Contact: Sharon D. Sachs, Spokesperson
Phone: 800-372-6092, ext. 3 or 614-885-3042
Columbus, Ohio (Aug 27, 2009)
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 OSU 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 funds awarded by the national outreach office of the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) 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
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.