OSU-Lima opens on-campus farm


LIMA — Regenerative farming is all the craze at the Ohio State University’s Lima campus. Dr. Tim Rehner, Todd Mason, Clint Schroeder and Dr. Robin Bagley joined the Lima Rotary Club on Monday afternoon to share the new thing at their school.

According to Rehner, the university sits on 565 acres of land and 200 of those acres are ‘tillable’ ground. The 200 acres that were previously rented for farmland were re-obtained by the university. In 2020, people began to ask Rehner what was next for the land. The university made a plan and asked farmer Todd Mason to jump on board.

Regenerative farming is a way of agriculture that creates healthier soil. It can include techniques such as no-till farming, cover cropping or mixed crop rotation.

“You start off with minimizing soil disturbance so more no-till farming,” said Schroeder. “Maximizing crop diversity. One of the biggest challenges we face in agriculture is we are still dealing with commodity crops. You need to market for the crop you are going to grow. In this case, we are sort of limited to corn, soy and wheat compared to other areas. If we can’t grow a crop for harvest we are essentially doing cover cropping with no intention of harvesting it but hoping it provides nutrients for the next crop.”

The land surrounding the campus is not only used for farming but students on campus. Assistant Professor Robin Bagley weighed in on the project.

“The farm is the actual farm plot and is also these other natural spaces,” said Bagley. “We have the forest which is an old-growth forest so it is a remnant forest from pre-colonization. We also have this prairie which we are trying to maintain in the proper ways although it is a work in progress. The trails that run behind our campus run through all of those areas so students can walk out. We are still working on it but what we do is we have our students out and obtaining a sample of insects, plants, soil and water.”

Bagley also said the land on campus allows students to participate in independent research.

“I think Tim really wanted to do something that was a service for the community to be able to do research in the interest of having OSU-Lima be a destination campus for learning about life where community members could come in and students could come in and want to do and learn about things in the area,” said Bagley.

The university plans to eventually use the farmland to create a profit and re-invest it back into the program.

“Our goal is really for it to be a live-in laboratory, leaving that for both the students to learn about agriculture and bio-diversity monitoring and all the stuff we can do with it,” said Bagley. “They can come and see how the farm is and the techniques that are used and have it be an open space for learning.”

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.

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