New program helps landowners decide what to grow and how to market it

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COLUMBUS — There is a growing trend in Ohio agriculture toward the direct marketing of agricultural products featuring locally grown food products. Consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of buying local and buying fresh.

As the demand for local food products increases so does the interest in growing and producing a variety of agricultural products for these markets.

To help land owners decide what to grow or raise on their excess acreage, the Ohio State University Extension offices in the Western Reserve Extension Education and Research Area will hold the Northeast Ohio New & Small Farm College titled “Too Much to Mow-What Do I Grow?” The program will be held Oct. 21, 28 and Nov. 4, 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. in Geauga County, Ohio.

This college is open to any person in northeast Ohio or northwest Pennsylvania, all new or aspiring farmers, new rural landowners, small farmers and farm families looking for new ideas.

Topics

The first session will teach the basic business concepts needed to start and keep a small farm enterprise operating. This session will focus on developing real-life expectations for your small farm, goals and objectives, and developing a business plan for your operation.

The second session will help participants decide what to grow on their farm and how to develop budgets for farm enterprises.

The third session will focus on marketing and selling agricultural products to local consumers through direct marketing, wholesale markets, farm markets and local cooperatives. The final session will help participants become aware of the local resources which are available to assist small farms.

Participants will receive 12 hours of classroom and on-site instruction; one resource notebook per family; and connections to resources and people that will help your farm business grow.

Locations

The first and last sessions will be held at the Geauga County Extension office in Burton, Ohio. The second session will be held at Sirna’s Farm & Market in Auburn, Ohio and the third session will be held at Patterson’s Farm Market in Chesterland, Ohio.

Those interested should contact the Geauga County OSU Extension office at 440-834-4656 to make reservations. Registration forms can also be found at http://geauga.osu.edu or http://ashtabula.osu.edu. Reservations are requested by Oct. 14 and space is limited.

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