Innovative Farmers of Ohio Conference set for Feb. 26, 2011 at Hiram College

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                           CONTACTS: Parker Bosley, Program Director of Innovative Farmers of Ohio   216-348-0913
Mary Holmes, Board Chair of Innovative Farmers of Ohio  440-423-0859
Cheryl Torsney, Dean, Hiram College 440-569-5125;
The Business of Farming:  An Entrepreneurial Approach
Innovative Farmers of Ohio Conference and Annual Meeting
Saturday, February 26, 2011
9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio
The challenges and importance of farming and food production are very much a part of the landscape today in Ohio.  Innovative Farmers of Ohio is a state wide membership organization dedicated to supporting and growing sustainable farms in Ohio. To be sustainable, farms must be profitable, farmers must be good stewards of the land, and rural communities must thrive. 
Innovative Farmers of Ohio, with the generous support of Hiram College and the Hiram Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship, will present their annual conference on Saturday, February 26, 2011 in Hiram, Ohio, to address the notion of how an entrepreneurial approach can lead to successful sustainable farming.
Registration:  $35 for non-members, $25 for members, check our website for details -- including exhibit and sponsorship opportunities and a link to a map of Hiram -- at .
Keynote speaker, Susan Beal DVM, a staff member for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture will present “Vital and Vibrant: Farms, Food and Families.” 
Bob Perry from the University of Kentucky will share his work in coordinating food systems and local sources in the farming community and present his successful program, “Retail and Restaurant Ready.”  
Three successful Ohio entrepreneurial farmers will conduct breakout sessions to share their stories.  Dan and Ann Trudel have created value-added products at their farm in Knox County where Brussels sprouts and raspberries are used to create award winning gourmet foods; Aaron Miller has a grass-based farm in Trumbull County where beef, poultry, lamb and pork are produced and marketed directly to Cleveland’s top restaurants. Floyd Davis is a vegetable producer in Trumbull County who sells at farmers’ markets and has recently become a supplier for a suburban school district.   Their stories are successes that will inspire farmers to explore the possibilities of direct sales and attract the attention of young people who are considering sustainable farming as a possible career. 
The distribution of locally produced food is often seen as a hurdle for the farmer.  This is especially true for those who prefer to stay on the farm rather than deliver products.  Trevor Clatterbuck of Fresh Fork Market will share his story of food distribution for a network of farmers in Northeastern Ohio.  In 2010, Fresh Fork had nearly 500 subscribers who purchased a weekly food delivery.  Interest has been so strong and farmers so eager to sell through this distribution system that a winter program was launched this year.  Products are picked-up at the farm gate.  Urban folks are delighted to have fresh, nutrient-dense products from local sources at the neighborhood delivery site. 
Faculty from the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship at Hiram College will present business planning assistance for the farmer-entrepreneur.  Hiram College, as co-host, is eager to share news of their new program in Food Studies.  This will be another opportunity to explore the many facets of food and food production in our world today.   Dr. Cheryl Torsney, Dean of Hiram College, is a partner with IFO in creating this exciting conference.

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