June 2018

June 25, 2018



This spring, lingering cold temperatures and abnormally wet conditions have created major challenges for Ohio farmers, reinforcing the need for further adaptive management research and practices. Meanwhile, work on the Ohio Smart Agriculture initiative continues. This month, the OSA Steering Committee will begin additional outreach to stakeholders, looking for feedback on the following suggested pathways:


  • Build and energize a Farm, Food and Health Partners Alliance to establish agriculture and the food system as a public policy priority.
  • Encourage 21st infrastructure and markets that support development and processing of profitable, diverse products from the farming landscape.
  • Encourage production of fresh, locally produced fruits, vegetable, meat, dairy, eggs & other edible food.
  • Develop an agricultural workforce & workforce support system, including livable wages and healthcare.
  • Protect/enhance landscapes and create an ecosystem services pathway/model through research and integration of farms, small plots, urban and forestry elements.


“Ohio Smart Agriculture: Solutions from the Land” is an initiative to place farming at the forefront of addressing challenges like hunger relief, health, and sustainability. Led by farmers as well as agribusiness owners, anti-hunger advocates, conservationists and public health researchers, we are working together to identify shared solutions to some of Ohio’s most pressing issues – by leveraging the deep knowledge and vast resources of our state’s agriculture community and by learning from each other.
Our purpose is to explore 21st century strategies to retain a strong, vibrant farm economy and workforce; to assure a healthy population with access to nutritious food; and to preserve the land, air and water in our state for future generations.
We will succeed when the direction we set forth engages the broader community in a joint response to these issues and promotes collaboration among Ohioans.
In times of changing climate, markets, and preferences, OSA:SfL’s goal is to create and implement an action plan that will:

  • Help farmers adjust to new weather patterns, nurture the land, clean our air and waters, and provide a healthy ecosystem for future generations.
  • Reconnect consumers with agriculture, improve health, food access and nutrition for Ohioans, and celebrate the importance of strong, vibrant farm communities and farmland.
  • Build new opportunities and infrastructure for a more diverse and prosperous farm economy in which Ohioans feed Ohioans and the world.

Please join us and share your thoughts on how Ohio agriculture can become more sustainable and relevant, creating solutions to 21st century challenges!


InFACT: “Setting the Table for Food Security”

The Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) is an interdisciplinary program at The Ohio State University with the mission to transform the way we grow, process and distribute our food, leading to vibrant, sustainable and resilient agriculture that places nourishing food at the center of just and vital communities in Ohio and beyond. They believe food systems to be the heart of society’s most challenging problems, which also leads to great opportunity to create solutions by affection how the food system works.

InFACT’s job is to bring forth the clear, critical connection between the interests of farmers and consumers. There are four ways they intend to do that.

  • Development of a comprehensive research agenda and diverse workgroups, including faculty, students and numerous external partners, to pursue such research.
  • Design and coordination of a dynamic network of individuals and organizations that reaches throughout Ohio and beyond to establish a vision for the food system and the necessary policy objectives that will help us achieve it.
  • Management of a robust set of programs that seek to assure the well-being of Ohio State campuses from the perspective of food access, landscape as it relates to food, curriculum and teaching, and equity across the food system.
  • Building a broad-based platform for practical application of current knowledge and future research on food systems from across the university, including from the perspectives of business (i.e. entrepreneurship), law, public policy, and the social sciences.

Through these areas, they are researching and engaging many projects like Ohio Smart Agriculture. Just like OSA, their work is not dependent on supporting one specific type of agriculture or scale of production. InFACT’s role is, and will continue to be, bridging the gaps with research, practical applications and robust discussions, to move toward solutions that also bring opportunity to producers of all descriptions, and to connect these efforts to other groups in our network working to ensure food security for all.


Fred Yoder – Co-Chair, Ohio Smart Agriculture

OSA’s leadership team is comprised of many active, prominent Ohioans involved in agriculture, nutrition and healthcare, the environment, academia, and the food and fiber value chain. Each month in this space we recognize a different leader and share a bit about their passion for OSA.

Fred Yoder is a 4th generation farmer who has lived and farmed near Plain City, Ohio for over 40 years. Along with his wife Debbie and his two children, he grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. He has also operated a retail farm seed business for over 36 years, and sells seed to all kinds of farmers, working with those who need conventional, organic, or even bioengineered seed varieties to best server their land and crops. We were lucky Fred found some time to answer a few questions about his farm and his commitment to Climate Smart Agriculture.

Why are you a part of OSA?

Fred: As a board member of Solutions from the Land (SFL) and Chair of the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA), we were approached by the Kellogg Foundation to consider a project in Ohio in regards to food security, sustainable intensification of our production systems, soil health, water quality, etc. that directly affects Ohio. We were fortunate to be able to partner with the Ohio State University and their InFACT program, which addresses many of these concerns. Even as we work on a global scale with these issues, it is clear that all things start locally. It is exciting to think about how what we do in Ohio could be used as a template for many other areas, since many of the same challenges exist elsewhere as well.


What segment of the initiative are you most passionate about, and why?

Fred: As co-chair of OSA, I am interested in all workgroups and their work. It [the workgroups] all has to work together because there is undoubtedly overlap with cause and effect for many different workgroups.


June is strawberry season in Ohio! Did you know that in 2015, approximately 540 acres of strawberries were grown and harvested in the state? Ohio is one of the 10 top strawberry producers in the United States.
Between 1928 and 1939, the average yield per acre of strawberry fields in Ohio was close to 2,340 pounds. By 2015, that number was 4,300 pounds!

Strawberries are a delicious source of vitamin C and manganese, a trace mineral you need to stay healthy. One cup of fresh strawberries can fill 149% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Have you checked your closest farmer’s market for fresh strawberries today?