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Ohio Farmer Visits DC to Talk About Need for More Research

Dean McIlvaine of Twin Parks Organic Farm in Wayne County, Ohio, has operated an 850-acre organic grain farm since 1985. He grows organic corn, soybeans, spelt, oats, wheat, rye, clover, and has recently expanded into a rotating cow and calf grass fed beef operation to add to the farm’s diversity. Dean markets the farm’s products nationally and internationally. His father Dale purchased the farm in the mid-70’s and farmed conventionally until Dean transitioned it to an organic operation—following his college dream and his personal beliefs that organic food is healthier and better for the environment.

Organic Soil Health Special Session Program at Tri-Societies

The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America (Tri-Societies) collectively represent more than 12,000 individual members around the world. Last week the societies held an International Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida to discuss Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future. Overall, the goal of the meeting is for the scientific societies to build collaborating partnerships in the agronomy, crops, and soils science fields for the advancement of agricultural knowledge. OFRF, along with many organic researchers from around the world, attended the meeting to showcase how organic agriculture can play a key role in managing global resources for a secure future.

Call for Posters: Organic Research Poster Session at PASA Winter Conference

OFRF will host an Organic Poster Session at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) winter conference being held February 7 - 10, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA. We invite the submission of research abstracts for posters to by December 20, 2017. 
 
The poster session is open to researchers, farmer and rancher researchers, students, and other agriculture specialists to present on topics related to organic farming and food systems, as well as from other systems of sustainable agriculture that employ techniques compatible with organic standards.

Practical Applications of Soil Health Research

How do farmers increase long-term soil health on their operations? This was the question at the center of the workshop held by OFRF on October 30th at the California Small Farm Conference in Stockton, California. The panel of speakers included Joanna Ory and Mark Lipson of OFRF and Joji Muramoto from UC Santa Cruz. The speakers discussed the characteristics of healthy soil and practices that growers can use to build healthy soils on their operations.

Many farmers strive to cultivate healthy, living soil. The workshop attendees were mostly farmers, with a mix of educators and agricultural professionals. The workshop focused on information from OFRF’s series of educational guidebooks, Soil Health and Organic Farming

OFRF Releases New Guide on Pesticide Drift Impacts

OFRF is pleased to announce the publication of its new educational guide titled, Avoiding Pesticide Drift Impacts on Organic Farms. Spray drift is a public health concern and an issue for organic farmers who suffer negative consequences should their organic fields become contaminated by pesticide drift. This guide provides steps organic farmers can take to reduce drift onto their farms, as well as practices conventional farmers can implement to reduce impacts on neighbors. 

OFRF Receives NIFA Grant for Soil Health Education & Outreach

OFRF is pleased to join the esteemed group of grant recipients announced by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) on October 11th. The grants are provided for research that helps farmers and ranchers grow and market high quality organic products, and are funded through the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions Program (ORG).

Compost Extracts Viable Alternative for Managing Weeds

Weeds are the bane of organic farmers—competing for water, space, light, and nutrients. Not surprisingly, in OFRF’s 2015 nationwide survey of organic farmers, research into effective weed management techniques emerged as a top priority.

Special Session Live Broadcast from Tri-Societies Meeting

OFRF is partnering with eOrganic on a live online broadcast of the Special Session on Organic Soil Health Research at the Tri-Societies (ASA, CSSA and SSSA) Annual Meeting on October 25, 2017.

In the session, OFRF's Research Program Director, Dr. Diana Jerkins, is bringing together researchers, extension, farmers and other organic agriculture stakeholders to provide current information on applicable research results. 

Organic Research Funding Bill Gains Momentum

The Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) is gaining crucial bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, with an additional 37 cosponsors signing on in recent weeks. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the bill to support increased funding for organic research.  

Organic Sales Soared in 2016

Consumers used their wallets to show their increasing preference for organically grown food in 2016, and there’s every reason to believe this promising trend will continue. Results from the 2016 Certified Organic Survey conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), show that sales were up 23 percent from $6.2B in 2015 to $7.6B in 2016.

At the same time, the number of certified organic farms in the country increased 11 percent to 14,217, and the number of certified acres increased 15 percent to 5.0M.

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