by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County & Tony Nye, Extension Educator, ANR in Clinton County
The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), in their December 2021 Charts of Note, examined the value of production of seven commodities. The purpose of the analysis was to determine the percentage of each by type (family and non-family farms) and size of operation.
The USDA ERS defines family farms as those where the principal operator and those associated with the principal operator own most of the business. USDA ERS defines nonfamily farms as those where the principal operator and those related to the principal operator do not own a majority of the business.
USDA ERS classifies family farms by size, according to gross cash farm income (GCFI):
- Small family farms – GCFI less than $350,000
- Midsize family farms – between $350,000 and $999,999 in GCFI
- Large-scale family farms – $1 million or more in GCFI
The table below summarizes the value of production by type and size of operation. Small family farms produced the majority of hay (59%) and poultry and eggs (49%) in 2020. Small family farms also accounted for just over one-quarter of beef production.
Ohio State University Extension works with Small Farm Producers throughout Ohio.
Since 2005, Ohio State has been addressing producer needs for small farm production. Our two main efforts include an eight-week Small Farm College course and the Small Farm Conference.
The Mission of OSU Extension Small Farm Programs:
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 for new and small farms in Ohio.
Small Farm Program Objectives:
- To improve the economic development of small 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.
Small Farm Conference
‘Sowing Seeds for Success’ – the 2022 Small Farm Conference is scheduled for March 12th from 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Mansfield OSU Campus in Ovalwood Hall. The campus is just minutes from I-71 and US Rt 30.
This conference is for small farm owners who want to learn more about how to make their farms work better for them or expand their operations. This conference is also useful for those new to agriculture who are looking for ways to utilize acreage. Landowners can attend workshops and presentations on these topics:
- Produce Production
- Natural Resources
- Specialty Crops
- Farm Management
- Miscellaneous Topics
This conference is designed to help participants learn tips and techniques for diversifying their opportunities into successful new enterprises and markets. Combined with a trade show, participants learn new ways to improve economic growth and development on their farms.
Cost is $75.00 per person. Please visit: https://morrow.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/small-farm-conference for conference and registration details or call OSU Extension Morrow County 419-947-1070.
The New and Small Farm College
The New and Small Farm College is a seven-week program that introduces new and seasoned farmers to a wide variety of topics. The program teaches participants how to set goals, plan, budget, how to manage financial and farm records, and where to find resources if they choose to start a small farming operation. Other subjects include legal issues, farm insurance and marketing.
Coming in August 2022, this program will be available. Watch this website for updates on times and locations: https://u.osu.edu/gofarmohio/programs/new-and-small-farm-college/
The cost to attend is $125 and includes a resource binder, meals, all programs including Farm Science Review admission, and a soil test. Additional family members can register for $100 per person (excludes binder).