Research and Development
John E. Hirzel, a true visionary, realized early on that a “totally organic approach to feeding the world” was improbable and began looking into sustainable practices. Sustainable agriculture refers to farming techniques that are economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable.
In the Spring of 1991, John set out to convert some of the more marginal organic farmland to sustainable agricultural practices, citing that the ground was not able to produce as organic. From years of on farm trials, John became a firm believer in both organic and sustainable agriculture. John also served on the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education board in the late 1990’s.
Today, we continue to work closely with Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Ohio State Extension, USDA Agricultural Research Service and various other public and private research entities, both domestic and international. We focus and invest heavily on research, at any one point in time, we have no less than 300 acres of production scale trials being conducted throughout Wood and Sandusky counties.
We continue to invest heavily into our community’s agricultural base. In 1997, Hirzel Canning and Farms acquired a research facility in NW Ohio. It is now known as the Agricultural Incubator Foundation. AIF is a non-profit research foundation that is open to the public. This facility extends it expertise in helping anyone that wishes to learn or expand on their production, processing, or preservation of food.
At this location, Hirzel Farms manages over 100 acres of plot trails. One plot in particular holds a special place in our hearts and ideals, The John E. Hirzel Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Site. This plot embodies many of the things he felt strongly about. The continued operation of this site could not be done without the dedication of our (Wood) County Extension Educator, Alan Sundermeier. The entire Hirzel family, and countless organic and sustainable practice growers, very much appreciate all that Alan has done through the years to keep this site viable and practical.
Along with the crop production, in close cooperation of the Center for Innovative Food Technology, we have delivered the knowledge of growing and preserving what you eat to people and educational entities within NW Ohio. AIF is fortunate to be managed daily by CIFT employee Paula Ray. Paula, Rebecca Singer, and Isabelle Montez work with start-up food processing companies to ensure that what they take from “hobby” to the public marketplace meets all food safety requirements.
If you would like to learn more about our research and development, please feel free to contact Lou Kozma, Jr. at [email protected].