In northeast Ohio and across our nation, consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of buying local and fresh food products. As the demand for local food products increases, so does the interest in growing and producing a variety of locally grown products for consumers. Throughout the past five years, Extension Educators in northeast Ohio have received numerous requests for consultations from small land owners on how they can raise agricultural commodities to capitalize on the local foods movement. To help new and existing farmers find ways to diversify their agricultural production, the OSU Extension offices in Northeast Ohio collaborated to develop the Northeast Ohio New & Small Farm College. This presentation will describe the Educators’ efforts in developing this program. The team designed curriculum and taught six small farmer colleges to help farm families increase their profits from their small acreage. Course topics included business planning, enterprise selection, marketing and agricultural resources. Two-hundred-six individuals owning 5,736 acres participated in the colleges and 265 participated in two targeted one-day production schools. Only 26% of the attendees in the colleges reported they currently direct market agricultural products. Of the respondents who do not currently direct market products, 80% indicated they planned to in the future. Sixty-three percent indicated they had a plan in mind for their farm business. Forty-three percent had not previously enrolled in an OSU Extension program and 100% indicated they would enroll in future Extension programs.
|Conference||2010 National Farm Management Conference|