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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


OARDC Scientist Receives Organic Farming Group's Top Honor

February 24, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Deborah Stinner, head of Ohio State University’s nationally known organic farming research program, has received one of two Stewardship Awards presented by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). It’s the group’s highest honor. She’s the first recipient of the award from Ohio State.

Also honored was Ed Snavely, a Knox County farmer with whom Stinner has collaborated on a number of studies.

“Both Deb and Ed care deeply about creating a sustainable food system,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland. “We should all be sincerely grateful for what they have done to advance sustainable agriculture in our community.”

“Ben’s and my life changed so much, both professionally and personally, when we began working with sustainable and organic farmers,” Stinner said, referring to her late husband and colleague, Ben Stinner, who led Ohio State’s Agroecosystems Management Program. “It gave our lives a whole new depth and meaning. It helped us as researchers to appreciate how important the experiential knowledge of farmers is. It helped us as human beings to understand the heart and soul of farming.

“Scientific knowledge needs to be balanced with that experiential knowledge,” she said. “Given that history, sharing the award with Ed Snavely, an organic farmer who Ben and I worked with for many years, was a great honor.”

The awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, were presented during OEFFA’s sold-out 2011 annual conference Feb. 19 in Granville.

Stinner has been the administrative coordinator of Ohio State’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research (OFFER) program, part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, since the program’s inception in 1998. As a research scientist, too, with OFFER, she specializes in organic small grains, such as wheat and spelt.

Snavely’s Curly Tail Organic Farm in Fredericktown is one of Ohio’s longest continuously certified organic farms.

Details on OFFER are at and on OEFFA at

OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agricultural bioscience research center in the United States.

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Kurt Knebusch
Deb Stinner