CFAES Center for Cooperatives: Collaboration Creates Greater Impact

Among draft horses, Belgians are reputed to be the strongest and most capable. A single Belgian draft horse can tow 8,000 pounds. More impressive is what two can do together; a team of two draft horses doesn’t just double- but triples pulling power to 24,000 lbs!

Like a team of draft horses, The CFAES Center for Cooperatives combined forces with industry, government and association partners to achieve great things in 2017. Collaboration created greater impact through cooperative education, technical and development assistance for stakeholders and students of cooperatives.

The Center teamed up with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to share best practices with the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network. Director of Food Resource Development, Mike Frank, led network participants on a tour, describing how the Foodbank has overcome challenges associated with the aggregation, storage and distribution of fresh food. The Network left with practical actions to improve their food hubs’ operational efficiency.

Collaboration between the Center for Cooperatives and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development provided valuable information to local ag producers looking to diversify or enhance their operations.   A Value-Added Producer Grant informational session with key speakers from the USDA was hosted at the OSU South Centers, offering local producers an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from USDA grant experts.

The Center for Cooperatives worked closely with the Central Appalachia Cooperative Development Group to start Unity Coffee and Teahouse, the first worker-owned cooperative business in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Five Baristas and a coffee roaster created the co-op with a shared vision to foster a commUnity that supports workers, customers and local residents. Unity Coffee and Teahouse opened for business in January 2018.

The Mid-America Cooperative Council (MACC) brought together cooperative developers from across the Midwest to facilitate communication and coordination of co-op educational resources. The Center met with counterparts from Kentucky, Indiana and northeast Ohio at United Producers, Inc. headquarters in Columbus for a two-day roundtable. Developers discussed programming, goals and alignment. The Center identified opportunities to boost educational programming and technical assistance in the region by sharing knowledge and pooling resources.

The Center facilitated cooperative education for visiting scholars in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics over their stay in the United States, including an educational tour of agricultural cooperatives at the Farm Science Review. Scholars visited with representatives from Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, Farm Credit, Heritage Cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America and COBA/Select Sires. The scholars returned to Ukraine motivated to share their newfound knowledge of agricultural cooperatives with students at their respective universities.

The Center connected with local vocational schools and FFA to build students’ awareness of careers in agricultural cooperatives. The Center hosted students at OSU South Centers, visited Ohio Valley Career & Technical Center FFA and served on an Ag Career panel in Ross County.

The Center worked with the Ohio State University CFAES Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics instructors to facilitate an undergraduate class project. Students interviewed cooperative leaders and created multimedia presentations sharing what they learned about the cooperative model.

Collaboration with partners created a great impact in 2017. The CFAES Center for Cooperatives intends to increase our horse power in 2018. We look forward to partnering with the Ohio Farm Bureau to provide cooperative education to the next generation of leaders at the AgriPOWER Institute and the Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. The Center will forge new relationships with growers, producers and marketers at the annual Ohio Produce Network conference, the Ohio Association of Meat Processors conference, and the 14th Annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference. Together, the Center and partners are resolved to drive forward the cooperative movement in the region and beyond.

*View The Ohio State University South Center’s Connections Newsletter: Winter 2018 Achievements Edition at:

https://southcenters.osu.edu/newsletter/connections-newsletter

Cultivating community and local food production in West Virginia: The 2018 Small Farm Conference

“Agriculture can and will be part of the solution to stabilize and grow our economy with the right plan,” stated Kent Leonhardt, West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture. West Virginians consume over $7 billion dollars of food each year, but produce only $800 million dollars of food. The commissioner believes growing and producing more food in the Mountain State will strengthen West Virginia’s food system, boost farmers’ profitability, and create new jobs in agriculture that will benefit individuals and local economies. ¹

Barriers to small farm profitability

The average farm in West Virginia is 175 acres. Farmers face several barriers to operate a successful small farm enterprise. Achieving profitability with limited production yield on less land is a major challenge. Farmers have fewer options to diversify small operations. They experience difficulty finding the right market mix and scaling production to serve larger markets. Additionally, lack of infrastructure and distribution are common barriers.

The West Virginia Small Farm Conference offers solutions

The 14th Annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference offers solutions to unlock the potential of West Virginia small farms to produce food profitably. The conference will take place February 21-24, 2018 at the Morgantown Event Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. The goal of the conference is to help farmers develop a successful small farming enterprise by providing reliable, tested knowledge about current trends, needed skills, and latest production and operation information. The conference also aims to strengthen West Virginia’s food system by encouraging local production, processing, wholesale and retail marketing, and consumption.

There will be a wide variety of educational workshops during the three-day event. Farmers will learn about livestock, fruit, vegetable and specialty crop production. In-depth discussions led by experts in farm management, marketing, finance and risk, will benefit farm enterprises of all types. Food producers will learn how to add value to their farm products, utilize agricultural cooperatives to gain market access. Special sessions will highlight West Virginia’s Farm-to-School initiative, Farmers’ Markets and agritourism opportunities in the Mountain State.

Know your farmer, know your food

The Winter Blues Farmers Market will take place on Thursday, February 22, 2018, from 4-8 p.m. at the Morgantown Event Center. The community event is family-friendly and open to the public. The market will showcase local food, goods and products. Enjoy the aroma of delicious food cooking while browsing the market. Area chefs will be on-hand to prepare pay-as-you-go dishes and entrees with locally grown food.

What: The 14th Annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference

When: February 21-24, 2018

Where: Morgantown Event Center in Morgantown, West Virginia

Cost: Registration is $70 per day, or $190/3 days for adults. Students, active military and veterans receive a discounted rate. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, Friday dinner, and conference materials. A $10 convenience fee increase per person per day for walk-in registrations.

Link to register and learn more: https://extension.wvu.edu/conferences/small-farm-conference

Reference

  1. 2017 Annual West Virginia Agricultural Statistics Bulletin. No. 48. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, West Virginia Field Office. 2017. www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/West_Virginia/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/2017/Bulletin2017-All.pdf. Date Accessed 5 Feb 2018.

 

YAP Conference to Educate, Empower and Encourage the Next Generation

The future of farming is just over the horizon. Are young farmers prepared to fill their predecessors’ boots? Do they have what it takes to conquer challenges facing the agricultural industry? Are they confident to lead themselves and others?

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience will take place February 3-4, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. 650 Young farmers from across Ohio are registered to attend the 2-day event.

“The YAP Winter Leadership Conference is where young farmers and Ag professionals can professionally and personally grow by attending a variety of educational breakout sessions,” said Melinda Witten, Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Leadership Programming. “It is a place to connect and build a community with folks who have shared experiences.”

The upcoming conference offers a wide variety of programming to educate, empower and encourage the next generation of Ohio farmers.

Educate

The Winter Leadership Experience prepares future farmers with knowledge and skills to build a farm business or successful career in Ag. Industry experts and educators will offer workshops in business and financial planning, strategies to manage risk and comply with regulations.

Marketing workshops will teach young farmers how to effectively position and sell their farm products. Attendees will learn how to find and communicate with consumers. Video and social media workshops will instruct young farmers how to harness the power of digital marketing to grow their agribusinesses.

Empower

The YAP Winter Leadership Experience empowers young farmers with confidence to lead. A compelling Discussion Meet Competition will showcase young agriculturalists in a dialog over issues impacting the agriculture industry. The winner of the Discussion Meet will receive a $1,000 cash award from Nationwide Insurance.

A panel of Ohio Farm Bureau Federation leadership featuring Farm Bureau’s OFB President Frank Burkett and Vice President Adam Sharp and will share their vision for the Farm Bureau’s future in an interactive session with young farmers. Additional workshops in conflict and human resource management will offer tools for young farmers can use to effectively lead themselves and others.

Encourage

Networking at the Winter Leadership Conference creates meaningful connections. Young farmers will enjoy fellowship other farmers, explore potential partnerships, and meet mentors and business advisors.

On Saturday, The Ohio State University CFAES Center for Cooperatives will present a panel of grant experts from university, government and private organizations. The Agricultural Grant Opportunities Workshop will encourage attendees to utilize federal, state and private grant programs to develop value-added products, accomplish on-farm research and make conservation improvements.

Don’t forget the funYAP 2017

The Winter Leadership Conference has something for everyone. Fun workshops will teach attendees how to preserve food, make soap and prep for healthy meals. The conference kicks-off with Friday night food, games and entertainment featuring Big Bang Dueling Pianos.

Details about the upcoming conference are on the Ohio Farm Bureau website, https://ofbf.org/yap-winter-leadership-experience

Article originally published in Farm & Dairy Newspaper

https://www.farmanddairy.com/top-stories/yap-conference-to-educate-empower-and-encourage-the-next-generation/467557.html

Changes to Tax Law: Section 199A Deductions

The cooperative world has seen a lot of discussion this month about the potential consequences of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for agricultural cooperatives and their members. Explore these resources from Iowa State University’s Dr. Keri Jacobs and Dr. Brian Briggeman of Kansas State University with Dr. Philip Kenkel of Oklahoma State University to learn more.

“A Discussion of the Sec 199A Deduction and its Potential Impacts on Producers and Grain Marketing Firms” by Dr. Keri Jacobs in farmdoc daily.

“Impact of Tax Reform on Agricultural Cooperatives: Special Edition ACCC Fact Sheet Series Collaborative Research KSU/OSU” by Dr. Brian Briggeman and Dr. Philip Kenkel.

 

Ohio Produce Network 2018

Learning the produce industry’s latest and greatest at the Ohio Produce Network conference in Sandusky, Ohio. Growers, marketers and their families are having a wild time at Kalahari Resort and Convention Center! The convention brings together Ag business owners, supply and service providers, Ohio State University Extension educators and industry experts.

Ohio Proud: helping producers market local food

American food shoppers have a huge selection of food products to choose from. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average U.S. grocery store stocks 38,900 products! ¹ On a recent visit to my local grocery store, I counted no less than 12 brands of mustard; each brand offered multiple product extensions to fit every taste preference.

Which product did I pick? Ben’s Sweet n’ Hot Mustard, because it is made right here in Ohio.

Ohio Proud companies

Ben’s Mustard is a licensed Ohio Proud company. Ohio Proud is a marketing program created by the Ohio State Department of Agriculture to promote locally grown, raised and processed foods. The Ohio Proud program began in 1993. Today Ohio Proud continues to support the marketing efforts of local farmers and food producers.

“Ohio Proud provides growers and producers an opportunity to increase sales and reach new markets and offers consumers a quick, reliable way to identify locally made products,” states Lori Panda, Senior Program Manager of the Ohio Proud program. “Currently, Ohio Proud has more than 520 partners. The program also has approximately 50 distributors, retailers and restaurants, known as our Ohio Proud Affiliate members, who promote and support Ohio Proud products throughout the year.”

Benefits for food producers

Ohio Proud makes local products stand out among national competitors. According to the Ohio State University report “Building Capacity for Local and Organic Ohio Proud Foods”, consumers see the value of locally produced food, and are willing to pay more when their purchases support a resilient local food system and local economy. ² A consumer survey detailed in the report found:

  • 81% of survey respondents indicated they prefer locally grown foods.
  • 90% percent of participants desire to increase their local food purchases.
  • 32% percent reported a willingness to pay up to 10% more for locally produced foods.

The colorful Ohio Proud label helps consumers identify local foods. The label bears the shape of the state with tagline “Made in Ohio- Grown in Ohio.” Consumers see Ohio Proud as an opportunity to support Ohio farms and food producers.

In addition to labeling rights, licensed Ohio Proud partners gain access to Ohio Proud promotional items. The Ohio Proud website promotes partners’ products and boosts businesses’ online presence with individualized profiles that showcase products and tell consumers where to buy.

Ohio Proud licensed producers gain access to new marketing channels. Grocers, restaurants and distributors that support local food can become affiliate members of Ohio Proud. Ohio Proud facilitates connections between partners and affiliates at networking and educational events.

Be Ohio Proud

Licensed Ohio Proud products must be at least 50% grown, raised of processed in the state. Products must comply with federal and state inspection and labeling regulations.

Interested producers should visit the Ohio Proud website, create a profile and complete an online application. Ohio Proud companies pay a $25 licensing fee annually. Visit the Ohio Proud website at www.ohioproud.org for more information.

  1. “Supermarket Facts” (2016). Food Marketing Institute.
  2. Inwood. S., Bergman. L., & Stinner. D. “Building Capacity for Local and Organic Ohio Proud Foods” (Sept 2003). The Ohio State University.

Ohio Proud: helping producers market local food