OSU Well Represented at Ohio Organic Farming Conference

January 27, 2011

GRANVILLE, Ohio -- The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will hold Ohio’s biggest conference on organic and sustainable agriculture next month, and Ohio State University will be well represented there. Ohio State scientists, specialists and students will give 19 presentations --the most ever from the university -- as part of the program.

OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference takes place Feb. 19-20 in Granville in central Ohio. “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities” is the theme.

“Our conference title says a lot about what we believe and what we’re trying to accomplish,” OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland said. “People who attend the conference are so moved by the inspiring examples of innovation and stewardship they learn from presenters and fellow participants.”

The Ohio State presenters are from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its research and outreach arms, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension.

The college is home to such programs as the Sustainable Agriculture Team, the Agroecosystems Management Program, and the Organic Food and Farm Education and Research (OFFER) Program.

The conference features some 70 sessions in all plus a trade show; a pre-conference workshop on community supported agriculture; a kids’ conference; and keynote talks by Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, who own and run New York’s only dedicated organic feed mill and organic seed operation, and by Joan Dye Gussow, author of This Organic Life and The Feeding Web and a mentor to such local-food leaders as Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver.

A book signing by Gussow -- her latest is Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Life, Death and Vegetables -- and by Ohio farmer and writer Gene Logsdon, author of The Contrary Farmer and, most recently, Holy S***! Managing Manure to Save Mankind, will also take place.

“The growth of our conference shows how many people are tuning into local, sustainable and organic food, and the diversity of our speakers and workshops reflects this,” Goland said.

“An amazing thing about our conference,” she said, “is the positive energy of the whole weekend.”

Registration ranges from the $55 one-day student member rate to $130 for both days for an adult non-member of OEFFA. Meals, the kids’ conference and the pre-conference workshop are extra. Register online at http://www.oeffa.org (scroll down to the conference link).

Goland said registration is filling up fast and is expected to sell out, so register soon.

Further details on the conference and speakers, including the Ohio State presenters, are at the conference website under “Workshops” and “Features.” For more information, call 614-421-2022, ext. 205, or e-mail renee@oeffa.org.

The Ohio State sessions in their order on the program:

-- “Growing Brambles Successfully” by Gary Gao of OSU Extension’s Delaware County office.

-- “Season Extension Tools and Techniques for Growers” by Matt Kleinhenz and Natalie Bumgarner of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science.

-- “Networking Food System Businesses to Build Local Economies” by Megan Shoenfelt and Steve Bosserman of Ohio State’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crops Research Initiative grant team.

-- “15 Measures of Dairy Farm Competitiveness” by Dianne Shoemaker of OSU Extension’s Wayne County office.

-- “Pasture for Profit 1: Getting Started” by Bob Hendershot of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Jeff McCutcheon of OSU Extension’s Morrow County office.

-- “Understanding Soil Biology and Its Role in Organic Crop Systems” by Larry Phelan of the Department of Entomology.

-- “High-quality Organic Small Grain Production” by Phelan and Deborah Stinner, leader of the OFFER Program.

-- “What’s New in Organic Weed Management” by Doug Doohan and Jason Parker, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science; Stan Ernst, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics; Andy Glaser; and Sarah Zwickle, School of Environment and Natural Resources.

-- “Pasture for Profit 2: Plants and Soil” by Hendershot and McCutcheon.

-- “Market Ready” by Julie Fox of the OSU South Centers.

-- “Nematodes as Monitoring Tools for Soil Foodweb Health in Organic Farming Systems” by Parwinder Grewal of the Department of Entomology.

-- “Maximizing Crop Quality” by Kleinhenz and Bumgarner.

-- “Alternative and Local Food System Development: Answering Questions and Challenging Assumptions” by Jeff Sharp of the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

-- “Pasture for Profit 3: Nutrition and Organic Regulations” by Hendershot, McCutcheon and Paul Dutter, OEFFA’s organic certification livestock specialist.

-- “Using IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for Insect Pests in Organic Fruits and Vegetables” by Celeste Welty of the Department of Entomology.

-- “Cover Crops in Organic Grain Production” by Alan Sundermeier of OSU Extension’s Wood County office.

-- “Soils and Climate Change” by Ryan Hottle of the Environmental Science Graduate Program.

-- “Managing Soil Fertility in Organic Grain Production” by Sundermeier.

-- “Pasture for Profit 4: Infrastructure” by Hendershot and McCutcheon.

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Author(s): 
Kurt Knebusch
Source(s): 
Renee Hunt