There are two good OSU Extension conferences in March a short drive away at the R.G. Drage Career Center, 2800 Richville Drive SE, Massillon, that offer some good learning opportunities. The East Ohio Women in Agriculture conference is Friday, March 24, and the Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference is Saturday, March 25.
The East Ohio WIA conference runs from 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Keynoting this year will be Marlene Eick of Herdmark Media. The conference program features a networking fair, 16 breakout sessions and two new extended breakout sessions, all presented by OSU Extension educators, producers and partner agencies. Breakout sessions highlight five themes including business and finance; plants and animals; communication, home and family, and special interest. The state officers of the Ohio FFA Association will again present a special session just for young women (high school age). Youth participants can also engage in any of the remaining sessions with their adult counterparts. Register online at www.regonline.com/womeninageast. Cost is $55 for adults and $30 for students. Fee includes conference, continental breakfast, lunch and conference handouts.
The Northeast Ohio "Living Your Small Farm Dream" is a program of the OSU Extension Small Farm Program and will provide farm owners and landowners with the opportunity to learn more about skills useful on a small farm, how to make small farms work better, expand operations, or gather ideas on how to utilize rural acreage.
Participants will choose from more than 25 different sessions offered more than four breakout sessions during the day. General topic tracks include horticulture production, livestock and aquaculture, small farm management, natural resources, marketing and selling. Presenters include OSU Extension specialists and educators as well as USDA agency personnel and area farmer entrepreneurs. The trade show represents industries, businesses, services and organizations that provide products or services used on a small farm or rural property.
A sampling of topics includes:
■ Chainsaw safety, maintenance and operation;
■ Raising sheep and goats;
■ Grass-fed beef production;
■ Fruit tree pruning;
■ Hobby maple syrup production;
■ Fruit tree and small fruit disease management and prevention;
■ Micro greens production;
■ Vegetable production and season extension with tunnels;
■ Using and calibrating handheld sprayers on the farm;
■ Growing shiitake mushrooms;
■ Selling eggs, poultry, produce and cottage foods;
■ Marketing meat goats;
■ Renting and leasing farmland;
■ Renewable energy;
■ Small farm tax Issues;
■ Aquaculture opportunities; and
■ Vegetable disease diagnostics.
The chainsaw safety and vegetable production/tunnels sessions both extend over two break-out time periods. The vegetable production/tunnels session will start at the OARDC high tunnels in Wooster and move to the RG Drage Center for the indoor portion. Participants may elect to do only the Wooster part, only the RG Drage Center part or both parts of this topic.
The conference begins with registration at 8 a.m., opens with a general session at 9 p.m. and ends about 3:45 p.m. Registration is $60 per person, which includes lunch and morning refreshments. Registration deadline is March 17. Register online at http://agnr.osu.edu/small-farm-programs/small-farm-conferences-and-trade-shows. A conference brochure listing all the breakout sessions along with a registration form, also is available on the Wayne County Extension website at: http://go.osu.edu/NEOHSmFMConf.
For those attending both the Women in Agriculture conference March 24 plus the small farm conference March 25, there is a discounted registration fee of $100 to attend both. Student discounts also are available.
Recent weather and impact on perennial plants
Although our recent spell of unseasonably warm weather has been enjoyed by those who are not fond of typical winter weather, this is not favorable for our perennial plants. Once buds swell or even burst, plants are sensitive to freezing damage. The bottom line is, we have a long way to go before we are past the risk of frost and freezing temperatures and we may see damage to some of our perennial plants this year. There is an article about temperatures and the timing of dormant spray applications to fruit posted on our website at http://wayne.osu.edu, which may be of special interest to fruit growers.
Rory Lewandowski is an OSU Extension Agriculture & Natural Resources educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.