Researchers at The Ohio State University and the University of Vermont are seeking farm operators of small and medium scale farms to complete a survey about farm household decision-making and community engagement. The goal of this survey is to collect firsthand information from farmers to provide informed recommendations to policymakers regarding future policies and programs that will better support small and mid-sized farms. The survey will be mailed in early February for study sites in Maine, Vermont and Ohio and in early May for study sites in Florida and Hawaii. Participation in this study will be completely voluntary and responses will be treated as confidential. We encourage farm operators to fill the survey out with as many family members as possible, particularly those that are intimately involved in farm operations and household decision-making
This survey is part of a national study of small and medium farm viability in communities experiencing high rates of population growth and development. This project, entitled “Small and Medium Scale Farm Growth and Persistence at the Rural-Urban Interface: Balancing Family, Goals, Opportunities and Risks,” is intended to help develop policy that minimizes the challenges and maximizes the opportunities farm families face in urbanizing communities. Research is focused to the following five case study sites, based on population growth, number of small farms, and populations of interest: Columbus, OH; Honolulu, HI; Miami, FL; Lewiston, ME; Burlington, VT.
In addition to the information provided through the survey, interviews with area farmers and institutional representatives will contribute to the analysis. The findings will be shared with policy makers with the goal of helping small and medium farms achieve success. There are reports available detailing each of the study sites, and further information will be available to the communities as research continues.
Funding is provided by the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Further information on the project can be found at http://senr.osu.edu/research/ag-and-food-systems.