Fielding the Next Farm Team

With 10 percent of small farmers exiting farming each year, and a current median farming age of 59, helping new farmers successfully enter and thrive in their businesses is vitally important for the future of U.S. agriculture.

But, beginning farmers face significant hurdles, including attaining knowledge, skills, and experience in production practices; acquiring the fundamental business planning and financial management knowledge and skills; and accessing farmland and capital as part of the substantial investment farming requires.

To help address this, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program provides aspiring and early career farmers (those farming 10 years or less) the support they need to understand what it takes to get into farming and grow their businesses. The goal of the program is to increase the number of successful sustainable and organic farmers in Ohio.

Upcoming Events

Farm Vision Virtual Workshop | May 27

Farm Vision is designed to help aspiring farmers clarify what motivates them to farm, get their vision on paper, and inventory their strengths and training needs. Featuring a panel of mid-career farmers, this interactive workshop provides tools to help turn farming dreams into reality. Using a combination of virtual presentations, individual skill assessments, vision exercises, and breakout discussions, participants will be able to develop an action plan for their farm business. 

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Programs for Aspiring Farmers

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship

OEFFA is pleased to coordinate the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship in Ohio. Through the rigorous 2-year apprenticeship, aspiring dairy farmers have an opportunity to train and work with master graziers. These paid apprentices attend distance education, tour farms, and connect with other apprentices and farmers through robust networking opportunities.

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Internship Program

During the growing season, aspiring farmers have an opportunity to train and work on Ohio host farms through the Seasonal Farm Jobs program. Interns that complete this program with a certified intern host are eligible for a Farm Vision Course scholarship.

Programs for Early Career Farmers

Technical and Educational Assistance

Farmers can receive one-on-one assistance on topics like production techniques, organic transition, resources, land access, funding, and marketing by picking up the phone or sending an email. OEFFA staff will help farmers troubleshoot problems and access resources. Call (614) 421-2022 or send us an email.

Farm Tour and Workshop Series

The 2022 Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series has concluded. This annual farm tour and workshop series offers many opportunities for beginning and experienced farmers alike to gather and learn from other farmers in the region.

Beginning Farmer Facebook Group

Looking for another way to connect? OEFFA’s Facebook group—OEFFA’s Next Farm Team—is for you! It’s a friendly, inclusive forum for beginning farmers to network, ask questions, and share ideas, resources, events, and photos.

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Heartland Farm Beginnings® Training Course

OEFFA’s Heartland Farm Beginnings® training course provides opportunities for beginning and transitioning farmers to learn first-hand about identifying values, setting goals, and whole farm and strategic business planning. This in-depth, field-tested course has helped to train more than 1,500 farmers across the country during the past 15 years.

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OEFFA’s Annual Conference

As the largest sustainable agriculture gathering in Ohio, the annual OEFFA conference is an invaluable opportunity for beginning farmers to attend 50+ workshops on topics ranging from farming techniques to business management, and connect with other farmers. 

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Mentorship Program

New farmers can apply to be formally matched with an experienced farmer ready to share their knowledge and experience.

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Land Access Program


Heartland FarmLink

Kelly Cabral, OEFFA’s Farmland Specialist, is available for consultation with beginning farmers and exiting farmers needing personalized technical assistance. Contact the Begin Farming Program Coordinator to determine if your situation is a good fit for Farmland Specialist services.

Farm Succession Planning Workshops

Farmland owners ready to make a plan to transfer their farm business or land can join our annual Succession Planning workshop series.

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Join Us in Fielding the Next Farm Team!

If you are interested in participating in these programs, either as a new farmer or an experienced farmer we would be delighted to talk to you.

This program is supported by NIFA USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program ( 2019-49400-30033).

Photos: Mile Creek Farm

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd.
Columbus OH 43214


OEFFA:(614) 421-2022 (614) 421-2022
OEFFA Certification:(614) 262-2022 (614) 262-2022