CIFT provides technical solutions to Ohio companies involved with Growers and Agricultural Producers. We help our clients with emerging technologies, industry best practices and novel business approaches. Our business advisors work with university researchers and government agencies on food safety and quality, new product and package development, manufacturing productivity, and small business development and training.
CIFT provides the following services for food producers:
Although traditionally engaged in the processing and end product aspects of the food industry, CIFT also studies enhanced growing practices. One such growing practice is the hoop house. Made of galvanized steel arches covered with polyethylene plastic,
hoop houses are typically temporary frames with no permanent foundation. The structures also feature adjustable side vents which provide a cheaper means of temperature control than traditional mechanical means. A hoop house can be constructed in various sizes that are conducive to growing different vegetables.
Hoop houses provide an economical way to increase profits and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, use minimal land area and less energy than traditional greenhouse structures. Learn more about the benefits of a hoop house by clicking here.
Food Safety Consulting
CIFT offers a full range of food safety services to food processors through microbiological consulting and testing, food safety auditing, and food safety and quality training. Producers developing a new food product require microbial assistance and shelf stability testing. Fruit and vegetable producers can benefit from a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) consultation in efforts to prepare for required certifications from retailers. Mock audits reflect progress towards preparation of the USDA audit. Training seminars are also offered to demonstrate proper handling and production of food products including worker hygiene and sanitation practices.
In collaboration with the Ohio Farm Bureau, CIFT has conducted food safety and GMP audits with growers throughout Ohio and Indiana ensuring quality and safety in production.
New Market Opportunities
Growers can enhance business by exploring new markets for their products. CIFT's agribusiness advisors will help you understand how to market to consumers and provide the opportunities, issues and benefits associated with farmers' markets, and other venues.
Through direct marketing, more income remains with the producer while consumers benefit from fresh, wholesome alternative products with minimal processing.
CIFT is supported by the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop program in exploring the following initiatives: innovative food safety documentation tools, dehydration of produce, and production and processing of edamame. All of these programs will provide information to growers interested in expanding operations, exploring new markets, or enhancing production.
For more information, download our free Producers' Resource Guide and visit Ohio's MarketMaker - an interactive mapping system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in Ohio, providing an important link between producers and consumers.
MarketMaker is a national partnership of land grant institutions and state departments of Agriculture dedicated to the development of a comprehensive interactive database of food industry marketing and business data. MarketMaker is a platform that seeks to foster business relationships between producers and consumers of food industry products and services. Click here to learn more.
Through CIFT's consortium of member companies including food processors, equipment manufacturers and institutions, multiple research projects are conducted addressing an agreed industry challenge. CIFT serves as the catalyst in advancing the research component and implementing it within the marketplace. Commercializing technology strengthens the proficiency, productivity and profitability of agribusinesses in the state of Ohio and the nation. By directly connecting the processor and researcher, technology transfer is heightened and accelerated via immediate need and available avenue for implementation. Click here to learn more.
Effective business models adapt to and evolve with market conditions. CIFT serves the critical needs of small-scale farmers trying to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. Opportunities exist for producers to foster new cooperatives or strengthen existing ones. CIFT's network of business advisors offers individuals information, technical assistance, and training on cooperative efforts. Groups of producers can get help with developing a concept and transforming a cooperative into a viable business entity.