OFBF opens Farm/Food Institute

COLUMBUS – Professional development for farmers, entrepreneurs, and agribusiness and food industry professionals is the goal of the new Ohio Farm and Food Institute.

The institute will provide dynamic programs, networking opportunities, idea sharing, trends and issues updates, educational opportunities and leadership development training, said Tim Hicks, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation business development field director. The institute is a creation of the OFBF.

“These efforts are about bringing additional value to our members in a way that meets their needs,” Hicks said. “We’ll be partnering with a broad range of industry groups, such as the Center for Innovative Food Technology and others, to bring valuable content and connections within the food chain, not only for current members and farmers, but to create relationships with businesses and individuals that didn’t think Farm Bureau was for them.”

As part of its initial programming, two regional workshops on marketing are scheduled: April 5 in Wilmington, Ohio, and April 8 in Hartville, Ohio. Marlene Eick of Herdmark Media, and OFBF’s 2015 Excellence in Agriculture winner, will present Branding and Social Media Strategy. In her presentation, “Telling the story you’re living: Using branding and marketing to maximize your brand’s influence,” she will discuss how small business owners should consider their brand’s story and then create a strategy to share it with their target market. Other presenters will also participate.

The cost is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $50 for nonmembers, and includes lunch. OFBF group members can attend the regional workshops as part of their membership. To register or get more information, visit ohiofarmandfood.org.

In addition to regional workshops, the institute will encompass the annual Farm and Food Leadership Forum and will introduce an online learning program.

“With these and several other ideas, we plan to engage farmers and the food industry in unique and exciting ways,” Hicks said.

For more information about the institute and additional summer and fall regional workshops, visit ohiofarmandfood.org or follow on Facebook.