Monday, March 8, 2010

Organics 201: Seminar Will Help Farmers Go Organic

Source: Ohio's Country Journal
Posted on March 4th, 2010

Consumer demand for healthy, organic food continues to rise. More Ohio farmers are considering organic production to add value to their products and to take advantage of the premium prices shoppers are willing to pay for certified organic food. Making the transition to organic farming and completing the paperwork required for certification can present challenges.

To help farmers meet this growing demand, the O.S.U. Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) Program and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) have organized this "Organics 201” seminar. "Organics 201” is a one-day training seminar, which will guide farmers through the process of completing an Organic Farm Plan, which they must complete annually to receive and maintain organic certification.

"To receive organic certification, farmers have to follow rigorous production standards and submit a detailed application to an accredited certification organization,” said Mike Anderson, OEFFA’s Organic Educator. "This seminar is designed to demystify the certification process and to help farmers complete an Organic Farm Plan, the primary record keeping requirement for organic crop producers.”

"Organics 201: Developing an Organic Farm Plan” will be held at Bromfield Administration Building, at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, on March 24, 2010, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bromfield Administration Building is located at 8995 E. Main St., in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Registration for Organics 201 is $35, $30 for members of OEFFA.

All participants will be served lunch and will receive a copy of the "Organic Whole Farm Planning Workbook” by Margaret Frericks Huelsman.

The seminar will feature Dr. Deb Stinner, the director of OSU’s OFFER Program. Deb has studied organic crop production practices at the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio, for nearly two decades. Specialists from OEFFA’s Organic Certification office will guide participants through the development and completion of individualized organic farm plans. By the end of this seminar, participants will have a nearly complete plan that will enable them to apply for organic certification in 2010.

"Organics 201” is presented by two of Ohio’s most recognized authorities on organic farming—OFFER and OEFFA—and is presented with funding provided by NCR-SARE.

The OFFER Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) was developed to provide outstanding research and educational support for sustainable production, processing, and marketing of organic foods from the field to the table for farmers, gardeners, processors, retailers, and consumers.

The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) was formed 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, please contact Mike Anderson, (614) 421-2022 ext. 204.

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