Blogs | August 2017

Researchers Test No-Till Alternatives for Terminating Cover Crops

One limitation faced by small- and mid-scale organic producers is the expense of equipment such as roller crimpers to terminate cover crops for spring planting. In spring 2017, OFRF provided a grant to Justin Keay at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri to research an effective no-till system that doesn't require the use of expensive equipment.

New Technique Shown to Increase Marketable Yield of Organic Peaches

Organic peach production is extremely difficult in the humid conditions of the Southeast due to high pest and disease pressures, and the lack of effective, organically approved pesticides. Few growers have taken the risk and transitioned to organic peach farming. Currently, there is only one certified organic peach producer in South Carolina and none in Georgia (one grower is in the process of transition). In 2016, OFRF funded a project aimed at providing growers in the Southeast with a new tool to reduce the risk of transitioning to organic production of peaches.

OFRF Outlines Research Priorities with NIFA

With the Farm Bill debate happening across the country, much of OFRF’s policy work has been focused on Congressional outreach on critical issues facing organic farmers. However, just as important as the legislation are the implementation, regulation, and administration of key organic programs. Among those are the organic research programs administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Soil Health Webinar Now Available to View

OFRF, in collaboration with the CCOF Foundation, is pleased to announce the availability of a recorded webinar that focuses on information from Soil Health and Organic Farming, a series of educational guides recently published by OFRF. In the webinar, authors Joanna Ory and Mark Schonbeck review the most recent research on different practices—such as cover cropping, tillage strategies, and the use of soil amendments—to explore how organic growers can build healthy soils on their operations. This webinar provides practical guidelines for growers, as well as more in-depth analysis of research.

Mandaamin Institute Breeding Nutrient Efficient Corn Naturally

From the Great Lakes through the Great Plains, nothing dominates the American agricultural landscape like corn. Thanks to breeding and technology, American farmers are incredibly efficient at growing corn. Last season, corn yields averaged a whopping 175 bushels per acre, and American farmers grew a record 15.2 billion bushels, or 853 billion pounds of corn. 

NSAC Visits Organic Farmers & Researchers in Madison

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and over 100 member organizations descended on Madison, Wisconsin for the annual NSAC summer meeting August 6th – 9th. NSAC policy covers a wide variety of issues, from crop insurance, to plant breeding, to conservation. Organic production was front and center at the meeting. Madison, home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a hotbed of organic research and the surrounding area has hundreds of organic farms. (Pictured right: R&G Miller and Sons, Inc.)

Hearings Provide Opportunity to Weigh in on Upcoming Farm Bill

While August is a busy time for many farmers around the country, it is also the time when things slowdown in Washington, D.C. as members of Congress head back home. This August, however, members of the House Agriculture Committee have been crisscrossing the country to hear about a broad array of concerns over the Farm Bill.

Organic Opportunity Highlighted in New Report

Looking to better understand consumers’ increasing interest in where their food comes from and how their food dollars can provide greater support for local food-related businesses and farmers, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis partnered to increase awareness of this opportunity for economic growth in both rural and urban communities.

Congressman LaMalfa Talks Farm Bill with Organic Producers

This blog was written by Mark Lipson, Senior Policy and Program Specialist at OFRF.

When Congress takes its August recess and Members go home to their districts, it’s a great time to meet with them directly. This year, it’s an especially good time for farmers to express their thoughts directly on the Farm Bill coming for renewal in 2018. This week I had the pleasure of sitting in with organic growers from Butte County, California when they met with their Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Oroville).

OFRF to Address Soil Health at Tri-Societies Annual Meeting

There is a critical need to improve soil health in all agricultural systems. At this year’s meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, OFRF’s Research Program Director, Dr. Diana Jerkins will be holding a Special Session Symposium on Organic Agriculture Soil Health Research to discuss best practices for building healthy soils. OFRF also secured presenters for several soil health focused sessions throughout the conference.