It is hard to believe it is August already. The Dog Days of summer are upon us, kids will be back in school soon and fall will be here before we know it.
With that said, there are still lots of activities related to agriculture that many might want to participate in.
For instance, the 2019 Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) Farm Tour series is well underway with many activities.
This year’s series offers an up-close look at 30 organic and ecological farms and businesses in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. The tour series combines efforts and resources from OEFFA, OSU Extension, and other organizations.
This year’s tour has lots of diversity. From traditional small farms that have successfully diversified, to the Greenfield Farms creamery plant, and even urban community garden projects, everyone is sure to find a tour that relates to their current operation or future plans.
Among this year’s offerings, are opportunities to learn about transitioning to organic production, using rotational grazing with a diversified livestock operation, growing a specialty crop like mushrooms, hops, or cut flowers, or branching out to aquaculture, seed production, or commercial composting.
People who come to these tours many times come back year after year because they love them and are always looking for more opportunities to learn. Tour goers like to talk to people who are doing the things they’re considering and to ask questions.
The farm tours are free and open to the public and do not require pre-registration unless otherwise noted. Events will take place rain or shine. Guests should dress appropriately; hats, sunglasses, long pants, closed toe walking shoes, and sunscreen are recommended.
Tours involve standing and moderate walking; visitors with physical limitations or other concerns should contact the tour host in advance. For everyone’s safety, guests should keep children with them at all times; and should leave their pets at home.
This year, Clinton County is proud to be host to two of these tours. The first tour is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11 at the farm of the Ashmores – That Guy’s Family Farm — located at 419 N. Beechgrove Road.
Guy and Sandy Ashmore, owners of That Guy’s Family Farm, have been serving Wilmington and surrounding areas for more than 40 years.
Originally, they used commercial fertilizers and other chemicals on traditional row crops, but they became a certified organic farm in the late 1990s. During the transition period, they also diversified the crops they grew, and how much land they maintained, learning that they didn’t need large acreages of land to turn a profit.
They grow year-round in high tunnels and raise produce and flowers on 10 acres. They maintain a diverse business network with their daughter, Nellie, who runs That Girl’s Flowers, and their son, Conard, who is a partner in the produce operation, and raises some grain.
At this farm tour, co-sponsored by OSU Extension Clinton County and Clinton County Natural Resources and Conservation Serivce (NRCS), learn how this farm transitioned from traditional crops to specialty crops, the business decisions that went into it, and the results.
Hear from the Ashmores about the struggles, the successes, and the learning curves transitioning to raise produce and cut flowers. Come with your questions and leave inspired to change or begin your future business venture!
In addition to the Ashmores, federal, state, and local employees will be on site to share information about services and resources available to farmers.
The second tour is schedule for 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 at the farm of Tracey and Matt Parriman, 804 Hales Branch Road, Midland.
Beginning in 2011, Tracey and Matt Parriman started Tracey Rae Farmer Florist, to nurture their interest in cultivating cut flowers. They began selling cut flowers on leased land. In 2015, they invested in their own property and began to expand their operation.
The farm sells a multitude of varieties of fresh cut flowers through their community supported agriculture program. They sell at markets and to special occasions, such as weddings.
Join this tour, co-sponsored by OSU Extension Clinton County and Clinton County Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), to hear the perspective of younger generation farmers establishing a small, new business and finding their place in the market.
Walk the farm with the Parrimans and discuss a range of subjects, from public grants to soil testing to differentiating your operation in the market. Bring your questions and learn how you can begin your business and what resources are available to you.
Again, both tours are free but we ask that you RSVP. For more information, directions to each location and to RSVP, call James Tillman of the Natural Resources Conservation Service at 937-382-2461.
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.