The agricultural landscape of today is very different than it was 20-25 years ago. Farms today are getting fewer in number and the ones that are left are growing in acreage. However, as the Small Farm Program Coordinator for Ohio State University Extension I continue to see a huge interest in small farm production.
The “Small Farmer” is a term used for individuals who are practicing agriculture on a small amount of acreage, usually with less than 100 acres. These farmers are many times new to agriculture and are looking to begin a different lifestyle.
Since 2005, we at Ohio State have tried addressing producer needs for small farm production. Our two main efforts include an eight week Small Farm College and the second is through Small Farm Conferences.
I want to highlight our local small farm conference in March which is sponsored by OSU Extension’s Small Farm Program. The conference is designed for small farm owners who want to learn more about how to make their farms work better for them or expand their operations, or those new to agriculture who are looking for ways to utilize acreage
The conference, combined with a trade show, is set up to help participants learn tips, techniques and methods for diversifying their opportunities into successful new enterprises and markets as a way to improve economic growth and development on their farms.
Through the conferences, we try to give participants a smorgasbord of ideas that may interest them and opportunities to learn in-depth about an issue, gain resources, and study how to finance a new venture.
The “Opening Doors to Success” Conference and Trade Show will be held March 11-12, 2016 at the Wilmington College Campus Boyd Cultural Arts Center, Wilmington. This conference will kick off Friday afternoon at the Wilmington College academic farm with two really neat hands-on workshops focusing on Meat Goat Production and Water Management and Irrigation Techniques.
The Meat Goat Management program will be presented by Dr. Richard Browning, Tennessee State University and Dr. Maria L. Leite-Browning of Alabama A & M University. Both Richard and Maria are widely known across the country for their meat goat research and expertise in meat goat production. They will provide training on artificial insemination in meat goats, FAMACHA eyelid scoring training for the treatment and control of Haemonchus contortus (Barber’s Pole worm) in goats and sheep, criteria for culling, keeping, and purchasing breeding stock for genetic improvement in commercial or seedstock meat goat operations.
Micro Irrigation Essentials and Management will be taught by OSU Horticulture specialist, Brad Bergefurd. He will cover such topics as evapotranspiration, ground-based and remote moisture sensing, deficit irrigation, micro-irrigation, irrigation scheduling, fertigation basics, irrigation planning resources, and more.
On Saturday, the conference will feature 25-plus sessions from Ohio State University and industry experts as well as a trade show for small farmers that will offer information that can benefit a variety of growers.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The overall goal of these events and the mission of the OSU Small Farms Program are 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.
I encourage you to attend the conference as there is something for just about anyone interested in small farm production. Some of the topics we plan to cover at the conference are:
• Women in Agriculture
• Goat production
• Poultry production
• Farm Business Planning
• Artisan Cheese Making
• Direct marketing
• Starting a business
• Hand Sprayer Calibration
• Legal issues for small farms
• Fertility Management
• Vegetable and fruit production
• Estate Planning
For more information about these two conferences, please visit http://agnr.osu.edu/small-farm-programs or contact Tony Nye at (937) 382-0901 or [email protected]
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 28 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.