Forest Meets Farm: Profitable New Crops for Small Farms in Forested Ohio

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $47,743.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Federal Funds: $15,000.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $84,624.00
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Scott Bagley
Rural Action, Inc.

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
  • Education and Training: demonstration, networking, workshop, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, employment opportunities, social capital


    Rural Action conducted an initiative to increase the knowledge of natural resource professionals about forest cultivated crops (FCCs) and their motivation to include them in their educational activities. Two trainings were held for 70 participants, a binder of informational materials was compiled including a list of resource persons and publications on cultivation of different FCCs, materials on the cost of production were provided for ginseng and shiitake production, a new cost of production piece was developed for goldenseal, educators were networked, and various follow-up activities have been implemented, including an 80 person workshop on ginseng cultivation and development of educational publications by OSUE.

    Project objectives:

    Objectives and Performance Targets

    Year One Objectives
    -75 NRPs know the basics of 5 FCCs (including site requirements, labor needs, markets, and economic potential)
    -25 of 75 NRPs are interested in learning more about agroforestry
    -20 NRPs use information available on the list-serv or utilize a connection made with another educator as a result of our activities
    -30 of 75 NRPs feel FCCs are a useful development activity for part or all of Ohio
    -15 NRPs provide informational resources to growers relating to FCCs
    -50 NRPs feel they know where to go for information on FCCs
    -7 Foresters view FCCs as part of their job
    -5 Agency partners view the Roots of Appalachia Growers Association (RAGA) involvement in program development as helpful

    Intermediate-Term Objectives
    Within 12 months of the completion of the final training we anticipate:
    -3 FCC workshops organized or co-organized by persons trained in our PDP
    -15 forest management plans including understory species written by trainees

    Within 3 years of the completion of the final training we anticipate:
    -Responsibilities for FCCs being more than 50% of the time allocation for one or more state or regional specialists
    -OSUE includes FCCs in training plan for new ANR agents in forested areas
    -ODNR includes FCCs in training plan for new service foresters
    -1 or more FCC growers involved on OSUE advisory boards (zero now)
    -OSUE responds to 30 landowner requests for information on FCCs

    Long-Term Objectives
    If we were to speculate we might look for, within 20 years:
    -An agroforestry center run by OSU or NRCS in Ohio with 3 staff dedicated to training educators and addressing landowner agroforestry questions beyond the knowledge of county agents
    -Non-timber forest products (FCCs in particular) in the curriculum for all introductory forestry classes in Ohio and as a separate stand-alone class offered to both forestry and agriculture students
    -OSUE collaboratively working with non-profit community, grower associations and other non-traditional partners, with development of joint work plans where appropriate

    -OSUE adoption of participatory or farm-based research as a core strategy for agricultural research (with 30% of the budget dedicated to these approaches)

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.