WILMINGTON, Ohio — Small farmers wanting to expand or make their farms work more efficiently, or landowners who are new to agriculture and are looking for ways to utilize acreage, can learn entrepreneurial tips from agricultural experts with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences during a series of small farms conferences in March.
The Opening Doors to Success and the Living Your Small Farm Dream conferences and trade shows are designed to help landowners and producers learn tips, techniques and methods to increase their awareness and make their small farm operations more successful, which can in turn lead to increased profits, said Tony Nye, an Ohio State University Extension educator and conference organizer.
Researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center as well as industry experts, will conduct the workshops.
“Small farmer” typically describes individuals who are practicing agriculture on a small amount of acreage, usually less than 100 acres, Nye said.
“These farmers are, many times, new to agriculture and are looking to begin a different lifestyle,” he said.
“The conferences and trade shows are designed to help participants learn more tips, techniques and methods for diversifying their opportunities into successful new enterprises and new markets as a way to improve economic growth and development on their farms.”
The Opening Doors to Success conference, which will be held March 7-8, at Wilmington College’s Boyd Cultural Arts Center, 1870 Quaker Way, in Wilmington, will feature 30 sessions and a trade show for landowners and small farmers, Nye said.
The Living the Small Farm Dream conference, which will be held March 21-22, at the Joyce E. Brooks Conference Center, 7300 N. Palmyra Road in Canfield, will feature 25 sessions, including a keynote address on Making Your Small Farm Dream a Reality.
The overall goal of these events and the mission of the OSU Small Farms Program are to provide a greater understanding of production practices, economics of land-use choices, assessment of personal and natural resources, marketing alternatives, and identifying sources of assistance, Nye said.
“Participants will gain knowledge of some of the various enterprises they can get into and how to begin the process of becoming an entrepreneur,” he said.
The conferences are an outgrowth of the Ohio New and Small Farm College, an eight-week program created by OSU Extension that offers an introduction to the business of small farming for those who are new to the industry. The program offers information on budgeting, business planning and developing a farm structure, among other issues.