GRANVILLE — Clinton County farmer Jim Croghan was named the 2016 recipient of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s Stewardship Award during the organization’s 37th annual conference Saturday.
The OEFFA award recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community.
Croghan and his wife Joyce have a 103-acre organic farm in Liberty Township.
“Jim Croghan is the reason I am here today,” said award presenter Knox County farmer Ed Snavely, himself the 2011 recipient of the same Stewardship Award. “And 20 years later I am still involved in OEFFA.”
He served many years on the OEFFA certification committee and also served as chairman of the committee.
“It is because of him and Rex Spray that we have a grain growers chapter today. It was in 1995 the grain growers were certified with OEFFA and OCIA and there were some that wanted the grain growers to move away from OEFFA,” said Snavely. “But Rex and Jim saw the vision that connections would be lost and the teaching of new farmers would be lost. They found there was a group that wanted to say with OEFFA, and are now the organic Grain Growers Chapter.”
“His farm has stayed organic. He sees the vision and stewardship to keep it that way,” said Snavely.
“It is a real honor to receive this, and I appreciate it,” said Croghan as he took the podium in the Granville High School auditorium where more than 1,200 Ohio farmers had gathered for the two-day conference.
Croghan’s Organic Farm was one of Ohio’s first certified organic farms.
“We bought the farm in 1970,” he told Rural Life Today after the awards ceremony. “We became an organic farm in 1988.”
On his farm, he said, they grow corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. They sell their grain both domestically and to overseas buyers.
He retired in 2009 after more than three decades of farming, turning the farm over to his son, but he continues to garden and maintain an orchard.
In 2010, organic farmer and OEFFA Little Miami Chapter president Jeff Harris began farming the land, growing organic alfalfa, yellow corn, soybeans, wheat, red clover, and rye. Harris told OEFFA that, “He has been a very powerful influence on me… Jim is my neighbor, my friend, and has been my mentor in the organic world.”
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.
Rural Life Today editor Gary Brock can be reach at 937-556-5759 or on Twitter at GBrock4.