Consolidated Research Farms Operating Policy

Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Operating Policy for Consolidated Crops Research Farms

[Badger, Campus Plots, Fry, King, Hort Unit I & II, Schaffter, Snyder Farms]

Prepared by

OARDC Consolidated Farms Advisory Committee
Faculty: Anne Dorrance, Ron Hammond, Casey Hoy, Harold Keener, Matt Kleinhenz, Chang Lee, Steve Loerch, Brian McSpadden Gardener, Sandy Velleman, Clay Dygert
Research Operations: Bill Bardall, Ken Scaife
Associated Partners:  Margaret Redinbaugh (USDA‐ARS)
David Benfield
Associate Director, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center
Steven A. Slack
Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Director, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center

Approved for 2012 Field Season, February 24, 2012


Background                                                                                       3
OARDC Consolidated Farms Advisory Committee                             3
OARDC Farm Research Operations                                                   4
OARDC Consolidated Farm Policies                                                   5
I.           Purpose                                                                                 5
II.          Rationale                                                                                5
III.         Current Infrastructure                                                              5
IV.         Responsibilities and Roles                                                      5
V.          For the Investigator:                                                                7
How to Initiate and Maintain Field Research Studies
VI.       Responsibilities of Research Operations and Investigators       8
VII.      Equipment Policy                                                                    13
VIII.     Disposition of Harvested Crops                                               14
IX.       Farm Facility Use and Assignment                                          14
X.        Establishment and Function of Advisory Committee                 15
Appendices                                                                                        16
Appendix 1: OARDC Mission Statement
Appendix 2: OFFER Mission Statement
Appendix 3:  Equipment List



The OARDC Farms are located on and near the main campus in Wooster Ohio. They consist of the Badger, Campus Plots, Fry, King, Hort Unit I & II, Schaffter, and Snyder Research Farms. Prior to January 2012, these farms were operated by the Departments of Horticulture and Crop Science, Entomology, and Plant Pathology. Personnel and associated operating expenses were borne by the individual investigators, programs, and/or Departments. On July 1, 2011, farm operations personnel were transferred from the Departments to the OARDC Farm Operations. In addition to the management of personnel, beginning January 2012,  operating and management expenses become the responsibility of OARDC Research Operations. To enable the continuation of services that are efficient, effective and of the highest scientific integrity for the great diversity of the field‐based research at these locations, there arose a need to develop an OARDC Consolidated Research Farms policy document.

The first step in this process was the establishment of the OARDC Farm Consolidation Advisory Committee to develop policies for the operations of the consolidated farms for 2012 . This document outlines those policies. They were developed with the goal of making experimental research, easier and less costly, more efficient, than the former departmentally‐based system. It is expected that these policies will evolve as OARDC Research Farm Operations operates within the constraints of a large number of unknowns, primarily funding for personnel costs (including seasonal labor), farming inputs, maintenance and replacement of equipment, as well as infrastructure. We are optimistic that we can continue with our world class research at these respective farms in a manner that is fair, transparent, and which provides the best data from research on the land that is most suitable for the experimental question at hand. Because there are so many unknowns, this is a “living” document, we expect it to change.

OARDC Farm Consolidation Advisory Committee (CAC)

Many experiments are carried out in the field laboratories of the OARDC research farms across the state of Ohio. Specifically, on the farms near the main campus in Wooster, research is conducted to evaluate new pest, pathogen, and weed management strategies, production methods, as well as the development of new germplasm or crop varieties for fruit, grain, vegetable, and industrial crops. More importantly, the impact of these practices on all components of agroecosystem, the environment, the communities and the economy are also evaluated. Even with continued budget reductions in the past decade and for the foreseeable future, the OARDC must still find the means to continue with world class research but with reduced number of staff. At the same time, the expectations on OARDC to be both an economic driver of Ohio’s economy and a provider of  solutions to global challenges in food security, energy, and adaptation to climate change and other areas remain exceptionally high.

The purpose and mission of the CAC is to advise the Director of the OARDC on matters pertaining to Wooster campus field research on fruit, vegetable and agronomic, medicinal and industrial crops and naturally‐occurring species (plant, non‐plant). Its mission is to enable OARDC field research to be the highest quality, cost effective, and scientifically sound.  CAC’s goal is to fulfill OARDC’s role in meeting state and global challenges with respect to agriculture while operating within OARDC’s economic and ecological limits.

Implicit in these efforts is that for the OARDC consolidated farms operations that:

  1. Research has priority
  2. Graduate student/post‐doc research projects have priority
  3. Funded research is both a priority and an expectation
  4. Research that will address pertinent questions to generate data for grants or “just needs to be done” for Ohio producers is also critical to the OARDC mission
  5. Revenue through sale of rotational crops and a cost recovery structure will now be required for the sustainability of the research farms.

Vision Statement  
The OARDC farms will be managed in a way that is most appropriate for the research being conducted and in the most cost effective and efficient manner that provides high quality data, information and knowledge to our clientele. We will be a state and national model for soil health, ecosystem services, biodiversity, neighboring community benefits from the land, and income to support the research enterprise. As such we realize that the OARDC will generate income from farming operations and will utilize all available land to provide for effective and sustainable crop rotations.

CAC Functions

  1. To recommend to the Director of the OARDC policies and guidelines for OARDC researchers and Research Farm Operations to initiate and implement research and research‐demonstration projects on the OARDC Farms 
  2. To recommend to the Director of the OARDC means to assess revenue generation that sustains the research efforts in a fair and workable manner
  3. To provide special guidance for projects that have input costs that exceed resources available or the income that would be generated; are planned to have lifetimes greater than five years, or that may have a negative impact on the farm land or its surroundings.

OARDC Consolidated Farm Research Operations
In July 2011, an agreement was reached between the OARDC Directors and departments/program leaders to consolidate farm operations staff from the Departments of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Horticulture and Crop Science under OARDC Consolidated Farm Research Operations. As of October 2011, the field services staff consists of seven full time employees (four farm managers and three agricultural technicians) in addition to seasonal staff. These personnel manage eight farms on a diverse range of crops including fruits, vegetables, nursery crops, grains and forages. Areas of research include crop management practices, pest management and control, germplasm development, soil fertility and water management in conventional and organic crop production systems. Implicit in these activities are management support to comply with regulatory requirements to meet certification requirements for both and state and federal agencies, maintain accurate and detailed records, maintain equipment and facilities, develop prudent and sustainable crop rotations, meet plant nutrient needs and coordinate field and machinery operations. The farm managers must strive to be consistent with the CFAES Ecological Paradigm, while recognizing that some research projects may require treatments that incorporate less environmentally, economically or socially sustainable practices for comparison purposes.

Mission of Research Operations 
The mission of the OARDC’s Research Operations Department is to provide service in support of OARDC researchers with the full range of farm operations, including grain storage and feed mill operations, and grounds maintenance.

Vision of Research Operations
To be recognized across the many units of the OARDC and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for providing first class service that is accomplished in a timely, cost effective, and professional manner consistent with the mission of the college, OARDC, and policies of the University as a whole.

OARDC Consolidated Farms Policies

I.           Purpose 
The OARDC Consolidated Farms Advisory Committee develops policies outlining services and responsibilities of OARDC Research Farm Operations and those of investigators who 
conduct research at the farms.

II.          Rationale  
In order for research conducted at OARDC’s farms to be successful, it must be realized that this is a partnership between OARDC Research Operations and the investigator. It is imperative that there is some division of duties and responsibilities but most of all effective communication between the parties must be maintained throughout the course of the field studies.

The following policies describe the centrally provided services that are managed by OARDC Research Operations and those that are the responsibility of the investigators.

III.        Current infrastructure (2012)
The OARDC Research Operations Consolidated Farms provide management, land, labor, facilities, and infrastructure to support field based crops research programs located close to Wooster, Ohio.

IV.        Responsibilities and roles
A.   Basic Services. Are those services provided by the OARDC Research Farm Operations that are non‐project specific. Basic services provided by the research farms may include field operations to establish (tillage, plant), maintain, harvest research plots independent of experimental protocols. Many basic services are provided free of charge to investigators provided that there is a sufficient budget to cover operating expenses and/or sufficient income from the crops produced.

Note: Services provided by the OARDC Research Farm Operations at Wooster may differ from those provided at OARDC Outlying Research Stations due to proximity to other OARDC campus departments, infrastructure, available labor, facilities, and expertise.

Farm management staff will:

1.  Select for each study the best land to achieve the experimental parameters of the study will be chosen based on parameters of experiments, appropriate crop rotations, field history, soil characteristics, etc. Assign projects to fields in a way that maximizes the efficiency of farm operations while maintaining the overall land management goals outlined in the vision.

2. Perform field operations such as tillage, application of lime, fertilizers, compost or other soil amendments, standard weed, insect and disease control, irrigation and harvest in accordance with experimental protocols and objectives.

3. Plant crops in non‐utilized portions of fields that will be used to generate income, provided they fit the target area and do not interfere with ongoing research projects or degrade natural resources (e.g., avoid planting in buffer zones or riparian corridors) disrupt preferred crop rotations, or compromise the system e.g., organic, conventional, orchard plots)in which these fields reside.

4. Operate and maintain equipment, maintain grounds and manage infrastructure associated with the consolidated farms to support the research and outreach mission of OARDC.

5. Maintain and make available historical and current records of all farm operations for a given land area such as personnel, equipment, land, crop, cropping inputs and outputs. Particular attention will be given to regulatory projects and organic farmland so that research given these designations may continue.

6. Explore and adopt, when practical, new technologies for farm management, data collection and build reliable databases for future decision making.

B. Project related expenses are specific to meeting the experimental research objectives and are the financial responsibility of the investigator. Project related expenses include, but are not limited to project specific supplies, treatment materials, specialty chemical and equipment that are not readily available and labor for detailed data and sample collection.

C. “Investigator” refers to an OARDC faculty member, research scientist, OSU Extension faculty member, or USDA‐ARS scientist who provides leadership to a research or demonstration project. This term also refers to graduate students and technicians who are associated with investigator led projects.

D. “Cooperator” refers to any other person, company representative, etc. cooperating with an investigator on research project(s) who is not an employee of the OARDC (The Ohio State University).

E. “Grant funds” are monies provided by private‐ and public sector sponsors to an investigator or client to support the costs associated with conducting research under a contract.

F. “Protocol” is a document that describes the materials and methods to be followed in conducting field research. A protocol describes methods for application of treatments, collection of data, samples or other specific experimental‐demonstration practices and may also specify the steps required to establish and maintain the experimental conditions.

V.  For the Investigator: How to Initiate and Maintain Field Research Studies
There are several key parameters/limitations of the current OARDC Research Farm Operations that will impact how research is implemented at the farms. With the reduced staff, OARDC needs to anticipate field space requirements as soon as possible. Since some field work can be done months prior to planting, anticipating rotational schemes as well as the type of production systems to be used (no‐till, organic, conventional, etc.) will enable better use of personnel and minimize large spikes in labor needs or equipment scheduling conflicts.

As such it will now be necessary that:
A. ALL INVESTIGATORS complete a Project Request/Registration Form to provide basic requirements of the projected field studies to Research Operations through the OARDC web site. https://www.oardc.ohio‐ (note: modifications are in progress for adding Wooster location to website)

Generalized parameters for field requests include: land prep protocol, approximate size (acres), cropping practices to assist farm managers in planning, assigning space, procurement of general supplies, etc.

The goal is that prior to the growing season that 95% of the field research plans are made known to farm management staff, so they can more readily accommodate the last minute details, new grant monies, and other surprises that are normal occurrences during the growing season.

The project request form is not intended to function as a means to determine approval or denial of a request. Rather, the form functions to describe “what needs to happen” and then the process becomes “how we get it done”

B. The OARDC Farm Consolidation Advisory Committee will review and make a recommendation requests for long‐term field assignments of five years or longer in duration, those likely to have a lasting impact on the land or other natural resources, as well as those whose expected costs far exceed the project funding and/or expected capacity of the unit.

C. On an annual basis, investigators shall submit project requests to OARDC Research Operations on or before the following dates for field plot space and assistance. For multi‐ year projects, there will be provisions to facilitate this as well as modifications. Research Operations understands that these investigator requests are best guess estimates of the potential research to be done. The more information that is provided, and the sooner, the better are the chances of successful implementation. The target dates are those needed by OARDC Research Operations to plan for the research and line up labor, equipment, and supplies. This information can be updated and refined throughout the 3 to 4 month planning season prior to planting, with decreasing likelihood of being able to incorporate the changes.  

Planting Date                                                            Target Date

Spring‐for continuing projects                February 15 (Implement 2013)

Spring – new projects                                              March 15
Late summer/fall                                                      June 30

D.  OARDC Research Operations will centrally maintain records for all land assignments for all purposes and all land management actions performed.

E. Investigators will maintain records of all experimental treatments used on all land assigned to them.

VI. Responsibilities of OARDC Research Farm Operations and Investigators

1.   Communication
Research Operations: Once a field request is submitted and email will be sent to the PI confirming receipt of request, and contact information on who the person will be to work with to implement the study.

2.  Tillage
Research Operations: Research Operations will provide general tillage operations to provide an acceptable seed bed to establish crop test plots.

Investigator: Treatment specific tillage equipment that is not in Research Operations inventory must be provided by investigator, or investigator must cover expense of renting treatment specific equipment. Investigator will be charged mileage (OARDC mileage rate schedule) for transporting borrowed or rented equipment.

3. Staking and Plot Layout
Research Operations: Research Operations will maintain field boundaries and assist in measuring the location of research plots within fields to establish boundaries for space assignments. Research Operations will provide field markers as needed to mark corner boundaries and document these boundaries in the OARDC farm database.
Investigator: Investigators are responsible for providing flags, wooden garden stakes or other identification markers for individual treatments. They shall reimburse or replace inventory of markers used from Research Operations inventory when used. Investigators should use fiberglass flags rather than wire since there have been problems with broken wire flags puncturing tires.  

4.  Fertilizer and Crop Protection Chemicals
Research Operations: Research Operations will maintain appropriate soil fertility conditions for specific crops (ie: N, P, K, pH).  They will provide applications of fertilizer and crop protection chemicals (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.), and/or organic matter inputs such as compost or legume cover crops across the entire area of an experiment depending on the research needs (organic vs. conventional production systems) and maintaining optimal soil health.  In keeping with the principles of integrated crop management, the purchased inputs will be minimized and used in the most economically efficient and environmentally beneficial way. Unless otherwise specified by the investigator’s protocol, Research Operations staff will apply materials products according to labeled rates, OSU Extension recommendations, and their experience with a particular area of the farm.

Investigator: Materials which are treatment specific are the investigator’s responsibility to provide. Investigator is responsible for providing specialized application equipment if not available from Research Operations equipment inventory, or cover costs for modifying existing equipment to meet experimental objectives or renting equipment.

5. Seed and Greenhouse Transplants
Research Operations: Research Operations will provide seed for rotational crops and cover crops, using varieties of their choice Research Operations may coordinate procurement of agronomic that are commercially available.

Investigator: Investigators are responsible for providing specific seed varieties, transplants, nursery stock and other plant material for research experiments.

6. Planting
Research Operations:  Research Operations will assist in the planting of experimental plots where specialized equipment that is under their management is utilized. For some studies, this will include incorporation of drive rows within the plot area. Research operations will inform investigators on potential dates for planting dependent on weather and field preparation.

Investigators: Investigators are responsible for providing necessary staff, plot map, seed/transplants and supplies to assist with the planting. Investigators should be in communication with research operations prior to planting for target dates for optimal planting of experiment.

7. Weed Control
Research Operations: Research Operations will provide uniform weed control across an experiment that follows requirements of a particular crop and production system. Hand weeding and mechanical cultivation may be provided for specialty crops where it is customary practice and/or where chemical controls are not available, registered, or effective. Research Operations shall make every effort to maintain weed-free test plots across all production systems provided sufficient budget is available to hire seasonal labor. Research Operations may assist in trimming ends of test plots to a common length through mechanical cultivation, herbicide application, mowing or by planting cross rows depending on the experiment.

Investigator: Investigators are responsible for the application of experimental treatments. Investigators shall provide all experimental materials, supplies and equipment to apply experimental treatments unless previously arranged with Research Operations.  Investigators may enter into agreements with Research Operations to apply experimental treatments provided the investigator contributes toward seasonal labor costs or to fund “release time” for full time employees. The wage rate for estimating purposes is $30.00 per hour. If wet soil conditions require applications to be made by hand, investigators or assistants are expected to be present to assist with treatment applications. Where experiments involve “hand weeding”, or extensive mechanical weeding or allowing weeds to grow as part of the experiment, the investigators will need to provide assistance to ensure that weed removal is completed at the end of the experiment.  Investigators shall provide plastic mulch for horticultural projects and assist with the installation and removal of plastic (Research Operations will coordinate procurement and scheduling for plastic mulch operations since several investigators utilize this equipment.)

8. Fungicides and Insecticides
Research Operations: The Farm Research Operations staff will provide and apply fungicides and insecticides to control pathogens and pests uniformly across experiments according to labeled rates, established economic thresholds, forecasting models and experimental protocols. Research station staff will scout crops for insects or diseases, but not on individual treatments for experiments.

Investigator: Investigators are responsible for the application of experimental treatments. Investigators shall provide all experimental materials, supplies and equipment to apply experimental treatments unless previously arranged with Research Operations management. Investigators may enter into agreements with Research Operations to apply experimental treatments provided the investigator contributes an equitable amount of funds towards the seasonal labor costs or to fund “release time” for full time employees. If wet soil conditions require applications to be made by hand, investigators or assistants are expected to be present to assist with treatment applications. The wage rate for estimating purposes is $30.00 per hour for full time staff or $13.00 per hour for temporary/seasonal staff. The fees for cost projections will be developed each year.

9. Data Collection
Research Operations: In general, data collection is the responsibility of the investigator. However, there are situations when Research Operations can assist with data collection by Ag Techs or temporary/seasonal staff. The investigator will contribute an equitable amount of funds toward the seasonal labor costs or to fund “release time” for full time employees. The wage rate for estimating purposes is $30.00 per hour for full time staff or $13.00 per hour for temporary/seasonal staff.

Investigator: Investigators are responsible for collection of data and samples of data and/or samples for their projects. When arrangements have been made with research operations for sampling, investigator will provide sample collection materials.

10. Irrigation
Research Operations:  Research Operations may set up irrigation equipment and apply irrigation water upon request provided irrigation equipment and water supply are available. Working with researchers and OARDC administration, research operations will continue to expand and maintain irrigation delivery capacity.

Investigators:  Investigators shall provide materials and equipment to apply irrigation water for trickle or mist irrigation systems for their projects, or to experimental units within projects. When irrigation equipment and water is not sufficient for all OARDC land, the distribution will be based on the priorities on page 1. Investigators should provide staff to assist in removal and storage of trickle irrigation systems at the end of the harvest season.

Investments in irrigation equipment will be through a partnership between the OARDC Research Farm Operations, the investigator and/or others that may benefit. Previous investments in wells and pipe were made by investigators and departments.

11. Harvest
Research Operations:
Agronomic Crops:  Research Operations will provide labor and equipment to assist with harvesting crops from test plots, record yield (gross weight), moisture, and collect samples during the operation of agronomic crops harvest.

Horticultural Crops:  Research Operations will assist with harvesting of horticultural crops. Typically, several temporary employees are hired in the late summer/fall to assist with harvest of fruits and vegetables.

Investigators:  Investigators and staff are responsible for collecting detailed harvest data, preparing detailed samples, making selections of breeding material and collecting seed or seed lots during harvest. Investigators shall advise managers of harvest schedule for coordination purposes.  For horticultural crops, investigators should budget for specialized harvest containers which are not in Research Operations inventory.

12. Additional Assistance for Labor in Off-Season
Research operations:  There are winter seasonal tasks that were performed previously by the individual department staff.  These may include seed cleaning, repair and maintenance of specific project equipment, filling soil bins at greenhouses, etc. Research Operations will perform tasks in agreement with the investigators. Research Operations will develop a fee schedule, approved by CAC on an annual basis.

Investigators:  Investigators and staff may request services by contacting farm managers directly or by submitting an online job request form on the Research Operations website, describing tasks to be performed, estimated number of hours and anticipated completion date.  The investigator may contribute an equitable amount of funds toward the seasonal labor costs or to fund “release time” for full time employees. At this time, the wage rate for estimating purposes is $30.00 per hour.

13.  Woody Horticultural Crops (tree fruits, grapes, brambles)
Due to the long term nature of fruit crop experiments, requests for establishing new projects should be made at least nine months in advance of expected planting date to allow sufficient time for site preparation.  OARDC invests significant resources to establish and maintain fruit crops to maturity. As a result, decisions on the removal of established plantings require careful consideration.  These may include costs and returns of continued operations, whether the planting is needed by other investigators for grant funded research, whether land is needed to establish new fruit projects, etc.  Research Operations will consult with OARDC Associate Directors on these decisions.

Research Operations: will assist in the establishment and maintenance of research orchards, vineyards, brambles, etc. The costs of specialized operations which require significant labor to implement must be supported financially by the investigator. Investigators may enter into agreements with Research Operations to perform further operations provided funds are provided for seasonal labor expenses. For grant budget purposes, seasonal labor should be calculated at $13.50 per hour (wages and benefits).

Investigators are responsible for establishment costs including nursery stock, trellis, additional drainage, irrigation, etc. Investigators are responsible for costs to implement pruning, training, data and sample collection and specialized crop management practices.

14.  Organic Farming Research
Due to the regulatory constraints imposed by the National Organic Program (NOP) rules and approved certifiers (such as OEFFA), additional efforts are required to maintain research on certified organic land.

Research Operations: will maintain a certain amount of transitional and certified organic land. To do so, they will be responsible for the annual certification of fields designated for organic farming research. They will collect and maintain the necessary records required for the certification of organic land and have a representative present, along with the OFFER director, during inspections. Farm managers will ensure that all farm operations on certified and transitioning land are conducted in accordance with the NOP rules. This includes the proper  management and cleaning of equipment, and maintaining daily logs of operations conducted on organic land.

Investigators: will be responsible for ensuring that all inputs purchased and used on organic research land are approved by the local certifier before application. Investigators will also be responsible for keeping and uploading records related to input purchases as required by the local certifier and NOP rules.

VII. Equipment Policy
Prior to the consolidation, numerous pieces of equipment were purchased wholly or in part by researchers, departments, or jointly across several programs for specific purposes.  Equipment costs for plot research have risen dramatically in the past 15 years, and as such, require a higher level of expertise to operate and maintain some of the new equipment.

A. Equipment that was purchased with OARDC funds (SEEDS grant, equipment grant), Ohio Biotechnology Innovation Center Funds, or other public funding to support multiple projects or programs will be managed, operated, maintained, and repaired by of the OARDC Research Operations.

B. Equipment that was purchased primarily with program funds (>50%) and whose primary use is dedicated to one specific program will remain under the auspices of the primary investigator for their primary use, maintenance and repair. However, if the equipment is idle and there are research plots to harvest, then the OARDC consolidated farms may request the use the equipment with an approved, trained operator to facilitate timely harvest of studies.

C.  Equipment that was purchased solely by the investigator and is used solely in support of a specific program will stay under the auspices (control) of the investigator. The investigator is financially responsible for all repair and maintenance costs.

D. Researchers that contributed to the cost of the equipment may have equipment fees waived up to the amount they contributed or for 5 years whichever comes first.

(Add to Appendix, the key equipment items and which researchers/programs contributed and by amount) 

E. All other farm machinery used by Research Operations for general use in maintaining the research farms will become Research Operations responsibility to maintain and replace.

F. A fee will be assessed to investigators for use of equipment (such as plot planters, combines, sprayers, harvesters, sprayers used to support multiple investigators). The proceeds will be placed into a fund to be used for maintenance, repair and eventual replacement. The Research Operations Department in collaboration with CAC will develop an agreed upon fee schedule. 

G. All researchers can continue to contribute to the equipment replacement/upkeep fund or provide supporting dollars to match the purchase of new equipment. This plan will then provide another avenue for funding for the OARDC Wooster research equipment.

H. OARDC and USDA will cooperate on the use and maintenance of equipment purchased for the use and benefit of both organizations.

VIII.   Disposition of Harvested Crops
Research Operations will be responsible for sale and marketing of crops. Income from sale of crops will be deposited into earnings accounts of the OARDC to cover operating expenses. Crops not fit for human consumption due to the application of experimental materials shall be incorporated into the soil or destroyed. Crops that could legally be consumed but are determined to be unmarketable due to substandard quality shall be donated if feasible and composted, incorporated into the soil, or destroyed if donation is not feasible.

Donations of research crops to charitable organizations such as food banks, homeless shelters, or other emergency food supplies will be coordinated by the OARDC farm manager and the investigator, if any, responsible for their production

IX.      Farm Facility Use and Assignment Policy
A.  Assignment of plot space to investigators
Research Operations: For all studies, the best land to achieve the experimental parameters of the study will be chosen based on the design of experiments, appropriate crop rotations, field history, soil characteristics, etc. Management staff will strive to enhance efficiency of operations by assigning projects to fields such that similar types of projects and/or crops are in proximity to one another.

Investigators: It is imperative that investigators provide as much detail as possible on the type of experiment, length of time the experiment will be conducted, potential resources, labor issues, plans for planting, data collection and harvest, crop destruct, or if could be sold to allow for the best decision possible in placement of the study.

B.  End of Experiment.
Investigators: It is the investigator’s responsibility to inform Research Operations of the anticipated completion date of the project as much in advance of that date as possible. Investigators are responsible for removal of data and sample collection devices and restoration of the site if substantially altered from its original state.

Research Operations:  Will return the land involved in completed projects to conventional or organic rotation or assign it to another project. For perennial crops, the CAC will assess the long 
term viability of maintaining the crop based on potential for future research by OARDC, OSUE or USDA-ARS investigators, and if the plot could be maintained in a cost-neutral plan.

C.  Revocation/expiration of assigned space:
Research Operations:  Research Operations will inform the OARDC Associate Directors of concerns related to overall field utilization. Field plots that have not been maintained as outlined in the Project Request/Registration Form, show clear signs of neglect, and mismanagement, or those activities that will have a long-term negative impact on the land will be reviewed first by the OARDC Assistant to the Director for Research Operations (Ken Scaife) and if deemed necessary brought to the attention of the OARDC Associate Directors.

Investigators: Unexpected issues arise: loss of staff, loss of funding and personal life issues, not to mention weather events can impact the success of field studies. It is imperative that investigator work issues out with farm manager/OARDC farm operations to avoid any long-term negative consequences on the OARDC farms and neighboring experiments.

D.  Assignment of Building Space
Certain spaces in farm buildings were previously assigned to PIs to support certain programs. Under the consolidation agreement it was the intent that programs be able to continue to occupy space related with farm research activities. Research Operations will manage areas used for short-term and long term storage and collaborate with investigators on the most efficient use of these areas. If programs which occupy assigned space discontinue, then space will revert to Research Operations.  Investigators should make requests for long term use of building space to Research Operations. Research Operations will consult with the advisory committee on these requests, which is also consistent with long term requests for plot space.

X.       Establishment and Function of OARDC Farm Advisory Committee
Within this document, the current policies and procedures for the OARDC Consolidated Farm Research Operations are outlined.  As such, these policies will be reviewed and adjustments will be needed as the challenges that the OARDC will be constantly changing as the face of agriculture is dynamic. New opportunities, limitations and responses to these will change.

The Committee will meet 3 times per year February, June, and October, to review and make necessary changes on the following:  

a.   Operations on the farms
b.   Overall farm and research placement
c.   Evaluate  financial viability of farms
d.   Adjust necessary charges for services from farms
e.   Develop and prioritize equipment purchase lists
f.   Make general recommendations for improvement of farms
g.   Evaluate and recommend farm needs for facilities (storage)
h.   Review, approve, and update these policies as needed.


Appendix 1. OARDC Mission Statement

“The OARDC shall be the premier institution committed to: safe healthy and affordable food and agricultural products; sustainable food and agricultural systems; strong rural and urban communities; stewardship of natural resources and the environment; keeping Ohio positioned favorably in a global economy.”

Appendix 2. OFFER Mission Statement

To provide outstanding research and educational support for sustainable production, processing, and marketing of organic foods from the field to the table for farmers, gardeners, processors, retailers, and consumers.  

Appendix 3. Equipment List

Equipment that was purchased after January 2007 where PI’s or programs have made substantial financial contributions




Total Amt.

Amt. Req. from OARDC

Cost-Sharing Contribution

Cost-Sharing Participants & Cooperators



Plot Combine




A. Dorrance (Plant Path)





P. Paul (Plant Path)








M. Boehm (Plant Path)





R. Hammond (Entomology)





B. Eisley (Entomology)





A. Michel (Entomology)





R. Mullen (SENR)





R. Mullen (SENR)





W. Dick (SENR)





Dept Plant Path (M. Boehm)





OBIC (S. Meyers)





Dept Entomology (D. Herms)





SENR (J. Bigham)












Upgrade for

Plot  Combine/Har vester

$    56,320


$        9,500

P. Paul (Plant Path)




$        5,000


A. Dorrance (Plant Path)






$        1,000



M. Boehm (Plant Path)




$        5,000

R. Hammond (Entomology)




$        7,500

R. Mullen (SENR)





$        5,000

Dept. Plant Pathology (Boehm)


$    56,320

$ 23,320

$       33,000