CIFT small business mentoring group

Jump start your food and farm business! Ohio Farm Bureau is excited to offer two complimentary tickets to the Mid-America Restaurant Expo for members who join CIFT’s Small Business Mentorship Group during the month of January (while supplies last). This is nearly a $200 value that will give your company an immediate advantage at the Expo and a year’s worth of connectivity and development with the Mentorship Group, which is explained below. Don’t get left behind in a constantly evolving industry landscape. Sign up today!

The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), with assistance from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, has created an initiative designed to support the aspirations of food small business owners who are trying to take their businesses to the next level. 

CIFT’s Small Business Mentoring Group (SBMG) is for businesses that are making a product in an Ohio Department of Agriculture licensed facility with less than $1 million in sales. The aim is to provide unique insights and enhance the development of value-added food products in Ohio. 

“We are excited to partner with CIFT to deliver a truly unique member value opportunity. This group, with CIFT’s leadership, will help our members gain business insights and networking to help them grow and be more successful,” said Tim Hicks, Ohio Farm Bureau business development field director. “We appreciate strategic partners like CIFT. In furthering our mission to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities, this collaboration will strengthen Ohio’s food community in ways that each organization independently would be challenged to achieve.”

Participants in SBMG receive:

  • Company logo and basic information displayed on the CIFT website and included in promotional materials for SBMG;
  • At least one in-person networking event to meet and engage with fellow businesses from across Ohio; and
  • Access to a private, interactive engagement via Facebook related to:
    • Networking opportunities with similar businesses and industry experts
    • Materials and information representing best practices for food companies
    • Activities to test knowledge and identify growth/scaling opportunities
    • Insights and updates from others in the food processing industry

The group is free for Ohio Farm Bureau members, but space is limited. To find out more and apply to join the Small Business Mentoring Group, contact CIFT at [email protected] or visit

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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