Into your woods: OEFFA conference preview

picture of trees in woodlotRemember your woodlot when managing your farm. That’s the advice of Pete Woyar, a professional forester, and Dave Apsley, a CFAES natural resources specialist. Woodlots, they say, while often neglected, offer ecological services and income potential. The two experts will talk about ways to manage your woodlot, how to do a forest inventory, and how to use that inventory to develop a plan and timetable for reaching your goals. “Sustainable Woodlot Management,” Session I B, 10:35-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 36th annual conference. (Photo: Wavebreak Media.)

Ohio Board of Regents announces water quality research projects

picture of clean blue waterWe share a press release sent this morning by the Ohio Board of Regents:

The Ohio Board of Regents has announced a series of research projects that will use a dedicated $2 million in research funds to address water quality and algal bloom toxicity in the state.

A group of more than 60 university researchers convened by Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey worked to come up with recommendations and a proposal on how to best utilize and invest the funds. The researchers represented a number of University System of Ohio campuses — including The Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, Central State University, the University of Toledo, and Kent State University — as well as Defiance College and Heidelberg University. Also engaged were the directors of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Health.

“This group put a great deal of time and effort into addressing this important issue,” Carey said. “I am very proud of the effort of the researchers from both the public and private higher education institutions. This collaborative effort is evidence of the value of higher education in Ohio to solving the toxic algae issue. We need to build upon this model with other important issues facing our state.”

The Board of Regents’ $2 million is being matched by the institutions, a move that Carey said shows the dedication of the state and the schools to this project. The Ohio Sea Grant is the mechanism that will be used to distribute funding for the projects.

The workgroup focused on five key areas, among which the funds are divided: Lake Erie harmful algal blooms (HAB) and lake water quality; drinking water testing and detection; agricultural land use practices, sources of enrichment, water quality and engineered systems; human health and toxicity; and economics and policy reform.

56 hours in Toledo: Turning point?

algae 2 for GBWhat do Ohioans think about Lake Erie’s algae problems? Especially what has been causing them? Last summer’s Toledo water crisis changed people’s thinking, says CFAES economist Brian Roe: “Some argue that these 56 hours in Toledo may be a turning point for Ohio agriculture, potentially altering public sentiment and private fears about agriculture and farm runoff and its relationship with water quality and public health on par with how reports of the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969 pivoted public attention to industrial pollution around the Great Lakes.” Read the story. (Photo: Ohio Sea Grant.)

New co-op could help hop crop pop: OEFFA conference preview

hops for GBOn Ohio small farms, as a high-value niche crop, hops, yes, are hopping. And now a new program could help them hop higher. The Ohio Hops Growers Cooperative and Alliance will jointly help members with planting, promotion, group-purchasing and more. Brad Bergefurd, a leader of CFAES’s own (here it comes) nonstopping, bebopping, hop-popping efforts (thankyouverymuch), will talk about the co-op and how it can help you. “Cooperatively Growing the Ohio Hops Industry,” Session III B, 10:35-11:30 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 36th annual conference. (Also coming, in the first week of February, are two CFAES workshops on hops.) (They’re the tops.) (Photo: iStock.)

SARE’s sustainable ag grants, and tips on how to get one: OEFFA conference preview

SARE_NorthCentral_RGBThe North Central Region office of USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program offers a number of grants to people who work in, study and/or teach about sustainable agriculture. You can learn more about them — what they are, who can apply for one, how to create good proposals and more — from Mike Hogan, who is an educator with CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension, and is SARE’s Ohio coordinator. He’s available, too, for later one-on-one help with proposals. “Turning Your New Ideas Into Successful SARE Grant Proposals,” Session III B, 10:35-11:30 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 36th annual conference.

Growing greener: OEFFA conference preview

picture of apple and money“Sound economic decision-making helps organic farmers ensure the long-term sustainability of their business.” So says the blurb for a session by CFAES’s Subbu Kumarappan at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 36th annual conference. You’ll get the lowdown on basic economic principles, will see how to determine optimal input levels and prices, and will get a hands-on lesson on using a spreadsheet to show the financial impacts of different management decisions. “Tips for Economic Decision-Making on the Organic Farm,” Session II B, 2:50-3:35 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14. (Photo: iStock.)

How and why to be a food citizen: OEFFA conference preview

picture of woman at farmers marketHow does government affect what you grow? How about what you eat? Ohio State’s Jill Clark (leader, Ohio Local Food Policy Council Network) and Granville, Ohio, farmer Bryn Bird will fill you in. They’ll encourage you to take a more active role in your food system. “Food Citizens: Engaging in the Intersection Between Food and Policy,” Session II A, 1:45-2:40 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 36th annual conference(Photo: USDA via CC BY 2.0.)

‘An ethical obligation’ to farm animals

picture of Monique Pairis GarciaMonique Pairis-Garcia, who hails from the wonderfully named town of Idyllwild, California, recently joined OSU Extension, CFAES’s outreach arm, as its animal welfare specialist. “We recognize that we have an ethical obligation to (farm) animals because they are providing resources for us,” she says. “We want to manage them as humanely as we can.” In her work she’ll teach students and serve as a resource for farmers. Get to know her.

Today at 4: NIU physicist to discuss science policy in the White House

OSTP web imageNorthern Illinois University’s Gerald Blazey presents “Science Policy in the White House” from 4:10-5:30 p.m. today (Jan. 22) in the spring seminar series of CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. Blazey, who is a physicist and is NIU’s acting associate vice president for research and innovation, recently completed a two-year appointment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.