Food Safety and Grazing Pre-Conference Workshops Offer Information for Experienced Farmers: Feature Chris Blanchard and Troy Bishopp

Renee Hunt, OEFFA Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205,
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Full day pre-conference workshops on food safety and grazing on Friday, February 15 are part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 34th annual conference, Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change, in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

“While our two day conference covers a wide range of topics geared toward farmers, gardeners, and consumers, our full day pre-conference workshops are able to drill deeper, giving specialty crop growers and livestock farmers the skills they need to take their businesses to the next level,” said Renee Hunt, OEFFA’s program director and the event’s lead organizer.

Farmer and food safety expert Chris Blanchard will lead the first pre-conference workshop, “Post-Harvest Handling, Food Safety, and GAP: Making It Work on a Real Farm.” The workshop will teach participants how to establish or improve food safety practices. Blanchard will review post-harvest handling practices and share methods for meeting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) documentation and record-keeping requirements in a way that flows with the work on the farm, rather than existing as a separate set of tasks and requirements.

“Food safety is not just a legal responsibility, but a moral and ethical obligation you have with your customers,” said Blanchard.

As the owner and operator of Rock Spring Farm in Iowa since 1999, Blanchard manages 15 acres of vegetable, herb, and greenhouse production for a 200 member community supported agriculture (CSA) program, food stores, and a farmers’ market. In addition to farming, Blanchard provides education and consulting for farmers and others through Flying Rutabaga Works.

The second pre-conference workshop, “From Our Grazing Experience,” will delve into the intricate art of grass farming with “The Grass Whisperer” Troy Bishopp, and a panel of experienced graziers including Eric Grim of Grim Dairy, Gene DeBruin of DeBruin Family Dairy, Michael Putnam of Grassland Dairy, and Doug Murphy of Murphy’s Grass Farm.

Participants will learn about lengthening the grazing season using a grazing chart, specific grazing and feeding strategies, and balancing ecosystem processes with business profitability. This comprehensive workshop will also cover soil health, animal nutrition, transitioning to organic production, and maximizing profitability in pasture-based systems.

Troy Bishopp has been a passionate promoter and practioner of grazing management for more than 26 years. He contract grazes certified organic dairy replacements and grass-finishes beef on his fifth generation New York family farm. Bishopp is also a grassland conservation professional with the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE-SARE) Professional Development Program, as well as a free-lance agricultural writer.

“I’ve found real value in building profitable, environmentally-friendly grazing strategies and tricks of the trade through good planning, observation, using my noggin, remaining flexible, and sharing these experiences amongst other farmers,” said Bishopp.

Both pre-conference workshops will take place on Friday, February 15 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Granville Middle and High schools, 248 New Burg St., Granville, OH. Pre-registration is required.

The pre-conference workshops are offered as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference on February 16-17, an event that draws more than 1,100 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest, and has sold out in advance the past three years. In addition to the pre-conferences, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker George Siemon on Saturday, February 16; keynote speaker Nicolette Hahn Niman on Sunday, February 17; more than 90 educational workshops; a newly expanded trade show; a fun and educational kids’ conference and child care area; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.

To register, or for more information about the pre-conference workshops or the conference, go to


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

Conference and Pre-Conference Registration
To register or for more information about the conference, including maps, directions, workshop descriptions, speakers, and a schedule, go to For additional questions, contact Renee Hunt at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205 or The 2010, 2011, and 2012 conferences sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.

Artwork and Images
For the conference art image or speaker photographs, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or For photographs of the 2012 conference, go to

Press Passes and Interviews with Keynote Speakers
OEFFA offers a limited number of press passes to members of the media who would like to attend one or both days of the conference. We can also help members of the press schedule pre-conference interviews with our keynote speakers. To arrange an interview or request a press pass, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or

Event Calendar and Public Service Announcement
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) will be holding its 34th annual conference, Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change, on February 16-17, 2013 in Granville, Ohio. Ohio’s largest sustainable agriculture conference, the event will feature keynote speakers George Siemon and Nicolette Hahn Niman; more than 90 workshops on sustainable farming, gardening, homesteading, cooking, livestock production, and business management; local and organic meals; a kids’ conference and childcare; a trade show; Saturday evening entertainment, and two featured pre-conference events on Friday, February 15. To register, or for more information, go to or call (614) 421-2022.

2012 Conference Sponsors
OEFFA’s 34th annual conference is being sponsored by Northstar Café, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Organic Valley, UNFI Foundation, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Iroquois Valley Farms, Mustard Seed Market and Café, Snowville Creamery, Whole Foods Market Columbus, Northridge Organic Farm, Andelain Fields, Albert Lea Seed Company, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Earthineer, Edible Cleveland, Green BEAN Delivery, Horizon Organic, Lucky Cat Bakery, Raisin Rack, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, Stonyfield Farm, Appalachia Ohio Alliance, Casa Nueva, Curly Tail Organic Farm, C-TEC of Licking County, DNO Produce, Eden Foods, King Family Farm, Luna Burger, Metro Cuisine, Shagbark Seed and Mill, Two Caterers, Whole Hog BBQ, Bad Dog Acres, Bexley Natural Market, Bird’s Haven Farms, Bluebird Farm, CaJohns Fiery Foods, Eban Bakery, Equine Veterinary Dental Services, Fedco Seeds, Flying J Farm, Glad Annie’s Old World Baklava, Green Field Farms, Hartzler Dairy Farm, The Hills Market, Leo Dick and Sons, Marshy Meadows Farm, Nourse Farms, Sunbeam Family Farm, Swainway Urban Farm, Sweet Meadows Farm, and Wayward Seed Farm.