Organic Farming Conference Features Record 27 Ohio State University Presenters, Feb. 16-17

Organic peppers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – From vegetable grafting and dairy cow management to plasticulture strawberry production and organic grain production, Ohio State University professionals will present pertinent information on some of the key issues in organic and sustainable agriculture next month during Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference. 

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 34th annual conference, Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change, is Feb. 16-17 in Granville, Ohio. And with 27 workshops, Ohio State scientists, specialists and students will offer a record number of presentations during the event, which is expected to draw 1,200 participants, organizers said. 

The previous high was 19 workshops from Ohio State professionals in 2011. 

“Our workshops draw on the talents and expertise of scientists and researchers, farmers, chefs, homesteaders, and entrepreneurs from across Ohio and the Midwest,” said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s communications coordinator. “With cooking demonstrations and more than 90 educational workshops on sustainable farming, gardening, green living, livestock, and business management, there’s something for everyone.” 

The Ohio State presenters are from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its research and outreach arms, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) and Ohio State University Extension. 

The conference features some 90 sessions in all plus a trade show; two pre-conference workshops on food safety and grazing; a kids’ conference; and keynote talks by Nicolette Hahn Niman, an attorney, rancher, and writer, and George Siemon, a founding farmer of Organic Valley. 

Workshops offered by OSU experts in order of date and time include:

  • Matt Kleinhenz, associate professor and OSU Extension specialist, “Vegetable Grafting: Why and How,” Saturday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension educator, and Bob Hendershot, 2010 Stinner Award winner and retired grazing management specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Pasture for Profit,” a four-part workshop series on Saturday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:45-3:45 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. 
  • Mike Hogan, OSU Extension educator, and Julie Fox, OSU Extension marketing specialist, “Is Your Farm MarketReady? Selling to Restaurants and Grocers,” Saturday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Gustavo Schuenemannassistant professor, Veterinary Medicine, “Transition Dairy Cow Management,” Saturday, 9:30-10:25 a.m.
  • Jim Hoormanassistant professor and OSU Extension educator, “Using Cover Crops to Reduce Crop Variability in a Changing Climate,” Saturday, 9:30 -10:25 a.m.
  • Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension educator, “Measuring and Maintaining Soil Health,” Saturday, 10:35-11:30 a.m.
  • Parwinder GrewalOSU professor and director of the Center for Urban Environment and Economic Development, “Ecosystem Services of the Soil Food Web,” Saturday, 10:35-11:30 a.m.
  • Michele Williamsa research scientist with OARDC, “Natural Suppression of Pathogens in Food Systems,” Saturday, 10:35-11:30 a.m.
  • Matt Kleinhenz, OSU associate professor and Extension specialist, “Microclimate Management in High Value Vegetable Production,” Saturday, 1:45-3:45 p.m.
  • Marne Titchenell, wildlife program specialist for OSU Extension, “The Good, the Bad, and the Hungry: Dealing with Wildlife Conflict,” Saturday, 1:45-3:45 p.m.
  • Brian McSpadden GardenerOSU/OARDC plant pathologist, “OFFERings 2013: Defining the Organic Research Agenda,” Saturday, 1:45-3:45 p.m.
  • Brad Bergefurd, OSU/OARDC Extension educator and specialist, “Plasticulture Strawberry Production,” Saturday, 1:45-2:40 p.m.
  • Hoorman, “Biology of Soil Compaction,” Saturday, 1:45-2:40 p.m.
  • Julie Fox, direct marketing specialist, “Maps, Apps and Mobile Media Marketing,” Saturday, 1:45-2:40 p.m.
  • Michael Lilburn, OSU/OARDC, “Organic Pasture Poultry Research at OARDC,” Saturday, 2:50-3:45 p.m.
  • Mike Hogan OSU Extension, “Writing a Grant Proposal for On-Farm Research,” Saturday, 2:50-3:45 p.m.
  • Casey Hoy, OARDC Kellogg Endowed Chair, “Creating Opportunities in Local Food Supply Chains with a New Approach to Business Planning,” Sunday, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • P. Larry Phelan, OSU/OARDC, professor of entomology“Improving Protein Quality for Bread Making and Suppressing Weeds in Organic Spelt,” Sunday, 9:30-10:25 a.m.
  • Denise Ellsworth, program director of Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education, “Enhancing On-Farm Habitat for Pollinators,” Sunday, 9:30-10:25 a.m.
  • McSpadden Gardener, “Why Cover Crop Your Tomatoes?” Sunday, 10:35-11:30 a.m.
  • Alan SundermeierOSU Extension, “Report on 10 Years of Research on Organic Grain Production in Northwest Ohio,” Sunday, 10:35-11:30 a.m.
  • Mary Gardiner and Celeste WeltyOSU entomology professors“Managing Cucumber Beetles to Reduce Bacterial Wilt in Cucurbits,” Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Phelan, “Partnering with the Soil Community for Healthy and Resistant Plants,” Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Sundermeier, “Interpreting Forage Test Results and Their Implications,” Sunday, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Registration ranges from the $65 one-day student member rate to $205 for both days for an adult nonmember of OEFFA. Meals, the kids’ conference and the pre-conference workshops are extra. Register online at

Editor: Members of the press can attend some or all of the conference free of charge. To arrange a press pass, contact Lauren Ketcham at or 614-421-2022, ext. 203.


Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA
614-421-2022, ext. 203