Why Organic - News

OFRF Announces New Process & Schedule for Next Grant Round

July 15, 2018—With demand for their research grants growing every year, OFRF is modifying its grant funding process to include a Letter of Intent prior to the submission of a full proposal.

“We are thrilled at the level of interest in our grants and the impact our funding has made over the years." says Diana Jerkins, OFRF’s Research Director. “Starting the cycle a little earlier with a Letter of Intent will help us prioritize the projects that most closely match our funding priorities." 

OFRF Funded Researchers Aim to Boost Organic Grain Production in Upper Peninsula

In 2017, OFRF awarded a grant to researchers at Michigan State University to examine organic grain productivity in support of the organic livestock industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Organic grain production is virtually non-existent in the area and sourcing outside of the region is quite costly. The goal of this project is to increase knowledge of grain performance in an organic system, leading to the expansion of certified organic grain production and entry into the growing market for natural or organically produced meat.

Cucumber and Melon Research Field Day

OFRF awarded a grant to Common Wealth Seed Growers in 2018 to assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks. Farmers throughout the Eastern U.S. cite these diseases as issues; this project is a direct response to the need for new resistant varities that have the potential to make management easier, decrease losses, and extend the harvest period.

Taking the Next Steps for Organic in the Farm Bill

In a sweeping show of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 86-11 to pass their version of the Farm Bill. With the House passing a different version of the bill without Democratic support, lawmakers will meet later this summer to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. With the current Farm Bill set to expire on September 30, 2018 there is a lot riding on this process. 

Here is a comparison of some of the organic provisions.

House of Representatives Passes a Farm Bill

While the House Farm Bill was wholly opposed by Democrats, who were joined by some Republicans in their opposition, the House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill, by a vote of 213-211 with two Republicans and two Democrats not voting.

The U.S. Senate is currently working on their text for the Farm Bill (read about it here), which is different than the House version. If the House and Senate pass different bills, the differences will be parsed out in conference committee, and if approved, will go to the President to be signed into law.

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill with Big Wins for Organic

June 13, 2018 - Today the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to favorably report the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042), the Senate Farm Bill, out of Committee by a vote of 20-1. Senator Grassley (R-IA) voted against the bill.

Farm Bill Draft Includes Much Needed Investment in Organic Research and Education

June 8, 2018—We are extremely excited to share the news that the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill draft, released today, includes a much needed increased investment in organic research and education.

New OFRF Grant Examines Biosolarization for Weed Control

As the negative health and environmental effects of chemical soil fumigation become more apparent, there is a critical need for safe, alternative methods of soil fumigation to control weeds. To help address this need, OFRF has awarded a grant to Dr. Ashraf Tubeileh at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California to study the effect of biosolarization and cover crops on weeds and soil-borne pathogens.

Observations from Spring NOSB Meeting

At the end of April, the organic community descended on Tucson, Arizona for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) spring public meeting. These meetings allow organic stakeholders from across the sector to give input on the shape and direction of organics.  OFRF’s Policy Associate attended to engage in discussions around organic research needs, as well as ensure that OFRF stays plugged in to the continuous development and discussions of organic policy.

OFRF Announces First Research Grant of 2018

OFRF’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce a research grant award to Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers. The project will assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks, continuing with the development of a pickling cucumber that is resistant to both diseases.

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