Organic Sales, Farm Growth Soar in 2014

April 15, 2015 - The U.S. organic industry enjoyed robust growth in 2014, with the number of certified organic farms increasing by more than 5 percent over 2013, and domestic sales of all organic products soaring 11 percent to more than $39 billion.

Organic food sales accounted for $35.9 billion of that total, with organic fruits and vegetables now accounting for 12 percent of all produce sold in the U.S. And while organic exports are growing, they are dwarfed by organic imports, reflecting U.S. farmers’ inability to keep pace with demand.

The statistics were released today to coincide with this week’s Organic Policy Conference and Hill Days in Washington DC, an annual gathering of organic stakeholders sponsored by the Organic Trade Association. Speaking to a sold-out crowd at Washington's Newseum, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the number of certified organic farms in the U.S. increased to 19,474 last year, out of a global total of 27,814. Read the USDA press release here.

Tasty Bread from "Impossible" Wheat

April 15, 2015 - Conventional wisdom says it’s impossible to make bread from Eastern white wheat. But a Wegman’s store in upstate New York is using locally-grown organic flour from Frederick, an older variety of white wheat, in its house-baked flutes. And the flutes are now the most popular item in the bread aisle.

OFRF Goes to Washington

April 13, 2015 - OFRF Executive Director Brise Tencer joined with Organic Trade Association colleagues this morning for a well-attended briefing to House Organic Caucus staffers, kicking off a week-long series of events for OTA’s annual Policy Conference & Hill Visit Days.

Tencer joined OTA CEO Laura Batcha, Vice-president of Government Affairs Marni Karlin and Board Chair Missy Hughes, and CCOF President of Certification Services Jake Lewin, to bring Capitol Hill denizens up-to-date on the successes, challenges and critical needs of the fast-growing organic industry.

“The policy conference is Wednesday and our Capitol Hill visits are Thursday, so this was an opportunity to give our Congressional champions a preview of the most current issues facing organic,” Tencer said. “We are discussing a range of issues, but the focus is absolutely about how to boost the supply of organic production, farms and farmers.”

OFRF to Congress: Support Organic Farmers!

April 14, 2015 - OFRF’s policy team is off and running! Looking ahead to the coming year, OFRF Policy Associate Jane Shey has submitted Fiscal Year 2016 funding requests to Congress, seeking increased federal funding for the Organic Transitions Program, National Organic Program, Organic Data Initiative, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Food Safety Outreach Program, and other vital programs supporting U.S. organic farmers.

OFRF is also seeking increased support for non-GMO and non-biotech plant and animal breeding programs, reversing decades of dwindling support for public cultivar development tailored to regional growing conditions and freely available to all farmers.

Click here to read our letter to Congress.

USDA Commits $23 Million to Citrus Greening Research

April 14, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $23 million in funding to support research and extension projects aimed at fighting citrus greening disease, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), a bacterial disease that has infected more than 75 percent of Florida’s citrus crop since appearing in the U.S. a decade ago.

The USDA grants, available through the agency’s Citrus Disease Research and Education Program (CDRE), are available to researchers investigating both organic and conventional approaches to controlling the spread of HLB.

"Citrus greening threatens citrus production in the United States and other nations," said Vilsack. "Only long-term solutions through research will help to stop this disease that threatens the livelihoods of thousands of citrus producers and workers and billions of dollars in sales."