Aug. 17 Research Tour to Focus on Agricultural Diversification

July 21, 2017
Photo of a dark orange chicken in a field. Photo by Flickr

WOOSTER, Ohio – Small and medium-sized farms often struggle to compete with larger farms, who can have a built-in advantage due to their size. Researchers at The Ohio State University are exploring how smaller farms can maximize their unique strengths and diversify what they produce, rather than expanding the size of their farm.

The 2017 Agricultural Diversification Research Tour on Aug. 17 will show farmers how they can maintain their farm size, but still increase profitability. It will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s (OARDC) Mellinger Research Farm, located at 6885 West Old Lincoln Way in Wooster.

The average total cost of production decreases as a result of increasing the number of different goods produced. Therefore, small and medium-sized farms can take advantage of the ecological, economic and social benefits of producing additional goods to improve their bottom line.

Mellinger Farm is used in part for OARDC research while the rest is rented to a local farm that is currently diversifying its rotations and transitioning to organic production of hay and grains.

The Agroecosystems Management Program of OARDC and Ohio State University Extension is hosting the event and has gathered nearly a dozen specialists to participate from OARDC, OSU Extension, Ohio State ATI and the College of Wooster. OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State.

“The tour is important to farmers because they will learn about research on how to manage diverse production systems to lower input costs and access new markets,” said Casey Hoy, head of the OARDC Agroecosystems Management Program.

Topics of discussion during the tour include:

  • Scales of Diversification and Markets
  • Ecosystem Services in Diverse Systems – pest control, soil improvement and fertility, pollinator support and biomass production
  • Ecosystem Pressures (like deer and rabbits) on a Small, Diverse System and Imbalances in the Landscape
  • Diverse Vegetable Production
  • Pastured Poultry Using Chicken Tractors (movable coops)
  • Oilseed as an Alternative Crop in Rotations
  • Hull-Less “Naked” Oats Culture
  • Pasture Establishment and Management for a Diversified System
  • Value-Added Products

The tour is free and there is no registration required to attend. For additional information, contact Suranga Basnagala at or 330-202-3529.



Katerina Sharp


Casey Hoy