Producers who want to add sustainable agriculture practices to their farm operations may be able to use grant funds to do so - if they know where to look and how to write a winning grant proposal, according to an educator with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
Mike Hogan is an Ohio State University Extension educator who is also the coordinator of the university's Sustainable Agriculture Team. He said that while the grants may not offer a huge amount of money, "there are several sustainable agriculture grants out there that can offer a big benefit for farmers and producers."
Hogan will discuss "Utilizing Grants to Achieve Your Farm Objectives" Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. in the Small Farms Center tent during the 2015 Farm Science Review at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio.
The workshop will focus on how to find grants to fund small business operations and what makes a grant proposal successful, he said. The presentation will also offer details on grants awarded from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture in partnership with regional and state coordinators nationwide.
The goal of the program is to advance agricultural innovations that improve profitability, environmental stewardship and quality of life, according to USDA.
The grants have allowed Ohioans to find support for projects that are relevant to them and their interests, Hogan said.
"There are grants out there that are targeted just for farmers and producers that can allow them to try a new farm objective using kind of a safety net in terms of the financing," he said. "These grants can help farmers decide if a new technique or practice will work for their operation and if it will help improve its overall sustainability.
"The benefit is that it leverages dollars to evaluate sustainable production and marketing strategies for Ohio farm families. Agriculture is a large segment of our economy, so having an industry that is more viable is important."
Sponsored by CFAES, Farm Science Review is Sept. 22-24 and will feature presentations by experts from OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and Purdue University. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.
Other workshops offered in the Small Farm Center tent include:
- "Production and Marketing of Super Berries"
- "Using Cover Crops to Improve Nutrient Efficiency"
- "Walk-Behind Tractors and Their Application on Small Farms"
- "Soil Quality Testing and Interpretation"
- "Raising Miniature Beef Cattle"
- "Farm Health and Safety on Small Farms"
- "Aquaculture Opportunities in Ohio"
- "Pricing Your Farm Products for Profit"
- "Understanding Food Marketing Regulations"
- "Reviewing Your Small Farm's Legal Well-Being"
- "Economics of Organic Grain Production"
- "Getting Started With Aquaponics"
The Review is known nationally as Ohio's premier agricultural event. It annually draws more than 130,000 farmers, growers, producers and agricultural enthusiasts. An estimated 620 exhibitors with some 4,000 product lines will set up shop at the farm show, an increase from 608 exhibitors last year, organizers said.
Advance tickets are $7 at all OSU Extension county offices, many local agribusinesses and online at fsr.osu.edu/about/online-ticket-purchase-information. Tickets are $10 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22-23 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24.
More information can be found at fsr.osu.edu.