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South Centers Synergy: OSU South Centers offers MarketReady™ Producer Training in Cuyahoga County
By Ivory Harlow, Cooperative Development Specialist
Northern Ohio farmers and foodpreneurs gathered in downtown Cleveland to learn how to sell locally produced products direct to consumers, grocers, restaurants, institutions and wholesalers. The OSUE Direct Food and Agriculture Marketing Team and the CFAES Center for Cooperatives provided MarketReady™ Producer Training in collaboration with OSU Extension Cuyahoga County.
MarketReady™ teaches farmers and foodpreneurs how to gain access to profitable markets for their products. The MarketReady™ program was developed by Dr. Tim Woods at the University of Kentucky. The Direct Marketing Team at OSU South Centers began offering MarketReady™ training to Ohio farmers in 2010. Today, cooperative extension services across the United States provide the comprehensive training to help food producers get ready for market.
Direct Marketing Team members Christie Welch and Charissa Gardner kicked off the day-long training with a discussion of current food trends. Christie gave an overview of direct marketing channels, and assisted attendees in identifying target markets for their products. Attendees honed in on specific market segments and created unique customer profiles. Farmers Don and Regenia Lear plan to add a pick-your-own blueberry enterprise to their Hocking County farm. The Lears aim to serve families visiting the acclaimed natural area during summer vacation, which coincides with blueberry season.
Ivory Harlow is a Cooperative Development Specialist at the CFAES Center for Cooperatives. She shared how cooperative marketing facilitates small farms access to larger markets, such as institutions and intermediaries. A farmer who is currently producing local pork saw how the cooperative model can help her expand business beyond farmers’ markets. Aspiring small ruminant farmers considered joining an established livestock marketing cooperative to achieve their business goals.
Cuyahoga County Extension educators offered attendees practical tools to price local food products. Attendees learned the average price margins for restaurants and grocers. They calculated food cost profit margins. The group discovered how best practices for order fulfillment and invoicing improve food business operations.
MarketReady™ Producer Training graduates gained a better understanding of direct marketing opportunities and challenges. A grad commented, “[MarketReady™ is] the best marketing training we’ve ever attended!”
Visit us at the Farm Science Review
Staff from OSU South Centers will be at the 2017 Farm Science Review representing the various programs of the South Centers.
Aquaculture (Matthew A. Smith)
Tuesday, September 19 at noon
Basics of Recirculating Aquaculture
Location: Small Farms Center Tent (corner of Corn Ave. and Beef St.)
Wednesday, September 20 at 11:30 a.m.
Location: The Gwynne Conservation Area
Wednesday, September 20 at 1:30 p.m.
Water Quality in Aquaculture and Aquaponics
Location: Small Farms Center Building (corner of Equipment Ave. and Beef St.)
Direct Marketing (Chrisitie Welch and Charissa Gardner)
Tuesday, September 19 at 11:00 a.m.
MarketReady – Best practices for Marketing Your Products Directly to Consumers
Location: Small Farms Center Tent (corner of Corn Ave. and Beef St.)
Horticulture (Brad Bergefurd)
Tuesday, September 19 at 1:30 p.m.
Hops Production in Ohio: An Industry Update
Location: Small Farms Center Building (corner of Equipment Ave. and Beef St.)
Ohio Cooperative Development Center (Ivory Harlow)
(in collaboration with Ohio Association of Meat Processors)
Thursday, Sept 21 at 10:30 a.m.
Local Meat and the Cooperative Business Model
Location: Small Farm Center
Soil, Water, and Bioenergy (Rafiq Islam and Vinayak Shedekar)
Tuesday-Thursday, September 19-21
Soil Health and Nutrient Stewardship
Location: Firebaugh building (384 Friday Ave)
Tuesday-Thursday, September 19-21
Soil Quality and Cover Crops Demonstrations
Location: Agronomic crops team plots (outside gates B and C as you enter from the parking lot)
Advance sale tickets to the Farm Science Review are available at the OSU South Centers, as well as at Extension offices throughout the state. More infomation about the Farm Science Review is available at: fsr.osu.edu.
South Centers celebrated 25 years
In September, the Ohio State University South Centers recently celebrated 25 years of extending knowledge, growing southern Ohio, and enhancing lives. There were around 250 people in attendance that day and they enjoyed seeing our facility. Below are a few images highlighting the day of celebration.
Welcome to OSU South Centers Vinayak Shedekar!Vinayak Shedekar recently joined the Soil, Water and BioEnergy program as Research Associate II. He obtained his undergraduate and Masters’ degree in Agricultural Engineering from India, and is about to complete his doctoral degree from the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering at Ohio State University.Vinayak’s primary area of work is agricultural soil and water management. His professional skills involve GPS surveying, GIS-based database management, and field monitoring techniques, as well as programing and modeling of agro-ecosystems. He has more than 12 years of research experience in water management, hydrologic and water quality modeling, and soil health assessment. He has also been involved with teaching undergraduate and graduate level classes at OSU, and Extension activities such as the Overholt Drainage School, Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, and several soil health and sustainable agriculture workshops.As a Research Associate, Vinayak will be actively involved in the research, education and Extension activities of the Soil, Water and BioEnergy program. His primary responsibilities will consist of managing the field research and using different techniques to collect, process and analyze soil, water and plant samples related to agroecosystem services. He will also help manage externally-funded grants, mentor exchange graduate students, and supervise lab and field researchers.Vinayak is a diehard Buckeye fan and enjoys watching sports, especially football and basketball!
OSU South Centers has made some changes and welcomes:
Ohio Marketmaker Receives $4,000 National Award From Farm Credit Services
By: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator
Ohio MarketMaker was named second runner-up at the 2014 Farm Credit MarketMaker Innovation Awards announced at the National Value Added Agriculture Conference held May 13-15, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. Brad Bergefurd, Charissa McGlothin, and Julie Moose of The Ohio State University accepted the $4,000 award on behalf of the Ohio MarketMaker program, "Expanding MarketMaker Visibility, Value, and Usage by Reaching Local Communities through Local Ohio State University Extension Educators." This honor applauds outstanding efforts to improve state-wide MarketMaker programs and expand MarketMaker’s online database of food industry and market data through the National MarketMaker Partners Network. Gary Matteson, Vice President of Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, represented Farm Credit at the awards and acknowledged the ingenuity of each program. "We are pleased to support and recognize the worthy efforts of this year’s Innovation Award winners," said Matteson. "It is gratifying to see their good ideas brought to life and spread among other members of the MarketMaker community. Their contributions are helping MarketMaker accomplish their goals to connect producers to markets and improve consumers’ access to fresh, healthy, local foods. " Ohio MarketMaker embarked on a campaign to actively engage and support the efforts of local Extension educators to produce customized marketing resources. Ohio’s marketing campaign successfully linked area growers with countless new markets to pursue, while educating both the producers and consumers about the advantages of the tool.
Defying the Laws of Nature
By Alayna DeMartini
PIKETON — Inside cool water-filled fish tanks in southern Ohio, the laws of nature are being defied: Female yellow perch mate with other female yellow perch; male bluegills with other male bluegills.
This might make you wonder, unless, of course, your profession is selective breeding of fish, and your goal is to get them to grow faster. Hanping Wang, who manages The Ohio State University’s Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development, has succeeded in raising faster-growing fish by artificially mating them in a not so typical way.
On average, the resulting offspring reach market size six months faster than bluegills or yellow perch bred out of standard male-female mating. That’s because among yellow perch, females grow quicker than males; among bluegills, males faster than females.
For an Ohio fish farmer, having fish that mature faster than average could be a significant savings in fish food and in time waiting to sell them, said Wang, whose center in Piketon is part of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The aim of the center is to spur the state’s aquaculture industry, in part through research on two of the state’s most common fish: yellow perch and bluegill.
Aquaculture, the practice of raising fish in a controlled environment of indoor tanks or outdoor ponds, is slowly growing, but still a relatively small Ohio industry. In 2017, 227 people in the state had permits allowing them to sell seafood. Any advances in farming that make it faster or easier to raise fish or shellfish could prove useful and profitable.
“We’re using the animals’ maximum potential to make them grow faster for human benefit,” Wang said. “We have to do it this way to meet the growing need for food, specifically protein. You need to have a process to produce more animals – more chickens, cows, pigs and fish.”
Creating Larger, Faster-Growing Yellow Perch
Among yellow perch, the females grow 60 to 70 percent faster than the males, and they grow larger than the males. As a result, it makes sense that a breeder would want to produce the fastest-growing female yellow perch. So Wang did exactly that. He mated females to females with the help of grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state-based Ohio Sea Grant program, which funds research in the Great Lakes and aquaculture.
While they remained females at the chromosome level — possessing the XX chromosome pair as opposed to the XY chromosome pair that typical males have — they still were able to produce sperm. That allowed the females to mate with other female yellow perch. It might sound odd, perhaps, but it worked. The results were “neo-males,” or “pseudo-males,” as Wang calls them.
The offspring produced by the mating of a neo-male with a standard female yellow perch were all females, since there was no Y chromosome in the mix. And the female offspring grew as expected, 60 to 70 percent faster than any female offspring born out of the standard arrangement of a male and female mating with each other.
On average, it takes a farmer 16 months to raise a yellow perch to reach market size. Now it can take as little as 10 months if neo-males are mated with typical female yellow perch, Wang said.
“The farmer saves on labor, saves on feed and saves on space,” he said.
Speeding up bluegill Growth
With bluegills, the males grow faster and bigger than the females. So, Wang took males and mated them with males through a process similar to what was done with the yellow perch, so they became what Wang calls “neo-females.” The offspring of a neo-female bluegill and a male bluegill were all male fish that could grow to 1 pound, the size needed to sell them, in about a year, cutting three to five months off the typical time needed for them to mature.
Whether bluegills and yellow perch can be made to grow even faster is uncertain.
“We don’t know,” Wang said. “We’re working on that.”
Along with mating females with females and males with males, Wang and his colleagues have conducted standard mating with yellow perch to generate the fastest-growing males and the fastest-growing females.
They began with 800 yellow perch, 100 taken from eight states in the Midwest and Northeast, including Ohio. The DNA of the fish was analyzed, then the fish that were related were put in different tanks to prevent the possibility of them mating. Each fish was placed in one of a series of tanks with males and females, and they were allowed to mate as usual, males with females.
From the first round of babies, the scientists selected the 200 fastest-growing male and female fish from each cohort – then those pairs mated, and the same process occured over and over to get genetically improved fish.
Across the three sites, and on average, the improved fish grew 35 percent faster than the unimproved fish, meaning the ones whose parents came together naturally without any special mating arrangements.
Not only do they grow 35 percent faster, they have a higher survival rate, 20 percent higher.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a fish or a tomato or a soybean, if you can shorten the amount of time it takes to grow the item to market size while still maintaining the same nutritional quality, that will just improve the farmer’s profit margin,” said Matthew Smith, an OSU Extension aquaculture specialist. Smith’s main priority is expanding sustainable, profitable fish farms in Ohio. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.
Aquaculture can play a critical role as our oceans and Great Lakes are overfished, Smith said. “It’s a way to provide a balance,” he said.
It seems there might be a downside to unnaturally mating fish, but Wang says that’s not the case. The practice of mating females together or males together might be unusual but does not produce problem fish – that is, assuming no relatives are mated with each other, Wang said.
And the good news for fish farmers or aspiring fish farmers is that the neo-male yellow perch, the neo-female bluegill and the yellow perch that were improved to grow faster will eventually be put on the market for fish farmers and for stocking in ponds.
Hanping Wang and his team of researchers completed the genome sequencing of yellow perch and bluegill.(Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)
Cracking the Genetic Code of Bluegill and Yellow Perch
Critical to the selective fish breeding program is a key accomplishment of Wang’s research team: Completing genome sequencing of both yellow perch and bluegills.
That may not sound like a huge feat to someone outside the aquaculture world. After all, fish have far fewer genes than humans. But knowing the genetic makeup of these two species makes it possible to see how genes interact with each other and to examine the exact gene that controls economically important traits in the fish, such as the pace of growth and disease resistance.
By changing the genetic makeup of the fish, researchers can select for high disease resistance and larger, faster-growing fish, Wang said.
“We know long term it will have a huge impact.”
Wang has also authored a book on selective fish breeding that will be available this summer.
Year 2 of Aquaculture Boot Camp-2 is off to a strong start in Ohio, Wisconsin
By Dr. Hanping Wang
and Jordan Maxwell
The OSU South Centers, in partnership with OAA and University of Wisconsin–SP, have successfully started the second year of Aquaculture Boot Camp-2.
The program offers a multi-faceted approach, including classroom and hands-on training, paired with industry mentoring to enhance the sustainability of new and beginning aquaculture/aquaponics and next generation farmers in the Midwest. In 2018, we are running parallel 3-I level (Intensive, Intermediate and Introductory) ABC Programs in Ohio and Wisconsin.
The ABC-2 2018 Intensive class consists of 35 highly motivated fish farmers and aquaponics producers from across Ohio and West Virginia. The individuals selected consist of educators, business owners, researchers, students, and more – offering a broad spectrum of experience and knowledge.
The kick-off session and classes were jump-started in February after January classes’ cancellation due to a heavy snow. The session offered the students and their business collaborators an in-depth look into aquaculture/aquaponics production planning, business plan structures, and market identification. The students toured the OSU South Centers’ newly updated aquaponics system and aquaculture research facility, where they will be actively involved throughout the year.
In March, ABC-2 students traveled to Fresh Harvest Farm, owned by Doug and Jeni Blackburn, for a tour of their aquaponics facility and a full day of learning. Matthew Smith, aquaculture extension specialist, covered key principals of aquaculture and aquaponics in the morning while guest speaker Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist at the OSU South Centers, taught plant selection and considerations in aquaponics. The afternoon breakout sessions focused on harvesting, packaging, legal considerations in aquaponics, and system components and construction, as well as successful fish husbandry practices.
In April, the third session held at the OSU South Centers combined business and biology. Hannah Scott, the CFAES Center For Cooperatives manager, gave an overview of cooperatives and their structure, while Brad Bapst, the Small Business Development Center Director, dove into cash flow. The afternoon breakout sessions offered the students a hands-on opportunity to learn about yellow perch spawning, artificial fertilization, egg ribbon incubation, fry estimation and stocking, and pond fertilization instructed by South Centers aquaculture research staff members Paul O’Bryant and Dean Rapp. Matthew Smith introduced RAS and Biofiltration to the students and walked through the South Center’s aquaponics system design.
The OSU South Center ABC-2 team has a plan for future sessions throughout the year and looks forward to bringing the ABC students the most up-to-date industry information and practices.
An extensive Aquaculture/Aquaponic Boot Camp-2 agenda was developed with 12 workshops to be offered during 2018. Thirty-six applicants, all interested in starting an aquaculture or aquaponics business, were selected to participate in the ABC-2 Intensive program. Attendance at the first four workshops has been around 90% with each participant also developing a pilot project that they discuss at each workshop. Final project presentations are scheduled for January 2019.
Three of the four business and marketing workshops have been scheduled or took place in 2018. At the March 3 ABC-2 Intensive workshop, presentations were given by the WI Small Business Development Center, where assistance by the Center was discussed in addition to an introduction to marketing and how to access publically available marketing research/data.
On August 13-15, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), Nelson & Pade, Inc. (NPI), and the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association (WAA) will host a three-day workshop that will focus on the fundamentals of aquaculture/aquaponic business and marketing. Attendees will be introduced to small business concepts and how to navigate the myriad of rules, regulations, permits, business and loan applications, and zoning and marketing approaches.
Following that event, on August 18, a business and investment opportunities in aquaponics workshop will be hosted and provided by NPI. This will be a one-day course for entrepreneurs, investors and individuals interested in starting an aquaponics business. The course will focus on the start-up, planning, operation, economics, marketing, profitability, ROI, and business models for commercial aquaponic ventures.
The WAA, NPI and UWSP Aquaculture/Aquaponic programs selected six interns and paired them with established farms. The established farms have entered into a cost-sharing agreement with UWSP and have developed a rigorous, yet well-defined educational and training program for the interns. Each internship is taking place from May 29 – August 31, 2018 and is allowing the interns to apprentice and learn important aquaculture/aquaponic information provided by the producer, who also serves as the intern’s mentor.
The UWSP aquaculture/aquaponic websites (aquaculture.uwsp.edu and www.uwsp.edu/aquaponics) and Facebook pages are being used to distribute information on aquaculture/aquaponics for new and small rural farmers. Support is being given to the WAA to update their website (www.wisconsinaquaculture.com) and NPI recently updated their website (www.aquaponics.com) to be more user friendly and contain updated information.
Discussion and initial plans have been developed to update the WAA newsletter, The Creel. ABC-2 intensive training and workshops are being digitally recorded and uploaded to the UWSP ABC-2 website (https://www.uwsp.edu/cols-ap/nadf/Pages/Aquaculture-Boot-Camp.aspx) and will also be made available through the OSU ABC-2 website (https://southcenters.osu.edu/aquaculture/aquaculture-boot-camp).
On March 2-3, UWSP and WAA co-hosted the Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference in Marshfield, WI with the conference theme of “Aquaculture 2018: Strength in Numbers – Building the Industry with Collaboration, Training and Education.” The focus of the presentations was to combine private and public aquaculture/Aquaponic operations in an effort to share their experiences for new and limited resource farmers. Also, six interns are being mentored at aquaculture/aquaponic facilities in 2018. A bus tour of a variety of aquaculture and aquaponic businesses is scheduled for August 2018.
For more information about ABC-2, please contact Ms. Jordan Maxwell, ABC-2 Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aquaculture Research Achievements
By: Hanping Wang, PhD, Senior Scientist
Yellow Perch Breeding: A large numbers of neo-male broodstock of yellow perch with a female genotype have been created, using the superior neomale broodstock, fast-growing all-female yellow perch populations have been produced. The large numbers of superior neomale broodstock from this project enable us to produce commercial-scale of all-female monosex yellow perch. Growth performance test of the all-females vs. mixed-sex group in tank system was conducted in Piketon Research Station. By the end of the experiment, all-females grew 26.3% faster than mixed group, and 66.0% faster than males. Larger scale growth performance test of the all-females vs. mixed-sex group will be conducted in 2017.
Bluegill Breeding: A large numbers of neo-female broodstock of bluegill with a male genotype have been created. All-Male or near-all-male bluegill populations have been successfully produced. Results from testing all-male or near-all-male bluegill populations at two locations showed: 1) Weight gain and growth rate of all-male stock were 2.1 times as that of regular stocks; 2) All-male groups had significantly uniformed size and lower coefficient of variation; and 3) Survival of all-male groups was significant higher than that of mixed sex groups due to more uniformed size. A successful creation of genetically male bluegill strains would have a tremendous impact on the sunfish aquaculture industry by increasing growth rate of 30- 35% and saving energy expenditure of 20-30% for sex growth.
Identify the best genetically distinct largemouth bass populations for industry: In 2016-2017, we genotyped 280 additional largemouth bass from 28 wild populations across the United States using eight microsatellite loci. We are conducting experiment to compare growth performance of the identified group vs. Ohio control group in indoor system. The fish were stocked and are being cultured communally in two replicate tanks. As of November, fish from the identified group grew 126.6% faster than control group. An experiment on evaluation of soybean meal as protein source for northern and southern largemouth bass was completed. The results indicated that northern subspecies had superior growth compared to Florida subspecies in current experimental setup. The results provide a valuable base for developing fast-growing largemouth bass broodstocks for industry.
Genetic improvement of SMD utilization rate of Largemouth bass (LMB) : A study on evaluation of growth response of Northern and Southern subspecies to SMD and fishmeal-based diet (FMD) was completed. Four diets were formulated with varying levels of dietary soybean meal 0 (control), 12, 25, and 40%, respectively. The feeding trial with 4 replicates lasted for 12 weeks. Results showed that 1) Northern subspecies grew significantly faster and gained significantly higher body weight than Southern subspecies across the four levels of soybean meal diets; 2) Northern subspecies utilized SMD significantly better than Southern subspecies; 3) Based on the feed efficiency, 12% dietary soybean meal inclusion is optimal for Southern largemouth bass. 25% soybean meal can be used in diet for Northern largemouth bass; 4) The growth of largemouth bass decreased with increasing dietary soybean meal level and no significant differences were observed among the treatments for two subspecies. Diet with 40% soybean meal inclusion is acceptable for juveniles.
Genomic sequence and tool development: We have completed whole genome sequencing of yellow perch and bluegill. It is the first Percidae and Centrarchidae (sunfish) that have been fully sequenced. Yellow perch belong to the family Percidae including about 200 species in 10 genera. The perch, darter, and their relatives are in this family and well-known species of great economic value include the three species of perch, walleye, sauger and ruffe. Information of the whole genome in these two species makes it possible to see how genes interact with each other, and examine the exact gene that governs economically important traits such as fast-growing and disease resistance. The perch and sunfish genome sequence data provide useful genetic resource and lay important foundation for discovering molecular mechanism of growth, sex determination and sex control, reproduction related to aquaculture and conservation of wild stocks for over 100 economically and environmentally important percid and sunfish species. We also completed whole genome sequencing of two strains of bluegill to develop SNPs and investigate genomic base of sex determination for developing mono-sex population, and results have been published by a high impact journals SCIENTIFIC REPORT and PLOS ONE.
Promotion of international training and collaborations: Research in aquaculture genetics and breeding at OSU South Centers has produced international impacts and attracted about thirty scientists and international scholars to work in the Aquaculture Research Center and Genetics Lab at Piketon. In 2016-2017, the lab trained three visiting Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers, and two new ones are coming this year. They also significantly contributed to the aquaculture program’s success at the OSU South Centers. We organized the 2nd international conference on perch and bass.
Two aquaculture books completed in 2017
By: Hanping Wang, PhD, Senior Scientist
The first book, Sex Control in Aquaculture, is being published by Wiley and Blackwell in the summer of 2018 after two years of planning, correspondence, coordination, and writing, The book has around 910 pages and 2 volumes. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Hanping Wang, Principal Scientist at the Ohio State University South Centers. Co-editors were Dr. Francesc Piferrer of Spain and Dr. Song-Lin Chen of China. Joy Bauman, Sarah Swanson, and Jordan Maxwell assisted in English editing and chapter coordination.
The first comprehensive book of its kind, Sex Control in Aquaculture, covers basic theory for sex control and sex control practice in major aquaculture species worldwide. It consists of forty-one chapters and the contributiors are from internationally recognized scientists from around the globe.
Currently, aquaculture, the fastest growing food-producing sector, contributes about 50 percent of the world’s food fish based on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s recent report. Sexual dimorphism in growth performance, ultimate size, and gonad value (e.g. Caviar) in a wide spectrum of fish species make the sexes unique from each other for aquaculture production for human consumption. On the other hand, energy expenditure for reproduction related processes and activities, including gonadal development, courtship, chasing, mating, breeding, competition, and parental care, etc., are undesired in terms of food production. Therefore, sex control and monosex production knowledge and technologies are extremely important for aquaculture professionals and industries to improve production, reduce energy consumption for reproduction, and eliminate a series of problems caused by mixed sex rearing, and for conservationists to control invasive species using sex control approach.
This publication will provide useful scientific information for commercial use, biological sciences, and for aquaculture researchers. For more information about the book, please visit: https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1119127262
The 2nd book is World Perch and Bass Culture: Innovation and Industrialization, which is written in both English and Chinese and is being published by China Science Press. Perch and bass, belonging to Serranidae, Percidae, Moronidae, and Latidae families of the Perciformes, have worldwide importance as food and recreational fish. Global production of perch and bass is around 1,000,000 tons.
The economic value of perch and bass is comparable to cold water species salmon and trout. Comparing to the globally mature aquaculture industry of salmon and trout production, perch and bass are generally suitable for a wide-range of rearing areas and are well-suited for commercial production because of their fast growth. Aquacultural production of perch and bass is in the early stages of development and expanding rapidly. Therefore, there is much potential for expansion of perch and bass aquaculture. This book covers recent developments and innovations in genetics and breeding, nutrition, and culture technologies in major aquaculture perch and bass species, such as Chinese perch, largemouth bass, yellow perch, European perch, pikeperch, striped bass, and walleye.
Aquaculture Boot Camp-2 (ABC-2) Achievements and Impacts 2017
By: Hanping Wang, PhD, ABC Program Director/Senior Scientist and Jordan Maxwell, ABC Program Coordinator
The Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) at the OSU South Centers received its second project funding from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop and operate Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC). This ABC-2 is a program for training new and beginning aquaculture farmers in production techniques and business development skills in Ohio and adjacent states. OSU is the first aquaculture program to receive this type of project funding from USDA in the country.
Based on ABC-1 students’ feedback, aquaculture team, in collaboration with business team and horticulture team at the OSU South Centers, and in partnership with Ohio Aqauculture Association and University of Wisconsin –Stevens Point, developed the ABC-2 program. The ABC-2 program utilizes a “3-I” (Intensive, Intermediate, Introductory) training and multi-faceted approach, including classroom and hands-on training, paired with industry mentoring to enhance the sustainability of new and beginning aquaculture/aquaponic farmers in the Midwest. A key addition to ABC-2 is the inclusion of aquaponics. This expansion is a direct result of strong interest within Ohio and the North Central Region. Upon completion, participants will have the knowledge and hands-on experience to successfully operate a sustainable aquaculture or aquaponics business. OSU looks forward to seeing the expansion of aquaculture and aquaponics as a result of this program.
Listed below are highlights of ABC-2 accomplishments in the past year:
a) 12 monthly informative educational modules and materials were developed and posted on the ABC-2 website based on 12 Intensive classes.
b) 4 Aquaculture workshops were offered for both the intensive and intermediate ABC students.
c) 1 Aquaculture Bus Tour was offered for introductory, intermediate and intensive ABC students.
d) 2 OAA-ABC Conferences were organized.
e) Several aquaculture/aquaponics newsletters and factsheets were published.
f) An informative ABC-2 website developed.
g) 2 students interested in aquaculture/aquaponics received an ABC-OAA internship and training.
h) A 6-month and 12-month evaluation data was collected using Wufoo (www.wufoo.com).
i) 27 new farmer students from ABC Intensive class graduated.
j) 200+ additional new/beginning farmers were trained and mentored through ABC Intermediate.
k) 949 additional new and beginning farmers were trained and mentored through ABC Introductory.
We have just started ABC-2 2018 Year-Class with 35 new students recruited for the Intensive class. The group consists of multiple educators, farmers, students, and community leaders. Our staff looks forward to working with this group throughout the year to prepare them for graduation in December of 2018.
For more information about the ABC Program, please contact Dr. Hanping Wang, ABC Program Director/Senior Scientist at email@example.com, or Ms. Jordan Maxwell, ABC Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comprehensive Outreach and Training Program to Expand Development of North Central Region Aquaculture
By: Matthew A. Smith, Extension Aquaculture Specialist, The Ohio State University; Nicholas Phelps, Assistant Professor and Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center Director, University of Minnesota; Alex Primus, Assistant Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota
The North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) is one of the five Regional Aquaculture Centers that was established by Congress in 1988. Their primary focus is linking an Industry Advisory Council to University researchers and Extension in the Midwest (12 state region). While aquaculture researchers are not in abundance in the North Central Region (NCR), Extension FTEs who are experienced in aquaculture are extremely limited. In order to disseminate information and improve technology transfer, an Extension Specialist facilitated a NCRAC Aquaculture Webinar Series that was very popular with industry and University alike. However, a lack of a hands-on component is a clear and understandable limitation of the project. The currently funded two-year project (2017-2019) complements the webinar series and enhances learning outcomes for participants by providing multiple hands-on, advanced aquaculture techniques workshops throughout the NCR. Topical areas for these fee-based workshops include culture techniques for important NCR aquaculture species, advanced aquaculture systems design and management, aquaculture business and marketing, water quality maintenance, advanced fish health diagnostics, and aquaculture regulatory issues. Additionally, workshop presentations and materials will be posted on NCRAC’s website and Ohio State University South Center’s website for archival and dissemination. The workshops are being evaluated for quality of content and delivery as well as their effectiveness in improving farmer knowledge, profitability and sustainability. This evaluation data will help refine future NCRAC endeavors optimize the leveraging of funding and learning outcomes and impacts.
The first workshop that this project contributed to was the annual Iowa Aquaculture Conference in 2017 and in February 2018 we contributed a session on aquaponics and recirculating aquaculture systems at the joint event with North Central Regional Aquaculture Center, the Kansas Aquaculture Association, and the Missouri Aquaculture Association. Future events are currently being planned to be held in 2018 and 2019 in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana. With extreme limitations of Extension personnel with aquaculture experience in the Midwest, these types of projects allow us to be more efficient, proactive, and engaged in communities that normally do not have University aquaculture presence.
Forbes Magazine listed sustainably farm-raised fish and shrimp products as the number sixth most popular trend by chefs in 2016. Additionally, in 2017 and 2018 the National Restaurant Association listed sustainably produced seafood at number five in their annual What’s Hot: Top 10 Foods list. In Columbus, Ohio and surrounding sprawling cities in the Midwest, it is becoming more and more evident over time that the “Local Food Movement” is real, growing, and something that’s demanded by millennials and other generations alike. We hope that more hands-on workshops and training exercises will assist farmers in providing for this growing movement and allow for more seafood products used by restaurants to be sourced locally.
Bender, A. 2016. Top 10 food restaurant trends. Forbes Magazine. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewbender/2016/11/30/top-10-food-restaurant-trends-of-2016/#68f46c1b76b0. November 30.
National Restaurant Association. 2016. http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/Whats-Hot-Top-10-food-trends-in-2017. December 8.
National Restaurant Association. 2017. What’s hot: top 10 foods for 2018. http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/What%E2%80%99s-Hot-Top-10-foods-for-2018. December 4.
Industry and Researcher Round Table on the Future of Food Fish/Shrimp Production in Ohio
By: Matthew A. Smith, Extension Aquaculture Specialist
Approximately 40 people joined Ohio State University’s (OSU) round table to discuss aquaculture in Ohio the Thursday night before the OAA/OCAFS annual meeting in late January 2018. OSU asked several southern region researchers to be present to offer a different perspective to Ohio farmers on aquaculture production in the U.S. over the last few decades. Production experts, Dr. Les Torrans (USDA ARS) and Dr. Craig Tucker (USDA ARS), and aquaculture economist Dr. Carole Engle (Engle-Stone Aquatic$) were active in the conversation. Between these three researchers, they have a combined aquaculture experience of approximately 100 years. With their rich catfish history, the group conversation quickly turned to marketing, perseverance, and cooperatives. Over the last few decades, the United States (US) catfish industry has certainly constricted and is due in part to a substantial increase in feed prices, lower fillet prices, and overall lower demand as a result of cheaper importers. The advice and respect shown by the researchers for those catfish farmers who are actively involved in their marketing plans by going out and talking to their customers and creating a strong bond was evident. They encouraged any fish/shrimp producer seeking to develop or expand their food market to continually to be active marketers by selling themselves, their farm, and their product to their customers to ensure they stand out from the competition. By having a more intimate relationship with their customer base, it was discussed that many are capable of receiving a higher price for their product.
Examples were given of farmers who were able to stay financially stable during economic hardships due to their strong customer base and loyalty to these businesses. In particular, one farm was mentioned for their dedication to their customers and also their customer’s loyalty to that particular farm. This farmer has continually held himself to standards that enable not only the restaurant owner to know who he is but anyone who comes into the establishment. If a restaurant purchases fillets from him, the restaurant is given a framed portrait of the farmer/farm and plaque to hang up in their restaurant. This reveals that the farmer believes in their product and is willing to be potentially criticized (hopefully praised) by the chefs, customers, and anyone else who visits the restaurant and consumes their product. There is no red tape involved. I strongly believe that if Ohio is to develop a strong food fish/shrimp market that farmers will need to develop more active marketing plans that involve improving the general public’s perspective on farming and will occur over time through active communication, high-quality products, and consistent supply. OSU Extension and the OSU CFAES Center for Cooperatives are involved in a recently established Ohio aquaculture steering committee; which is investigating the feasibility of a purchasing cooperative. The OSU South Centers programs are here to help and look forward to seeing aquaculture prosper in Ohio over time.
Sex Control in Aquaculture featured on Google books
By Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist
After two years of planning, correspondence, coordination, and writing, the book Sex Control in Aquaculture is in the process of being published by Wiley and Blackwell in the summer of 2018. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist at the Ohio State University South Centers aquaculture research facility, in addition to the co-editors Dr. Francesc Piferrer of Spain and Dr. Song-Lin Chen of China. The first comprehensive book of its kind, Sex Control in Aquaculture, covers basic theory for sex control and sex control practice in major aquaculture species worldwide.
The book contains forty-one chapters and the contributors are internationally recognized scientists from around the globe. Currently, aquaculture, the fastest growing food-producing sector, contributes about 50 percent of the world’s food fish based on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s recent report. Sexual dimorphism in growth performance, ultimate size, and gonad value (e.g. caviar) in a wide spectrum of fish species make the sexes unique from each other for aquaculture production for human consumption. On the other hand, energy expenditure for reproduction related processes and activities, including gonadal development, courtship, chasing, mating, breeding, competition, and parental care, etc., are undesired in terms of food production. Therefore, sex control and monosex production knowledge and technologies are extremely important for aquaculture professionals and industries to improve production, reduce energy consumption for reproduction, and eliminate a series of problems caused by mixed sex rearing, and for conservationists to control invasive species using sex control approach. This publication will provide very useful scientific information for commercial use, biological sciences, and for aquaculture researchers. For more information about the book, please visit: https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1119127262.
Dr. Hanping Wang honored by Fisheries Advance Magazine of ChinaDr. Hanping Wang, principal scientist and director of aquaculture research and development at Ohio State University South Centers was recently honored by Fisheries Advance Magazine, an aquatic time magazine of China, for his influential activities and significant contributions in establishing an international platform for perch and bass research and development collaboration. This publication is a monthly circulated magazine featuring Chinese and global aquaculture and fisheries news and influential people in aqua-related fields. The magazine selects an individual to be featured on the cover of the magazine monthly. Dr. Wang was selected to be on the cover of the first issue of 2017 (In the thumbnail image, Dr. Wang is featured on the magazine cover to the far right). The issue included an article highlighting Dr. Wang’s contributions and achievements on establishing an international platform of research and development collaboration in perch and bass, and the development superior yellow perch.
Perch and bass have worldwide importance as food and recreational fish. Global production of perch and bass is around 1,000,000 ton, with 70% produced in China. The economic value of perch and bass is comparable to cold water species salmons and trout. Aquacultural production of perch and bass is in the early stages of development and expanding rapidly. Therefore, there is much potential for expansion of perch and bass aquaculture. In perch and bass aquaculture, global collaboration is still in an infant stage when compared to salmons and trout. Particularly, collaboration between China and developed countries, e.g., U.S.A, Europe, and Australia, is insufficient. Even though China ranks first globally in perch and bass production, their aquaculture outreach with research results and information has been mostly limited to Chinese publications.
In order to speed up the advancement of the perch and bass aquaculture industry, establishing an international platform of research and development collaboration is necessary. For this purpose, Dr. Wang in collaboration with Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU), an official partner of OSU, organized the first International Symposium of Perch and Bass at HZAU in Wuhan, China, in September 2013, focusing on the industry development of perch and bass in China and the U.S. In October 2016, Dr. Wang organized the 2nd International Symposium of Perch and Bass at HZAU. Scholars from the United States, China, Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia attended the Symposium. As the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Wang with his colleagues completed a bilingual book “World Perch and Bass Culture: Innovation and Industrialization” based on these two symposiums. The book manuscript has been submitted to a publisher and will be published by the end of 2017.
Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC) achievements and impacts 2016By Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist and Jordan Maxwell, Program CoordinatorAfter the successful completion of Aquaculture Boot Camp-1 (ABC-1), the South Centers aquaculture team, in collaboration with the business development and horticulture teams, and in partnership with the Ohio Aquaculture Association and the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, submitted an ABC-2 proposal in early 2016 and received an award of ~$600,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture in August 2016 to continue the ABC program. We are the first aquaculture unit in the U.S. to receive funding for this type of project from USDA. The ABC-2 program will utilize a “3-I” (Intensive, Intermediate, Introductory) training and multi-faceted approach, including classroom and hands-on training, paired with industry mentoring to enhance the sustainability of new and beginning aquaculture/aquaponic and next generation farmers in the Midwest. A key addition to ABC-2 is the inclusion of aquaponics. This expansion is a direct result of strong interest from Ohio and the North Central Region. Upon completion, participants will have the knowledge and hands-on experience to successfully operate a sustainable aquaculture or aquaponics business. The members of the OSU aquaculture team look forward to seeing the expansion of aquaculture and aquaponics in the region as a result of this program.This past fall, we selected 33 highly motivated new (less than 5 years of farming experience) and beginning fish farmers and aquaponic producers from across Ohio and the Midwest, out of nearly 70 applicants for the ABC-2 Intensive Program. The year-long program consists of twelve monthly informative educational modules and materials in aquaculture production, and twelve monthly educational modules and materials in business and marketing. The ABC-2 kickoff class was successfully held at OSU South Centers on January 14, 2017. The Ohio Aquaculture Association-Aquaculture Boot Camp Annual Aquaculture conference was held in Columbus on January 27-28, 2017. Approximately 140 aquaculture farmers attended the conference including 28 ABC-2 Intensive students. The ABC-2 students are being actively involved in aquaculture/aquaponics and are seriously dedicated to developing skills for entry into the industry.Jordan Maxwell is the program coordinator for the ABC-2 program. She is coordinating, developing the training materials, and providing one-on-one support for ABC-2 participants. She will also be collecting data and writing project progress reports, publications, and news articles.Ms. Maxwell received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fish Management from The University of Rio Grande, and also holds an Associate’s Degree in Wildlife Resources Management from Hocking College. She has teaching and coordination experience at Hocking College, and has aquaculture/hatchery experience at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Applegrove fish hatchery and the Hocking College fish hatchery. This experience is beneficial to her as she works to develop the ABC-2 programs and training activities.
Aquaculture research achievements and impacts 2016By Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior ScientistSummary of Achievements: In 2016, in collaborations with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Lincoln University of Missouri, the Oregon State University, and several other international institutions, we accomplished goals of ten research studies and projects resulting in several manuscripts being prepared and submitted; published four peer-reviewed journal articles and two proceedings abstracts; received two grants for $670,000; trained three graduate students and post-doctoral fellows; and submitted nine new grant proposals. An international conference on perch and bass was organized. Two books entitled “Sex-Control in Aquaculture” and “Culture and Breeding of Perch and Bass” which are being edited by Dr. Hanping Wang, have made great progress. A fast-growing all-female perch strain and a fast-growing all-male bluegill strain have been developed.Yellow Perch Breeding: Funded by Ohio Sea Grant, neo-male populations of yellow perch with a female genotype have been created, and a fast-growing all-female strain has been developed by crossing neo-males with regular females for the aquaculture industry. The all-female population should be able to grow 50% faster than unimproved regular mixed populations, and will be available to industry in 2017. A fifth generation of fast-growing lines of yellow perch was created for the aquaculture industry through marker-assisted cohort selection. So far, more than approximately 2,000,000 genetically improved seeds have been distributed to farms for testing and demonstration.Bluegill Breeding: A technique for producing all-male Bluegill populations has been developed. Testing all-male or near-all-male bluegill populations at two locations is in progress, and preliminary data showed: 1) Weight gain and growth rate of all-male stock were 2.1 times as that of regular Northern and Coppernose stocks; 2) Growth advantage of all-male group starts as early as 5 grams; 3) All-male groups had significantly more uniform size and lower coefficient of variation; and survival of all-male groups was significantly higher than that of mixed sex groups due to the more uniform size.Temperature effects on sex ratio and sex-determination have been found in bluegill populations. The findings were published in the journals, Aquaculture and The Biological Bulletin. The results from two experiments provide a valuable base for developing all-male broodstocks for bluegill, which could grow 35-50% faster than mixed populations.Identify the best genetically distinct largemouth bass populations for industry: In 2016, we genotyped 280 additional largemouth bass from 28 wild populations across the United States using eight microsatellite loci, which are standard genetic markers for population genetic analysis. The data are being analyzed together with previous data to confirm the major findings resulting from previous data. The information provides a valuable basis for development of aquaculture genetic breeding programs in largemouth bass.An experiment evaluating soybean meal as a protein source for northern and southern largemouth bass was completed. The results indicated that northern subspecies had superior growth compared to Florida subspecies in the current experimental setup. The results provide a valuable base for developing fast-growing largemouth bass broodstocks for the industry.Genomic sequence and tool development: We have completed whole genome sequencing of yellow perch and bluegill. These are the first Percidae and Centrarchidae (sunfish) that have been fully sequenced. Yellow perch belong to the family Percidae including about 200 species in 10 genera. The perch, darter, and their relatives are in this family and well-known species of great economic value, including the three species of perch, walleye, sauger and ruffe. Knowledge of the whole genome in these two species makes it possible to see how genes interact with each other, and examine the exact gene that governs economically important traits such as fast-growing and disease resistance. The perch and sunfish genome sequence data provide useful genetic resources and lay an important foundation for discovering the molecular mechanism of growth, sex determination and sex control, reproduction related to aquaculture, and conservation of wild stocks for over 100 economically and environmentally important percid and sunfish species. We also completed whole genome sequencing of two strains of bluegill to develop SNPs and investigate the genomic base of sex determination for developing a mono-sex population, and results have been published by the high impact journal, PLOS ONE.Improvement of perch fry survival rate for industry: Six feeding regimes were tested in 2016. An effective marine rotifer production and feeding system was developed. Effective feeding regimes and protocols were identified for improving survival rate of perch fry. We found mouth gape is the key determinant of larvae survival, which can be selected as a quantitative trait, and concluded that developing yellow perch broodstock with larger mouth gape and larger size of egg, using improved fish to increase indoor survival of larvae and fry is critical to the YP industry development.Promotion of international training and collaborations: Leading research in aquaculture genetics and breeding at OSU South Centers has produced international impacts and attracted about thirty scientists and international scholars to work in the Aquaculture Research Center and Genetics Lab at Piketon over the past ten years. In 2016, the lab trained three visiting Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers. They also significantly contributed to the aquaculture program’s success at OSU South Centers. In October 2016, we organized an international conference on Perch and Bass in China. We initiated and promoted a partnership between Ohio State University and Huazhong Agricultural University and an MOU between the two universities was signed at OSU in Bricker Hall in May 2016.
Extension aquaculture highlightsBy Matthew A. Smith, Extension Aquaculture Specialist2016 was a big year for the Extension Aquaculture Program as a new face took the reins. Matthew Smith, who started in March of 2016, is charged with leading all Extension activities related to aquaculture and aquaponics in Ohio. Especially in the world of Extension, a new employer and a new state requires an acclimation period. However, establishing a productive Extension program that will facilitate the expansion of aquaculture in Ohio in a timely manner is priority number one.Extension and Outreach ActivitiesTalks were fairly plentiful for the first nine months. Two pond-side talks were given in May to recreational pond owners in Wyandot County at the request of the Soil and Water Conservation District. The first PowerPoint presentation given in Ohio by the new specialist was to OSU ANR Extension Educators at their annual retreat at the Hueston Woods Lodge and Conference Center in June. As a “one man band”, it’s necessary to coordinate with and teach other Educators in Ohio about the importance of aquaculture in the broad sense, as well as the specific considerations for Ohio. In-service or train-the-trainer workshops are imperative in this type of agriculture to help increase the rate of information dissemination to the general public. In-service trainings on pond management are already in the works for 2017.Thanks to the coordination and assistance from Teresa Funk, the Aquaculture Extension Program was present with a quality and functioning aquaponics display in the Firebaugh building at Farm Science Review. Lettuce, kale, and goldfish were the center of attention. At least one person who stopped by the aquaponics system ended up becoming a 2017 OSU Aquaculture Boot Camp 2 student. Some much-appreciated assistance from aquaponic farmers allowed our specialist to get away long enough to present three fish related talks on behalf of the Extension program. This will likely become an annual occurrence whenever possible.Aquaculture Extension Program Leader, Matthew Smith, was present several days during the Ohio State Fair and answered fairgoers’ questions about aquaculture and aquaponics in Ohio for a few days. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy holds an annual Science Alliance (all things STEM related) in Piketon, Ohio for over 1,500 high school students from southern Ohio. Fourteen talks were given over three days in October to all of the students present, increasing the outreach arm of the program in southern Ohio.The Ohio Aquaculture Association also coordinated with the OSU South Centers to offer a fall beginner workshop to those interested in learning about aquaculture in Piketon. Two beginner talks were offered by Matthew Smith and have since been added to the Extension Aquaculture website. Attendees were from Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, and West Virginia.In addition to presentations, the Extension program has been busy developing and establishing Buckeye Aquafarming, an aquaculture newsletter that is released three times a year by the OSU South Centers. Topics have been wide and diverse, although everything is geared towards educating our fish farmers and policy makers on pertinent matters. Some topics include, marketing your aquaculture product, water quality considerations, principles of biofloc systems, the Lacey Act as relevant to aquaculture, and co-ops. Smith’s contributed articles to Buckeye Aquafarming include the Lacey Act, water quality considerations, and a solicitation article for farmer participation in an upcoming survey. Other articles written by Smith can be found in Arkansas Aquafarming, Ohio Aquaculture Association Summer Newsletter, and the Ohio Aquaculture Association Journal.OSU Extension Aquaculture Program Led WorkshopsMatthew Smith held his first workshop at the OSU South Centers in August and focused on water quality management for fish farmers in Ohio. Previous research conducted by Dr. Laura Tiu showed knowledge on water quality management is a top priority for fish farmers in Ohio. Since proper management is necessary for a successful operation, it only seemed fitting to have this as the focus of the first workshop. Allen Pattillo, a fisheries/aquaculture specialist with Iowa State University, was brought in for this workshop to offer his expertise on aquaponic systems. Both seasoned and beginner farmers attended the workshop, including two farms from Indiana. Hands-on experience and facility tours were offered in addition to the numerous PowerPoint presentations.Professional ServiceExtension Program Specialist Matthew Smith was nominated to the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center’s (NCRAC) Executive Committee and Technical Committee. His roles include general Extension representation, review and recommendation of proposals for funding, development of problem statements, and review annual progress reports. Professional service includes being appointed to the National Aquaculture Association’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Committee, presence as an ex-officio member on the Ohio Aquaculture Association’s Board of Directors, and an Ohio Fish Health Group member. He was also appointed to the Aquaculture Advisory Board for Hocking College.ResearchA first for the specialist, his master’s research entitled Split Ponds Effectively Overwinter Baitfish was accepted for publication by the Journal of the World Aquaculture Society and is currently available online for early viewing. A high summer temperature research publication left over from Arkansas is currently in preparation. Funded research projects include assessing the status of state aquaculture associations in the north central region, as well as updating older NCRAC Extension publications. Other proposals have been submitted and we are waiting on the results to come in early 2017. He has worked diligently to ensure that multiple OSU program areas work together for the better of the aquaculture industry.
Dr. Hanping Wang co-organizes and co-chairs 2nd International Symposium on Perch and BassBy Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist
Dr. Hanping Wang from Ohio State University South Centers and Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) co-organize and co-chair the 2nd International Symposium on Perch and Bass, held in HZAU, Wuhan, China, from October 27-30, 2016. The conference is a continuation of the first conference of its kind held in 2013. The International Symposium on Perch and Bass is designed to provide a forum on recent developments and future directions in perch and bass research, development, and production. With many invited speakers, the conference is an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and applications in these internationally important aquaculture species. Invited scholars, who are engaged in the perch and bass research and development from America, China, Australia, Spain, Belgium, and Singapore, will be giving the speeches. A bilanguage (English and Chinese) book, “Culture and Breeding of Perch and Bass” based on the two conferences will be published. Dr. Hanping Wang is the Co-Chair and Co-Editor for the conferences and book. He also speaks as a keynote speaker at the conference. For more information, visit the symposium homepage.
Initiated by OSU South Centers, OSU and HZAU signed a partnership MOU earlier this year. In the past many years, OSU South Centers and HZAU have jointly trained three PhD students and four postdocs/scholars at the OSU South Centers, and co-published eight papers. This conference is another fruit of the partnership.
Welcome Jordan Maxwell - New ABC-2 CoordinatorBy Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior ScientistJordan Maxwell was hired in October 2016 to be the program coordinator for the Aquaculture Boot Camp-2 (ABC-2) program. She assists Dr. Hanping Wang and the ABC-2 team to execute the educational and research activities for the aquaculture programs at OSU South Centers. She will be helping to plan, coordinate, and implement educational activities, including development of training materials, coordination of aquaculture training projects, providing one-on-one support for training and teaching aquaculture production. She will also be collecting data and writing project progress reports, publications, and news articles. ABC-2 is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.Ms. Maxwell received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fish Management from The University of Rio Grande, and also holds an Associate’s Degree in Wildlife Resources Management from Hocking College. She has teaching and coordination experience at Hocking College, and has aquaculture/hatchery experience at the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Applegrove fish hatchery and the Hocking College fish hatchery. Ms. Maxwell has a passion for aquaculture and is eager to join our team We believe her prior experience and academic preparation will highlight the ABC-2 Program and its initiatives at The Ohio State University South Centers.
OCARD receives award to host 2nd Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC-2)By Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior Scientist and Matthew A. Smith, Extension Aquaculture SpecialistThe Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) at the Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers, in partnership with Ohio Aquaculture Association (OAA), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), and other partners have received an award of ~$600,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) to develop and operate the 2nd Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC-2). The USDA Secretary announced our funded project, along with 26 other awards in August. The ABC-2 program willutilize a “3-I” (Intensive, Intermediate, Introductory) training and multi-faceted approach, including classroom and hands-on training, paired with industry mentoring to enhance the sustainability of new and beginning aquaculture/aquaponic and next generation farmers in the Midwest. OCARD was the first aquaculture unit to receive this type of project from the USDA. The specific goals of the ABC-2 program will be achieved through collaborations among aquaculture, horticulture, and business teams at the South Centers, and partnerships with four nongovernmental and community-based organizations, two agricultural colleges, and six aqua-farms.The 3-year ABC-2 project will serve the following Target Audience in Ohio and the Midwest:
ABC-2 will utilize a modified model of the successful Phase 1 Aquaculture Boot Camp developed and delivered over the past three years by our team. During ABC-2, we will offer new and next generation farmers three levels of involvement, three topic areas and three types of integrated training in aquaculture/aquaponic production and business management strategies. The three levels of participation are: Intensive, an in-depth level involving immersion in a year-long hands-on training and classroom/mentoring program; Intermediate, a mid-level involving participation in a variety of learning activities and workshops; and Introductory, a general or entry level where sharing of information is the goal, and involving participation in the ABC-2 online education and webinars. The three areas which will be covered are general/traditional aquaculture, recirculating aquaculture/aquaponics, and related business and marketing. The three types of instruction are hands-on, classroom/mentoring, and internet/webinar.Up to 30 highly motivated new (less than 10 years of farming experience) and beginning fish farmers and aquaponic producers from across Ohio and the Midwest will be enlisted in the Intensive Boot Camp program. Recruits will be individuals actively involved in aquaculture/aquaponics or seriously dedicated to developing skills for entry into the industry.Applications for participation in the program will be accepted until the close of business on November 4th and applications can be found at go.osu.edu/abc2. For more information about the ABC-2 program, please contact Sarah Strausbaugh at email@example.com. After October 30th, our new ABC-2 Program Coordinator Jordan Maxwell will be available to field your questions at 740.289.2071 x124.
- Beginning and new aquaculture/aquaponic farmers with less than 10 years of farming experience.
- Limited-resource beginning aqua-farmers: most aqua-farmers have low levels of farm sales and low household income, as most of them are new and located in rural areas.
- Next generation farmers: students and those without a family farming history.
- Other new farmers attempting to diversify their existing farming enterprise.
Aquaculture Education UpdateBy Matthew A. Smith, Aquaculture Extension SpecialistIt’s been a busy few months for the Extension Aquaculture Program since the last Ohio State University South Centers Connections Newsletter was released. Our first big education moment of the quarter came during the annual Ohio State University Farm Science Review (FSR) in London, Ohio from September 20-22. I presented three presentations on September 21; Aquaculture Opportunities in Ohio, Sustainable Aquaponics, and Aquaponics: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The last presentation was certainly the most popular with over 70 attendees, and total presentation attendees were over 120 for the day. In addition to the presentations, we had a mobile barrelponics display in the Firebaugh building. The running display consisted of kale, red-leaf lettuce, and goldfish. Fresh Harvest Farm allowed OSU to borrow the display and assisted in education on the second day. FSR total attendance was over 125,000 and at least 500 people passed by the display and talked to someone about aquaculture, aquaponics, the Ohio Aquaculture Association, and the Aquaculture Boot Camp 2 program. Needless to say, OSU South Centers will have their own mobile aquaponics system for education purposes in the near future.The next large education moment of the quarter took place right here in Piketon, Ohio. Science Alliance is an annual high school education event that was developed and coordinated by the Department of Energy and Fluor-BWXT. It is held at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant site and was established to educate high school students about STEM opportunities throughout the country. This year over 1,400 junior and senior students from Pike, Ross, and Scioto County learned about aquaculture, aquaponics, conservation, and agriculture education possibilities through the barrelponics presentation. It was quite an event with 10 talks a day for 3 days and 30 – 40 students per talk.Lastly, the OSU South Centers 25th anniversary celebration was a huge success and a few families in the area submitted an application for ABC-2 following tours of the educational aquaponics system. E-mails and phone calls are frequent as we approach the beginner aquaculture and aquaponic farmer workshop that will be held at the OSU South Centers on October 29th. We encourage those interested to contact us or the Ohio Aquaculture Association.
Overview of Aquaculture Extension’s last 5 months
By Matthew A. Smith, Aquaculture Extension Specialist
As mentioned in the last Connections Newsletter, Matthew Smith (myself), recently joined Ohio State University as an Aquaculture Program Specialist. After only a few days in my office, I headed off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center’s (NCRAC) conference and the Wisconsin Aquaculture Association’s annual conference. Since starting with Ohio State, I have had the opportunity to join many committees, advisory councils, panels, and groups which all influence aquaculture production in Ohio. I look forward to representing Ohio State University at these meetings.
One of my favorite successes so far has been the development of Buckeye Aquafarming, a newsletter developed to inform fish farmers, Extension Educators, recreational pond owners, administrators, and legislators about timely aquaculture matters that pertain to Ohio. The first issue featured sustainable aquaponics, aquaculture marketing, and water quality, to name a few. The winter newsletter will include multiple agencies and universities to give Ohio a view of big-picture U.S. aquaculture!
Water quality management is one of the most important concepts to understand as a fish farmer and that is why on August 6th, 2016 the South Centers will be hosting a water quality workshop to teach those interested. The day will be long but worth it. Topics are diverse and include pond, aquaponic, and recirculating aquaculture system considerations. Limiting stress and fish losses to poor water quality helps put farmers in a better financial position through successful culture to the market date.
Understanding all aspects of an agriculture business is crucial to success, and that’s why I will be discussing a few topics at Farm Science Review this year. Topics include “Sustainable Aquaponics for the Hobbyist” at the Gwynn Conservation Center, “Aquaponics: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” at the Small Farm Center Tent, and “Aquaculture Opportunities for Ohio” at the Small Farm Center Building. for aquaponics education, we will also have a hobby-scale aquaponics display available throughout the Farm Science Review. With aquaponics being a “buzzword” it’s imperative to get out non-biased information to those interested in starting this type of venture.
Education and outreach both to potential and current farmers, as well as the general public has already been successful. Education during tours to administrators, 4-H members, Boy Scouts, middle schools, high schools, and other organizations is proving highly beneficial for the success of our program. Starting in September, the South Centers will be offering free tours of the aquaponics greenhouse and Ohio Center for Aquaculture and Research Development on the last Friday of every month. Interested parties can sign up on our website at http://southcenters.osu.edu/aquaculture/extension.
Big Genomic Data for fast-growing aquaculture
By Hanping Wang, Senior Research Scientist
OSU South Centers Aquaculture research team has completed whole genome sequencing of yellow perch and bluegill. These are the first Percidae and Centrarchidae (sunfish) that have been fully sequenced.
Yellow perch belong to the family Percidae, including about 200 species in 10 genera. The perch, darter, and their relatives are in this family and well-known species of great economic value include the three species of perch, walleye, sauger and ruffe.
The bluegill is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae. The family has 37 species including many well-known species such as largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass and crappies. All are native to North America only.
Both yellow perch and bluegill are very important aquacultural and recreational fish species. Bluegill display high levels of both intraspecific and intersexual reproductive competition, with males growing significantly faster and bigger than females. Yellow perch display a distinct pattern of sexual size dimorphism versus bluegill, with yellow perch females growing much bigger and faster than males. Monosex culture of these two species has a great advantage for the aquaculture industry. However, their gender regulation and sexual size dimorphism mechanism is unclear. It has great scientific and economic value to identify the sex determining genes and discover sex differentiation and sex determination, and sexual size dimorphism mechanisms.
Information of the whole genome in these two species makes it possible to see how genes interact with each other, and examine the exact gene that governs economically important traits such as fast-growing and disease resistance. In domesticated animals, such as cattle, pig, chickens, and other major aquaculture species (e.g., catfish, salmon, trout, and tilapia), their genomes are being used to improve breeding programs and production. The completion of the genome of yellow perch and bluegill allows the same to be done with these two species. The perch and sunfish genome sequence data provide useful genetic resources and lay an important foundation for discovering the molecular mechanism of growth, sex determination and sex control, reproduction related to aquaculture, and conservation of wild stocks for over 100 economically and environmentally important percid sunfish species.
Dr. Hanping Wang was an invited speaker on aqua genomics/genetics/breeding at National Strategic Planning Workshop
OSU South Centers Senior Scientist, Dr. Hanping Wang, was invited by the USDA Aqua Genomics/Genetics Coordinator to speak on “Genomics, genetics, and breeding programs in the Midwest” at The National Strategic Planning Workshop for Aquaculture Genomics, Genetics and Breeding,” which was held March 24-25, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama. The workshop brought researchers, government officials and industry leaders together to review the current status in aquaculture genomics, genetics, and breeding and discuss existing problems, future goals, gaps, and application of genome-based strategies for breeding. The topics included traditional selective breeding, genome-based breeding strategies such as marker-assisted selection, genome selection, genome editing, and analysis of associations of phenotypes and genotypes. A strategic whitepaper is being prepared and will be published based on the workshop.
Welcome to South Centers Matthew SmithMatthew joined the aquaculture South Centers team as an Extension Aquaculture Specialist in March 2016. For the last year, Matthew worked in Extension in a fish health laboratory in Lonoke, Arkansas. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in Aquaculture and Fisheries in 2015 and his Bachelor’s from Auburn University in 2012.His Master’s research focused on comparing traditional golden shiner (baitfish) culture methods to an alternative production system that has already been commercially accepted on catfish farms. With Arkansas being such a large and diverse aquaculture industry, Matthew was exposed to a wide variety of species that are applicable to the Ohio industry. His primary interests include pond culture and management, alternative production technologies, water quality, fish health, and overcoming hobby to commercialization barriers.As Extension Aquaculture Specialist, his number one priority is to work toward expanding sustainable and profitable fish farms in the state of Ohio. Primary responsibilities include visiting fish farms to understand the industry’s needs, develop Extension fact sheets and workshops that will help address the needs found, conducting applied (farmer-friendly) research when necessary, and assisting those who are interested in becoming an aquaculturist. To expedite the dissemination of information to current and potential farmers, Matthew and Sarah Strausbaugh are updating the Ohio State University South Centers Aquaculture Extension website to make it easier to navigate for those who are brand new to aquaculture. Additionally, Matthew is working to develope extension workshops geared toward exposing OSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educators to the world of aquaculture so that they will be prepared when tasked with fish farming questions in the future.
Aquaculture Boot Camp achievements and impactsBy Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior ScientistIn the past three years, we successfully developed and delivered the Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC) program. The ABC program offered integrated training in aquaculture production and business management strategies with “3-I” levels: Intensive, an in-depth level involving immersion in a year-long hands-on training and mentoring program; Intermediate, a mid-level involving participation in a variety of learning activities; and Introductory, a general level where sharing of information was the goal.For the ABC Intensive, a classroom/online-based course was developed based on the Aquaculture DACUM in 2013. Twelve monthly informative educational modules and materials in aquaculture production, and twelve monthly educational modules and materials in business and marketing were designed/developed and delivered in 2013. These modules were modified/replicated and delivered in 2014 based on the needs of the new participants. The ABC intensive level met the original goal by recruiting and training 50 potential new and beginning aquaculture farmers in Ohio. Each graduate student prepared a PowerPoint presentation describing who they are, why they joined ABC, what they learned and what they plan to do upon the course completion. A total of thirty-nine participants from both classes completed the training program and were awarded with certificates of completion. After participation in two ABC intensive classes in 2013 and 2014, students, on a scale of 1 being strongly disagree and 4 being strongly agree, reported an average of 3.5 when asked if the program met their expectations. Students indicated they would recommend this program to their business partners or relatives, and that they were clear on how to apply what they learned on the job or in their businesses. In addition, ABC intensive students self-assessed their knowledge prior to and after the delivery of the monthly content. On a scale with 1 being low and 5 being high, the overall pre-test mean in 2013 was 2.48 and 1.88 in 2014. The post-test mean in 2013 was 3.97 and 3.80 in 2014. These results indicate that ABC students significantly increased their level of knowledge of the content addressed in the program. By the end of the ABC 1 project, twenty-four new businesses/farms were created by the 2013 and 2014 ABC Intensive class graduates.For both the Intensive and Intermediate ABC students, nine aquaculture workshops were offered in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Two Aquaculture Bus Tours were offered for Introductory, Intermediate and Intensive ABC students each year in 2013, and 2014. An ABC website was created to sustainably support the target audience. Podcasts of ABC Intensive training classes and practices were developed, and posted on the ABC website and distributed to new aquaculture farmers. Several brochures/pamphlets, fact sheets and worksheets were designed as part of the learning materials from October 2012 to August 2015. Three annual conferences geared toward mostly new fish farmers were organized. Twenty-three newsletters and three magazines were published and delivered to new and beginning farmers. As a result, the ABC Intermediate program surpassed the projected number of participants by 186.87%, and the Introductory program surpassed the participation goal by 557.10%. That means that 287 new and beginning farmers gained knowledge of aquaculture production and new technologies by participating in ABC Intermediate workshops and bus tours, and more than 5,000 participants gained new knowledge by accessing ABC Introductory, ABC website tools and information, ABC/OAA Newsletter and magazines.In addition, some participants or potential new farmers who are interested in aquaculture training experience received ABC and OAA internships and mentoring. The ABC network was developed to broaden and sustain support services to new and beginning fish farmers.
Aquaculture research achievements and impacts 2015By Dr. Hanping Wang, Senior ScientistSummary of Achievements: In 2015, in collaborations with the Oregon State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Lincoln University of Missouri, University of Benha University, and several other international institutions, we accomplished twelve research studies and projects resulting in 12 manuscripts being submitted; we finished the 3-year on-farm on-station tests of improved yellow perch vs. local unimproved fish, and finalized the report; we published five peer-reviewed journal articles and six proceedings abstracts; received two grants; trained five graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and scholars; completed/submitted seven new grant proposals; and made eight presentations at international conferences. A book titled Sex-Control in Aquaculture is in the progress.Yellow Perch Breeding: The fifth generation of fast-growing lines of yellow perch was created for the aquaculture industry through marker-assisted cohort selection. Approximately 1,000,000 genetically improved seeds were delivered to the aquaculture industry in 2015 and so far over 2,000,000 genetically improved seeds have been distributed to farms for test and demonstration. Neo-male male populations of yellow perch with a female genotype have been created, and a fast-growing all-female strain has been developed for the aquaculture industry by crossing neo-males with regular females. The all-female population should be able to grow 50% faster than unimproved regular mixed populations. Four projects related to sex-control and breeding were completed and four manuscripts on these projects are in preparation or in revision.Bluegill Breeding: Twenty-four selected and improved females and 24 selected males were pair-mated, and 12 batches of expected all-males were produced. Once the sex is confirmed, the fish will be distributed to two locations and to compare sex ratios and production characteristics. Temperature effects on sex ratio have been found in some geographic populations, producing more males in high temperatures, more females in low temperatures. The findings were published in Aquaculture. Follow-up investigation using four different geographic populations strongly suggests that both temperature-dependent sex determination and genetic sex determination exist in bluegill.This paper is in the revising phase and being considered by The Biological Bulletin for publication. The results from these two experiments provide a valuable base for developing all-male broodstock for bluegill, which could grow 35-50% faster than mixed populations.Identify the best genetically distinct largemouth bass populations for the industry: We investigated the genetic structure of largemouth bass from 20 wild populations and five cultured stocks across the United States and China using eight microsatellite loci. Our major findings are as follows: (1) Allelic richness was lower among cultured populations than among wild populations; (2) Effective population size in hatcheries could promote high levels of genetic variation among individuals and minimize loss of genetic diversity; (3) The majority of largemouth bass populations had a significant heterozygosity excess, which is likely to indicate a previous population bottleneck; (4) The phylogeny based on eight microsatellites revealed a clear distinction between northern and southern populations. The information provides a valuable basis for development of aquaculture genetic breeding programs in largemouth bass.On-farm and on-station tests of improved yellow perch in ponds: A 3-year project of the on-station and on-farm tests of genetically improved yellow perch on three sites and in two states was finished, data analyzed, and report submitted. This is an important step for Commercialization of genetically improved strains. The testing results showed improved fish exhibited 27.6% - 42.1% higher production, and 25.5% - 37.5% higher growth rates, while having 12.3% - 27.8% higher survival than local strains, on the average, across the three sites.Genomic sequence and tool development: In collaboration with Oregon State University, we completed RAD/DNA sequencing of five strains, and whole genome sequencing of two strains in yellow perch to develop SNPs and identify genomic diversity of those strains for further improve perch growth and other economic traits; we completed RNA sequencing of regular males, regular females and neo-males, and different growth phases of yellow perch to identify genes associated with sexual size dimorphism and sex determination, and to develop an all-female population using improved fish; a total of 41,479 microsatellite markers were identified from 18,210 unigene sequences for breeding programs; we also completed whole genome sequencing of two strains of bluegill to develop SNPs and investigate genomic base of sex determination for developing mono-sex population. In addition, we completed RAD/DNA sequencing of white and black crappie to develop SNPs and identify genomic diversity of those species for a future crappie and sunfish breeding program.Improvement of egg hatching rate for industry: We completed a project on determining efficacy of formalin, iodine, and sodium chloride for the improvement of egg hatching rate and fry survival prior to the onset of exogenous feeding in yellow perch. The study revealed that formalin was a more effective disinfectant to improve the hatching rate and survival to first feeding fry of yellow perch than iodine and sodium chloride. To improve the hatching rate, a concentration of 150 to 250 mg L-1 for 30 min is recommended to disinfect the eggs of yellow perch daily from the beginning to the eyed stage. The results were published in Aquaculture Research and will be used by fish farmers to improve the egg hatching rate and fry production of yellow perch.Improvement of perch fry survival rate for industry: Seven feeding regimes were tested in 2015, with each having two replicates, via combination of mouth-opening prey, initial age of weaning, duration of weaning, duration of co-feeding, and different larvae formula feed. Several related studies were completed: 1) By monitoring egg size produced by different strains/families, we have identified some strains/families that produced significantly larger-mouth gape progeny and larger eggs than others; 2) Variation of egg size is dramatically different among strains of our genetically improved fish, indicating there is a large range of selection for large eggs; 3) We found predation and ingestion of prey at the beginning of feeding is limited by the mouth gape in fish larvae which determine larvae survival. Survival varied considerably between replicates and among feeding regimes. Massive mortality was observed at two stages for all feeding regimes/tanks.The first massive mortality was observed right after stocking from the hatching tank to nursing tank. About 30-75% larvae died the next day after stocking due to handling. The second massive mortality was observed from 10- to 30-days post-hatch (DPH) of fry. No mortality was found after 45 DPH and all fish could ingest commercial starter feed (>0.8 mm) for larvae.International training program: Leading research in aquaculture genetics and breeding at the OSU South Centers has attracted more than twenty-five scientists and international scholars to work in the Aquaculture Research Center and Genetics Lab at Piketon. In 2015, the lab trained five visiting Ph.D. students, post-doctorial researchers and international scholars, and one of them received their Ph.D in 2015. They also significantly contributed to the aquaculture program’s success at The Ohio State University South Centers.
OSU South Centers Academic Editor received recognition from PLOS ONEBy: Sarah Strausbaugh, Program AssistantRecently, OSU South Centers Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Hanping Wang received recognition from PLOS ONE for his contributions to the journal as an Academic Editor. PLOS ONE has a high impact, being the world’s largest peer-reviewed science and medical journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS).In 2013, Dr. Hanping Wang was selected and appointed to be the journal’s Academic Editor and board member for the section of Biology and Genetics of Aquatic Animals. Dr. Wang has handled thirty-five manuscripts for the journal in the past two-and-a-half years. During this term, Ms. Joy Bauman has played an important role in assisting Dr. Wang with completion of editing the manuscripts. In addition, Dr. Tom Worley and Ms. Marsha Amlin have been very supportive to this academic service by Dr. Wang and Ms. Bauman.Dr. Wang was invited to a recognition reception held in Baltimore, Maryland on October 7, 2015. Congratulations, Dr. Wang!
Sustainable aquaponic vegetable and fish co-production in OhioBy: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension EducatorProducing vegetables and fish in a linked hydroponic plant and aquaculture fish co-production system is called aquaponics. Plants can use the water and nutrients from the aquaculture tank, thus reducing water and fertilizer requirements and significantly reducing waste discharges from the aquaculture system. Producing plants hydroponically and farming fish using aquaculture have their own special requirements in order to properly manage each system. When combining the two, it adds a layer of complexity for the commercial grower when systems are maintained at plant and fish population levels recommended for maximum yields. This article provides some basic aquaponic guidelines that have been developed from research conducted by the Ohio State University Piketon Research & Extension Center.Aquaponic SystemsThe most common aquaponic systems currently in use employ either a media-filled plant bed, nutrient-film technique (NFT), or a floating raft system for the plant growing area integrated with a recirculating aquaculture tank system (RAS) for the fish production area. Almost any type of vegetable production system can be linked to an aquaculture system, including open field production, if recycling water back to the aquaculture unit is not required. This technology is young and trialing is recommended, especially for untested systems.Crop and Fish ChoicesAny plant commonly grown in hydroponic systems will adapt to aquaponics including the most common types – leafy salad crops, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. The most common aquaponic fish is tilapia, which grow well under a wide range of water quality conditions. Other fish adapted to aquaponics but requiring more stringent water conditions than tilapia are rainbow trout, largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, and koi. Catfish can be grown in aquaponics but would not compete economically with commercial pond culture. Barramundi is a common aquaponic fish species in Australia and gaining in popularity in the Midwest. Barramundi grow under a wide range of conditions but are still being researched for aquaponics production.If you are interested in learning more about aquaponics and research that is being conducted, if you would like to join our Ohio Aquaponics or Horticulture email listserv, or for more information, visit the OSU South Centers website: http://southcenters.osu.edu/aquaculture/boot-camp/introductory or contact Horticulture Specialist Brad Bergefurd, firstname.lastname@example.org or call the OSU South Centers 1-800-860-7232 or 740-289-2071 ext. 132.
Aquaponics workshop… What a thumbs-up experience!By: Estefania James, MS, Program AssistantThe OSU South Centers was the venue of the last Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC) program event. This workshop brought together around 50 new and advanced aquaponics farmers from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey.According to previous surveys conducted in 2014, aquaponics was the top topic requested among ABC intermediate and intensive students, and the Ohio Aquaculture Association (OAA) members. As a result, the OAA and the ABC program worked dedicatedly to offer a technical and hands-on aquaponics training workshop July 10-11, 2015.The main purpose of this workshop was to offer the opportunity to network with local farmers to hear about their business experiences, and to learn from their challenges and obstacles. Furthermore, this workshop attempted to answer technical questions such as construction considerations, business aspects, economics, and the selection of plants and fish.Successful aquaponics growers were invited to be part of this event. Ryan Chatterson from Chatterson Farms located in Clermont, Florida was one of the speakers. He described the technical considerations to build recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), equipment and tools selections, as well as fish and plant production dynamics. Another collaborator was Allen Patillo from Iowa State University. Allen explained several experiments conducted to collect data from different production systems by using different growing media and lighting sources, among others. Jeni and Doug Blackburn, owners of Fresh Harvest Farms were also invited. They shared their strategies to successfully manage an aquaponics farm. They also spoke about several marketing approaches to build strong relationships with direct customers. Lori Klintworth and Mark Zody debuted for the first time as presenters. They own Local Sprouts Aquaponics from Apple Creek, Ohio.They shared their adventure of building their aquaponics farm while attending the ABC intensive class.Participant evaluations of the workshop were very favorable, with 100% agreeing they would strongly recommend the aquaponics workshop to a colleague. New lessons were learned related to aquaponics crops and systems. Although there may be more questions to be answered, that was the purpose of this workshop…“to promote a higher and deeper interest in aquaponics farming.” Make sure to visit our website: southcenters.osu.edu/aquaculture/aquaculture-extension/boot-camp/intensive/aquaponics-workshop-2015 to revisit the presentations and pictures from the workshop. Please contact us with any further questions.
Is the Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC)Program Over?By: Estefania James, MS, Program AssistantThe Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development at The Ohio State University South Centers has recently received many phone calls and emails requesting information how to register for the aquaculture boot camp program. One of the farmers said, “My friend told me about your program and that’s exactly what I need to move forward in my aquaculture business…is the boot camp over?” The answer is yes and no. The ABC program was funded for three years through a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Even though this is year three and the source of funding is over, the aquaculture Extension staff will continue offering support to the Ohio aquaculture industry.Any new, beginning, or expert farmer will have access to the online resources available in the extension website (http://southcenters.osu.edu/). More workshops, hands-on training courses, fact sheets, and bus tours are planned for the coming months.This is a joint effort of the OSU South Centers and the Ohio Aquaculture Association. The boot camp program has been a good source of collecting and assessing the needs of the fish farmers. As a result, two main topics were highly requested: Marketing/Processing and Aquaponics.The first workshop was held at the OSU South Centers in May. According to our workshop evaluation, 92% of the participants will recommend this workshop to other farmers and they believe that the instructors were good communicators and knowledgeable on the topics. 70% of the participants strongly agreed that this workshop was applicable to their jobs. We like to thank our speakers: Traci and Craig Bell, Kelly O’Bryant, Kory Groetsch, and Dr. Dave Smith. Also, a huge applause goes to our special speakers and hands-on trainers: Dr. Stephen Reichley and Angela Caporelli. We are also proud to announce that one of our ABC 2014 graduates, Craig Bell and his wife Traci Bell, were recently notified that they received the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant. This grant will definitely improve the great efforts the Bells have made at Ripple Rock Fish Farms.The next workshop scheduled is the Aquaponics workshop July 10-11, 2015. For more information and to register, please visit the following link: http://southcenters.osu.edu/about-us/events/aquaculture. We are proud to announce our special speaker and hands-on trainer, Ryan Chatterson. He is the owner and operator of Chatterson Farms, a commercial aquaponics farm located on five acres in the beautiful hills of Clermont, FL and has been growing with aquaponics for over a decade. He spent ten years working at Aquatic Eco-Systems where he assisted in thousands of aquaponics projects ranging from backyard systems to large commercial design. While there, he also managed Green Sky Growers rooftop aquaponics greenhouse, built and managed two large outdoor aquaponics demonstration systems and helped to design the company’s workshop curriculum, in which he taught over 150 students alongside Dr James Rakocy, Dr. Wilson Lennard, and others.In early 2013, Ryan left the company to run his own commercial aquaponics farm, Chatterson Farms, and in 2014 started Aquaponic Engineering & Design, providing design, engineering and educational services to the commercial aquaponics industry. Estefania James, the ABC program coordinator, attended his workshop in April. She established a good connection with Ryan and admired his teaching skills. We look forward to having a great workshop with Ryan here in Ohio. We certainly invite all Ohio Aquaponics growers who are ready to expand their aquaponics farms and learn more about the technical aspects of designing their systems to attend this workshop. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Estefania James, email@example.com, 740-289-2071 ext. 127
Dr. Hanping Wang Visited Benha University and WorldFish Center in Egypt
By: Hanping Wang, PhD, Senior Research ScientistInvited by the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, DC, Dr. Hanping Wang recently visited Benha University in Cairo to discuss and enhance future scientific collaboration, and advise Ms Hiam S. Desouky’s dissertation and defense. During the visit, Dr. Wang met with Dr. Ali Shame EI Din, the President of Benha University, Dr. Mohamed, the Dean of School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Adel Shaheen, the Chair of Department of Fish Management, and discussed further research collaboration in aquaculture and related areas. Benha University ranks third in Egypt. In the past four years, OSU South Centers and Benha University have jointly trained two Ph.D. students and one visiting scholar.During the visit, Dr. Wang also visited WorldFish Center. WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Dr. Wang met Dr. Gamal Nagar, the center director, Dr. Malcolm Dickson, the project leader, and other researchers, and discussed potential collaboration with them in aquaculture. In addition, Dr. Wang visited the Egyptian Center for Aquaculture Research, and three fish farms.
Ms. Hiam S. Desouky Passed Her Defense and Received Her Ph.D.By: Hanping Wang, PhD, Senior Research ScientistMs. Hiam S. Desouky, who was trained through a joint Ph.D. training program between the OSU South Centers and Benha University in Cairo, passed her defense and received her Ph.D. recently in the School of Veterinary Medicine, Benha University. Dr. Hiam S. Desouky completed her Ph.D. dissertation research under Dr. Hanping Wang’s supervision at the OSU South Centers aquaculture genetics lab from April 2013 to March 2015, after finishing her course work at Benha University. Her dissertation entitled “Developing biomarkers to detect stressors in fish using molecular biological tools” received an excellent evaluation from her committee. The Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) has established an international joint Ph.D. training program with several countries since 2005. The program has attracted more than twenty international scholars and Ph.D. students to work under Dr. Hanping Wang’s advisement in the aquaculture breeding and genetics lab at Piketon.
Ohio Aquaculture Extension Program Highlights
By: Laura Tiu, PhD, Director Ohio Aquaculture Extension Program
2014 was a banner year for the Aquaculture Extension Program (AEP) as it was the second year of our Aquaculture Boot Camp Project (see accompanying article). The team spent much of the year serving the needs of our Intensive, Intermediate and Introductory aquaculture clients with personal consultation, conferences, workshops, tours, and email and phone support.
In addition to Aquaculture Boot Camp, the Extension Team coordinated three well-attended workshops in 2014. The first, a workshop in Toledo, Ohio, was a collaborative effort with the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center and the Ohio Aquaculture Association. Many of the presentations from that workshop are available here. In April, we partnered with Kentucky State University and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to conduct an Aquaponics Workshop with a trip to Food Chain in Lexington, KY. In October, the team organized a Recirculation Aquaculture Workshop at the OSU Newark Campus which included a tour of a local RAS system in Frazeysburg, Ohio. The year finished off with an October Bus Tour of Farms to four farms in Ohio and an ethnic market that sells live fish in Columbus, OH.
Aquaculture Specialists presented information at multiple workshops throughout the year including Aquaculture America in Seattle, Washington; Washington, D.C.; and the Farm Science Review. Specialists also traveled to China with the Ohio Soybean Council and the Soy Aquaculture Association, and to Germany with the Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center to explore their aquaculture industries and explore opportunities for collaboration.
Multiple groups, both local and international (Pakistan, Israel, and Albania), enjoyed tours of the Aquaculture Research Center. Over forty individuals participated in our First Friday Aquaculture Tour program where on the first Friday of each month, participants register to tour the Aquaculture Center and learn first-hand about our research and Extension programs. Two local schools participated in tours and several K-12 teachers attended STEM training on using aquaculture and aquaponics in the classroom.
Aquaponics continues to be a hot topic this year and an aquaponics list serve was created to enhance the flow of information. Additionally, aquaculture and horticulture specialists at the South Centers teamed up to build the Center’s first aquaponics system. So far, we have successfully produced Russian kale, red lettuce and mizuna in the system using both tilapia and yellow perch. Additional research will be conducted in 2015 to further refine the project. Webinars are becoming a growing method of sharing information. We conducted two webinars in 2014 on aquaponics marketing and species selection for aquaponics.
Finally, a series of aquaculture videos was produced and is available on our website, southcenters.osu.edu. For additional information on any of our programs, feel free to visit our website or contact us directly.
Aquaculture Research Achievements and Impacts 2014
By: Hanping Wang, PhD, Senior Research Scientist
Summary of Achievements: In 2014, in collaborations with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Molecular and Cellular Imaging Center (MCIC), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Lincoln University of Missouri, the Ohio Soybean Council, Battelle, and several international institutions, we accomplished ten research studies and projects including the 3-year on-farm on-station tests of improved yellow perch vs. local unimproved fish; published four journal articles and eight proceedings abstracts; received two grants; trained eight graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and scholars; completed/submitted seven new grant proposals; and made 8 presentations at international conferences.
O’GIFT (Ohio Genetic Improvement of Farmed-fish Traits) Program: The O’GIFT program is expected to increase aquaculture production of perch, bluegill and largemouth bass by 35-50% through the development of genetically improved broodstocks for producers.
On-farm and on-station tests of improved yellow perch in ponds: The 3-year project of the on-station and on-farm tests of genetically improved yellow perch was completed on three sites in two states using both separate rearing and communal rearing methods. This is an important step for commercialization of genetically improved strains. The testing results showed improved fish exhibited 27.6% - 42.1% higher production, and 25.5% - 37.5% higher growth rates, while having 12.3% - 27.8% higher survival than local strains, on the average, across the three sites.
Performance test of OSU improved perch vs. Bell perch in Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS): Two strains, 500 fish of each, were provided by Bell Aquaculture. OSU provided 500 fish from its genetically improved line. Each strain was tagged with visible implant elastomer color tags, and stocked to each of the two 6’x6’ round recirculating tanks and a 10’ x 5’ round tank with flow-through water, and communally raised in the same density/environment for an accurate comparison. After the 6-month test, OSU genetically improved lines outweighed Bell perch strains by 43.6% on average. This result shows OSU improved perch not only significantly grow faster in pond conditions, but also in recirculating tank systems. The 43.6% improvement can potentially save perch farmers as much as 43.6% of the grow-out time in both pond and recirculating tank systems.
Genomic sequence and tool development: In collaboration with OARDC MCIC, we completed restriction-site associated (RAD)/DNA sequencing of five strains of yellow perch to develop single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and identify genomic diversity of those strains for further improved perch growth. We also completed RNA sequencing of males and females in yellow perch to identify genes associated with sex dimorphism and sex determination, and developed a all-female yellow perch population using improved fish. The all-female population should be able to grow 50% faster than unimproved regular mixed populations. In addition, we completed RAD/DNA sequencing of white and black crappie to develop SNPs and identify genomic diversity of those species for a future crappie breeding program.
Improvement of egg hatching rate for industry: In 2014, we completed a project on determining efficacy of formalin, iodine, and sodium chloride in improvement of egg hatching rate and fry survival prior to the onset of exogenous feeding in yellow perch. The study revealed that formalin was a more effective disinfectant to improve the hatching rate and survival to first feeding fry of yellow perch than iodine and sodium chloride. To improve the hatching rate ,a concentration of 150 to 250 mg L-1 for 30 min is recommended to disinfect the eggs of yellow perch daily from the beginning to the eyed stage. The results have been published in Aquaculture Research and will be used by fish farmers to improve the egg hatching rate and fry production of yellow perch.
Yellow Perch Breeding: Multiple improved lines of yellow perch have been developed, and over one-million genetically improved fish have been distributed to fish farms. Three male populations with a female genotype have been created, which could produce fast-growing all-female populations for the aquaculture industry. Three projects related to sex-control and breeding were completed and three manuscripts on these projects are in preparation or in revision.
Bluegill Breeding: Three experiments related to sex-control and genotypes by environment interaction on sex ratio were completed. The findings on effects of temperature and genotype on sex determination and sexual size dimorphism of bluegill sunfish have been published in Aquaculture, a prestigious international journal. The results from these experiments provide a valuable base for developing all-male broodstock for bluegill, which could grow 35-50% faster than mixed populations.
Soy-Aqua Research Initiative:
In collaboration with the Ohio Soybean Council and Battelle, two projects have been completed in 2014. The first study, comprised of five major experimental phases, was conducted to develop indirect criteria to improve residual feed intake (RFI) of soybean diets (SBD) in yellow perch for selective breeding. With the high cost of feed for animal production, genetic selection for animals that metabolize feed more efficiently could result in substantial cost savings for fish producers. The current study showed that the weight loss during the feed deprivation period and the weight gain during a subsequent period of re-feeding are linked to variations in RFI in yellow perch. Such traits could be used as indirect criteria for improving RFI in fish through selective breeding.
In the second study, a modified soybean meal (MSBM) containing high protein and lower levels of anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) relative to regular soybean meal was evaluated as an alternative for fishmeal in the diet of yellow perch with significant success. Higher growth performance and feed utilization was observed for 50% replacement of fish meal (FM) by MSBM fed groups compared to 100% replacement of FM by soybean meal and MSBM fed groups. Modified soybean meal with high protein and low ANFs has considerable potential as an alternative to fishmeal in aquafeed.
Aquaculture Genetics and Breeding Laboratory:
This is the first lab of its type in the Midwest and is crucial to the success of the O’GIFT program and the improvement of farmed-fish traits. In this lab, genetic relatedness charts and genetic pedigrees of selected broodfish have been constructed for breeding programs for the past years. Family identification technology using DNA for selective breeding in yellow perch and bluegill has been established. Genotyping 900 fish from the breeding center for constructing genetic relatedness charts for the breeding program was finished in 2014. The data generated from the lab in 2014 has contributed to fourteen papers in prestigious international journals and proceedings, including twelve published in 2014.
International training program:
Leading research in aquaculture genetics and breeding at OSU South Centers has attracted more than twenty scientists and international scholars to work in the aquaculture research center and genetics lab at Piketon. In 2014, the lab trained eight visiting Ph.D. students, post-doctorial researchers and international scholars from four countries. These individuals significantly contributed to the aquaculture program’s success at the OSU South Centers.
Recapping the Best of the Aquaculture Boot Camp Program in 2014
By: Estefania James, MS, Program Assistant
After twelve months of hard work and commitment, nineeen Aquaculture Boot Camp (ABC) recruits graduated on December 13, 2014. The Ohio State University South Centers served as the main venue for the training sessions.
The aquaculture boot camp program offered an integrated training with "3-I" levels: Intensive, an in-depth level involving immersion in a year-long hands-on training and mentoring program; Intermediate, a mid-level involving participation in a variety of learning activities; and Introductory, a general level where sharing of information is the goal.
These participants punctually attended ABC sessions the second Saturday of each month to learn the fundamental concepts of aquaculture and business planning to successfully run an aquaculture business.
One of the unique features of this program was learning by doing with the technical guidance of the OSU aquaculture instructors and the Ohio Aquaculture Association mentors. There were many topics covered in the ABC program: species selection, systems selections, species biology, site selection, water quality, fish and fresh water prawn stocking and harvesting, processing, recirculating aquaculture systems, and fish health, among others.
Each training session was followed by an evaluation in order to identify their pre- and post-perceptions of learning. These evaluations helped the instructors to improve and adjust the content for the future classes.
In addition to the monthly session evaluations, mid and final evaluations were conducted to assess the overall performance of the program. The results and the findings of the data collected from the classes of 2013 and 2014 will be published in mid-2015.
Piketon, the ABC headquarters, was not the only training location. These students had the opportunity to visit and meet experienced fish farmers. There were three off-campus training sessions. The first was at Kentucky State University in the Division of Aquaculture. Charlie Shultz was a special instructor for the Aquaponics workshop in April 2014.
In August, the ABC intensive class met Dr. Dave Smith at his aquaculture operation, Freshwater Farms of Ohio, in Urbana to learn about marketing and processing with the collaboration of Angela Caporelli from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
And finally, in October, boot campers met Steve Van Gorder from Fresh-Culture Systems, Inc. who taught the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems workshop in Newark, Ohio.
One of the greatest lessons learned in boot camp was that both instructors and students learned from each other and sharing was the key element to succeed in the development of their business plans.
Even though we are not offering the ABC intensive class in 2015, there will be three workshops available: The OAA annual meeting in January, an Aquaponics workshop, and a Marketing and Processing workshop. We would like to encourage new and beginning fish farmers who want to learn about the program to visit our website at http://go.osu.edu/abc and sign up in the ABC intermediate program to be informed of new training opportunities and industry updates.
The ABC program was a marvelous success thanks to the teamwork of the Aquaculture, Business Development and OSU South Centers teams, along with the Ohio Aquaculture Association. We also look forward to reapplying for new funds through the USDA to continue working to increase the numbers of new and beginning fish farmers in the State of Ohio.
We appreciate everyone’s effort and dedication. Because of your help, Aquaculture Boot Camp has been an extremely successful program.
Aquaculture and Horticulture Programs Conduct First Ohio Aquaponics Research
By: Laura Tiu, PhD, Director of Ohio Aquaculture Extension and Brad Bergefurd, Horticulture Specialist
Aquaponics is a growing area of interest for Ohio citizens in both urban and rural areas driven by the demand for locally grown food. The OSU Aquaculture and Horticulture Programs have received multiple requests for information each week. Seventy-five percent of current Aquaculture Boot Camp participants, new and beginning farmers, expressed interest in aquaponics. Additionally, multiple internal requests for information have been received from the College of Agriculture Engineering, the OSU College of Medicine, Ohio Sea Grant, and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Unfortunately, unbiased Ohio research-based data to share with the interested clients has been limited. To address this, an OSU Extension Innovation grant was received to develop and construct a research/demonstration-scale aquaponics system at the OSU South Centers. The system, in operation since October 2013, was used for training and available for touring to the over 300 visitors that visited the OSU South Centers in 2014.
In June 2013, a demonstration-scale system was constructed in a glass greenhouse at the OSU South Centers. The system consisted of a 500-gallon tank for rearing the fish, a biofilter for solids removal and nitrification, and three shallow water rafts, 3’ x 5’ x 6", for supporting floating raft culture (Figure 1). Rafts were made from 1 inch Styrofoam board. Holes were drilled in the Styrofoam to support small net pots for germination and growth of various plant species. Water flowed from the fish tank, through the biofilter and rafts, and was collected in a sump where a small pump returned the water to the fish tank. One small air pump also provided oxygen to the fish tank. A small amount of water (approximately 10 gallons) was added daily to accommodate for evaporation, leaks and plant uptake.
Water parameters were measured throughout the trials. Dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH were measured daily, while ammonia, nitrate, hardness and alkalinity were measured weekly. The system was operational on July 13, 2013 and a three week break-in period was initiated. Twelve 4-5 inch tilapia and one bluegill were stocked into the system on July 13, 2013. Fish are fed to satiation daily, approximately 1 oz. of fish food (approximately 1% bw). Three fish jumped out of the tank before seeds were planted.
Phase I – Fall 2013
Phase one was designed to compare the effect of three commonly used growing media (Figure 2), expanded clay pellets, expanded shale, and potting soil, on production of two leafy greens, mizuna and red leaf lettuce, in a six-week growing trial. Nine tilapia and one bluegill were stocked into a 500 gallon tank and fed to satiation on a daily basis.
Seeds were placed directly on the media in net pots on August 22, 2013. The majority of the seeds germinated on day two. By week three, plant growth had slowed (Figure 3). It was hypothesized that this may be due to not enough nitrates being generated by the small number of fish in the system, given the nitrate level remained at zero. Because of the lack of nutrients, the plants were small and discolored.
Water quality tests showed a system pH of around 8. While this is fine for fish, plants prefer a pH under 7 and had difficulty synthesizing what nutrients were there. Plants were harvested on October 3, 2013 after 6 weeks of growth.
Additionally, weaknesses in the system were identified. Water levels need to be constantly maintained so that gravity could move the water. There were several locations where this could break down. The system design needed to be upgraded to reduce the chance of overflow, back-up, etc. The Styrofoam rafts also needed modifying with smaller holes so that the net pots stop dropping through and the plants are at a more appropriate water level.
Phase II – Winter 2013/2014
With a system redesign complete, the same experiment was repeated for phase two. On October 12, 2013, approximately twenty-five pounds of small yellow perch (2-3 inch) were stocked into the 500-gallon tank and fed to satiation. Net pots were seeded with red leaf lettuce and mizuna on November 1, 2013. Hydrochloric Acid (Muriatic acid) was added as needed to the water to control pH. Plants germinated and were
growing slowly, when a fish kill occurred on November 22, 2013. It was determined that high ammonia levels were the cause of the fish kill. Plants continued to grow in the system and were harvested December 12, 2013.
Phase III – Spring 2014
The experiment was repeated for a third time in the spring. The system was restocked with approximately forty pounds of yellow perch (3-6 inch) on March 25, 2014. On April 3, 2014 float trays with the three media were seeded with mizuna and red leaf lettuce. Plants were harvested May 1st. In this trial, the plants failed to germinate or grow well due to the salt and mineral build-up on the media.
Production Results (combined from all phases)
Media Species Production (ounces/sq.ft.)
Styrofoam float tray Mizuna 19.11
Styrofoam float tray Red leaf lettuce 11.44
Expanded Shale Mizuna 1.15
Expanded Shale Red leaf lettuce 8.15
Hydrocorn Mizuna 1.21
Hydrocorn Red leaf lettuce 7.44
In this demonstration-scale system, the Styrofoam float trays filled with soilless potting mix performed the best in all the trials. The expanded shale and Hydrocorn both accumulated minerals and salts that inhibited the germination of seed and slowed growth. Red leaf lettuce performed most consistently in the system with mizuna performing well only in the Styrofoam float trays. The Styrofoam float trays with soilless potting mix are a good option for these small hobby-scale systems as they are inexpensive and readily available.
There were quite a few steep learning curves associated with this system, including system design, construction, operation and water quality balance. A lot was learned and shared with numerous clientele. The interest in aquaponics continues to grow and The Ohio State University should be prepared to offer research-based information to the public. Continued investment into the industry is warranted.
Two new varieties of mini-head lettuce, Dragoon and Rhazes, will be produced on a rotational basis with one float bed being harvested every two to three weeks. Data will continue to be collected from the system and educational tours will continue. For future trials, we will no longer utilize the rock media because of salt mineral buildup but continue to use the Styrofoam float trays with soilless potting mix. We are considering getting some backup power as a recent power outage resulted in a fish kill. Options for water treatment, such as a reverse osmosis system, are being explored.
A Sign of the Times
Passers by on State Route 32 are no doubt taking notice of The Ohio State University South Centers’ brand new sign. The Ohio State University’s new branding designs have been popping up all across the Buckeye State, and the project to update the sign at the corner of SR 32 and Shyville Road wrapped up on July 11, 2018.
(Photo: Bradford Sherman, CFAES)
Sarah Swanson: The smiling face of South Centers
(Editor’s Note: The following is the latest in a series of feature stories highlighting The Ohio State University South Centers Staff)
By Bradford Sherman
OSU South Centers
Whether it’s the UPS man, fellow employees, familiar faces, or complete strangers, they all have one thing in common when visiting the Research and Extension Building at The Ohio State University South Centers – they are always greeted with a smile and a friendly “hello.”
That is thanks to Sarah Swanson, a Program Assistant who every day staffs the front office as its first point of contact, and greets all comers with a friendly demeanor and helpful disposition.
Swanson has been the smiling face of South Centers, having always been stationed at her familiar spot next to the sliding glass windows, since joining the staff in November 2014. She provides support services to the aquaculture and soil and water teams, assists with running the equipment for the center’s weekly telecasts, updates many parts of the South Centers website, and provides graphics support for all program areas.
Swanson says she enjoys her job at South Centers because of the variety of people she gets to work with, and because every day is a unique challenge.
“The work is different every day,” she explained. “It never gets boring. One day it may be general administrative work, and the next I might get to tap into my creative side through working on video production and graphic design.
“It is also exciting that I get the opportunity to work alongside so many different kinds of talented people. Here at South Centers, we have people representing many different age groups, ethnicities, and are versed in many different professional disciplines.”
Swanson, who is originally from Chillicothe, earned Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University – Chillicothe in 2012 and an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2014.
In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, especially hiking, and engaging in activities related to the arts such as listening to music and photography.
Swanson and her husband, Justin, reside in Chillicothe.
Bradford Sherman joins the staff of OSU South Centers
By Bradford Sherman
A longtime journalist has been tabbed as the new publications editor for the Ohio State University South Centers.
Bradford Sherman joined the staff last month in the role of a Program Assistant. In addition to editing a variety of publications – including research papers, grant proposals and promotional materials – he will also assist several program leaders, perform general office-related tasks, and tap into his years of multimedia experience to help publicize the many goings-on at OSU South Centers.
“I have always said that working as a member of the media is a great way to prepare you for any job,” said Sherman. “You end up passively educating yourself on a wealth of different topics, due to the wide variety of subjects you report on. It also teaches skills that are sought after in any field, such as proper grammar and punctuation, teamwork, dealing with the pressures of working under a deadline, and how to communicate ideas with a vast and varied audience.”
Sherman worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 13 years during which time he covered news and sports for publications in Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, and Pike counties in Ohio, as well as Mason County, W.Va..
But Sherman is no stranger to Ohio State, either. After exiting the journalism field, he joined the university in June 2015 as a 50 percent FTE Office Associate at the Jackson County Extension office. It was there that he learned what it meant to be a Buckeye, and decided that he wanted to turn that part-time job into a new career.
“I love working at the Ohio State University; it became apparent to me very quickly that I wanted to spend the rest of my working years here,” said the 39-year-old.
Sherman, who is originally from Oak Hill, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from the University of Rio Grande in 2002. As a college student, he worked as an intern producing newsletters for senior citizens in Gallia County, and in the news department at WKOV radio in Jackson.
Sherman and his wife, Melanie, reside in Jackson with their two children, daughter Celyn and son Cuinn.
Endeavor Center awarded EDA Grant
The Ohio State University South Centers was recently awarded funding by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to conduct an incubator expansion feasibility study.
The EDA investment of $28,205 will be used to hire a consultant to complete an analysis and evaluation of a proposed incubator expansion to determine market demand and sustainability over time.
This study will help define the current and future uses and strategies of the Endeavor Center Business incubator. Completing market research will help us better understand the existing market and anticipated future market potential for business incubation in the region.
The funds for this study are a part of the EDA’s Technical Assistance grant program, which helps local business incubators promote economic development and alleviate unemployment.
“Ohio small businesses support local economies,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “This investment ensures the OSU Endeavor Center in Piketon has the resources it needs to help local businesses expand and bring jobs to the area.”
This investment will assist the Endeavor Center to build on strengths, improve weaknesses, capitalize opportunities and identify threats. Financially, the study should provide projections for potential revenue generation and total project cost expectations.
Finally, and most importantly, the study will assist in determining the need to increase business incubator space in our region.
The Feasibility Study will:
• Complete a market study to help the Endeavor Center understand what types of new spaces should be considered based on the potential for specific start-up companies in the region.
• Review the Endeavor Center’s financial position and provide suggestions regarding expansion feasibility and current / future cash flow.
• Review existing client selection policy and processes and provide feedback to strengthen the application process.
• Review tenant lease or license agreement that enumerates the shared services to be provided; delineates the incubator’s business assistance policy, including the provision of management, technical, and training policies.
• Review the Endeavor Centers business assistance policy and provide suggestions for new ideas and improvement of existing programs.
• Review current staffing levels of the Endeavor Center and business programs to ensure client / partner technical needs are being addressed.
• Develop an incubator performance plan that includes how the incubator will track the success of incubator partners/clients, specifically identifying what performance measurement data the incubator proposes to collect from tenants/partners and for what period of time during and after the service period the data will be collected. This should also include members of any over sight or policy board for the incubator that will be responsible for setting performance goals of the incubator, selecting or approving selections of staff, establishing and reviewing policy, and monitoring performance.
Business Development Network Updates
2018 is off to a good start for the OSU Endeavor Center business incubator. The center operated at nearly a 100% occupancy rate in the first two quarters, having only one space available for lease. A new partner application was recently approved and a start-up health coaching business will take possession of that office next month.
There has also been much activity and many visitors through the doors. We have hosted many training events and business meetings while continuing to receive requests to schedule meeting space at later dates. In summary, there are 18 (soon to be 19) partner companies that occupy 26 office and light industrial bay spaces. We also have four virtual partners that occupy the building on a part-time basis, but do not occupy an office.
Small Business Development Center
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) continues to grow with its successes in assisting businesses achieve their goals. The SBDC provides business counseling and assistance to individuals who are either starting or growing their business. The Piketon center is staffed with highly trained, Certified Business Advisors® (CBA) to help small businesses and entrepreneurs with development and growth to increase sales and create jobs in their local communities.
Regional partnerships are the primary source of referrals for SBDC at the OSU South Centers. Collaborative efforts with local chambers of commerce and economic development offices serve as the primary conduit to connect entrepreneurs with the services of the SBDC. The South Centers also maintains formal agreements with local universities for regional economic development collaboration. Pike County Community Action and the Minority Business Assistance Center are also key partners with the SBDC. These relationships help the region’s entrepreneurs, business owners, and small manufacturers with technical assistance and training.
• Business assessment evaluation
• Cash flow analysis
• Financial projections development
• Strategic business planning
• One-on-One business counseling
• Identifying sources of capital
• Workshops and training programs
• Marketing strategy development
• Market feasibility and research
• Export Assistance
To schedule an appointment to meet with one of our highly trained counselors, contact Brad Bapst, SBDC Center Director, at 740-289-2071 ext.230, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lumber Grading Training
In 2011, Ohio’s forest products industry, encompassing forestry and logging, wood products manufacturing, paper manufacturing, and wood furniture manufacturing, employed approximately 47,200 people, created $4 billion of labor income, and produced outputs of approximately $13.6 billion (Coronado et al 2015).
The Southeast region, which encompasses many of Ohio’s Appalachian counties, contains the most intensive primary processing of forest products in the state and the highest concentration of sawmills producing greater than 5 million board feet of lumber annually (Coronado 2015). According to an analysis by Michaud and Jolley (2016), the Appalachian region of Ohio is home to over 60% of the state’s sawmill employees, which contributed approximately $711 million to the region’s economy.
The importance of the forest and wood products industry to the region prompted the OSU South Centers Business Development Network, in conjunction with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), to host a Lumber Grading Short Course in April.
Fourteen participants in the NHLA-taught courses learned the basics of hardwood lumber inspection and received hands-on grading training; skills that will help them as they pursue opportunities across the forest and wood products industry, or work to improve their company’s processes and valuations in order to become more profitable.
Most of the course participants were current employees of local lumber businesses; however, a few of the attendees were local high school students and support organizations interested in the forest and wood products industry as a career opportunity or knowledge enrichment. Participants who successfully completed the course received the NHLA lumber grading certification; a certification that is highly regarded in the lumber industry.
The success of the course has prompted the OSU South Centers Business Development Network to make plans to continue to offer the course annually.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership
The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliate in southern and southeast Ohio, partnered with OSU South Centers to host a Lean Training event in the Endeavor Center on April 17. Scioto Productivity Solutions provided the training and there were 12 attendees who participated.
During the day-long event, the trainer covered topics such as introduction to Lean, basics of TPS, history of TPS, tools, how-to implement, keys for small business, leadership, and Six Sigma, as well as incorporating several hands-on activities to bring the training to life.
Attendees will be able to return to their companies with a tremendous conceptual understanding of Lean, begin basic implementation, and also be in a great situation to receive additional training at their company site for a more in-depth, comprehensive Lean program. This additional implementation can also be provided by CDME/MEP as a service to the company.
Aquaculture Boot Camp 2018
Due to adverse weather in January, Aquaculture Boot Camp II was postponed until February, when we met our 34 recruits and went over the yearlong agenda on which they were about to embark. Throughout the year we plan to continually work with these attendees in, not only the technical side of an aquaculture/aquaponics operation, but also the business side.
It is our mission to help them reach their business goals by assisting with development of business and marketing plans, as well as financial projections they can take from the session and determine if this is a viable business for them. Like with any other business in which we work, we hope to better educate and help form a plan prior to jumping in and not realizing what all may or may not be involved. Each month we will have a business session focusing on important aspects that come with starting and successfully running a business. We also will meet with clients on a one-to-one basis in order to dig deeper into their business ideas and answer questions that pertain to their differing situations.
OSU South Centers and University of Rio Grande Telecasts
Mr. Joe Perkins, owner of Perkins Community TV in Youngstown, Ohio and Shane Reinhert of Anderson Community TV in Cincinnati, Ohio are now replaying OSU / URG Telecasts that are aired each week on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings. These telecasts encompass 28 - 30 different half hour broadcasts each month, are live-streamed, and are saved on OSU South Centers and University of Rio Grande YouTube channels. Many Telecasts are also aired on Rio Grande Cable Access TV. There are 6-9 different telecasts each week.
Viewers can easily see the telecasts by visiting go.osu.edu/osusc and go.osu.edu/riogrande.
Formats of the telecast follow a Public Access TV format, providing educational programming geared to persons in the fields of agriculture, banking and economics, arts, museum, community, tourism, sports, health, technology, business, and organizations.
Endeavor Center and Business Development Network Achievements
By: Ryan Mapes, Business Development Network Program Leader and Endeavor Center Manager
2017 has been another successful year for the OSU Endeavor Center business incubator. The center operated at a 100% occupancy rate for most of the year. During the year we had a couple partners leave but were fortunate to have new partners ready to come on board to fill the vacated offices. State Street Laboratories is the latest business to become an Endeavor Center partner. The Endeavor Center also partnered with the African American Chamber of Commerce to house the minority SBDC that covers the Southern Ohio Region. There has also been much activity and many visitors through the doors this year. We hosted over 400 training or meeting events with well over 5,000 visitors during 2017. In summary, there are 18 partner companies that occupy 26 office and light industrial bay spaces. We also have 4 virtual partners that occupy the building on a part-time basis but do not occupy an office.
The Ohio State University South Centers Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a 9 person team that provides business counseling and training to a 10 county region in Southern Ohio. The Center utilizes a unified delivery model to incorporate resources from other programs affiliated with The Ohio State University South Centers, including the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, Direct Marketing and OSU Extension programs to strengthen service offerings.
The Export Assistance Network (EAN) helps companies to expand globally through counseling in the areas of market research, due diligence, general export education, export readiness assessments, and trade missions. A counselor also continues to specialize in providing opportunities for businesses to increase sales and create jobs through access to international markets as many small companies don’t have the expertise or resources to expand their business into these markets. Individual counselors are recognized each year at the Statewide SBDC conference for extraordinary efforts given throughout the year. These Peer Recognition Awards are voted on by all counselors around the state. All levels of field staff are eligible for nomination and there are five (5) categories of awards: advocacy, collaboration, innovation, marketing and mentoring. This year two of our counselors brought home individual awards. Chris Smalley won the Innovation Award for his work with the OSU South Centers Aquaculture Boot Camp program and Melissa Carter won the marketing award for helping clients develop and enhance informational/basic websites, Etsy stores, and social media platforms.
The Small Business Development Center at the OSU South Centers had very successful year providing business consulting to the existing and start-up small businesses in Southern Ohio. Also, Fayette County was added to the South Centers service area in 2017. During fiscal year 2017 the SBDC at the OSU South Centers provided the following assistance:
• Provided consulting to 365 clients of which 271 received 5 or more hours of consulting
• Assisted with starting 26 businesses
• Helped clients obtain $9,626,093 in capital
• Logged 4,484 consulting hours
• Held 18 training events with 324 attendees
• Clients created 113 new jobs and retained 824 jobs
• Recorded $7,000,000 in general sales growth for clients
Manufacturing Extension Partnership
The Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) was recently awarded a contract from the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to support the growth of small and medium sized manufacturing companies in the southeast region of Ohio. CDME is a unit within OSU’s College of Engineering focused on strengthening Ohio’s manufacturing sector.The contract establishes CDME as a Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate for the State of Ohio in support of Ohio companies. CDME will partner with the Ohio State University South Centers Business Development team to implement services in the Southeast Ohio region.
The MEP at Ohio State will focus on providing value added. CDME has a full-time engineering staff and is led by a team of former entrepreneurs and business owners who have successfully grown manufacturing and product innovation companies. The MEP program has access to CDME’s 40,000 square foot manufacturing space on the main Columbus campus, as well as most of the equipment in the broader Ohio State University landscape.
CDME MEP is primarily focused on new product development, product improvement, innovation, business development, lean manufacturing, and supply chain management. The program assists companies in the central and southeast Ohio regions in the following manner:
• Providing value-added engineering support for product development and innovation with an emphasis on design for manufacturing.
• Commercialization support and partner opportunities with commercial OEMs.
• Professional program management and industry-friendly contracts.
• Proposal identification and development support for federal, state and commercial funding programs.
• Access to the research capabilities and facilities of The Ohio State University and other State of Ohio research universities and federal laboratories.
• Introduction to support partners in the CDME network (incubators, venture capital, supply chain partners, fortune 100 OEMS, etc).
• Prototyping and small scale manufacturing of new products.
• Access to highly motivated students with experiential learning looking to join innovative manufacturing companies upon graduation.
Training and Programming
The staff of The OSU South Centers Business Development Network continues to engage community organizations and partners to maintain awareness of changing needs in the region and develop solutions to address those needs. Throughout the year, members of the Business Development Team served as board members for multiple chambers of commerce, county economic development offices, and advisory boards for business organizations to increase awareness of business issues and identify solutions to problems.
University of Rio Grande - The OSU-Rio Collaboration is a multi-project partnership between the OSU South Centers and the University of Rio Grande. The primary objective is to provide educational TV programming covering many different topics that promote Small Businesses, Business Support Organizations, programs at The Ohio State University South Centers, and Educational Programs at the University of Rio Grande / Rio Grande Community College. A member of the Business Development Network also serves as adjunct faculty to provide instruction for both online and on campus business courses.
Lumber Grading School - Over a dozen loggers from Ohio and abroad gathered at OSU South Centers to participate in a course designed to give them a better understanding and develop their skills in the timber industry. The five-day Lumber Grading Short Course/Flex Day Course was instructed by a National Hardwood Lumber Association National Inspector. The course began on October 2nd and finished on October 6th. The course was sponsored by OSU South Centers South Centers, Ohio Forestry Association, Inc., and the National Hardwood Lumber Association.
From Dream to Reality- This course is a five-week business program that meets twice a week designed to provide an opportunity to learn a variety of skills needed to own and operate a business. This course is offered two times per year through a partnership with the Pike Community Action Agency.
Agricultural Development and Young Farmer Programs- The SBDC works continues to work closely with the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation to provide assistance annually to agribusinesses and next generation farmers to diversify from tobacco production into a profitable venture. The SBDC provides assists area farmers with writing business plans for projects that will be submitted to SOACDF for potential grant funding. This past year, there were 73 Ag Development applicants and 25 Young Farmer applicants. You can view details and deadlines about the program at http://www.soacdf.net/.
Chillicothe Veterans Affairs Medical Center - The SBDC has partnered with the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center’s Office of Rehabilitative Services to establish an entrepreneurship program for veterans. The program is divided into three two-hour classes and occurred quarterly. The classes focus on business feasibility and entrepreneurship readiness, business plan components, marketing and operations. The veterans who have successfully completed this course have either already started or are in process of starting their own business.
Congratulations SBDC team members Chris Smalley and Melissa Carter
By Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager and Business Development Network Program Leader
At the statewide SBDC conference, two of our team members won Peer Awards. Congratulations to Chris Smalley for winning the Innovation Award for his work with Aquaculture Boot Camp by teaching business principles to participants each month. Congratulations also to Melissa Carter for winning the Marketing Award for her work assisting Southern Ohio businesses with digital marketing and website development. Both awards are well deserved!
Aquaculture Boot Camp has been developed to assist new and emerging aquaculture farmers understand the technical aspects of establishing and raising various species of fish at their farms to diversify their enterprises. This program is a yearlong intensive course that meets at the OSU South Centers monthly for a day of training. Time has been set aside at each class for the attendees to learn the business aspects of these new operations. Chris Smalley develops and teaches business courses that provide general business information to these farmers. He has created financial projections, marketing ideas, and sample business plans with specific assumptions for the Aquaculture industry, individual fish species, and various systems that can be put in place. He also recruits key resource individuals to speak in class about financial options to explore starting aquaculture facilities, how to market the product direct to consumer or wholesale, and ways to increase profitability. This partnership with the Aquaculture Program at the OSU South Centers has led to a new client base and attendees have benefited from not only learning the aquaculture for diversification opportunities but also understanding the business related principles to start this new venture.
Melissa Carter has created a niche offering to SBDC clients in Southern Ohio by developing and enhancing online marketing potential. Many clients are recognizing the need for online presence and diversifying how and where they sell their goods and services. Melissa works with clients to develop and/or enhance informational/basic websites, Etsy stores, and social media platforms. Through Wix and Weebly template based website creation pages, Melissa has created or enhanced over 15 different websites in the past year. This includes building a template from information gathered from the client, teaching the client how to utilize the site, and managing the site’s analytics and SEO. Additionally, she works to increase visibility on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and through Google Business, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. By offering these marketing services to the SBDC clients, an increased awareness and visibility of the SBDC offerings as a whole has been established. Clients are referred to Melissa for marketing assistance and then are established as long term through the continual growth of online presence. Melissa speaks at local and regional events about online marketing which allows business to also learn the various services the SBDC offers. A recent highlight for Melissa is that she presented an online marketing class in September at the 2017 America’s Small Business Development Center National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
Endeavor Center and Small Business Development Center
By Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager and Business Development Network Program Leader
Open since 2005, the Ohio State University Endeavor Center, a 27,000 square foot mixed-used business incubator, has come to be recognized as a community leader in economic development as well as a business training and networking hub. The facility has a 2-part mission:
First, to provide four tangible advantages to new and emerging businesses poised for rapid growth; professional office space in flexible configurations, access to advanced technology, networking opportunities with other small businesses, and access to expert business counseling on a free and timely basis. Second, the center seeks to be a positive and visible example of how small businesses successfully navigate the difficult issues faced by all growing small businesses.
Meeting rooms at the Endeavor Center support the dual-purpose mission by providing partners and the business community access to technology and learning space. The OSU Endeavor Center has a number of rentable meeting spaces in a variety of sizes and technology accommodations. The largest room available is classroom 160, with approximately 1,200 square feet and accommodating up to 72 persons seated at tables. Classroom 165 is approximately 800 square feet and accommodates up to 20 persons seated at tables. Both rooms have a built-in projector and screen, large whiteboard, audio system, large screen TV and CD/DVD combo. Conference room 112 is great for smaller meetings and will seat up to 12 persons in a boardroom style setting. Portable projection units service this room and it has a large whiteboard for use. There is also a 16-unit computer lab with projector available for lease. All classrooms can be rented for ½ or whole days and catering is available.
If you are interested in renting one of our excellent classrooms or in exploring the opportunity to conduct your business from our facility, please call 740-289-1605. We think you will discover the OSU Endeavor Center and its staff have a lot to offer your growing business!
Small business Development Center
The SBDC at the OSU South Centers recently was awarded additional funding from the Ohio Development Services (ODSA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). Innovation Challenge Grant funding opportunities were made available to SBDCs across the state to further enhance the offerings the SBDCs provide to their client base. Local needs were identified and a proposal was developed, submitted and successfully funded to secure resources to assist the staff in meeting the needs of the local business community. This funding will increase levels of staff knowledge through professional certifications, learning software, and trainings. It will also provide access to consultants to assist in exploring opportunities to grow local industries in Southern Ohio.
Human resource issues affect all industries in Southern Ohio. This funding will enable the SBDC to secure Business & Legal Resource (BLR) software to help businesses in the region to simplify compliance with state and federal legal requirements. BLR is the leading provider of employment, safety, and environmental compliance solutions. Employers know that they can count on BLR’s industry-leading compliance and training resources to keep them out of legal trouble, avoid fines and save money. This will afford the SBDC with the opportunity to help grow established businesses that may not have the capacity to handle common HR problems without assistance.
The forest and wood industry is a major driver in Southern Ohio’s economy. The SBDC and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center are exploring the opportunity of developing a cooperative business model which will construct and operate a wood drying kiln. This facility can be utilized by members of the cooperative to add value to their existing market lumber products. The Challenge Grant helped the SBDC secure funds to hire industry consultants to complete multiple designs for the kiln operation based on the data gathered from a previous survey and follow-up visits with potential users. Additionally, funds will be used to consult with attorneys specializing in the co-op model to assist with the development and vetting of the cooperative’s structure. This additional funding will help support the efforts of this project moving forward. The deliverables from this proposal will be used to complete the feasibility report for the operation, to develop the cooperative’s legal structure, and to provide information to potential co-op members. Industry consultants with expertise in kiln build out and operation and attorneys with expertise in agricultural cooperatives will provide consultations to the project team and potential members of the co-op.
Endeavor Center and Small Business Development Center
By Ryan Mapes, Business Development Network Program Leader and Endeavor Center Manager
The Endeavor Center continues to operate at near 100% capacity. We currently have 17 partner companies that occupy 25 office and light industrial bay spaces. We also have three virtual partners that occupy the building on a part-time basis but do not have a physical office space. At present time, we have a 200 sq. ft. office and a 400 sq. ft. office available, however in the last 3 weeks, have had three inquiries to lease those spaces.
One of the unique assets of the Endeavor Center is the composition of training, classroom and computer lab space. These rooms are set up to accommodate meetings of up to 72 participants. During the last quarter, our meeting rooms were rented 165 times. You can view individual room set-up and capacity at the following link: southcenters.osu.edu/endeavor-center
The Small Business Development Center also had a very active first quarter. Our counselors have been working with many clients and have assisted with more than twenty new business starts since October. We celebrated the first ever National SBDC Day along with SBDCs from around the country by promoting the OSU South Centers SBDC via use of social media. Jim Laipply, the State SBDC Director shared, “This was a great opportunity for us to come together as a statewide network and as a national program to share the impact and reach of SBDC. Additionally, Ohio was represented incredibly well across social media platforms with nearly a dozen Ohio SBDCs or SBDC host organizations posting on #SBDCDay. This was a great opportunity to see the power that social media can have in providing exposure to our program.”
The SBDC partnered with Community Action of Pike County Business Development to host a “Starting Your Business from Dream to Reality” course at the Endeavor Center. This class met twice a week for five weeks. Counselors for the SBDC taught segments in the areas of cash flow, financing, marketing, and social media. There were 13 individuals who completed the class.
A Gap Lending Roundtable was held in February to link lenders with potential gap lending resources. The audience consisted of area lenders and the program featured speakers from a dozen gap lending or alternative lending resources available in our region. The intent of this workshop was to make introductions, network, and develop relationships between the lenders and lending resources in the area.
OSU South Centers SBDC counselors partnered with Ohio University and participated in a series of entrepreneurial promotion events in Scioto, Ross, Jackson and Pike counties. The PORTSFUTURE Entrepreneurship Roundtable series events were held at the Shawnee State University, Ohio University Chillicothe, the Ohio State University Extension office in Jackson and at the Endeavor Center.
The Ohio Export Assistance Network program was recently recognized nationally for utilization of the IMAGE Grant. Kelly O’Bryant, the Export Assistance Network counselor at the OSU South Centers was recognized for this award along with other export counselors from around the state at the NASBITE conference in Spokane, Washington. The following paragraphs from the Ohio SBDC Newsletter describe the IMAGE Grant, it’s successes and export metrics obtained as a result.
“The Ohio Development Services Agency’s International Marketing Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program was recently honored with the 2017 Advancing International Trade State Award by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) at its annual conference in Spokane, Washington.
The Ohio Export Assistance Network program was recently recognized nationally for utilization of the IMAGE Grant. Kelly O’Bryant, the Export Assistance Network counselor at the OSU South Centers was recognized for this award along with other export counselors from around the state at the NASBITE conference in Spokane, Washington. The following paragraphs from the Ohio SBDC Newsletter describe the IMAGE Grant, it’s successes and export metrics obtained as a result.
“The Ohio Development Services Agency’s International Marketing Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program was recently honored with the 2017 Advancing International Trade State Award by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) at its annual conference in Spokane, Washington.
In 2016, Ohio exported nearly $50 billion worth of goods and services worldwide. The IMAGE program, a state and federal grant, helps marketing internationally more affordable to Ohio small businesses.
“Ohio consistently ranks as one of the top ten exporting states in the U.S.,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “By helping small businesses market internationally, Ohio remains competitive in a global marketplace.”
For the last four years of the program, IMAGE has provided a total of 441 grants to Ohio small businesses to assist with international marketing activities. Participating companies reported a total of $188.4 million in expected global sales generated from the activities supported by the IMAGE program.
Also, to increase the rate of success for Ohio small businesses in the global economy, the State of Ohio also offers programs to help small businesses hire an export intern, conduct market research and improve export processes. For more information, visit: www.exportassistance.development.ohio.gov
The IMAGE program supported by the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) offers financial assistance to small businesses to promote their products and services into international markets.
For information about the IMAGE program, visit: www.image.development.ohio.gov”
OCDC achievementsBy Hannah Scott, OCDC Program Manager
2016 was an exciting year at the Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers! The center continued its mission of rural economic development by providing education and assisting cooperative businesses across Ohio and West Virginia.
Cooperative Education Across the Region
OCDC provides education on the cooperative business model and business development that not only increases awareness of the business model, but helps groups who are exploring the start-up of a co-op business to make informed decisions.
Throughout 2016, OCDC provided a number of educational sessions at events like the West Virginia Small Farm Conference, the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Annual Congress, the Ohio Aquaculture Association Annual Conference, and the West Virginia Agricultural Innovation Showcases in Huntington and Moorefield. Specialists with OCDC lead programs for high school agricultural science students from Portsmouth and Piketon, Ohio, and presented to business students at the University of Rio Grande.
In order to support the development of rural businesses, OCDC counselors provide technical assistance in a number of areas including feasibility analysis, business planning, cooperative formation counseling, and financial planning, among others. In 2016, OCDC counselors worked with a variety of clients who were forming new cooperatives or existing cooperatives that were working to improve their businesses.
For example, OCDC staff provided support to the Southern Ohio Growers Cooperative (SOGC) to explore the cooperative business model, legally incorporate a new business, and build financial projections for the 2016. The co-op was up and running for the 2016 growing season, marketing a variety of pumpkins to retailers across the state and helping member farms increase their revenue!
Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network
OCDC continued convening and facilitating the successful Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network throughout 2016, bringing together food hub managers, directors, developers, and technical assistance providers for peer learning and networking. The network met quarterly and included sessions focused on financing, quality and process controls, and institutional markets. Multiple network meetings throughout the year included tours of operating businesses, including produce aggregation and distribution businesses and local food grocers. The tours of operational facilities gave participants the chance to observe working facilities, learn from employees about how produce is sourced from growers, protocols for aggregating and distributing products, as well as the importance of quality and safety control throughout the supply chain. OCDC was pleased to partner with the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition and the Value Chain Cluster Initiative to host the August 2016 network meeting.
Building OCDC’s Capacity
OCDC is committed to building the center’s capacity for technical assistance in order to enhance the support available to Ohio and West Virginia’s new and emerging cooperatives. In October, OCDC took a large step forward toward increasing capacity by welcoming a new staff member!
Ivory Harlow is a Program Specialist working to provide technical assistance and educational programming to rural businesses in the region. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Strayer University and earned a Master of Arts from Ohio Christian University. Ms. Harlow is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where she served as a medical material logistics journeyman. She is a graduate of Syracuse University Whitman School of Management’s Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program, and Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) at the Trulaske College of Business, University of Missouri. Ivory has a background in agriculture and business development. She is the owner of Dickie Bird Farm LLC in Ross County, Ohio. She writes Farm Forward, a weekly agriculture column for Farm and Dairy Newspaper.
OCDC Recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
On October 3, 2016, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center was recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development with an Award of Excellence. The award was granted, “In honor of nearly two decades of steadfast promotion and support of co-ops, leading to the success of innumerable rural and agricultural-based businesses in the Buckeye state.” Sam Rikkers, Administrator of USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Cooperative Service presented the award to OCDC staff along with Tony Logan, Director of USDA Rural Development in Ohio. The two visited Piketon to help kick off Co-op Month 2016 and to announce awards for USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG). As a recipient of an award through the grant program for the upcoming year, OCDC received funds to support business assistance throughout the region, focusing particularly on businesses in agriculture, forest and wood products, transportation, and energy.
OSUE Direct Agricultural Marketing Team 2016 achievementsBy Christie Welch, Direct Marketing SpecialistThe Direct Agricultural Marketing Team had a great 2016 assisting Ohio’s farm markets, farmers’ markets, agritourism operators, and stakeholders. Some of the trainings provided included:• Monthly webinars on a host of direct marketing topics that are archived on our website for viewing anytime, by anyone with an internet connection.• Many workshops and presentations from social media marketing to designing your farm market for flow and profit.• Collaborated with attorney Peggy Hall, OSUE Agricultural and Resource Law Field Specialist, to offer a free webinar and resources at the Farm Science Review about the new agritourism law inOhio; Ohio Senate Bill 75.• Collaborated with the Ohio Proud Program to offer two day-long training programs to Ohio’s direct marketers to improve their online presence to better communicate with their customers.• Collaborated with the Ohio Small Business Development Centers to provide a train-the-trainer program, DeviceReady (previously Maps&Apps). This program will be used by the Ohio SBDC counselors to better assist their small business clients with online marketing.• Collaborated with the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association to offer a direct ag marketing track at their annual Congress. This 3 day conference provided training to nearly 350 Ohio produce growers and marketers.• The annual team meeting gathered at Easton Town Center to do some on-site learning of marketing and merchandising techniques for businesses at Easton.2017 is gearing up to be a busy year of additional training and assistance for Ohio’s direct marketers. We will be once again offering our free monthly webinars, many workshops including Ohio MarketReady trainings, and many presentations. We will be assisting Ohio’s direct ag marketers with how they can take advantage of current food trends and how to more effectively communicate with their customers. If you would like to learn more or would like assistance for your agricultural enterprise, please go to our website southcenters.osu.edu/marketing or contact Christie Welch, Direct Ag Marketing Specialist at email@example.com.
Direct Marketing 2017 WebinarsThe Ohio State University Direct Agricultural Marketing Team is excited to once again, offer FREE marketing webinars once a month. Each month we have a new topic to discuss, with various educational presenters.Each webinar begins at noon, and is approximately one hour in length. Attendees have the opportunity to ask questions to the presenter, and comment to other attendees. This is a great way to network and share valuable information with one and other.Please see the flyer below for dates, topics, and presenter information.All webinars are recorded. For all our previous webinars, you may go to directmarketing.osu.eduIf you have questions regarding this year’s webinar schedule, please contact Christie Welch, OSU Direct Marketing Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endeavor Center and SBDC successBy Ryan Mapes, Business Development Network Program Leader and Endeavor Center Manager2016 has been another successful year for the OSU Endeavor Center. The center operated at a 100% occupancy rate for most of the year, with new partners ready to come on board to fill vacated offices when they became available. Mid America Conversion Services is the latest business to become an Endeavor Center partner. There are 17 partner companies that occupy 25 office and light industrial bay spaces. We also have three virtual partners that occupy the building on a part-time basis but do not occupy an office. There has been much activity and many visitors through the Endeavor Center doors this year. We hosted over 400 training or meeting events with well over 5,000 visitors during 2016.The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the OSU South Centers was recently successful in obtaining the SBDC funding award for another two-year period, 2017 and 2018. We will continue to provide business consulting to the existing and start-up small businesses in our service area, which changed slightly as Fayette County is now included in the Region 7 SBDC network. The SBDC area served now includes Adams, Brown, Gallia, Fayette, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton Counties. For fiscal year 2016 the SBDC at the OSU South Centers provided the following assistance:• Provided consulting to 345 clients of which 212 received five or more hours of consulting• Assisted with starting 27 businesses• Helped clients obtain $10,037,949 in capital• Logged 5,002 consulting hours• Held 20 training events with 503 attendees• Clients created 172 new jobs and retained 1,011 jobs• Recorded $7,415,000 in general sales growth for clientsSBDC work with the University of Rio Grande:The OSU-RIO Collaboration broadcasts are multi-media (Radio, TV, YouTube and Live Internet Streaming) educational shows with a host of different topics that promote Small Businesses, Business Support Organizations, Programs at The Ohio State University South Centers, and Educational Programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.As a result of the URG/OSU programming success, OSU was able to secure grant funds to install a recording studio at the South Centers. Currently, we are airing weekly shows pertaining to business and manufacturing.The Small Business Administration provided additional support to the SBDC to have detailed marketing projects completed for SBDC clients. This project was completed in partnership with the University of Rio Grande in which students from Dr. Wesley Theone’s marketing class completed market research and developed comprehensive marketing plans for five SBDC clients.SBDC Work with the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs Medical Center:Over the past six months, the SBDC has partnered with the Office of Rehabilitative Services at the Chillicothe Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center to establish an entrepreneurship program for veterans. The program is divided into three two-hour classes and occurred quarterly. The classes focus on business feasibility and entrepreneurship readiness, business plan components, marketing, and operations. The veterans who have successfully completed this course have either already started or are in process of starting their own business. The next series of classes will begin in February.SBDC work with SOACDF:SBDC continues to work with the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation in providing assistance to area farmers interested in applying for the Ag Development Grant and the Young Farmer Grant programs. This is a program where our SBDC counselors work closely with area farmers to write business plans for projects that will be submitted to SOACDF for potential grant funding to assist with their project. This year, we helped 43 individuals complete and submit applications for these programs. You can see details and deadlines about the program at www.soacdf.net/.SBDC work in Export Assistance:International markets provide opportunities for businesses to increase sales and create jobs. Many small companies don’t have the expertise or resources to expand their business into international markets. The Export Assistance Program (EAP) helps companies to expand globally through counseling in the areas of market research, due diligence, general export education, export readiness assessments, and trade missions.The EAP worked with 19 Appalachian companies that were awarded $83,856 from the International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) and/or the Appalachian Export Grant to expand their international marketing efforts and increase their exports.Be sure to visit our weekly Blog and stay up-to-date with the OSU South Centers business development network at u.osu.edu/osubusinessdevelopmentnetwork.
Building Great PartnershipsBy Patrick Dengel, Business Specialist/OSU-Rio Grande Collaboration Coordinator and Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager
Dr. Thomas Worley, Director of the OSU South Centers named the University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College (URG/RGCC) the 2016 OSU South Centers Supporter of the Year. This award was presented to Dr. Michelle Johnston, President of URG/RGCC at the 25th Anniversary Celebration at the OSU South Centers on September 15, 2016.
This award recognized the strong commitment and collaborative efforts between the two Universities. Through their contribution of time, resources, ideas and collaborative efforts, The University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College has been providing support and direction, as well as enhancing the overall quality of the OSU South Centers.
“I am honored to receive this award,” Johnston said. “Our partnership with OSU South Centers contributes to our efforts to serve our communities and provide our students with quality learning environments to help them succeed.”
Dr. Worley stated, “Dr. Michelle Johnston has become a very strong supporter and advocate of OSU South Centers during her time as President at University of Rio Grande. Our collaborative work in business development and in broadcasting has blossomed under her leadership. Her participation as a host of her own show is a tribute to her commitment to our shared efforts. I am very confident that we will continue to find ways to collaborate as we work to serve the residents of Southern Ohio.”
The OSU South Centers contracted with URG/RGCC in July 2009. At that time, the primary emphasis was in providing experiential learning formats to both MBA and undergraduate students enrolled in the Emerson E. Evans College of Business, as well as to work with students enrolled in other educational Programs. The OSU-RIO Collaboration is the “nickname” to the contracted agreement between The Ohio State University South Centers and URG/RGCC.
Since that time, URG/RGCC has become a very strong collaborator with a number of our programs at The Ohio State University South Centers. As a result of initial collaboration, one major joint program has had a significant effect on both of our universities. Our OSU-RIO broadcasts on television, radio, and live-streaming programs on the web have allowed both universities to promote joint educational programs to clients, students, small businesses, and interested viewers in Southern Ohio, across the State of Ohio, and beyond.
It was recognized by administration and staff from both universities that increased content, viewership, and a more concerted effort with the broadcasts would result in better visibility of educational and research programs both at the University of Rio Grande and The Ohio State University South Centers.
Some program highlights include:
• Over 60,000 viewers and listeners have touched at least one YouTube or internet radio program.
• Listeners or viewers from 178 Countries have tuned in to at least one of the broadcasts.
• Tallies show that approximately 350 listeners/viewers each week touch one of the archived educational broadcasts.
• Several students under tutelage of Mike Thompson have tried their hand at RIO RADIO – a daily and weekly radio show.
• Both administrations and key personnel from both universities host different shows on educational and informational subjects.
The University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College and The Ohio State University South Centers have shared resources in promoting programs that enhance clients, students, and businesses throughout the areas each serves. This working collaboration has demonstrated a well-defined effort while providing needed information to its perspective clients, students, and community members. Please visit the link below to explore some of the various shows. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrv0SYonHCbXs1WgoOHa6mw
Carter speaks at national conferenceBy Brad Bapst, SBDC DirectorMelissa Carter, a Business Advisor with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the OSU South Centers, presented a seminar session at the America’s SBDC Conference in Orlando, Florida in September. Carter was selected to present “Navigating Online Marketing for Clients” which covered topics such as understanding and utilizing social media, managing website content and optimization, and tips to increase online visibility for businesses. Over 75 individuals attended the ninety-minute session.Annually, the America’s SBDC Conference is held to provide professional development and networking opportunities to Business Advisors and Directors throughout the country. Over 1,400 individuals attended the September conference.
Endeavor Center and Small Business Development Center
By Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager
The Endeavor Center continues to have a very successful year. We have been operating at a 100% occupancy rate for 2016. North Wind Construction Services LLC was the latest business to become an Endeavor Center partner. There has been much activity and many visitors through the doors this past quarter, hosting over 80 training or meeting events during the months of April, May and June.
Below is a list of Endeavor Center Partners:
· Adams Wealth Management
· Boston Government Services
· CRC Technologies
· EHI Consultants
· EC Government Services
· Hukari Ascendent
· InSolves Manufacturing
· Navarro Research
· North Wind Construction Services
· Probatum Technology
· Professional Project Services
· Steve McCain and Associates
· SAA Solutions
· Swift and Staley
· Visiting Angels Home Health
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the OSU South Centers was recently successful in obtaining Ohio Development Services Agency funding for another two-year period, 2017 and 2018. We will continue to provide business consulting to the existing and start-up small businesses in our coverage area. Through the first three three quarters of fiscal year 2016, the SBDC at the OSU South Centers has assisted 245 clients and helped create 15 new businesses. Our clients have obtained $6,247,395 of capital, increased sales by $915,000, have created over 60 jobs, and have retained another 746.
Recently our SBDC has worked on a wide variety of projects. We received additional SBA funding to have detailed marketing projects completed for SBDC clients. This project was completed in partnership with the University of Rio Grande in which students from Dr. Wesley Theone’s marketing class completed market research and developed comprehensive Marketing Plans for three different SBDC clients including a coffee wholesaler, a beef processing plant, and a co-packing facility.
Another project we are currently working with is the Agricultural Development and Young Farmer grant application through Southern Ohio Agricultural Development Foundation (SOACDF). This is a program where our SBDC counselors work closely with area farmers to develop business plans for projects that will be submitted to SOACDF for potential grant funding. You can see details and deadlines about the program at http://www.soacdf.net/.
The OSU-RIO Collaboration TV/RADIO broadcasts are multi-media (Radio, TV, YouTube and Live Internet Streaming) educational shows with a host of topics that promote Small Businesses, business support organizations, programs at The Ohio State University South Centers, and educational programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College. These shows air on Wednesday afternoons from the Radio and TV Studio at the University of Rio Grande. Guests include a variety of people representing educational, business development, community and organizational programs. The mission of these collaborative TV/RADIO broadcasts is twofold, first is to be an educational learning lab and second is to be a promotional tool for educational programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and the business and agricultural programs of The Ohio State University South Centers.
In January 2012, the shows began simulcasting with the Rio Grande Educational Channel 17 TV station. This public access TV Program broadcasts under the Time Warner Cable System using one of their Public Educational Channels. Viewers from four southern Ohio counties can view broadcast shows live as well as listen on the Internet Blog-Talk Radio. All completed broadcast shows are also uploaded onto YouTube, with all shows archived on Blog-Talk radio and YouTube video channels for viewing and listening again. According to statistics of YouTube and Internet Radio, over 178 countries and over 55,000 people have listened or viewed to one of the archived shows.
With the success of the University of Rio Grande partnership, the SBDC had the opportunity to obtain grant funds to initiate a live streaming radio and TV broadcast international media channel to be located at the OSU South Centers. Emphasis is on small businesses, supportive small business organizations and agricultural programs. Training events covering a wide variety of business related topics also be recorded and archived on YouTube as well as the data recording platform used by the Ohio SBDC.
Be sure to visit our weekly Blog and stay up-to-date with the OSU South Centers business development network at https://u.osu.edu/osubusinessdevelopmentnetwork/.
Business Security Forum held at University of Rio GrandeBy Patrick Dengel, OSU - Rio Grande Collaboration Coordinator/Business Development SpecialistOn March 16, 2016, a Business Security Forum was held at the University of Rio Grande. This Educational program was sponsored in part by Ohio Valley Bank, The Ohio State University South Centers, OSU-OARDC and OSU Extension Programs, and University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College.Participants were welcomed by Dr. Michelle Johnston, President of the University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College. We were pleased to have staff members from State of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office on campus to be a part of this program.In addition to the live presentations of the speakers, all presentations were individually recorded to be shown on the Rio Grande Cable Access (Time-Warner Channel 17) Educational TV as well as on Blog Talk Radio in the near future. During March and April, these pre-recorded shows have been shown at different times on the OSU-RIO Collaboration TV/radio programs. All programs are archived on the URG or OSU YouTube Channel and Radio Shows.Listed to the right is an overview of the presenters. Full YouTube and Internet Radio Addresses will be available when they are aired on the channel Broadcasts.Presenters included:Introduction to Business Forum with Dr. Michelle Johnston and Attorney General Mike DeWine. Radio: http://tobtr.com/s/8544113Ryan Lippe, Consumer Educator, Consumer Protection Section Office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine - Ryan discussed Fraud Prevention and awareness of Cyber Scams. Ryan Lippe is a Consumer Educator for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Consumer Protection Section. As a consumer educator, Ryan conducts presentations to groups across the state to teach Ohioans about their rights and how to avoid scams. Radio: http://tobtr.com/s/8589181Gabe U. Stewart, CISSP, CRISC AVP/CISO, Ohio Valley Bank - Gabe discussed cyber security measures in the banking world. Gabe is the Chief Information Security Officer at the Ohio Valley Bank and has nearly twenty years of banking IT experience, the last 14 specifically in IT Security. Radio: http://tobtr.com/s/8589263Thomas E. Saunders, Attorney-at-Law Law Office of Thomas E. Saunders - Thomas discussed legal aspects in keeping personal information and assets protected. Thomas attended Capital University Law School and graduated cum laude with his J.D. in 2013. Thomas was a class representative in the Student Bar Association. During one summer of law school, Thomas attended classes at the University of Oxford in the U.K., through a program with the Ohio State University’s Mortiz College of Law. Radio: http://tobtr.com/s/8544045Scott Borden, Chief of Police University of Rio Grande Police - Scott discussed how to keep safe on and off campus. Scott started in law enforcement in 1978 as a cadet for the Ohio State Highway Patrol at the Xenia post. During his career with the State Highway Patrol, Scott earned numerous awards. Scott ended his Ohio State Highway Patrol career in 2001, after almost 33 years and has been the University of Rio Grande Campus Police Chief for five years.
OSU Business Development BlogBy Kimberly Roush, Program AssistantAre you looking for local business development tidbits?Join the OSU South Centers Business Development Network team weekly as they share practical tips for new and existing businesses in areas of marketing, management, financials, technology, manufacturing, commercialization, leadership and exporting.You will also learn about resources available to assist in your business endeavors. You will receive updates on how to start, sustain, and grow your business.The Ohio State University South Centers Business Development Network provides service through many programs including the Small Business Development Center, the Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development specialist, the Export Assistance specialist, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, the Endeavor Center, and the Ohio Farmers’ Markets programs.Program services impact business success locally and state-wide. From April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, the business development network team served 404 clients, provided 4,998 hours of professional one-on-one assistance, helped to start 21 new businesses, helped businesses to create 303 new jobs, helped businesses retain 1,891 employees, and assisted businesses to gain formation capital totaling over $35 million.To receive regular updates from these experts, subscribe to the OSU South Centers Business Development Blog at https://u.osu.edu/osubusinessdevelopmentnetwork.
Manufacturing RountableBy Mick Whitt, Manufacturing Business Development SpecialistAfter spending eighteen years in manufacturing I am aware of the exciting accomplishments and possibilities that exist for companies as they develop new products, new technologies, and new processes that improve production and quality of current product. These types of improvements can lead to greater profits, a better work environment, and of course the potential to reach new and larger markets. However, I am also aware of the challenges and obstacles that many manufacturers face, and the frustration that comes with not being able to find the answers you seek.To begin to identify the issues and problems of local manufacturers, I invited companies and individuals from a wide range of industries to participate in a Manufacturing Roundtable held at South Centers on March 8, 2016. The idea was to give manufacturers a voice and an open forum to discuss their specific needs and how we might collectively address and solve those needs.A few of the topics and concerns discussed during the forum were: training (maintenance, soft skills, ISO), workforce availability and development, and current workforce dependability.With the information and input I received in this roundtable I am currently researching and coordinating with other SBDC offices, as well as partners such as the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG), to develop training events, schedule speakers to address specific topics, and work with local schools to somehow bridge the gap between education and employers.Going forward we will continue the quarterly roundtable in hopes of engaging even more manufacturers and growing the program to increase the direct impact we can have on companies in our region.
Endeavor Center and Small Business Development CenterBy Ryan Mapes, Business Development Program Leader and Endeavor Center ManagerThe Endeavor Center and its partners are off to a great start in 2016! As cleanup work continues at the Piketon Uranium Enrichment facility, so does activity in the Endeavor Center as we continue to operate at an occupancy rate of 100%. Many partners are either contractors who work directly with Fluor or companies that provide services to those contractors. We have also added three new partners since the fall of 2015. Those partners are Steve McCain and Associates, LLC. (Acentus Capital), Visiting Angels Home Health Care, and Swift & Staley, Inc.The Endeavor Center has small, medium and large size training and meeting rooms as well as a 16-station computer lab available for lease. Our smallest room will accommodate 12 people, the medium room up to 30 and the large room will seat 75 comfortably. These rooms are a great asset to the Endeavor Center as they bring close to 2,500 visitors through the doors annually. This also provides an opportunity for those attendees to learn more about the services and programs available at the South Centers.The primary business development technical assistance program affiliated with or housed within The Endeavor Center is the District 7 Small Business Development Center. The SBDC provides consulting services to area businesses at no direct cost to the client. These primary services cover a very broad range of topics from business planning to access to capital to starting your business in Ohio. The SBDC also provides access to an Export Assistance specialist and a Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development specialist who are also housed at the Endeavor Center. These programs provide technical expertise and training to the small businesses in Southern Ohio.The staff of The OSU South Centers SBDC continually engages community organizations to maintain awareness of changing needs in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and develop solutions to combat any negative impact to the economy. Counselors volunteer time to serve as board members on chambers of commerce, a regional board established to support economic development, and advisory boards for business organizations to increase awareness of business issues and identify solutions to problems. Two specific examples of this continuous communication with the business community are featured on pages 6 and 7.
SBDC successBy: Ryan Mapes, OSU - Endeavor Center ManagerThe Ohio State University South Centers Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a nine-person team including a Regional Director, a manufacturing specialist, an international trade assistance specialist, four business counselors and two program assistants. The District 7 SBDC Center utilizes a unified delivery model to incorporate resources from other programs affiliated with The Ohio State University South Centers, including the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, Direct Marketing and OSU Extension programs.In 2015 the OSU South Centers SBDC provided 4,463 one-on-one consulting hours to entrepreneurs and existing businesses in the region. As a result, the clients started 27 new businesses, obtained $24,502,381 in loans and other capital, helped create 328 jobs and increased sales by nearly $32,214,000. The SBDC also provided 30 training sessions with 608 attendees. Training topics included general business management and growth principles, Microsoft Office products and social media outlets.Individual Counselors are recognized each year at the Statewide SBDC conference for extraordinary efforts given throughout the year. These Peer Recognition Awards are voted on by all counselors around the state. All levels of field staff are eligible for nomination and there are five categories of awards: advocacy, collaboration, innovation, marketing, and mentoring. This year two of our counselors brought home individual awards. Patrick Dengel won the collaboration award and Melissa Carter won the marketing award.Regional partnerships are the primary source of referrals for the District 7 SBDC. The South Centers maintains formal agreements with three local universities for regional economic development collaboration. The SBDC also utilized formal Memorandums of Understanding with the Southern Ohio Procurement Outreach Center, the district’s PTAC, and Pike County Community Action. These relationships help the region’s entrepreneurs, business owners and small manufacturers with technical assistance and training.The OSU South Centers SBDC Center also participated in multiple entrepreneurial focused events throughout the year such as: Lumber Grading School, Business Blog Talk, From Dream to Reality, and the SOACDF Tobacco Diversification Initiative.Lumber Grading School Over a dozen loggers from Ohio and abroad gathered at OSU South Centers June 29 through Jule 3 to participate in a course designed to give them a better understanding and develop their skills in the timber industry. The five-day Lumber Grading Short Course/Flex Day Course was instructed by a National Hardwood Lumber Association National Inspector. The OSU South Centers Business Development Network worked with Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth to provide reimbursement through the Make It In America workforce development grant to cover the costs of the training for companies sending employees to the Lumber Grading School.Business Blog Talk is a weekly podcast that incorporates business resources and highlights entrepreneurial successes in our region. In partnership with the University of Rio Grande, this program has now expanded into weekly television broadcasts. This is a unique and innovative approach to communicate with our clients and partners about the services available and to share success stories that help market the businesses of OSU South Center’s clients.From Dream to Reality is a five-week course that meets twice a week and is designed to provide an opportunity to learn a variety of skills needed to own and operate a business. This course is offered two times per year through a partnership with the Pike Community Action Agency.Tobacco Diversification Initiative is an annual program for agribusiness and next generation farmers in the 22-county area served by the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation to diversify from tobacco production into a profitable venture.The staff of The OSU South Centers SBDC continues to engage community organizations to maintain awareness of changing needs of entrepreneurs in the region and develop solutions to combat any negative impact to the economy. Counselors volunteered time to serve as board members on several chambers of commerce, on a regional board established to support economic development, and as members of advisory boards for business organizations to increase awareness of business issues and identify solutions to problems.
Endeavor Center accomplishmentsBy: Ryan Mapes, OSU - Endeavor Center ManagerThe OSU Endeavor Center manager and staff of the affiliated programs at the Ohio State University South Centers continually engage community organizations to maintain awareness of changing needs in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and develop solutions to combat negative impact to the economy while promoting the resources and talents of those in the region. 2015 was once again a successful year for the Ohio State University Endeavor Center, its programs and its partners. Open since 2005, the 27,000 square foot mixed-used business incubator has come to be recognized as a community leader in economic development, business training, and technological excellence.Endeavor Center business programs and partners had another successful year. The technical assistance programs affiliated with or housed within the Endeavor Center include a Small Business Development Center, an International Trade Assistance Center, a Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center, and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center. All of these programs provide technical expertise and guidance to the small businesses housed in the incubator. Several partners carried out work on several projects at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion facility. The facility housed 18 individual businesses which filled 27 office spaces throughout the year and had the center operating at close to 100 percent of its occupancy capability. In the last five years of operation, The Ohio State University Endeavor Center and its business partners have:• Created more than 1300, high-skill, high-wage jobs, adding more than 115 million dollars of direct economic activity to the local community.• In cooperation with the Small Business Development Center of Ohio, sponsored or conducted 320 business workshops, training sessions and seminars with nearly 5,300 attendees – business owners, prospective entrepreneurs and ambitious employees seeking to improve the profitability of their businesses so they can grow and provide additional employment opportunities in the community.A highlight of the year occurred in October when The OSU South Centers and the Endeavor Center hosted a visit from the Michael Drake, President of The Ohio State University, Bruce McPheron, Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmnental Sciences, faculty members, students and BRUTUS BUCKEYE! The meet and greet lunch included various community leaders and Endeavor Center partners. The trip showcased many businesses currently housed at the Endeavor Center and/or businesses that have received assistance from one of our business programs.
Carter and Dengel win peer recognition awardsBy: Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager and Business Development Network Program LeaderThe Ohio Small Business Development Center held its annual conference this past month and two of our business counselors received awards. Melissa Carter received the Peer Recognition Award and Patrick Dengel received the Collaboration Award. These awards are given annually to recognize the extraordinary efforts of SBDC counselors and staff across the State of Ohio.The Marketing Award is given to the person who generates and implements activities and/or techniques specifically targeted to Ohio’s entrepreneurs and small business owners for the purpose of increasing awareness and encouraging use of SBDC products, services, and/or events.Melissa Carter won the Marketing Award for her implementation of social media and online marketing techniques for both the OSU South Centers Business Development Network and for businesses.To be considered or nominated for the Collaborative Award, the candidate must show strong evidence of creating or strengthening a collaborative relationship. Examples of collaborative partnerships can be with other entities within our own organizations or can involve an outside organization with similar goals, and with various business-oriented groups.Patrick Dengel won the Collaboration Award for his partnership with the University of Rio Grande. Patrick works diligently with the University of Rio Grande by utilizing their television and radio equipment to organize weekly broadcasts to showcase the businesses and partners throughout the region.These activities and techniques deliver value to the SBDC by increasing the SBDC’s economic impact on the state’s economy, and to its clients by satisfying the owner and partner objectives and fostering their success.
Lumber grading training creates opportunities for workforceBy: Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerIn 2010, the forest products industry employed close to 12,000 people in southeast Ohio and contributed over $511 million dollars in labor income alone to the region. The importance of the forest and wood products industry to the region prompted the OSU South Centers Business Development Network, in conjunction with the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), to host two Lumber Grading Short Courses over the summer of 2015. More than 30 participants in the NHLA-taught courses learned the basics of hardwood lumber inspection and received hands-on grading training; skills that will help them as they pursue opportunities across the forest and wood products industry or work to improve their company’s processes to become more profitable.Most of the course participants were current employees of local lumber businesses; however, a few of the attendees were local high school students interested in the forest and wood products industry as a career opportunity.Participants who successfully completed the course received the NHLA lumber grading certification; a certification that is highly regarded in the lumber industry. Previously, this training and certification was only offered several hours away from Pike County which made it hard for employers and employees to participate.Business development specialists at the OSU South Centers worked with the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG) to secure reimbursement grants to cover the costs of the workforce development training through the “Make It In America” grant program. The cost of the training was covered for approximately 25 of the 32 participants through the program.The success of both courses has prompted the OSU South Centers Business Development Network to make plans to offer the course on an annual basis and will return in 2016. You can read more about the June training in the Pike County News Watchman at http://bit.ly/1FFe4H3.*Image from lumber grading workshop is by Stephanie Stanley, Pike County News Watchman.
Welcome to OSU South Centers, Mick Whitt!Mick Whitt is the new Manufacturing Business Development Specialist for the MTSBDC. He holds a Machine Trades Certificate from Pickaway-Ross CTC, a Business Management Degree from Ohio Christian University, as well as having nearly 20 years of experience in a variety of manufacturing facilities in production support, quality control, and management.Prior to Mick’s employment with OSU, he was a Quality Manager at a gray iron foundry that specialized in green sand molding.Mick’s professional background is in machining where he spent 15 years as a manual machinist, CNC mill operator and programmer, pattern maker, and 5s facilitator before going into quality control and management.Mick is the newest member of the Business Development Team, and as the Manufacturing Specialist, he will be concentrating on several key areas to assist in developing and improving processes and productivity for small manufacturers:• Lean manufacturingefficiencytime managementdowntime (tracking)waste/scrap reductionorganization (5s = Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, Sustain)• Process FlowNew buildings, add-ons, new businessesImproving flow in existing structures• Process and Quality ControlQuality issuesQuality controlsControl standards (setting deviations and standards)Work Instructions• Working within the SBDC TeamConnecting businesses with the proper people at OSU South Centers to meet their business needs.
OSU-RIO collaboration broadcasts updateBy: Patrick Dengel, OSU - RIO Grande Collaboration Coordinator and Business Development SpecialistOSU-RIO collaboration broadcasts are multi-media (Radio, TV, YouTube and live Internet streaming) educational shows with a host of different topics that promote small businesses, business support organizations, programs at The Ohio State University South Centers, and educational programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.The shows air on Wednesday afternoons at the Radio and TV Studio at the University of Rio Grande. Guests include a variety of people representing educational, business development, community and organizational programs. These broadcasts are a collaborative effort of the two Universities that are hosted by individuals representing organizations and local communities, the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and The Ohio State University.The ultimate mission of these collaborative media programs is to be an educational learning lab for students enrolled in the business and communication programs at the University of Rio Grande as well as to be a promotional tool for educational programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and the business and agricultural programs of The Ohio State University South Centers. The OSU-RIO collaborative educational broadcasts assist students with understanding and using different formats of social media, including: Radio, TV, YouTube and live Internet streaming.This educational project had its inception February 2010 using a weekly Internet Blog-Talk Internet podcast program. This program provides business majors and MBA students with experience in using different media formats as part of their entrepreneurial course work. It has been the goal to have students plan the media show schedule, schedule guests for the program, use different marketing/advertisement formats, co-host interviews, undertake the behind-the scenes broadcasting duties, and maintain statistical information.In January 2012, the shows began simulcasting with the Rio Grande Educational Channel 17 TV station. This public access TV program broadcasts under the Time Warner Cable System using one of the Public Educational Channels. Viewers from four southern Ohio counties can view broadcast shows live as well as listen on the Internet Blog-Talk Radio site. All completed broadcast shows are uploaded onto university YouTube channels. Consequently, all shows are archived on Blog-talk radio and YouTube video channels for viewing and listening again. According to statistics of YouTube and Internet Radio, people from over 170 countries have viewed or listened to at least one of the broadcasts and over 45,000 have listened or viewed to one of the archived shows.These broadcasts provide subject information on varying topics ranging from interviewing people from small businesses, personnel from business support organizations, programs managers and educators with The Ohio State University South Centers, and faculty/administration on various educational programs with the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College. Different show formats include:• South Centers Chat – hosted by Dr. Tom Worley discussing OSU South Centers Partners and OSU educational programs• Agri-Talk – focusing in on agricultural topics in Southern Ohio• Strictly Business – focusing in on regional small business owners• Tech-Talk focusing on new types of technology in the educational and business worlds• Pawsitive Learning – dog training segments• Exposition – art and artisan culture• Bank-Talk – financial and economic programs• Voice of Rio Grande – hosted by Dr. Michelle Johnston, educational programs and organizations that support higher learning• Voice of Rio Grande – hosted by Dr. Richard Sax, educational programs inside the University of Rio Grande• Voice of Rio Grande – Hosted by Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Mitchell, Deans, interviewing faculty at the University of Rio Grande• Safe-Guard with Police Chief of Rio – safety issues for students and individuals• International Culture – focusing on different cultures throughout the diverse world• Babylon Radio – featuring musical artist• Business Talk – featuring different southern Ohio small businesses• Chamber Exchange – Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, featuring area businesses and organizations
Business Development Network
The Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon Contracts with the University of Rio GrandeBy: Patrick Dengel, OSU-Rio Grande Collaboration Coordinator and Business Development SpecialistThe Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon contracts with the University of Rio Grande to provide service programs that assist business students with experiential learning, complimenting their formalized for-credit education. This program assists students with understanding the essentials in entrepreneurship. Patrick Dengel is the OSU-RIO Collaboration Program Coordinator, who establishes learning objectives, tasks, and focuses the activities of students in this program.As an adjunct faculty member, Dengel teaches a simultaneous on-line and in-class for-credit course each semester in business management. This is the capstone class for students seeking their degrees in business. Students develop a workable small business plan and at the end of the course make a presentation about their plan. As a result of this course, several students have started new businesses, one has expanded their business via expansion loans using their small business plan, and another established increased product capacity in their manufacturing business.In another joint effort, Dengel and Jason Winters, Chair of the College of Business at University of Rio Grande, established an OSU-RIO Collaborative television/radio educational show which assists students with understanding different media formats including: radio, television, YouTube and live internet streaming. These shows feature guests discussing business and education topics ranging from interviewing people from small businesses, personnel from business support organizations, programs managers and educators with The Ohio State University South Centers, and faculty/administration from various educational programs at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.This project had its inception February 2010 using a weekly Internet Blog-Talk Podcast program.This program provides business majors and MBA students with experience using different media formats as part of their entrepreneurial course work. With assistance, students schedule guests for interviews, schedule media show slots, use different marketing /advertisement formats, co-host interviews, manage behind-the scenes broadcasting and maintain statistical information. In the beginning, the shows were one hour long using the telephone as the principle microphone. All interviews have been archived on Internet Blog-Talk Radio for listening again.As the listening audience grew, in January 2012 the show drew the attention of Mike Thompson, Director of the University of Rio Grande Instructional Design and Media Services. In addition to the Blog-Talk Internet Radio, the shows began simulcasting with the Rio Grande educational channel 17 TV station. This public access TV Program broadcasts under the Time Warner cable system using the public educational channels. With the addition of the public access channel 17 broadcast, viewers from four Southern Ohio counties can now view broadcast shows live, in addition to the audio program being available on the Internet through the BlogTalk Radio site. All completed broadcasts are archived online on BlogTalk Radio and YouTube for viewing and listening again.As of January 2015, the OSU-RIO Collaboration TV/Radio again expanded its format by introducing three-half-hour programs, which include:Wednesday, 1:00 to 1:30 p.m.Business Talk – Focuses on people from different small businesses; personnel from small business support organizations; program leaders and educators with The Ohio State University South Centers; and students, faculty and administrators with the University of Rio Grande.Wednesday, 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. (Each of the four shows is seen once a month):Body Talk – Health program on maintaining healthy livingExposition – Art and cultural program featuring local artisans displaying artworkAgri-Talk – OSU educators discuss agricultural programsStrictly Business – OSU program managers highlighting area businesses and entrepreneurs Wednesday, 3:00-3:30 p.m. (Each of the four shows airs once a month, featuring various guests):Voice of Rio – Hosted by the President of the University of Rio Grande Voice of Rio – Hosted by the Provost of the University of Rio Grande South Centers Chat – Hosted by the Director of OSU South CentersVoice of Rio – Hosted by the Deans of the University of Rio GrandeUsing archive statistics, the OSU-RIO Collaborative has tabulated that since beginning the program in February 2010 to May 31, 2015, the program has had almost 32,000 views or listens. Statistics also show persons from 165 different countries have viewed or listened to at least one of the broadcasts.By the end of 2015, it is the goal of the OSU-RIO Collaborative to distribute completed shows to other public access channels.Readers can information about these educational programs at:Our Web page: http://southcenters.osu.edu/small-business/business-talkOSU-RIO Collaboration Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theosurioRio Grande Cable Access Facebook page: www.facebook/riograndecableaccess
Supporter of Cooperatives Inducted into Ohio Ag HOF
Dennis Bolling, a passionate advocate for cooperatives and a supporter of the Center for Cooperatives in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, was inducted into the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame on August 3 at the Ohio State Fair.
As the Ohio Agricultural Council shared:
“Dennis Bolling has dedicated his life to the betterment of Ohio agriculture and the agricultural cooperative field. Bolling served as the long-time president and CEO of United Producers Inc. (formerly Producers Livestock Association). Under his leadership, Bolling orchestrated mergers, led the organization through financial challenges, and ensured director education and development. Today, as one of the largest livestock marketing cooperatives in the country, United Producers Inc. serves 30,000 members across the Midwest.
“Throughout his career, Bolling has been a generous contributor of his time and leadership to improving agriculture through education and developing agricultural leaders. In 2003, he helped launch the Mid-America Cooperative Council to address the lack of education on cooperatives as a way of doing business.
“Bolling has been repeatedly recognized by his peers for his contributions to agriculture. He is a recipient of the Industry Service Awards from the Ohio Pork Council and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. In 2016, he was inducted into the National Cooperative Hall of Fame in Washington D.C.”
Congratulations to Dennis on this distinct honor. We are happy to count him as one of our advocates for cooperative business and as a member of the advisory committee for the CFAES Center for Cooperatives.
LIVE from the CFAES Center for Cooperatives, it's Co-Op Mastery
By Ivory Harlow
Program Specialist, CFAES Center for Cooperatives
On June 1st, 2018, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Center for Cooperatives, based at the OSU South Centers, launched Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101.
Co-op Mastery is an engaging, online cooperative course for a variety of co-op stakeholders, including steering committee members of new and emerging co-ops, students of co-ops, and new co-op board members or employees.
“Co-op Mastery curriculum focuses on mid-level knowledge about the cooperative business model,” said Center for Cooperatives Program Manager, Hannah Scott. “Training modules build on existing fundamental materials by providing an in-depth look at governance, finance, taxation and other areas not typically covered by courses in fundamentals, yet challenging topics for stakeholders.”
The training features eight modules which include video interviews with numerous leaders in the cooperative movement:
• Logan County Electric Cooperative General Manager Rick Petty discusses cooperative principles and various functions of cooperatives.
• Dennis Bolling, retired President and CEO of United Producers, Inc., shares the benefits that cooperatives provide to members.
• Mid-America Cooperative Counsel Executive Director Rod Kelsay discusses effective education and training for a co-op’s Board of Directors.
• Ohio State University Extension Educator Dr. Chris Bruynis gives insight to key factors that contribute to a cooperative’s success.
• Nationwide’s VP of Sponsor Relations Devin Fuhrman shares the story of Nationwide’s history as a mutual cooperative company.
• Agricultural attorney Carolyn Eselgroth of Barrett, Easterday, Cunningham and Eselgroth, LLP addresses legal considerations when forming a cooperative business.
• Co-Bank Senior Relationship Manager Gary Weidenborner leads users through an interactive financial document exercise.
• Dr. David Hahn, Professor Emeritus at the Ohio State University, explains cooperative taxation.
During the first 30 days the program was live and available to the public, Co-op Mastery directly impacted 268 individuals, through website visitors and cooperative education workshops taught by Center staff in Ohio and West Virginia. Workshop participants also received Co-op Mastery workbooks, a 48-page compilation of activities and examples, to supplement their online learning.
Co-op Mastery is a valuable digital tool for cooperative education. Microfarmers in northwest Ohio have used Co-op Mastery to learn about co-op governance. Co-op Mastery workbook business and financial worksheets help simplify the business planning process for farmers exploring the formation of a co-op.
In July 2018, Program Manager Hannah Scott and Specialist Ivory Harlow presented Co-op Mastery as a tool for cooperative developers and educators at the 2018 Association of Cooperative Educators Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Attendees from across North America learned how to utilize Co-op Mastery as a digital tool for cooperative education and development.
Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101 was made possible by a Cooperative Education Grant from the CHS Foundation. The training is free and can be accessed online at
To request a workshop or more information, visit go.osu.edu/cooperatives or contact the Center for Cooperatives at email@example.com or 740-289-2071 ext. 111.
From Farm to Cafeteria to Field
By Ivory Harlow and Hannah Scott
CFAES Center for Cooperatives
The 2018 National Farm to Cafeteria Conference brought together educators, dieticians, foodservice staff, farmers, and local food advocates from across the country in Cincinnati, Ohio in late April.
Attendees discussed how Farm to School initiatives enrich their communities, strengthen the food system, and boost local economies. Conference sessions shared best practices to boost local food consumption in the cafeteria and provide agriculture, food, health, and nutrition education to students.
The conference featured field trips to several Ohio food and farm destinations. The CFAES Center for Cooperatives guided tours “From Garden to Food Hub” and “The Science of Local Food” at the Ohio State University South Centers.
On the conference’s final morning, 20 conference attendees boarded the bus for a 2-hour scenic trip from the conference center in Cincinnati to OSU South Centers in Piketon. They participated in the award-winning food science program “The Story of the Strawberry.” The program is a partnership between OSU Extension Pike County, OSU Horticulture, and OSU Food, Nutrition, and Wellness.
Attendees learned about plasticulture strawberry production and OSU researchers’ efforts to extend the Ohio harvest season from a historical 3-week strawberry harvest to a 3-month harvest window. Attendees also gained disease prevention insights from current berry nutritional research. Hands-on activities included taste tests and strawberry DNA extraction.
Next, the group boarded a hay wagon for a tour of the South Center’s research plots. They visited the hops yard, grape vineyard, and aquaculture ponds. Attendees learned about services provided to new businesses in South Center’s unique business incubator, the 27,000-square foot Endeavor Center. The Business Team shared how they help entrepreneurs, including agricultural producers and food manufacturers, start and grow businesses in southern Ohio.
CFAES Center for Cooperatives Program Manager Hannah Scott greeted 25 conference goers on a sunny afternoon outside of the Duke Energy Convention Center for a tour focused on local food aggregation and distribution. Attendees visited the facilities of Our Harvest Cooperative and Ohio Valley Food Connection located in The Incubator, a commercial kitchen and food aggregation incubator in northern Kentucky, to learn about the collaboration between the two southwest Ohio food hubs to move more local food to institutions. The field trip also took attendees to Fox Tail Farm in New Richmond, Ohio, a small produce farm marketing produce like carrots and greens through a hub. Participants learned about the farm’s production techniques and the advantages the farm experiences marketing through a hub.
The unique challenges of moving locally produced food from farms to restaurants, cafeterias, and retailers have been a focus of the Center for Cooperatives since 2014 through the Ohio & West Virginia Food Hub Network and technical assistance work with food hubs. According to a recently released study from Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and Wallace Center at Winrock International, approximately 31% of U.S. food hubs marketed products to K-12 schools in 2017. Despite challenges, food hubs can help producers access larger markets than they may be able to working on their own. In 2017, approximately 18% of food hubs in the U.S. were cooperatively owned.
CFAES Center for Cooperatives: Collaboration Creates Greater Impact
By: Ivory Harlow Cooperative Development Specialist, CFAES Center for Cooperatives
Among draft horses, Belgians are reputed to be the strongest and most capable. A single Belgian draft horse can tow 8,000 pounds. More impressive is what two can do together; a team of two draft horses doesn’t just double- but triples pulling power to 24,000 lbs!
Like a team of draft horses, The CFAES Center for Cooperatives combined forces with industry, government and association partners to achieve great things in 2017. Collaboration created greater impact through cooperative education, technical and development assistance for stakeholders and students of cooperatives.
The Center teamed up with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to share best practices with the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network. Director of Food Resource Development, Mike Frank, led network participants on a tour, describing how the Foodbank has overcome challenges associated with the aggregation, storage and distribution of fresh food. The Network left with practical actions to improve their food hubs’ operational efficiency.
Collaboration between the Center for Cooperatives and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development provided valuable information to local ag producers looking to diversify or enhance their operations. A Value-Added Producer Grant informational session with key speakers from the USDA was hosted at the OSU South Centers, offering local producers an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from USDA grant experts.
The Center for Cooperatives worked closely with the Central Appalachia Cooperative Development Group to start Unity Coffee and Teahouse, the first worker-owned cooperative business in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Five Baristas and a coffee roaster created the co-op with a shared vision to foster a commUnity that supports workers, customers and local residents. Unity Coffee and Teahouse opened for business in January 2018.
The Mid-America Cooperative Council (MACC) brought together cooperative developers from across the Midwest to facilitate communication and coordination of co-op educational resources. The Center met with counterparts from Kentucky, Indiana and northeast Ohio at United Producers, Inc. headquarters in Columbus for a two-day roundtable. Developers discussed programming, goals and alignment. The Center identified opportunities to boost educational programming and technical assistance in the region by sharing knowledge and pooling resources.
The Center facilitated cooperative education for visiting scholars in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics over their stay in the United States, including an educational tour of agricultural cooperatives at the Farm Science Review. Scholars visited with representatives from Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, Farm Credit, Heritage Cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America and COBA/Select Sires. The scholars returned to Ukraine motivated to share their newfound knowledge of agricultural cooperatives with students at their respective universities.
The Center connected with local vocational schools and FFA to build students’ awareness of careers in agricultural cooperatives. The Center hosted students at OSU South Centers, visited Ohio Valley Career & Technical Center FFA and served on an Ag Career panel in Ross County.
The Center worked with the Ohio State University CFAES Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics instructors to facilitate an undergraduate class project. Students interviewed cooperative leaders and created multimedia presentations sharing what they learned about the cooperative model.
Collaboration with partners created a great impact in 2017. The CFAES Center for Cooperatives intends to increase our horse power in 2018. We look forward to partnering with the Ohio Farm Bureau to provide cooperative education to the next generation of leaders at the AgriPOWER Institute and the Young Agricultural Professionals Winter Leadership Experience. The Center will forge new relationships with growers, producers and marketers at the annual Ohio Produce Network conference, the Ohio Association of Meat Processors conference, and the 14th Annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference. Together, the Center and partners are resolved to drive forward the cooperative movement in the region and beyond.
Coming soon: Co-op Mastery, an online training from The Ohio Cooperative Development Center
By Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center Program Specialist
Cooperative businesses exist to serve members. Cooperative education must do the same– serve members, employees and students of cooperatives with relevant and timely information so that they can contribute effectively to their cooperative and the larger cooperative movement.
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) is excited to announce it has received a 2017 CHS Foundation Cooperative Education Grant to support OCDC’s effort to develop an online educational training for members, employees and students of cooperatives.
The course, “Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101,” will go beyond basic cooperative information by providing technical and practical guidance to new and existing cooperative businesses and students. The course will serve OCDC’s current client base in Ohio and West Virginia. Additionally, the online format will expand OCDC’s reach nationwide.
“Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101” contains ten modules. Each module focuses on a unique area of cooperative business. Modules address common challenge areas for new co-ops, such as co-op finances and legal considerations. Industry experts and co-op service providers offer insight to issues such as sources of equity, shared capital and tax treatment. Narrated presentations guide users through governance and financial documents.
Users can download cooperative business and financial templates, including purchasing and marketing agreements and board training development tools. They can search the “Co-op Mastery” online library to locate additional research-backed reference materials.
“Co-op Mastery” engages learners with interactive content that speaks to the modern learning environment. The course will include video and audio interviews with leaders in the cooperative movement. Photography and infographics give users a sneak peek into the world of cooperatives. Case studies highlight cooperative businesses, sharing successes and lessons learned.
OCDC will host monthly “office hours” within the course. Users can log-on to ask questions and get answers in real-time. The forum also serves as a networking opportunity for cooperatives to exchange perspectives with peers and experts.
Continuous education, training, and information is one of the cooperative movement’s principles, and an important part of OCDC’s mission. Additional content will be added to enhance the course and ensure training is up-to-date and relevant for the long-term. Updates will reflect co-op trends as well as suggestions and feedback from users to better serve their needs.
The course will be housed in the public access version of Canvas, The Ohio State University’s online learning management system. The open online format allows learners to search the course for information as it is needed. Students at The Ohio State University will be encouraged to access training materials that complement their agricultural studies.
“Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101” will be released beginning in spring of 2018. The Ohio Cooperative Development Center thanks the CHS Foundation for their generous support of the project and recognizes CHS’s commitment make a difference through cooperative education.
South Centers Synergy:Pumpkin Power
By Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center Program Specialist
Pumpkins are the third largest fresh market vegetable produced in Ohio. More than 7,000 acres across the state are dedicated to pumpkin production. According to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, consumer demand for specialty pumpkins has grown steadily in recent years, and future growth is forecasted. The thriving market for pumpkins provides Ohio growers an opportunity to sell locally grown pumpkins at a premium price.
Brad Bergefurd, horticulture specialist at the Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers, has conducted pumpkin research since 1998. His research identifies top-performing pumpkin cultivars with highly marketable traits and tolerance to plant diseases and pests. His reputation for helping farmers grow superior vegetables means Bergefurd often fields questions – from growers and buyers alike – about pumpkins, produce and fresh vegetable marketing.
In 2015, Brad received calls from regional buyers seeking pumpkins. “I was being contacted by larger buyers. I talked to local growers who I have consulted with for years and who had shared their interest in expanding to wholesale markets; but they did not have large enough acreage to do it on their own. I pitched the idea of a marketing co-op, and invited them to OSU South Centers to meet with Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) Program Manager Hannah Scott.”
A group of eight growers attended the meeting to explore how cooperatives benefit members. OCDC provided co-op education, assisted with business and financial planning, and guided the group through federal and state business filing procedures to legally form the Southern Ohio Growers Cooperative.
OSU South Centers provides comprehensive resources
The development and success of the Southern Ohio Growers Cooperative was a team effort. Several departments: horticulture, cooperatives, business and marketing, contributed to the project during start-up and continue to provide ongoing assistance.
Brad Bergefurd, whose horticulture research and connections initially brought the group together, continues to serve members with relevant pumpkin research. This year his research focuses on powdery mildew, a persistent problem for pumpkin growers in Ohio. Brad lends a helping hand to co-op members with cultivar selection, pest and disease problems control, and production questions.
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center provides ongoing technical assistance to the co-op. OCDC delivered board of director training, and helped members put a marketing agreement in place for the 2017 season. Hannah Scott assisted Southern Ohio Growers Cooperative members to develop end-of-year financial statements. “One of my proudest moments was seeing the co-op share first-year profits back with members,” Hannah Scott says. “That revenue would not have happened without the co-op.”
Chris Smalley, Small Business Development Specialist, helped the group forecast finances and production costs. Program Manager of Direct Marketing Christie Welch assisted members with their initial marketing plan, and to identify additional markets for expansion.
In 2016, Southern Ohio Growers Cooperative delivered over 500 bins of pumpkins to regional retailers. The co-op’s goals for the future include building a reputation for quality, increasing the volume of pumpkins and adding additional fresh produce offerings. OSU South Centers is here to help the Southern Ohio Growers Cooperative achieve their goals by providing comprehensive resources through collaborative partnerships.
Endeavor Center Achievements
By: Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager
The OSU Endeavor Center manager and staff of the affiliated programs at the Ohio State University South Centers continually engage community organizations to maintain awareness of changing needs in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and develop solutions to combat negative impact to the economy while promoting the regions resources and talents of the region. 2014 was once again a successful year for the Ohio State University Endeavor Center, its programs and its partners. Open since 2005, the 27,000 square foot business incubator has come to be recognized as a community leader in economic development, business training, and technological excellence.
Endeavor Center business programs and partners had another successful year. The technical assistance programs affiliated with or housed within The Endeavor Center include a Small Business Development Center, an International Development Center, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. All of these programs provide technical expertise and guidance to the small businesses housed in the incubator. In partnership with the Endeavor Center, the region’s Small Business Development Center was chosen as the top performing SBDC within six states by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Partners proceeded to work on several projects at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion facility. The Endeavor Center facility housed eighteen individual businesses which filled twenty-seven office spaces throughout the year and operating at more than 100% of its original occupancy capability. In the last five years of operation, the Ohio State University Endeavor Center and its business partners have:
• Created more than 1,300 high-skill, high-wage jobs, adding more than 115 million dollars of direct economic activity to the local community.
• In cooperation with the Small Business Development Center of Ohio, sponsored or conducted 320 business workshops, training sessions and seminars with nearly 5,300 attendees – business owners, prospective entrepreneurs and ambitious employees seeking to improve the profitability of their businesses so they can grow and provide additional employment opportunities for those in the community.
In August, a partnership was formed with Community Action of Pike County to combat potential federal budget induced layoffs at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion facility. Community Action Committee of Pike County received funding to create a temporary transition center to provide technical assistance for employees facing layoffs. In short time, the transition center was up and running in the Endeavor Center.
Also in 2014, the OSU Endeavor Center was chosen as The Ohio State University’s nominee for the national C. Peter McGrath Community Outreach and Engagement Award. In October, the OSU South Centers director, Tom Worley, and Endeavor Center manager, Ryan Mapes, attended the national outreach and engagement award presentation in Edmonton, Alberta to learn more about the award process. The Endeavor Center staff is currently working with staff on main campus to prepare the presentation for the 2015 national award process.
A Warm Welcome to Dr. Lijing Zhou to the Small Fruit Research and Extension Team at OSU South Centers in Piketon!
By Gary Gao, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist
I am very happy to introduce Dr. Lijing Zhou, who joined the fruit research and Extension team as a research associate at OSU South Centers in Piketon on July 3, 2017. Dr. Zhou worked at Western Carolina University before she came to The Ohio State University. She also worked at North Carolina State University as a research program postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Zhou received her M.S. and Ph.D. from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. She also received an MBA from the Western Carolina University College of Business, in Asheville, NC.
Dr. Zhou brings skills in field and greenhouse experiments, plant propagation, selection and evaluation, as well as strong laboratory skills and statistical analysis. As a student, she received numerous scholarships and honors.
Dr. Zhou’s position is funded by several of our specialty crop block grants from the USDA through Ohio Department of Agriculture. She will work under Dr. Gary Gao and will work with research assistant, Ryan Slaughter. Dr. Zhou will be involved in all of our small fruit research projects and Extension programs at OSU South Centers. We are very excited to have Dr. Zhou on our team and look forward to working with her.
Blueberry trees focus of Gary Gao’s University of Florida visit
By Gary Gao, PhD, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor
As a part of Gary Gao’s new specialty crop block grant, he travelled to the University of Florida in Gainesville to meet with professors Rebecca Darnell and Jeff Williamson. Together, they had a multi-year and multi-state USDA-SCRI grant to work on grafted blueberry trees. Dr. Darnell was the PI of the project. She showed Gary their grafted blueberry trees that were designed to improve harvest efficiency. Southern highbush blueberry cultivars were grafted on the sparkleberry, Vaccinium arboretum in their study.
Dr. Jeff Williamson was one of the co-PIs of the project. He showed Gary some of the advanced selections of sparkleberry plants. It was very interesting to see the wide range of plant heights and forms. Although the USDA project ended a couple of years ago, the blueberry tree project will continue, many thanks to some of the new state specialty crop grants that Drs. Darnell and Williamson have received.
Gary Gao also reached out to Dr. Wei Qing Yang of Oregon State University for help. Dr. Yang was able to send Gary Gao some sparkleberry plants from his rootstock selection program. He is in the process of patenting several of his selections. Hopefully, Gary Gao and his team will be able to find a few good selections for growers in Ohio.
Gary Gao and Ryan Slaughter would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the USDA for a new specialty crop block grant. The grant will support a two-year study on grafted blueberry trees and evaluation of processing blueberry cultivars.
Gary Gao toured fruit plantings in China’s Hebei and Shanxi Provinces in September 2016
Dr. Gary Gao, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor
Fruit production is very popular in China due to consumers’ demand for a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Gary Gao got to work with a few fruit growers and researchers in two provinces in China from late September to early October, 2016. He shared his expertise on small fruit production with them and also learned a lot about fruit production in northern China.Dr. Gao’s first stop was Hebei Province. He was invited by the Hebei Agricultural Enterprises Association in China to give technical advice to raspberry and grape growers in several counties in Hebei Province in September 2016. Raspberry production is relatively new to Chinese farmers in Hebei Province. Raspberry cultivars from England, Poland, Russia and the USA were planted there. There are also native raspberries in China. The native raspberries are mainly cultivated as medicinal herbs. Both fruit growers and researchers in Hebei Province had a very limited understanding of raspberry production. Gary was able to share his experience and expertise on trellising, pruning, fertilization, and pest management of raspberries with the growers there.Table grape production is quite advanced in many parts of Hebei Province. Dr. Gao shared his expertise on soil and tissue testing and mineral nutrition with growers and researchers. Bagging of grape clusters for disease and insect prevention and management is a common practice. Bagging each grape cluster is a very time-consuming process. However, grape growers manage to make it happen with available labor. It is hard to know how much longer this practice will last since labor in China is getting more and more expensive.Apple production in Shanxi Province encompasses many counties. Many of the apple orchards are on top of the mountains in western and southern counties in Shanxi Province. Dr. Gao visited several apple production counties. It was a good learning experience for him since he does not conduct research on apples in Ohio. Fruit bagging in apple production is also very popular. It is hard for American apple growers to imagine that all of the apples on each tree get bagged. Chinese apple growers have been doing this every year for quite some time. While he was in Shanxi Province, he worked with several fruit professors of Shanxi Agricultural University. He did notice that viral diseases are quite common in apple trees since virus indexing is as well practiced there as it is in the USA.One of the counties he visited is on the eastern side of Yellow River, which is known to be the muddiest river. Farmers in that region grow apples, pears, Chinese jujubes and small grains on these tall mountains of yellow clay soils with some sandstone rocks.
Container Fruit Production May Have Good Potential in Ohio
By Gary Gao, Ph.D., Extension Specialist and Associate Professor; Ryan Slaughter, Research Assistant; and Michael Daniels, Formerly Student Intern, OSU South Centers
Our container fruit production plot has finally been set up and ready for your viewing pleasure after several months of learning, planning, and hard work. Since we are not necessarily nursery production experts, we reached out to a few people before we decided on the specifics of our container fruit production plot. We toured Dr. Altland’s research facilities in Wooster, Ohio. Both Dr. Altland and his assistant Dan Troyer welcomed us with open arms. We are very grateful for all of the excellent information from them. Our container production is on drip irrigation and is supported by a very strong trellis system.
If you would like to bring a group to tour our research plots in Piketon, Ohio, please let Gary (Gao.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ryan (Slaugher.email@example.com) know. Fridays are typically the best days for tours like this. Gary or Ryan can share what we have learned. We planted blackberries, blueberries and raspberries so far, and may add other fruit crops.
The main objectives of this study are to:
1. Explore the techniques and practices of container fruit production;
2. Explore an effective way to produce blueberries where soil acidification is not feasible;
3. Provide an effective method of winter protection for blackberries;
4. Extend the fruit harvest season by “forcing” early or later blooms and fruit ripening;
5. Help farmers diversify their farming operations.
There may be other benefits from this project. We use aged pine fines as our substrate for our container fruit production. Pine barks are the byproducts of paper industry. In southern Ohio, timber industry is a significant source of cash receipts for many landowners. Using byproducts of the timber industry can help everyone!
Since soils on many hilly areas are not ideally suited for fruit production, high density berry production in containers might be a good option. Stay tuned for more information. Pay us a visit, if you can’t wait!
We showcased our berry container production plot at our 2016 Super Berry, Container Fruit Production and Wine Grape Field Night on July 7. With the weather turning out to be much better than we had anticipated, it was a good turnout for the field night.
We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Dave Daniels, Director of Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ms. Lori Panda, a senior program manager at Ohio Department of Agriculture for a specialty crop block grant. We also thank the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for the Special Crop Block Grant Program.
Container Fruit ProductionBy Gary Gao, PhD, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor, OSU South CentersContainer fruit production is underway at the OSU South Centers. We have researched possible container types and sizes, potting mixes, nutrient fertility programs, and other factors. Since we do not have unlimited funds, we will focus on one or two container sizes and potting mixes. Seven- to ten-gallon containers seem to be a happy medium for container sizes and commercial nursery mix with mostly pine bark fines might be a good starting point for potting mixes.While I was researching for grape production techniques, I came upon a really neat raspberry cultivar. It is called raspberry Shortcake ‘NR7.’ My good friend Bob Maddox, president of Delhi Flower and Garden Center (http://www.delhigardencenters.com/), told me about this new dwarf thornless raspberry cultivar. It seems to be a good cultivar for patio fruit production. This cultivar should also be good for commercial production.
Super Berry and Wine Grape Workshop on March 18th in PiketonBy Gary Gao, PhD, Extension Specialist and Associate ProfessorIt was a beautiful, sunny and mild day in Piketon for our Super Berry and Wine Grape Workshop on March 18th. We could not have asked for better weather! We had a very good turnout for the program, with quite a few people driving several hours to get to the event. Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Dave Daniels was in Piketon that day and stopped by the workshop. He shared with our program attendees many exciting developments in the world of Ohio Agriculture.The Ohio Wine Hall of Famer Dave Scurlock talked about how to assess bud survival rate of wine grapes. Gary Gao talked about how to assess winter injuries in blackberries and raspberries.Gary Gao and Ryan Slaughter, the research and Extension team members at OSU South Centers, would like to thank Christy Eckstein, Executive Director of Ohio Grape Industries Program, and members of Ohio Grape Industries Committee for their strong support of the wine grape research and Extension programs at OSU South Centers in Piketon. We would also like to thank Director Daniels, Ms. Lori Panda, and Ms. Janelle Meade for their strong support of Super Berry research and Extension programs at OSU South Centers in Piketon. Please email Gary Gao at Gao.firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 740-289-2071, ext. 123, if you have any questions.
Tweaking our research and demonstration vineyards to help grape growers produce wine grapes in southern Ohio and beyondBy: Gary Gao, Ph.D. Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor and Ryan Slaughter, Research AssistantThe unpredictable weather patterns during the last 2-3 years have been very challenging to the fruit industry in Ohio. Grape growing is no exception. Extreme cold temperatures during the “polar vortexes” in 2014 and 2015 killed a significant percentage of grapevines and drastically decreased fruit production in Ohio and throughout the Midwest. We are actively looking for ways to help grape growers deal with such weather related challenges.Testing cold hardy grape cultivars in our Piketon vineyard is one way. We planted several super cold hardy varieties from Minnesota in 2015. We will soon add two more from Minnesota and one from Cornell University. The new cultivars that we will be adding to our vineyards are Aromella (Cornell), La Crescent (MN), and Marquette (MN). According to Dr. Bruce Reisch and his colleagues at Cornell University, Aromella is a winter-hardy white wine grape with high potential productivity and excellent aromatic muscat wine characteristics. Follow this link http://cornell.flintbox.com/public/filedownload/4732/Cornell%20grape%20Aromella%20flyer for more information on the Aromella variety. Follow this link http://viticulture.hort.iastate.edu/cultivars/La%20Crescent.pdf for more information on La Crescent. Information on the Marquette grape variety is available here: http://viticulture.hort.iastate.edu/cultivars/Marquette.pdf.We will also be installing a high tunnel for wine grape production research. Growing grapes in high tunnels is not necessarily a brand new concept. Follow this link http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=features&content=111842 for more information on this subject. Wine grape production in high tunnels can make sense on a small scale, especially if growing grapes for estate wines. We will use an old high tunnel for this project. The cultivars we will test are Cabernet Franc and Regent. Hopefully, this small demonstration vineyard will yield big findings!We would like to extend our sincere appreciation for a grant from the Ohio Grape Industry Program. Follow this link http://www.tasteohiowines.com/ for more information on Ohio wines. We look forward to seeing many of you at our workshops and field nights at OSU South Centers in Piketon!
Gary Gao receives specialty crop block grantBy Gary Gao, Ph.D., Extension Specialist and Associate ProfessorFruit production in containers in a home landscape setting is not necessarily a new concept. However, commercial fruit production in containers is. A few production practices need to be worked out before growers can successfully adopt such a production system. Container production can be a way to minimize winter injuries. This system can also help growers get around poor soil conditions. Polar vortexes during the last two years have caused major problems to fruit production in Ohio and beyond. Effective production systems to deal with winter injuries need to be developed to help fruit growers mitigate risks. Whether we will have El Niño or La Niña during the next a few years, a reliable production is still needed to grow relatively cold sensitive fruit crops.There are a few benefits with fruit production in containers. One of them is that containers can be moved into a sheltered area before extreme cold temperatures arrive. Fruit plants in containers can also be set on their side so that protective covers can be placed over them for winter production. Another benefit is ease of soil selection and modification. Since artificial soil media will be used, “prescription soils” can be used to meet the specific requirements of each crop. A third benefit might be higher harvest efficiency. Another benefit is season extension since fruit plants in containers can be moved to warmer environments earlier or later to speed up or delay the fruit harvest season to maximize profit margin.We will also study the effectiveness of Chemigation (pesticide delivery through micro sprinklers) for pest management, especially those that can cause significant damage during fruit ripening and harvest season. Chemigation can save time and labor on pesticide applications while reducing fruit loss potentially caused by driving sprayers though a fruit planting.Our new project starts in October, 2015 and will last two years. We are very excited about this new project. We extend our sincere appreciation to Ohio Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture for their financial support of this new project. Stay tuned for more information.
Cold-hardy wine grape cultivars are the latest addition to our wine grape vineyardBy: Gary Gao, PhD, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor and Ryan Slaughter, Research AssistantThe polar vortexes in 2014 and 2015 have hit many of the tender wine grape cultivars in Ohio very hard. There are several different ways to deal with winter injuries. One approach is to plant super winter hardy grape cultivars. Whatever cultivars are selected, they still need to produce good quality wine. Several cultivars from the University of Minnesota grape breeding program seem to be a good fit. The wine grape cultivars that have shown good potential are Frontenac, Frontenac Blanc and Frontenac Gris. All of them are from the University of Minnesota grape breeding program. We planted a few of them in our demonstration vineyard at OSU South Centers in Piketon.One interesting cultivar is Traminette. The breeding work was done at the University of Illinois by Herb C. Barrett around 1965. He sent the cross to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station grape breeding program at Cornell for development when he departed from Illinois. We planted several short rows of Traminette in 2014. This cultivar has done very well despite the cold temperatures in 2015. A few growers had reported significant winter injuries to Traminette in 2014.Both Ryan Slaughter and Gary Gao extend our sincere appreciation to the Ohio Grape Industries Program for their financial support of our wine grape research and Extension program at OSU South Centers. Log on to http://www.tasteohiowines.com/ for more information on Ohio wines.
A Super Time for Super BerriesBy: Gary Gao, PhD, Small Fruit Extension Specialist and Associate ProfessorIf you do a Google search for “super berries,” a few plants will come up. Some of the uncommon ones could be Aronia berries, Chinese goji berries and elderberries, while common ones could be blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. With growing interest in super foods by the general public, growers in Ohio might find super berries as viable cash crops.We are lucky enough to have received a specialty crop block grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the USDA to work on new and existing super berries. We planted a few of them this year. Our research team members have propagated a few elderberry plants. We also purchased some Aronia berry Chinese goji berry plants. We would like to thank the Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA for this specialty crop block grant.If you are thinking about planting any of the super berries, Gary Gao would like to hear from you! He created a Facebook page for Ohio Super Berries. The Web address is https://www.facebook.com/OhioSuperBerries. Gary will provide regular updates there with pictures and comments. This page can also be a good place for growers to connect with each other. There is also a Facebook page for “Aronia Growers East of Mississippi.” The group was started by several growers in Ohio. Please check it out.
2014 Fruit Research and Extension Progress
By: Gary Gao, PhD, Small Fruit Extension Specialist and Associate Professor
Polar vortexes in 2014 wreaked havoc on fruit production in many parts of the United States. Ohio was no exception. Our fruit research and Extension programs at OSU South Centers have been set up to deal with many challenges that growers face every day. From trials of cold hardy Polish blackberry cultivars; to high tunnel production of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries; to blackberry production on rotatable cross trellis; to primocane bearing blackberries; and to super cold hardy wine grape cultivars, we are doing what we can to help fruit growers in Ohio. With ever-changing weather conditions in Ohio and beyond, the production of high value crops, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and even wine grapes, will need to be placed under protected structures so that a consistent crop can be produced and harvested every year. We also started exploring new "super berries" for Ohio growers.
High Tunnel Production of Blackberry and Raspberries:
With the support of a specialty crop block grant from Ohio Department of Agriculture and excellent craftsmanship of our research support staff at OSU South Centers, we built two demonstration high tunnels. One was for blackberry production while other one was for raspberry production. Both tunnels are designed to take snow load and are classified as four-season tunnels.
There has been quite bit of work done on high tunnel raspberry production by Dr. Eric Hanson, professor and Extension specialist at Michigan State University. Season extension, yield increases, and fruit quality improvements have resulted from protection of high tunnels. Preliminary results from our own high tunnel demonstration work have been quite positive. We will continue this research for several years. There is also an excellent free publication from Cornell University. More information: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/hightunnelsrasp2012.pdf
Blackberry high tunnel production also deserves a serious look. Four-season high tunnels can provide much needed winter protection that blackberry floricanes need to produce a crop year after year. Our preliminary results are quite encouraging. Earlier fruit production, consistent production, and fuller berries are some of the main benefits of high tunnel blackberry production. We have seen successful commercial production of blackberries under high tunnel in Ohio. Growers are encouraged to try blackberry high tunnel production on a small scale since high tunnels, though less costly than greenhouses, can be quite expensive.
A "Super Berry" Grant:
We are very pleased to have received a specialty crop grant from Ohio Department of Agriculture to work on "super berries." Some of the new super berries are Aronia berries, Chinese goji berries and elderberries. Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are also classified as super berries. It is worth noting that there are approximately 1,000 acres of Aronia berries planted in Iowa. There is even a Midwest Aronia Growers Association. Aronia berry juice seems to be getting quite popular as a health drink. It is consumed in small quantities, more like a nutrient supplement vs. fruit juice.
Elderberries are getting very popular, especially in Missouri. About 100 acres of elderberries have been planted there. I tried elderberry jam for the first time when I attended the Great Lakes Expo in Grand Rapids, Michigan in December 2014. It was very tasty! Elderberries can also be used in baked goods. I was told that elderberries make excellent red wine. It is too early to tell what the marketing potential is for elderberry wines or elderberries yet. Do not go out and plant hundreds of acres of elderberries yet.
We will also test Chinese goji berries for their viability in Ohio as a cash crop. I have tasted dried Chinese goji berries and really like them. I drank goji berry tea and liked it as well. Goji berry tea is more Chinese than American though. Dried Chinese goji berries can be purchased from Chinese grocery stores. The Chinese Goji berries I tasted are really sweet. When I visited a new blueberry farm last year, one grower had me taste a few goji berries on her farm. I was surprised that it had more of a peppery taste. There might be a huge variation in taste and growth characteristics. Stay tuned for more information.
Wine Grape Research and Extension: With many thanks to the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC), we get to continue our wine grape research and Extension program at OSU South Centers. Dave Scurlock and Gary Gao also oversee the grape insect research and Extension for Ohio.
Out of a few wine grape cultivars we tested at OSU South Centers in Piketon, ‘Regent,’ a red wine grape cultivar, survived the polar vortexes the best. We planted this cultivar under two different training systems. ‘Regent,’ a European and American hybrid, has more European ancestry than American, and makes an excellent red wine. Some growers have planted this cultivar on a small scale. We hope to see more of this cultivar in Ohio!
We Went Global!
Dr. Tom Worley and Dr. Gary Gao applied for and were awarded a USDA Scientific Cooperation Exchange Grant with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture under the leadership of Dr. Mark Erbaugh. Other project members were Pam Bennett, Mike Hogan, and Dave Scurlock. We toured many urban farms in Beijing, Zhengzhou, Nanjing, and Shanghai in August 2014 in China. Tom and Gary also made presentations and provided technical advice to Extension professionals, university professors and farmers in China.
Gary Gao 740-289-2071 ext. 123 | email@example.com
Ryan Slaughter, Research Assistant
740-289-2071 ext. 144 | firstname.lastname@example.org
OSU South Centers hosts one of 5 Hops Field Nights
By Bradford Sherman
Ohio State University South Centers
Veteran hops growers and those looking to get started, alike, received valuable information, witnessed demonstrations, and more as part of a Hops Field Night held on August 8 and hosted by The Ohio State University South Centers.
Featuring Horticulture Specialist Brad Bergefurd, the educational opportunity included dinner and a tour of the South Centers hops field. Informational items and demonstrations covered as part of the tour included: galvanized trellis systems, hop mechanical harvesting demonstration, drying demonstration, insects and disease, pest management, nutrient management/fertigation demonstration, and drip irrigation management.
Approximately 30 participants took part in the field night activities; it was a significant number considering that the same program had been held twice around the state previously, and will be held in two other locations in the coming weeks. Many potential attendees chose to attend earlier or later sessions due to their closer location. It speaks volumes about the growing popularity of hops in the Buckeye State.
“The number of hops growers in Ohio has quadrupled within the last five years, and there is a major need for educational programs such as these,” explained Charissa Gardner, Program Coordinator for Bergefurd’s Horticulture program at OSU South Centers.
“Because it’s a relatively new industry for Ohio, there is not a whole lot of information about it readily available,” she said. “There is a thirst for information from the public; that is why these events are so popular, they fill a major need.”
A main ingredient in beer manufacturing, hops provide a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt sugars and provides a refreshing finish. Hops educational programs are some of the South Center’s most popular events and are designed to help growers and anyone interested in hops to learn more about Ohio hops and the Ohio craft brewing industry.
The same program will be held in Bowling Green on August 15 and in Wooster on August 23.
“We are holding them at various locations because: one, they are popular, and, two, there is a lot of interest all over Ohio,” Gardner added.
To preregister for the remainder of the 2018 hops field nights, you can call Gardner at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, or email her at email@example.com.
Gao welcomes two new members to fruit research & extension team
By Gary Gao, PhD
Extension Specialist and Associate Professor OSU South Centers
Dr. Gary Gao, co-leader of the Center for Specialty Crops at OSU South Centers, is very happy to announce that Dr. Pengfei Wang and Mr. Ricardo Bordignon Medina have joined the fruit research and extension team.
Dr. Wang is an associate professor of pomology at the College of Horticulture of Shanxi Agricultural University in Taigu, Shanxi, China, where he has been conducting breeding research on Chinese dwarf cherries and also teaches pomology classes.
He received his PhD, MS, and BS from Shanxi Agricultural University and has many years of knowledge and experience working in fruit science.
Dr. Wang will be involved in all of the fruit research projects at South Centers with a focus on on blueberries, elderberries, and wine grapes.
Medina is currently a PhD candidate of Plant Physiology and biochemistry at University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.
He also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in fruit science to the fruit program. Medina received a MS in Horticulture, working on blueberries for his MS research. He also received his BS in agronomic engineering and studied citrus at the University of Florida.
Medina will conduct several research projects on raspberries while he is at The Ohio State University. He first found Gao while searching for raspberry research and extension programs in the United States. He has also done quite a bit of extension work in Brazil. He organized workshops for commercial growers and students.
“I am very excited to have both as members of our team,” said Gao. “Both Dr. Wang and Mr. Medina will be staying with us for one year.”
Medina was borne in Campinas, São Paulo. He likes many sports including basketball, football (soccer), and volleyball. He also likes plants, fruits, and travel and has two brothers and two sisters.
Dr. Wang is married and has two daughters.
Updates on Fruit Research Projects and Extension Programs at South Centers
By Gary Gao, Ph.D.
Extension Specialist and Associate Professor
Container Fruit Production:
Now in the final year of our project on container berry production, our team has made significant progress. Among blueberries and brambles, blueberries seem to be the most difficult crop to grow, both in the field and in containers. Blackberries are next in terms of difficulty. Raspberries, on the other hand, are much easier to grow in containers than blackberries and blueberries.
The pine bark media seem to have worked out well; with a pH level that is perfect for blueberries. To make sure that water alkalinity is reduced, an injector was installed to add sulfuric acid. Both macronutrients and micronutrients have been added each year since pine bark media have very little mineral nutrients.
One of the last stumbling blocks for successful blueberry production is winter storage. We have used row covers as a way to protect blueberry roots during the winter months.
However, this method is quite cumbersome since row covers may still need to be put on and taken off multiple times. Dr. Gary Gao, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor at OSU South Centers, learned one neat trick from a company in Holland at the North American Bramble Growers Association’s Annual Meeting; Instead of covering the potted blueberry bushes with row covers, the blueberry containers are buried in preformed raised beds. Half of the pots are buried in the raised beds. We are going to test this method in 2018 and beyond. Hopefully, we will have a truly viable blueberry production system without soil acidification in Ohio.
Hardy Kiwis and Hardy Figs in Ohio
Our research team members are quite busy planting many different fruit crops, such as hardy kiwis and hardy figs. We are very excited about these two crops as potential cash crops for Ohio. As with many new or rare crops, growers should be cautious and do their homework before they plant a lot of them. Stay tuned for more information.
Ryan Slaughter, Lijing Zhou, and Jiangbo Fan have made trips to Indiana and/or Missouri to collect sparkleberry (Vaccinium arboreum) plants and cuttings for our blueberry grafting study. I do not know how many of you have gone to the woods to collect wild specimens; both Ryan and Lijing found out what its like when they went to a national forest in Indiana. Well, Ryan and Jiangbo had a taste of it in Missouri too … the woods in Indiana take the cake, though.
Fruit Extension Programs
We offered two major extension programs during the last six months or so. These were the Ohio Grape and Wine Analysis Workshop in December, 2017 and the Ohio Cane Berry and Wine Grape Pruning Workshop in March. Both programs were well received by the attendees. Dr. Gao also gave presentations at the 2018 OPGMA Connect, Ohio Grape and Wine Conference, and Southwest Ohio Fruit and Vegetable (Specialty) Crop Conference, as well as fruit training programs in Athens, Delaware, and Ross Counties.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA Agricultural Marketing Services for their financial support of research projects and extension program through several Specialty Crop Block Grants.
Ohio Hops Conference deemed a Huge Success
By Brad Bergefurd
Ohio hops growers experienced continued strong market demand in 2017 for locally grown hops, with many reporting being sold out before the end of 2017, and the demand is not likely to decline soon with almost 300 breweries operating (or soon to be) in Ohio.
The Ohio State University South Centers, in cooperation with the Ohio Hop Growers Guild for the fifth year in a row, held another sold-out Ohio Hops Conference and Trade Show at the OSU South Centers at Piketon on March 23 and 24. The goal of the event was to help new and experienced growers learn the newest hop production techniques, and network with over 200 hop growers in attendance, as well as 20 hop industry vendors and exhibitors, who showcased the latest in hop technology and innovations.
This year’s Conference included an Ohio brewers panel, whose members either currently are, or are interested in, purchasing Ohio-grown hops. These brewers included A Butcher and a Brewer from Cleveland and the Portsmouth Brewing Company from Portsmouth. The panel included a tasting of Ohio beers brewed with state-grown ingredients.
For the first time, we incorporated a bus tour to southern Ohio hop farms, which included the only certified organic hop farm in Ohio and a tour of a newly constructed and operating hop processing, drying, pelletizing, and packaging operation in Georgetown. Attendees were able to tour the hop fields of these growers and gain knowledge from them on various techniques for growing this specialty crop.
The event also featured hop experts with Ohio State University Extension, OARDC and OSU South Centers, University of Kentucky, Michigan, and other agriculture industry professionals. Attendees also participated in hands-on field training and activities in the hop yards at the South Centers. These trainings included drip irrigation design, trellis construction, mobile drying, mechanical harvesting, and fertigation techniques.
For more information on the Ohio Hops program and the 2019 Ohio Hop Conference, contact Brad Bergefurd at 740-289-2071, ext.136 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Charissa Gardner at 740-289-2071, ext. 132 email@example.com.
2017 Highlights of Fruit Research Projects and Extension Programs at South Centers
By: Gary Gao, PhD, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor
Our team had a very good year in both research and extension in 2017. We conducted several successful Extension programs at OSU South Centers in Piketon. We also participated in many regional, statewide, national and international programs. In 2017, Dr. Gary Gao authored or coauthored and published 13 fact sheets, one Extension bulletin, and five refereed journal articles. We received a new grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA to work on blackberries, hardy figs and hardy kiwis (kiwiberries), and another grant from Ohio Grape Industries to continue our work on wine grapes. We added a Thermo Fisher Ultimate 3000 UHPLC and a MSQ Plus Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer to our fruit research lab. We also added several new members to our team.
Fruit Educational Programs at South Centers in 2017:
We conducted the Ohio Cane Fruit Pruning Workshop on March 16, 2017, Ohio Blueberry, Bramble, and Wine Grape Field Night on August 22, and Ohio Commercial Grape and Wine Analysis Workshop on December 14, 2017. These programs were well received by attendees. Dr. Gary Gao, Dr. Lijing Zhou, Ryan Slaughter, Dave Scurlock (HCS-OSU), Patrick Pierquet (HCS-OSU) and Todd Steiner (HCS-OSU) were the featured presenters at some of these programs.
Dr. Gary Gao also participated in several programs throughout Ohio and other states. Dr. Gao gave two presentations at the 2017 OPGMA Congress in Sandusky, Ohio, two more at the Southwest Specialty Crop Conference, one poster presentation at 2017 Annual Meeting of American Society for Horticultural Science, two presentations at Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, and several presentations at the county fruit training program in Delaware, Lorain and Richland counties.
Specialty Crop Research Projects:
We made good progress with our container production research of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Blueberry bushes grew very well in containers after we increased dosage of fertilizers and acidification of irrigation water. Several types of containers were used in our study. Raspberry bushes produced lots of fruit while blackberry bushes had a significant amount of fruit as well. We will finish our container fruit production project in September 2018 and share all production data in a summary report.
Our grafted blueberry project went quite well too. We were able to secure sparkleberry plants from different sources in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, and Oregon. Jiangbo Fan, Ryan Slaughter, and Lijing Zhou were able to collect some sparkleberry plants from a few state and national parks in Indiana and Missouri. We are hoping that a few promising sparkleberry plants will emerge as good rootstock for blueberry plants in Ohio and beyond.
We received a new specialty crop block grant to continue our work on blackberry production, and start examining hardy figs and hardy kiwis for Ohio. Blackberry production using rotatable cross arm trellis continues to draw attention from growers. This highly specialized training system is quite complicated. We will establish a plot of blackberry using this system and hope to teach growers how to manage this system well. We will initiate a comprehensive study of hardy figs and hardy kiwis as alternative cash crops for Ohio. Both fruits are very tasty and highly nutritious. We will test which cultivars are best suited for Ohio and how to grow them for maximum profitability.
Extension and Research Publications
Dr. Gao’s fact sheets are posted on OhioLine at https://ohioline.osu.edu/ You may want to check them out. Dr. Gao’s fact sheets concentrated on backyard production of tree fruits and small fruits, tomatoes and soil testing.
Dr. Gao revised the award winning “Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide.” This OSU Extension bulletin is available for sale from the CFAES Publications at http://estore.osu-extension.org/ To find this bulletin, you can try searching “940” or “fruit.” This publication can also be purchased from OSU Extension offices throughout Ohio. Please call for availability before you visit an extension office. “Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide” can also be purchased from Amazon.
In 2017, Dr. Gary Gao published three journal articles in the Journal of Forestry Research, one in the Journal of Food Microbiology and two in the NACAA journal.
Dr. Gao is one of the contributing authors of a new book entitled “Blackberries and Their Hybrids.” This book was edited by Dick Funt and Harvey Hall and published by CABI. It is available for purchase at https://cab.presswarehouse.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=512515 or from Amazon.
Our Fruit Research and Extension Team at South Centers Is Growing too!
Our fruit research and extension team at OSU South Centers has been growing. Dr. Lijing Zhou was hired as a research associate in July, 2017. Mr. Yanling Chu of Jiangsu University of Science and Technology in China joined our group in September, 2017 as visiting scholar. Dr. Jiangbo Fan was hired as a postdoctoral researcher jointly by Dr. Gary Gao and Dr. Ye “Summer” Xia of Department of Plant Pathology at OSU.
Ryan Slaughter, a research assistant, has been with our fruit team since 2014. He has been Gary Gao’s “right hand man” for quite a few years and will continue to be a key member of our group. Wayne Lewis, Farm Manager, also participated in many of our project activities. Wayne has been quite instrumental our grape high tunnel project and vineyard maintenance.
Our Fruit Team is International in More Ways Than One!
In addition to having international members on our fruit team, our fruit research and extension team leader had reached China. Dr. Gary Gao formed strong collaboration with Henan Agricultural University, Northeast China Agricultural University, and Shanxi Agricultural University in China. He gave four international presentations in China in 2017 and visited many fruit and landscape plantings there. His international experience certainly helped him generate many new ideas for his fruit research project in Ohio. His active collaboration efforts also led to four refereed journal articles.
We would like to thank Ohio Department of Agriculture (Lori Panda), USDA (NIFA, SCRI, and Agricultural Marketing Services), and Ohio Grape Industries Program (Christy Eckstein) for their financial support of our fruit research projects and extension programs. Our sincere appreciation also goes to many wonderful colleagues at OSU South Centers. They are Marsha Amlin, Charissa Gardner, Rafiq Islam, Wayne Lewis, Paul O’Bryant, Dean Rapp, Duane Rigsby, Beth Rigsby, Sarah Swanson, and Dr. Tom Worley. We are also thankful for the support of our colleagues from the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at OSU. They are Patrick Pierquet, Dave Scurlock, and Todd Steiner.
$5 million in annual new harvest ale sales using Ohio hops being brewed in Ohio
By: Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture Specialist
Ohio Craft Brewers asked Brad Bergefurd if farmers in Ohio grew hops as they were seeking local suppliers of fresh hops to expand the diversity of locally produced brews using Ohio hops. These new brews include high value Wet-hopped harvest ales never produced in the past. Seeing this agriculture opportunity for Ohio, as a project PI and co-PI, Horticulture Extension Specialist Brad Bergefurd acquired Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA Specialty Crop Block grant funding partnering with faculty in the Departments of Entomology and Plant Pathology to develop an Ohio hops education and research program, “Hop Production to Enhance Economic Opportunities for Ohio Farmers & Brewers”. The project allowed the OSU South Centers Specialty Crops Team to conduct field research and educational programming and three locations throughout Ohio.
Partnering with 14 County Ag/NR Educators, Bergefurd and the Specialty Crops Team have taught over 2,000 landowners at regional programs and authored 5 technical reports and fact sheets on the potential of growing hops as a specialty crop for Ohio’s $13.2 billion craft brewing industry. Working with the USDA Cooperative Development Center to form a hop growers association (Ohio Hop Growers Guild, OHGG.org).
As of fall 2017, 72 Ohio farmers report having planted about200 acres of hops, up from 4 acres in 2011, with an estimated annual farm gate crop sales value of $10 million. With this new local Ohio hop supply, Ohio breweries have begun using Ohio grown hops to produce a high-valued seasonal Wet-hopped Harvest Ale using wet hop cones delivered to Ohio breweries within hours of being picked by local hop growers. Harvest ales are an impossibly aromatic and bright IPA brew bursting with fresh pine, melon and citrus notes. Fresh hops are a high value specialty crop which demands a price premium 4x dried hop market value. Ohio brewers are now producing fresh-hopped Ohio ales using locally grown hops with an annual estimated retail value of over $5 million.
Research leads to 4 month longer Ohio Strawberry harvest season and $5 million in annual sales
By: Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture Specialist
Thanks to funding from the Ohio Fruit Growers Society, the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, the Ohio strawberry harvest and marketing season expanded from a historical 3 week harvest season to a 5 month harvest and marketing season. New production techniques researched and taught by the OSU South Centers Specialty Crops program provided the basis for this extended season.
In an effort to increase local strawberry supply and availability and to capture consumer market demand previously sourced from out of state suppliers, Horticulture Specialist Brad Bergefurd as the strawberry research and education project Principle Investigator, acquired grant funding to conduct field and greenhouse research to introduce and develop new extended season strawberry growing systems to Ohio. The research and extension education program has resulted in extending the Ohio harvest season from a traditional 3-week harvest and marketing season to a 5-month harvest window, more than doubling yields per acre compared to Ohio’s traditional matted row production system.
In 2017, many Ohio strawberry growers reported the highest yields ever achieved on their farms, many exceeding 2 quarts per plant with annual strawberry retail sales exceeding $5 million. This new strawberry production system requires new plant types, not available in Ohio before. A propagation protocol and curriculum was developed and taught to assist with the development and creation of a new Ohio strawberry plug plant propagation industry where Ohio nurseries are now producing strawberry plug plants with annual plant sales exceeding $2 million.
Bergefurd and other Specialty Crops Team members have taught on season extension strawberry production techniques throughout Ohio for county-based Extension programs, field days and at 26 national programs, workshops and conferences, and have authored 18 technical reports and fact sheets on these new production techniques including day neutral production, plasticulture production, matted row production, greenhouse and high tunnel production. These strawberry production techniques have now been adopted by farms throughout Ohio, the Midwest and Canada.
Strawberry growers increasing profits through techonology adoption
By Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Thanks to support from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, and the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program that funded research exploring season extension production techniques, Ohio strawberry growers are profiting from adopting strawberry production technology based on research at the OSU South Centers.
Southern Ohio strawberry growers, south of I-70 and down to the Ohio River reported some of the best harvests in 2017 they can recall, achieving yields of almost 2 quarts per plant on some farms.
Strawberry market demand continues to grow and be strong in Ohio. Consumer demand at local farmers markets and farm markets continues to out-pace production. Consumer interest in “Pick-Your-Own” also continues to grow with most of this market demand peaking on weekends, for this is a form of “Agritainment” that families are wanting to experience. This weekend-only interest does make it necessary to have alternative weekday options to market strawberries. Demand is also strong for Ohio-grown strawberries at Ohio produce auctions and direct marketing to Ohio wholesaler buyers with many wholesale markets establishing “Buy Local” marketing campaigns to fulfill demand for local produce. Retail prices for the 2017 season ranged from $4 to $6 a quart pre-picked and $2.20 to $2.50 a pound for pick-your-own berries. The reported wholesale prices ranged from $2.25 to $3.85 a quart. Retail and wholesale prices are up from 2016, but growers report no consumer complaints.
Season extension production techniques continue to be explored and adopted to fulfill individual farm market demands. Though matted row production continues to be the main method, plasticulture production has been widely adopted to compliment the matted row system by providing a 3- to 4-week earlier harvest, which then leads into the later matted row harvest allowing farms to capture the consumer demand and a longer season with up to 12 weeks of cash flow. Ohio research continues and some farms are adopting greenhouse, high tunnel and/or summer day-neutral production to capture even more of the strong market demand. Growers that are harvesting and marketing day-neutral varieties through the summer and fall months are reporting great market demand and retail prices of $5 to $6 a pint. This summer production has complimented diversified farms that also produce and market summer-time fruit and vegetables. Growers who have adopted greenhouse and tunnel production for later harvest report the biggest issue being management of the Spotted Wing Drosophila and achieving economically feasible yields to cover the increased costs and management of these protected production systems. University and on-farm research is being performed to continue to refine these potential production systems for Ohio.
Weather was either the Ohio strawberry grower’s friend or foe in 2017. The very mild winter resulted in very little to no reported winter damage to plasticulture strawberry plants, that never go 100% dormant and are more prone to freeze damage than matted row. Weather was the southern Ohio grower’s friend when the spring warmed up earlier than normal, resulting in earlier bloom and harvest beginning the last two weeks in April, some of the earliest reported harvest dates ever. Spring frosts and freezing temperatures had to be managed some with row covers and sprinkler irrigation, but there were not many sleepless nights. Throughout harvest, rainfall was heavy in some areas resulting in some flooding making it difficult to get timely and frequent fungicide applications made. Some southern farms reported Botrytis outbreaks toward the tail end of harvest, due to rains during late bloom, or they would have picked even longer. There were also isolated reports of Leather Rot especially in northern areas where rainfall amounts were much heavier during initial bloom and lasted throughout the bloom period, resulting in field flooding and ponding and major crop damage and loss for some farms, especially in Northeast Ohio.
Mechanical harvest aids are being adopted by more and more Ohio farms to increase harvest labor efficiency and increase the speed of harvest. Those that have adopted these harvest aids are reporting major savings in labor costs, as they are able to perform timely harvests with less labor. There also is continued research in mechanical harvesting techniques by Ohio engineering companies who showcased prototypes of mechanical harvesting robots at this year’s Strawberry Field Night held at the OSU Piketon Research & Extension Center in May and at several strawberry farms throughout Ohio. To keep up with market demand, mechanical harvesting options will need to be explored as seasonal labor becomes harder to find.
The 2018 harvest season is looking good so far with high quality strawberry tips arriving from Canada and Nova Scotia the end of July showing no reported signs of disease or quality issues at this point. There were some 7- to 10-day delays in shipments from these northern Canada and Nova Scotia nurseries due to cool temperatures that delayed harvest of runner tips. The weather throughout August was great for on-farm and plug plant propagation by nurseries that have started growing plug plants for this growing market. There was not an overabundance of plug plants, because most nurseries plant on a pre-order basis, which made it difficult for growers that had not pre-ordered plants to find the plants they needed, resulting in them having to decrease acreage. Plant propagation nurseries reported an increase in plant orders. September weather allowed for timely planting of plasticulture strawberries with great plant stands and growth being reported. So far September and October weather has been a “Carolina” type of fall so flower bud initiation and branch crown development has been good so far.
A tri-state strawberry growers cooperative, including Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia farms continues to be researched with a core group of growers forming a steering committee in 2016 to explore the feasibility of forming a cooperative and/or association. This committee meets several times a year in conjunction with strawberry field days or conferences. If you are interested in what this cooperative may be able to do for your operation, contact founding member Danny VanMeter at VanMeter Family Farm 164 Old Peonia Loop Rd., Clarkson, KY 42726, Phone: 270-963-2320 or Brad Bergefurd at 740-289-2071 Ext. 136 or Dr. John Strang at University of Kentucky Dept. of Horticulture, N-318 Ag. Sci. Bldg. North, Lexington, KY 40546-0091 Phone: 859-257-5685 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yanliang Chu joins the Fruit Research and Extension group as a Visiting Scholar
By Dr. Gary Gao, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor
We are very happy to welcome Mr. Yanliang Chu to our fruit research and Extension team at OSU South Centers in Piketon. Mr. Chu is an instructor of the College of Biotechnology, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, China. He came to the U.S. in September, 2017. Mr. Chu received a M.S. in Animal Science from Zhejiang University in Hongzhou, China. He holds a B.S. in Biological Education from Yantai Normal University. Mr. Chu will assist Gary Gao with many of his fruit research projects and some of his Extension programs. Mr. Chu’s training at The Ohio State University is supported by a scholarship from Jiangsu University of Science and Technology.
In China, Mr. Chu’s research efforts centered around the bioactivities (antimicrobial activity, enzymes activity and allelopathy) of the endphytes isolated from Saposhnikovia divaricate and other Chinese traditional medical plants. He also teaches Biology for the College of Biotechnology, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology. Mr. Chu conducted research on the effects of external factors on the activities of immune serum in Macrobrachium nipponense. He was able to demonstrate antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of flavonoids extracted from Humulus scandens.
Mr. Chu will stay in the US for one year. We are very happy that Mr. Chu joined our group and look forward to productive collaboration in this coming year.
Horticulture program develops an Integrated Pest Management scouting program for area specialty crop farmsBy Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture SpecialistAs a part of the OSU College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Sustainable Food Systems area a Specialty Crop Pest Scouting Program was organized in partnership with the OSU Extension Ross and Pike County Offices. Funding received was a part of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant for a Crop Protection and Pest Management for an in-season fruit and vegetable integrated pest management scouting, monitoring and education program. Two OSU CFAES students were employed to scout 12 fruit and vegetable farms in four counties. These farms represent over 300 acres of high-value specialty crops reported, reducing and/or better managing pesticide applications and developing an increased awareness of pest management scouting practices.
Horticulture program receives USDA and industry grant support to conduct strawberry market and season Extension research
By Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture Specialist
Thanks to grants from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program, Ohio strawberry research and Extension education programs are increasing. Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator & Horticulture Specialist, the projects Principle Investigator, is leading this strawberry research project to further support the growth of the expanding consumer demand for locally grown strawberries.Ohioans consume over 89 million pounds of strawberries annually, however Ohio farmers only produce 1.8 million pounds annually (USDA, NR-15-06, 2015). This additional 87 million pounds of strawberries, currently sourced from farms and related jobs outside of Ohio, has an estimated farm level value of $165.3 million.This industry development project is using applied strawberry field production research and educational programming to capture dollars and jobs that are currently being sent out of Ohio by Ohio’s produce marketing industry, by expanding Ohio’s strawberry production and plant propagation capabilities. This research is currently evaluating new strawberry cultivars, innovative plant propagation and field production systems, and protective culture production systems including high tunnels and greenhouse production techniques that can be adopted by Ohio farmers to increase strawberry production from the traditional three week June harvest season to a six month production system.J.M. Smucker Company in Orrville, Ohio that utilize a large portion of strawberries for their processing operations and Sanfillipo Produce Company in Columbus that utilize fresh market strawberries for their Ohio 1st Local Food program are providing industry support for this research.
Horticulture program receives funding to research mechanical harvesting of hops in OhioBy Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture SpecialistWith the rapidly expanding acreage of Ohio hops being planted and the increased high demand from the Ohio craft brewing industry for locally grown hops, the Horticulture program began researching in 2016 the adoption of small-scale, mobile hop harvesting production options for Ohio growers.The intent of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a mobile hop harvester with sufficient capacity to harvest one acre of hops per day. Mechanical harvesting technology like this is needed since most Ohio hop acreage is beginning to reach its peak harvest maturity, and the current hand-picking methods being used are very labor intense, costly and slow. This research and education project is in partnership with HopsHarvester LLC of Honeoye Falls, New York as a part of a USDA-funded hop research project.How It WorksThe hop bine or plant is attached to a specially designed hook and is fed into the harvester using a chain drive. As the bine is pulled through the stripping section, stripping fingers remove leaves and hop cones from the bine. These are dropped to a main conveyor at the bottom of the machine as the stripped bine is pulled out the back of the harvester. The leaves and cones are dropped into a section of dribble belts which are inclined and rolling upward. The rough top of the dribble belts grabs leaves which lay flat on the belt while cones roll “downhill.” A suction fan also separates the leaves from the cones.In 2016 the Hop Harvester was demonstrated at field days in Piketon and Bowling Green, Ohio with over 200 viewing its operations.
Harker receives 2016 Outstanding Staff Awards from the Ohio State University and the OSU College of Food Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
By Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture Specialist
Thomas C. Harker, Horticulture Research Assistant at the OSU South Centers and a 20-year dedicated OSU College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and OSU South Centers Horticulture and Field Research team member, was recognized with a plaque presented by OSU President Michael Drake in May as one of 12 from over 25,000 staff members at the Ohio State University selected to receive the prestigious 2016 Ohio State University Distinguished Staff Award. Annually OSU honors twelve individuals for their outstanding achievements, service, leadership and dedication to The Ohio State University. The Distinguished Staff Award is the highest honor bestowed upon staff at the university since its inception in 1984.
Thom was also recognized and received the OSU College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) 2016 Staff Advisory Council (SAC) Above and Beyond Innovation Award. This award is given annually by CFAES to recognize a staff member for developing and/or participating in project initiatives and/or process operations improvements that enhances CFAES, Extension, OSU Agriculture Technical Institute (ATI) or OARDC and its mission. Thom was recognized and received a one-time cash award and a plaque which was presented to him by the CFAES Administration at the CFAES Staff Advisory Council’s staff recognition banquet in November at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.
Thom oversees daily management of Horticulture field & greenhouse research and Extension education projects at Piketon, Bowling Green and Wooster CFAES campus locations. He manages this research with an innovative approach, practical, and whole-hearted effort. He has developed creative and innovative solutions to CFAES research facilities that have resulted in significantly more effective, economically viable, and efficient research operations. He provides outstanding and ongoing excellence in service to all program leaders, farmers, agriculture industry clientele, and OSU faculty, students and staff to enhance the CFAES research and Extension mission.
As new projects or ventures are implemented, Thom as a “Farmer Engineer” has invented machinery, equipment and/or processes to accomplish important agricultural research tasks at very modest costs, saving the University thousands of dollars. Some of these innovative examples have been; the modified grape hoe, deer fence, drip irrigation, hop high trellis system, moveable greenhouse or high tunnels (which have now been adopted by the agriculture industry), whole-farm underground irrigation and a bird netting applicator that can protect grape, berry, and fruit plantings, Israeli style micro-irrigation technology, tomato plant grafting methods, field plasticulture technologies, micro-fertigation of crops, and greenhouse food crop production technology. Many of these innovations have been adopted by farmers not only in Ohio, nationwide but also by African researchers, students and farmers at the Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Sénégal.
Thom currently manages operations of eleven field and greenhouse research projects that account for over $380,000 in external funding. With his attention to detail, Thom can spot potential problems with field research operations before the problems affect important data collection and he rectifies the problems immediately to protect data collection.
USDA grant received to explore greenhouse vegetable soilborne disease control
By Brad Bergefurd, Extension Horticulture Specialist
In 1994 the Piketon Research & Extension Center began high tunnel research on tomato and berry crops. Since that time over 3,000 high tunnels have been adopted by fruit and vegetable growers as a way to extend the harvest season. However, continuous cropping of high tunnels with specialty crops is resulting in reduced yields and quality of tomato crops. Partnering with Dr. Sally Miller of the OSU/OARDC Plant Pathology Department and her Vegetable Pathology Lab, USDA funding was received in 2016 to conduct on-farm research that explores soil-borne disease control methods.
Partnering with the Zimmerman family who owns Spring Valley Farm in Cynthiana, Ohio, this on-farm research trial was established in 2016 to conduct research and outreach programs to reduce the impact of soilborne diseases on production of locally grown, high-value vegetable crops. Two disease management strategies, anaerobic soil disinfestation and grafting, are being optimized for Ohio farms and farmers are being educated on these technologies through specially designed workshops and trainings. Data being collected form this study is being used to develop a new soil diagnostic testing service to identify key soilborne diseases.
Research collaboration and Extension outreach in China - one of OSU’s gateway countries
Gary Gao, Ph.D., Extension Specialist and Associate Professor, OSU South Centers
Gary Gao shared his research and extension expertise on fruit production in 2016 with researchers, extension professionals, farmers, and college students in Gansu, Hebei, and Shanxi provinces in China. He gave four lectures to graduate students and faculty members at Shanxi Agricultural University (http://www.sxau.edu.cn/) and Hexi University (http://www10.hxu.edu.cn/w/Default.htm). In addition, he visited more than 10 farms and gave three presentations to farmers.
Gary Gao taught a daylong session on English writing to a master’s level class at Shanxi Agricultural University. He also conducted joint research with several faculty members there. He and his collaborators at Shanxi Agricultural University had one paper accepted in 2016 by the Journal of Forestry Research for publication in 2017.
Gary Gao hosted Dr. Dong Qin, an associate professor of fruit crops from Northeast China Agricultural University (http://www.neau.edu.cn/). Dr. Qin conducted joint research projects, demonstrated fruit production techniques, and visited growers in Ohio. Drs. Qin and Gao had two journal articles accepted in 2016 for publication in 2017.
Collaborative research and Extension work has been immensely beneficial to Gary’s research projects and extension programs in Ohio. For example, his invited trip to Gansu Province helped directly with his Super Fruits Project with Ohio Department of Agriculture and USDA, since he received first-hand knowledge on how Chinese goji berries are produced. He also applied for and received a training grant with Beau Ingle to host a team of Chinese visitors as a part of the Scientific Cooperation Exchange program between USDA and Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.
Small fruit progress
By Gary Gao, Ph.D., Extension Small Fruit Specialist and Associate Professor, OSU South Centers
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Ryan Slaughter, Research Assistant, OSU South Centers
2016 was a busy and productive year for our specialty fruit crops horticulture program area. We conducted Extension and outreach programs for commercial fruit growers, revised fact sheets for consumers, conducted applied research projects, received new grants, and participated in international activities.
Three key educational programs were offered at OSU South Centers in Piketon. They were the Ohio Super Berry and Wine Grape Workshop in March, Ohio Super Berry, Container Fruit Production and Wine Grape Field Night in July, and Wine Grape Analysis Work in December. Our research and demonstration plots were featured at all of these programs in addition to classroom presentations and field demonstrations by Gary Gao, Patrick Pierquet, Dong Qin, Ryan Slaughter, and Todd Steiner.
We also offered numerous tours of our research plots to students, new and existing growers, our colleagues at The Ohio State University and several other universities. Our group also participated in the 25th year celebration of OSU South Centers in Piketon.
Dr. Gary Gao served on the planning committee for the 2016 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference in Dublin. The program drew an excellent attendance in 2016 and evaluations were very positive.
Dr. Gary Gao spoke at the OPGMA Congress, OEFFA Conference, Beech Creek Garden Symposium, Southwest Ohio Specialty Fruit and Vegetable School, Master Gardener volunteer training schools, and Farm Science Review in 2016. He also made several presentations in Chinawhich are highlighted in the International activities section.
Dr. Gary Gao and Ryan Slaughter also updated and revised Extension fact sheets.
The following revised fact sheets are now available on Ohioline:
Growing Apples in the Home Orchard - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1401
Growing Peaches and Nectarines in the Home Landscape - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1406
Raspberries for the Home Fruit Planting - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1421
Growing Grapes in the Home Fruit Planting - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1423
Growing Strawberries in the Home Garden - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1424
Pruning Blueberry Bushes in the Home Garden - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1430
Pruning Erect Blackberries in the Home Garden - http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-1431
Dr. Gary Gao and Ryan Slaughter had several on-going research projects at OSU South Centers in Piketon in 2016. They were: Super Berry for Farm Diversification and Season Extension, Wine Cultivar Trial and Winter Protection, Container Fruit Production, and Chemigation for Pest Management. Dr. Gao is also a Co-Principle Investigator of a multimillion dollar national USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project with Dr. Heping Zhu of USDA in Wooster and Dr. Peter Ling of OARDC/OSU, along with other faculty members at The Ohio State University and several land grant universities in the U.S.
In 2016, Dr. Gary Gao and Ryan Slaughter received a new specialty crop block grant from USDA through ODA to work on grafted blueberry “trees,” new processing blueberry cultivars and fertility management of blueberries. The project started in November, 2016. Stay tuned for more information.
Dr. Gary Gao along with several researchers at OSU South Centers received an OARDC equipment grant in 2016. With the help of several cooperators, supporters, and our director Dr. Tom Worley, we were able to purchase a ThermoFisher Ultimate 3000 UHPLC ultra high performance liquid chromatography system and a MSQ single quadrupole mass spectrometer. This new system will greatly enhance the research capacity of all research areas at OSU South Centers.
“Fresh Market Tomato fertility – the never-ending battle against fruit physiological disorders”By Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator Horticulture/Agriculture and Natural ResourcesNot only was the 2015 growing season one of the wettest on record, but the season had some of the lowest average temperatures for an extended period of time in recent years. The season-long extreme environmental conditions caused many problems for all vegetable growers, but fresh market tomato growers were particularly affected due to high percentages of fruit physiological disorders with some farms experiencing up to 50 percent of fruit affected. Thanks to greatly appreciated grant funding from the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program (OVSFRDP), researchers have shed some light on reducing the economic impact of these tomato fruit disorders through cultural management and fertility research.Yellow shoulder disorder and other tomato fruit disorders are a wide-spread problem annually, especially with extended hot and dry growing conditions at blossoming and fruit development. Yellow shoulder disorder seems to impact all-sized fruit and is characterized by areas at the top of the fruit and shoulders of fruit that stay green or yellow and as the fruit ripens, tend to turn a more intense yellow color. These areas never will ripen properly, even if left to hang on the plant for an extended time. The area beneath the yellow shoulder is firm and poor tasting which makes the fruit unmarketable and not desired by consumers. Unfortunately, the cause of this problem is complex and researchers have been investigating cures for almost thirty years with limited success. The complexity of the disorder is increased since environmental conditions as well as tomato plant physiology lead to the disorder and there is no real solution. Factors that can increase the severity of these disorders include cloudy weather, wet and cool conditions, high nitrogen, low potassium, and compacted soils. Some of the cultural and crop management practices that fresh market tomato growers can do to ease the symptoms and possibly reduce crop losses will be covered here.One of the main causes of this disorder, that we have limited control over, is intense heat. High temperatures prevent lycopene production, the red pigment in the tomato fruit, most often in the shoulders of tomato, as this part is more commonly exposed to the direct rays of the sun. Researchers have measured fruit temperatures of between 86 degrees and 105 degrees Fahrenheit morning through evening hours in July 2012, one of the hottest months on record for southern Ohio. When temperatures are greater than 85 degrees, lycopene production begins to cease, whereas at temperatures below 85 degrees, lycopene consistently produces.Inside the plant we see a reduction in potassium (K) just before yellow shoulders are seen. This year in our tissue testing we saw drops in K of 3-4% in a matter of weeks going from 4-6 percent, which is in the good range, to 2-3 percent which is in the poor range. Usually within a week or two of this drop, yellow shoulder will be expressed. Therefore, early detection and management are critical for control. Drops in calcium (Ca), nitrogen, and at times magnesium (Mg) have also been observed as we move into mid-July and early August, the hottest months of the year. We also have observed this disorder in high tunnel tomatoes; however, it is usually a month or so earlier, when temperatures in the tunnels begin to climb around Memorial Day. High tunnel tomato growers will apply a 10 to 15 percent shade cloth to tunnels around this time in an attempt to reduce the heat stress in the tunnels. This disorder is expressed in plants that are under some stressful growing conditions when the plant is under a heavy fruit load. These stresses can be too little water, too much heat or high amounts of plant disease or insect infections.For now, recommendations from our research conducted at the OSU South Centers over three years is to closely monitor plant nutrient levels, especially nitrogen and potassium levels, on a regular basis throughout plant development beginning around the time of first flower cluster formation. Timeliness is so important to take the necessary corrective actions to avoid or reduce this disorder. A major limitation is getting the plant nutrient analysis results back in a timely manner. A considerable amount of time is required to collect leaf petiole samples, dry samples, send them to a commercial lab for analysis and then receive the results, which could take several days, and more typically a week.Plant sap extraction and analysis can be completed in the field using a quick-test method to speed up the collection of tissue testing results and to help make more timely fertilizer program adjustments. Instruments are commercially available that can be used to directly measure nutrient concentration and that do not require a laboratory setting for accurate calibration and use. These pocket-sized meters currently cost about $500 and are simple to use. We have taught and demonstrated the use of these instruments at workshops and field days over the years. A sample size normally collected for petiole testing with conventional methods will yield more than sufficient sap to obtain a reading with this type of meter. Using the plant tissue test results as a guide, necessary and timely adjustments should be made to nitrogen, potassium and calcium fertilizing programs to keep fertility levels within sufficiency ranges. Plants respond well to fertigation of fertilizer directly through drip irrigation with higher amounts better applied through this method. Foliar fertilizing may help, but it is difficult to raise the potassium levels 2-4 percentage points as would be needed in most cases through foliar applications alone and plant injury could result. More information on plant petiole sap testing for vegetable crops along with plant nutrient charts which show nutrient sufficiency ranges can be found on the University of Florida fact sheet http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/cv004. This fact sheet explains the testing process in more detail.Yellow shoulder disorder is also a varietal problem, as some varieties have been observed which express the symptoms more than others. Bergefurd and other members of the South Centers horticulture research team partnering with Dr. Matt Kleinhenz of the OSU Horticulture & Crop Science Department have conducted important tomato variety evaluations, especially on new variety releases and the use of grafted plants, to observe resistance or tolerance to yellow shoulder and other tomato fruit disorders. Many tomato evaluations, including research performed at the OSU South Centers, are available for comparison annually in the Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial report published by Purdue University. This publication is a compilation of vegetable variety research performed throughout the Midwest United States and makes for easy comparison between trials. The Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial report is available at the Purdue University vegetable crops web site https://ag.purdue.edu/hla/fruitveg/Pages/MVVTRB.aspxFrom our extensive tomato physiological fruit disorder research conducted at the South Centers over three years, we recommend that for most growers the best practices to prevent yellow shoulder will be to intensively tissue test tomatoes from first flower cluster for Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium levels. From this information, growers could apply Potassium Nitrate, Sulfate of Potash, Potassium Carbonate, Calcium Nitrate, Calcium Chelate, and Magnesium Oxide to reduce the potential for this disorder. Our experience has proven that nutrients applied through fertigation are necessary to prevent yellow shoulder disorder of tomato.Full research reports of this and past years’ fruit and vegetable experiments are available on the OSU South Centers website at http://southcenters.osu.edu/horticulture/. For more information on the tomato research or other horticulture field trails, contact Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator Horticulture/Agriculture & Natural Resources at email@example.com or at 740-289-2071 ext. 136.
Developing the Ohio hops and malting barley industry
By: Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator Horticulture /Agriculture and Natural Resources
Statewide interest purchasing local malting barley and hops by Ohio brewers has Ohio State University moving ahead with research and educational programming on these crops. Ohio commercial beer manufacturers and craft brewers send an estimated $36 million out of Ohio annually by purchasing hops and malting barley from west coast farmers. To help keep some of that economic activity within the state, the Ohio State University has developed a hop and malting barley research and education program focused on production and marketing. Dr. Mary Gardiner of the OSU Entomology Department, Brad Bergefurd of OSU South Centers and OSU Extension Scioto County, and Dr. Sally Miller of the OSU Department of Plant Pathology are the Principle Investigators of the Ohio hops research and industry development program.
Agricultural statistics records indicate that in 1871, barley was planted on 81,000 acres in Ohio, producing approximately two million bushels total. Today, barley production ranks well below other small grains in Ohio with only 6,000 acres planted in 2014 compared to 620,000 acres of wheat. Most of the barley grain cultivated today is a six-row feed winter barley variety used for livestock feed on-farm or sold at local elevators. Of the 6,000 acres of barley, less than 50 acres in 2015 were estimated to be of the malting barley variety in demand by craft brewers.
Dr. Eric Stockinger of the Ohio State University Horticulture and Crop Science Department began growing and testing malting barley in the 2008–2009 growing season cultivation of malting type barleys at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and throughout northern Ohio. In 2013, Bergefurd and Gardiner partnered with Stockinger to expand this malting barley research into southern Ohio and began evaluating malting barley in southern Ohio at the Piketon Research and Extension Center, exploring both fall and spring planted varieties.
The hop and malting barley projects are allowing Ohio State researchers and educators to develop sustainable production practices directly related to Ohio growing conditions that will develop these Ohio industries. Data collected from the field research trials allows us to educate growers about production, pest management practices, and marketing strategies to help them generate farm profits from these highly sought after crops. The research is evaluating new cultivars, innovative production techniques, insect and disease control methods, harvesting, processing, and marketing techniques that can be adopted by Ohio farmers. The research will allow Ohio's beer manufacturers to spend their money in Ohio by purchasing Ohio-grown hops and malting barley and ultimately help create Ohio jobs, allowing Ohio growers to diversify into a high-value specialty crop. Preliminary research results indicate hops and malting barley can be successfully grown and marketed throughout Ohio and are adaptable to most Ohio soil types.
The OSU South Centers Horticulture program conducted several hops and malting barley educational programs and field days in 2015, reaching over 2,000 people interested in learning more about the hop and malting barley research that is being conducted by the Ohio State University. These events included monthly first Friday educational tours at both the Piketon and Wooster research locations, three Hops Field Days held at the Wooster, Piketon and Bowling Green research sites and the 2nd annual Hops and Craftbrewers Conference in Wooster with over 350 in attendance. An Ohio Hop Farm tour was conducted in partnership with the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, OHGG.org, where over 500 people participated in all-day tours of ten commercial hop farms throughout Ohio. Hops workshop were also taught in two of Ohio’s Extension EERA regions in partnership with Extension Educators in those areas for new and interested hop farmers.
For more information on the Ohio Hops and malting barley research and industry development program, visit our Ohio Hops Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OhioHops or the OSU South Centers website http://southcenters.osu.edu/horticulture/other-specialties/hops for more information. If you would like to be added to the Ohio Hops email list serve to receive Ohio hop updates and information, contact Brad Bergefurd, Bergefurd.firstname.lastname@example.org or call the OSU South Centers 1-800-860-7232 or 740-289-2071 extension #132.
OSU Extension South Centers employee receives recognition
By: Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator Horticulture /Agriculture and Natural ResourcesCharissa Gardner has been recognized by the Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) for her outstanding contributions to and support of Extension educational programming. Charissa is the Extension Program Assistant for Horticulture and Direct Marketing.Charissa received the ESP Meritorious Support Service Recognition Award on December 8, 2015 during the Ohio State University Extension Annual Conference at the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University campus.This award is a nationally authorized recognition designed to pay tribute to staff in OSU Extension who, over time, have shown outstanding support for the mission, programs, and professional staff of Extension.As Program Assistant for the Horticulture and Direct Marketing programs, Charissa has shown dedication and extraordinary commitment to the OSU College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), OSU Extension and to the OSU Piketon Research & Extension Center. The breadth of her work has been considerable, including print and web design, editing, teaching, and management and coordination of the Ohio Marketmaker program. She teaches clientele by friendly, considerate, and creative problem solving and assists with managing annual program grants and revenues.Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) is the honorary fraternity for Extension professionals.For more information on OSU Extension, see http://extension.osu.edu.
Bergefurd receives Distinguished Service Award from The National Association of County Agricultural Agents 2015Brad Bergefurd received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agriculture Agents during their Annual Meeting and Professional Improvement Conference held in Sioux Falls, SD. This award is given to Agents with more than 10 years of service in Cooperative Extension and who have exhibited excellence in the field of Extension Education. This award is only presented to two percent of the County Extension Educators in Ohio each year.As Horticulture Specialist and Scioto County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Brad conducts field research, authors publications, and teaches on plasticulture strawberry, vegetable crop and hops production, produce auction development, urban agriculture and food hubs. Brad’s responsibilities include: Co-Leader of the OSU Vegetable Crops Team; Director of the Great Lakes Vegetable Working Group; Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association Educational Advisor; Ohio Hops Guild Academia Director; NC SARE Research & Education Technical Committee and Co-leader for an agriculture development project in Senegal, Africa.
Horticulture program receives $83,000 in USDA and industry support to conduct strawberry market and season extension researchBy: Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator Horticulture /Agriculture and Natural ResourcesThanks to grants from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the State of Ohio, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program, Ohio strawberry research and Extension education are increasing. Brad Bergefurd, Extension Educator and Horticulture Specialist, the projects’ Principle Investigator, is leading this strawberry research project to further support the growth of the expanding consumer demand for locally grown strawberries.Ohioans consume over 89 million pounds of strawberries annually, however Ohio farmers only produce 1.8 million pounds annually (USDA, NR-15-06, 2015). This additional 87 million pounds of strawberries, currently sourced from farms and related distributors outside of Ohio, has an estimated farm level value of $165.3 million.This project will use applied strawberry field production research and educational programming to capture dollars and jobs that are currently being sent out of Ohio by Ohio’s produce marketing industry, by expanding Ohio’s strawberry production and plant propagation capabilities. This research will evaluate new strawberry cultivars, develop innovative plant propagation and field production systems, protective culture production systems including high tunnels and greenhouse production, drip irrigation, winter protection, fertility management, insect and disease control methods, harvesting, and production techniques that can be adopted by Ohio farmers to increase strawberry production from the traditional four week harvest season in June to a four-month production system.J.M. Smucker Company in Orrville, Ohio that utilize a large portion of strawberries for their processing operations and Sanfillipo Produce Company in Columbus that utilize fresh market strawberries for their Ohio 1st Local Food program are providing industry support for this research.
Hort program receives USDA grantBy: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension EducatorOhioans consume over 89 million pounds of strawberries annually, however, Ohio farmers currently only produce 1.8 million pounds annually (USDA, NR-15-06, 2015). The additional 87 million pounds of strawberries, currently sourced from farms outside of Ohio, has an estimated annual farm level value of $165.3 million. Ohio being home to several food industries such as the J.M. Smucker Company in Orrville, Ohio which utilize a large portion of strawberries for their processing operations, and Sanfillipo Produce Company in Columbus which utilizes fresh market strawberries for direct as well as wholesale produce markets, there are many Ohio markets for fresh, local strawberries and growers who are able to provide an extended season crop often have the marketing edge.Traditionally, Ohio growers have produced strawberries using the matted row or ribbon row production methods. In 2001, the Ohio State University Piketon Research & Extension Center began to pursue a new strawberry field production technique to help growers harvest an earlier crop – the plasticulture strawberry production system.Based on the increased interest in buying locally grown and produced items, Ohio growers are investing in producing specialty crops, including strawberries, for the Ohio consumer market. However, research driven production guidelines for insect and disease management, irrigation and fertilization needed to produce strawberries for an extended season in an ecological and economically sustainable manner are lacking. Further, Ohio growers are left without sufficient resources or knowledge for connecting to Ohio markets and meeting required food safety guidelines.For those willing to make the investment in time and resources, the strawberry plasticulture system may be a good choice for some farms. Strawberries are increasingly being planted on plastic mulch covered beds as a popular way to extend the harvest and marketing season outside of the traditional June market window, thus capturing a profit from the high demand for local strawberries.This system allows the grower to have berries up to one month sooner than growers using the traditional matted row system. One of the main advantages of this system is a potential earlier harvest, providing a competitive edge in the marketplace relative to traditional matted row strawberry production systems. Other potential advantages include higher yield, enhanced fruit quality, less disease and increased harvest labor efficiency.Thanks to support from the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the USDA Specialty Crop Block Gant program, OSU South Centers horticulture researcher Brad Bergefurd has received funding to conduct research and Extension programs to identify techniques that maximize strawberry production, increase harvest windows and provide winter protection of strawberries through cultural management.For future reports or information from the strawberry research and Extension program, to view previous year’s trial results or to be added to our commercial horticulture email list, visit our web site at http://southcenters.osu.edu/hort/ or contact Brad Bergefurd, Bergefurd.email@example.com or Charissa Gardner firstname.lastname@example.org or call the OSU South Centers 1-800-860-7232 or 740-289-3727 extension #136.
Ohio brewing and hop production FAQ’sWhat do Ohio brewers produce in a year?Ten years ago, you could count all the Ohio’s breweries on your fingers and toes! Today, 153 licensed breweries produce an estimated 1,097,955 barrels of craft beer annually.How much money do Ohio brewers spend to purchase hops out-of-state?At 4 pounds per barrel, Ohio breweries require an estimated 4,000,000 pounds of dried hops annually, worth an estimated $30 million. To meet current demands, an estimated 6,000 acres of hops are required by Ohio craft brewers at current use rates.How many growers produce Ohio hops?In 2012 it is estimated that 10 commercial growers were managing hop yards; this has grown to 60 in 2015. In 2012 Ohio had 15 acres of commercial production; this has grown to 120 acres today.How much does it cost to install an acre of hops?Establishing a hop yard will cost $20,000 to $25,000 per acre depending on whether a grower selects rhizomes or plants. This does not include land costs.What is the value of an acre of harvested hop cones?Yield and price per acre depend on quality, variety and buyer. Wet hops are used for seasonal brewing and have a premium value. On average an acre will produce 3,000 pounds of wet hops valued at $25 per pound = $75,000 per acre. One acre will produce an average of 600 pounds of dry hops, valued at $30 per pound = $18,000.Are Ohio growers working together to move the industry forward?Yes! The Ohio Hops Consortium was formed in 2014 and currently 48 growers are active members. The OSU Hops Research Program was actively involved in the formation of the consortium and also provides “first Friday” hop yard tours, summer field nights and a 2-day winter workshop. In 2013, 300 growers attended the winter workshop, this increased to 420 in 2014!Prepared by the OSU Hops Research Team: Brad Bergefurd, Mary Gardiner, Chelsea Smith, and Thom Harker
Developing the Ohio hops and malting barley industryBy: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension EducatorStatewide interest purchasing local malting barley and hops by Ohio brewers has Ohio State University moving ahead with research and educational programming on these crops. Ohio commercial beer manufacturers and craft brewers send an estimated $30 million out of Ohio annually by purchasing hops from West Coast farmers. To help keep some of that economic activity within the state, the Ohio State University has developed a hop and malting barley research and education program focused on production and marketing. Dr. Mary Gardiner of the OSU Entomology Department and Brad Bergefurd of OSU South Centers and OSU Extension Scioto County are the Principle Investigators of the Ohio hops research and industry development program.Agricultural statistics records indicate that in 1871, barley was planted on 81,000 acres in Ohio, producing approximately two million bushels total. Today barley production ranks well below other small grains in Ohio with only 6,000 acres planted in 2014 compared to 620,000 acres of wheat planted. Most of the barley grain cultivated today is a six row winter feed barley variety used for livestock feed on-farm or sold at local elevators. Of the 6,000 acres of barley, less than 100 are estimated to be of the malting barley variety in demand by craft brewers.Dr. Eric Stockinger of the Ohio State University Horticulture and Crop Science Department began growing and testing malting barley in the 2008–2009 growing season, cultivating malting type barleys at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and throughout northern Ohio. In 2013 Bergefurd and Gardiner partnered with Stockinger to expand this malting barley research into southern Ohio and began evaluating malting barley in southern Ohio at the Piketon Research and Extension Center, exploring both fall and spring planted varieties.The hop and malting barley projects are allowing Ohio State researchers and educators to develop sustainable production practices directly related to Ohio growing conditions that will develop these Ohio industries. Data collected from the field research trials allows us to educate growers about production, pest management practices, and marketing strategies to help them generate farm profits from these highly sought-after crops. The research is evaluating new cultivars, innovative production techniques, insect and disease control methods, harvesting, processing, and marketing techniques that can be adopted by Ohio farmers. The research will allow Ohio’s beer manufacturers to spend their money in Ohio by purchasing Ohio-grown hops and malting barley and ultimately help create Ohio jobs, allowing Ohio growers to diversify into a high-value specialty crop.Preliminary research results indicate hops and malting barley can be successfully grown and marketed throughout Ohio and are adaptable to most Ohio soil types.There is an ever-increasing Ohio market for hops and malting barley with the expanding craft brewing industry. The Ohio Department of Liquor Control sees continued interest in applications for alcohol-manufacturing permits, a trend that continues into 2015. Hops and malting barley are main ingredients in beer manufacturing, and are highly sought by local craft and home brewers. The majority of hops and malting barley are sold on the open market, with the northwest United States supplying the majority of U.S. hops. Currently, Ohio has an estimated 100 acres of hops and 100 acres of malting barley being grown on small acreage.The OSU South Centers Horticulture program has conducted several hops and malting barley educational programs and field days this summer for those interested in learning more about the hop and malting barley research that is being conducted by the Ohio State University. These events included monthly first Friday educational tours at both the Piketon and Wooster research locations with over 200 participants so far in 2015. Two Hops Field Nights were conducted at Wooster on July 23 and at Piketon on July 30 with 80 participants from 20 counties participating. An Ohio Hop Farm tour was conducted in partnership with the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, where over 500 people participated in all-day tours of nine commercial hop farms throughout Ohio. A hops workshop was taught in July in cooperation with OSU Extension Adams, Brown and Highland Counties for new and interested hop farmers.For more information on the Ohio Hops and malting barley research and industry development program, visit our Ohio Hops Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OhioHops or the OSU South Centers website http://southcenters.osu.edu/horticulture/other-specialties/hops for more information. For information on the Ohio Hops Guild, visit OHGG.org. If you would like to be added to the Ohio Hops email list serve to receive Ohio hop updates and information contact Brad Bergefurd, Bergefurd.email@example.com or call the OSU South Centers 1-800-860-7232 or 740-289-2071 ext.132.
Growing Barley and Hops For Local Beer-makingBy: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension EducatorStatewide interest in purchasing local malting barley and hops by Ohio brewers has Ohio State University moving ahead with research on these crops. Ohio commercial beer manufacturers and craft brewers send millions of dollars out of Ohio annually by purchasing hops and malting barley from West Coast farmers. To help keep some of that economic activity within the state, the Ohio State University has developed a hop and malting barley research and education program focused on production and marketing.Agricultural statistics records indicate that in 1871, barley was planted on 81,000 acres in Ohio, producing approximately two million bushels total. Today, barley production ranks well below other small grains in Ohio with only 6,000 acres planted in 2014 compared to 620,000 acres of wheat planted. Most of the barley grain cultivated today is a six-row feed winter barley variety used for livestock feed on-farm or sold at local elevators. Of the 6,000 acres of barley, less than 100 are estimated to be of the malting barley variety in demand by craft brewers.In the 2008–2009 growing season, Dr. Eric Stockinger of the Ohio State University Horticulture and Crop Science Department began growing and testing cultivation of malting type barleys at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster and throughout northern Ohio. In 2013, Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension Educator and Horticulture Specialist, partnered with Stockinger and began evaluating malting barley in southern Ohio at the Piketon Research and Extension Center, exploring both fall- and spring-planted varieties.The hop and malting barley projects are allowing Ohio State researchers and educators to develop sustainable production practices directly related to Ohio growing conditions. Data collected from the field research trials allows us to educate growers about production, pest management practices, and marketing strategies to help them generate farm profits from these highly sought after crops. The research is evaluating new cultivars, innovative production techniques, insect and disease control methods, harvesting, processing, and marketing techniques that can be adopted by Ohio farmers. The research will allow Ohio’s beer brewers to spend their money in Ohio by purchasing Ohio-grown hops and malting barley and ultimately help create Ohio jobs, allowing Ohio growers to diversify into a high-value specialty crop. Preliminary research results indicate hops and malting barley can be grown throughout Ohio and are adaptable to most Ohio soil types.There is an ever-increasing Ohio market for hops and malting barley with the expanding craft brewing industry. The Ohio Department of Liquor Control has been seeing continued interest in applications for alcohol-manufacturing permits, a trend that continues into 2015. Hops and malting barley are main ingredients in beer manufacturing, and are highly sought after by local craft and home brewers. The majority of hops and malting barley are sold on the open market, with the northwest United States supplying the majority of U.S. hops. Currently, Ohio has an estimated 100 acres of hops and 100 acres of malting barley being grown on small acreage.If you are interested in learning more about the hop and malting barley research that is being conducted by the Ohio State University, there are several upcoming educational opportunities. We are holding tours the first Fridays of August, September, October and November at Piketon and Wooster to view the hops and barley field trials. We also will be holding a Hops Field Night at Wooster, Ohio on Thursday, July 23 and a Hops Field Night at Piketon, Ohio on Tuesday, July 30. Registration is required for both field night events and the first Friday tours. Interested parties must register by calling McGlothin at 740-289-2071, ext. 132, or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our Ohio Hops Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OhioHops or the OSU South Centers website http://southcenters.osu.edu/horticulture/other-specialties/hops for more information. If you would like to be added to the Ohio Hops email list serve to receive Ohio hop updates and information, contact Brad Bergefurd, Bergefurd.email@example.com or call the OSU South Centers 1-800-860-7232 or 740-289-2071 ext. 132.
Can Making High Tunnels Increase Farm Profits?By: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension EducatorHigh tunnels, also called high hoops or hoop houses, are temporary structures used to extend the growing season of fruits and vegetables and are gaining in popularity with area farmers. These covered structures offer some environmental crop protection, but are highly management-intensive. Looking similar to greenhouses, high tunnels provide less climate control and rely on natural passive heating and cooling instead of heaters and cooling fans. High tunnels are constructed in the field to protect crops from the weather (rain, wind, cool or warm temperatures), as well as (in some cases) pests and are less expensive to construct and operate than traditional greenhouses.Types of High TunnelsHigh tunnels are most often constructed of metal bows which are attached to metal posts, driven into the ground 3 to 4 feet. They are typically covered with one or two layers of 6-mil greenhouse-grade polyethylene, and are ventilated by rolling up or dropping down the sides. There are various designs each offering advantages and disadvantages. Due to their permanent nature, care should be given to siting the high tunnel properly.The gothic style high tunnel is the most popular due to its peaked design which allows for greater height along the sides, making the sides of the high tunnel more useful for crop production and resulting in a 15% greater growing space than quonset-style tunnels. The peak also sheds snowfall, reducing the chance of collapse under a snow load.Advantages of High TunnelsHigh tunnels have many uses on the farm. In cooler climates, they are used to elevate temperatures a few degrees each day, resulting in faster plant growth and higher yields. One main advantage of high tunnels is they allow farmers to produce crops outside of the normal growing season, thus meeting consumer demand on either end of the production season, typically when prices are higher. The modified climate inside the high tunnels also creates the opportunity to produce crops that can’t normally grow if unprotected, that may lead to a higher percentage to top-grade fruits and vegetables at harvest.One of the primary disadvantages of the more permanent high tunnels is the fact that they are not easily moved. The result of this is that the same crop is grown in the same location every year, or a very short rotation is practiced. A short rotation or no rotation in vegetable production may lead to yield reductions and, depending on the crop, soil-borne disease development.Another disadvantage to high tunnel production is the lack of exhaust fans for venting during hot weather. In most regions where tunnels are used, tunnels will overheat at some point during the crop production season unless manually vented as the temperature inside the tunnel rises. On warm sunny days, air temperatures in poorly vented tunnels can easily be 40o F greater than ambient outside temperatures.ConclusionFor most farmers, the advantages of high tunnels outweigh the disadvantages. Thousands of fruit and vegetable farms in the U.S. successfully use high tunnels to extend the growing season. A farmer considering high tunnel production should first do some preliminary research and receive training in high tunnel production.To teach Ohio farmers about high tunnel production and how they could adopt this new and emerging technology on Ohio farms, thanks to a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, the Ohio State University South Centers hosted a high tunnel training program on April 27 and 28, 2015, at the Piketon Research and Extension Center in Piketon, Ohio. Individual trainings were tailored for the beginner and the advanced grower. This training included hands-on training on six local high tunnel farms and at the South Centers high tunnels.
Extension Education Nurtures Senegalese Farming Future
By: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator
Developing West Africa’s food-production capabilities in an environmentally sustainable manner is important to ensure the continent’s future food security, economic development and political stability. With sixty percent of people in Africa depending on agriculture, the people of Northern Senegal are poised to begin growing more of their own food, reducing reliance on imports, and creating a more sustainable future based on self-reliance. An irrigation project by the World Bank created 1,400 hectares of newly irrigated land to be farmed by 243 farmers on small two-to-five-hectare plots. However, the availability of irrigated land solves only part of the problem. New farmers need a lot of technical and practical assistance to make sustainable agriculture a reality in Northern Senegal. Brad Bergefurd received funding from a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development (HED) and is providing training to Senegalese farmers.
Purpose: The objective of the project is to implement state-of-the-art agricultural education and extension programs at the Université Gaston Berger (UGB), focused on enhancing sustainable agriculture in the fragile Sahelien agroecosystems of Africa. A main objective of this project is to establish the land grant model at UGB, incorporating extension and research into the traditional teaching role of the university. This project is an innovative way to export the land grant model to Sub-Saharan Africa and to support sustainable agriculture. Impact: The partners, the Ohio State University (OSU) and Université Gaston Berger (UGB), are creating pilot extension and outreach program with the Senegalese farmers working the newly irrigated land,troubleshooting problems, and conducting farm research on site. An immediate problem the farmers face is the amount of time it takes to plant up to five hectares. These plots of land are much larger than typical Senegalese farms. A farmer is able to transplant 15 plants per minute and about 9,880 tomato plants are needed for one hectare. Bergefurd immediately understood the challenges farmers were facing and recommended they adopt mechanical transplanting technology. The inexpensive device can plant 50 plants per minute, dramatically reducing the amount of time needed to fill a field. With a solution available, education was the next step. The partners purchased a transplanter and shipped it to Senegal. Field demonstration and trainings were held in 2014 at the UGB student farm as well as on village farms. Recognizing the tremendous impact this technology can have on the future of Senegal, representatives from the media, farmers associations and UGB, as well as politicians, 113 local farmers and 144 students were in attendance. Local farming organizations are planning to purchase additional transplanters, and working to establish a local transplanter dealer in the Saint-Louis region.
2014 Horticulture Research and Extension Achievements
By: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator
Urban food hub organized and formed in 2014
A food hub to strengthen the local food system and increase access to healthy food in the Cincinnati area was formed in 2014 with support from the OSU South Centers Horticulture program, the OSU Direct Marketing Team and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center. The goals of the food hub are to increase organic vegetable production, sustain the food hub effort by developing and organizing training for farmers, and by creating family sustaining jobs in Greater Cincinnati. This effort began with the development of an incubator urban farm in April 2012, with an additional 100 acre farm leased and cultivated in 2014. In 2014, the incubator farm employed 20 people and 400 families purchased shares for a weekly Community Supported Agriculture Harvest box program. Our Harvest Cooperative aggregates produce, and supplies various retail and wholesale outlets. Our Harvest Cooperative is partnering with Cincinnati State’s newly launched Sustainable Agriculture Management Program which was spun off from the Specialty Crop Apprenticeship Training program started by OSU South Centers in 2013 where students come to the urban farm weekly for their practicum.
$100,000 Specialty Crop Block Grant received to explore new hop processing, plant propagation and production techniques
Thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the State of Ohio, and the United States Department of Agriculture, Ohio hop research and Extension education have increased. Brad Bergefurd as the projects Principle Investigator, and co-Investigators Mary Gardiner of the Department of Entomology and Sally Miller of the Department of Plant Pathology are leading this hops project to further support the growth of the expanding Ohio hops industry and craft brewing industry. Ohio’s brewing industry is booming! Legislation in 2013 allows Ohio’s craft brewers to invest more money into their breweries, increasing the demand for Ohio-grown hops. Over 140 licensed Ohio beer manufacturers and thousands of home brewers send an estimated $30 million in hops purchases and related jobs out of Ohio by purchasing the flowers of the hop plant, called hop cones or "hops" from out-of-state. Hops are a main ingredient in beer manufacturing, providing a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt sugars and a refreshing finish. Based on the increased interest from brewers in buying Ohio grown hops, Ohio farmers are investing in hops production. This project is providing the research based production guidelines for insect and disease management, irrigation and fertilization needed to produce Ohio hops in an ecological and economically sustainable manner. Further, Ohio growers are left without economical methods for post-harvest processing of hops that suit brewers’ needs and meets food safety guidelines. These are the critical priorities being addressed to move the hops industry forward. This project is expanding Ohio’s specialty crops research in hop production and is providing education and research focused on addressing Ohio hop production and processing issues that are impacting profitability of Ohio hop farmers, including plant nursery production, pest management, processing technology and grower education.
Horticulture program receives grant to conduct a three-year high tunnel training program
From field research the OSU South Centers began in 1996 and continues today, Ohio has faced an explosion of high tunnel production by mostly new producers due to conservation program incentives and an uptick in local foods and urban agriculture. High tunnels are a way to extend the season for fruit and vegetable crops. There is continued need for education at the beginner and advanced levels of pest management and production. Grafting techniques that add horticultural diversity and combat soil borne diseases, plus the introduction of a new fact sheet series on tomatoes has been incorporated into a three-year high tunnel training initiative, part of an $886,643 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant. Brad Bergefurd is a co-principle investigator on this project.
Ohio has a huge demand for integrated pest management (IPM) training regarding high tunnels, with a mix of hundreds of existing seasoned operators needing advanced training, and a recent influx of almost 300 new growers requiring basic training due to the popularity of the Natural Resources Conservation Service EQIP High Tunnel initiative. The university-based and on-farm based training program that began at Piketon in April 2014 is for new and advanced growers, Extension Educators and Specialists who want to learn about high tunnel IPM and production management. This training program is comprised of a combination of on-site educational modules and experiential "in-tunnel" learning showing practical application.
Over 350 attend first annual Ohio Hop Growers Conference
We organized and taught the 1st annual Ohio Hop Growers Conference in Wooster, OH at the OSU OARDC campus on February 13th, 2014. With over 350 attendees, this workshop was a huge success! Brad Bergefurd was the Conference Moderator for the day-long conference and began the day with an overview of the hops industry in Ohio and the opportunities for Ohio farmers to grow for the ever-expanding Ohio Craft Brewing Industry. Other educators for the day (and topics) included: Andy Pax (beginner’s advice from an established grower), Chelsea Smith (pests and beneficial arthropods), USDA Farm service agency, Fulya Gurel (diseases and virus control and management in hops), Jason Channels (Ohio Department of Agriculture: food safety regulations and requirements for hops processing and sale), Dan Kamburoff (Irrigation design, setup, operation, fertigation and management for hops) and Eric Stockinger (Malting barley research and production opportunities in Ohio). A post-conference craft brewery tour was conducted at JAFB brewery in Wooster. The second annual Ohio Hop Conference will be held in partnership with the Ohio Craft Brewers Annual Conference on February 5 and 6, 2015 at the OARDC campus.
Brad Bergefurd, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator Agriculture & Natural Resources
Phone: 740-289-2071 ext. 136
Thom Harker, Research Assistant
Phone: 740-289-2071 ext. 177
Wayne Lewis, Farm Manager
Phone: 740-289-2071 ext. 135
Charissa McGlothin, Program Assistant
Phone: 740-289-2071 ext. 132
Chelsea Smith, Research Assistant
Phone: 330-202-3555 ext. 2560
Strawberry winter protection technique saves thousands in crop losses from polar vortex
By: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator
Thanks to a grant from the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program, strawberry winter protection techniques researched for Ohio conditions proved to help keep strawberry growers from experiencing total crop losses during the 2014 polar vortex event with several episodes of -10°F temperature conditions. Without protection, strawberry blooms can be injured at temperatures of 10°F. Strawberry yields were reduced throughout Ohio from the sub-zero polar vortex events, however, farms that had adopted the row cover protection systems researched at Piketon ended up protecting a percentage of their crop from total loss. Farms also have adopted the row cover treatments to protect their sensitive strawberry blooms from frost and wind-borne advective freeze events in the spring of 2014. Growers that adopted these winter protection techniques reported up to 40% higher yields than unprotected strawberry crops.
$165,000 grant received for Urban Agriculture Development
Thanks to the city of Dayton Community Development Block Grant for $165,000, Principle Investigator Brad Bergefurd along with Co-Investigators Tony Nye (Ag/NR Educator, Clinton County Extension) and Suzanne Mills-Wasniak (Ag/NR Educator, Montgomery County Extension) are leading this two-year urban agriculture development project which will greatly expand their previous urban agriculture initiatives across the city of Dayton. This project further explores new uses for over six thousand vacant lots within the Dayton city limits as a part of the "Vacant to Vibrant" Urban Agriculture Project. The City of Dayton and the Ohio State University Extension Montgomery County, Clinton County and the OSU South Centers program areas, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, are major partners in this endeavor. The marketing plan is producing vegetables for the area’s Middle-Eastern ethnic population on vacant lots, thus helping to eliminate a Dayton area "food desert."
The Vacant to Vibrant project expanded the number of vacant lots developed as food production units in 2014. Two major benefits from the project are that vacant lots are given a new environmentally sustainable life and purpose and that the city, neighborhood, Extension, and culturally diverse groups collaborate to make a positive difference for the city of Dayton. Secondary benefits are: an underserved population is able to produce and have access to fresh local ethnic produce, refuge partners learned English and agricultural and marketing job skills, and limited resource participants learned to combine the use of ethnic and local food for healthy nutritional choices.
Specialty Pumpkin Grant Received
By: Brad Bergefurd, MS, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator
Thanks to a grant from the Ohio Vegetable and Small Fruit Research and Development Program, the Ohio State University South Centers Horticulture program has been researching pumpkin crops for over 20 years. This pumpkin research and extension program has explored new production methods that have been implemented on Ohio farms to add to the profitability of Ohio pumpkin enterprises. Pumpkins, gourds and winter squash are a big cash crop for Ohio. Ohio ranks third in pumpkin production in the United States, harvesting over 10 million pumpkins off of 6,100 acres, and generating over 15 million dollars in 2013.
One area of on-going research is the evaluation of new pumpkin germplasm or varieties that are in the testing stages or that will be soon entering the market. OSU South Centers have tested new selections to see how they perform under Ohio growing conditions and if they have the traits necessary for the wholesale and retail fall crops market, which, according to the National Retailers Association, is the second most decorated season of the year--second only to the Christmas holiday season. To view the results of pumpkin research performed in Ohio, visit our web site at: southcenters.osu.edu/horticulture/vegetables/pumpkins.
High School Internship Program available to local manufacturers
Manufacturers have the opportunity to place high school and career technical students as interns in their manufacturing operations.
The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has created this internship program to assist manufacturers with their workforce needs and is providing financial assistance for participating Ohio manufacturers.
Advantages of having student interns:
• contribute to developing your future manufacturing workforce
• connect with schools to ensure students are work-ready
• be reimbursed up to 50% of student wages (up to $1,500/student)
How does the program work?
• We help you work with your local schools to select students for internship positions in manufacturing operations
• We will design a work-based learning experience with you that is school-approved and complies with state requirements
• You guide the student(s) through their internship experience
• You are reimbursed 50% of each student’s wage (up to $1,500/student)
For more information on this program, contact Bret Whitaker via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local students tour manufacturing facility as part of National Manufacturing Month
By Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager and Business Development Network Program Leader
To showcase October’s National Manufacturing Month, local high school seniors along with staff members from the OSU South Centers Business Development Network, recently, toured the Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. manufacturing facility in Jackson, Ohio.
Speyside produces barrels for bourbon distilleries across the United States. While the company has been in business since 1947, they began production at the Jackson facility in 2016. Much of the raw materials used to produce the barrels are processed within a 30-mile radius of Jackson. The tour highlighted the process of converting the raw wood materials into barrels through CNC machining and modern manufacturing.
National Manufacturing Month helps highlight the value of manufacturing to the economy and the opportunity available for highly-skilled workers and careers.
Eastern High School seniors from Pike County participated in the tour to highlight local careers available in the manufacturing industry after graduation. “Not only did these students get to tour a manufacturing facility in the region, they also learned career opportunities in manufacturing as well as some required skills needed to enter the workforce,” Mick Whitt, Manufacturing Specialist with the OSU South Centers stated during the tour.
This tour also kicked off a new collaboration for the Southeastern Ohio Region. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) serving 22 southern and southeastern counties will be housed at the OSU South Centers in conjunction with the Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence within the College of Engineering. The MEP program will focus on providing value-added manufacturing consulting services to manufacturers throughout the region. Some services include market development, new product innovation, supply chain development, and strategic growth planning.
Additional tours introducing high school students to manufacturers in the Southeastern Ohio Region are being planned throughout the coming year.
Farmers’ Markets at Risk of Losing the Ability to Accept SNAP Benefits
By Christie Welch
Direct Marketing Program Specialist
Ohio farmers’ markets are thriving and many of them accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP); formerly known as the federal food stamp program.
In Ohio there are currently 224 farmers’ markets and farm markets that accept SNAP benefits. This represents a 128.6% increase since 2012. While this has helped food insecure individuals access fresh, locally produced foods, farmers’ markets are at risk of losing this ability.
On July 2, 2018 Novo Dia Group, Inc. announced it would shut down the Mobile Market + Application. Novo Dia Group developed the Mobile Market + application for iPhones that allows farmers’ markets the ability to accept SNAP benefits wirelessly via iPhones, iPods, and iPads. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, “Novo Dia Group is the largest supplier of SNAP payment processing equipment to farmers markets in the country. Over 1,700 (or 40%) of farmers markets and farmers that accept SNAP nationwide are currently customers.” This ability is critical for farmers’ markets that are typically held in open air locations that lack access to land-line telephones and electricity. If the Mobile Market + app is no longer available, farmers’ markets will have few options. SNAP benefits in Ohio are administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and are known as the Ohio Direction Card. And while ODJFS offers access to wired terminals for Ohio farmers’ markets, due to the nature of where farmers’ markets, operate wired equipment is typically not feasible.
Once Novo Dia Group made their announcement about the shutdown of the Mobile Market + app, farmers’ market supporters around the country began looking for solutions. On July 19 the National Association of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs announced it would provide funding to keep the Mobile Market + app functional for an additional 30 days in hopes a more permanent solution could be identified. And while this news was welcomed by farmers’ markets, it was a temporary solution.
Then on July 27th New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, “an agreement has been reached with Novo Dia Group to enable SNAP recipients to continue to use their benefits at farmers markets across the state, and *nationwide* through the rest of the farmers market season.” In a press release of that day, the Governor went on to say, “This agreement also lays the groundwork for other states that rely on cellular-based transactions at farmers’ markets to continue their services as well.” You can read the full press release here: governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-plan-protect-snap-recipients-access-farmers-markets.
On August 2, 2018 Novo Dia Group provided a Frequently Asked Questions list on their website, mailchi.mp/novodiagroup/mobile-market-status-2160213?e=529d05a582. To help farmers’ markets across the country remain up to date on the fate of Mobile Market + application and/or other solutions that may become available the Farmers Market Coalition has created a webpage dedicated to providing the most current information available. You can find the information at: farmersmarketcoalition.org/novo-dia-group-shutdown-info-page-now-live.
The OSU Extension Direct Food and Agricultural Marketing Team is following the situation closely and providing updates via our Facebook pages, @OhioDirectMarketing, and @OhioFarmersMarkets. If you have questions or concerns about your local farmers’ markets’ ability to continue to accept SNAP benefit wirelessly, please contact Christie Welch via email to:
email@example.com. We will provide additional information or assistance as it become available.
The Appalachian Table: Where Local Food Producers and Buyers Came Together
By Christie Welch
Direct Agriculture Marketing Specialist
Local food producers and buyers had the opportunity to come together to network, learn from each other, and make connections – all in the name of helping citizens through increased access to Ohio produced foods.
Beginning with a locally sourced breakfast consisting of sausage, bacon, eggs, milk, yogurt, granola, coffee, and baked goods, The Appalachian Table helped to raise awareness among producers and buyers about the diversity of local foods produced in the region, and the diversity of opportunities to sell to various markets.
Leslie Schaller, a founding member of Casa Nueva, shared experiences about sourcing local foods for her restaurant and value-added line. Highlighted were some of the logistical challenges of sourcing locally produced foods, accessing the ability to process those items, and then store them for year-round use in the restaurant. Casa Nueva is an Athens, Ohio based, worker-owned cooperative restaurant that sources as much locally produced food as possible.
Sandra Gross, co-owner, and Frances Kroner, Executive Chef of Sleep Bee Café, shared information about their restaurants and working with local food producers.
They source as much locally produced foods as possible and then create seasonally inspired meals that are served in their Cincinnati area cafés. Local producers appreciated their willingness to share about their process and learned from the success they shared.
Attendees also heard from a panel of producers that currently sell their locally produced products via various market channels: McDowell Farms selling to a regional grocer, Way Farms sells via a farm market and farmers markets, and Two Roasting Joes sells via farmers’ markets and specialty stores. Attendees were able to ask these producers about the challenges and opportunities of the various market channels they currently use. One participate said that, “learning firsthand what restaurants and wholesale customers want from producers and how they want to be contacted” was very beneficial.
Participants also appreciated the knowledge of the many resources that are available to help them grow their businesses. Collaborators for the program included the OSU Extension Direct Food and Agriculture Marketing Team, The CFAES Center for Cooperatives, The Minority Business Assistance Center, The OSU South Centers Business Development Network, and The Appalachian Center for Economic Network (AceNet).
If you would like additional information about direct marketing locally produced food and agricultural products, the OSUE Direct Agricultural Marketing Team would like to help. You can visit our website at southcenters.osu.edu/marketing or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
OSU Extension Direct Food and Ag Marketing Team 2017 Summary Report
By: Christie Welch, Program Manager and Team Leader
Direct Food & Ag Marketing Team focus:
The team is focused on providing training, education, and technical assistance to Ohio’s food producers and marketers. The goal of this assistance is to help these small businesses increase their effectiveness and thereby their profitability. This should translate to healthier farms, food producers, and the communities where they reside and increase access for consumers to locally produced foods.
In 2017 the team provided many trainings and educational presentations throughout Ohio. Highlights of these include:
• MarketReady – A one day workshop that helps local food producers explore various market channels; direct to consumers, direct to restaurants, direct to wholesale, and direct to institutions. The workshop focuses on the main business functions for each of these market channels. The training was delivered in conjunction with OSUE Cuyahoga County to 26 participants. An attendee said about the training that, “all subjects and speakers were very informative, meeting and talking with fellow growers-always a plus.” Another said they valued, “learning how to connect and strengthen customer relationships through demographics, their needs and offering products through direct sales.” In addition to the collaboration between Amanda Osborne of OSUE Cuyahoga County and the Direct Marketing Team, Ivory Harlow of the Center for Cooperatives shared information about cooperative development with the attendees.
• The Direct Marketing Team continues to collaborate with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Proud Program. Team members supported two Ohio Proud Food Summits held in Columbus, and Wellington. The regional summits bring local food producers together with local food buyers. As a result, local food producers enter new markets and increase access to their locally produced foods.
• Collaborated with the Ohio Proud Program to offer best marketing practices to Ohio Proud Partners – Columbus and Piketon and Milan; approximately 75 individuals attended.
• Partnered with the OSU Resource and Ag Law Program and Wright & Moore Law, LPP to host the first annual Ohio AgritourismReady conference. More than 75 individuals attended the conference and learn how to grow their agritourism enterprises, how to manage liability, best marketing practices, and much more. The conference was so well received that we are currently planning the second annual AgritourismReady conference which will be held March 10, 2018 in Piketon, OH.
• Online video presentation to Heritage Ohio on how to have a successful farmers’ market in your community to 50 members of Heritage Ohio. According to their website, As Ohio’s official historic preservation and Main Street organization, Heritage Ohio fosters economic development and sustainability through preservation of historic buildings, revitalization of downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts, and promotion of cultural tourism.
• Presented at three regional meetings (Toledo, Dayton, and Marion) of the Ohio Travel Association to make connections with local visitors’ bureaus and tourism organizations with Ohio Agritourism operators for the benefit of both groups. Association members have a better understanding of agritourism enterprises in Ohio and how they can be included in county tourism promotions to help attract visitors to their counties.
• Was invited to present Facebook Basics and Using Social Media to Market Your Business to the Ohio State Beekeepers Association conference. This annual conference attracts nearly 400 attendees of which 100 attended these two presentations.
• Team members Rob Leeds, OSU Extension Delaware County and Eric Barrett, OSU Extension Delaware County presented - Managing Your Online Presence and Customer Service in Social Media and the Digital World at the 2017 North American Farm Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) Annual Convention, in February in Mystic, Connecticut.
In addition team members presented a variety of marketing trainings throughout Ohio including; Best Marketing Practices, Identifying Your Target Market, Getting MarketReady, How to Develop a Marketing Plan, Farmers’ Markets Basics, Connecting with Your Customers, and Value Added Opportunities among others.
The team also rebranded and updated the Maps & Apps curriculum, now DeviceReady – Managing Your Online Presence. The inaugural presentation of DeviceReady was held in conjunction with the Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College. The program was so well received it is being offered again on April 17, 2018 for CSCC and on April 24, 2018 for the Ohio State Beekeepers Association members.
Team members published two factsheets; Selling Eggs in Ohio: Marketing and Regulations and Maps, Apps and Mobile Media Marketing both of which are available via Ohioline.
Team members Eric Barrett, Peggy Hall and Emily Adams completed a project with others across campus, entitled, “Removing Barriers to the Direct Marketing of Farm Foods in Ohio,” as part of an OSU Cares Grant. The project surveyed farmers’ market managers and health departments, and gained input from farmers around Ohio. Four themes were evident that need addressed in Ohio. The project team will work with ODA, ODH and others in Ohio to review the results and to make plans for reducing barriers to entry in the coming year.
OSU Extension Direct Food and Agriculture Marketing Team connecting to assist Ohio’s agritourism operators
By Christie Welch, Direct Agricultural Marketing Specialist
Agritourism is growing around the country. In an effort to assist Ohio’s agritourism operators connection with their communities and potential customers, the OSUE Direct Food and Ag Marketing team partnered with the Ohio Tourism Association to offer a workshop to current and potential agritourism operators. Agritourism provides farmers with the ability to diversify the income for the operations, can attract additional tourists to visit the communities in which they are located, and provide an opportunity for the general public to visit a farm to learn more about agriculture in Ohio.
The workshop was held in three locations around Ohio and we had the opportunity to learn more about the assistance that local Convention and Visitors Bureaus can provide to agritourism operators. In addition, Melinda Huntley Executive Director of Ohio Travel Association shared information about the benefits agritourism can provide to local communities and the businesses that serve the travelers.
In addition to these workshops, the OSUE Direct Food and Ag Marketing Team collaborated with Wright & Moore Law Company, LPA and the OSU Agriculture and Resource Law Program to host the first annual AgritourismReady workshop in the spring of 2017. This event was very well attended and participants heard from a variety of experts in the areas of ag law, risk management, zoning, marketing, and more. Due to the success of the workshops and the interest in agritourism in Ohio, the team is planning a second annual AgritourismReady workshop in March 2018. More information will be forthcoming.
If you would like to learn more about agritourism in Ohio, you can contact Christie Welch, Direct Marketing Specialist via email email@example.com or via telephone 740-289-2071 ext. 234.
The OSUE Direct Food and Agriculture Marketing Program is supported by the OSU College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Science and OSU Extension.
Ohio’s first AgritourismReady conference a success
By Christie Welch, Direct Agricultural Marketing Specialist
On April 5, 2017 nearly 70 individuals gathered for the Ohio AgritourismReady Conference in Waldo, Ohio. The attendees where there to learn about Ohio’s new agritourism law, liability management, profitability, adding an activity to an agritourism operation, and more. The attendees heard from industry experts, extension educators, and agritourism operators.
The first such event held in Ohio, the workshop was sponsored by OSU Extension’s Agriculture & Resource Law Program, the OSU Extension Direct Agricultural Marketing Program, and Wright & Moore Law Company LPA. Guest speakers included Ben King, Risk Management Consultant with Nationwide Insurance, Ryan Conklin, Attorney with Wright & Moore Co., and representatives from Richwood Marketing.
This one-day workshop was designed to assist Ohio’s agritourism operators to ensure they have the necessary information to effectively manage risks, market their enterprises, and better manage their agritourism business. The event allowed agritourism operators the opportunity to learn from experts and peers in an effort to increase the profitability of Ohio’s agritourism operations.
One attendee said it was “Nice to have concrete examples with people who do this. Would like more examples of tips they implement to make it easier for tours/teachers,” referring to a breakout session that focused on school tours and working with teachers. Another attendee referred to the breakout session on Adding an Activity to Your Agritourism Operation, “Good brainstorming of potential issues and things I haven’t thought of.” This session was led by Eric Barrett and Rob Leeds, OSU Extension Educators and members of the OSUE Direct Ag Marketing Team.
Overall, the participants indicated the information presented was very helpful and would recommend having such a workshop annually. There are also plans to hold a similar event in the southern part of the state for those agritourism operators that were unable to attend the April 5th event.
If you would like more information about this or upcoming workshops, check out the OSUE Direct Agricultural Marketing Program’s website at southcenters.osu.edu/marketing or contact Christie Welch, Direct Ag Marketing Specialist via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OSU Direct Agricultural Marketing Team trains the Ohio Small Business Development Center counselors in Maps & AppsBy Christie Welch, Direct Agricultural Marketing SpecialistThe Direct Agricultural Marketing team collaborated with the OSU South Centers Business Development Network to present a train-the-trainer Maps & Apps workshop to Ohio Small Business Development Centers Business Counselors. This hands-on training provided information on how different consumers use mobile devices and obtain information, as well as shared best practices for small businesses to effectively communicate with their target customers.This six-hour workshop was held at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on main campus. Participants in the training increased their knowledge of common maps and applications commonly used on mobile devices. Training topics included: How Customers Find & View Your Business on Mobile Devices, How Consumers Use Social Media, and How Consumers Utilize and Access Apps, GPS, and gadgets. In addition, participants were provided with the power point presentation and workbook so they can use the Maps & Apps program with their small business clients around the state.As a result of the positive feedback received, the DM team will be presenting Maps & Apps at the statewide Ohio Small Business Development Centers annual conference. The annual conference provides professional development for Ohio’s small business development specialists.Team members delivering the training are: Rob Leeds, County Director & ANR Educator Delaware County; Jacci Smith, Program Coordinator Ag/4-H Youth Development Delaware County; Mary Griffith, ANR Educator Madison County; Eric Barrett County Director & ANR Educator Mahoning County; and Christie Welch, Direct Marketing Program Director.The Small Business Development Centers of Ohio program is partially funded by the Ohio Development Services Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Ohio SBDC fosters a strong climate for small business growth with many local community partners, including colleges and universities, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and other community organizations. The statewide network offers a wide range of services to Ohio’s small businesses.To learn more about the OSU Direct Ag Marketing program visit: www.southcenters.osu.edu/marketing.To learn more about the OSU South Centers Business Development Network visit: www.southcenters.osu.edu/businessTo learn more about the Ohio SBDC visit: https://www.development.ohio.gov/bs/bs_sbdc.htm.
Ohio State University Direct Agricultural Marketing TeamBy Christie Welch, Direct Marketing SpecialistThe Ohio Direct Agricultural Marketing Team is a group of OSU Extension Educators and specialists along with personnel from partnering organizations that provided education and assistance to Ohio’s agricultural producers. The team provides this assistance in a variety of ways.• We offer a no-cost monthly webinar series on a variety of topics relating to direct marketing of agricultural products. Interested participants are welcome to join the live webinars and can also view recorded and archived webinars on the team website at: http://southcenters.osu.edu/marketing/direct-marketing-webinars. The schedule for the remaining 2016 webinars can be found on page 8.• The team provides a variety of direct marketing presentations throughout Ohio at many workshops, conferences, and farm tours such as the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association (OPGMA) Annual Congress and Summer Tour, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Annual Conference, Small Farm College, and at many additional events.• We provide technical assistance to groups and individual agricultural producers to assist them in evaluating their marketing strategies and learn where they might improve those strategies to increase their profitability.• The team has a variety of programs that can be offered to assist Ohio’s direct agricultural producers. These programs include; Map & Apps, Market Ready, Ohio Market Maker, and Meet the Buyers.
Busy year for the Direct Agricultural Marketing TeamBy: Christie Welch, Direct Agricultural Marketing SpecialistThe OSU Extension Direct Agricultural Marketing Team is busy providing information and education to Ohio’s direct marketers. Team members have been active presenting at conferences throughout the state. Topics include branding your farm market, pricing for profit, using social media, and more. If you have missed these presentations, you can still access our direct marketing information through webinars the team offers monthly. The webinars cover a variety of topics to assist direct ag marketers to increase their knowledge, learn best marketing practices, and provides tips and tools to help marketers improve their businesses.The team is also working with Ohio Proud to offer marketing workshops in four areas of the state. These workshops will offer information about how the Ohio Proud program can benefit your business, marketing your business on social media, and more. Join us to learn about free and low-cost tools to assist you in managing your on-line presence to maximize your business opportunities. You will learn about practical tools, trends, and strategies for 2016.
MarketMaker links producers and potential buyersBy: Charissa Gardner, Program AssistantThere are nearly 8,000 farmers markets in the U.S., an increase of more than 150 percent since 2000. Direct-to-consumer agriculture sales produce $1.2 billion in annual revenues. To be successful in your agricultural business, it is important to have a good marketing plan. The Ohio State University South Centers leads Ohio’s Direct Agricultural Marketing program and has offers producers resources and educational opportunities to assist with their direct agricultural marketing plans.Launched in 2008, one very important resource is Ohio MarketMaker which currently hosts one of the most extensive collections of searchable food industry-related data in the country. The web-based program contains demographic, food consumption, and business data that users can search to find products to buy, or find a place to sell their products.MarketMaker currently links producers and consumers in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. As the exclusive licensee, Riverside Research plans to invest in additional research and development to expand MarketMaker’s capabilities to new markets and regions, both nationally and globally. States that are currently participating include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C..At the beginning of 2014, MarketMaker had almost 700,000 businesses nationwide in categories of AgTourism, Farmers/Ranchers, Fisheries, Farmers Markets, Wineries, Eating & Drinking, Wholesalers, Food Retailers, and Food Banks, as well as other businesses not falling into those categories. In 2013, users posted 442 advertisements in the Buy & Sell Forum which were viewed over 36,000 times.If you don’t have an online profile, you can set one up in less than 10 minutes at www.ohiomarketmaker.com. There is no fee to register; it is totally free to both consumers and producers. Your profile is easy to maintain and manage, and allows you to connect with local, state, and national customers and buyers. Some of the features available are: indicating which farmers’ markets you’ll be participating in, which restaurants you sell to, which grocery stores carry your products and your affiliation with local food organizations.MarketMaker has several unique features that allow the consumers and producers to present themselves to other MarketMaker users. Using the business connection feature, market managers, consumers and producers can link with one another and other organizations that have also developed MarketMaker profiles, including grocery stores, restaurants, and schools. The link serves the mutual benefit of identifying users of local food sources. Businesses you connect with on MarketMaker appear on your business’s detail page to let users know more about your operation. You may want to connect with a variety of businesses, including: retailers or farmers’ markets that carry your product, businesses where you source product, and other local food businesses.Another unique feature is that buyers and sellers can select their current industry affiliations. These affiliations help to build credibility with customers. Some of these could include: Ohio Proud, CIFT, Ohio Grocers Association, and others.In today’s world, social networking plays a huge factor in marketing. MarketMaker also has the feature of connecting your Facebook and Twitter social links to your profile. Connecting your profile to these sites helps to build your audience and customer base while networking with others in the industry.Farmers markets may also create a profile in MarketMaker. Farmers market managers can easily create profiles with location, web site, contact information and produce available. The advanced directional mapping tools allows customers to easily find the market and view the types of products that the market has for sale.This feature brings buyers to the market, and saves the buyers time on locating the products they need.MarketMaker is supported by several state and national sponsors. These sponsors are the USDA, Farm Credit, Ohio Wines, Ohio Farm Bureau, the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, and the Ohio State University.For further information on Ohio MarketMaker or Direct Agricultural Marketing, visit the following Ohio State University Direct Marketing web site at http://southcenters.osu.edu/marketing/overview-programs/marketmaker. If you would like to be added to the Ohio Direct Marketing list serve to receive direct marketing updates and educational opportunities, contact OSU Direct Marketing Team leader, Christie Welch or Ohio MarketMaker Program Coordinator, Charissa Gardner or call the OSU South Centers 1-800-860-7232 or 740-289-3727 ext. 132.
Ohio Celebrates Local Foods Week Aug. 9-15, 2015By: Christie Welch, Direct Marketing SpecialistOhio State University Extension’s Local Foods Team has been working on celebrating the bounty of Ohio Local Foods. In an effort to raise awareness about the importance of Ohio agriculture, the team has developed resources for Ohio local food producers, marketers, and buyers to help celebrate the benefits of Ohio local foods. This year’s local foods event includes a $10 pledge and a website with an events calendar, resources, and event marketing tools that individuals can use to help spread the word. These resources can be found at: localfoods.osu.edu/ohio-local-foods-week. Let us know how you are celebrating Ohio Local Foods week and take the pledge.
Ohio farmers’ markets increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) redemption by offering incentivesBy: Christie Welch, Direct Marketing SpecialistOver the course of 2014, OSU South Centers’ Direct Agricultural Marketing Specialist collaborated with a diverse group of stakeholders to apply for USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program funds. The goal was simple, help Ohio Farmers’ Markets increase the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly the federal food stamp program known in Ohio as the Ohio Direction Card) benefits redeemed at participating Ohio farmers’ markets. This not only increases sales for participating farmers, it also increases access to fresh, healthy, locally produced foods for food insecure Ohioans. The Ohio steering committee worked with Wholesome Wave; a national non-profit whose goal is to increase healthy food access across the United States, and many others to develop a proposal for this new funding. As a result, Ohio is one of 17 states participating in the $7.4 million, three-year project. Fifty Ohio farmers’ markets that accept SNAP benefits now have the ability to offer matching incentives to SNAP recipients to use to access fresh fruits and vegetables that are produced by Ohio farmers.This program is having triple bottom line impacts for Ohio. Food insecure individuals can now increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase at farmers’ markets; thereby increasing their health by increasing their consumption of fruits and veggies. According to Michelle White, Market Manager of the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, “VeggieSNAPS (the incentive program) has been a wonderful addition to the farmers’ market landscape around central Ohio.Now EBT customers have multiple opportunities to shop and double their dollars throughout the week. At Clintonville on Saturdays, we have a couple of people who split their mornings between us and Worthington FM, taking full advantage of the incentive dollars to put healthy food on the table.” She goes on to highlight the benefits to the community, “The program has created a strong tie within the market community itself, with market managers and neighborhood organizations working together on a united front to increase food access.”Other collaborating organizations are seeing benefits as well. Jamie Sullivan, Vice President of External Affairs with the Greater Cleveland FoodBank said, “The clients we help through our Help Center are often looking for help applying for SNAP or finding other food resources. They are always very excited to know that they can double their SNAP benefits through the Produce Perks (incentive) program.” And while the program is benefiting SNAP recipients in Ohio, producers are benefitting as well. Christie Nohle, manager of the farmers’ market at the Franklin Park Conservatory said, “Our farmers’ market has seen an influx of EBT (SNAP) users. EBT users and non-EBT users alike are commenting that they think the Veggie SNAPS (incentive) program is a great opportunity to put local fruits and veggies into the hands of low-income folks! Our farmers appreciate the program since it boosts their produce sales!”The collaborators of this three-year project being led by Wholesome Wave include: OSU South Centers, OSU Extension Hamilton County, OSU Extension Cuyahoga County, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District’s Pearl Market, the City of Columbus, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services EBT Section, Ohio Department of Health, The Farmers Market Management Network, The Countryside Conservancy, Case Western Reserve University, Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (AceNet), Franklin Park Conservatory, The Greater Cleveland Foodbank, and many farmers’ markets throughout Ohio. For a map of the participating Ohio farmers’ markets, visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ofam/OhioFMEBTDirectory.stm. This website lists the Ohio farmers’ markets that accept the Ohio Direction Card (SNAP) and whether or not they are participating in the incentive program.Future plans include further development of a statewide network of Ohio farmers’ markets and stakeholders with the goal of applying for additional USDA FINI funding so that any farmers’ market that accepts the Ohio Direction Card will have the ability to offer incentive funds to food assistance benefits recipients.If you would like to learn more about the Wholesome Wave project you can do so at: http://www.wholesomewave.org/wholesomewavefinigrantaward/. If you have questions about the program, please contact Christie Welch via email to email@example.com or via telephone 740-289-2071 ext. 234.
Pike County Nutritional Sciences Field Day, The Story of the Strawberry
By: Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor and Field Specialist of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings, Pike County ranks 88 out of 88 counties. The rankings are based on obesity rates, health behaviors, healthy food access and other socio-ecological determinants of health. Pike County also ranks low in terms of students who complete post-secondary education training. Many of Pike County’s health problems mirror those of the larger Appalachian region and are attributed to socio-ecological determinants such as lack of healthy food access, food preparation skills, lack of awareness of nutrition science, traditional preferences for high calorie foods, food insecurity and poverty.
OSU Extension in Pike County and OSU South Centers developed and coordinated the Nutritional Sciences Field Day: The Story of the Strawberry to address some of the aforementioned challenges. The program was offered at OSU South Centers on May 25 to local high school agriculture and vocational, family and consumer science, and other science classes. The program objectives were to provide experiences and opportunities to increase awareness and interest in health science, food science, biotech, and ag science, basic and applied nutrition science and physiology and finally food production, local food resources. The students learned about opportunities from industry and academic leaders in various food and health sectors such as dieticians, biotech engineers, OSU faculty, and food processing. Students also participated in various hands on activities and discussion related to nutrition.
Around 60 students and teachers from 3 Pike County Schools attended the program. Before they had left, each student was asked to complete a program evaluation rating their awareness and interest on various topics before versus after program (results attached). Students were also asked what they had learned. Following the field day, students were more aware of the role that genetics play in play in fruit quality and nutrition, the daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables, and the nutritional benefits of small fruits. Students were also more interested in careers in agriculture, health and food sciences, and also more interested in buying local fruit.
When asked what they had learned, several remarked that they had learned much about research, strawberry properties, nutrition, and careers.
Two awards received during the annual Extension Conference
1st place- Epsilon Sigma Phi Team Teaching Award for More Than One Program Area- Recognizes Team Teaching that involved faculty and staff from more than one Extension program area including Family and Consumer Sciences, Community Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Youth Development. The OSU South Centers team received the award during the annual meeting of Epsilon Sigma Phi held on the Ohio State University campus.
Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Team Award- The award recognizes significant contribution to state Extension program planning and delivery. Epsilon Sigma Phi is a professional organization dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension System, supporting the Extension profession, and developing the Extension professional. Awards are presented annually to Extension professionals dedicated to fostering standards of excellence in the Extension System and developing the Extension profession and professional.
Both awards recognized team members:
The Ohio State Univeristy CFAES launches Center for Cooperatives
By Ivory Harlow, Cooperative Development Specialist
Friends of Ohio’s cooperatives joined the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and OSU Extension to celebrate the newly established CFAES Center for Cooperatives at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on October 18th, 2017.
The celebration commemorated the 2017 National Cooperative Month of October. The event also coincided with Ohio Cooperative Week designated by Governor John Kasich as October 15-21, 2017 in a Resolution presented to Mid-America Cooperative Council Executive Director Rod Kelsay at the event.
Dr. Graham Cochran, CFAES Senior Administrative Officer, welcomed cooperative leaders from United Producers, Select Sires, Nationwide, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and others to the event, and shared the college’s commitment to organizational development and workforce preparation. Associate Dean and Director of OSU Extension Dr. Roger Rennekamp highlighted the importance of cooperatives and how the Center will be part of the overall network of OSU Extension programming to reach stakeholders in all 88 counties of Ohio. Dr. Tom Worley, Director of the new Center, announced the University has been awarded a Rural Cooperative Development Grant totaling approximately $200,0000 to improve rural areas of Ohio and West Virginia through the development of cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses. Debbie Rausch, from the Ohio office of USDA Rural Development spoke to the group, highlighting the College’s 18 years of USDA cooperative development efforts.
Along with Worley, Dr. Ani Katchova is leading research programs for the Center and Hannah Scott is serving as leader of Extension and outreach activities. Programming for the Center will occur within and link all major mission areas of CFAES, including teaching, research and Extension. This integration is expected to extend knowledge to emerging and established agricultural cooperatives and support rural economic development. Furthermore, the Center will provide students and agricultural professionals with more interdisciplinary training and research opportunities.
“The CFAES Center for Cooperatives is expected to be comprehensive and bring together all three mission areas of the College - teaching, research, and Extension. We are very pleased to be well positioned to serve the wider cooperatives community in Ohio through the combined faculty and staff resources of the Center,” OSU South Centers Director Tom Worley said.
The Center maintains staff based in Piketon, Ohio and also has faculty presence on the Columbus campus. It will integrate the College’s current activities and operations that support cooperative business development, engage directly with long-established cooperatives, and provide cooperative education both in the classroom and via Extension and outreach programs.
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center and OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics prepare the next generation of cooperative leaders
By Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center Program Specialist
Agricultural cooperatives have demonstrated steady growth and stable financial performance in recent years. They make strong contributions to the U.S. economy and create new employment opportunities for college graduates with degrees in agriculture. In 2015 there were 2,047 agricultural cooperatives in the United States, with a net income of $7 billion dollars and 136,300 full-time employees (USDA, SR79 Agricultural Cooperative Statistics).
The Ohio State University has a long history of supporting cooperative education, including a long-offered undergraduate agricultural economics course that focuses specifically on the cooperative model. The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) collaborates with Dr. Tom Worley and Dr. David Hahn of The Ohio State University Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics (AEDE) to facilitate components of the course. AEDE 3141 develops students’ understanding of the cooperative business model and cooperative principles as they relate to the organization and management of agribusinesses.
OCDC works with teams of students to develop cooperative leadership multi-media projects. First, students choose a cooperative topic of interest on which to focus their project. Students may choose topics like the unique aspects of managing a co-op compared to investor-owned firms; the concept of the patronage refund and its role in the cooperative business model; or the roles and responsibilities of co-op members in the success of their business. Next, OCDC and course instructors are available to connect students with current cooperative managers, directors, or officers who share operational knowledge and real-world experience of the topic. Students interview the cooperative leader and compile interviews and background materials to create a 3-5 minute multimedia presentation.
Students complete AEDE 3141 with a comprehensive understanding of agricultural cooperatives from coursework, lectures, and face-to-face discussions with cooperative leaders. The multimedia project helps students build skills in digital production and fosters meaningful connections with industry leaders.
“Access to engaging cooperative education materials for developers of new cooperatives, stakeholders of existing cooperatives, and students of cooperatives is one of the major challenges OCDC faces when providing education and technical assistance to the public and start-up cooperatives,” said Program Manager Hannah Scott. The benefit of the student multi-media projects reaches far beyond their personal learning, providing public education in an accessible and engaging format.
The Center showcases students’ multimedia projects on the Ohio Cooperative Development Center’s website and utilizes students’ videos in OCDC’s cooperative education and outreach efforts. Past student projects can be viewed at southcenters.osu.edu/cooperatives/cooperative-resources.
The center also plans to feature student projects in OCDC’s upcoming online training, Co-op Mastery: Beyond Cooperatives 101. The training will be housed in the public access version of Canvas, The Ohio State University’s online learning management system. The course will be available to the public in 2018.
Reference: Agricultural Cooperative Statistics SR79, 2015, USDA Rural Development. Retrieved April 10, 2017 from https://www.rd.usda.gov/files/publications/SR79AgriculturalCooperativeSt...
Welcome, Ivory Harlow!The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Center welcomes Ivory Harlow. Ivory is a Program Specialist with OCDC, which works to improve economic conditions in rural areas of Ohio and West Virginia through the development of cooperative and cooperative-like businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Strayer University and earned a Master of Arts from Ohio Christian University.Ms. Harlow is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where she served as a medical material logistics journeyman. She is a graduate of Syracuse University Whitman School of Management’s Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) program, and Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) at the Trulaske College of Business, University of Missouri.Ivory has a background in agriculture and business development. She is the owner of Dickie Bird Farm LLC in Ross County, Ohio. She writes Farm Forward, a weekly agriculture column for Farm and Dairy Newspaper.Ms. Harlow is eager to assist cooperative development projects in agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, transportation and exports in the region.
OCDC Receives Award of Excellence from U.S. Department of AgricultureBy Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerThe Ohio Cooperative Development Center was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development with an Award of Excellence. The award was granted, “In honor of nearly two decades of steadfast promotion and support of co-ops, leading to the success of innumerable rural and agricultural-based businesses in the Buckeye state.”The Ohio Cooperative Development Center was founded in 2000 at The Ohio State University South Centers. The mission of the center is to improve the economic condition of rural areas in Ohio and West Virginia through the development of all types of cooperative businesses and cooperative-like groups. OCDC is a part of the Business Development Network at the OSU South Centers, which also has programs in small business development, farmers’ market promotion, and direct agricultural marketing.Sam Rikkers, Administrator of USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business Cooperative Service presented the award to OCDC staff along with Tony Logan, Director of USDA Rural Development in Ohio. The two visited Piketon to help kick off Co-op Month and to announce awards for USDA’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG).Under the RCDG program, the Ohio Cooperative Development Center will receive $199,984 over the next year to assist businesses in Ohio and West Virginia, focusing particularly on businesses in agriculture, forest and wood products, transportation, and energy. OCDC provides cooperative education, formation counseling, member and director training and assistance with feasibility studies, marketing plans, and business plans, among other activities. The center also facilitates the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network and administers a seed grant program for new and emerging cooperatives.The Rural Cooperative Development Grant program awarded $5.8 million to 29 projects across the country in order to support rural economic development.National Cooperative Month is recognized by the US Department of Agriculture, along with a number of other cooperative associations, each October. Activities throughout the month raise awareness about the co-op business model and highlight their economic impact and importance to communities throughout the country. The Ohio Cooperative Development Center is celebrating Co-op Month by sharing a variety of information related to cooperative development through social media and the OSU Business Development Network blog. You can follow the “Biz Team” on Twitter at @OSUBizNetwork, Facebook at OSU Business Development Network, and the blog at u.osu.edu/osubusinessdevelopmentnetwork.
Co-op Spotlight: Preston County Growers Co-op
By Hannah Scott, OCDC Program Manager
A group of farmers in Preston County, West Virginia is working together to get local food into local schools. The Preston County Growers Co-op recently incorporated as a cooperative business with five member-farms that produce a variety of foods from lettuce to potatoes to eggs and beyond.
Some of the co-op’s growers have been working together for a few years to supply local schools with produce, but recently decided to formalize as a cooperative that is owned and controlled by their farmer-members. Within the cooperative model, members coordinate their production and marketing, selling to schools and other institutions as a single business and sharing profits with members.
The process of formalizing the co-op was supported by a number of organizations, including West Virginia University Extension, the Value Chain Cluster Initiative, West Virginia Farm to School, and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center. The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) worked with the growers to help them learn more about the co-op model, including the benefits of the business model, how money can move through a co-op, and the process of forming a co-op in West Virginia. OCDC also assisted the group with reviews of their foundational documents, including bylaws, membership applications, and membership agreements.
Learn more about the Preston Growers Co-op in this article in The Preston County News & Journal.
Ohio & West Virginia Food Hub Network Learns from Central Ohio Produce Companies
By Hannah Scott, OCDC Program Manager
Participants in the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network learned first-hand the ins and outs of aggregating, distributing and even processing fresh produce when they toured multiple central Ohio produce companies during their recent quarterly meeting. Food hub stakeholders and support organizations from across the region were welcomed at Sanfillipo Produce Co., DNO Produce, LLC and DNO, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, which have roots in produce wholesale and distribution spanning 100 years.
The tours of operational facilities gave participants the chance to observe working facilities, learn from employees about how produce is sources from growers, protocols for aggregating and distributing products to restaurants, grocers, institutions and other customers, as well as the importance of high quality and safe produce throughout aggregation, processing and distribution.
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers leads the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network. The program is a peer exchange network of representatives from new and emerging food hubs and incubator training farms as well as technical assistance providers from a various organizations. The regional effort began in early 2014 and participants now come together four times a year for programs that address the challenges of developing food hubs and training farms. Meetings also create a space for stakeholders to learn from one another. Past programs have focused on financial planning and finance resources, examining successful models, and quality and safety assurance. The network also incorporates other activities throughout the year, including educational webinars.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines regional food hubs as, “a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.” Efforts to create food hubs in Ohio and West Virginia have gained a great deal of interest recently; the businesses can create a variety of community benefits, including market access for local and regional producers.
The Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network will continue the learning about successful aggregation and distribution models at their upcoming August meeting in Davis, West Virginia. If you are interested in learning more about the meeting or registering, please visit the following link http://southcenters.osu.edu/cooperatives/ocdc-non-profit-local-foods-network-inc
If you are interested in learning more about cooperative food hubs or the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network, please contact Hannah Scott, firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-289-2071 x227.
Expanding Cooperative Knowledge at the 2016 Cooperative Leadership ForumBy Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerOhio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) staff, along with representatives of credit unions and agricultural co-ops, convened in Oxford, Ohio in March for Mid America Cooperative Education, Inc.’s 2016 Cooperative Leadership Forum. The forum provided emerging leaders from across the Midwest the opportunity to learn from one another and experts in the field about the co-op model and cooperative leadership.The forum was hosted at the Miami University Marcum Center in Oxford, Ohio and included tours of nearby cooperatives. At Butler Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. and CHACO Credit Union, speakers highlighted their “cooperative difference,” including their prioritization of members’ needs and participation, education efforts, and concern for community – which derive from the cooperative principles originally created by early cooperative movements.Cooperative Principles: What Makes Co-ops Different?The Rochdale Pioneers formed a cooperative society in mid-19thcentury England, outlining a set of principles for their business that would set them apart and place power among their members. The twelve principles outlined by the community are now recognized as the first set of co-op principles.To varying degrees, cooperatives today often follow a set of seven cooperative principles outlined by the International Cooperative Alliance that can be traced back to the Rochdale Pioneers. These principles include:• Voluntary and open membership• Democratic member control• Member economic participation• Autonomy and independence• Education, training and information• Cooperation among cooperatives• Concern for community(Zueli, K. & Cropp, R., Cooperatives: Principles and practices in the 21st century, UW Extension)Kimberly Roush, OCDC Program Assistant, explained the inspiration she gathered from these co-op visits. “Attending the Cooperative Leadership Forum was very inspiring. Cooperatives are unique, often pulling together to solve a problem that otherwise they could not solve alone. I also noticed another interesting result of the cooperative environment during the leadership forum—the overall culture of the cooperative employees who spoke with us. The staff explained specific details about the reason for and the function of their cooperatives. Then they shared something more—talking about member activities and interaction with the community. It was exciting to learn how the cooperative principles permeate the local culture through individual cooperation in community support and resolutions.”The forum also included visits from representatives of the Miami University Credit Union, Dairy Farmers of America, and COBA/Select Sires about how their co-ops benefit members, how they are governed, and the services they provide to members. Hannah Scott, OCDC Program Manager, shared, “I enjoyed hearing from co-op representatives about their specific businesses. Even though co-ops share similar characteristics, each one is unique. Listening to these leaders share the ways their businesses carry out the cooperative model highlighted the varied possibilities for co-ops. Understanding these possibilities will be extremely helpful as I work with new and emerging cooperatives throughout Ohio and West Virginia.”Finally, the program wrapped up with a hands-on, team project in which participants worked to create a business plan for a new cooperative. The activity provided a great opportunity to network with and learn from other co-op leaders in the program. “It was interesting to discuss with other class members how each of the cooperatives they were a part of were unique and how they were created to serve their members and work through problems that otherwise could not be solved on their own. Some class members even shared that working in the cooperative world compared to other business structures is much more rewarding and self-gratifying because they are a part of something so community-minded,” explained Chris Smalley, Business Development Specialist with OCDC, of the chance to learn from other Cooperative Leadership Forum participants.
OCDC moves new and emerging cooperatives forwardBy Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerIt has been quite a year at the Ohio Cooperative Development Center! The OCDC saw some exciting developments in 2015 and is poised to continue supporting rural economic development throughout Ohio and West Virginia in 2016.As a co-op development center, OCDC’s main focus is on providing technical assistance to new and emerging cooperative businesses in the region. This assistance often comes in the form of one-on-one meetings with OCDC staff, who help groups explore the cooperative model, work with them through the cooperative formation process, assist with board training and development, and much more. In 2015, OCDC staff assisted over 35 cooperatives and cooperative projects across the region!Many of these new and emerging cooperatives will now help their members address a wide variety of problems or opportunities. For instance, the Greenfield Farmers’ Market Co-op now provides a member-owned and governed outlet for local farmers to market their products, while the All Things Food Co-op allows the community ownership of their food through a cooperative local foods store and the Minutemen Farmers’ Cooperative is gearing up to provide farmer training to local veterans.OCDC’s Seed Grant Program was also a valuable resource for cooperative development in the region last year, providing funds for new and emerging cooperatives to form and grow their businesses. The 2014-2015 program, which operated from October 2014 through September 2015, provided over $18,000 to nine projects. The 2015-2016 program started with a bang in the final quarter of 2015, accepting a record number of proposals from projects across the region. OCDC staff were excited to award approximately $12,000 to these projects at the end of December and will be working with awardees as they complete their projects in the new year.Finally, one of OCDC’s signature programs, the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network brought together food hub and training farm managers and developers, along with technical assistance and service providers, for peer exchange and education four times in 2015. Approximately 20 hub businesses and service providers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, OSU Extension, West Virginia University Extension, Marshall University, and many others learned about food hub case studies and models, financial resources, value-chain connections, and more! The network will continue to address barriers to food development in 2016.
OCDC awarded Rural Cooperative Development GrantBy: Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerThe Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at the OSU South Centers located in Piketon, Ohio, was recently awarded funding to continue providing assistance to new and emerging cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia. The funds were awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program, a competitive program that provides support to cooperative development centers across the nation that work to “improve the economic conditions of rural areas through cooperative development.”In the upcoming year, OCDC will continue to focus cooperative development efforts in the Appalachian regions of Ohio and West Virginia, particularly in industries such as local and regional food and agriculture, energy, transportation, forest and wood products, and others. The center will provide services and resource linkages based on the individual needs of clients, developing an ongoing relationship with clients to ensure their continued success.OCDC services will include:• formation counseling• member education• bylaw development• board training and consultation• assistance with feasibility studies, strategic plan development, business planning, and policydevelopmentRCDG funding will also support OCDC’s 2015-2016 Seed Grant program, a matching grant program that provides funds to new and emerging cooperatives to support activities such as professional services, feasibility studies, development of marketing materials, and more.If you would like to learn more about OCDC, please contact Hannah Scott at 740-289-2071 ext. 227 or email@example.com.
OCDC Seed Grants assist cooperative developmentBy: Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerThe Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) Seed Grant program has wrapped up another successful year! The program, which enhances OCDC’s mission of improving rural economies through cooperative development, provides critical resources to new and emerging cooperatives for exploratory or expansion projects. New and emerging cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia can apply for a reimbursement, matching grant for feasibility and formation activities of groups exploring the cooperative model and for the implementation of expansion projects of already existing cooperatives. Applications are assessed by members of the OCDC advisory committee and OCDC personnel are available to provide assistance to the cooperatives as their plans progress. The program has supported numerous projects over the last five years, awarding grant funds totaling approximately $68,000.New awards this year total approximately $22,000 to support 10 cooperative development projects throughout Ohio and West Virginia. Many of these projects are focused on the formation or expansion of local food cooperative businesses, including a farmers market, food hubs, and retail stores. Local food cooperatives directly contribute to development through job creation and business generation. They also serve a vital function of providing an outlet for agricultural producers to market products, often allowing these producers to realize economic benefits as well. Finally, these businesses create opportunities for community members to purchase locally-produced food, sometimes in areas with limited access to such products.Seed grant projects funded this year include a membership loan and gift campaign to help generate financial resources for a new cooperative, a membership and financial campaign to support the expansion of an existing cooperative, work with legal and accounting professionals to develop articles of incorporation and service agreements, and the provision of marketing materials to help generate awareness of cooperatives in their community.In addition, OCDC awarded a seed grant to the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition (WVFFC) for use toward legal work, workshops, and network-building aimed at informing others of cooperative statute updates in the state.OCDC plans to continue the successful seed grant program in the upcoming year, which begins on October 1, 2015, contingent upon funding. New and emerging cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia that are interested in learning more about the program should contact Hannah Scott or Kimberly Roush at 740-289-2071 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.Funding for the OCDC seed grant program is made available through a Rural Cooperative Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency.
Change of Faces at the Ohio Cooperative Development CenterBy: Hannah Scott, OCDC Program ManagerThe Ohio Cooperative Development Center at the OSU South Centers welcomed Hannah Scott as the program manager on January 26, 2015.Hannah is from Georgetown, Ohio, where she and her family continue to farm. Hannah earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University where she studied sociology, psychology and documentary studies. She was most recently a graduate associate in Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources and is earning a Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources with a specialization in rural sociology.Christie Welch, prior program manager of OCDC, is now a Direct Marketing Specialist with OSU Extension based at the OSU South Centers. Christie’s new role will involve working with individuals, groups, and businesses interested in direct marketing their food and agriculture products. She also continues her extensive work with developing farmers’ markets throughout Ohio. We thank Christie for all of her hard work with OCDC and wish her luck in her new role!In other personnel changes, Dr. Tom Snyder recently retired from The Ohio State University South Centers after 8 years with OCDC and a career in public service exceeding 50 years! Tom helped to develop many new and emerging cooperatives throughout Ohio and West Virginia and was instrumental in forging a successful partnership between OCDC and West Virginia University Extension. Tom was also a driving force behind the development of the Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network, which is focused on the cooperative development of local and regional food systems. We thank Tom for his great work and wish him well in his retirement!OCDC Highlight: Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub NetworkFood hubs are enterprises that aggregate locally sourced food to meet wholesale, retail, institutional, and individual demand. The concept, and efforts to create food hubs in local communities, has gained a lot of interest in Ohio and West Virginia. The notion of producing more locally grown and processed food and creating new jobs and businesses is of interest to many communities.The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers is leading an effort to work with new and emerging food hubs and incubator/training farms. The two-state Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network was formed in early 2014 and currently includes over twenty food hub efforts. The network is composed of food hub managers, directors, support partners and individuals working to form food hubs or incubator/training farms and is an effort to share information, develop linkages, and help these stakeholders gain tools for success to become active in institutional or wholesale food sales or distribution. Meetings of the network are focused on addressing the needs of these hubs and sharing information to help them overcome barriers. Meeting topics have included risk management, ensuring quality and safety of products, and available financial and technical resources. Members also participate in other related and network sponsored projects including special projects, participating in listserv emails, and in viewing webinars.
The Ohio Cooperative Development Center Recap
By: Christie Welch, OCDC Program Manager and Brad Bergefurd, Horticulture Specialist and Extension Educator
2014 was a year of growing cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia. The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at the OSU South Centers worked with new and emerging cooperatives related to local foods, farmers’ markets, the wood industry, and others to help improve the economic status of cooperative members. The clients that received technical assistance and training from OCDC in 2014 reported that they created 26 jobs, retained 34 jobs, invested $1.7 million in capital, and increased sales by $98,000. These new and emerging cooperatives are having positive economic impacts on their local communities. Following are some highlights from a few of these cooperatives.
The Ohio Hop Growers Guild officially incorporated in 2014
With the assistance of Brad Bergefurd, Horticultural Specialist at the OSU South Centers, Christie Welch and Tom Snyder of OCDC provided expertise and guidance to Ohio hop growers to determine the feasibility and lead the formation of the Ohio Hop Growers Guild (OHGG). OCDC provided technical assistance and information about the cooperative model for a group of hops producers looking to cooperatives to help grow the hops industry in Ohio. The group is working to plan for and meet the needs of the rapidly expanding Ohio craft brewing industry. The mission of the Ohio Hop Growers Guild is to unify, grow, educate, and protect the Ohio hops growing community; to increase sales of Ohio-grown hops through cooperative promotions, marketing, and increasing industry awareness; and to monitor and assure a sustainable hops industry within the state of Ohio. The Guild is committed to the following objectives:
1) Advocating for Ohio-grown hops under an OHGG Seal of Quality, cooperatively marketing and promoting the OHGG brand to increase awareness of and demand for Ohio-grown hops.
2) Improving product quality, grower efficiency and profits through education and collaboration.
3) Leveraging combined purchasing power through voluntary joint-purchasing programs and access to resources.
4) Representing the independent producers, which include both general members and the board of directors. The interim Board of Directors includes Dave and Nina Volkman of Ohio Valley Hops, Maineville, Ohio; TJ Merrill of Paradune Brewing Farm, Belle Center, Ohio; Joseph Pellegrino of Mankato Farms, New Carlisle, Ohio; and Brad Bergefurd, OSU South Centers Horticultural Specialist, an ex-officio director representing academia. The Guild will be presenting at the 2015 Ohio Hops Conference on future Guild opportunities.
The Ohio and West Virginia Food Hub Network
Many local communities want to significantly increase the production, processing, and marketing of locally-grown fresh food for their residents. However, to meet this growing demand, the production of locally-produced foods must increase. The question then becomes: How should we support the growing or expansion of growers and facilitate the local food-related value chain business expansions or start-ups in order to have major impact? To help address this need, Tom Snyder of OCDC worked with partners to form a food hub networking group. This group supports the development of growers and value chain businesses to meet the increasing demand for locally-produced foods.
The Food Hub Network is:
• Supporting regional food hub planning and executive boards/leaders
• Providing and/or connecting individuals to the needed technical assistance
• Developing and sharing grower training resources and business model templates
• Providing regional, state, and national networking opportunities
This food hub network group was formed in 2014. Participants include representatives of sixteen new and emerging food hubs and incubator farms, technical assistance providers, funding agencies, business development service centers, and educational institutions. The network’s goal is to develop successful food hub models that produce, process, and market significantly more locally grown and/or locally processed food while creating new businesses and jobs for local communities.
Sharing Best Practices with Policy Makers
In addition to assisting new and emerging cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia, OCDC has been working with WVU College of Law to help research cooperative statues throughout the United States. The results of this research will be shared with policy makers in West Virginia to consider when looking to update the state’s statues on cooperatives. While the WV state legislature made some updates to the regulations in 2014, the types of groups that can choose the cooperative model are limited to agricultural based enterprises. Expanding the cooperative model to other industries would encourage the formation of additional cooperatives in West Virginia.
By: Brad Bapst, SBDC Director and Counselor
The District 7 Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers is an eight-person team including a Regional Director, six Certified Business Advisors® and an administrative program assistant. The District 7 SBDC Center also utilizes a unified delivery model to incorporate resources from other programming affiliated with the Ohio State University South Centers, including an International Trade Assistance Center, Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and OSU Extension programs.
Regional partnerships are the primary source of referrals for the District 7 SBDC. The South Centers maintains formal agreements with three local universities for regional economic development collaboration. The SBDC also utilized formal Memorandums of Understanding with the Southern Ohio Procurement Outreach Center, the district’s PTAC, and Pike County Community Action. These relationships help the region’s entrepreneurs, business owners and small manufacturers with technical assistance and training.
The OSU South Centers SBDC Center also participated in multiple entrepreneurial focused events throughout the year such as: Aquaculture Boot Camp, Business Blog Talk, From Dream to Reality, and the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation tobacco diversification initiative.
Aquaculture Boot Camp was a year-long training program serving the entire state of Ohio to develop new farmers and ranchers in the aquaculture industry. The program couples business planning and scientific technical assistance for the potential new aquaculture producers. The SBDC provided all-encompassing counseling to the business aspects of aquaculture operations.
Business Blog Talk is a weekly podcast that incorporates business resources and highlights entrepreneurial successes in our region. Over 10,695 listeners have tuned in from around the globe. This is a unique and innovative approach to communicate with our clients and partners about the services available and to share success stories that help market the businesses of OSU South Centers clients.
From Dream to Reality is a five-week course that meets twice a week and is designed to provide an opportunity to learn a variety of skills needed to own and operate a business. This course is offered two times per year through a partnership with the Pike County Community Action Agency.
The SOACDF tobacco diversification initiative is an annual program for agribusiness and next generation farmers to diversify from tobacco production into another profitable agricultural venture.
The OSU South Centers SBDC acted as a champion for the businesses in District 7, advocating on behalf of clients to help them attain their business goals. The counselors often assisted with open house planning, flyer development and new product launches for our clients. Assistance with press releases and advocating with local chambers and economic development organizations on the client’s behalf continues to be a common practice.
The staff of the OSU South Centers SBDC continues to engage community organizations to maintain awareness of changing entrepreneurial needs in the region and develop solutions to combat any negative impact to the economy. Counselors volunteered time to serve as board members on several chambers of commerce, a regional board established to support economic development, and advisory boards for business organizations to increase awareness of business issues and identify solutions to problems.
The SBDC won the top performing center in the Columbus SBA District and was nominated for the multi-state 2014 SBA Small Business Development Center Service Excellence and Innovation award by the State Lead Center located within the Ohio Development Services Agency. The center was notified that it won this six-state regional award in April and was recognized by the SBA at the 2014 Small Business Awards Dinner in Grove City, Ohio.
In 2014 the OSU South Centers SBDC provided 4,509 one-on-one consulting hours to 378 clients. As a result, the clients started 25 new businesses, obtained $22,094,068 in loans and other capital, helped create 179 jobs and increased sales by nearly $20,387,492. The SBDC also provided 18 training sessions with 237 attendees. Training topics included general business management and growth principles, Microsoft Office products and social media outlets.
Advanced Soil Health Systems Training for Indiana USDA-NRCS
By Rafiq Islam, PhD
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
Several members of our Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program staff and The Ohio State University Extension educators recently organized a field day on “Hands-on Soil Health” for farmers and two-day “Advanced Soil Health Systems” workshops for USDA-NRCS personnel in Indiana.
The field day and workshops were held in Wenning Farms, Greensburg, and Brocksmith Farms, Vincennes, Indiana, respectively from July 24 to 26, 2018.
On the first day (Field day), topics covered included: “What Insects where? Analysis of pit fall trap (insect trap) contents from fields in a soil health management system vs. conventionally tilled/managed fields”; “How healthy is my soil? In-field use of OSU Soil Health Test Kits to measure CEC, Active carbon, Aggregate stability, and other key assessments of soil health and function”; “What is working? What is in the plots? Reports on Wenning’s current experimental plot work”; and “What can I change? How different cropping practices can positively (or negatively) affect soil health and function?”
Dr. Rafiq Islam and Alan Sundermeier from The Ohio State University, Barry Fisher from USDA-NRCS National Soil Health Division, Stephanie McLain from USDA-NRCS Indiana State Soil Health Program,
Joe Rorick from Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative, and Roger Wenning, Host and Soil Health Farmer of the Wenning Farms, spoke to the farmers and demonstrated several soil health field tests.
On the second and third day (Advanced soil health systems) workshop, the training provided opportunities to build applied soil health systems knowledge and skills. In-Field Soil Health Assessment Worksheet, Pit Fall Trap Assessments, Soil Health Test Kits - CEC, Active Carbon, Aggregate Stability, Rainfall Simulator - Getting full use of the demo, and Soil Health Test Kit for Interpretation of Results and Management suggestions to improve soil health. Topics are selected based upon training needs and current cropping concerns. Target audience for this training included ICP staff, farmer-mentors, agronomists, and other Ag professionals who have completed Core Trainings and/or previously attended Advanced Soil Health Systems Trainings.
More than 100 people including farmers, educators, consultants, state and federal personnel, students, and non-profit personnel attended the field day and workshop. The participating educators received CCA credit for their professional development. Dr. Yogi Raut attended both field day and workshop to demonstrate the soil health test kit.
Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Visit to Ghana
By Rafiq Islam, PhD
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
Dr. Rafiq Islam visited Ghana as one of The Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange Components in June and July 2018.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders – the flagship program of the U.S. Government’s (State Department) Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) – was created in 2014 to invest in the next generation of African Leaders.
Under the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, young African leaders attend top US colleges and universities for a six-week academic and leadership institute in one of the following areas: Business and Entrepreneurship, Civic Leadership, Public Management, and Energy.
Programs draw from each university’s unique set of expertise and resources. Academic study is augmented by workshops, mentorship, and networking opportunities with recognized leaders in each field and interaction with everyday Americans. Each academic host institute will also offer insights into American society through site visits, community service, and cultural programming.
The Reciprocal Exchange component provides Americans with the opportunity to travel to Africa to “build strategic partnerships and professional connections developed during the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States.”
Mavis Akom is a principal technologist of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – Crop Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) of Ghana and attended The Ohio State University as one of the Mandela Washington Fellows, who was mentored by Rafiq Islam.
As one of the Reciprocal Exchange Awardees, Islam had the unique opportunity to implement a co-designed project with Akom (Mandela Washington Fellow) to form a partnership, expand markets and networks, and increase mutual understanding between the United States and Africa (Ghana). Our former USDA-FAS Borlaug Fellow, Emmanuel Amoakwah, was very instrumental in organizing the workshop.
The purpose of this project was to help develop a collaboration between The Ohio State University and Ghana CSIR-Crop Research Institute on “training educators and professionals” with the most up-to-date approaches for applied research and outreach capacity building on climate-smart agriculture.
The objectives were to (1) organize a “train-the-trainer” workshop for agricultural scientists, educators and professionals; (2) train the trainers to acquaint with OSU rapid soil quality/health tests; and (3) conduct a three-hour “brain storming session” to identify the most emergent agricultural issues in Ghana and help write applied collaborative field research proposals expected to be funded by international donors.
To achieve these goals, the most relevant and high quality educational materials were provided to all 42 participants on Rethinking Agriculture in the 21st Century; Crop rotation and cover crops; and Sustainable agriculture decision tools during the workshop. Moreover, all the participants conducted on-site rapid soil quality comparative tests on Ghanaian and U.S. soils, and wrote test interpretation and management recommendations. Participants were asked to identify a much needed problem in 2-3 words and place the sticky note on the wall. About 42 sticky notes were finally grouped into the three most important current agricultural issues in Ghana: climate-smart crop breeding (drought resistant) research; (2) sustainable soil-crop management practices; and (3) extension and outreach programs. The participants in the three groups were mentored to complete the drafting of the pre-proposed on the selected issues and presented to justify their research proposal for funding.
Several professional and academic presentations were delivered by Islam to the scientists of the Crop and Soil Research Institutes and graduate students and faculty members of the Department of Natural Resources Management and Department of Soil and Crop Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.
Islam met administrators, officials, and scientists from several universities and CSIR Institutes including Dr. Stella A. Ennin, Director of CSIR-Crop Research Institute; Prof. Emmanuel Otoo, Chief Research Scientist, CSIR-Crops Research Institute; Prof. Hans Adu-Dapaah, Chief Research Scientist, CSIR-Crop Research Institute; Dr. Mohammed Moro Buri, Director, CSIR-Soil Research Institute; Drs. Akwasi A. Abunyewa, Victor R. Barnes, Evans Dawoe, and Andrew Opoku, Senior Lecturer, CANR, KNUST; and Dr. Kwame A. Frimpong, Senior Lecturer, Dept. Soil Science, University of Cape Coast.
The key highlights of the Reciprocal Exchange are: (1) greater understanding and learning experience on Western Africa, (2) successful organization of the professional development training workshop, (3) enhanced team building capacity for collaborative research on climate-smart agriculture, and (4) development of sandwich academic and research program for graduate students and scientists in Ghana for capacity building.
SWBR Program holds a ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ session at International Conference in India
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
The Second International Conference on Food and Agriculture was held at Dhanbad, Jharkhand (India) during March 29-31, 2018.
Dr. Vinayak Shedekar, Research Associate-II with the Soil, Water, and BioEnergy Resources (SWBR) Program was among the three Ohio State University delegates who organized a 2-day special session on “Climate-smart Agriculture” (CSA). Dr. Bryan Mark, State Climatologist of Ohio and Dr. Asmita Murumkar, Post-doctoral Researcher in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering joined Shedekar.
The session featured talks from experts, educators, and representatives from non-profit organizations relating to the development of climate-smart agricultural systems, tools, crops, and communities.
The speakers presented topics such as role of youth in climate change adaptation, climate change assessment, and climate-smart technologies, among others. The session kicked off with Dr. Bryan Mark’s presentation that highlighted the framework for climate change assessment, adaptation, and mitigation in USA and India. Dr. Asmita Murumkar delivered a talk on assessing climate change impacts. Vinayak presented use of decision tools for climate-smart agriculture. Two presentations on developing climate-smart crops were another highlight of the session.
Dr. Ismail Dweikat, Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, presented his research on developing drought tolerant crops in response to changing climate. The presentation highlighted sorghum and pearl millet as alternative crops that can be grown in deficit-irrigated or water scarce regions.
The CSA session concluded with an expert panel question-answer session, which ranged from scientific queries to extension and outreach related questions.
Islam serves as NASEM/NRC technical review committee member
By Rafiq Islam
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
Rafiq Islam participated at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM)/National Research Council (NRC), as a technical review committee member, to review and select NRC post-doctoral fellowships.
The NASEM/NRC are one of the top ranked scientific and research organizations in the United States. The NRC annual technical review committee meeting was held at the Beckman-Marble Center, University of California-Irvine on March 12 and 13. About 100 scientists and faculty members were invited from universities all over in the United States to participate in the two-day rigorous review process.
The review process was performed to select most outstanding Ph.D. graduates worldwide in the field of Earth Science, Life Science, Chemistry and Physics, and Mathematics and Engineering fields.
Three eminent reviewers reviewed each proposal and credential submitted by the applicants. About 100 post-doctoral fellowships are offered annually to the outstanding candidates working in the U.S. government-sponsored laboratories on state-of-art cutting-edge research priorities.
On behalf of The Ohio State University, Rafiq Islam has been serving as one of the technical review committee technical members in the field of Earth Science since 2014. He, along with other members, reviewed more than 30 proposals on Earth Science research in 2018.
Ukrainian Outreach: Soil, Water and Bioenergy Program Establishes Long-Term Climate-Smart Agriculture Experiments to Help Farmers, Educators in Ukraine
By Rafiq Islam and Wayne Lewis
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
Recently, OSU South Centers farm manager Wayne Lewis and Dr. Rafiq Islam visited Ukraine to establish a long-term CLIMATE-SMART agricultural research experiment.
The goal of our research is to develop climate-smart agricultural management practices based on novel and holistic approaches of crop diversification (rotation and cover crops) with plant stress alleviator (salicylic acid) under continuous no-till that helps improve soil quality, water- and nutrient-use efficiency, reduced greenhouse gas emission, and economic crop productivity with enhanced agroecosystem services.
Soil, crop, water, greenhouse gas emission, input, and climatic and economic data will be collected and analyzed to deliver the project outcomes and outputs. Proven traditional and electronic outlets will be used for outreaching Ukrainian clientele (both educators and farmers) to show agriculture is not the problem, but a part of the environmental solution.
The project was funded though the Civilian Research Defense Foundation under US-Ukraine Research Collaboration. Rafiq Islam the US Principal Investigator and Dr. Natalia Didenko is the Ukrainian Principal Investigator for the project.
The Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program is conducting the field research in conjunction with scientists from the Institute of Water Resources and Land Management (Ministry of Agriculture), Institute of Irrigated Agriculture, Askaniya State Agricultural Experimental Station, and Brylivske state farm. Professor Vozhehova R. Anatoliivna (Director), Dr. Maliarchuk M. Petrovich (Main Scientific Researcher), Maliarchuk A. Sergiivna (Senior Researcher), and Biliaeva I. Mykolaivna (Department Head) from the Institute of Irrigated Agriculture; Melnik Andrej (Chief Agronomist), Nadia Reznichenko (Scientific Secretary), Vira Konavalova (Junior Scientist), Natalia Galchenko (Director), Victor Naydenov (Director), Oleksandr Knyazev (Chief of Laboratory of Agrotechnology), Tetyana Levenec (Junior Scientist), and Sergij Roj (Junior Scientist) from the Askaniya State Agricultural Experimental Station; and Cherevychnyj Yurij (Head of the Research Fields) and Kiberlenko Ivan (Director) of the state farm Brylivske, will be working with us as members of the team.
As part of the research activities, both Rafiq Islam and Wayne Lewis delivered presentations and conducted interactive discussions on no-till system, mono-cropping with corn or soybeans, corn-soybean-wheat cropping diversity with summer and winter cover crop blends maintain soil moisture, control weeds, provide home-grown nitrogen, reduce soil compaction, and improve soil quality. They also discussed the effects of salicylic acid on improving the drought tolerance capacity of crops. Both demonstrated to their Ukrainian collaborators how to measure compaction, soil pH, moisture content, and soil quality in the field using simple equipment and the OSU Soil Quality Field Test Kit.
Finally, the field experiment was established to test 2 tillage systems x 2 cover crops x 2 salicylic acid treatments with three replications on 45 acres of irrigated lands at the “Askaniya” State Agricultural Experimental Station and state farm “Brylivske” under in Kherson Oblast, Southern Ukraine.
Program staff attend CTC annual meeting
By Rafiq Islam
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
Several members of our Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program staff participated/attended 2018 Building Soil Health, Regenerative Agriculture, and Healthy Foods from Healthy Soil sessions of the Conservation Tillage & Technology Conference Annual meeting (CTC) held at Ohio Northern University in March.
The Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters (HSHW) program is a continuation of a series that began in Columbus in 2014. The most recent HSHW programs were in Denver (2017) and Memphis (2016). On the first day, overall topics included Building Soil Health, Regenerative Agriculture, and Healthy Foods from Healthy Soil. Fifteen speakers and panelists included: Barry Fisher (NRCS), David Brandt (Farmer), Rick Cruse (Iowa State Univ.), Rafiq Islam (OSU), David Montgomery, and Britt Burton-Freeman.
Rafiq Islam along with Alan Sundermeier (OSU Wood County Extension Educator) delivered a presentation entitled “Testing and management recommendations of soil health characteristics” on the first day in a two-day session on the Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters at the chapel of the Ohio Northern University. More than 250 people including farmers, educators, consultants, state and federal personnel, students, and non-profit personnel from different states and Canada attended the session.
One CCA credit (0.5 for Certified Livestock Manager, CLM and 0.5 for Soil and Water, SW) was by the participating educators for their professional development. Dr. Vinayak Shedekar, along with Alan Sundermeier and others, moderated the HSHW session for both days.
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program Highlights Sustainable Agriculture in West Africa
By Yogendra Raut
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
While high-input conventional agriculture produces greater amounts of food, feed, energy, and fiber in developed countries, subsistence agriculture in Africa is one of the factors responsible for chronic food shortages. Current practices in both situations are associated with soil health degradation and food insecurity, and contribute to diminished agroecosystem services.
As the threats of climate change are constantly increasing, and in fact, its impact has already shown devastating effects in Africa. The looming prospect of reduced agroecosystem services demands a knowledge-based solution to support sustainable agriculture in Africa.
In light of some of the management practices for developing sustainable agriculture in Africa, Drs. Yogendra Raut, Vinayak Shedekar and Rafiq Islam visited Burkina Faso, West Africa in February and March 2018. Dr. Alimata A. Bandaogo, a Research Scientist from the Institute of Environment and Agricultural Research (INERA) and a former USDA-FAS Borlaug Fellow (mentored by Rafiq Islam) facilitated our visit to Burkina Faso.
We organized two workshops jointly organized by The Ohio State University, INERA, and USDA-FAS Norman Borlaug Fellowship Program; first in Bobo-Dioulasso on February 27 and the second in Ouagadougou (Capital of Burkina Faso) on March 1. Opening remarks were made by the Director-General of INERA-Burkina Faso and a briefing about INERA mission by Drs. Ouedraogo Ibrahima (Regional Director) and Alima Bandaogo, respectively.
The overall methodology of the workshops was based on participatory action research. Interactive presentations were delivered at each workshop highlighting: Rethinking agriculture in the 21st century, Sustainable agriculture decision tools, Soil health test and interpretation, and Forage/pasture and animal grazing – challenges and opportunities in Burkina Faso. Several demonstrations of the soil health test/soil organic matter (SOM) calculator were performed. A participatory brain storming session was conducted at both locations to identify current agricultural problems in Burkina Faso, which were: lack of knowledge of delivery systems (Extension), climate-change and soil quality management practices, water quality and irrigation, and availability of suitable equipment. About 30 participants from INERA, local government, private companies, international donor agency (JICA), and farmers’ representatives at each location participated in the workshops.
Lijun Cai visits the Soil Team
Lijun Cai, a Research Associate in the Sustainable Agricultural Technology Institute of the Jiamusi Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China, visited the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program in late 2017. She has been working at the academy since 2014. Her field of research interests are: Sustainable agriculture; Cover crop; Conservation tillage; Soil health; and Semi-dwarf soybean breeding.
She was a short-term scholar studying recent developments in U.S. sustainable agricultural management practices, including the most recently developed analytical techniques. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D. on Plant Nutrition at the Department of Land Resources and Environment of the Shenyang Agricultural University in Liaoning, China.
USDA-Capacity Building, NCR-SARE Partnership, and CRDF U.S.-Ukraine collaborative research grants
By: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program Director
Several program specialists and scientists at the Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers have received USDA-Capacity Building, NCR-SARE Partnership, and CRDF US-Ukraine collaborative research grants in recent months.
The Ohio State University joined in a collaborative partnership with Central State University (CSU) through a project ($592,493) funded by the USDA National Institutes for Food and Agriculture under the 1890 Land Grant Institution Capacity Building Program. Rafiq Islam, Brad Bergefurd, and Matthew Smith are the OSU investigators, who will help to guide CSU’s capacity building to provide academic education, conduct applied research, and disseminate Extension outreach on water chemistry of aquaponics production system over a 3-year period. Both CSU and OSU will jointly disseminate findings from the study to urban youth, and disadvantaged farmers, environmentalists, and other stakeholders.
Rafiq Islam and Natalia Didenko (a former USDA-FAS Borlaug fellow from Ukraine) received a 1-year collaborative grant proposal funding ($107,000) from the CRDF Global* 2017 U.S.-Ukraine Agricultural Research Competition. The goal of the project is to develop suitable agricultural management practices based on novel and holistic approaches of crop diversification with plant stress alleviator (salicylic acid - aspirin) under continuous no-till that help to improve soil quality, water- and nutrient-use efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and increase economic crop productivity with enhanced agroecosystem services.
The research team members from the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, Kyiv, the Institute of Irrigated Agriculture, Kherson State Agrarian University, Dnipro State Agrarian University, and The Ohio State University. Funding for year one of this project will help to establish the test plots for what is hoped to be a long-term effort to identify the most promising agronomic combinations to maintain and/or improve soil health and agroecosystem services in dry conditions in Ukraine.
Proven traditional and electronic outlets will be used for outreaching Ukrainian clientele to show agriculture is not the problem, but a part of the environmental solution.
Rafiq Islam and Vinayak Shedekar in collaboration with Alan Sundermeier from The Ohio State University Extension - Wood County has received a collaborative grant funding ($29,980) from the USDA NCR-SARE Partnership Program. The goal of the project is to develop soil health testing, interpretations, management recommendations for farmers by the team of soil scientists, and extension educators. Farmers growing grain and vegetable crops in Ohio, and representing a wide range of practices such as no-till, conventional tillage, cover crop, and crop rotations will be reached by the program.
*CRDF Global is an independent non-profit that was originally named the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation for the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (CRDF) and was funded by the U.S. Government under the Freedom Support Act.
Soil health and environmental analytical services at OARDC-Piketon Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Lab
By: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program Director
The OARDC-Piketon Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Lab at The Ohio State University South Centers has recently started to provide soil health, air quality and greenhouse gas emission, water quality, plant, manure, fertilizer and chemical, and other environmental analytical services to clientele. The lab facility includes more than 2,500 sq. feet of analytical space for receiving, storing, processing, and analysis of various samples.
The analytical equipment includes: Microbial preparation ventilated station and hood, Integrated Coupled Plasma Emission (ICPE) spectroscopy (72 chemical elements, including nutrients), HPLC-Mass spectroscopy, Fourier Transformation Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Carbon-Nitrogen-Sulfur analyzer, Dissolved Carbon and Nitrogen analyzer, Flow-injection auto-analyzer for nitrate, ammonium and phosphates, UV-VIS-IR spectroscopy, Gas chromatographs (HP and Shimadzu) for CO2, CH4, and N2O, High-powered microwave digestion system, Hot-plate digestion, Pressure plate membrane apparatus for water retention and potentials, Aggregate stability analyzers, and other equipment for routine analysis.
Do you need high-quality certified biological, chemical and physical analysis of your samples? Visit our website southcenters.osu.edu/soil-and-bioenergy to check the variety of analytical services and the fees associated with the analysis.
USDA-Borlaug mentor follow-up visit to Ukraine
By Dr. Rafiq Islam, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program Director
Recently, Drs. Tom Worley, Director of the OSU South Centers and Rafiq Islam, Borlaug mentor have visited Ukraine to meet the USDA-Borlaug mentee, Dr. Natalia Didenko. Dr. Didenko organized and managed the mentor follow-up trip very professionally based on the skills she acquired during her Borlaug fellowship period at the Ohio State University in 2016. As part of our program schedule, we visited (1) Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, National Academy of Agrarian Sciences in Kyiv, Ukraine; (2) Agro-ecology and Forestry Research Institute in Zhytomyr; (3) Kherson State Agrarian University, Kherson; (4) Institute of Irrigated Agriculture, Kherson; and (5) Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University, Dnipro.
We met Director Dr. Romashchenko Mykhailo and his division specialists at the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation. They discussed accelerated salinity and degraded soil quality, droughts, and soil compaction issues in response to climate change effects. In response, Dr. Tom Worley delivered a presentation on Ohio State University and South Centers for possible research, academic and extension and outreach collaboration to address some of the issues raised by the director and specialists. Dr. Rafiq Islam also gave a research and Extension presentation on sustainable management of soil quality and water resources in response to climate change effects on Ukraine.
We were accompanied by Dr. Didenko to visit Kherson State Agrarian University and Institute of Irrigated Agriculture in southern Ukraine. We met Rector Dr. Yuriy Kryylov, deans, and senior professors to discuss collaborative research and Extension outreach on sustainable soil and water management practices in the Kherson region.
As part of our program, we visited several private farms (e.g. Freedom Farm International) as well as State farms (Askaniyskoe). We met a pioneer no-till farmer (Stefanov) in Kherson, who is currently managing 12,000 ha lands (30,000 acres) with no-till, cover crops and crop rotation for the last 12 years to improve soil health, reduced soil compaction and minimize water-use for irrigation. Visiting that farm was amazing to see the results being achieveable using sustainable agriculture methods.
By the initiation of Drs. Natalia Didenko and Iryna Volovyk, Chief of International Affairs Dept., Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University), we met Rector Anatoly S. Kobets, vice-rectors, deans, several professors, and international program officials of the Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University and discussed collaboration. Later, Professors Olexandr Mironov and Mykola Kharytonov from Soil and Ecology Dept. of the Dnipro State Agrarian and Economic University took us to visit reclaimed and abandoned mine-lands currently under phytoremediation process to generate bio-feedstock production for energy. With Professor Olexandr Mironov, we also visited “Agro Soyuz” one of the largest private Ag-enterprises in Dnipro, who promotes no-till and cover crops use in Ukraine.
Throughout our visit, we had several discussions with our Ukrainian counterparts to develop academic courses, conduct applied research, and initiate Extension outreach programs with their specialists. We also discussed initiation of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Ohio State University. Accordingly, Dr. Tom Worley signed the MOU with the Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation institute, as the MOU was approved by the OSU Office of International Programs earlier.
Currently, we are working to develop a “Visiting scholar exchange program” to bring scientists from several universities and institutes in Ukraine to work in Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program of The Ohio State University South Centers, starting May 2018.
Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Program impact in Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science Society of America (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) international annual meeting
By Dr. Yogi Raut, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Research Associate
The theme of the 2018 ASA-CSSA-SSSA international annual meeting was the power of human interaction combined with science to create solutions. The meetings were held in Tampa, Florida on October 22-25, 2017. With more than 6,000 attendees from over 55 countries and 3,000 technical programs, it was a unique conference that brought together global scientific leaders from industry, government agencies, and academic institutions in one platform. The OSU South Centers team delivered twelve presentations in different program areas and moderated one technical session. The team included authors and co-authors from six different countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ghana, India, Ukraine, USA, and Uzbekistan.
Our USDA-FAS Borlaug fellow Dr. Alima Bandaogo delivered a presentation entitled Optimizing use of fertilizer for tropical food legumes both in sole as well as intercropping from West Africa. Emmanuel Amoakwah, USDA-FAS Borlaug LEAP PhD scholar, presented two posters; first representing the Biochar effects on microbial community profiling using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis, and second showing the Effects of biochar on soil aggregate stability and aggregate associated carbon and nitrogen content on tropical soil from Ghana. Alan Sundermeier from OSU-Extension Wood County as one of the co-authors presented the Impact of organic grain cropping systems on soil health parameters. The research was funded by the USDA-Organic Transition Program and conducted simultaneously at both Bowling Green and Piketon sites for four years.
Vinayak Shedekar delivered three oral presentations and one poster; first showing Uncertainty in rainfall measurements and its implications to hydrologic modeling; second on Healthy soils - Healthy Environment; third on Research available to build healthy soils, and fourth A new method to measure particulate organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur pools as an early indicator of soil quality. He also served as one of the judges to evaluate graduate students’ poster competition. Yogendra (Yogi) Raut had three presentations, two oral, and a poster. The oral presentation showed the results about Soil quality assessment using long-term Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land as a guide for policy makers and the poster was titled A Simplified approach to greenhouse gas emission modeling. Yogi delivered another oral presentation entitled Aggregate associated carbon and nitrogen pools in response to different tillage systems. Rafiq Islam moderated a technical session on soil health analysis, interpretation, and recommendations under the Soil and Water Conservation theme. He also delivered two oral presentations; Long-term tillage effects on soil health and Soil health analysis, interpretation, and recommendations.
Welcome Dr. Alima Arzouma Bandaogo
Dr. Alima Arzouma Bandaogo, a new USDA-FAS Borlaug visiting scholar from Burkina Faso in West Africa has recently joined our Soil, Water and, Bioenergy Resources Program. Currently, she is employed at the National Institute of Environment and Agronomic Research as a senior Soil Scientist since 2014. Alima has focused her research on integrated soil fertility management because accelerated soil degradation is one of the major problems that is affecting smallholder farmers in Africa, including Burkina Faso. Agriculture in Burkina Faso is characterized by minimum investment, poor crop yields, and low farm income as the soils are poor quality with low soil organic matter and nutrient contents, especially nitrogen and phosphorus. Almost 85% of the population in Burkina Faso is involved in agriculture for growing rice, corn, sorghum, and millet as staple food crops.
Alima received the highly competitive prestigious USDA-FAS Borlaug fellowship to work in the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program of The Ohio State University South Centers for her professional development under the mentorship of Dr. Rafiq Islam. Her training focus is to acquire science-based knowledge to address integrated soil fertility management practices for economic crop production in Burkina Faso under climate change effects. She is eager to learn more about new soil and crop analytical techniques, soil quality, cover crops and nutrient recycling, crop rotation and tillage systems, greenhouse gas emissions, field experiments, sampling procedures and multivariate statistics, manuscript and grant writing techniques.
Since her arrival in September to the United States, she has attended the World Food Prize Award Conference in Des Moines, Iowa in October 2017. As part of her research achievement, she has delivered a scientific presentation at the American Society of Agronomy /Crop Science Society of America/Soil Science Society of America Annual International Meeting in Tampa, Florida in October 2017. Moreover, she has been selected as one of the invited scholars to deliver a poster presentation at the International Scholar J-1 Research Exposition on November 17, 2017, at The Ohio State University President’s Office. She will attend and participate at the Licking County Field Day on November 16, 2017 and the Ohio No-Till Conference on December 6, 2017 in Plain City to learn more about no-till farming, crop rotation, cover crops, and nutrient and manure management practices.
Welcome Ashlee Saunders
Ashlee Saunders, an undergraduate student, has recently joined the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program. She is currently enrolled at The University of Rio Grande pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and an Associate degree in Mathematics and Pre-Engineering.
Ashlee is from Gallipolis, Ohio and was seeking a position which would develop her laboratory and field research skills and leadership qualities. Currently, she is managing the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources laboratory as one of the key team members. Ashlee hopes to lead the lab one day as its supervisor and help the program flourish. We welcome Ashlee to our program at The Ohio State University South Centers.
U.S.-China Scientific and Cooperative Exchange Program, 2017
By Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil Program Director
The Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources (SWBR) Program of the OSU South Centers, in conjunction with International Programs in Agriculture (IPA) and USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS), hosted six delegates from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture under the Crop Rotation and Soil Quality Monitoring and Detection sector of the US-China Scientific and Cooperative Exchange Program (SCEP). Dr. Rafiq Islam was the primary trainer and principal investigator of the Crop Rotation and Soil Quality Monitoring and Detection project. The program was coordinated by Beau Ingle, Program Manager of the OSU International Programs in Agriculture. The SCEP delegation was led by Dr. Yuguo Liu, Deputy Director-General of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture’s Farmland Quality Monitoring and Protection Center.
As maintaining a healthy and productive soil is the foundation of sustainable agriculture, the goal of the project was to expose senior officials from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture to the layered cross-sectors of the U.S. agricultural system for interaction and understanding, supporting and strengthening the Chinese agricultural sector in preserving and improving farmlands.
As part of the SCEP, the delegates visited the U.S. Capitol Building, Supreme Court Building, Library of Congress, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They met officials from USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Washington, DC. In addition, they visited several national labs and programs at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service facilities in Beltsville, Maryland to understand the importance of publicly funded agricultural research in priority areas of crop production, soil quality monitoring, and sustainable agriculture.
At OSU, the SCEP participants had a series of meetings with the Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and leadership from Ohio State University Extension to learn more about the land-grant university system, Ohio agriculture, and OSU Extension services. Mike Estadt, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator in Pickaway County, led a very productive meeting between the Chinese delegation and Pickaway County Extension, Soil and Water Conservation District, NRCS personnel, and representatives from local farm and banking communities. They were really impressed with the mission and vision of the OSU and the national 4-H programs.
To know and learn more about state agricultural programs, the SCEP fellows visited the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to meet Director David Daniels and ODA administrators from the Division of Soil and Water Conservation, Division of Plant Health, and Office of Farmland Preservation.
The SCEP delegates visited OSU South Centers to learn about nationally and internationally collaborative applied research and Extension programs of Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources, especially with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Heilongjiang Province (Jiamusi branch). As part of the SCEP schedule, the delegates toured several showcase farms in Ohio, including the Brandt Family Farm (Fairfield County), John Fulton farm (Pickaway County), and Aaron Lemaster farm (Jackson County) to discuss and learn more on sustainable agricultural practices such as no-till, crop rotation, cover crop blends, soil health and field test, compaction and drainage.
We believe that the Chinese SCEP participants had a good understanding of how OSU Extension facilitates and delivers the exchange of science-based knowledge and tools between agricultural producers and other agricultural and natural resources stakeholders as it pertains to the promotion of conservation and the protection of farmlands.
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Program hosts new visiting scholar
Dr. Yilmaz Bayhan, a Tubitak senior postdoctoral fellow from Turkey, joined the Soil, Water and BioEnergy program in July. He is a professor in the Biosystems Engineering Department at Namik Kemal University in Tekirdag, Turkey. Dr. Yilmaz has performed research on conservation tillage systems and no-till machinery. His one-year fellowship program involves studying long-term continuous no-till and multi-functional cover crop systems to maximize agroecosystem services in Turkey. He will conduct research based on continuous no-till and cover crop field experiments in Ohio.
“Current agricultural production systems in Turkey rely heavily on traditional irrigation, excessive use of tillage and reactive chemicals, and a very limited crop rotation, which are responsible for degrading agroecosystem services,” Yilmaz said. He explained he will be studying the continuous no-till, both with and without multi-functional cover crops in the agronomic crop rotation experiments established OSU South Centers. The science-based knowledge and research experience he is gaining in the U.S. will be directly applicable to his research interests in Turkish agriculture. Dr. Yilmaz will transfer the knowledge and skills learned from this experience to adopt sustainable agricultural management practices in Turkey. He also hopes to develop new undergraduate and graduate courses focused on cover crops.
New Live Stream series on Soil Health
By Vinayak Shedekar, PhD, Soil Research Associate
The OSU Extension Healthy Soil Healthy Environment signature program has launched a new monthly video series through the OSU South Centers’ live streaming service. This monthly series aims to educate farmers, youth and the general public about the importance and management of soil health. The hosts are Alan Sundermeier, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Wood County Extension and Vinayak Shedekar, Research Associate at OSU South Centers. The series will feature farmers and experts on various topics surrounding soil health as guests.
One of the recent guests, Dr. Steve Culman, OSU Soil Fertility Specialist spoke about making sense of soil health testing. In another episode Jim Hoorman, regional soil health specialist with the Northeast Region NRCS-Soil Health Division of NRCS, explained the role of cover crops in soil health management. He also discussed topics such as selection, mixing, planting times, and seeding/planting equipment for cover crops. The “Soil Health Series” will air live on OSU South Centers live stream available at: www.youtube.com/southcenters at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Past episodes are available to view at: soilhealth.osu.edu/video. Contact Vinayak Shedekar (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any queries or more information.
Vinayak Shedekar visits FAO to attend the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon
By Vinayak Shedekar, PhD, Soil Research Associate
The 2017 Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC17) organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, was held in Rome, Italy March 21-23. Vinayak Shedekar, OSU South Centers Research Associate was invited to attend the prestigious conference and present the Soil, Water and Bioenergy program’s research work related to on-farm assessment, prediction and management of soil organic carbon. Participants included representatives from FAO member states, UNCCD country Parties, organizing institutions, relevant panels, presenters whose abstracts were accepted, and scientists working in related fields. Over 450 participants from 111 countries were actively involved in both presenting results of studies demonstrating the potential and challenges of managing soil organic carbon (SOC) in different types of soil – such as peatland, black soils and permafrost soils, grasslands and livestock production systems and dryland soils - as well as discussing and developing key messages.
The first meter of soil across the globe holds an estimated 1,417 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon – almost double the amount in our atmosphere and dozens of times the levels of man-made emissions each year. At greater depths, soil holds three times as much carbon as in the atmosphere. The overall aim of the symposium was to review the role and potential of soils and SOC in the context of climate change and sustainable development and build scientific evidence that could be adopted in policy making at national and international levels through the IPCC, UNFCCC, and UNCCD frameworks. The symposium had three main themes:
1. Measuring, mapping, monitoring and reporting SOC
2. Maintaining and/or increasing SOC stocks (fostering SOC sequestration) for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and Land Degradation Neutrality
3. Managing SOC in soils with a) high SOC - peatlands, permafrost, and black soils b) grasslands, and livestock production systems and c) in dryland soils
As part of Theme 2, Vinayak presented a novel approach that integrates field-based techniques of SOC assessment, and prediction tools based on long-term experiments for better decision making and assessing the impacts of SOC management on farm economics and soil health at farm scales. Dr. Rattan Lal, Director of the OSU’s Carbon Management and Sequestration Center was one of the keynote speakers during the second plenary session of the symposium, and discussed the “state-of-the-science of soil organic carbon sequestration.” He called for a global effort to encourage soil stewardship that is based on sound management practices and mechanisms to account for ecosystem services of soil organic carbon. Mr. José Graziano Da Silva, Director-General of FAO, H.E. Jioji Konousi Konrote, President of the Republic of Fiji, Ms. Elena Manaenkova, Deputy-Secretary General World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Mr. Stéphane Le Foll, French Minister for Agriculture, were among other notable speakers.
Vinayak contributed significantly to the scientific and policy discussions during the symposium – stressing the need to consider the practicality of on-farm implementation of global SOC sequestration policies, and the need for mechanisms to train farmers, educators and policy makers. He and Dr. Rafiq Islam have been invited to contribute a research article to the symposium outcome – a scientific document (Proceedings of the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon 2017) highlighting the role of soils and SOC management in meeting the climate change and sustainable development goals of different nations, as well as reporting to UNFCCC, UNCCD. A complete webcast of the symposium is available at the GSOC17 website.
Soil Organic Carbon: the hidden potential
The publication was launched at the Global Symposium on Soil Organic Carbon (GSOC).
It provides an overview to decision-makers and practitioners of the main scientific facts and information regarding the current knowledge and knowledge gaps on Soil Organic Carbon. It highlights how better information and good practices may be implemented to support ending hunger, adapting to and mitigating climate change and achieving overall sustainable development.
Urban agriculture: an emerging avenue
By Yogendra (Yogi) Raut, PhD, Soil Research Associate
The information provided in this report is based on a visit March 14-17, 2017 at University of Illinois Extension, Chicago. This meeting was sponsored by the NIFA-North Central IPM Centers and Great Lakes Urban Agriculture IPM Working Group that includes The Ohio State University Research Foundation, The University Director’s Fund, and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). There were almost thirty participants attending this meeting from Ohio and Illinois. Each participant was requested to have two oral presentations; one status report and two about the future strategies about the problems and issues with Urban Agriculture Farming. Each day, an educational tour was scheduled visiting successful urban farming operations in the area to discuss one-on-one about the problems and issues pertaining to the operation, maintenance, and marketing aspects of the system. The objective of the meeting was to synthesize issues, problems, and learn about successes as well as measures to resolve some of the issues facing urban agriculture to guide future planning, monitoring, and evaluation systems.
While environmental advocacy groups are protesting urbanization and real estate development mainly because of shrinking farmland, and when the efforts are being made in favor of using these urban lands for agricultural purposes, they go hand-in-hand and serve the interest of both these groups. Urban agriculture can be defined as the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around the village, town, or city. Urban agriculture can successfully incorporate several components. As suggested by the subject matter specialist during the meeting, these components must be cautiously undertaken on a small scale at the outset to be on the safe side financially. However, most of the sites we visited had over several million dollars invested, indicating that Chicago has successfully developed several urban agriculture enterprises.
Components of Urban Agriculture
- Aquaculture: The farming of finfish, shellfish and other aquatic animals has become big business during the past 20 years. Recent developments include production of aquatic plants, and fish/plant integrated systems.
- Aquaponics: A combination of fish and plant production using aquaculture and hydroponics systems, aquaponics is moving from the realm of experimental to commercial.
- Hydroponics: It is an enterprise growing plants in a nutrient solution root medium, is a growing area of commercial food production and also is used for home food production by hobbyists.
- Livestock Production: Grass-based livestock systems for meat and dairy production (i.e., grass-to-glass production system), raising free-range chickens and turkeys and pasturing hogs have become viable alternatives for U.S. farmers, as reported by the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA). The system concept is based on biodynamics, an ancient practice developed in 1920s.
- Horticulture: Vegetable and fruit production
- Beekeeping: well-known to all of us
- Vermiculture: A practice of using earthworms for making compost. Hundreds of small farms across the country are raising poultry on pasture, producing high quality meat and eggs and improving profitability because of low feed costs. However, productivity on these farms is typically limited by seasonal climate and waste management. In most U.S. climates, the chickens can be outdoors only in spring and summer, creating indoor production challenges during cooler months. At the same time, red worm composting, or vermiculture, has been shown to be an effective way to break down organic materials. The worms can eat 50 to 100% of their body weight in decaying wastes per day. A combination of pastured poultry and vermiculture provides a synergistic effect in the integrated small scale farming system; the worms providing a natural digester of chicken manure and a source of food for the chickens.
- Fundamental and Key Resources: Based on level of investment, energy and capital (i.e., fixed and liquid) are found be the key fundamental resources. Depending on the locality, the level of investment, and personal suitability, the following energy alternatives can be chosen.
- Education and Research: As long as urban agriculture is limited to small garden scale, the need of research and education is somewhat limited. However, once the individual acquired basic understating and moved toward an urban agricultural farming system, the education and research sector becomes inevitable. The Chicago Urban Agriculture Meeting 2017 envisaged the need of this sector more than before. The policy makers (i.e. Federal, States, and Municipalities including cities) need to rethink and reshape understanding about urban agricultural farming systems since there may be multiple areas of research and education systems including needs assessment, program/planning, monitoring and evaluation.
- Subject Matter Specialists: Programs in urban agriculture are being guided by the Extension Educator personnel. Despite their knowledge, creativeness, and receptiveness, they disclosed the need for more subject matter specialists in the urban agriculture network, especially entomologists, pathologists, and soil scientists.
Potential impact of urban agriculture: It is an emerging enterprise which would be a win-win situation for both environmental advocacy and urbanization and real estate development groups. It is also envisaged to have a multiple positive impacts on social, health, economic, and environmental issues in urban areas.
The French connection: Climate-smart agriculture and soil health workshop
By Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil Program Director
Three representatives from the Ohio State University, Rafiq Islam, Vinayak Shedekar, and Alan Sundermeier, along with Jerry Grigar from USDA-NRCS were invited to organize a series of “Climate-smart agriculture and soil health” workshops by two large farmer organizations in France from March 12 to 18, 2017. This French connection is the result of the science-based knowledge exchange initiatives that brought a French delegation, David Brandt, a farmer from Fairfield County, and the Ohio State University together in 2015. As a result of continued dialogue and partnership, the associations BASE (Biodiversité, Agriculture, Sol & Environnement) (www.asso-base.fr/) and Soin de la Terre (www.soin-de-la-terre.org/) sponsored our trip to France.
Dr. Rafiq Islam is a soil scientist who has more than 20 years of national and international research, teaching and extension experience in climate-smart sustainable agricultural and organic cropping systems with a special emphasis on no-till practice, crop rotation with cover crops, soil amendments and nutrient recycling, and soil health assessments. Alan Sundermeier is an associate professor and Extension educator at the Ohio State University with national and international expertise on no-till organic farming, cover crops, and agroecosystem services with more than 30 years of outreach and engagement experience. By profession, Dr. Vinayak Shedekar is an Agricultural Engineer and has more than 5 years of experience in agricultural water management, soil organic matter dynamics, and advanced tools and techniques in modern agriculture. He is currently serving as a Research Associate in the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program at the Ohio State University South Centers at Piketon. Jerry Grigar serves as a State Agronomist for USDA-NRCS in Michigan and has more than 32 years of national and international experience in sustainable agronomic practices. He is also a successful no-till farmer, with vast practical experience in soil organic matter modeling, strip-cropping, and slow-release nitrogen fertilization techniques.
The team travelled more than 2,600 kilometers to organize four workshops in France: Monday March 13th in Alsace, in the northwest region of France on; Tuesday, March 14th in the Dijon area; Wednesday, March 15th in the Lyon area, and Friday, March 16th in Gironville, close to Paris. On March 16 the group visited a biodynamic lab in Cluny in the mountainous region of France.
Information was disseminated during day-long workshops through presentations and demonstrations, based on research findings and experience with organic, bio-dynamic and ecological farming systems. Topics included: organic farming and soil health management, selecting and incorporating cover crops in organic farming systems, no-till and cover crops impact on soil health and ecosystems services, soil health balancing with organic and inorganic amendments, using a soil organic matter calculator, farmer friendly soil health assessment tools, and economics of organic farming systems.
More than three hundred farmers, educators, professors, and students attended the workshops. Several farmers from other European countries attended the workshops as well. Post-workshop survey showed about 64% of the participants were farmers, with the remainder being university students, faculty, educators, consultants and trainers. More than 71% of the participants were very satisfied with the workshop. About 67% of the participants found the soil quality field test and soil organic matter calculator very relevant to their needs. More than 74% of the participants reported that they have improved their knowledge on no-till, cover crops, and soil health. About 48, 28, and 22% of the participants reported that cover crops, soil conservation, and crop rotation are the most important agricultural management practices to improve soil health. Among the workshop participants, 37% were motivated to use crop rotation/cover crops, 22% to practice no-till, 22% will use crop rotation, cover and no-till, and 19% of them will regularly perform soil quality tests in their future agricultural planning and management practices.
The French sponsoring organizations, BASE and Soin de la Terre, are nonprofit farmer associations that are striving to find suitable solutions, knowledge-based information, and simple, rapid and inexpensive tools for French farmers. This was a great opportunity for us at The Ohio State University to be involved in a knowledge exchange program at the international level, while expanding the college and university’s outreach to the European Union farming communities of France. The interactions with the French farmers and visits to their farms were a great learning experience for our team. This helped our team members to identify some of the local as well as global issues in relation to agricultural sustainability, socio-economics, and environmental quality. Furthermore, the interactions and feedback received from these workshops will help to assess the effectiveness of our outreach and educational methods, and help us improve upon them.
Collaborative Graduate Research Highlights in Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program
By Dr. Rafiq Islam, Soil Program Director
Since 2002, the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program at the Ohio State University South Centers has developed a graduate research and educational collaboration with numerous universities across several continents. Currently, two graduate students are visiting scholars working in the Soil, Water and Bioenergy resources Program on their Ph.D. research work. Heba Said Ali El Desouky El Abd, Assistant Lecturer, Botany Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Benha University, Egypt is funded by the Government of Egypt for a 2-year research scholarship. Emmanuel Amoakwah, Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso – Kumasi, Ghana, is funded by USDA Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (LEAP).
Heba is working on her Ph.D. thesis work entitled “Plants Response to Nano- and Chelated Nutrients” under the supervision of Professor Hosny Mohamed Abd-El Daym, Plant Physiology, Botany Dept., Faculty of Agriculture, Benha University, Egypt (principal supervisor) and Rafiq Islam, Program Director, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources at The Ohio State University South Centers, Ohio, USA (host supervisor). Her research work focuses on using iron-based nanotechnology (nano-fertilizer) on the physiological processes, growth and yield of greenhouse grown tomato and cucumber production, compared with conventional and chelated Fe fertilizers. So far, she has generated tremendously high quality data to observe that precision technology such as Nanotechnology is far superior to the conventional systems to modify the plant root, stem, and leaf cell structures to improve water and nutrient uptake by plants and consequently, increase plant growth and economic yields. Some of her research slides on modified plant cell structures and fruit quality are shown below:
Photo 1: Chemical iron fertilizer effects on tomato stem cell
Photo 2: Nano iron fertilizer effects on tomato stem cell
Photo 3: Conventional iron fertilization (7), chelated iron fertilizer (8) and nano iron fertilizer (9) effects on tomato fruits
Photo 4: Heba Said Ali El Desouky El Abd
Emmanuel Amoakwah, a Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Soil Science, University of Cape Coast, Ghana is funded by the USDA-Borlaug LEAP program for a 10-month scholarship to complement his Ph.D. research work in Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources. This is his second time to visit and study at OSU South Centers. The first time, he came in 2013 as a USDA-Borlaug short-term scholar to learn more about newly developed lab and field research techniques. That work experience he acquired at the OSU South Centers persuaded him to enroll in the Ph.D. program at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. His Ph.D. research study is titled “Biochar Effects on Nutrient Recycling, Mitigation of Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Crop Productivity.” Specific objectives of his research are to: (1) Characterize physico-chemical characteristics of biochar, (2) Determine the effects of biochar greenhouse gas emissions, (3) Measure the effects of biochar on soil quality, and (4) Determine the effects of biochar on crop productivity. Some progress of his work is illustrated below.
South Centers leads the Ohio State University Extension Signature Program: Healthy Soil – Healthy Environment
Vinayak Shedekar, Research Associate
The Healthy Soil – Healthy Environment is an Ohio State University (OSU) Extension Signature Program launched in July 2016 that will create a Soil Health Education and Outreach Network comprised of OSU researchers, Extension educators and 4-H educators. Vinayak Shedekar, OSU South Centers Research Associate and Alan Sundermeier, Wood County Extension Educator co-lead the program. Dr. Rafiq Islam, Brad Bergefurd, and Dr. Dan Remley from OSU South Centers are also members of the team.
The new signature program intends to serve a variety of clientele including: all farmers (traditional, organic, no-till, sustainable or low-put), landowners, 4-H members and youth, urban gardeners (youth and adults), Master Gardeners, crop consultants, ag retailers, salesmen, underserved populations, non-profit organizations, and the general public. The program’s long-term goal is to help improve Ohio’s Soil Health and Environment by educating farmers, youth, and the general public. Over the past half century, OSU researchers have a developed a plethora of knowledge and practical solutions farmers can use to better manage their soils. Examples include the long-term no-till studies in Wooster, cover crop studies in Piketon, and the long-term soil drainage and compaction research at Hoytville. This vast knowledge base will be made available to the stakeholders through the Healthy Soil – Healthy Environment program.
Maintaining a healthy and productive soil is the foundation of sustainable agriculture. However, a majority of producers, youth in agriculture, and urban gardeners are unaware of the importance and ways to manage soil health. The OSU Healthy Soil – Healthy Environment signature program is intended to bridge this knowledge gap, by providing knowledge and tools, and educational curricula related to soil health and its assessment under different agricultural management settings. The program will develop factsheets and other educational materials, conduct in-service training, workshops and field days focused on sustainable soil management practices, and develop curriculum that could be incorporated into state-wide 4-H and youth-education programs.
The program team also includes OSU soil scientists Warren Dick, Nick Basta, Rafiq Islam, and Steve Culman, and OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources and 4-H educators Clifton Martin (Muskingum County), Dr. Robert Horton (Columbus), Jason Hendrick (Putnam County) and Sarah Noggle (Paulding County), Michael Schweinsberg (Paulding County), and Les Ober (Geauga County).
Program website: soilhealth.osu.edu
Soil, Water and Bioenergy Program research highlights at the 2016 American Society of Agronomy International Meetings
By Yogendra Raut, Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources
Five research presentations were made at the American Society of Agronomy/Crop Science Society of America/Soil Science Society of America International meetings by Rafiq Islam, Yogendra Raut, and Vinayak S. Shedekar in Phoenix AZ, November 6 to 9, 2016.
The OSU Soil Organic Matter Calculator - a Decision Tool to Manage Soil Health was presented by Vinayak S. Shedekar with Rafiq Islam, Randall Reeder, and Jerry Grigar (USDA-NRCS Michigan) as co-authors. This presentation in the Graduate Student Competition was selected for second prize based on intellectual quality and merit. This is a simplified version of the computer model designed as a user-friendly decision support system to be used by producers to manage their farm operations and farm profitability. This is free software and can be downloaded from the Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources program website go.osu.edu/somcalculator.
Yogendra Raut delivered a scientific presentation entitled “Bioenergy Production and Carbon Sequestration Dynamics under Conservation Reserve Program Management System” based on his Ph.D. thesis work with Drs. Warren Dick and Vinayak Shedekar, as co-authors. The long-term study has shown that harvesting of aboveground biomass from Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land would be a win-win situation in terms of bioenergy feedstock production, carbon credit and improved soil quality.
Rafiq Islam delivered three presentations, two on soil quality and one on soil organic matter quality and storage. His first presentation, “Soil Organic Matter Quality and Storage under Different Land-Use Systems Following Primary Deciduous Forest Conversion” featured USDA-Borlaug scholar Emmanuel Amoakwah from Ghana as the primary author. The study showed that the temporal land-use changes at the OSU South Centers Research farm at Piketon affect the land quality in terms of carbon source and sink. He delivered the second presentation entitled “Evaluating Anthrone Reactive Carbon as a Measure of Soil Quality” as a new approach based on soil health core indicator properties functionally associated with soil quality that are largely controlled by labile organic carbon in soil.
Rafiq delivered his third presentation during the Soil Health Assessment and Management session on “A New Active Carbon Test to Evaluate Agricultural Soil Health Globally.” This is a modified version of the earlier soil quality test, based on active carbon. In general, the earlier procedure is suitable for mineral soils and not consistently desirable for soils with high carbon content, mine reclaimed soil, muck soil, Ca-rich soil, Fe- and Al-rich red soils, and submerged or rice soils. This new soil quality test can be successfully used to measure soil quality of various soils on a global scale.
Soil, Water and Bioenergy research and education collaboration across continentsBy Dr Rafiq Islam, Soil, Water, and BioEnergy Program DirectorOver the years, the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program at the Ohio State University South Centers has developed widespread research and educational collaboration with different countries in the world. Currently, three new visiting scholars joined the Soil, Water and Bioenergy resources Program. They are: Gai Zhjia (Peter) from China, Dr. Natalia Didenko from Ukraine, and Dr. Botir Haitov from Uzbekistan.
Peter is a short-term visiting scientist from the Chinese Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Jiamusi Branch who is working on sustainable agricultural management practices to improve soil health for economic crop production with enhanced ecosystem services. Peter is the second intern to come to the OSU South Centers for a two-month training period from the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Jiamusi Branch.
Natalia is a Norman Borlaug short-term post-doctoral visiting fellow from Ukraine. Currently, she is working as a Scientific Researcher, Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, Kyiv, Ukraine. Her current research focuses on soil compaction, soil quality, and water management related to climate-smart agricultural practices. At Ohio State University, she is working on transferring science-based knowledge to adopt sustainable agricultural management practices in Ukraine. The science-based knowledge and research experience she is gaining in the U.S. will be directly applicable to her research interests in Ukrainian agriculture. She is one of the outstanding researchers selected to present her current research at the J-1 Exchange Research Exposition organized by the office of the OSU vice president for research. Recently, she attended the World Food Prize conference in Des Moines, IA.Botir is a Fulbright post-doctoral research fellow from Uzbekistan. He is a senior researcher and associate professor in the Plant Science Dept., Tashkent State Agrarian University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Current agricultural production systems in Uzbekistan rely heavily on irrigation, excessive tillage, and limited crop rotation approaches which are not functionally efficient for agroecosystem services. Moreover, the threats of climate change are constantly increasing, and its impact on agricultural production in Uzbekistan has already started; therefore, it is crucial for us to start acting now. The goal of his Fulbright research fellowship is to study the long-term effects of continuous NT with multi-functional cover crops in a wheat-corn-soybean rotation for enhanced agroecosystem services including cover crops biomass nutrient contribution, soil bio-diversity, soil C sequestration, compaction alleviation, and soil health and farm productivity.
Research, Education, and Extension Collaboration between the Ohio State University South Centers and Jiamusi Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural SciencesBy Dr Rafiq Islam, Soil, Water, and BioEnergy Program Director
Drs. Tom Worley, Larry Brown and Rafiq Islam, along with Alan Sundermeier from Ohio State University visited the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of the Chinese National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Heilongjiang and Jiamusi Branches). The Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources program at the Ohio State University South Centers has established and coordinated research, education and extension activities with the administration and scientists of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Jiamusi Branch in 2014. Dr. Worley, Director of the Oho State University South Centers, accompanied by Rafiq Islam and Alan Sundermeier to further strengthen the bridge of collaboration.
They visited Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and discussed future on collaboration possibilities to develop exchange scientists and students to conduct applied research and educational programs on 21st century sustainable agricultural management practices with especial reference to climate mitigation and adaptation.
As part of their visit, Dr. Worley delivered a presentation on “Economics of soybean production in the USA – Ohio.” Alan Sundermeier from OSU Extension (Wood County) gave a presentation on “Managing nitrogen availability in soil,” and Dr. Rafiq Islam delivered a presentation on “Climate change and future agriculture with reference to China.” The Chinese scientists showed a tremendous interest to learn more about our research on no-till, cover crop blends, crop rotation, soil health, and ecosystem services.
Dr. Rafiq Islam also provided demonstrations and hands-on training to Academy students and technicians on greenhouse gas emission, soil quality evaluation, cover crops decomposition and nitrogen release, and soil, water and cover crops sampling techniques during his 1-month stay in China. Based on their acquired experience on Chinese agricultural management practices and in-depth discussion, Rafiq and others developed a long-term research project entitled “Tillage and Cropping Systems’ Impact on Soil Health and Agroecosystem Services” for academic and applied research activities for the Jiamusi Branch of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences. They are expected to visit China every year to further strengthen the collaborative research and educational programs between the Ohio State University and Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences - Jiamusi Branch, China.
Sustainable Management of Food Waste Composting for Nutrient Recycling
By Dr. Rafiq Islam, Soil, Water and Bioenergy Specialist
The Soil, Water & Bioenergy Resources Program of the Ohio State University South Centers, in conjunction with Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District and Pike County Solid Waste District, organized a “Food Waste Composting for Home Gardening” workshop in Piketon on May 19, 2016.The workshop was well attended by the presence of small farmers, organic producers, home gardeners, compost producers and dealers, and home owners.
The main speaker at the workshop was Dr. Frederick C. Michel, Jr., from the Deptartment of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and member of the Compost Research Center at OARDC, Wooster. He presented information on improving the collection, characterization, and processing of agricultural and industrial organic byproducts. Specific topics include collection, mixing and processing of food wastes, microbial communities in composts and amended soils, efficient conversion of dairy and hog production wastes into composts, and characterizing the effects of composting and other waste management processes on microorganisms, antibiotics and human and animal pathogen persistence. He also covered topics such as how to increase soil organic matter levels by using food waste composts and nutrient recycling to improve soil health for small-scale organic production and home gardening.
“The Dirt on Organic Matter” – Organic Farmers learn about Soil Organic Matter & Soil HealthBy Rafiq Islam, PhD Soil and Water Specialist and Vinayak Shedekar, Research Associate IIOn Feb. 12, Dr. Rafiq Islam, Soil, Water & BioEnergy Program leader at OSU South Centers organized “The Dirt on Organic Matter,” a special preconference workshop before the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) annual conference in Granville OH. This was one of the three pre-conference workshops offered by OEFFA to provide in-depth learning opportunities. The day-long workshop covered topics such as how to increase soil organic matter levels by using compost, manure, cover crops, and soil amendments such as gypsum, zeolite and leonardite, or black carbon.The presenters’ team included farmers, experts from the college’s outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center; and experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Michigan.The workshop started off with opening remarks by Dr. Islam about the importance of soil health in organic production systems. “Organic farmers often opt for intensive tillage-based practices in an effort to manage weeds, reduce operating costs, and increase farm profits,” Islam said. He further explained, “Tillage may provide short-term yield gains but results in loss of soil organic matter and productivity over time. Soil organic matter SOM is the cornerstone of soil health. As with any agricultural production system, maintaining a healthy and productive soil is the foundation of sustainable organic farming.”In the first session of workshop, Dr. Islam further presented an overview of soil quality/health indicators and their assessment, and explained ways of soil balancing with organic and inorganic amendments. Dave Brandt, no-till farmer from Carroll, Ohio and a nationally recognized speaker presented “Having fun with cover crops and economics.” Dave shared the practical and economic considerations of using cover crops for improving soil health. Dr. Harit Bal from the Ohio State University Department of Entomology explained the role of soil management for healthy agro-ecosystems through her presentation. She presented findings and recommendations from a recent USDA-funded research project focused on long-term organic and transitioning farming systems, and further described the role of nematodes. Following on the biological aspects of soil health, Dr. Ye Xia from the Department of Plant Pathology at OSU gave a presentation about the importance of beneficial microbes for plant and soil health. Dr. Xia explained the vital role played by various micro and macro organisms in the soil with respect to nutrient recycling, suppression of soil-borne pathogens and parasites, and synthesis of enzymes, vitamins and hormones beneficial for plant growth. Jerry Grigar, state agronomist with the USDA-NRCS in Michigan, shared the practical aspects of soil organic matter management for healthy soils. Mr. Grigar’s key message to organic farmers was to “focus on C (carbon) instead of T (tillage).” Vinayak Shedekar from OSU South Centers demonstrated the OSU Soil Organic Matter Calculator, and showed farmers how to use prediction tools for effectively managing soil health. Jim Hoorman, OSU Extension, explained the economics of cover crops and organic matter through real life examples.The workshop was attended by more than 60 organic farmers and educators. The attendees also received the OSU Soil Quality Field Test Kit, free samples of cover crop seeds (courtesy, Dave Brandt), and a copy of Building Soils for Better Crops – sustainable soil management produced by Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE). A few student volunteers and Dr. Tom Worley, Director of OSU South Centers assisted with the organization of the workshop, and participated in the discussion forum. The workshop was well received, and workshop organizers received excellent feedback comments from the attendees.Contact Rafiq Islam or Vinayak Shedekar for more information.
Sustainable agriculture and agroecosystem servicesBy: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil and Water SpecialistSustainable agricultural practices based on increasing cropping diversity with cover crops act as a biological primer to improve functional stability of continuous no-till (NT) with enhanced agroecosystem services. We presented the results of our long-term effects (2004 to 2014) of sustainable agriculture based on continuous corn, corn-soybean (CS) and corn-soybean-wheat (CSW) rotations with or without cover crops (CC) on soil health and crop productivity under NT in the session on “Soil Health Research for Agroecosystems” at the American Society of Agronomy/Crop Science Society of America/Soil Science Society of America International Meetings in Minneapolis, MN, in November 2015. We were invited to present our long-term experimental results on Sustainable Agriculture and Agroecosystem Services as they related to the tri-society international meeting theme of “Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions.”To account for the impact of sustainable agricultural practices on soil health, economic crop yields, and agroecosystem services, our research team members (Wayne Lewis, Yogi Raut, Hasni Jahan, Stacey Reno, Emily Weaks, and Drs. Celal Yucel, Derya Yucel, Kenan, Barik, and Ekrem Aksakal) collected composite soil and plant samples over the years from geo-referenced sites of each replicated plot.The soil samples were analyzed for microbial biomass, basal respiration, metabolic quotients, enzyme activity and earthworms (as biological soil health indicators); total organic carbon and nitrogen, active carbon and nitrogen, and greenhouse gas emissions (as chemical soil health indicators); and particulate organic C and N, bulk density, aggregate size distribution, and macro-aggregate stability (as physical soil health indicators). Corn, soybean, and wheat yield data were collected and normalized as relative crop yields. The soil and crop data were normalized to calculate soil health, based on both inductive and deductive approaches. Data normalization was performed based on the premise that higher values of soil and crop yield data are better indicators of soil health, except for compaction and greenhouse gas emissions.Our results showed that low external input with increasing cropping diversity under a continuous no-till system significantly improved soil health with an increase in economic crop yields over the annual plowed cropping conventional tillage system. The impact of increasing cropping diversity was more pronounced with wheat and cover crops under continuous no-till. Soil biological health indicators were found more sensitive than soil chemical and physical health indicators. We observed that when switching to continuous no-till crop rotation, it is essential to use multi-functional cover crops to improve soil health for higher crop yields. We found the improvement in crop yields lagged behind improvements in soil health.
OSU researchers build research capacity in GhanaBy: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil and Water SpecialistDr. Rafiq Islam, Senior Research Scientist and Soil, Water & Bioenergy Program Director at The Ohio State University South Centers and Dr. Warren Dick, Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University recently traveled to Ghana from August 26- September 5, 2015 to deliver an innovative workshop entitled “Climate change, sustainable agriculture and soil health” at the University of Cape Coast.The visit stemmed from their earlier participation in the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program - a short-term research program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, which aims to address critical issues related to food security with a collaborating researcher from a developing or middle income country.These two Borlaug programs were managed by the Office of International Programs in Agriculture at The Ohio State University. While Dr. Islam advised Emmanuel Amoakwah, a research scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Soil Research Institute in Kumasi, Ghana, in 2013, Dr. Dick mentored Kwame Frimpong, a professor in the Department of Soil Science and a colleague of Emmanuel’s, shortly after in 2014. Both Ghanaian researchers completed three-month research fellowships with their respective advisors at The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and are now back in Ghana applying the skills that they acquired and advancing novel research in the field of soil health and quality.Ghana’s University of Cape Coast, specifically its Department of Soil Science, hosted the two day workshop and welcomed more than 75 participants including university faculty members, graduate students, and research scientists from Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Liberia.During the workshop, several field-based measurement techniques such as residue measurement, soil texture, diversity of soil fauna, available nitrogen and phosphorus, soil pH, and active carbon tests were all demonstrated to the participants. In addition, a ready-to-use soil quality analysis handbook was provided to each participant as a future reference, along with an economic and convenient field-based soil test kit, which participants were taught how to use in field sessions.Dr. Dick presented on soil organic carbon and quality of science, while Dr. Islam delivered instruction on soil quality and sampling, and a systems approach to sustainable agriculture. One of the highlights of the workshop was a brain-storming session led by Dr. Islam to identify priority-based research needs in Ghana to sustain agricultural production systems. According to Dr. Islam, the session prompted serious, but healthy debate amongst participants on the appropriate research approaches needed to promote greater soil health in a region of the world that is directly experiencing the effects of climate change.“Low soil fertility and climate change are already affecting Ghana’s dwindling natural resources and agricultural productivity,” says Kwame Frimpong. “There’s an urgent need for a clearer understanding and implementation of soil fertility management strategies that will promote increased agricultural productivity and food security in a socially equitable and an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.” Moreover, Dr. Islam conducted another workshop at the CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kumasi on August 27, 2015 along with Emmanuel Amoakwah (Borlaug fellow 2013).Both Dr. Dick and Dr. Islam, along with Rian Lawrence, an undergraduate student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources who assisted with the development and delivery of the workshop, all deemed the workshop an overwhelming success.“It was probably one of the most beneficial international programs I have been associated with,” shared Dr. Dick, who has been engaged in international teaching and research, especially in Africa, for decades. “I definitely see this workshop style as a model for similar types of training activities in the future.”
New visiting scholars joined Soil, Water and Bioenergy Program
Jingqi (Lily) Liu and Heba El Abd have been welcomed as visiting scholars after recently joining the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Program at the OSU South Centers at Piketon.
Currently, Lily is employed as a Research Associate at the Sustainable Agricultural Technology Institute, Jiamusi Branch of Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China. Lily is a short-term (3-month) exchange scholar and will be working on lab and field-based research techniques, analysis and data interpretation related to sustainable agricultural management practices. Her research focus will be on soil health, conservation tillage, cover crops and ecosystem services.
Heba is a graduate exchange scholar from Egypt. Currently, she is employed as an Assistant Lecturer, Botany Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Banha University, Egypt. Her teaching focus is on plant morphology and physiology, as well as plant taxonomy. She will be pursuing her Ph.D. research work entitled “Plants’ response to nano- and chelated nutrients” under the supervision of Drs. Rafiq Islam and Gary Gao, and Brad Bergefurd, respectively.
Collaboration between The Ohio State University South Centers and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Rafiq Islam and Wayne Lewis visited the Peoples Republic of China at the invitation of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Heilongjiang and Jiamusi Branches) from July 18 to 29, 2015. Rafiq Islam, the program director for Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources at OSU South Centers, established an agricultural research, education and extension collaboration with the scientists at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences – Jiamusi Branch in 2014. Wayne Lewis, the Farm Manager of the OSU South Centers, accompanied him to further bridge the collaboration. Dr. Larry Brown at the OSU Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, facilitated our collaborative research and educational trip to China.Rafiq and Wayne visited Foreign Office of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences and discussed future collaboration possibilities to exchange faculty members, scientists, and students to conduct applied research and educational programs on 21st century sustainable agriculture. Liu (Lily) Jingqi, a scholar from the Academy, accompanied them to OSU South Centers for advanced training on sustainable agricultural management practices to improve soil health for enhanced ecosystem services.As part of their visit, Rafiq delivered several presentations on (1) Continuous No-till Planting Effects on Soil Carbon Sequestration; (2) Cover Crops, Microorganisms, and Tillage: the Biological Plow; and (3) Evaluation of Soil Quality to the faculty members, scientists, and students of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Wayne Lewis delivered a presentation on “Planting systems and machines for sustainable no-till farming.” Moreover, Wayne Lewis provided demonstrations and hands-on training to Academy students and technicians for maintenance of farm equipment, such as repairing, setting planters and drills, adjusting harvesters for planting and harvesting corn, soybeans and cover crops.The Chinese counterpart, Professor Jintao Zhang, Director of the Sustainable Agricultural Technology Institute, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences Jiamusi Branch, accompanied them to visit government farms and farmers’ fields where they are researching with different planting techniques, tillage operations, and management systems for growing soybeans, corn and rice. They showed tremendous interest to learn more about our research on no-till, cover crop blends, crop rotation, soil health, and ecosystem services.Based on their acquired experience on Chinese agricultural management practices and in-depth discussion, Rafiq and others developed a long-term research project entitled “Tillage and Cropping Systems Impact on Ecosystem Services” for academic and applied research activities for the Jiamusi Branch of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences. They are expected to visit China every year to further strengthen the collaborative research and educational programs between the Ohio State University and Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences - Jiamusi Branch, China.
Training Professionals on Sustainable Advanced Energy Feedstock Production for Enhanced Ecosystems Services from the Ground UpBy: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil and Water SpecialistBioenergy is expected to be one of the important sectors of future advanced energy investment. Currently, a portion of the US corn and soybean crops is being processed into biofuels. In 2012, biofuels accounted for ~7% (13.8 billion gallon) of total transport fuel consumption in the United States. Corn accounted for 94% of all biofuels, but corn alone cannot meet the US government’s biofuel goal of replacing 30% of gasoline use by 2030. Corn also requires a lot of reactive fertilizer and chemicals, which can result in off-site nutrient movement and environmental pollution.A variety of state and federal energy mandates and incentives, along with various sustainability and low carbon standards, are driving interest in growing several annual and perennial crops used for producing bioenergy and bio-based materials. Ones widely grown or being developed as energy crops include: Switchgrass, Big Bluestem, Eastern Gamma grass and other prairie grasses, Sudan-sorghum, sweet sorghum, energy beet, sugarcane, Miscanthus, Arundo, Guayule, Buckeye Dandelion and hybrid Willow and Poplar. Federal incentive programs (Biomass Crop Assistance Program, BCAP) include Miscanthus giganteus and Switchgrass as dedicated energy crops. However, the demand for food from corn and other crops, usually grown on good soils, will double by 2050 as worldwide population increases.While using our best land to grow energy crops is not a logical choice, the question is: how can the economic benefits of growing crops for energy and bio-based products be balanced by the environmental concerns? To answer the question, we conducted a series of multi-state train-the-trainer workshops for professionals to equip them with knowledge-based information, teaching materials, and assessment tools to assist farmers in shifting to bioenergy feedstock production on marginal lands with enhanced ecosystem services. Four one-day workshop/in-service/field day events in 2014-2015 were organized in Michigan at the Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University; in Ohio at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference annual meeting and another event at the Ohio State University; and in Maryland at the University of Maryland, College Park campus.The target audience was educators and professionals from University Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the Environmental Protection Agency and other state and federal agencies, crop consultant associations, farm organizations, ag enterprises, non-government organizations, energy professionals, bio-based company executives, students, and environmental groups. Others invited were: young and innovative farmers, farm leaders, county officials, professors, high school teachers, and bank, credit union and farm co-op officials.Speakers from the Ohio State University (Rafiq Islam, Katrina Cornish, Randall Reeder, Denny Hall, Eric Romich, John Cardina, and Vinayak Shedekar), Michigan State University (Dennis Pennington, Paul Gross, Mark Seamon, Aaron Fox, Scott Swinton, Phil Robertson, and Steve Hamilton); University of Maryland at College Park, (Bahram Momen, Jason Wight and Wendy Ann Peer), University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Ismail Dwikat); USDA-ARS Washington DC (Kate Lewis - BioPreferred Deputy Program Manager) and Michigan NRCS (Jerry Grigar) delivered their presentations at the meetings. Organizations actively involved in organizing the workshops and in-service were: Ohio State University, Michigan State University, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center of The Ohio State University, USDA-Agricultural Research Service Washington D.C., Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, Ohio No-Till Council, Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Service in Ohio and Michigan, and the Corn Marketing Program of Ohio.While the discussion and participation session was based on questions and answers between speakers and participants, the response and documentation part was based on post-workshop evaluations. Educational/training materials were prepared by the project partners and reviewed by a multi-state advisory panel. During these events, speakers/presentations were followed by hands-on activities (use of soil quality field test kit) and visualization of tools (OSU soil organic matter calculator), questions and answers, group discussions, and evaluation.More than 160 educators and professionals (including farmers and students) from 5 states were trained during the workshops. Evaluations of the training activities showed that more than three-fourths of the participants were very pleased with the educational materials and tools provided for teaching local farmers. On average, participants stated a 32 to 40% increase in knowledge gain on the topics covered. Among the states, the highest knowledge gain by participants was reported in Maryland (39 to 49%) followed by 32 to 42% in Ohio, and the lowest knowledge gain (25%) in Michigan. The highest knowledge gain (20 to 38%) by the participants was reported on sorghum for ethanol (39 to 45%) and Soil Organic Matter calculator (31 to 53%), followed by 31 to 43% on bio-products, 36+1% on energy crops and bio-feedstock production, and 32 to 38% on ecosystem services. About 40 to 55% of the participants recommended the use of degraded land for bio-feedstock production followed by 30 to 36% for reclaimed mine land as compared to 5 to 13% for prime agricultural land or 4 to 12% for Conservation Reserve Program land. Based on communications during and following our workshops, we expect that our training information and tools will be shared with more than 1,000 farmers by professionals.
2014 Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources Program Achievements
By: Rafiq Islam, PhD, Soil and Water Specialist
The Ohio State University South Centers Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources program provides science-based applied knowledge, education and tools to regional, national and international clientele on sustainable management practices and agroecosystem services.
RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
Development of tools and technology
Ecosystem services (SOM) calculator
Farmers, educators and energy industry personnel need a simple and easy-to-use tool in order to understand how agricultural management practices influence agroecosystem services. We have developed the "ecosystem services calculator" for clientele, based on the impacts of energy feedstock production and stover removal under different management practices. The calculator predicts soil organic matter build-up and C trading, greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. CO2), nitrogen fertilization, and overall soil health. The tool also helps to calculate the revenue from residue sales. This tool has been loaded on the Soil, Water and Bioenergy website (http://www.southcenters.osu.edu/soil) and was acccessed worldwide, with more than 500 downloads. The tool is ready to convert into software for commercial use by farmers, educators, NRCS staff and other clientele. We are working with the OSU Licensing and Technology Deptartment for technology transfer and commercialization of the calculator.
Development of bio-polymers and bio-products
Management of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) pollution from both farmland runoff and leaching has been a challenge to minimize water pollution and improve agroecosystem services. Lakes, streams and rivers in Ohio have become eutrophic with soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and subsequently, polluted with toxic and nuisance algal blooms (e.g., Grand Lake St Mary’s). Similarly, Midwest agricultural
contribution of reactive N and P through the Mississippi river is responsible for algal blooms and anoxic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.
We are actively researching with the funding support from Battelle and the Ohio Sea Grant on to develop efficient and dual-purpose adsorption materials for binding and retaining reactive P and N, based on quaternized biomass anion resin and cation exchange materials. Mixing of anionic biomass resin with cationic nanoporous zeolite will serve as the dual-purpose adsorption material and is expected to bind and retain both P and N (NH4+) simultaneously to minimize reactive P and N formation and loss with enhanced agroecosystem services.
Express soil quality test kit
We have modified our express soil quality field test kit for routine evaluation of field soil by farmers, Educators, crop advisors and citizens. The test kit was developed at the OSU South Centers several years ago. People from around the world have purchased our express soil quality test kit for instant measurement of soil quality, organic matter content, plant available N, biological activity, and soil tilth. The kit can also be used to help predict crop yields. Farmers typically spend at least $30/year for routine analysis of soil. Our soil quality test costs less than a $1 per year. Collectively, this test can help farmers to save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year spent on commercial lab analysis We are working with the OSU Licensing and Technology Deptartment for patent application on our soil health test kit.
Applied Research: State, Regional and National Level
Sustainable soybean production and climate change mitigation
Using a research grant from United Soybean Board (USB) in collaboration with USDA-ARS Drainage Research in Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama, as well as Penn State University, and the University of Kentucky, we are conducting research to grow soybeans continuously and improve marginal lands with multifunctional cover crops and industrial waste products (flue gas desulfurized (FGD) gypsum). Our research results were presented at the Ohio Farm Science Review, the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, the National No-Till Conference, and the Farm Show in Pennsylvania with active participation of farmers and coal-based power industries. The production management approach based on holistic and novel integration cover crop and Gypsum in continuous NT has helped to increase soybean yield and expand production on marginal lands in the Midwest.
Sustainable organic production systems
Organic production is receiving world-wide attention with the growing demand for healthier foods. The outlook for continuing growth of US organic production is bright. The organic market continues to grow by 10% annually. In Ohio, there are over 500 certified food operations. Ohio produces 25% of the nation’s organic spelt, 8% of its corn silage, and about 3% of other organic produce. Total farm gate organic production is estimated as high as $75 million. However, current organic systems rely heavily on excessive tillage-based approaches, which are not ecologically harmonious and are also functionally inefficient. Ohio farmers have shown a great interest using cover crop blends to improve production and food quality, farm economics, and soil health. However, there are limited research activities focused on helping producers use appropriate cover crop blends to improve organic agroecosystem functionality and services.
We are impacting (by USDA-Organic Transition funded and CERES Trust funded projects) organic production research in Ohio using an innovative combination of no-till, multi-functional cover crop blends and vinegar (as a herbicide) to assess and maximize ecosystem services. Our 2014 research results have shown that several cover crop blends of winter pea, soybean, radish, carrot, oat, cereal rye, safflower, sun hemp, and pearl millet and Sudan-sorghum act as a weed suppressor, bio-diversifier, N provider, scavenger and recycler of nutrients, compaction alleviator, drainage improver, and soil builder.
Drainage ditches, BMP and reactive N and P recycling
Funded by a USDA-NIWQP project for 3 years, in association with the Food, Agriculture and Biological Engineering department, our research project, "Integrated and Science-Based Management of Agricultural Drainage Channels in the Western Lake Erie Basin" is impacting farmers, educators, crop advisors, high-school students and scientists. Management of agricultural drainage channels to protect and improve water quality by mitigating sediment and reactive P and N pollution while meeting drainage needs is essential for agricultural production sustainability.
Renewable energy research
Currently, we are managing seven bioenergy experimental studies on corn, sweet sorghum (annual vs. perennial), sweet corn, Sudan-sorghum, Miscanthus giganteus, 6-warm-season grasses, hybrid willow, and Arundo donax. These projects were funded/collaborated by the NE Sun grant through the Department of Energy; Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. Hayward, CA; Repreve Renewables (Giant Miscanthus), Soperton, GA; Speedling, Inc. Ornamental and Energy Crop Divisions, Ruskin, FL; Konza Renewable Fuels, LLC, Meriden, KS; and New Polymer Systems, Inc., New Cannan, CT. We are still continuing research on these experiments.
Our long-term research results have shown that applying sewage sludge @ 5,000 gal and FGD gypsum @ 4 ton/acre significantly increased Miscanthus feedstock production (15 to 20 ton/acre) for cellulosic ethanol (~ 100 gal/ton of biomass) and a valuable use of the waste products (biopolymers or energy pellets). Furthermore, our research has shown promising to use Miscanthus giganteus biomass for controlling soil erosion in new construction areas rather than wheat biomass. Likewise, several biosolids treatment companies are working with us on using Miscanthus biomass as a core matrix for sewage sludge solidification.
Academic research (graduate studies)
Yogendra Raut (Yogi), Jim Hoorman and Michael Brooker, students in the Environmental Science Graduate studies program of the Ohio State University School of Natural Resources are conducting their Ph.D. research experiments at Piketon research sites and/or with us involvingour projects. Yogi is emphasizing his Ph.D. work on management of CRP land, Jim is conducting his Ph.D. research on reactive P and N fates in post-manure applied soil, and Mike is involved in Ph.D. research with us on soil biogeochemistry of under two-stage ditches.
Applied Research: International level
Over the years, the OSU South Centers has developed a national and international reputation in soil, water and bioenergy research. As a result, internationally funded graduate students, scientists, scholars and professionals as visiting students, scholars/post-docs from Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine, have joined our program for research and educational activities. In 2013-14, we have hosted 3 scientists from Turkey and Ghana as Fulbright scholar, a Tubitek scholar (Turkey Government), and a Norman Borlaug scholar. All of them have successfully completed their work and returned home. Drs. Ekrem Aksakal, Kenan Barik and Emmanuel Amoakwah had their high-quality research works published, and presented and displayed at the International Research Exposition of Ohio State University, World Food Prize Award, American Society of Agronomy/Soil Science Society of America/Crop Science Society of America, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Newsletter, and Monsanto Newsroom (http://news.monsanto.com/news/sustainability/world-food-prize-panel-highlights-impacts-climate-change-food-production, www.asa.org, www.fas.usda.gov).
Rafiq Islam, Alan Sundermeier and Jim Hoorman visited the Peoples Republic of China at the invitation of the Jiamusi Branch of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences from July 24, 2014 to August 5, 2014 to initiate collaborative research and educational programs with China. Based on our acquired experience on Chinese agricultural management practices and in-depth discussion, we set-up a long-term field research experiment entitled "Tillage and Cropping Systems Impact on Ecosystem Services" for academic and applied research activities at the research farm of the Jiamusi Branch of the Chinese National Academy of Sciences. We are expected to visit China every year to further strengthen our collaborative research and educational programs.
State, regional and National level
We have organized several field days, train-the trainer workshops, and annual meetings/conferences at different locations in Ohio (6) and Michigan (1) on "Eco-farming, biodiversity and soil health: A systems approach to enhance organic and natural agro-ecosystem services" OFEEA (~ 100 participants), OSU organic field day at Harzel farm (~40 participants), farmer’s forum with NC-SARE (~ 76 participants), Piketon SWR field day (~ 65 participants), and Ohio no-till farmers association (~ 100 participants). At Kellogg Biological Research Station, University of Michigan, we organized a train-the trainer workshop (15 participants) on "Bioenergy feedstock production, ecosystem services, and bioenergy and bio-based products."
We have also actively involved and supported the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference and Ohio No-Till Farmers Association annual meetings. We have delivered 25 presentations, published 6 peer-reviewed papers and several newspaper articles.
We participated in two international meetings and workshops. One of the workshops was held July 28-29, 2014 at Jiamusi with the Chinese National Academy of Sciences on sustainable agriculture and ecosystem services. We have outreached to more than 60 professors, farmers, educators and scientists in China. As part of our participation, we delivered two presentations, one on "Developing educational and research collaboration" between the Ohio State University and the Chinese National Academy of Sciences and another one on "Sustainable Agriculture and Ecosystem Services." This year, our farm manager, Wayne Lewis and I will visit China. Wayne is expected to provide hands-on demonstration and training to Chinese technicians for maintenance of farm equipment and sustainable farming practices.
Results from our experiments were presented at the 2014 Balkan Congress. I delivered 2 professional presentations at the meeting. Our Fulbright fellows, Drs. Celal Yucel and Derya Yucel delivered 2 professional presentations and four poster presentations on Extension and demonstration research.
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