About the OFFER Program
The OFFER program was established in 1998 in response to requests by organic producers and supporters to provide science-based information to Ohio’s existing organic farmers and to newcomers to organic production and marketing.
Our Mission is to provide research and educational support for producers, processors, and marketers of organic foods with the goal of expanding the abundance, quality, and variety of certified organic foods available to consumers.
The OFFER program team consists of Ohio State University researchers, Ohio farmers, and other stakeholders who share a goal of enhancing the vitality of organic agriculture in Ohio. This interdisciplinary team works together to develop research initiatives to better understand the principles behind organic agriculture, particularly in terms of underlying crop-soil relationships, pest control, economics, and system management.
About 40 acres of land near the CFAES Wooster Campus were originally allocated to the program. Today OFFER’s land resources include land on three farms near Wooster and at the John Hirzel Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Research Site in northwestern Ohio. Read more.
- Studies examining the changes that occur in farming systems during the transition of conventional agricultural land to certified organic production.
- Other experiments, both on cooperators’ farms and at the research stations, investigate weed control, nutrient management, and variety performance, during and after transition, on a variety of agronomic, vegetable, and fruit crops.
- Innovative marketing research addressing local marketing of high-value crops and international “relational” marketing.
- Food quality issues relating to nutritional content of organic fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as consumer preference.
Education and Outreach Activities
- Field days – provide an opportunity for the public to tour our field plots and learn about the organic research being done on the CFAES Wooster Campus.
- Stakeholder Meetings – These meetings provide valuable opportunities for us to strengthen the ties with our stakeholders and receive feedback on the research that growers would like to see in the OFFER Program.
- Extension training
- Education – OSU-ATI offers an Associate of Science degree in Sustainable Agriculture.
About Organic Agriculture in Ohio
Ohio's organic farming community continues to experience rapid growth. According to the 2019 USDA Census of Agriculture, Ohio ranks 5th among U.S. states in the number of certified organic farms, an increase of 37% since the 2016 organic census.
- 3rd in certified organic soybean producers.
- 6th in acres of organic soybeans, 7th in bushels produced.
- 5th in certified organic corn producers.
- 9th in certified organic corn acres and in bushels produced.
- 4th in organic hay producers, 13th in acres.
- 3rd in organic oats producers, 7th in acres.
- 4th in the number of organic dairy farms.
- 5th in the number of organic farms.
- 11th in organic egg and layer farms, and organic egg sales.
- 6th in the number of non-certified farms transitioning acres to organic production
Between 2016 and 2019, Ohio's organic sales have increased by 38% and organic cropland grew by 37%.
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