Ohio Farmers Help Foodbanks Fight Hunger

Foodbanks throughout Ohio have experienced increased demand during the recent recession as many cash-strapped families have sought assistance to help put food on their tables.

According to a recent report by Feeding America — the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization — more than 2 million Ohioans are food insecure, which means they don’t always know when or where they’ll find their next meal.

To help Ohio’s foodbanks meet the needs of hungry Ohioans, farmers and producers throughout the state have donated food, including fresh dairy and produce, to keep foodbank shelves stocked.

In June, eight Ohio egg farmers committed 1.5 million eggs to the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF) — a contribution with the retail value of more than $168,000. Newark-based Tamarack Dairy has made a weekly donation of milk for 13 years to Ohio foodbanks.

Ohio foodbanks also receive fresh food and produce from the state, which totaled more than 7 million pounds in 2011. Nearly 99 percent of the food received from the state is produced in Ohio.

“We value the produce we receive from Ohio farmers,” said Patricia Eilmann, director of Product Resource Development with the Cleveland Foodbank in an ourohio.org article. “We talk to the state three or four times a day to see what is available. We also work with local farmers to procure excess produce.”

Want to learn more about or donate to an Ohio foodbank? Visit www.ohiofoodbanks.org for more information.

Photo obtained from: www.hungerisunacceptable.com

Irrigation Investment

Nearly 80 percent of Ohio was classified as experiencing a “moderate drought” this season. Many consumers believe that the answer to this year’s drought is an easy and simple one — Use irrigation systems — An answer that farmers wish was as easily applied as it is recommended.

Farmers have been categorized, among other categories, as “dry-land farmers” or “irrigated farmers.”

“A dry-land farmer plants and prays,” said a farmer in a recent NPR news story.

So why don’t Midwest farmers utilize irrigation systems like their western and southern counterparts? There are multiple reasons according to Larry Brown, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and professor of food, agricultural and biological engineering:

  • Often it’s cost prohibitive: cost of investment/maintenance, mechanical issues, repairs, fuel    
  • There are water restrictions: demands 200 or more gallons of flow per minute; water sources such as ponds, streams, wells etc. are often depleted during droughts   
  • It requires a permit   
  • Summer rain is usually common in the Midwest   The sub-soil type is effective at containing moisture  
Dan Kamburoff, owner of Columbus Irrigation of Ashland, Ohio, said that the odds of needing irrigation for field crops are only about one or two years of 10, per a recent Farm and Dairy story.
“The irrigated farmer is in a completely different business,” said the NPR story author. 
Even with the many deterrents to investing in irrigation systems, many news stories have noted that irrigation dealers experienced increased interest this year because of the drought.  
Columbus Irrigation had a 40 percent business increase this year.

It will be interesting to note a potential increase of Ohio farmers who invest in irrigation systems during the coming years as a result of this year’s anomaly.
"Do your homework. For short periods in a typical Ohio growing season the return on the investment may not be there," said Brown.

Photo obtained from: farmanddairy.com

2012 Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductees

Much like rock stars and football legends, Ohio’s agriculture leaders are inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame annually. Sponsored by the Ohio Agricultural Council, the Hall of Fame recognizes Ohioans who have committed their lives to working in, promoting and advocating for Ohio’s farm community.

The 2012 inductees were recently recognized at a special breakfast and ceremony held August 3. Congratulations to them all!

Dr. Charles Lifer
Dr. Lifer joined The Ohio State University Extension as a county extension agent nearly 50 years ago and has since earned a national reputation for his efforts to improve and expand Ohio’s 4-H program. With his leadership, the 4-H doubled its membership, quadrupled its endowment fund and initiated the first 4-H center at a land-grant university campus.

Dr. Bobby Moser
For more than 20 years, Dr. Moser has served as the vice president for agricultural administration and as dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Science at The Ohio State University. During his tenure, Dr. Moser has overseen a more than 200-percent increase in grant awards, the issuance of more than 80 patents, the establishment of the Food Innovation Center and the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

Dr. Donald Myers
Dr. Myers has served in a variety of roles at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Science for more than 30 years. Known as the “father of no-till forages in Ohio,” he was instrumental in the development of the innovative no-tillage forage seeding system, which has received international recognition. Dr. Myers has also authored numerous publications to help farmers improve forage productivity.

Micki Zartman
Ms. Zartman is the founder of Scarlet and Gray Ag Day at The Ohio State University, which is an outreach program designed to bring elementary students to OSU to learn about the industry and opportunities within agriculture. Zartman is also active in expanding the involvement of Ohio high-school students in the World Food Prize Youth Institute, a three-day event during which students can interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates and discuss food security and agricultural issues.

For more information about the 2012 inductees, visit www.ohioagcouncil.org/home.html

Photo obtained from: www.pubs.usgs.gov

Core Farming Values

How to create the vision and strategic plan that can guide the future of your farm — In three simple steps

How are Fortune 500 companies and small-farming operations the same? The success of each is based on strategic business planning.

This week, I’m sharing an article about the purpose and significance of defining core values and using them as a guiding strategy for the farm, written by Farm Futures Executive Editor Mike Wilson and originally published for Farm Futures’ May/June 2012 issue.

I hope that you consider its advice or share it with a fellow farmer to ensure the longevity of your farm.

Visit the link below to view Wilson’s story.


Photo obtained from: wedgewoodbaptist.com