A recent USDA survey identified 7,107 farms in Ohio with direct food sales—the third highest state in the nation. That might be why OSU’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program receives more legal inquiries about food sales than any other area of law. “We are constantly surprised by the interest producers have in selling meat, produce, jams, baked goods, and similar foods directly to consumers and retailers,” said Peggy Kirk Hall, the program’s director. To address the questions of those who want to directly market farm-raised and home-based food products to consumers, OSU Extension will host a webinar series this winter.
The “Starting a Food Business” webinar series will bring OSU’s expertise in food safety, law, product development, economics, and marketing together to help explain what a producer needs to know when planning to sell home-based and farm-raised foods. Food businesses are challenging for many reasons, according to OSU Extension Educator Emily Marrison.
“We often see people who are known for being great cooks in their home kitchen yet selling food products is really more like manufacturing. This webinar series will help food entrepreneurs learn the ins and outs of making quality and safe food while also navigating the business and legal considerations.”
“Starting a Food Business” webinars will run once a month in January, February, and March of 2023, with a different topic each month:
- January 24: Start-Up Basics. Assess the food safety, licensing, legal, and economic considerations for selling your food product.
- February 28: Selling Home-Based Foods. Learn about food product development, Ohio’s Cottage Food and Home Bakery laws, and requirements for selling canned foods.
- March 28: Selling Meat and Poultry. A look at the economics, processing options, and labeling and licensing requirements for selling meat and poultry.
OSU’s teaching team for the webinar series includes:
- Nicole Arnold, Professor and Food Safety Field Specialist for OSU Extension. Nicole supports food handlers, consumers, and other educators with food safety education and risk communication efforts.
- Peggy Kirk Hall, Professor and Agricultural Law Field Specialist. Peggy directs OSU Extension’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program and regularly teaches and writes on food laws.
- Emily Marrison, Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences. Emily’s food science background provides expertise and insight on food safety, product development, and selling home-based foods.
- Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist for OSU Extension. Garth has a background in animal science and specializes in livestock production and marketing, farm management, and meat science.
The “Starting a Food Business” webinar series is free, but registration for one or all of the webinars is necessary. Find details and the registration link at https://go.osu.edu/foodbusiness.