Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast

by: Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins

Stay on top of what is happening in the field and the farm office as Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins interview experts in agronomy and farm management. Hosted by Ohio State University Extension, this podcast takes a bi-monthly dive into specific issues that impact agriculture, such as: weather, land value, policies, commodity outlooks, and more.

This podcast began in May 2018 and has a great library of podcasts to choose from. This winter, we will feature some of the Ask the Expert interviews that occurred during Farm Science Review on Farm Management topics. Catch up on the ones you missed during the show.

Subscribe through iTunes at or Stitcher at to have the newest episodes added to your playlist. Stay up to date with us on Facebook @AFMPodcast and Twitter @AFM_Podcast.


2019 Outlook Meetings to be held Across Ohio

by Amanda Douridas, Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to announce the 2019 Agricultural Outlook Meetings! In 2019 there will be seven locations in Ohio. Each location will have a presentation on Commodity Prices- Today’s YoYo. Additional topics vary by location and include U.S. Trade Policy: Where is it Headed, Examining the 2019 Ohio Farm Economy, Weather Outlook, Dairy Production Economics Update, Beef and Dairy Outlook, Consumer Trends, and Farm Tax Update.

Join the faculty from Ohio State University Extension and Ohio State Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics as they discuss the issues and trends affecting agriculture in Ohio. Each meeting is being hosted by a county OSU Extension Educator to provide a local personal contact for this meeting. A meal is provided with each meeting and included in the registration price. Questions can be directed to the local host contact.

The outlook meeting are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Date: January 14, 2019 Time: 7:30 am – 10:30 am Speakers: Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Ian Sheldon, Zoe Plakias, Aaron Wilson Location: Emmett Chapel, 318 Tarlton Rd, Circleville, OH 43113 Cost: $10.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension Pickaway County 740-474-7534 By: January 12th More information can be found at:

Date: January 17, 2019 Time: 8:00 am – noon Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, Ian Sheldon, Aaron Wilson Location: Der Dutchman, Plain City, 445 S Jefferson Ave. Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Union County 937-644-8117 By: January 10th More information can be found at:

Date: January 24, 2019 Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, David Marrison Location: St Mary’s Hall 46 East Main St. Wakeman, OH 44889 Cost: No Charge; $20.00 if past deadline RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Huron County 419-668-8219 By: January 22nd More information can be found at:

Date: January 28, 2019 Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Ben Brown, Aaron Wilson Location: Jewell Community Center Cost: $10.00 (after deadline $20.00) RSVP: OSU Extension, Defiance County 419-782-4771 By: January 22nd More information can be found at:

Date: January 30, 2019 Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Dianne Shoemaker, David Marrison, Kenneth Burdine Location: Fisher Auditorium Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Wayne County 330-264-8722 By: January 24th More information can be found at:

Date: February 13, 2019 Time: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, Ian Sheldon Location: Wayside Chapel, 2341 Kerstetter Rd.,  Bucyrus OH 44820 Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Crawford County 419-562-8731 or email By: February 5th More information can be found at:

Date: March 22, 2019 Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, David Marrison, Ian Sheldon Location: Chamber Ag Day / Ag Outlook meeting, Darke County Romers 118 E Main St., Greenville Registration Flyer: Cost: $20 RSVP: Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215 By: March 16th More information can be found at:


What You Need to Know About Managing Millennials in Agriculture

by: Chris Zoller- Extension Educator, ANR

The exact dates vary depending upon your source, but the Pew Research Foundation has established birth years between 1981 and 1996 as the Millennial generation (also referred to as Generation Y or Gen Y) .  Researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss have identified the birth years for millennials as 1981 to 2004. Interestingly, Baby Boomer (those born between 1946 and 1964) is the only generation the United States Census Bureau defines.

What considerations should you have as an employer if you have employees (family or non-family) that are considered a part of this generation?  It’s not fair to paint all Millennials with a broad brush when describing this generation, but following are a few considerations when working with this generation.

The Millennial Generation
This is considered to be the most energetic, educated, and diverse generation that is also technology savvy and conscious of social issues.  Members of this generation have been influenced by terrorist attacks, school shootings, and the emergence of the Internet.  Approximately one-third of the U.S. workforce is made up of Millennials and it’s estimated they will comprise nearly one-half of the workforce by 2020.

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility
Millennials are very protective of their time away from work.  Millennials are leaders when it comes to having flexibility in the workplace.  A Bentley University study found that Millennial employees are almost twice as likely to have a spouse or partner working at least part-time compared to the Boomer Generation.  As a result, Millennials report finding time for themselves, getting enough sleep, and managing their personal and work life as being significant concerns.
The following question was asked of the Bentley University study participants: How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements if your company provided increased flexibility and/or paid parental leave?

What Do Millennials Value?  What Motivates Millennials?

Millennials are not unlike previous generations when it comes to wanting to perform meaningful work and contribute to the mission of the business.  “A survey published by the Harvard Business Review found that employees of all generations value meaningful work, yet every generation perceived that the other generations are only in it for the money, don’t work as hard, and do not care about meaning.”  I’ve reached an age where I find myself saying things like those reported in the Harvard Business Review…  Millennials also value mentoring, want to develop relationships with their employer and co-workers, desire to enhance their skills, believe training is important, and embrace technology.  This generation tends to believe that the work day doesn’t have to be ten hours.
Millennials are motivated to find ways that make production agriculture more efficient and profitable.  The entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge of technology this generation has will continue to impact agriculture.  It’s happening all around us – robotic milkers, the use of drones, apps, etc.

Work Assets
The Millennial generation has many assets they can offer to agriculture that are positive.  A consumer mentality is one started with Generation X and continues today with Millennials.  This mentality will continue to force everyone in agriculture to re-think food production and be cognizant of what consumers want, need, and desire.  Knowledge of computers and related technology can help farms better manage and interpret data to make more informed decisions.  Technology is fast paced, ever changing, and will continue to influence food production.  Millennials tend to be optimistic, goal oriented, have a positive attitude, and enjoy working with others.  These are positive attributes of employees in any business.

Work Liabilities
As with all young people, Millennials lack experience.  This is normal.  Just remember this as you work with employees in this generation – they have high expectations, focus on achieving goals, and are able and willing to learn.  Millennials prefer a structured work environment, need supervision, can be impatient, and may lack skills needed to effectively deal with difficult people.

What does all of this mean for you as an employer?  Your approach to employee scheduling may be a bit different than how you’ve done it in the past – keep in mind the high value that Millennials place on achieving a work-personal life balance.  Capitalize on the desire many in this generation have to achieve goals, perform work that is meaningful, work with others, and engage in training.  In addition, allow employees with the technology skills to help you better manage your farm for the future.  Technology will continue to impact agriculture and you will need to continually explore and evaluate the best technology for your farm business.  More employees are entering agriculture with no or limited production experience.  Be aware that your training programs may need to be more focused and incorporate hands-on activities.
Multi-Generational Impacts on the Workplace, Bentley University, 2017
Generational Differences Chart, West Midland Family Center,
Millennials in Agriculture – Part 1, Michigan State University Extension, 2017

(Originally published in Farm & Dairy, September 27, 2018)

Annie’s Project Course- Empowering Women in Agriculture

by: Jacqueline Kowalski & Robin Christensen, Extension Educators



OSU Extension in Summit and Portage Counties are teaming up to offer Annie’s Project from October 9th– November 13th, 2018. Annie’s project is a six-week program designed to address risk management education for farm women. Its objective is to educate women entrepreneurs so that they are more prepared to make farm management decisions. While a large number of farm women own and operate farms, others play a major role in the decision-making process of farm operations for farm families. Annie’s Project provides in-depth sessions on topics that are important for decision-making of the family farm. The program topics covered include human resources, legal risks, financial risks, marketing risks, and production costs and risks. Sessions are designed to be very interactive between the presenters and the participants. Information presented is tailored to meet the needs of participants in their own geographical areas.

Annie was a woman who grew up in a small rural community with the life-long goal of being involved in production agriculture. She spent her lifetime learning how to be an involved business partner with her husband, and together they reached their goals and achieved success. Annie’s daughter, Ruth Hambleton, a former Extension Educator for the University of Illinois, founded Annie’s Project in 2000 in honor of her mother. Annie’s Project is designed to take Annie’s life experiences and share them with other women in agriculture who are living and working in this complex, dynamic business environment. Additional details on Annie’s life can be found

The 6-week training will begin on Tuesday October 9th at 6:00pm, with dinner starting at 5:30pm. Registration is due October 5th, 2018. Classes will rotate between the Summit and Portage County Extension offices in Stow and Ravenna. The course fee is $100.

Please contact Robin Christensen with questions or for an application at 330-296-6432 or e-mail at


Understanding the Generational Differences

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

We hear about and read labels for different generations and we know there are differences among them.  What do the differences mean if you are managing people from different generations?  Depending upon the publication you read or with whom you speak, there may be a slight difference in birth start and end years, but the following table provides some general guidelines.

Generation Name Births Start Births End Age Range
Baby Boomer 1946 1964 72 – 54 yrs. old
Generation X (the lost generation) 1965 1985 53 – 33 yrs. Old
Generation Y (Millenials) 1980 1994 38 – 24 yrs. Old
Generation Z

(the unknown)

1995 2012 23 – 6 yrs. Old
Generation Alpha 2013 2025 5


Each generation has its thoughts, beliefs, and ideals with respect to a number of items.  What are the differences with respect to employment?  It’s not accurate or fair to say that every person who falls into a particular generational category is the same.  However, general statements can be made about each generation.

Generational Differences:

  Baby Boomers Generation X Generation Y
Business Focus Long Hours Productivity Contribution
Work Ethic & Values Loyal

Question authority

Strive to be their best

Value ambition, collaboration, equality, personal growth, & teamwork

Work efficiently

Want respect from younger workers

Willing to take risks

Care more about work/life balance

Work/family balance is important

Like a casual work environment

Outcome oriented

Output focused

Rely on technology

Work ethic no longer mandates 10 hr. work days

Criticized for not being loyal to a particular job/employer

Believe technology allows them to work flexibly

Work ethic no longer mandates 10 hr. work days

High expectation to be mentored

Goal oriented

Looking for meaningful work

Obsessed with career development

Prefer diversity, informality, technology, and fun

Thrive on collaboration

Training is important

Preferred Work Environment Humane

Equal opportunity

Warm, friendly

Functional, positive, & fun

Fast paced & flexible

Access to leadership

Access to information





Fun, flexible, want continuous feedback


Work is…



A career

Work & then retire


Difficult challenge

Just a job


A means to an end


Flexible work arrangements


What They are Looking for in a Job

Ability to “shine”

Make a contribution

Team approach

Need clear and concise job expectations

Dynamic leaders

Cutting edge with technology

Flexible scheduling

Input valued on merit, not age/seniority

Must see the reason for the task

Want to be challenged

Treated with respect

Friendly environments

Flexible scheduling

Expect to be paid well

Want to make a difference

As a product of the “drop down and click menu”, may need to be given options

Work Ethic Driven

Workaholic – 60 hr. weeks



Not work long hours




What’s next?



View on Work/Life Balance Hesitant to take time off – result is an imbalance between work & family More focus on maintaining a balance

Don’t worry about losing their place if they take time off

Flex time, job sharing

Balance work, life, and community involvement



So what does this mean for agricultural employers?

  • The Baby Boomer generation is reaching retirement age.
  • Generations X and Y have a different outlook on work and family life as compared to previous generations. The more recent generations place a greater value on maintaining a balance between family and work.  Workers in these generations are less likely to willingly work extra hours.  They are not workaholics like the Baby Boomer generation.
  • Flexibility is a key word when it comes to Generation X and Y. Members of this generation want to be able to attend their son or daughter’s baseball game or have dinner with their family and then return to work.
  • Money may not be the motivating factor for some in Generation X or Y. Members in these groups often want flex scheduling, to collaborate with others, and not perform routine tasks.
  • Generations X and Y have a greater focus on technology. This can be a real plus to a farm as the use of technology grows.  These generations are much more familiar with and accepting of technology.
  • Generations Z and Alpha are too young to make any conclusions. However, we do know that these generations are heavily focused on technology.  Stay tuned…

The article is an introduction to the topic of understanding the differences across the generations.  Each generation brings with it challenges and opportunities.  As you think about your next employee or the next generation to enter your business, what factors must you consider? Use the information provided here as you plan for additions to your farm team.


(Note: This article was published originally in the Farm and Dairy, July 26, 2018)

Retreat Empowers Women to be Better Farm Managers

by: Amanda Douridas & Emily Adams, OSU Extension Educators

Female farmers, whether farming on their own or in a partnership, realize the importance of the business side of farming. Annie’s Project provides education and a support network to enhance business skills of women involved in all aspects of agriculture.

Annie spent her lifetime learning to be an involved farm business partner with her husband. Annie’s life experiences inspired her daughter, a university Extension agent, to create a program for women living and working in the complex, dynamic agriculture business environment. Annie’s Project fosters problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills in farm women.

Two weekend retreats are being offered in Ohio this winter. Women will receive training in five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, marketing, production, legal, and human resources. Most importantly women are able to network and develop relationships with other women in agriculture.

Past participants have had this to say about the program:

“I changed my mind about how to approach communication with my in-laws as business partners.”

“I have gained tools to help improve management of our farm and insight on how to communicate the resources to other members of the farm.”

“I appreciated getting to meet others with a shared interest.”

“I encourage any woman to attend one of these great programs!”

The firs retreat will be held Dec 1-3 at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center, 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, OH 43755. The participant fee is $105 per person, which includes all materials and meals. Lodging is $99 per room per night with up to four people per room. Registration deadline is November 17. For questions about this program, please contact Emily Adams at or 740-622-2265.

The second retreat will be Feb 2-4 at Western Buckeye Christian Camp, 5455 Roeth Rd, Houston, OH 45333. The cost is $95 per person and includes all lodging, materials and meals. Please bring bedding and towels. The registration deadline is January 19. For questions about this retreat, please contact Amanda Douridas at or 937-484-1526.

Registration for both workshops can be found at:


Are Your Dairy Farm Employees Willing to Learn?

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR in Tuscarawas County

Developing employees is critical for the success of any farm.  We say that, but do we believe it?  New products, technologies, and practices are changing rapidly on dairy farms, and we know an employee development program will enable them to make better decisions and solve problems.  But do employees really want to learn?  Results of a survey recently released show that employees do want to learn!

Michigan State University interviewed 174 dairy farm employees representing 13 farms.  Employees were asked to rate their interest in learning.  A scale of 1 (“I already know enough to do my job”) to 5 (“I am interested in dairy and I want to learn more”) was used.  The average was 4.73.  In other words, they nearly unanimously selected 5 – “I am interested in dairy and I want to learn more”.

What do you think farm owners and managers believed employees would answer?  Using the same scale, they rated employee interest in learning at 3.27.  This is a much different ranking when compared to the one provided by employees.

What does this mean? Which picture is truer? Do employees really want to learn or were they just saying what they thought the interviewer wanted to hear?  These are not meaningless questions – in fact, the extent and investment by farm owners in employee training depends on the answer.  Employers have been reluctant to believe the results based on their own experience.  Maybe their experience is a result of poor training methods, an incorrect approach, or poor timing.

Two veterinarians recently shared examples that strongly reinforce the results of this research.  On one farm a graduate student (also a veterinarian) was gathering data for a research project.  She described how employees asked her to teach them more about disease diagnosis, treatment, and why and how diseases occur.  She scheduled a time to go back to talk to the employees about the transition period.  She planned to be there no more than one and a half hours, but (because of the questions) was at the farm for three hours!

A second veterinarian reported on the results of a lunch meeting with employees from one farm.  The veterinarian anticipated being with the group for no more than one hour.  He reported being with the group for two hours because of the number of questions from the employees!

Why do the experiences of these veterinarians, and the results of the research, differ from what some dairy producers experience?  Maybe the answer is in what the veterinarians indicated.  Here are some key points:

  • Attitude – the veterinarians believed employees wanted and were capable of learning, and they wanted to help them
  • Language – they were able to speak the same language of the employees
  • Time – they made time to meet with the employees
  • Why – they explained cow physiology, “why” things happen, and “why” protocols are as they are

There may be other reasons, but the point is to recognize the desire most employees have to learn.  Feed that desire and your employees will respond.  Maybe you schedule time one day a week for a “dairy talk time” with your employees.  Any topic is available for discussion or let employees suggest a topic in advance.

Create an environment where learning is encouraged and you will gain employee loyalty and satisfaction.

This article was originally published in the Farm & Dairy newspaper, May 2017.

(Source:  This is a summary of a research project conducted by Phil Durst and Stanley Moore, Michigan State University.  Read more at: Hungry to learn?  Phil Durst, Michigan State University Extension,

Hiring Youth Labor on Your Farm

Source: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County

Young people may be approaching you in the next few weeks looking for a summer job on your farm. Will you hire someone on the spot?  Do you have work available for a minor to perform?  Can a minor perform the same tasks as an adult?  What do state and federal child labor laws say about youth employed in agriculture?

Determine Your Needs

  • What jobs do you have available?
  • Are there livestock tasks that need performed?
  • What cropping tasks need completed?
  • For how many hours do you need an employee?
  • Are there special requirements you must be aware of when employing minors?

Tasks Defined as Hazardous

It’s not surprising that there are certain tasks in agriculture that have been identified as “hazardous” by the federal government. Ohio has adopted the same list.  What’s included on this list?

  • Operating a tractor of over 20 PTO horsepower, or connecting or disconnecting an implement or any of its parts to or from such a tractor;
  • Operating or working with a corn picker, grain combine, hay mower, forage harvester, hay baler, potato digger, mobile pea viner, feed grinder, crop dryer, forage blower, auger conveyer, unloading mechanism of a non-gravity type self-unloading wagon or trailer, power post hole digger, power post driver, or non-walking type rotary tiller;
  • Operating or working with a trencher or earthmoving equipment, fork lift, potato combine, or power driven circular, band, or chain saw;
  • Working in a yard, stall, or pen occupied by a bull, boar, or stud horse maintained for breeding purposes; a sow with suckling pigs; or a cow with a newborn calf (with umbilical cord present);
  • Felling, buckling, skidding, loading, or unloading timber with a butt diameter of greater than six inches;
  • Working from a ladder or scaffold at a height of over 20 feet;
  • Driving a bus, truck, or automobile to transport passengers, or riding on a tractor as a passenger or helper;
  • Working inside: a fruit, forage, or grain storage designed to retain an oxygen-deficient or toxic atmosphere; an upright silo within two weeks after silage has been added or when a top unloading device is in operating position; a manure pit; or a horizontal silo while operating a tractor for packing purposes;
  • Handling or applying toxic agricultural chemicals identified by the words “danger,” “poison,” or “warning” or a skull and crossbones on the label;
  • Handling or transporting explosives;
  • Transporting, transferring, or applying anhydrous ammonia

The prohibition of employment in hazardous occupations does not apply to youths employed on farms owned or operated by their parents. In addition, there are some exemptions from this prohibition:

  • 14 & 15 year old students enrolled in vocational agriculture programs are exempt from certain hazardous occupations when certain requirements are met; and
  • Minors aged 14 & 15 who hold certificates of completion of training under a 4-H or vocational agriculture training program may work outside school hours on certain equipment for which they have been trained

Minimum Age Standards for Agricultural Employment

  • Youths ages 16 & above may work in any farm job at any time
  • Youths age 14 & 15 may work outside school hours in jobs NOT declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor, unless the minor holds a 4-H or vocational agriculture tractor operation or machinery operation certificate. The certificate must be kept on file by the employer.
  • Youths 12 & 13 years of age may work outside of school hours in non-hazardous jobs on farms that also employ their parent(s) or with written parental consent
  • Youth under 12 years of age may work outside of school hours in non-hazardous jobs with parental consent, but only on farms where none of the employees are subject to the minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Youths 10 &11 years old may hand harvest short-season crops outside school hours for no more than eight weeks between June 1 & October 15 if their employers have obtained special waivers from the Secretary of Labor
  • Youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents

Who Enforces the Laws and What are the Penalties?

Investigators of the Wage and Hour Division enforce youth employment provisions of the FLSA. They have full authority to conduct investigations, gather date, and assess compliance with the laws.

An employer that violates the youth employment provisions may be subject to civil money penalties (CMPs). The amount of the CMP assessment depends upon the application of statutory and regulatory factors to the specific circumstances of the case.

Generally speaking, child labor CMP assessments will be higher if the violation contributed to the injury or death of the youth involved. The severity of any such injury will be taken into account in determining the amount of a CMP.  A CMP assessment may be decreased based on the size of the farm business.  Also, CMP assessments will reflect the gravity of the violation and may be doubled if the violation is determined to be willful or repeated.

A CMP assessment for a violation that causes death or serious injury of a minor is subject to a higher statutory cap. An injury qualifies as a “serious injury” for this purpose if it involves permanent or substantial harm.  Both the significance of the injury and duration of recovery are relevant in determining whether an injury is serious.  If more than one violation caused a single death or serious injury, more than one CMP may be assessed.  Finally, CMP assessments based on the death or serious injury of a minor may be doubled to a higher statutory cap if the violation is determined to be willful or repeated.

How to Comply with the Law

To be certain you are in compliance with the laws regulating the employment of minors in agriculture, take a few precautions to protect everyone involved.

  • Verify the child’s age and keep records
  • Review and understand the list of agricultural work considered hazardous
  • Remember that only your children and grandchildren are exempt from hazardous jobs
  • Instruct minor employees about the jobs they may not perform
  • Review safety procedures with employees
  • For 14 and 15 year olds who have completed a 4-H or vocational agriculture tractor or machinery operation course, retain a copy of the certificate.

A job on a farm is a great opportunity for young people to learn about agriculture. It’s also a good way for them to earn money toward a vehicle or furthering their education. View your farm operation as a way to provide opportunities for young people, but make certain you understand and follow the law.


U.S. Department of Labor, Wage & Hour Division,

Peggy Hall and Catharine Daniels, Ohio Agricultural Law Blog, June 10, 2013,

Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference to be held on March 25 in Massillon

by Rory Lewandowski, Wayne County Extension Educator

The 2017 Northeast Ohio “Living Your Small Farm Dream” small farm conference will be held on Saturday, March 25 at the RG Drage Career Center in Massillon located at 2800 Richville Dr. SW Massillon, 44646.  The conference is a program of the OSU Extension Small Farm Program and will provide farm owners and landowners with the opportunity to learn more about skills useful on a small farm, how to make their small farms work better, expand their operations, or gather ideas on how to utilize rural acreage.

Participants will choose from more than 25 different sessions offered over 4 breakout sessions during the day.  General topic tracks include horticulture production, livestock and aquaculture, small farm management, natural resources, marketing and selling.  Presenters include OSU Extension specialists and educators as well as USDA agency personnel, and area farmer entrepreneurs.  The trade show represents industries, businesses, services and organizations that provide products or services utilized on a small farm or rural property.

A sampling of some of the topics that will be covered at the conference includes:

  • Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance and Operation
  • Raising sheep and goats
  • Grass-fed Beef Production
  • Fruit tree pruning
  • Hobby Maple Syrup Production
  • Fruit Tree and Small Fruit Disease Management and Prevention
  • Micro Greens Production
  • Vegetable Production and Season Extension with Tunnels
  • Using and calibrating hand held sprayers on the farm
  • Growing Shitake mushrooms
  • Selling eggs, poultry, produce and cottage foods
  • Marketing Meat Goats
  • Renting and Leasing Farmland
  • Renewable Energy
  • Small Farm Tax Issues
  • Aquaculture Opportunities
  • Vegetable Disease Diagnostics

The Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance and Operation topic as well as the Vegetable Production and Season Extension with Tunnels are both super sessions that extend over two break-out session time periods.  The vegetable production and season extension with tunnels session will actually start at the OARDC high tunnels in Wooster and then move to the RG Drage Center for the in-door portion of the session.  Participants may elect to do only the Wooster part, only the RG Drage Center part or both parts of this topic.

The conference begins with registration at 8:00 am, and an opening general session at 9:00 am.  The conference concludes at approximately 3:45 pm following the final breakout session.  Registration cost is $60 per person, which includes lunch and morning refreshments.  The registration deadline is March 17.  For those who are interested in attending both the Women in Agriculture conference ( at the same location on March 24 plus the small farm conference on March 25 there is a discounted registration fee of $100 to attend both conferences.  Student discounts are also available.

A conference brochure and registration form along with descriptions of all the breakout sessions as well as on-line registration is available on the OSU Extension Small Farm Program web site at: .  Questions can also be directed to the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722.


Employers Must Use New 1-9 Form Beginning January 22, 2017

by Peggy Hall

Beginning January 22, 2017, employers must use a new version of Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification of new hires.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revised Form I-9  last November and gave employers a short grace period for making the conversion to the new form, dated 11/14/16.  The new form is available on the USCIS website at

Employers will  notice several improvements to the new I-9:

  • The instructions are now separate from the form and include specific guidance on each section.
  • The form is much more computer-friendly, with drop-down lists, calendars, on screen prompts and instructions for each field, a “start over” button and easy access to full instructions.
  • The employer may now list more than one preparer and translator who assisted in completion of the form.
  • In the first section, the employer must list only “other last names used” rather than “other names used.”
  • A new “additional information” box provides space for the employer to note important information for the employer’s purposes such as additional documents presented, employee termination dates or form retention dates.

Employers must complete a Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of every individual hired for employment.  For more information, see our previous post on Form I-9, and visit the USCIS’s “I-9 Central” at