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red barn surrounded by corn field Fran O’Leary
SUCCESS ON SMALL FARMS: The New and Small Farm Colleges program will teach participants how to set goals, plan and budget, and learn where to find resources available to them if they chose to start a small farming operation.

OSU Extension offering courses on advancing small farms

The deadline to register for the Farm College courses is Friday.

Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program is hosting the 2020 Ohio New and Small Farm Colleges to supply information and help growers find direction.

Are you a small-farm landowner wondering what to do with your acreage? Are you interested in exploring options for land uses but aren’t sure where to turn or how to begin? Have you considered adding an agricultural or horticultural enterprise, but you just aren’t sure what is required from an equipment, labor, and management perspective? Are you looking for someplace to get basic farm information? If you or someone you know answered yes to any of these questions, then the OSU Extension New and Small Farm College program may be just what you are looking for.

Multiple topics covered

OSU Extension is offering a program targeted at the new and small farmer. The Ohio New and Small Farm College is an eight-week program that introduces new and even seasoned farmers to a wide variety of topics. The program will teach participants how to set goals, plan, budget, and learn where to find resources available to them if they chose to start a small farming operation. The courses will lay out how to manage financial and farm records. Extension educators will illustrate many different enterprises that can be profitable on as small a piece of land as 1 acre. The educators will show the benefits and pitfalls of each enterprise so that participants will be able to pick and choose what may work best for them, and what suits their interests.

The Small Farm College was originally conceived as a way to help southern Ohio’s tobacco farmers make the transition away from that crop as government subsidies were phased out. OSU Extension educators soon realized such programming also could benefit rural landowners who own small acreage in the countryside. Since 2005, regional New and Small Farm College sessions have helped 1,050 individuals representing 780 farms from 52 Ohio counties improve the economic development of their small family-owned farms. This program can help small-farm landowners and farmers diversify their opportunities into successful new enterprises and new markets. It can also improve agricultural literacy among small-farm landowners not actively involved in agricultural production.

Many program participants don’t expect to make a living off the land but do want to recoup something, explains organizer Tony Nye, OSU Extension in Clinton County. First-time farmers want their interaction with their land to be productive.

“They like living in the country, getting their hands dirty,” Nye says. “That has been their motivation for buying land.”

College runs Jan. 21-March 10

The New and Small Farm College will be held in Miami County at the 911 Dispatch Center, 210 Marybill Drive, Troy, Ohio, on Tuesdays from Jan. 21 through March 10. Classes run from 6 to 9 p.m. each week. This class will be limited to the first 50 registrations.

The cost of the course is $150 per person and $100 for an additional family member. Along with the vast resources and knowledge gained, participants will receive a notebook (per each $150 registration) of all resource materials, a soil test, dinner and a bus tour.

Registrations are now being accepted with a deadline of Friday. Individuals interested in the program may contact the Miami County Extension office at 937-440-3945. Registration brochures for the program can also be found online at or at They’re also available in area Ohio State University Extension offices.

For further information contact Tony Nye, OSU Small Farm Program Coordinator at 937-382-0901 or

Source: OSU Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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