Keeping Ohio's Food SafeAs agriculture continues to evolve across the nation, Ohio farmers and producers are leading the pack.

The technological advancements made in the industry over the past decade have presented ways to accurately improve efficiency and sustainability. Ohio’s farmers have embraced the change, realizing the importance and benefits of these advancements, including feeding more people across the globe and increased contributions to the state’s economy. It’s critical that they stay on top of current trends and work together to embrace technology.

One example of this is the more than 12,000 Ohio farmers who have received water quality training to learn best nutrient management practices. The Ohio Pork Council is another great example, offering a “virtual field trip” program that allows students to see inside the barn without ever leaving the classroom.

But while technology is becoming extremely important for farmers, Ohio’s 74,400 farms are still deeply rooted in tradition. Eighty-eight percent of Ohio farms are family-owned – an impressive feat. The Ohio Department of Agriculture recognizes family farms that have reached milestones of being in the same family for 100 years, 150 years and 200 years or more through the Historic Family Farms program.

The ideas of technology and tradition work together to make Ohio’s agriculture industry extremely successful. Farmers understand the hard work they must put in day in and day out. Most of them grew up on the farm and witnessed this firsthand from their parents and grandparents. But they also realize that the world is changing, and to keep up with global demand, they must change with it.

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The farmers, growers and industry workers featured in the stories on the following pages show just how Ohio’s agriculture industry is taking the reins to keep it viable, sustainable and profitable for years to come.

Market Stop

Whether you’re searching for locally grown produce, homemade baked goods, fresh meats or simply a good time, Ohio farmers markets are the place to be.

There are different types of markets in Ohio, including farm markets, which are typically located on the farm where produce and other items are grown and made. Farmers markets are central locations where several producers congregate to sell their goods, and most are open on weekends. You can also stop by a roadside market, located along the road so customers can stop on their way and pick up fresh produce before reaching their destination. Roadside markets are typically open every day of the harvest season.

Farmers markets of all types not only benefit consumers with farm-fresh food, but producers as well, allowing them to build relationships with consumers, answer questions and teach people about exactly where their food comes from.

For more on Ohio farmers markets, visit Ohio Proud.

Historical Celebration

Ohio celebrated 100 years of the Federal Farm Loan Act in 2016, which helped create the Farm Credit system – a major player in the state’s agriculture industry.

The act was created to help with problems farmers were facing in trying to obtain bank loans to purchase land. The Farm Credit system created by the legislation operated as a network of cooperatives that were independently owned and controlled by borrowers so they were easily adaptable to agriculture’s ever-changing nature.

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Today, Farm Credit associations still work in a similar manner, helping support the next generation of Ohio farmers with loans to get them started.

Buckeye Brews

Quench your thirst with an ice-cold pint of Ohio craft beer. With 133 breweries and counting, the state’s industry is booming, supporting local agriculture while bringing delicious beers to consumers and visitors.

Several Ohio breweries have won medals from the Great American Beer Festival, including Great Lakes, Fat Head’s, Hoppin’ Frog and Columbus Brewing Company, and most allow visitors to get an inside look at how their favorite beers are made with tours and tastings.

Ohio hops farmers are seeing a boom as well. Ohio Hop Growers Guild members have over 30,000 hops plants growing with more than 20 varieties. In fact, over 30 local beers were brewed using these hops in 2015.

For more on Ohio craft beer and a listing of breweries, visit the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. Visit the Ohio Hop Growers Guild to learn more about hops.