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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).

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.

Ag Committee Discusses Opportunities in Organic

On July 13th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on “Opportunities in Global and Local Markets, Specialty Crops, and Organics: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill.” This is not the first time a Senate Farm Bill hearing has focused on organic and local foods, but it is worth noting that these topics have become an expected part of the committee’s business. The committee heard from Dr. Ken Dallmier, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Clarkson Grain Company, Inc., an organic grain company located in Cerro Gordo, Illinois; and Theo Crisantes, an organic farmer and Vice President of Operations at Wholesum Harvest, a grower and shipper of organic produce in Amado, Arizona.

Laura Ridenour Joins OFRF

Please join OFRF in welcoming Laura Ridenour to OFRF’s development team as Senior Development Officer. Laura has a lifetime of experience working with all aspects of food and farming—with and for farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs and retailers, and grassroots food advocates. Beginning with an internship at California Certified Organic Farmers in 1994, Laura has worked for a number of farmer and community-led NGOs from California and Washington DC, to Colorado and Washington State. Along the way, she gained extensive project management, marketing and fundraising skills, and was part of the establishment of two food policy councils.

OFRF Tour Highlights Florida's Organic Farmers

Last week, OFRF staff had the pleasure of leading a group of sustainable agriculture systems funders on a tour of organic farms in central Florida. It was part of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) forum, and it was the first tour in the forum’s 15-year history to focus exclusively on organic agriculture. OFRF’s Policy Associate, Michael Stein, provided this recap of the tour.

Ohio State Research Team Working on New Soil Health Tests

Predicting the capacity of soil to supply nitrogen is an ongoing challenge in organic farming. Organic farmers rely on the breakdown of organic matter through a microbially-driven process for crop nutrition instead of the application of synthetic fertilizers. One of the most frequent requests of organic farmers is to have access to better information about what is happening in their soil.

Educators Stress Need for Organic Research

On June 22nd, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss agricultural research as part of the committee’s preparation for the next Farm Bill. Members of the committee heard from various university representatives on the opportunities and challenges institutions face in ensuring the U.S. remains a world leader in agricultural research and scientific advancement.

Mark Lipson Rejoins OFRF Team

OFRF is pleased to announce Mark Lipson’s return to the OFRF staff as Senior Policy and Program Specialist. Mark is a 30-year pioneer and influential leader in the organic farming community in California and nationally. "This is a vital time to invest in the future of organic with the introduction of the Organic Agriculture Research Act in the upcoming Farm Bill," said Brise Tencer, OFRF's Executive Director. "We are incredibly lucky to have Mark back on board for the ride."

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