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Here's how farming is changing

By Mike Rutledge • Dec 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Owners of small farms interested in diversifying their agricultural options -- or people interested in operating a farm operation of their own — are invited to Ohio State University Extension classes for help with that.

"We're currently seeing a lot of specialty crop-type farms," said Cindy Meyer, an extension educator with OSU's Butler County extension office. "You can do a lot with small acreage."

Some farms have been diversifying into vegetables and fruits. Others are expanding into operations that supply beef for people's freezers, as well as other meat products.

"I think for Butler County, specifically, we're looking at more of vegetables and fruits, as part of the diversification," Meyer said.

In other parts of the region, farmers have diversified into growing grapes and making wine, as well as raising shrimp in Northern Kentucky.

In some cases, diversification can help a decades-long family business remain in the household. On the other hand, "we've got a lot of people coming at it from they've never farmed and they want to get into the farming business, and so they're looking at ways they can get their small amount of acres into production, and they may want to go to a farmers' market or have a farm market on site," Meyer said.

Here are details about the class, which will be offered by OSU's New and Small Farm College:

— It will last eight sessions, one night a week.

— The Butler County location (a similar course is being offered in Scioto County, home of Portsmouth) will be the county extension office, 1802 Princeton Road, Hamilton.

— Classes will be held Thursdays starting Jan. 18 and ending March 8.

— Each class will start at 6 p.m. with a light dinner. The presentations will start at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.

— There also will be a farm tour on March 10, with a rain date of March 15.

— Topics will include: appropriate land use, where to get help, natural resource management, legal issues, insurance, business structure, finances and record keeping, marketing alternatives, plus enterprise exploration of livestock and horticulture opportunities.

—You can register by clicking here .

— For more information, call the Butler County extension office, 513-887-3722.

— The cost is $150 per person, plus $100 for each additional family member.

— For more information about the curse or to get a registration form, contact contact Tony Nye, Small Farm Program Coordinator 937-382-0901 or email at [email protected]


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