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

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2017

Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022,
Kelly Henderson, OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022,
Helping beginning farmers start and grow their operations is the focus of a six-part workshop track, which is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 38th annual conference, Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow. The event will be held Thursday, February 9 through Saturday, February 11 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio.
“Our goal is to help early career and aspiring farmers increase their knowledge and skills, find leads on farmland, and make business and professional connections,” said OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator Kelly Henderson.
Six 90-minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics from choosing the right equipment to developing a successful business:
  • Start with the Soil: Establishing a First-Year Fertility Program—Raymond Yoder, Jr., Green Field Farms (Friday, February 10, 8:30-10 a.m.)
  • Starting Your Own Farm Business from Scratch—Richard Wiswall, Cate Farm (Friday, February 10, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.)
  • Farming the Farm Bill: FSA Programs and How They Can Support Your Farm—Matt Kleski and David Drake, USDA Farm Service Agency (Friday, February 10, 2-3:30 p.m.)
  • Farmland Access 101: Options for Landowners and Growers—Krista McGaw, Tecumseh Land Trust (Saturday, February 11, 8:30-10 a.m.)
  • The Path to Organic Certification: Lessons from Farmers—Julia Barton and Patrick Turner, Octagon Acres (Saturday, February 11, 1:30-3 p.m.)
  • Walk-Behind Tractors for Small Farms—Michael O’Donnell, Purdue University Extension (Saturday, February 11, 3:30-5 p.m.)
In addition to the begin farming workshop track, the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will offer other opportunities geared specifically toward beginning farmers, including:
  • A full-day pre-conference intensive workshop on Thursday, February 9, “Farming Smarter, Not Harder: Tune Up Your Farm Business and Increase Your Net Profit.” Long-time organic farmer and author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, will explore ways farmers can plan to increase their farms’ net profit, market their products strategically, and meet their long-term business goals.
  • A free, public Farm Land of Opportunity reception on Thursday, February 9 designed to connect farmers looking for land with established farmers looking for 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 7.

In addition, the conference will also feature:

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to Online registration will be open until January 23.

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

Our Sponsors
AgCredit, Agricultural Cooperative Association | Albert Lea Seed Co. | Eban Bakehouse | Edible Cleveland | Edible Columbus | Great River Organics | Green BEAN Delivery | Green Field Farms | Hiland Supply Co. | Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream | Lucky Cat Bakery | Organic Valley | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
Andelain Fields | Curly Tail Organic Farm | DNO Produce | Eden Foods | Kevin Morgan Studio | Palamades Photography | Plant Talk Radio
Bexley Natural Market | Carriage House Farm | Casa Nueva | D&S Farm & Garden Supply | Dale Filbrun and family, Morning Sun Farm | Great Lakes Organic Feed Mill | Hartzler Dairy Farm | IBA | Jorgensen Farm | Lucky Penny Farm | Lucky’s Market | Northridge Organic Farm | Nourse Farms | Stutzman Farm | Swainway Urban Farm | Tea Hills Farms