Category Archives: OEFFA Press Releases

Strong Bipartisan Farm Bill Passes Senate Agriculture Committee: OEFFA Commends Senator Brown and Committee in Supporting a Strong Draft Bill

For Immediate Release:

June 13, 2018

Contact:

Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator (614) 421-2022, amalie@oeffa.org

Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org

Columbus, OH–Today, in the process of passing a 2018 Farm Bill, the Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry passed a strong draft farm bill by a vote of 20 to 1.

“The Senate Agriculture Committee worked across party lines and produced a comprehensive bill correcting many of the shortfalls in the failed House bill,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).

The Senate bill scales up investments in local and regional food and farm markets which provide opportunities for increased farm profitability, community health, and economic viability through the Local Agriculture Market Program championed by Senator Sherrod Brown.

This provision provides permanent mandatory funding for local food production initiatives that can be utilized by the more than 20 local food councils in Ohio, small to mid-scale farmers that direct market their products, and those that process those products and create more jobs in their communities.

It makes important policy improvements to crop insurance and conservation programs, invests in domestic organic agriculture, provides the resources and authority to protect the integrity of the organic marketplace and, according to Ranking Member Senator Debbie Stabenow, “builds the bench for the next generation” by making long-term investments in beginning farmer and rancher programs.

During the committee debate Senator Sherrod Brown spoke to the importance of conservation programs as farmers work to mitigate the water quality issues we face. The Senate bill makes no overall cuts to the conservation title; the House version cut this by more than $800 million.

“While the bill fails to make meaningful reforms to farm subsidy programs to limit economic and farm concentration, it provides a solid foundation for farm bill negotiations on the Senate floor and in future negotiations with the House of Representatives,” said Lipstreu.

“OEFFA appreciates Senator Brown’s strong leadership on this bill and for representing the needs of family farmers, organic and sustainable agriculture, and communities working to increase health through the provision of local and regionally produced and organic food,” Lipstreu concluded.

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

2018 Farm Tour and Workshop Series Gives Public Opportunity to Experience Life on the Farm

For Immediate Release:
May 3, 2018
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Contact:
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209, eric@oeffa.org

 

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) and its partners invite you to stroll through organic fields, learn about pastured livestock production and forest farming, consider a career in farming, discover how to grow and prepare nutrient-dense food, learn how to scale up vegetable production and improve marketing strategies, or take advantage of other learning opportunities during the 2018 Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

In addition to OEFFA’s 20 summer farm tours, workshops, and special events, five urban agriculture-focused farm tours, presented by Central State University Extension, will showcase ideas for how to farm in the city and address community food security.
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“This series allows farmers and gardeners to share production know-how with each other, build connections among our farming community, and strengthen our food system,” said Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator at OEFFA. “It also helps the public learn how sustainably produced food is grown from farmers ready to share their knowledge.”
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Tour guests can experience sustainable agriculture up close during these OEFFA farm tours:

  • Thursday, June 7: Cultivation and Weed Control in Organic Systems Field Day—University of Kentucky Horticulture Research Farm, Kentucky
  • Wednesday, June 13: Mechanical Weed Control Farm Tour—Venture Heritage Farm, Wayne Co.
  • Saturday, June 16: Poultry Processing Tour—King and Sons Poultry Services, Darke Co.
  • Sunday, July 22: Diversified Direct Marketing Farm Tour—Thistle Rock Farm, Indiana
  • Friday, August 3: Organic Cash Grain Farm Tour—Kauffman Farms, Madison Co.
  • Saturday, August 11: Transitional Orchard Farm Tour—Honey Blossom Orchard, Henry Co.
  • Tuesday, August 14: Pastured Beef, Hay, and Grain Farm Tour—Mound View Farms, Adams Co.
  • Saturday, August 25: Pastured Beef and Conservation Easement Farm Tour—Marshy Meadows Farm, Ashtabula Co.
  • Thursday, August 30: Organic Grain Trials and Transition Farm Tour—Sonlight Acres/Morning Sun Farm, Preble Co.
  • Saturday, September 22: Native Medicinal Plant Conservation Forest Farming Tour—United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary, Meigs Co.

The public can tour urban agriculture projects during these Central State University Extension farm tours:

  • Saturday, July 7: Non-Profit Urban Educational Farm Tour—Project Aquastar at St. Stephens Community House Franklin Co.
  • Saturday, July 21: Value-Added Urban Production Farm Tour—Hooper Farm, Cuyahoga Co.
  • Saturday, August 18: Changing the Landscape of Urban Agriculture Tour—Urban Agriculture Alliance at Jackson Industries, Lucas Co.
  • Saturday, August 25: Urban Farm Collective Farm Tour—Urban Earth Farms, Hamilton Co.
  • Sunday, September 23: Regenerative, Year-Round Urban Market Farm Tour—Dayton Urban Grown Training Farm/Mission of Mary Farm, Montgomery Co.

Attendees can develop their production and marketing skills, explore a dream to farm, learn how to select farmland, and more during these OEFFA workshops:

  • Saturday, June 23: Listening to the Land: Tools and Strategies for Land Assessment Workshop—Agraria, Greene Co.
  • Sunday, July 22: Growing and Preparing Nutrient-Dense Food for Better Health and Resilient Communities Workshop—Wyatt Run Farm and Ecology Center, Athens Co.
  • Sunday, August 5: Farm Vision Workshop—OEFFA, Franklin Co.
  • Saturdays, October 13-February 2: Heartland Farm Beginnings® Training Course—OEFFA, Franklin Co.
  • Friday, November 30-Saturday, December 1: Scale Your Farm Production and Marketing Strategies So You Can Grow Profits Workshop—Mustard Seed Market & Cafe at Highland Square, Summit Co.
Other opportunities include these OEFFA member open houses and special events:
  • Saturday, June 9: Snowville Creamery Open House, Meigs Co.
  • Sunday, July 15: Foraged & Sown Open House, Franklin Co.
  • Sunday, August 19: 4th Annual Dinner Celebration at Maplestar Farm—Maplestar Farm, Geauga Co.
  • Sunday, September 9: Carriage House Farm Open House, Hamilton Co.
  • Saturday, October 27: Pastured Providence Farmstead Open House, Ross Co.

“OEFFA has offered annual farm tours for nearly four decades; farmers sharing knowledge with other farmers has always been at the core of our work. This series provides unique on-farm opportunities for growers, educators, and conscientious eaters to learn about sustainable agriculture and local foods from growers and producers with years of practical experience,” Pawlowski said.

This series, which features 31 total events, is also promoted in cooperation with the Clintonville Farmers’ Market and the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, who are sponsoring additional tours.

All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise indicated in the series brochure.

For more information and complete details for all workshops and farm tours, click here.

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

Draft Farm Bill Needs Significant Improvement to Address the Needs of Today’s Farmers

For Immediate Release:
April 16, 2018

Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, amalie@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org
 
COLUMBUS, OH—The draft farm bill released last week by House Agriculture Chairman Conaway (R-TX) does not adequately address farmers’ needs or protect natural resources, according to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).

While the 2014 Farm Bill included mandatory funding for the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program, the current House draft eliminates all mandatory funding, necessitating a yearly battle to secure resources for programs that provide local communities with healthy food and provide high value markets for many beginning and organic farmers. These farmers will also be hurt by the total elimination of funding for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, which helps offset the annual costs of U.S. Department of Agriculture organic certification.

“OEFFA vehemently opposes cutting the cost-share program. We have more demand for organic food than farmers are able to supply, and this program helps beginning and transitioning farmers enter what is a real bright spot in American agriculture,” said OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu.
    
“The draft farm bill also leaves out many other important provisions critical for beginning farmers at a time when they are needed most,” continued Lipstreu.

The House draft eliminates the Risk Management Education Partnership Program, which helps ensure that beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers better understand and use risk management tools. It also fails to include an innovative proposal within the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act (HR 4316) that would make it easier for new farmers to access revenue-based crop insurance policies.

“As the next farm bill is implemented, due to an aging farmer population, almost 100 million acres will change hands,” said Lipstreu. “It is important that we equip the next generation of farmers with the tools they need for success.”

According to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office released Friday, funding for working lands programs would be cut by about $5 billion. The largest conservation program for working agricultural land, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), would be totally eliminated, withlimited aspects of the program rolled into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
  
“Cherry picking a few components of CSP to be included in the EQIP program is detrimental to comprehensive conservation planning and a disincentive to farmers who choose to implement advanced conservation practices on an ongoing basis,” said Lipstreu. “These programs have a small budget footprint but they deliver high value to our communities, including local economic development, job creation and retention, and quality of life.”

Lipstreu said OEFFA is pleased to see some positive provisions in this bill, but they are overshadowed by the elimination of tools and resources to help farmers and communities become more sustainable.
  
“We urge members of the House and Senate to recognize the value of these programs and work toward a bill that fully supports beginning farmers, local and regional food systems, and community health,” Lipstreu concluded.
 
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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. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

OEFFA Announces 2018 Award Recipients: Larry and Cynthia Ringer and Sean McGovern Recognized

For Immediate Release:
February 19, 2018
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Contact:
Carol Goland, OEFFA Executive Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 202, cgoland@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
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Press Release
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COLUMBUS, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2018 recipients for the Stewardship and Service awards.
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Larry and Cynthia Ringer of Stark County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Sean McGovern of Franklin County received the Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary service in support of sustainable agriculture.
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The announcements were made on Saturday, February 17 in Dayton as part of OEFFA’s 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change.
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2018 Stewardship Award Winner—Larry and Cynthia Ringer
Larry and Cynthia Ringer founded Ohio Earth Food in 1972 with Cynthia’s family, in the midst of the chemical agriculture boom. At the time, they were working on the vegetable farm of Cynthia’s dad and early organic farmer, Glenn Graber. After observing the benefits of kelp and concerned about the effects of conventional farming on the environment and human health, they realized there could be an emergent market for organic fertilizers, and started selling kelp products and rock phosphate.
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“We were in the organic business before organic was the buzzword it is today,” Larry said. “If we work with nature, nature responds better than we expect it to.”Larry and Cynthia started the company on the Graber farm in Hartville, where they’ve lived for more than 70 years. Today, Ohio Earth Food has expanded to sell custom fertilizer blends, feed supplements, natural pesticides, potting soils, and other products to customers throughout the U.S. They retired in 2010, but remain involved in the business as consultants.“We really didn’t know what we were doing. We just knew that we had a desire and we believed in it,” said Larry. “If we hadn’t believed in it, we never would have stuck it out. Because it wasn’t an easy thing to do.”

They have been active in OEFFA since its beginning. Larry served seven years on the OEFFA certification committee and has taught conference workshops, and Ohio Earth Food has been a fixture at every OEFFA conference trade show for nearly 40 years.

“In many ways, Larry, Cynthia, and Ohio Earth Food helped support a quickly evolving organic movement in Ohio, at a time that farmers were first beginning to look for alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland.

2018 Service Award Winner—Sean McGovern
Sean McGovern has been the National Outreach Manager at the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program since 2004. There, he helps to educate farmers and agricultural professionals about the results of SARE-funded farmer-led research projects; develop educational partnerships between organizations, educators, and producers; evaluate the impact of programs, and develop and improve SARE communications and database tools.

Sean has worked at OEFFA since 1994, continuing as an OEFFA employee in his capacity with SARE. He was first hired by OEFFA as a part-time secretary, about a year after graduating from Ohio State University. As OEFFA grew, Sean’s title shifted to Executive Administrator and eventually to Executive Director. He worked to develop productive partnerships with Ohio State University Extension and advocated for the creation of a new Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program, leading to the first organic production research at OSU. He focused on providing affordable educational programs that OEFFA’s members wanted, growing the membership base, and putting administrative systems in place that facilitated future growth.

“I will tell you that I am blessed to have learned so much from the OEFFA family,” Sean said. “What an opportunity it was for a young, impressionable young man like myself to be invited into a community of people wrestling with the practical issues of building a more sustainable world. I will forever be thankful to all of the OEFFA members who are living proof that leading a kind and mindful life is a choice, not a pipe-dream.” He received a standing ovation from the audience following his remarks.

“We at OEFFA are grateful to Sean McGovern for his nearly 25 years of service to OEFFA and to the sustainable agriculture community. His early leadership was instrumental to OEFFA and to the development of today’s local food movement in Ohio,” said Goland.

“The sustainable food and farm economy we have today is a reflection of the vision, commitment, and hard work of our thousands of OEFFA members over the course of almost four decades,” said Goland. “We are grateful for all of their collective efforts in pioneering organic and sustainable farming in Ohio, but it is a special pleasure to be able to recognize three truly remarkable individuals for their contributions and accomplishments.”

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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. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

For photos of the award recipients, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 947-1643 or lauren@oeffa.org. Please provide photo credit to Ed Chen.

Senator Sherrod Brown Honored for Promoting Investments in Local Agriculture

For Immediate Release:  February 17, 2018

Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 947-1607, amalie@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 947-1643, lauren@oeffa.org

Dayton, OH—At a gathering of more than 1,100 farmers and local food advocates, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) received the Food and Farm Champion Award from the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). The announcement was made in Dayton on Friday, February 16 as part of OEFFA’s 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change.

The award recognizes Senator Brown’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and his leadership in making positive investments in local food systems, community economic development, and public health.
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“Senator Brown has consistently supported investments in local and regional food systems that contribute to farmer viability, create jobs, and improve public health,” said OEFFA’s Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu, who presented the award.

“Through his introduction of the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act (S. 1947), we can fully develop the policies and programs that spur economic development in communities in Ohio and throughout the nation.”
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“Local farmers feed Ohio families and grow Ohio’s economy. I’m proud to work with partners like OEFFA to help connect family farms with their communities, grow their bottom lines, and create jobs across our state. It’s an honor to receive the Food and Farm Champion award,” said Senator Brown, who provided remarks to the conference’s 1,100 guests.
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Ohio is home to 24 local food councils, a state food policy network, and a growing number of farm to institution programs, food hubs, and direct to consumer outlets. Senator Brown’s farm bill advocacy efforts have supported more than 90 food system projects and resulted in more than $7 million dollars in investments in Ohio’s communities. For example, the Lake to River Food Cooperative established a food hub and a shared retail space, the Youngstown Online Market pick-up site, which helps farmers market their products through a shared online platform.
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Senator Brown serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, where he has been instrumental in strengthening the farm safety net and addressing childhood hunger.

“OEFFA is pleased to recognize Senator Brown’s leadership and looks forward to continue working with him in the future,” said Lipstreu.
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Since 1979, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has been working to build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, meets the growing consumer demand for local food, creates economic opportunities for our rural communities, and safeguards the environment. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
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For high resolution photos of Senator Brown’s appearance at the OEFFA conference, please contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 947-1643 or lauren@oeffa.org. Please provide photo credit: Ed Chen.

Senator Sherrod Brown to Receive OEFFA Food and Farm Champion Award

Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 947-1607, amalie@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 947-1643, lauren@oeffa.org

Media Advisory
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What: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will provide remarks and receive the OEFFA Food and Farm Champion Award from the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, as part of OEFFA’s 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change.

The award will recognize Senator Brown’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and his leadership in making positive investments in local food systems, community economic development, and public health.

When: Friday, February 16—3:45 p.m.

If you would like to attend to see the award presentation and remarks, please contact lauren@oeffa.org by February 9 to request a press pass. Please include your name, outlet, title, address, county, phone number, and when you’d like to attend.

Where: OEFFA’s 39th Annual Conference, Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St. Dayton, Ohio

The three-day event, running February 15-February 17, is Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, drawing more than 1,200 attendees from around the country each year. It features nearly 80 90-minute workshops, four full-day intensive Food and Farm School classes, keynote speakers Jeff Moyer and Stacy Malkan, a three-day trade show, local meals, children’s activities, and more. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018.

Who: Senator Brown will provide remarks and receive the OEFFA Food and Farm Champion Award. He serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, where he has been instrumental in strengthening the farm safety net and addressing childhood hunger, and has introduced the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act (HR 3941).

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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. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org

2018 Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment Opens

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2018

Contact: Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, amalie@oeffa.org

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Urges Farmers to Apply Before the March 2018 Deadline

Columbus, Ohio—On January 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that farmers have until March 2, 2018 to submit an initial FY 2018 application for the nation’s largest working lands program, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). More than 72 million acres across the country—roughly 8 percent of all agricultural land—and more than 300,000 acres in Ohio are currently enrolled in whole-farm conservation contracts. The significant amount of working lands already enrolled in CSP, and the fact that in recent years CSP has had to turn away many qualified applicants, is evidence of the voluntary conservation program’s enormous popularity.

During the 2018 sign-up period, NRCS will enroll an additional 10 million acres of cropland, pastureland, rangeland, and forestland in CSP. Interested farmers and ranchers must submit their applications by March 2 in order to be considered for this year’s sign up. Current participants whose initial contracts are set to expire at the end of the year will also have the opportunity to renew their contracts for an additional five year period; USDA will announce a separate deadline for renewals in the coming weeks.

“CSP is an important conservation option for working lands. The program helps farmers invest in soil, air , and water quality, conservation, and in building wildlife habitats,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “CSP builds on existing good practices and provides the tools and resources needed for farmers to be the best stewards of the land they can be. The 2018 sign-up window is a critical opportunity for Ohio farmers to build their environmental and economic resiliency through comprehensive conservation efforts.”

Interested producers should act quickly to ensure consideration in this year’s signup. To apply, farmers can go to their local NRCS office and submit the initial application materials: a simple form that asks for basic information regarding land ownership, type of production, and contact information. Producers are then scored based on current and planned conservation activities. If applicants meet acceptable conservation levels, they will be ranked. NRCS works down through the list of eligible applicants until acreage allocated to the state for the year runs out.

According to OEFFA member Kyle Sharp of Sharp Family Farms in Fairfield County, “Participating in CSP was a no-brainer. The program basically rewards us for practices we wanted to implement anyway to improve the farm.”  He cites the flexibility of the program as important. “The more practices you implement, the more your annual payment grows.” Just looking through all of the conservation options was beneficial for Kyle. “I got some ideas on things we could do that I never would have thought of on my own.”

While applicants can apply for CSP anytime throughout the year, OEFFA urges interested producers to submit applications before the March 2 deadline to ensure that they are considered for enrollment in FY 2018.

The 2018 CSP is especially significant because it is the final enrollment opportunity under the authority provided by the 2014 Farm Bill, which is set to expire September 30, 2018.

“OEFFA members will be watching the farm bill process this year to see if Congress acknowledges the critical role that CSP and other conservation programs have played in increasing farm sustainability,” said Lipstreu. “It is as important now as it was when the farm bill was created after the Dust Bowl that we invest in our natural resources on working farms.”

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a state-wide, 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 is committed to farm bill that prioritizes conservation and local and regional food system development and provides a level playing for farmers. For more information, click here.

Urban Agriculture Featured at Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference: Central State University Extension Presents Nine Hour Urban Agriculture Workshop Track

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2018

Contact:
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org
Sabrina Pritchett, CSU Associate Director of Public Relations and Marketing, (937) 376-6323, spritchett@centralstate.edu

Urban agriculture offers accessible opportunities for individuals to make a living farming, gain practical educational and job training, and provide communities with healthy, local food.

Empowering urban farmers to take advantage of these opportunities and helping them succeed in urban agriculture is the focus of a six-part workshop track presented by Ohio’s newest 1890 land-grant institution, Central State University Extension (CSUE).

The workshop track is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, February 15-17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

“Urban agriculture has the ability to transform our urban and blighted communities by becoming a practical solution to food insecurity,” said Dr. Clarence Bunch, CSUE Associate Director. “This urban agriculture workshop track helps provide the supported needed to offer practical solutions that benefit families and the local community.”
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On February 16-17, six 90 minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics, from urban soil health to high tunnel production:
  • Cover Crops for Small-Scale Vegetable Production—Oliver Freeman, Central State University
  • You CAN Take It With You: Lessons from Losing Your Land—Lisa Helm, Dayton Urban Grown, Matt Tomaszewski, Earth Source Produce
  • Inroads into Food Deserts: Mobile Farmers’ Markets and Good Food Access in a Rust Belt Town—Danny Swan, Grow Ohio Valley
  • Urban Farming Practices and Principles—Milan Karcic, Peace, Love, and Freedom Farm
  • Urban High Tunnel Tomato Production—Annabel Khouri and Eric Stoffer, Bay Branch Farms
  • Can Urban Soils be Made Healthy for Farming?—Larry Phelan, Ohio State University
Additional workshop sessions on production, marketing, business, and green living will be offered over the two days, giving attendees nearly 80 workshops to choose from. Central State University educators will also be leading other sessions on preventing zoonotic disease transmission (Lisa Craig), business basics for start-up farms (Anthony Barwick), and legal considerations for beginning farms (Ambrose Moses).
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The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will also feature:

  • Keynote speakers Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute and Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know;
  • Four full-day February 15 Food and Farm School classes on livestock grazing, restorative health, food safety, and farmland access.
  • A three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services;
  • The Contrary Farmers’ Social on February 15 and the Cream of the Crop Banquet on February 16;
  • A kids’ conference for children ages 6-12 and a playroom for young children; and
  • Much, much more!
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018. Online registration will be open through January 29.

Beginning Farmers the Focus of Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference: Workshops, Scholarships, and Farmland Access Featured

For Immediate Release: December 21, 2017

Contact:
Kelly Henderson, Begin Farming Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, kelly@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org
  

Early career farmers and those considering a farming vocation will get the information they need during a dedicated begin farming workshop track and networking opportunities that are part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, February 15-17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

“Our goal is to help people increase their knowledge and skills, find leads on farmland, and make business and professional connections,” said OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator Kelly Henderson.
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On February 16-17, six 90-minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics, from organic certification to farming with children:
  • Your Top 10 Organic Transition Questions Answered—Julia Barton, OEFFA
  • Land Access and Affordability for Beginning Farmers—Mike Durante, National Young Farmers Coalition
  • In the Trenches with Farming and Government Regulations—Jacob Coleman, Sweet Grass Dairy
  • Marketing Your Farm: Sell More of Your Product—Gretel Adams, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm
  • Health Insurance and Risk Management: Tools for Navigating Health Insurance for Farmers—Shoshonah Inwood, Ohio State University
  • Pasture-Raised Humans: A Conversation About Raising Your Children on the Farm—Lindsey Teter, Six Buckets Farm, Sherry Chen, Andelain Fields, Jeff Suchy, Darby Meadow Farm
Additional workshop sessions on production, marketing, business, and green living will be offered over the two days, giving attendees nearly 80 workshops to choose from.
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The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will also offer other opportunities geared specifically toward beginning farmers on February 15:
  • A full-day Food and Farm School class, “Finding and Funding Your Farm.” Led by the National Young Farmers Coalition, this full-day workshop will prepare beginning farmers to approach their land access journey with confidence.
  • A free, public Farm Land of Opportunity reception is designed to connect farmers looking for land with established farmers in need of employees, retiring farmers interested in a transition plan, and landowners with land to sell or lease.

To help budding farmers access these educational opportunities, OEFFA is offering a limited number of full scholarships for early career farmers. The application deadline is January 10.

In addition, the conference will also feature:

  • Keynote speakers Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute and Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know;
  • A three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services;
  • The Contrary Farmers’ Social on February 15 at 2nd Street Market;
  • The Cream of the Crop Banquet on February 16;
  • A kids’ conference for children ages 6-12 and a playroom for young children; and
  • Much, much more!
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018. Online registration will be open through January 29.
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Begin farming workshops and scholarships are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program. For more information about OEFFA’s other beginning farmer work, go to www.oeffa.org/q/beginfarming.

Organic Advocate Jeff Moyer to Address Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

For Immediate Release: December 11, 2017

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
  
The role that technology, biology, consumers, and farmers play in changing agriculture and food will be the focus of a keynote address by long-time organic farmer and advocate Jeff Moyer at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, this February in Dayton, Ohio.

In his Friday, February 16 keynote address, “Welcome to the Future of Change!,” Moyer, Executive Director of the Rodale Institute, will share his perspective on the organic movement and organic agriculture’s role in our present and future food system.

“We are in the midst of an expanding food fight, a fight for how our food will be produced and marketed. To be successful, farmers will need to rethink their practices to meet the rapidly changing landscape technology is creating,” said Moyer.

Moyer is a world renowned authority in organic agriculture with expertise in organic crop production systems, weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design.

In September 2015, Moyer was appointed as Executive Director of Rodale Institute after spending the last four decades at the Institute, helping countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic methods. The Rodale Institute, a 330 acre research farm and non-profit in eastern Pennsylvania dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, is home to the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture.
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In 2016, farmers from across the country came together to launch the Organic Farmers Association to unite organic farmers for a better future together. Rodale Institute supports this initiative as fiscal sponsor and partner with OFA’s farmer leadership.

“A lot of people say they speak for farmers,” Moyer said in a Rodale Institute press release. “But there are no national organizations that exist specifically for organic farmers, by organic farmers. A lot of organic farmers are still isolated in their communities. We’d like to unite the nearly 20,000 organic farms around the country to provide that voice, provide a network, and provide the resources that farmers need to be successful.”

He conceptualized and popularized the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture and in 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world.

Moyer is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board; a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic; board chair of The Seed Farm; board member of the Soil Health Institute, PA Farm Link, and IFOAM North America, and a past board member of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

On Friday, February 16, Moyer will also be a panelist in a 90 minute conference workshop, “Better On-Farm Research for Better Organic Farming,” along with Tim Kline of Meandering Creek Farm, Elizabeth Maynard of Purdue University, and Douglas Jackson-Smith of Ohio State University. He will address the components of quality on-farm research and the importance of organic research to farming practices and growing the industry economically and politically.

“We’re excited to welcome Jeff to this year’s conference,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “As a leader in the organic movement for decades, and as one of the country’s leading authorities on organic farming and research, he has a wealth of knowledge to share.”

Moyer will speak as part of Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, which will run Thursday, February 15 through Saturday, February 17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

In addition to Moyer, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Stacy Malkan on February 17; nearly 80 educational workshops; four full-day Food and Farm School classes on February 15; a three-day trade show; networking events; activities for children; locally-sourced meals; a raffle; book sales and signings, and more.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018.