Adam Sharp

Across the Table: 2017 Census of Ohio Agriculture

If you’re not changing, you’re not growing. When I started in my new capacity at Ohio Farm Bureau three years ago, it was easy to see that the demographics we serve were evolving. The latest numbers from the 2017 Census of Ohio Agriculture prove that point.

new farmersOne bit of information that stuck out to me was the increase in the number of overall farms. Very few states realized an increase in this category, but Ohio added almost 2,500 from just five years earlier. Even more exciting is the jump of 34,000 new and beginning farmers across our state. Despite a sluggish ag economy and the mounting challenges that come with farming, there is continued optimism for being a part of Ohio agriculture.

Another key takeaway from the census is that there is a broader group of folks in Ohio that have a passion for food production who want to see farmers, and the industry as a whole, advance.

female farmersFemale farmers in Ohio climbed by 25% since 2012, and we have seen a nearly 20% growth in small scale farms, not to mention a whopping 29% increase in organic farms, now valued at $100 million.

As different as all of these groups seem, they all need to be successful in order for all of us to prosper. As it has been for over 100 years, Ohio Farm Bureau will help the agriculture sector work together to build valuable relationships that will benefit everyone involved.

Many of these relationships have already been developed through Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals and AgriPOWER programs. Both are fantastic resources that our members told us they are hungry for, because they draw many different segments of our industry together with the one common goal of a strong and vibrant agriculture community.

Research tells us that more changes are coming and as a general farm organization, we are compelled to care about the dynamics of Ohio agriculture. Ohio Farm Bureau is taking a hard look at what we are currently doing and what we will need to do in the future to make sure our services to our members remain relevant. That’s where you come in.

We are always actively seeking input from our members, which is why we recently launched a two-year project to learn about what they want from their Ohio Farm Bureau when it comes to advocacy, programs, benefits and more. It isn’t by happenstance that we are seeing great energy around the things we are doing today, but as agriculture continues to change we will continue to seek new ways to serve our great industry and those who represent it.
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