Crops going beyond the dinner table
By GARY HUFFENBERGER
Farm products end up not only on dining room tables, but also go toward health-care goods, energy uses and other useful things, the Ohio department of agriculture director said recently in Clinton County.
And Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David T. Daniels anticipates the types of uses for the state’s agricultural products will only increase in the future, with research into plants yielding results having economic or human impact.
Daniels on March 14 continued to observe Ohio Agriculture Week on two stops near Wilmington — Stokes Berry Farm on Center Road and JD Equipment on U.S. 68 north of town.
“My goodness, we’re making rubber from dandelions now. Maybe you’ll be driving on tires one of these days produced from dandelions,” Daniels said inside a greenhouse on the 230-acre Stokes Berry Farm.
Agriculture and food already is Ohio’s number one industry, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture which sets the economic impact at $105 billion.
“We just want people to know how important and how large agriculture is to the state,” said Daniels.
Daniels was asked about the thought that research in the life sciences, which includes botany and animal science among other specialties, might have as big an effect as research in the electronics field has.
“Yeah, I believe that,” he said, mentioning the research that the Stokes operation takes part in regarding the use of black raspberries to help prevent cancers. Daniels formerly represented Clinton County in the Statehouse and was already familiar with the Stokes operation prior to Thursday’s visit.
“But also know there’s research going on at Ohio State all the time on a number of different things,” added Daniels.
Earlier, the state director of agriculture said, “Every day there’s research that unlocks some new use for the products that are being produced right here in Ohio.”
Daniels said that ranges from the dried fruit industry to energy research.
“All those kind of things are things that our agribusinesses and our producers are producing right here in Ohio,” said Daniels.
Ohio already has operations involving 200 different crops, he said.
Recently, he saw an operation where the farmer’s entire business on his 173 acres is herbs and vegetables.
That producer markets the herbs and vegetables directly to chefs around the world, according to Daniels, shipping to all 50 states and 31 countries.
Further, “He is refining the refrigeration process for overnight delivery of vegetables picked on his farm,” said Daniels.
The agriculture director made 16 on-site visits in conjunction with Ohio Agriculture Week.
(Gary Huffenberger is a staff writer for The Wilmington News Journal.)