February 8–9 2018, 8:30am–5pmWhere
Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691
This year’s will focus on hydroponics, a booming Ohio industry that grows crops in water without soil.
The event is for anyone wanting to learn how to produce food hydroponically, including growers, teachers, university faculty, and greenhouse technology manufacturers and vendors.
Hydroponic crops are grown one of two ways: rooted in trays floating in recirculating water full of nutrients; or rooted in an inert growing medium, such as coco coir (coconut shell fibers) or perlite, that is irrigated with nutrient-rich water.
The benefits of such systems include:
Less nutrient runoff, a consideration especially in northwest Ohio where phosphorus runoff from crop fields is one cause of Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms.
Much lower water use — some 10 to 20 times lower compared to conventional field production.
Higher yields and quality because the crops are grown under ideal conditions.
Much less or even no need for pesticides.
Ohio’s hydroponic crop production is on the rise, more than doubling from 2009 to 2014 — from about 890,000 pounds to 1.82 million pounds — according to U.S. Department of Agriculture censuses.
During the workshop, 11 sessions will explore topics in the categories of greenhouse fundamentals, crop-specific management, integrated pest management (IPM) and technical matters.
Sally Miller, professor in Ohio State CFAES’s Department of Plant Pathology, and Luis Canas, associate professor in Ohio State CFAES’s Department of Entomology, will cover basics, practices and plant diseases in the IPM sessions.
The technical sessions will feature:
Paul Brentlinger of Lodi-based CropKing on business plans.
Beth Scheckelhoff of CFAES’s Ohio State University Extension and Food Innovation Center on food safety basics for greenhouse crops.
A grower talk by Glen and Lois Smucker of Orrville’s Glen Smucker Farms.
Research updates by Kubota; Ling; Canas; Miller; Uttara Samarakoon, assistant professor with the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute (Ohio State ATI); and Jordan Clark, assistant professor in Ohio State’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering.
Also on the agenda will be tours of area commercial greenhouses and of the campus’s greenhouse and research facilities.
Registration for the workshop is $125 by Jan. 25, $150 after Jan. 25, and includes continental breakfasts, lunches and tour transportation.
Participants will be eligible for continuing education credits from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Office of Indiana State Chemist. Credits from Pennsylvania and Kentucky have been applied for but not been confirmed yet.