North Central SARE From the Field Profile
Begin Farming Ohio Website Launched to Assist Beginning Farmers
For the first time Ohio’s new and beginning farmers have an entire website dedicated to their unique information needs and designed to make it easier for them to find the services and resources they seek. The website URL is http://www.beginfarmingohio.org/
The website represents the collaborative efforts of: the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy; Ohio Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture; Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA); the Organic Food and Farming Education & Research Program of the Ohio State University Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center; and the Ohio State University Extension. These entities, working together as Begin Farming Ohio, aim to build Ohio’s capacity to provide, expand, enhance, and sustain services to beginning farmers.
The new website was developed with an affiliated partner, Innovative Farmers of Ohio (IFO). IFO allocated grant funds awarded by SARE Outreach program to enhance the website development process. IFO provided case studies and resource referral information first published in 2008, one output of Wisdom in the Land, a mentor-based pilot program for beginning farmers in central Ohio that IFO operated from 2006-2008.
The website will also provide listings of events of special interest to Ohio’s beginning farmers, and facilitate searches for educational and funding resources to assist beginning farmers with challenges related to production, marketing, and business management.
“In order to help sustain the future of agriculture, it is important to support beginning farmers,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. “The department is excited to be part of this collaborative effort, which will assist these farmers with less than 10 years experience.”
The USDA 2007 Census of Agriculture reports that 21% of U.S. family farms were beginning farms, and in contrast to established farms, beginning farms were more likely to be small farms.
About Begin Farming Ohio and Innovative Partners of Ohio
Begin Farming Ohio was formed in 2008 as a collaboration of higher education, state government, and the non-profit sector to better serve Ohio’s beginning farmers. Each of the five founder organizations provides education, training, and other services to farmers and has an employee pool of professionals who are experts in both sustainable agriculture production and farm business management. Additional affiliated partners provide resources that complement the services of the collaborators. See www.beginfarmingohio.org for a complete list of collaborators and affiliates.
Their affiliated partner, Innovative Farmers of Ohio (IFO) is a farmer led, non-profit organization serving Ohio farmers. IFO’s membership ranges from small-acreage intensive organic growers to large grain and livestock operations with more than a thousand acres and hundreds of head of livestock. IFO received a grant in 2005 for $92,560 from the NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant Program to pilot the mentor-based program, Wisdom in the Land, for beginning farmers in central Ohio. Wisdom in the Land was delivered twice as a 15-month program beginning either November 2006 or 2007, and once as a 6-month program beginning January 2008. The program was customized to the developmental priorities of each group, and offered knowledge-building seminars, skill-building workshops, and dedicated individualized mentoring with an experienced farmer either up to 30 hours or 18 hours.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) LNC05-252, Wisdom in the Land.
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Project products are developed as part of SARE grants. They are made available with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within project products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.