Ohio new and small farm colleges set for 2021


Submitted by Ken Ford - ANR Educator, OSU Extension



Bringing small farms in Ohio to life is the theme of the New and Small Farm College program that has been offered to farm families since 2005.

The program focuses on the increasing number of new and small farm landowners that have a need for comprehensive farm ownership and management programming. The mission of the college is to provide a greater understanding of production practices, economics of land use choices, assessment of personal and natural resources, marketing alternatives, and the identification of sources of assistance.

The New and Small Farm College has three educational objectives:

—To improve the economic development of small farm family-owned farms in Ohio.

—To help small farm landowners and families diversify their opportunities into successful new enterprises and new markets.

—To improve agricultural literacy among small farm landowners not actively involved in agricultural production.

Since the program began, the New and Small Farm College has now reached over 1,175 participants from 57 Ohio counties representing almost 900 farms.

If you are a small farm landowner wondering what to do with your acreage, ask yourself these questions:

—Are you interested in exploring options for land uses but not sure where to turn or how to begin?

—Have you considered adding an agricultural or horticultural enterprise, but you just aren’t sure of what is required, from an equipment, labor, and/or a management perspective?

—Are you looking for someplace to get some basic farm information?

If you or someone you know answered yes to any of these questions, then the Ohio State University New and Small Farm College program may be just what you are looking for.

The Ohio State University New and Small Farm College is a seven-session short course that will be held one night a week. The 2021 Ohio New and Small Farm College program will be held in three locations across the state including:

—Fayette County area, Fayette County Extension Office, 1415 US Route 22 SW in Washington Court House. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings beginning Aug. 19 and concluding on Sept. 30, 2021. For more information contact the Fayette County Extension Office at 740-335-1150.

—Pike County area, to be held at the OSU South Centers facility, 1864 Shyville Road in Piketon (located off US 32 – Appalachian Highway). Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings beginning Aug. 18 and concluding Sept. 29, 2021. For more information, contact Pike County Extension Office at 740-289-4837.

—Wayne County area, to be held at the OSU Wooster Campus, The Shisler Conference Center, 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster. Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings beginning Aug. 31 and concluding Oct. 12, 2021. For more information, contact Wayne County Extension at 330-264-8722.

All colleges will start each evening at 6 p.m. with a light dinner with the nightly presentations beginning at 6:30 p.m. and concluding at 9 p.m.

Topics that will be covered in the Small Farm College course include:

—Getting started (goal setting, family matters, resource inventory, business planning)

—Appropriate land use-walking the farm

—Where to get assistance (identifying various agencies, organizations and groups)

—Financial and business management strategies for decision makers

—Farm insurance

—Soils

—Legal issues

—Marketing alternatives

In addition to the classroom instruction, participants will receive tickets to attend the 2021 Farm Science Review (www.fsr.osu.edu ) held Sept. 21, 22 and 23, located at the Molly Caren Farm in London. A soil sample analysis will also be provided to each participating farm.

The cost of the course is $125 per person, $100 for an additional family member. Each participating family will receive a small farm college notebook full of the information presented in each class session plus additional materials.

Registrations are now being accepted. For more details about the course and/or a registration form, contact Tony Nye, Small Farm Program Coordinator, at 937-382-0901 or by email at nye.1@osu.edu.

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Submitted by Ken Ford

ANR Educator, OSU Extension