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Price plans to plant more alfalfa to increase the organic matter in the soils on other fields.

Generational Transition through a New Relationship

Price Shares Her Wisdom.

Don’t put too much value on the experiences reported in publications that cater to small farms. Not everything others do is wise or consistent with your values. Economic survival as the highest or only objective can lead one to the use of chemicals, to animal cruelty, and to practices that support unnatural production rates.

Ardell Price of Sunset Ridge – The Price Farm in southwest central Ohio thinks that she will do well as a farmer. This positive assessment is contingent upon four factors – continuing a working relationship with a production partner; maintaining organic certification of her farmland; share-cropping corn, beans, and hay; and expanding her grass-fed beef operation. Ardell continues to explore alternative approaches to farmland preservation, for it is her intention to have her land in agricultural production into perpetuity.

In 1976, Ardell Price began experimenting on 20 acres so that she could, in the future, be a successful organic crop farmer. Often, she was learning what didn’t work. Fortunately, she is a lifelong learner. In 2002, Ardell started a beef operation.

To increase the sustainability of her farm, Ardell made several changes that result from her participation in Wisdom in the Land.

Resources. A recent soil test revealed that green manure, achieved by plowing under the alfalfa, significantly improves soil nutrients and results in the best organic matter anywhere on the farm. Through recent learning opportunities her production partner completely changed his view on no-till production and has come to understand how to work no-till methods into organic farming practices. He also made new contacts with experienced organic farmers who can serve as his mentors, in addition to Ardell with whom a business relationship is growing. Ardell is encouraged by experiences with young people such as her production partner and other new farmers, who want to farm organically and to raise local food. Farming in the middle of large and conventional crop farms, such young people assure Ardell that she is not part of a voiceless community, which much of the time she feels she may be.

Production. Rye, planted as a cover crop on 32 acres, and will be used to make straw. To address the problem of Johnson grass in the rye field, Ardell de-headed the perennial by hand because Johnson grass spreads by seed, has roots that cannot be plowed away, and it was too late to use black plastic. After harvest, alfalfa will be planted on half of this field in order to increase the organic matter in that soil. Ardell continues to grow her beef operation by breeding the four heifers with which she started. She has under-utilized pasture and plans to repair fences and divide the pasture for rotational grazing. For the first time she is considering purchasing a bull as the next step to growing this enterprise.

Business. Ardell manages the farm to achieve profitability and to provide opportunities through which her production partner can make good money.

Contact Information:

Ardell Price

Sunset Ridge
- The Price Farm
539 E. Dallas Rd.
Urbana, OH 43078

Champaign County

Ardell has owned the family farm since 1988 and actively participated in its production and management since then, some years more than others. She farms her 158 acres on a part time basis. At this time in her life Ardell understands that her farm’s future relies not only on maintaining her own passion for organic agriculture but also on finding a next generation partner who is honest and is willing to farm organically. Therefore, she participated in Wisdom in the Land as a member of a two-person team and in support of the other person’s development.