Annual Meetings, Seminars,
and Workshops

In order to promote the exchange of agricultural technology and knowledge, The Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative coordinates international workshops where researchers, farmers, businessmen, and government officials can meet face to face. This sharing of information fosters growth in many areas of agriculture including aquaculture, the kosher food marketing and certification process, agricultural biosecurity, trade, and technology workshops.

In order to collaborate and share information on agricultural biosecurity, the Initiative organized meetings between Israeli and Ohio agriculture experts in 2005.

On January 24-26, 2005, seminars were conducted at Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Agriculture entitled “Agricultural Biosecurity: Opportunities for Cooperative R&D Between Ohio and Hebrew University” and “Overview of Current and Emerging Israeli Agricultural Biosecurity Measures - Relevance to Ohio.” The presenters were Yitzhak Hadar, Dean, Hebrew University Faculty of Agricultural, Food & Environmental Quality Sciences, Jerusalem; and Mordehai Cohen, Agriculture and Science Attaché for the US, Canada, & Mexico, Embassy of Israel, Washington, DC. These seminars were relevant to both the Ohio and Israeli delegations due to the fact that some of Israel ‘s military and security technologies already have agricultural applications and The Ohio Department of Agriculture and Ohio State University had already been conducting research and work on agricultural biosecurity. back to top

Two aquaculture workshops took place in conjunction with the Ohio Aquaculture Association (OAA) in July of 2004 at The Ohio State University, Columbus campus and the OSU South Center in Piketon. At these workshops, Mr. Israel Haddas, an inventor, presented information about his recirculating Mega-Flow technology to Ohio farmers and aquaculture experts. The Mega-Flow system is designed to efficiently clean aquatic systems that contain farm fish while conserving water.

Initiative representatives have attended OAA annual meetings from 2005 to 2009. The Initiative also had a representative regularly attend the Israel Aquaculture Association’s annual meetings. During these meetings, the Initiative presented information on its aquaculture projects. At the 2007 Israel Aquaculture Association’s annual meeting, the representative gave a presentation on the aquaculture work of the Initiative and how Israel and Ohio’s aquaculture industries could collaborate on business opportunities.back to top

In November of 2006, the Initiative organized Kosher Food Certification and Marketing workshops in Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio. Three kosher food experts gave educational presentations to twenty-nine participants, including food company representatives and members of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Participating companies learned about certification requirements, expected costs, and kosher marketing strategies. Since then, one participating company has become kosher certified and two other companies are in the process. Several companies that could not attend the workshops later contacted the Initiative for kosher certification information and are considering certifying their products.

From 2004 - 2007, the Initiative participated in the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting and Tradeshow. During these events, the Initiative promoted its agriculture educational tours of Israel [professional delegations link]. Former mission participants spoke to attendees about the benefits of taking part in the tours.

In July of 2006, the Initiative presented a workshop on agriculture trade with Israel. Speakers from the Initiative spoke to business representatives and later took part in a Q&A. The seminar was part of the international trade class known as TARGET.

In 2006 and 2007, Pladot, an Israeli manufacturer of a Mini Dairy processing system, worked with the Initiative to present its signature product at workshops throughout Ohio. A Pladot representative introduced the processing system to Ohio farmers and businessmen. Ohio has over 3,780 dairy farms, making it the fifth largest dairy state in the country, and therefore, an ideal market for Pladot Mini Dairy. The Mini Dairy allows farmers to process milk products on site and has already been employed at several U.S. farms.

The Initiative established an internship program for Ohio college students and has sent seven students to Israeli fisheries to study aquaculture. Going forward, the Initiative would like to expand the internship program to include other areas of agriculture and attract more Ohio students.
In 2006, the Initiative’s first student internship program commenced with two college students traveling to Israel. The students, from Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, spent the summer studying aquaculture and working at a fishery in the Reshafim Kibbutz.

Another five students traveled to Israel to participate in the program during the 2007 and 2008 school years and worked in the Reshafim and Hazorea Kibbutz’s aquaculture facilities. The students received hands-on training in the functioning and management of an aquaculture facility. They also had the opportunity to work with various aquaculture systems and fish including grey mullet, tilapia, carp, perch, Koi and tropical fish. These programs have been very successful in attracting interest from students and providing them with beneficial learning experiences. Students receive college credit and gain valuable experience that they are able to use when they return to work in Ohio’s burgeoning aquaculture industry.

Of the seven Hocking College students who took part in the internship program, four are currently employed in aquaculture and one is looking for aquaculture work as of March 2009. Another student completed his Associate’s degree from Hocking College, and worked for an aquatic technology management company in Ohio. The student is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in aquaculture. Several of the students are interested in owning and managing their own aquaculture facilities. back to top

Agritourism is an industry used by farmers to bring consumers to their farms in order to supplement their income. Agritourism activities that visitors may participate in include picking fruits, feeding animals and staying at Bed and Breakfast facilities. In the U.S., agritourism businesses are categorized by direct sales of the product or service to the final consumer. Examples include: stores on or near a farm that sell the farm’s products; farmers markets in which the farmers themselves sell their produce; U-pick activity where consumers can pick their own fruits and vegetables; and festivals where visitors can buy or eat products made by the farm.

One of the main objectives of the Ohio-Israel Agricultural Initiative is to strengthen the ties between Israeli and Ohio farmers. Rural development professionals from Ohio and Israel are interested in collaborating on mutual challenges and programs to benefit each other by sharing their respective experiences.  Bracha Gal of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture’s Extension Service and Dr. Yoav Gal of Tel Hai College, Israel were the two delegates who came from Israel to tour Ohio, learn about Ohio’s agritourism industry and how OSU extension is involved with this industry as well as to share their experience and knowledge of dealing with agritourism in Israel.

Gal wrote about her Agritourism tour of Ohio in the “Tayaron” Agritourism E-Newsletter. In her article, Gal describes her experiences on two Ohio farms. The first agritourism experience she discusses is a festival, attended by about 7,000 visitors, on the fish and seafood farm of Dave Smith. Smith’s farm hosts the festival where produce is cooked and sold to visitors. In addition, competing shrimp growers are invited to sell with Smith, share in the sales, and participate in the opportunity for the aquaculture sector to gain exposure and improve its image. Smith’s farm also participates in other forms of agritourism by having a store on the farm that sells its produce and a kitchen to cook food to be sold as well.

Next, Gal describes her visit to Rob Leeds’ farm where pumpkins and other crops are grown. During the months of September and October 30,000 people arrive at the farm in order to pick and purchase pumpkins. Other forms of agritourism that Leeds’ farm offers include: zip-line rides, slides, inflatable structures, catering services, and tractor tours, among others. During this visit, Gal asked Leeds what advice he would give to farmers who wish to open their own agritourism business. What she learned from Leeds was that passion, practicality, logic, steady growth, and the right paper-work are all necessary in order for a farm to have a successful agritourism business. At the end of her article, Gal thanked The Negev Foundation for helping to organize the visit. back to top
click image to enlarge
  • Aquaculture
    Delegates from an Aquaculture mission from Ohio to Israel visit an aquaculture facility to observe technology for raising ornamental Koi fish
  • Aquaculture
    Delegates from an Aquaculture mission from Ohio to Israel visit an aquaculture facility to observe technology for raising ornamental Koi fish
  • Student Internships
    Hocking College student Bart Maurer of New Bremen, OH, during his student internship in aquaculture at Kibbutz Reshafim in the Beit Shean Valley.
  • Student Internships
    Hocking College student Bart Maurer of New Bremen, OH, during his student internship in aquaculture at Kibbutz Reshafim in the Beit Shean Valley.
  • Student Internships
    Hocking College student Chip Wendt of Monroeville, OH, during his student internship in aquaculture at Kibbutz Reshafim in the Beit Shean Valley.
  • Cattle Genetics
    2004 Ohio to Israel Calf Feeder Mission
  • Greenhouse Feasibility
  • Drip Irrigation
    Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension Specialist and Educator on horticulture uses a demo unit created by Israeli company, Netafim, to demonstrate drip irrigation at OSU in Piketown, OH.
  • Drip Irrigation
    Demo unit built by Brad Bergefurd, OSU Extension Specialist and Educator on horticulture and his team with input from Israeli company, Netafim, displayed at Israel Agriculture Pavilion at Farm Science Review.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.
  • Agritourism
    Bracha Gal, Director of the Farm Management and Economic Department Extension Services of the Israel Ministry of Agriculture, and her husband Yoav Gal Assistant Professor for the Department of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai Academic College, on an Agritourism delegation for Israel to Ohio.