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Mark Keating's picture

Antibiotics on Apples?

Like many others invested in organic agriculture, the decision at last week’s National Organic Standards Board meeting to phase out an antibiotic used in certified apple and pear production may have left you wondering, why was it allowed to begin with? The straightforward answer is that, throughout its history, organic certification has allowed a very small number of materials, even pesticides, that we more often associate with conventional agriculture.

Maureen Wilmot's picture

Where Are Your Tax Dollars Going?

Last week, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released a report addressing the need to reduce the use of fumigants in conventional strawberry production. This is old news for organic farmers. Fumigants are gaseous pesticides that are injected into soil before strawberries and other crops are planted, primarily to control fungal pathogens and nematodes. This practice is not allowed in organic production. OFRF has been funding research to determine alternative methods for controlling these pests for organic farmers for more than three years.

Rich Everett, Everett Family Farm

photo of Rich Everett, Everett Family FarmWhen asked why he farms organically, Rich replied--

"There really is no alternative.  It's always been important to us to instill the value of growing healthy food and the connection of where it comes from.  We learn a lot by trial and error and the young farmers who launch their farming careers here."

Check out what's going on at Everett Family Farm.

Jim Cochran, Swanton Berry Farm

"Farming production is not the hard part. Without a solid handle on marketing, you can't grow the right things at the right time at the right price. You have to know your market really well."

- Jim Cochran, Organic Farmer -
Swanton Berry Farm

 

Mark Keating's picture

What's next for Organic Cost Share?

Organic family farmers are facing real hardship due to Congress’ ongoing failure to get its act together. Case in point: When it finally passed the 2013 federal budget in January, Congress stripped funding from a host of essential programs which support small- and medium-sized organic farms. Among the abandoned programs were the $5.5 million which had funded the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) each year since 2009. 

James Cook, Groundswell Organic Farm

When organic farmer James Cook of Groundswell Farm was asked who he considered to be his greatest political ally, he did not miss a beat when he replied, "CONSUMERS!"

 

Mark Keating's picture

The Organic Farmers' Burden

The near stranglehold which agribusiness holds over policymaking in Washington, DC was painfully evident in the six month spending measure Congress approved last week. Buried deep in the last minute compromise were two legislative riders hand crafted by the agricultural biotechnology and concentrated animal feedlot operation (CAFO) lobbyists. The first rider guts judicial review of the process for approving genetically modified seeds while the second rolls back USDA’s already weak regulations protecting the contract rights of poultry and beef producers. 

Where’s your Farmer?

You’ve heard about “Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer” campaign. This past week at the MOSES conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I met with several groups working to make sure there are actually farmers to know, especially organic farmers. They took somewhat different approaches, all with the intent to make certain we have farmers in the future.

Some organizations help farmers who are close to retirement transition their farm to the next generation. They provide guidance and advice to ensure that the land is kept in organic production. Sometimes the farm is passed on to the children. Other times the farm is handed over to a non-relative.

CALLING ALL FARMERS

OFRF is conducting an in depth insight study to gain farmer perspective on the current and emerging needs of American farmers.  We are asking you to participate in a 45 minute interview with a professional market research firm.  This insight will help shape future programs in research, education and policy.  If you would like to participate, please send your name and availability to info@gorfh.com.  Please add 'Farmer Insight Study' into the subject line.

Thank you!

Maureen Wilmot's picture

MOSES

Spring is nature’s way of saying “LETS PARTY!”   - Robin Williams -

The apple trees are pruned, the tomato seeds are planted and cover crops are just about ready to be worked into the soil. My own cover crops will have to wait until I return from MOSES Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service Farming Conference. My small organic garden in California pales in comparison to the scale of most organic farms across the country, it does, however, hint at what it takes to put healthy, organic food on our tables.

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