From local to global, Ohio agriculture offers something for all markets. With a climate perfect for cultivating prosperous crops and raising healthy livestock, Ohio offers quality products grown with pride.
Of the almost 14 million acres of farmland, crop production accounts for 77 percent. Soybeans, corn and wheat dominate Ohio’s fields as well as their exports around the globe. Other products such as tomatoes, hay, winter wheat and mushrooms diversify the state’s agricultural portfolio.
Approximately 1 million acres of pastureland as well as state-of-the-art facilities host swine, beef, dairy and poultry production. Dairy products alone generated $1 billion in cash receipts in 2012, while hog earnings reached roughly $280 million.
After harvest, programs such as Ohio Proud promote locally grown commodities as well as value-added products – snack foods, beverages, spices and more – from the numerous food processing facilities across the state.
Thanks to Ohio Proud, it’s easy for consumers to know when they’re eating locally grown or processed food. Whether it’s fresh meats and produce, or snacks and dairy products processed in the state, Ohio Proud denotes them all.
Food and agriculture is the Buckeye State ‘s No. 1 industry and the Ohio Department of Agriculture thought it important to encourage consumers to buy and support local. With this in mind, Ohio Proud was founded in 1993 to highlight and promote local producers.
The program currently has 464 members in 77 counties that mark their products with the Ohio Proud label, as well as 30 affiliate members, which consist of distributors, retailers, restaurants and associations that promote Ohio Proud products.
Ohioans clamor for Ohio-grown products, but other countries demand them as well. The state ranks No. 13 nationally for agricultural exports, earning $4.12 billion in 2012. Ohio continues to develop national and international relationships through the Ohio Development Service Agency’s Global Agricultural Trade program.
The vast agricultural industry, otherwise known as Ohio’s backbone, keeps the state fed and fueled.
Ohio Proud On The Menu
For two decades, consumers have trusted the Ohio Proud logo when identifying locally grown and produced goods. Using the Ohio Proud logo requires a company to produce food or agricultural products that are at least 50 percent locally produced, grown or raised.
To celebrate the 20-year milestone, the Ohio Proud on the Menu logo will now appear on menus of participating restaurants and cafeterias to indicate dishes made with Ohio Proud products.
“On the Menu was created for restaurants to provide them an opportunity to highlight Ohio Proud products on their menu,” says Lori Panda, senior program manager of the Ohio Proud program. “Consumers, now more than ever, want local foods, and this program provides them a quick reliable way to identify Ohio Proud products on the menu.”
Learn more at OhioProud.org.
Off To Market
Does your weekly shopping trip give you a sense of community, include local products and provide the opportunity to rub elbows with the people who grew them? If you answered yes, you probably frequent an Ohio farmers market.
Ohio shoppers have quite a few farmers markets to choose from across the state. According to National Geographic, Ohio is one of 12 states that account for half of all farmers markets in the nation. These markets put money in the pockets of local farmers, and back into the community. Plus, the food tastes better and is fresher.
“Produce grown in California, or in other countries, is shipped an average of 1,500 miles before it reaches the consumer,” says Dan Madigan of the Toledo Farmers Market. “This can be weeks in transit, so it is often picked green and ripens en route. You are supporting your neighbors by keeping the spending money flowing through your own local economy, and helping local businesses grow.”
The Skinny On Soil
You might just think of it as dirt, but soil is extremely important for Ohio’s agriculture industry. You’ll find more than 400 types of soil throughout the state in 12 soil regions, each ideal for growing different types of crops.