Web site helps beginning farmers


BELPRE, Ohio — When the recession forced Lynn Wiblin into unemployment from her manufacturing job earlier this year, she turned to the land to get back on her feet. Following in the footsteps of generations of family farming, she has turned 15 acres in Washington County into a vegetable farm that not only will provide for her and her family, but also help support the local economy.

Web site

To get started, Wiblin looked to a new Web site, http://beginfarmingohio.org, to contact fellow farmers and search for information on production and marketing.

Beginfarmingohio.org is supported by an alliance of five agricultural organizations: Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Cuyahoga Countryside Conservancy, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Organic Food and Farming Education and Research Program.

The resource tool is designed to guide people of all ages through the process of launching a farming career — whether it’s a young person with no farming experience, someone making a mid-career change into agriculture, or a retiree interested in a small farm operation.


The Web site provides links to news, resources, farmer profiles and contact information.

The Web site and the resources it provides leads farmers to OSU Extension — many for the very first time.

Wiblin uses the Web site, along with the advice of regional OSU Extension educators, to help develop her farm operation.

“I bought the land in 2004 thinking that I’d farm a little on the side and when I retired in 20 years or so, I would become a ‘serious’ farmer. Then the economy took its nosedive and I found my retirement project fast-forwarded,” said Wiblin.

“Many of my resources have come through the Web site, including agricultural conferences, training activities and small business development opportunities.”

Several grants

Through several grants from OSU South Centers Small Business Development Center and the Community Action/Workforce Investment Act, Wiblin was able to purchase supplies and equipment to help get her new farming career off the ground.

She grows vegetables and herbs, such as garlic, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, broccoli and sweet potatoes.

In addition to growing vegetables, Wiblin also uses part of her farm to grow garden plants for the greenhouse industry. This past fall, she produced more than 1,600 mums, which she sold to landscapers, garden centers and buyers at farmer’s markets.

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