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School of Environment and Natural Resources


NIFA Invests in project to build farmer-led organic research in Ohio

Oct. 11, 2023
Workshop participants sitting around tables outdoors under a tent and interacting.

Ohio’s organic farmers have many questions and fewer resources to answer them, compared to more traditional farmers. A newly funded project through NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) will advance productivity, profitability, and resilience in the organic sector through collaborative on-farm research.

The project will be co-led by The Ohio State University, Central State University, and the Ohio Ecological Farm & Food Association, partnering with organic producers and leveraging personnel, resources, and knowledge of the three lead organizations.

Douglas Jackson-Smith, Kellogg Chair and professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources and Director of the Agroecosystem Management Program in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is the principal investigator of the project.

To expand farmer-led organic research in Ohio the team will host a series of regional workshops and engagement activities laying the foundation for a robust Ohio Organic Farmer Researcher Network.

Farmers, researchers, educators, and other academic or other non-profit specialists with an interest in collaborative research and organic agriculture are encouraged to participate in the project’s monthly meetings and/or upcoming in-person events.

Build the network - get involved

Help build a collaborative organic research agenda for Ohio, expanded resources and opportunities for on-farm research, and infrastructure for a sustainable Ohio Organic Farmer Research Network. 

Monthly meetings are virtual on the first Thursday of each month at noon.
The meetings typically feature a farmer or academic researcher sharing their experience or an organization from outside of Ohio who is doing similar work.

Find more information (including links to past recordings) at

For more information on the project, contact: Cassandra “Cassy” Brown, project manager,; 330-263-3634.

Photo caption: For the project’s first official workshop, farmers and university staff gathered at the Black Farming Conference on Sept. 30, 2023, to brainstorm possible research questions based on common interests of workshop attendees suggesting five group themes and worked together to create several excellent research questions in a short amount of time.

This project is made possible by the USDA National Institute for Agriculture (Grant: 2023-51300-40856). Learn more about NIFA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative.