NIFA Invests in Project to Build Farmer-Led Organic Research in Ohio

June 4, 2024

Ohio’s organic farmers have many questions and fewer resources to answer them, compared to more traditional farmers. A project funded through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) will advance productivity, profitability, and resilience in the organic sector through collaborative on-farm research.

For the past two years, the Ohio Organic Farmer Researcher Network has gathered organic farmers, researchers, and educators together to form partnerships for farmer-led research. The network is co-led by The Ohio State University, Central State University, and the Ohio Ecological Farm & Food Association, partnering with organic producers and leveraging personnel, resources, and knowledge from the three lead organizations. 

Through the 2023-24 NIFA grant, the network has been organizing in-person workshops where farmers and other agricultural professionals work in small groups to turn their production issues and observations into on-farm research questions.

Workshops are designed to kickstart ideas, encourage farmers to see themselves as researchers, and create connections that spark potential projects. Half-way through the grant period, the network has already seen several successes, including submission of a USDA-NIFA research grant proposal, and at least four smaller grants with origins in OFRN activities. In addition, workshop participants have gone on to participate or present in monthly network meetings, and several key partnerships or resources have been shared through the network's efforts.

Farmers, researchers, educators, and other academic or non-profit specialists with an interest in collaborative research and organic agriculture are encouraged to participate in the project’s monthly meetings and/or upcoming in-person events.

Read more about the grant

See past and upcoming monthly meeting topics