Deeper details on diversification tour

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.

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All about small, diversified farming

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.”

Got a small farm? Get new ideas

Get ideas for the coming growing season at CFAES’ Small Farm Conference and Trade Show.

Set for March 29-30 at CFAES’ South Centers in Piketon and with a theme of “Opening Doors for Success,” the event will offer ideas for how your farm can work even better for you.

About 30 sessions in nine tracks will cover a variety of topics, from pawpaws to aquaculture, hydroponics to growing mushrooms, soil health to marketing to a produce cooler you can build yourself—“a cool bot system for the farm.” The first day offers a workshop on hops and a training session on meeting requirements of the Food Safety and Modernization Act.

See the agenda and list of sessions. Find out more about the sessions.

Registration costs vary. Find complete details and register online.

See ways to diversify your farm

CFAES’s Agricultural Diversification Research Tour runs from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) Mellinger Research Farm in Wooster. Among the topics: Pastured poultry, chicken tractors, value-added products, hull-less “naked” oats, diverse vegetable production and oilseeds in crop rotations.

Free admission. Find details, including the full list of topics.

OARDC is CFAES’s research arm. (Photo: CFAES.)

In Cleveland: Eating fresh, growing food security

Picture of Gateway 105 farmers marketA program called Produce Perks, which CFAES’s outreach arm, OSU Extension, helped establish, is tackling northeast Ohio’s urban food deserts and boosting food security.

“Families can stretch their food dollars by utilizing Produce Perks to double their whole-food purchases,” says Veronica Walton, who manages Cleveland’s Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market (shown here last summer).

“The relaxed atmosphere at farmers markets is perfect for conversations about meal preparation, food storage and preservation, all of which decrease food insecurities.”

Read more about it. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

Small-Plot Market Farming Master Class: Sustainable Farm Tour Series

Market Gardener Master ClassNext in the 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series: Small-Plot Market Farming Master Class, June 21, at Carriage House Farm in North Bend in southwest Ohio. “This class,” the series brochure says, “is well-suited for serious gardeners looking to start a business or small-scale market growers interested in fine-tuning their operation.” For full details, click here and scroll to p. 20.

How to use high tunnels to grow longer, make more money

High Tunnel BenefitsCFAES has a workshop coming up on growing fruits and vegetables in high tunnels. High tunnels are a relatively low-cost, low-input way to extend the growing season into early spring, late fall and even winter. Extending the growing season benefits farmers, because early and late crops usually sell for more money — sufficient cash flow and profitability being keys to a farm’s sustainability. It helps consumers, too, by upping the availability of fresh, local produce, which is not just a way to eat better and be healthier but can cut the carbon footprint of one’s eating. Get more workshop details. (Photo: USDA-NRCS.)