The agricultural landscape of today is very different than it was 20 years ago. Farms today are getting fewer in number and the ones that are left are growing in acreage. However there is a small group that is growing rapidly. The "Small Farmer" is a term used for individuals who are practicing agriculture on a very small amount of acreage, usually under 100 acres. These farmers are many times new to agriculture and are looking to begin a different lifestyle.
The Mission Of Small Farm Programs:
To provide a greater understanding of production practices, economics of land use choices, assessment of personal and nautral resources, marketing alternatives, and the identifcation of sources of assistance.
Small Farm Progam Objectives:
- To improve the economics development of small family-owned farms in Ohio.
- To help small farmlandowners and families diversify their opportunities into successful new enterprises and new marks.
- To improve agricultural literacy among small farm landowners not actively involved in agricultrual production.
The New and Small Farm College: Started in 2005, the program focuses on new and small farm landowners in Ohio seeking comprehensive farm ownership and management programming. The college consists of up to 20 hours of classroom time and a signle-day tour of various small farms is utilized to demonstrate:
- Getting started in the planning process
- Sources of assistance
- Agricultural legal issues
- Insurance considerations for the farm
- Inventory of natural resources
- Financial and production record keeping
- Crops and horticultural production
- Animal Production
Current New and Small Farm Colleges Class locations for 2016 to be announced in November.
Small Farm Conferences and Trade Show: This program began in 2009 with the inaugural Small Farm Conference and Trade Show - "Opening Doors to Success" held at the Wilmington College Campus, Wilmington, Ohio. This program effort has grown to two conferences, adding the second conference, "Living the Small Farm Dream" held most recently in Canfield, Ohio.
These intensive conferences are set up to provide small farmland owners the opportunity to explore options for their land use from several comprehensive seminars taught by Extension professionals and industry leaders on a wide variety of agricultural enterprises. Seminars focus in the areas of aquaculture, farm management, forages & pasture, livestock - exotic and traditional, horticulture - fruit and vegetables, natural resources, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), organic production, and marketing and much more. To date, more than 1000 small land owners and enthusiasts have attended these conferences.