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  • USDA reports record growth in organics | OEFFA News
    resuming previous trends Consumer demand for organic products has grown exponentially over the past decade said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack With retail sales valued at 35 billion last year the organic industry represents a tremendous economic opportunity for farmers ranchers and rural communities Ohio picture Carol Goland executive director for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association said the report mirrors what is happening in Ohio OEFFA has witnessed an increase in the number of certified organic farms year after year Goland said growth in the organic food sector has outpaced its conventional counterpart for more than a decade This industry signal means that we can expect to see more farms transition to organic production and more new farmers begin their businesses as certified organic said Goland Now that the farm bill has passed and the National Organic Cost Share Program will be reinstated Goland expects more farmers to chose to complete the organic certification process New programs USDA has a number of new efforts to connect organic farmers with resources that will help develop the growth of the organic industry The USDA is helping organic stakeholders access programs that support conservation providing access to loans and grants funding organic research and education and mitigating pest emergencies Funds are currently available for research projects under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture s Organic Agriculture Research and extension initiative to solve critical organic agriculture issues or problems The program also funds research projects to enhance the ability of organic producers and processors to grow and market their products Additional information is available online and request for proposals are due by May 8 Post navigation Ohioans Can Get The Dirt on Organic Growing from Farmers Potential impact of fracking worries Northeast Ohio farmers Archives Select Month February 2016 January 2016 December

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1618 (2016-02-17)
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  • Organic Livestock Feed Shortage May Hinder Growth Of Organic Food | OEFFA News
    animal feed The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association known as OEFFA is an Ohio based group that does organic certification OEFFA s Eric Pawlowski says there are too few acres devoted to growing organic grains and other feed components Right now the demand exceeds the supply here in Ohio We have more of a demand than what our producers can grow Pawlowski says Take the 3 million acres of corn that are grown in Ohio to feed livestock Pawlowski calculates that less than 100 000 of those acres is certified organic According to another dairyman the demand for organic feed is driving prices up If you re willing to pay the price at this point in time you re able to find feed It is a lot more expensive It is getting harder to find says Ernest Martin Martin runs a 55 cow dairy farm northwest of Mansfield He says that several years ago there was not much of a price difference between organic and conventional hay But that s changing And as feed becomes more difficult to find Martin says he s had to search for suppliers outside the Mid West And there s yet another problem says Martin There s been a reduction in organic acres which has hurt dairy or any organic livestock producers It makes sense then that organic meat and dairy producers raise their own organic feed Again Eric Pawlowski They have seen a greater challenge of sourcing as they have been trying to grow their business if they aren t already producing their own feed for their livestock which the vast majority of our farmers do they view their farm as a complete organism so that the less that they have to input from off their farm the more stable their business model

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1347 (2016-02-17)
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  • OEFFA on Deadline Now | OEFFA News
    to Sen Sherrod Brown Archives Select Month February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1237 (2016-02-17)
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  • Managing Weeds on a Midwest Farm: A Profile of Ken Rider | OEFFA News
    mean mind your own business which is something everybody should do He meant mind your business be attentive Observation is essential for successful cover crop and weed management Observation in a timely manner so you don t get behind says Rider Crop rotations Crop rotations are another integral component in Ken s weed management system as they allow him to disrupt weed life cycles minimizing any windows for weeds to flourish and reproduce Ken s rotation was outlined in Michigan State University s publication Integrated Weed Management Fine Tuning the System but crop rotations are flexible structures providing opportunities for controlling outbreaks Figure of Ken Rider s Crop Rotation on p 19 in Integrated Weed Management Fine Tuning the System from Michigan State University Extension As described earlier when Ken had an outbreak of Canada thistle in an alfalfa field he changed his rotation planting a crop with a thicker canopy that could outcompete the Canada thistle He is using the same strategy to battle weed pressure created by this year s drought The lack of moisture after seeding slowed germination which allowed the weeds to get established ahead of his crop He is changing his rotation from beans wheat to beans corn since the corn can better compete with weeds Cultivating conservatively The last weed management strategy Ken reaches for is cultivation While it is an effective tool Ken is very conservative in his cultivation He warns that the conventional mindset of wanting extremely clean fields can be detrimental for soil in general but especially for clay soils The biggest problem with working the soil as an organic farmer is the tendency to overwork it says Rider You want to go out there and get rid of all the weeds and make a real fine seedbed When you do that you ve tightened your soil up In our situation that s compacting it You learn that when you get your next rain it s so sealed over and so tight that the water won t drain through it Ken minimizes this risk by limiting his cultivation and selecting implements that remove weeds with the least damage and compaction There are several great resources on implements in their uses one of the most well known being Steel in the Field which is available free online It describes each implement its effectiveness on different size weeds and provides case studies One of the farmers profiled is Rex Spray a pioneer of organic farming in Ohio and one of Ken s mentors Observe and learn Even after 40 years of farming Ken is still perfecting his farming system learning from experience and experiments as well as from other farmers and organizations Ken s mentor Rex Spray was an important source of knowledge over the years Rex was an extremely well known organic farmer who in addition to appearing in Steel in the Field was profiled in several articles over the years Ken noted Rex had one of the most important skills for

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=909 (2016-02-17)
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  • Eating organic: If you’re looking only at nutrition, you’re missing other benefits | OEFFA News
    organic food when they can out of concern for their own health as well as the environment Chemical fertilizer can affect plants and wildlife as well she said noting she even feels some apprehension about eating venison from deer her husband has hunted It s organic meat but at the same time they may be eating crops that are GMO genetically modified organisms she said Pedretti noted that organic farming doesn t expose farmers and workers to the chemicals in some pesticides and fertilizers He questioned other aspects of the study including the lack of uniformity between studies It s only been 10 years since a national standard was established for organic farms so what was considered organic in some studies may not have qualified in more recent ones I think ultimately what the organic industry is trying to say is we need more new research Pedretti said He said the Stanford study did note more of a nutritional advantage in organic milk and other studies have found more of some nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants in organic items Farmers must go through an extensive process to receive the federally approved organic certification Gary Smith president of the River City Farmers Market said none of the people who sell produce at the market Saturdays at the Washington County Fairgrounds have that certification but many of them avoid the use of chemicals Smith is among those saying the potatoes tomatoes peppers sweet potatoes and more from his garden in Lowell are grown with chemicals 90 percent of the time He only uses them when he can t overcome a pest problem or other challenge in another way If you don t use the chemicals it s got to be better Smith said One of the doctors that conducted the Stanford study told the Associated Press there are other reasons people may choose to buy organic including environmental concerns and taste preferences Bucky Lee co owner of Food 4 Less said those are among the factors customers consider when they buy organic items at the Marietta grocery store It depends on the consumer what they feel safe eating and what they feel comfortable buying he said A lot of people are concerned about what chemicals they re putting in it Price is also a consideration with Lee saying he only orders organic items when the price is close to that of conventional products Chris DePugh with the Vienna W Va based catering company The Staged Fork said she knows from experience at culinary school and working in food services at Camden Clark Medical Center that organic food doesn t really boast a higher nutritional value than conventional food Her focus when purchasing food for the business is on buying local rather than buying organic I feel that s better to support our local people she said About the study The study by Stanford researchers examined English language reports of comparisons of organically and conventionally grown food or of populations consuming these foods

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=890 (2016-02-17)
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  • Living Organically: Peach Mountain Organic Farm | OEFFA News
    grown son They have a tidy nest egg what s left of any profit is reinvested in the farm We ve never had a losing season Garcia says Our worst season we each got about 365 It s never been about the money Seibert says What it is about though is satisfying customers and being good stewards of the land Standing in an open field behind a large triple greenhouse her salt and pepper hair in two braids Garcia says she and Seibert never for a minute considered farming conventionally I read Silent Spring she says I saw what happened in Bhopal India How many clues do people need At 59 she s a veteran of organic agriculture Wary of the dangers of agri chemicals and dismayed by the conventional teachings of the Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture where she spent a year Garcia began organically farming a few acres in Adams County in her early 20s That farm was near Peach Mountain reputed to be Ohio s second or third largest peak depending on you you ask and it lent its name to the current operation Neither Garcia nor Seibert come from farm families Seibert 62 is a Cincinnati native who attended Wilmington College where he lived off campus in a shack with a big garden His early career as a machinist comes in handy someone s gotta build the hoop houses and keep the tractor running In a large greenhouse and several smaller structures Seibert and Garcia start nearly all their crops from seed then transplant directly into the ground in hoop houses or open beds In addition to the salad mix and Garcia s gladiolus which Peach Mountain is well regarded for and a whole host of organic produce the farm sells vegetable and herb plants Until a few years ago Garcia also grew bedding plants for retail sale while that was profitable business the work was exhausting and the two decided to scale back Fooling Mother Nature On a cool May morning rows of healthy tomato plants reach nearly four feet high in a greenhouse The farm uses a clever rope and pulley system to corral the vines As the tomato plants grow taller the rope is lowered so the heavy bottom stems coil on the ground containing the plants and keeping the tomatoes in easy reach for harvesting Growing tomatoes under cover is expensive Seibert says because the close conditions are heaven for aphids which must be controlled by introducing insects that feed on them In a creekside field near the main farm Garcia picks flowers to arrange for a weekend wedding Rows and rows of hardneck garlic planted by hand in the fall are already sprouting their springtime curlicue scapes Seibert walks past a patch of cilantro that he let go to seed as a bee pasture the tall spindly plants are recognizable only by their strong scent and they re humming with insects Seibert and Garcia use plants like clover vetch

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=855 (2016-02-17)
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  • Bold, fresh and organic: Cadiz farm acquires organic certification | OEFFA News
    around a flatter area every two days Holly s fresh egg business is taking off with Black New Jersey Giants Rhode Island Reds and Golden and Silver Laced Wyandots Another chicken she decided to add as a novelty the Araucana lays blue and green eggs She places one of these in each dozen pack as available Her father John has two bee hives and Holly captured her first hive this spring The bees not only provide sweet honey but pollinate the crops They re part of the farm s history too as Holly points out a hive that has lived between the walls of the farmhouse for more than 50 years As if produce goats eggs and bees weren t enough Holly puts on her grandmother s apron and makes home baked bread too One day a week Holly and Ellie who worked for a bakery while living in Maine create 50 to 80 loaves by kneading and stretching the dough no electric mixers involved In February Holly and John submitted the nearly 30 page application for organic farm certification The process is technical specific and all encompassing Fences must be constructed from untreated wood Inspectors test soil for chemicals and farmers have to keep a paper trail beginning with seed packets and receipts for each plant and ending with harvest dates Because the farmland had not been utilized in 30 years the process was streamlined to an extent for the Herbolds Why insist on certification in effect to farm the old fashioned way According to Holly The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA is a reputable certifying agent with over three decades of service as a vital resource to farmers gardeners and citizens who value a sustainable local and ecological organic food system Knowing that our family farm is certified by OEFFA gives my customers a credible guarantee that our products are organically farmed using natural processes that benefit not only environmental health but the health of my community I can give back to my community by growing quality vegetables baking organic and homemade artisan breads and sharing this wealth with my neighbors More than 70 acres have also been approved for organic hay farming one of John s projects OEFFA s Environmental Quality Incentive Program Organic Initiative awarded Her Bold Farm a 10 000 grant for a hoop house the first of its kind in Harrison County Plans involve running an irrigation pipe from the spring house to a site above one of the garden plots just next to the former site of the farmhouse For four years Holly is to plant a little of everything in the nearly 2200 square foot house while developing and monitoring conservation practices As idyllic as the setting is running a 200 year old farm in the 21st century presents its own issues After signing the contract for the hoop house grant Holly was told that Governor Kasich s budget cuts may eliminate the program s new projects possibly hers Stringent

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=846 (2016-02-17)
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  • Federal oversight of organic food at risk | OEFFA News
    say they would not be able to afford organic certification which requires an operation to comply with strict production standards Consumer demand for organic certified meat and produce has risen steadily for several years This is largely because the organic label is a trusted indicator that a product was raised with care for the health of consumers animals and the environment The 2008 Farm Bill funded the program at 22 million over five years a small fraction of the farm bill itself which costs around 300 billion This is a small investment that will help our economy to grow and keep American farmers in the business of growing good food for the rest of us Those interested should call their U S representatives and tell them to preserve funding for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program in the 2012 farm bill DANIELLE DEEMER Columbus Post navigation ATT Farm Bill Markup Amendments Drought Climate Change and the Price of Corn Archives Select Month February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=825 (2016-02-17)
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