• State Policy

    Opportunity in a Time of Crisis Report Details Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System

    OEFFA, the Ohio Farmers Market Network, Produce Perks Midwest, and the Ohio Food Policy Network released a new report, Opportunity in a Time of Crisis: Recommendations for Building a More Resilient Ohio Food System, which captures the landscape of small- to mid-scale agriculture in Ohio and how local and regional food systems were impacted by COVID-19. While farmers and farmers’ markets have risen to the challenge posed by a national pandemic and disruptions in the global food supply chain and adapted their operations to feed Ohio families, those adaptations are not sustainable without state and federal leadership. Investment is needed to increase the resilience and stability of the food system.…

  • State Policy

    Earth Day Turns 50: Unlocking Soil Health Solutions for a Vibrant Planet

    One day each year is designated for us to offer some reverence for the Earth. April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a tradition started in 1970 in response to oil spills, air pollution, and water contamination so bad the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. Cleveland became a poster child for the need to take environmental action to protect the soil that feeds us, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, helping to pave the way for the Clean Air and Water Acts and the Endangered Species Act. The need for action was clear to Michelle Ajamian, co-owner of Shagbark Seed and Mill. “When I…

  • State Policy

    Local Food is Essential

    Four state level groups recently called on state leaders to adopt six policies that will help farmers, farmers’ markets, and low income food access. OEFFA, Produce Perks Midwest, the Ohio Farmers’ Market Network, and the Ohio Food Policy Network, with input from Countryside and Summit Food Coalition, believe that decisive action is needed to ensure the survival of small and mid-scale family farmers that feed our communities and make sure Ohioans, particularly those receiving nutrition assistance, can access much needed fresh, local food in the months ahead. In addition to the public impact, the group’s policy recommendations, are designed to address the broader economic impacts of COVID-19 on Ohio’s local…

  • State Policy

    The Future of Food and Farm Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

    UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, Ohio has issued an amended Stay at Home Order, effective through May 1, 2020. The links throughout this article reference the original Stay at Home Order. The amended order no longer references “certified” farmers’ markets, instead listing simply “farmers’ markets” among the Essential Businesses and Operations. All of our lives are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including OEFFA members and supporters concerned about sustainable agriculture and healthy local and regional food systems that are likely to experience disruption in the days and months ahead. Please know that OEFFA remains open for business; this includes our organic certification services as well as our education…

  • Dirty Energy,  State Policy

    Farmers Celebrate as Ohio EPA Terminates Permit for Coal Mine in Perry State Forest

    After two years of grassroots organizing, local farmers, community members, and forest supporters celebrated a major victory in their campaign to prevent coal mining on public land just outside New Lexington, Ohio in Perry County. On January 30, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) announced it will terminate CCU Coal and Construction’s wastewater discharge permit for a proposed 545 acre strip mine in the Perry State Forest in close proximity to farmland, local residents, and public recreation spaces. The termination of the permit came at the request of the coal company, according to OEPA, and will take effect April 1. “This is a huge victory for our community, our forest,…

  • State Policy

    Land Access Legislation Moves to the House Floor

    OEFFA has been working with members of the Ohio House and Senate to pass legislation that would incentivize land transfer between current landowners and beginning farmers. After months of work, the House Bill 183, the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, passed out of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee unanimously on November 19. OEFFA is thankful to the bill’s co-sponsors Rep. Susan Manchester and Rep. John Patterson. In October, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program Coordinator, Rachel Tayse, presented testimony to the committee on the need for this bill based on her experience working with aspiring and early career farmers. According to Rachel’s testimony, “… OEFFA’s elder farmer generation call on…

  • 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,  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…

  • 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…