For Immediate Release
March 15, 2000
Contact: Sean McGovern
OEFFA CONDUCTS EXTENSION AGENT TRAINING IN ORGANIC PRODUCTION
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association announces the first in a
series of workshops aimed at educating OSU Extension and Natural Resource
Conservation Service personnel about transitioning from conventional grain
farming to organic production. Historically, the Extension Service has not
had the resources or knowledge base to respond to requests for information
about organic agriculture. With the lure of premium prices, lower input
costs, and a reduced reliance on chemicals, many growers are looking to
organic farming as a viable alternative to conventional agriculture.
Through the workshop series the organizers hope to give county Extension
Agents from all over Ohio the tools to assist clients who are interested in
converting all of some of their operation to organic production. The
Primer workshop will be held March 29th at Stratford Ecological Center in
Delaware, Ohio from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Speakers will include:
- Dr. Catherine Greene, agricultural economist with the Resource
Economics Division of USDA's Economic Research Service, who will speak
about her research on the adoption of organic farming in the US, costs of
transitioning and other economic aspects of organic farming.
- Dr. Nancy Creamer, Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science
Department, North Carolina State University and Coordinator of the Organic
Unit at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, who will speak about
the misconceptions between Extension Agents and the organic community and
breaking down barriers between the two groups.
- Dr. Deborah Stinner, Adjunct Associate Professor, Entomology Ohio
Agricultural Research and Development Center and Coordinator of the Organic
Farm and Food Education and Research Program, who will discuss results from
the research conducted last year in her transitional plots.
Extension Agents will also hear from a panel of organic farmers who will
talk about their own experiences during their transition process and from
OEFFA's certification coordinator, Sylvia Upp, who will discuss Ohio's
certification standards and the new federal organic standards.
The Primer workshop will be followed by a series of three workshops/farm
tours during the summer. These workshops will focus on more specific
techniques of organic production while allowing the Agents to see first
hand, successful organic operations. The Transitioning to Organic Grain
Production Workshop Series is funded by the Professional Development
Program of the Sustainable Agriculture and Research Program of the USDA.
Please contact Dr. Margaret Huelsman (614) 238-9676 with any questions
about the training series.
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