There is a growing trend in Ohio Agriculture toward the direct marketing of agricultural products featuring locally grown food products. Consumers are becoming more aware of the benefits of buying local and buying fresh. As the demand for local food products increases so does the interest in growing and producing a variety of agricultural products for these markets. Perhaps this is something you have considered for your small acreage but do not know where to begin. This page is dedicated to helping the new and small farmers of Northeast, Ohio.

Northeast Ohio Small Farmer College

Each year, OSU Extension in northeast Ohio teaches the Northeast Ohio Small Farmer College. This four session workshop helps new and existing farmers increase their profits from their small acreage.  The first session teaches the basic business concepts needed to start and keep a small farm enterprise operating.  This session focuses on developing real life expectations for your small farm, goals and objectives, and developing a business plan for your operation.  The second session helps participants become aware of the local resources which are available to assist small farms.  Representatives from local agencies attend and share their expertise. The third session helps participants decide what to grow on their farm and how to develop budgets for farm enterprises.  The final session focuses on marketing and selling agricultural products to local consumers through direct marketing, wholesale markets, farm markets and local cooperatives.  Click here to download the flyer for the next class.

Begin Farming Ohio, a Collaborative Venture

Five entities representing higher education, state government, and the non-profit sector have begun to build statewide capacity to provide services especially responsive to the needs of beginning farmers, and to expand, enhance, and sustain services and resources of high value to those farmers. Click here to explore this web site, dedicated to new and small farmers.  This web site has been developed by OSU Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture-Sustainable Agriculture, Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association, and the Organic Food and Farming Education & Research Program.

New and Beginning Farmer Resources

Whole Farm Planning Model

Planning is one of the most important aspects of man­aging any business.  This factsheet encourages farm families to adopt a whole farm plan­ning approach as they develop strategies for the future success of their business. This approach allows families to examine the internal structure of their business and then develop business, retirement, transition, estate, and investment plans.

Selecting New Enterprises for your Small Farm

This publication is designed to help producers evaluate new enterprises for their farms or family businesses. It is based on a set of worksheets to help evaluate the Profitability, Resource requirements, Information needs, Marketing decisions, Enthusiasm for, and the Risk associated with a new enterprise. PRIMER is the acronym for these six factors.

Small Farmer Resource Web Sites

Ohio's Begin Farming Web Site

Cornell University's Small Farms Program

Illinois Small Farmer

Penn State's Beginning Farmer

Michigan State University's Beginning Farmers