WILMINGTON, Ohio — Wilmington College and the Center for Innovative Food Technologies have announced a partnership to establish agricultural business development activities in southwest Ohio. The centerpiece of the new relationship will be a food, agricultural and agribusiness incubator program designed to help stimulate job growth.
Wilmington College President Dan DiBiasio said the partnership with CIFT, which will have a physical presence on WC’s campus, is a major step in the College’s community outreach in sustaining a local food economy.
“We believe CIFT and the agriculture business incubator program will elevate what we started in 2009 with our Grow Food, Grow Hope initiative to an even higher level — that is building a local food capacity that promotes economic and job growth,” DiBiasio said.
Coinciding with the WC/CIFT partnership is the hiring of Rob L. Jaehnig as CIFT’s agribusiness development specialist. Jaehnig is a member of the Wilmington City Council and, for nine years, was a manager with Con-Way Freight in Hillsboro.
He will take the lead in the design, development and implementation of programs that will become offerings of the College’s agricultural business incubator.
His charge also includes assessing such CIFT programs as Shared Use Kitchen, Food Safety Training, Alternate Growing Systems and Energy Crop Evaluation with regard to their suitability in conjunction with the College’s programs.
In addition, he will be involved with creating a presence for CIFT in southwest Ohio by establishing connections in the region with foundations, government agencies and other organizations with similar missions.
Jaehnig is employed by CIFT and housed at the College; however, he has reporting responsibilities with both entities. His office will be in Fife Hall, which is on the grounds of the College’s academic farm on Fife Ave.
CIFT is a developer and provider of technical innovations and solutions for the food processing, agribusiness and agricultural sectors of the economy in Ohio and beyond. These innovations and solutions are developed in order to enhance the economic performance of the food processing and agriculture sectors.
CIFT, which was established by the State of Ohio in 1995, is one of seven Edison Technology Center programs located throughout Ohio. The Edison programs provide a variety of product and process innovation and commercialization services to technology-based businesses.