Northeast Ohio farmers can get recognized for sustainable farming practices

Photo by Deerfield Ag Services

Deerfield Ag is launching a recognition program for Northeast Ohio farms that takes steps to conserve soil, participate in farmers’ markets and support sustainable agriculture.

The 5-Diamond Farmer Recognition Program will give local farmers a way to show buyers they use sustainable farming practices. Applications are due by May 31 and can be filled out on the Deerfield Ag website.

“Our growers are some of the most committed family farmers in the world, and they work hard every day to implement best practices to ensure their farms and land are sustainable for future generations,” Bill Wallbrown, CEO of Deerfield Ag Services, said in a statement. “Sustainability is more than a buzzword for farmers, and we want to honor that. It means being good stewards of our land, adopting innovative practices to protect soil health, and ultimately remaining profitable while we feed a growing population.”

Farmers can earn a diamond for each of the following sustainable practices, up to a maximum of five:

  • Conservation tillage practices — no-till or minimal till
  • Use of cover crops
  • Participation in a value-added grower program (examples include high oleic or food grade soybeans, Certified Angus Beef, or participating in a farmers’ market)
  • Five hours of continuing education through participation in Soil & Water Conservation District or OSU Extension programs
  • Pesticide applicator certification (ODA certification conducted through OSU Extension)
  • Active service to an agricultural organization, such as Farm Bureau, local foods council or statewide checkoff program
  • Adoption of a new sustainability practice on the farm
  • Adoption of a new sustainability technology

Family owned since it opened in 1959, Deerfield Ag provides agronomy, marketing, farm supplies and other agriculture services throughout Northeast Ohio. They also operate a farm.

The company will not evaluate applicants’ sustainable farming practices, but they will ask for proof that farms meet the criteria.

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Ben Wolford is the editor and publisher of The Portager.

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