By Casey Hoy, Agroecosystems Management Program, CFAES
Small and medium-sized farms have a tough time competing with larger farms when it comes to economies of scale. Yet the number of small farms has more than doubled in the last few years in Wayne County, the home of CFAES’ Wooster campus and its Mellinger Research Farm.
Working at the Mellinger farm, CFAES researchers are studying how smaller farms can maximize their unique strengths by diversifying their production and markets, a strategy termed economy of scope and an alternative to expanding the size of their farm.
This year’s Composting in Ohio tour, set for Aug. 22 and co-sponsored by CFAES’ Ohio Composting and Manure Management Program (OCAMM), will feature four unique large-scale composting facilities located in Cleveland and Akron.
Tour-goers, organizers say, will get a close look at the sites’ operations and a chance to learn from experts.
CFAES’ 324-acre Mellinger Research Farm, whose roots go back two centuries, hosts an Agricultural Diversification Research Tour from 6–8 p.m. Aug. 21. Featured will be topics such as scales of diversification and markets; ecosystem services in diverse systems; ecosystem and landscape pressures on small farms; diverse vegetable production; oilseed crops; and pastured poultry and chicken tractors. Find the full list of topics and speakers.
Admission to the event is free and open to the public. Find the farm at 6885 W. Old Lincoln Way near Wooster. (Photo: Flax, grown as an oilseed crop, in bloom at the Mellinger farm, CFAES.)
Update (7-31-2019): For more information, read “Deeper details on diversification tour.”
Yiyun Lin, PhD student in CFAES’ Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, recently participated in the BIO 2019 I-Corps Bio-Entrepreneurship Workshop at the BIO International Convention in Philadelphia.
In April, Lin took home first place in the PhD category in the poster competition at this year’s CFAES Annual Research Conference. She’s shown here at the conference.
CFAES recently launched a new website for farmers hit by Ohio’s record rain. Called “Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges,” the site gives help on topics related to the ongoing rain-caused farming crisis—from prevented planting to crop insurance to managing stress and more.
Ohio’s unplanted, late-planted, and drowned farm fields, along with those present throughout the Midwest, are actually visible from space, according to a July 2 Washington Post story that interviewed, among others, CFAES soybean expert Laura Lindsey. As seen by satellite, the story says, the region’s beleaguered fields are “more brown belt than farm belt.”
“Right now, farmer stress levels are really high,” Lindsey is quoted as saying in the story. “Farmers are worried about losing their farms.”
CFAES’s “Addressing 2019 Agricultural Challenges” website, launched in response to Ohio’s record rain, offers resources to help those farmers.
Ava Forystek, pictured, a CFAES sustainable plant systems major, is spending her summer as one of 24 students in the prestigious Borlaug-Ruan international internship program, which is sponsored by The World Food Prize Foundation.
CFAES’ Rattan Lal, pictured, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and one of Ohio State’s most decorated faculty researchers, will address the university’s summer graduates on Aug. 4.
Read the story. (Photo: John Rice, CFAES.)
Today’s Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin, published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports the presence of a Microcystis cyanobacteria bloom extending from Maumee Bay near Toledo about 13 miles north along the Michigan coast and 15 miles east along the Ohio coast. A persistent bloom in Sandusky Bay, the bulletin reports, is continuing.
You can learn more about NOAA’s harmful algal bloom forecasts here, and you can sign up to get bulletins about them (every couple of days or so from July to October) by clicking the blue “Subscribe” button. Details in the bulletins, which include the locations of blooms and three-day forecasts, can be used to plan your activities at Lake Erie.
NOAA last week predicted that western Lake Erie will experience significant harmful algal bloom levels this summer.
A reminder that CFAES’ Climate Smart: Farming with Weather Extremes conference is this Thursday, July 18, in Plain City, northwest of Columbus. The event will look at what farmers can do to adapt to weather and climate changes.
Aaron Wilson, CFAES climate specialist and a speaker at the event, says “the idea is to get people to start thinking about building resilience to the changes we see.”
Admission to the conference is free and open to the public, but the deadline, unfortunately, has passed for reserving lunch.
Read CFAES’ press release about the conference.