• State Policy

    Ohio Governor Signs Hemp Legislation into Law

    Farmers will soon be able to grow and process hemp in Ohio, after Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation this week removing its prohibitions. Before that can happen though, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) must develop a formal program and rules, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will need to approve. Hemp contains a fiber, grain, and oil that can be extracted for cannabidiol (CBD), which is now being used in food and dietary supplements. Both hemp producers and processors need to apply for a license to grow or process their products to be in compliance with state and federal law. Those licenses will be valid for three years.…

  • General

    Working Through Challenging Times and Building Resiliency

    This season’s weather has brought not only tremendous amounts of rain, but also exacerbated the problems many farmers already face. In these challenging times, it’s important that we stay in touch, share resources, brainstorm strategies, and empathize with each other’s experiences.  In late June, OEFFA hosted a “Rainy Day Exchange” conversation offering farmers space to discuss the challenges they are facing, ask questions, and share ideas.  Nearly 60 producers, agricultural service providers, and researchers joined the call by phone and computer to share their experiences and offer feedback, resources, and solidarity.  The discussion and feedback focused on several topics that warranted attention, including stress management; alternative production options; pest, disease,…

  • General

    An End to Gerrymandering: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

    A U.S. District Court in Cincinnati recently released a unanimous ruling that Ohio Congressional district boundaries were manipulated for partisan gain by Republican mapmakers and violate the rights of the public to democratic elections. They also went a step further and said the map needed to change before any future elections. But, not so fast! Ohio Attorney General David Yost asked the court for a stay, which would postpone the drawing of new maps for an undetermined period of time. While the district judges denied the request for a stay, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to put a hold on any potential changes to the district maps in Ohio and…

  • General

    Ohio Legislator Leads on Healthy Food for Kids

    The Kids Eat Local Act (SB 1817) was introduced by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME). If passed, the new law will make it easier for schools to utilize locally grown food in the National School Lunch program. Current law does not allow schools to specify “local” as a product specification in school food procurement requests and while they can currently use a “geographic preference” option, most schools have found that process confusing and burdensome. Simplifying local food procurement will improve the ability of schools to source produce from Ohio farmers. The interest in Farm to School (F2S) has increased in Ohio. Whether in large urban districts or…

  • General,  State Policy

    New Report Details Challenges and Opportunities for Ohio Agriculture

    Ohio Agriculture: The Changing Contours of Farming Every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service (USDA NASS) completes a comprehensive survey of agriculture across the country. The 2017 survey results show how Ohio could benefit from increased and targeted investments. OEFFA’s new report, “Ohio Agriculture: The Changing Contours of Farming,” helps put Ohio in focus by providing a national overview and state-level analysis of farm demographics, farmland, farm size, farmland tenure, local and regional marketing, and organic agriculture. It includes recommendations for Ohio policy makers, community and economic development professionals, and investors. Notable statistics include: Nationally, the number of women operators was up almost 27 percent.…

  • State Policy

    OEFFA Members Work the Statehouse

    OEFFA 2019 Lobby Day a Success! Support for beginning farmers has been a high priority for OEFFA and its members for years. The policy program has been advocating for the state to adopt a measure successfully implemented in Minnesota that provides tax credits for landowners who sell or lease land or other agricultural assets to beginning farmers. The recent release of the five-year Census of Agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed some good news for Ohio agriculture generally, and reveals opportunities for the state to grow healthy food systems, contribute to rural community economic development, and grow the agricultural sector by supporting this industry. After decades of farm…

  • Farm Bill

    Local Food Funding Opportunities Abound

    Light Up Your Community with LAMP OEFFA worked with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), to provide long-term and permanent funding for local food programs and we won! The final farm bill included the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) which provides funding for the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Programs (FMLFPP), as well as the Value-Added Producer Grant program and more. In April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the availability of $23 million in funding for the FMLFPP which includes two programs, the Farmers’ Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program. The deadline for both programs this year is June 18,…

  • State Policy

    Family Farm ReGeneration Act Moves Forward

    The average age of farmers continues to climb, more than 100 million acres of farmland will changes hands in the near future, and the biggest challenge identified by beginning farmers is access to land. OEFFA is working to see how the state of Ohio could do more to ensure a future for agriculture. More than a year ago, we began meeting with members of the Ohio Legislature to alert them to a legislative tool Minnesota recently passed. In little more than one year, the Minnesota Beginning Farmer Tax Credit received more than 800 applicants and provides tax credits for landowners that transfer land to a beginning farmer. OEFFA reached out…

  • Farm Bill

    Conservation Stewardship Program Applications are Due by May 10!

    Farmers across the country have little more than a week to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), with applications due May 10. OEFFA urges farmers to sign up for this program which provides payments for conservation activity that many producers already employ. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has provided an information alert with details to answer many questions you may have. What is CSP? CSP is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) largest conservation program that offers whole farm conservation assistance to farmers across the U.S. Sign-up opportunities are available each year. The program provides financial assistance for advanced conservation through five-year contracts on all kinds of farmland. Many…