the decrease in the number of organic farms nationally and in Ohio is a concern Ohio remains in the top 10 of states in the number of organic farms in operation said Amalie Lipstreu Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator More than 40 percent of Ohio organic farmers earn between 75 and 100 percent of their income from organic farming The data show that organic farming provides a full time occupation for many farmers and there is a future in organic production as demand outpaces supply for organic food in the U S said Lipstreu These results also show a strong commitment to the organic market as more than 40 percent of Ohio s organic farmers plan to increase organic production In 2015 OEFFA has also seen an increase in the number of farmers seeking certification for the first time While 78 percent of organic sales are to wholesale markets the first point of sale for 80 percent of all U S organic products was less than 500 miles from the farm The growth of local and regional food systems as well as access to large wholesale markets provide huge growth opportunities for organic farmers said Lipstreu This study represents the second comprehensive survey of organic agriculture in the U S The ability to have trend data and analysis of organic agriculture in Ohio and the U S provides information critical to the organic industry and the farming community said Lipstreu Continuing to collect and analyze this information will help current producers as well as those considering a transition to organic agriculture understand the growing demand price premiums and production challenges OEFFA is one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country and offers educational programming and support to organic farmers and businesses and those looking to transition to organic For more information click here The complete report can be accessed at the USDA Census of Agriculture website Shagbark Seed Mill is changing the way restaurants use grains August 10 2015 OEFFA in the News Organic Certification Lauren By Beth Stallings Columbus Crave Fall 2015 Brandon Jaeger and Michelle Ajamian sit across from each other at the center of a long table they ve haphazardly strung together from four tops at Athens hippie Mexican eatery Casa Nueva One by one as their friends arrive a recent college grad in a maxi skirt a toddler wheeling couple sporting dreadlocks Jaeger and Ajamian jump up and smile with arms outstretched Every guest is treated with an enthusiastic hello or a strong armed embrace that lingers with familiarity The convivial air carries through dinner Familial teasing is directed at the father figure of the group Remember that one time Jaeger had to learn to drive a combine on the fly and then it ran out of gas on a hill Or when having never operated a forklift before he had to reverse it off the bed of a truck The goateed Jaeger laughs along as he takes it in stride adding to the stories with hand gestures that mimic gear shifting Amused Ajamian sips on a can of Jackie O s beer as she good naturedly disputes small details in every tale Among the baskets of tortilla chips and sauce covered enchiladas that decorate the table the real reason for this dinner takes shape The staples of this meal chips black beans tortillas would not be possible without this ragtag group of community do gooders who learned how to run an organic grain and seed mill on the job Since opening in 2010 Shagbark Seed Mill has become a source to which organic farmers can sell corn that turns into food not feed and from where area chefs find grains beans and flour grown and processed in Ohio Brandon Jaeger at the Shagbark mill in Athens That s a tougher feat than it may seem Until Shagbark began selling black turtle beans Northstar Cafe had to look to the West Coast to buy the essential ingredient for its veggie burger One corn farmer confesses he had never tasted his own crop in a product before Shagbark began making tortilla chips Brandon and Michelle are really in a very direct way changing the world and Ohio for the better says Darren Malhame partner at Northstar Cafe People like to talk about organic like it s some sort of elitist thing There s nothing elitist about providing healthy food for everyone They re using corn for really what it should be Sustaining the masses is exactly how the idea of the mill started At the peak of the local food movement as consumers began obsessing over heirloom tomatoes and kale grown nearby Jaeger fixated on a single question Why are we looking elsewhere for staple foods like corn and beans We re just not going to survive on tomatoes and lettuce and kale and heirloom squash We re going to need to rebuild our staples says Jaeger who calls this conundrum his existential anxiety Someone needs to be focusing on organically producing the foods that have been a staple in our diets for so long That someone it turned out is Shagbark An Origin Story Shagbark Seed Mill was never intended to be a business It was an experiment that started with a two year grant application to Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education a U S Department of Agriculture organization that promotes agricultural innovation At the time Jaeger was on a monastic training retreat at the San Francisco Zen Center Ajamian a community activist with a design background came out to stay with Jaeger planning the getaway to work on a grant proposal to support a perennial annual education lab But after Jaeger first uttered the phrase existential anxiety Ajamian suggested a second proposal The question that won them the 5 800 grant in 2008 Could they create a model staple food system that would make high nutrient grains and beans local again It started as test plots on four farms to identify which ancient grains quinoa amaranth millet and beans would grow well in Appalachia But as they conducted studies and consulted with members of the collaborative they d created Jaeger and Ajamian found one glaring piece missing from the staple food network a processing facility Even if a farmer wanted to grow black turtle beans Jaeger says he d have no outlet through which to process them We were ready for a blissful life with our hands in the soil and walking through test plots with clipboards noting pollinator activity and stem girth Jaeger says But we realized there are plenty of farmers around us with the soil and equipment and know how to grow the right crops But they need a reason for it If you wanted to open a coffee shop you could walk around a single city block find a handful of java slinging storefronts and get a feel for how the business is run But five years ago if you wanted to start a regional organic grain mill you d come up short with examples to follow That was a big challenge in the beginning as they launched their prototype regional mill Ajamian says They consulted with any experts they could find cobbling together the necessary equipment An organic farmer in Oregon recommended the kind of French mill they needed They found a seed cleaner for sale in Westerville The wooden Austrian sift box they use now to grind polenta grits spelt flour and buckwheat flour is still technically on loan from a farmer And of course they needed to persuade area farmers this would work and it would be worth working with the little guy who needed a few hundred pounds not tons of corn Thankfully the right farmer followed Ajamian out into the hallway She had just delivered her stump speech to a group of grain farmers at an Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA meeting I d like to come down and see what you re doing said the anything but shy Chris Clinehens More than a decade earlier the third generation Bellefontaine area farmer had his conventional 210 acre farm certified organic Shagbark intrigued him That first trip he brought 150 pounds of corn Now he supplies the more than 100 000 pounds of corn needed annually to make Shagbark s signature tortilla chips and corn crackers Talk to him about his commitment to Shagbark and he speaks as if he s a partner in the business wishing his farm wasn t 250 miles away so he could help more day to day They ve got a lot of guts Clinehens says admitting he s given them a lot of leeway on when they pay for product But it s worth it he says because he believes in their mission I can see where they re headed It s pretty outstanding that they ve accomplished what they have For a company that runs on part time employees and volunteers Shagbark s growth has been explosive from selling corn meal and spelt berries at the Athens Farmers Market to tortillas and chips at Columbus area Whole Foods Clinehens is one of eight farmers a mix of certified organic and Amish who supply the mill with high nutrient organic goods to produce roughly a dozen products including buckwheat flour spelt popcorn stone ground grits and polenta and pinto and black beans Shagbark went from selling 10 000 worth of product its first year to 125 000 the next By 2013 they reached 321 000 in sales It s leveled out a bit Jaeger says but is still

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