Extension scheduling organic production walk

STEUBENVILLE — Organic agriculture is a food production system that takes an ecological approach and focuses on techniques that improve conservation, biodiversity, and healthy soils.

Foods labeled as “organic” follow the USDA’s National Organic Program standards — that is, these farms do not use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, sewage sludge fertilizers, genetically modified seeds, growth hormones or antibiotics or drugs (with the exception of disease), explained Erika Lyon, agriculture and natural resources educator, Ohio State University Extension, Jefferson and Harrison counties.

A farm does not become organic overnight — these requirements must be followed for three years before a farm can be certified organic, she noted.

For those who are interested in organic food production, OSU Extension is organizing a production walk that will be held at Next 7 Organic Farm, located at 36000, Brushy Fork Road in Cadiz, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 23.

Next 7 Organic Farm is owned by the Wiegmann family and includes approximately 200 acres and more than 200 varieties of certified organic produce as well as grass-fed beef, pork and poultry. Anyone who would like to get started as an organic farm or is just curious about the organic certification process is encouraged to attend, Lyon said.

Isaac and Holly Wiegmann; Celeste Welty, OSU associate professor of entomology, Sally Miller, OSU professor of vegetable pathology; and members of the OSU Extension team will lead a tour of the Ohio organic farm and discussion of what it takes to become organic.

Cost of the event is $10 per person and includes dinner. Pre-registration is required by Sept. 16 by contacting OSU Extension, Jefferson County at (740) 264-2212 or by e-mail to lyon.194@osu.edu. Send registration to OSU Extension, Jefferson County, 500 Market St., Suite 512, Steubenville, OH 43952.

For information on Harrison Extension programs, visit harrison.osu.edu. Sign up for the Agriculture and Natural Resources Newsletter to receive information and updates on a variety of garden topics and other horticultural interests by contacting OSU Extension.