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Food safety is an important link in retail sales
Ohio Farm News
By Steve Bartels

Research has shown that the public would like to buy locally produced foods. They want to know where their meat comes from and they would like for it to be grown with as few feed additives and drugs as possible.

There are a number of lamb, goat and beef producers in Southwest Ohio who would like to sell directly to the public instead of selling their animals as a commodity. So why haven’t the buyers and sellers been able to get together more?

Well it’s more complicated than it might first appear. There are a number of reasons.

One of those reasons is that there are regulations, both state and federal, that protect the public and keep our food supply safe. Many producers do not understand how to get through these to the public, so it is much easier for them to just sell livestock as a commodity. The Butler County Lamb and Wool Association and the Dairy Service Unit, as well as the Cattlemen’s Association are all interested in learning more about how to produce and sell directly to the public.

They are putting together programs for you to learn more about how to do this legally and safely. At last year’s cattlemen’s meeting, we looked at selecting the type of animal you need for the retail market. This was the first of several meetings that will be advantageous to your selling directly to the public.

As a part of the Lamb and Wool Improvement Association Annual Meeting this year, there will be a presentation by the Ohio Department of Agriculture on Food Safety Regulations and Practices. This is information you will need to know if you want to sell some of what you produce to the public on a retail basis.

The meeting will be held as a carry-in dinner on Thursday, Jan. 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Shandon Community House, 3730 Millville-Shandon Road in Shandon, Ohio. The meat, drinks and service-ware will be provided by the association.

Reservations are requested as space is limited in the Community House to the first 100 who call. Please call 513-887-3722 or 513-424-5351 ext. 3722 before Jan. 8.

Southern Ohio New & Small Farm College
Southwestern Ohio has an abundance of small farms. The owners earn their living from off-farm employment. These property owners want to know the answer to many questions about how to make the most out of living on a few acres. It seems as if a new property owner needs Agriculture 101 to get the information they need. Now, that opportunity has come to a location near you.

The Southern Ohio New and Small Farm College is holding a nine-week short course in two locations this winter, in central and southern Ohio. This is a not-for-credit offering of the Ohio State University and is taught by Extension and other professionals. We in Butler County have a location within driving distance at Western Brown High School’s Community Room in Mt. Orab, Ohio. The other location is at Miller’s Essenplatz Restaurant, Newark, Ohio.

The course in Newark begins on Jan. 22, 2007, and in Mt Orab on Jan. 24, 2007, and continues each week until Wednesday, March 21. Each program begins at 6:30 p.m. and concludes at 9 p.m.

The course covers many of the concerns people call about.

•How do I get started? I just bought 20 acres, now I want to make at least enough money to pay the taxes. Goal planning, family matters, business planning, budgeting, and resources management are all considerations in answering those questions.

•Where can I get help? What government programs are available to help me? To answer these questions, you need to know about the resources available to you like: Soil and Water Conservation District, Soil Conservation Service, Ohio Divisions of Wildlife and Forestry, Farm Services Agency, Farm Credit System, Farm Bureau, The Ohio State University Extension. You need to know about programs such as CAUV, CRP, EQIP and others.

•How can I best use the natural resources available on my farm? Many farms have special natural resources available such as woodlots or full blown forest, ponds and wildlife areas. You may want to know how to enhance these to get the most enjoyment and/or income from them.

•How do I limit my liabilities on my farm? You need to know about invitees, trespass considerations, attractive nuisance, fence laws and insurance. This is an area that can only be taught by an attorney and we have one of the best lined up for you.

•How do I get a break on sales tax? What information do I need to provide to my banker to get a loan? How do I get the most out of my farm records? What can I deduct as an expense from my income taxes? These questions and more will be addressed at the session on Financial Management and Farm Records.

You will learn about Crop and Horticultural Production Options, Animal Production Options, and Marketing Alternatives.

Registration deadline for the course is Jan. 17. To get your syllabus and registration information for the Mt. Orab location, contact Tony Nye at 937-382-0901 or nye.1@osu.edu

You can contact Amy Fovargue at 740-670-5323 or fovargue1@ag.osu.edu for information on the Newark meeting.

The cost of the course is $150 per person, and $50 for an additional family member.

Each participant will receive a small farm college notebook full of the information presented in each class session plus additional materials. Registrations are now being accepted.

This farm news was published in the Jan. 3, 2007 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

1/3/2007