Category Archives: OEFFA Press Releases

Do You Know Where the Candidates Stand on Sustainable Agriculture Issues this Election Season?

We can’t help but notice the news the presidential candidates make on a daily basis. What is less well-reported, however, are the 132 state and federal legislative races Ohioans will vote on, and where those candidates stand on important issues that affect you every day.
A healthy democracy requires direct and open communication, but many incumbents feel they have more to lose than to gain by attending candidate’s nights or answering questions. Thankfully, there are exceptions, like those candidates that answered OEFFA’s Food and Farming Questions for Candidates Guide survey.
Click here to confirm your state and federal districts, see the candidates that will appear on your ballot and, if they responded to our survey, read about their views on important food and agricultural issues like genetic engineering, fracking, and the Farm Bill.
If your local candidates didn’t respond, or if you want to dig deeper, there is still time! Click here to find a candidate’s forum close to you, take a copy of the Food and Farming Questions for Candidates Guide with you, and find out for yourself what their views are. Be an informed voter and engage in direct democracy today!

OEFFA’s 38th Annual Conference: Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow

Thursday, February 9 – Saturday, February 11, 2017
Dayton Convention Center, Dayton, OH
Ohio’s largest sustainable agriculture conference is moving to Dayton, which means lots of exciting changes, including:
  • Conference Art 2017New, spacious location with on-site hotel and parking, cell phone reception, Wi-Fi, and other amenities!
  • Larger three day trade show
  • Thursday networking and reception and Friday banquet
  • Easy access to downtown Dayton’s attractions, dining, nightlife, and recreation

Plus, the same great features you love, including:

  • Educational, inspiring workshops on sustainable farming, livestock, business, homesteading, and cooking
  • In-depth Thursday pre-conference sessions
  • Engaging nationally-recognized keynote speakers
  • Made-from-scratch, local, organic meals
  • Activities for kids and teens
  • Raffle, book sales, and a setting that encourages networking, learning, and fellowship.
Grow with us! Registration opens this fall.
Learn more and sign up to receive conference updates here.

OEFFA to Help Ohio Invest in Future of Agriculture

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2016

Carol Goland, OEFFA Executive Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 202,
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) today announced its new Begin Farming Program, which will provide aspiring and new farmers in Ohio the support they need to understand what it takes to get into farming and grow their businesses.

This new program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). The USDA has announced $17.8 million in grants to organizations for 37 education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives, included funding for OEFFA’s three year project.

“Farming is a public service. We all depend on farmers for the food we feed our families. As the farming population ages, we must invest in beginning farmers and the future of our food system,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland.

Beginning farmers face significant hurdles to success, including attaining knowledge, skills, and experience in production practices; acquiring the fundamental business planning and financial management knowledge and skills required to successfully operate a viable small business; and accessing farmland and capital as part of the substantial investment farming requires.

Agriculture is the largest component of Ohio’s economy, contributing more than $10 billion from crop and livestock sales in 2012. However, about 10 percent of small farmers exit agriculture each year and the current median age for farmers is 58. Increasing successful entry into farming and subsequent persistence in farming has significant impacts on the long-range sustainability of U.S. agriculture.

OEFFA’s new “Growing Good Farmers, Growing Good Food” program will provide skill-building educational opportunities to facilitate beginning farmers’ development as producers and small business owners. The goal is to increase the number of successful beginning farmers who operate economically viable farms and utilize organic and sustainable production practices. The project will include on-farm apprenticeships, field days, workshops, networking opportunities, business skills training, mentoring, fact sheets, a production assistance hotline, and land access services.

“This new program will allow us to comprehensively serve Ohio’s beginning farmers and help build a healthy food system that brings prosperity to family farmers, meets the growing consumer demand for local food, and safeguards the environment,” said Goland.

BFRDP was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, receiving $100 million to be awarded over the next five years. The program was originally funded through the 2008 Farm Bill. More than 50,000 beginning farmers and ranchers have participated in projects funded by BFRDP.


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

Labeling Bill Leaves Public in the Dark

Contact: Amalie Lipstreu, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,; Renee Hunt, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205,

For Immediate Release: June 24, 2016

Columbus, Ohio—A bill released by the U.S. Senate will continue to hide information about food with GE ingredients, according to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), a statewide sustainable food and farm not-for-profit.

“Although its being called a ‘national disclosure standard for bioengineered foods,’ this bill will keep Americans in the dark about what they eat and feed their families,” said Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator.

The bill gives food manufacturers three options for labeling of GE food: text on the label, a scan code for use with smart phones, and a symbol.

“The reality is that companies already have the option to use clear and honest labeling on the package and none have labeled their products until the threat of the Vermont law loomed,” said Lipstreu. “The action by the Senate protects chemical industry groups that want to obscure information on food produced using bioengineering and pesticides.”

Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) released the compromise bill on June 24, days before a Vermont law requiring mandatory on-package labeling of GE food is set to go into effect. This bill would preempt Vermont’s law and prevent any other state laws from taking effect.

The compromise bill would reduce label transparency by giving manufacturers the choice of replacing a clear and factual statement with an unfamiliar symbol or scan code—the latter a special burden for those without smart phones. The law would also exempt all meat, poultry, and egg products raised on GE feed and food where those GE products are the main ingredient.

“This so-called compromise puts the interests of the biotech industry ahead of the public and does not serve the people of this country,” said Lipstreu.

More than 60 countries have laws for straightforward labeling of GE food, which have not disrupted trade, or had negative impacts on consumers or the agricultural industry. “The marketplace is demanding a clear on-package statement. This bill will not deliver the information consumers seek,” said Lipstreu.


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


Ohio Organic Farm in Path of Pipelines Joins National Day of Action on Fracking

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2016
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,
Mick Luber, Bluebird Farm, (740) 945-0217,
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Cadiz, OH—One of Ohio’s first certified organic farms, under threat by fracking and pipeline development, will be hosting a farm tour as part of a National Day of Action on Fracking Tuesday, June 7.

For decades, Mick Luber of Bluebird Farm in Cadiz, Ohio has grown organic vegetables and other crops on his 65 acre farm, which serves markets in Wheeling and Pittsburgh.

Luber’s farm is located within a half mile of three wells and a compressor station, and two pipelines are being built and planned just south of the farm. Now, if a legal agreement is not reached, a third pipeline—Kinder-Morgan’s Utopia pipeline—would cross his farm’s most productive field, carrying ethylene and propane to plastics manufacturing plants in Canada.

“Organic farms across Ohio are in the path of fracking, pipelines, and injection wells. We’re inviting the public to stand with Mick and other farmers who are stewarding the land, to see firsthand what’s at stake if we lose these farms, and to learn how they can join us in saving organic farmland,” event organizer Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) said.

Luber says, if built, the Utopia pipeline would permanently damage his land and his business.

“You can’t work on soil for 30 plus years, adding compost to make the soil enliven with bacteria, earthworms, and mycelium and watch it be destroyed by bulldozers and track hoes,” Luber said, noting his farm could not be restored to its present state of soil life and structure no matter how good the company’s reclamation efforts.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. at Bluebird Farm, 86663 Fife Rd., Cadiz, OH and is part of a National Day of Action on Fracking organized by the Frackfree America National Coalition based in Youngstown designed to bring attention to the impacts of fracking, including property damage, water pollution, earthquakes, fires, and explosions.

According to a 2015 report by FracTracker analyzing 703 organic farms in Ohio, 220 were near current drilling activity, 105 were near waste disposal injection wells, and 510 were within a U.S. shale basin. Water or soil contamination from fracking activities or accidents could jeopardize a farm’s organic certification.
“In addition to production and injection wells, the energy industry is now weaving a web of pipelines and compressor stations across Ohio, impacting waterways, farmland, forests, cultural resources, and residential communities,” Lipstreu said. “Besides the potential risks of explosions and contamination, these pipelines threaten the future of some of Ohio’s most sustainable farms.”
This event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged. To register, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209 or by June 3. Visitors are invited to bring a dish to share and drinks for a potluck and social following the tour. Representatives from the nonprofit environmental law firm, Fair Shake Legal Services, will be available to discuss landowner rights and answer pipeline questions.


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

Cost-Share Program Helps Make Organic Certification Affordable for Farmers and Processors

For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2016

Carol Goland, OEFFA, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 202,
Lori Panda, Ohio Department of Agriculture, (614) 466-8798,
Peter Wood, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, (202) 720-6179,

Columbus, OH—This May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that $369,100 is available through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program to make organic certification more affordable for organic producers and handlers in Ohio. A total of approximately $11.6 million is available to organic operations across the country.

This funding covers as much as 75 percent of an individual applicant’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 annually per certification scope. Four scopes of certification are eligible for reimbursement: crops, wild crops, livestock, and handler.

“The organic market is booming, with more and more producers taking advantage of the economic opportunities it presents,” AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer said.  “The cost-share program makes it easier for organic businesses throughout the supply chain to get certified, helping them meet growing consumer demand.”

Retail sales of organic products grew to more than $39 billion in the United States in 2014 and more than $75 billion worldwide, according to the USDA.

Since 2011, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) to administer Ohio’s cost-share program.

“The cost-share program is utilized by about 45 percent of Ohio’s nearly 800 organic farmers,” OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland said. “We encourage more organic farmers to take advantage of this opportunity, which can help make becoming—or staying—certified more affordable.”

Reimbursable costs include application fees, certification fees, travel costs for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. The program is currently reimbursing for expenses paid between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.  Applications for reimbursement must be postmarked by November 15, 2016, although requests are processed monthly.

Organic farmers and processors in Ohio can access the reimbursement application from OEFFA’s website at or by calling (614) 262-2022.

Certified organic producers and handlers outside of Ohio can find the contact information for their administrating agencies at


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

See, Taste, and Experience Life on the Farm During Annual Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series: 2016 Guide Now Available

For Immediate Release: May 10, 2016

Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,
Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209,

Columbus, OH—Do you want to learn about sustainable beekeeping, biochar, profitable poultry production, raising high quality grass-fed beef, or improving your forages? Would you like to enjoy a leisurely stroll through organic fields and pastures and visit with farm animals? Or take a farm stand with an organic farmer threatened by pipeline development?

You’ll have opportunities to do all this and more during the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 21 summer farm tours and workshops, which are part of the 2016 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

“This is a great chance for everyone interested in local foods to grow their farm knowledge and to build bridges with others who share a passion for sustainable agriculture,” said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s Communications Coordinator. “These tours and workshops allow farmers and gardeners to share production and market know-how with each other and help consumers gain a greater understanding of how food gets from the field to the dinner table.”

Meet knowledgeable local farmers ready to share their wisdom, and experience sustainable agriculture up close during these farm tours:
  • Tuesday, June 7: Take an Organic Farm Stand Tour—Bluebird Farm, Harrison Co.
  • Saturday, June 25: Pasture-Raised, Rotationally Grazed Livestock Farm Tour—Pastured Providence Farmstead, Ross Co.
  • Saturday, July 9: Historic Farm Tour and Biochar Workshop—Gorman Heritage Farm, Hamilton Co.
  • Saturday, July 9: Sustainable Beekeeping Farm Tour and Workshop—Stratford Ecological Center, Delaware Co.
  • Friday, July 15: Quality Forage for Dairy Operations Farm Tour—Heckman Family Dairy, Darke Co.
  • Saturday, August 13: Quality Hay and Grass-Fed Beef Farm Tour—Wood Farm, IN
  • Friday, August 19: Organic Compost Farm Tour—Hirzel Canning Company and Farms, Wood Co.
  • Friday, September 16: On-Farm Research Farm Tour—Crumrine Farms, Ashland Co.
  • Saturday, October 11: Pasture-Raised Multi-Species Livestock Farm Tour—Sweet Grass Dairy, Knox Co.

Develop your production skills and gain important food safety knowledge during these practical on-farm workshops:

  • Saturday, June 11: Loin Eye Carcass Ultrasound Scanning—The Spicy Lamb Farm, Summit Co.
  • Monday, June 20: Find Your Path to Clean Water: Food Safety Water Quality Standards and Testing Protocols for Produce Growers—MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm, Delaware Co.
  • Friday, June 24: Raising the Steaks: Finishing the Finest Beef on Grass—White Clover Farm, Highland Co.
  • Friday, August 5: Profitable Poultry in Motion: Maximizing Performance From Your Pastured Flock—Breakneck Acres, Portage Co.
  • Thursday, September 22 and November 10: Season Creation: Pay for Your High Tunnel in Six Months Harvesting Food Through the Winter—Mustard Seed Market at Highland Square, Summit Co., Gorman Heritage Farm, Franklin Co.

Visit with OEFFA member farms during these annual open houses:

  • Saturday, June 11: Snowville Creamery and Find A Way Farm, Meigs Co.
  • Sunday, June 26: Sunny Meadows Flower Farm, Franklin Co.
  • Sunday, September 18: Carriage House Farm, Hamilton Co.

This series is promoted in cooperation with The Ohio State University Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team, Advancing Eco Agriculture, Ashtabula Local Food Council, Columbus Agrarian Society, and Our Harvest Research and Education Institute, who are sponsoring additional tours and workshops.

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.

Leading Experts to Unlock Secrets of Soil Health During Upcoming Workshop

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2016
Milo Petruziello, OEFFA Program Associate, (614) 421-2022,
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022,
Tiffin, OH—An in-depth, on-farm workshop featuring leading soil and cover crop experts will provide farmers looking to successfully manage their soil health with practical information they can implement on their farms this season.
Nationally recognized soils expert Ray “the Soils Guy” Archuleta and cover crop guru David Brandt of Brandt Family Farm in Carroll, Ohio will explore ecological farming strategies that can help grain farmers reduce the use of inputs, tillage, and labor during this April 9 event organized by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).
Attendees will see workshop host Moyer Brothers Farm’s cover crops and a soil pit demonstration.The 184 acre, which grows organic corn, soybeans, wheat, and other crops, has been certified organic since 1989.
Archuleta is a conservation agronomist with 30 years of experience with the Natural Resources Conservation Service working in New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and North Carolina. He is also a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America. Archuleta teaches soil health and the principles of agroecology throughout the country.
Click here to view a video of him speaking at the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health.
The workshop will take place from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Moyer Brothers Farm at 1841 N. Township Rd. 165 in Tiffin, Ohio.
The workshop cost includes lunch and is $45 for OEFFA members or $60 for non-members.
Preregistration is required and space is limited. To register, go to

New Bill Promotes Biotechnology, Disregards Public Interest

Statement by Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator
For Immediate Release: March 1, 2016

Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022,

Columbus, OH—In response to legislation introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), which would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote biotechnology and prevent the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu released the following statement:

“The legislation introduced by Senator Roberts and passed by the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee today ignores the growing demand from the majority of U.S. citizens to have clear and honest food labeling. Everyone deserves the very basic right of knowing what ingredients are in their food and how that food was produced; that information should not be withheld from the public. Food derived from genetic engineering should be required to be labeled. Enshrining voluntary labeling in this legislation is reiteration of decades of failed policy.

This legislation would call for the USDA to promote the benefits of agricultural biotechnology. It is not the role of the USDA to advance one form of agriculture above another. Organic agriculture offers benefits to the environment, public health, and local food economies and yet it cannot be advanced above other forms of agriculture by USDA. This bill would create an uneven playing field during a time when public demand for organic and sustainably grown food is at an all-time high. Senators have an opportunity to listen to their constituents and provide them with the food information and choices they want. We hope they soundly reject the Roberts bill and join with the 64 other countries of the world that require mandatory labeling of GE food.”

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 since 1979. For more information, go to

OEFFA Announces 2016 Stewardship and Service Award Recipients: Jim Croghan, Steve Sears, and Sylvia Upp

February 15, 2016

Carol Goland, Executive Director—(614) 421-2022,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022,

GRANVILLE, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2016 recipients for the Stewardship Award and Service Award.

Jim Croghan of Croghan’s Organic Farm in Clinton County received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and Steve Sears and Sylvia Upp of Pike County received the Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA.

The announcements were made on Saturday, February 13 as part of OEFFA’s 37th annual conference, Growing Right by Nature.

2016 Stewardship Award Winner—Jim Croghan
A pioneer in the organic movement, Jim Croghan (pictured left) was one of Ohio’s first certified organic farmers. At Croghan’s Organic Farm, Jim and his wife Joyce produced organic corn, beans, spelt, hay, and other grains for domestic and international markets. He retired in 2009 after more than three decades of farming, but continues to garden and maintain an orchard.

His quiet, behind-the-scenes leadership within OEFFA led to the creation of what is today the organization’s Grain Growers Chapter, which remains very active. Before the National Organic Program was established—which set federal standards for organic certification—Jim also served on OEFFA’s board and certification committee, including a term as chairman, helping to shape OEFFA’s organic standards.

A steward of both the organization and his land, one of Jim’s major accomplishments has been keeping his farm in continuous organic production since the late 1980s, according to 2011 Stewardship Award winner and organic farmer Ed Snavely (pictured right), who presented the award.
In 2010, organic farmer and OEFFA Little Miami Chapter president Jeff Harris began farming the land, growing organic alfalfa, yellow corn, soybeans, wheat, red clover, triticale, and rye. According to Jeff, “He has been a very powerful influence on me… Jim is my neighbor, my friend, and has been my mentor in the organic world.”
2016 Service Award Winner—Steve Sears and Sylvia Upp
Sylvia Upp operated the OEFFA Certification program from 1991 until 2007, joined by her husband Steve Sears in 2003. Together, they managed the complex and challenging transition from the standards and processes developed by OEFFA’s grassroots certification program to federal oversight once the National Organic Program became effective in 2002. Their home and farm in West Salem, Ohio served as the headquarters for OEFFA’s Certification program, until it moved to a Columbus office in 2007.

According to 2015 Service Award winner John Sowder, who served on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees from 1992 to 2015, “Sylvia was admired and respected for her dedication, her organizational skills, and her attention to detail. She was our leader as the program grew and we knew she was the right person for this position. I feel that OEFFA is where we are today because of the Certification program and Sylvia built that foundation.”

Prior to his certification role, Steve served on OEFFA’s board for many years, during a time when the organization was largely volunteer-run. John reflects, “He had a gentle disposition and good sense of humor with a keen eye for getting to the heart of a matter.” During this time, Steve also operated a business called Ohio Farm Direct, one of the state’s first wholesale distribution services that delivered products from farms to consumers.

“Jim, Steve, and Sylvia showed an unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture and OEFFA during an important time in our history. These awards are a small way that we, as a community, can recognize their contributions and express our gratitude for their work, from which we all have benefited,” said Goland.

For a full list of past Stewardship and Service Award winners, click here.


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

Photo by Sara Graca, Palamedes Photography