General

New Educational Guides Now Available

OFRF is excited to announce a new series of educational guides designed to help organic farmers and ranchers enhance the soil health and overall resilience of their operations. “These guides to practical organic soil health management will assist farmers in selecting the best practices for their particular circumstances, while leading the way toward more sustainable agricultural systems," said Diana Jerkins, Research Program Director at OFRF.

OFRF Publishes Soil Educational Guide

OFRF is pleased to announce the publication of its new educational guide titled, Soil Microbial Interactions and Organic Farming. This resource explores the role of microorganisms, like bacteria, in creating healthy soil ecosystems that benefit organic farms. Microorganisms help create healthy soil, remove soil contaminants through bioremediation, and improve plant health by controlling weeds and plant disease.
 
In 2015, OFRF surveyed organic farmers to find out about their most pressing challenges and research needs. They rated research and information on soil health as the highest priority. The guide addresses this need and provides information for organic farmers on how to build healthy soils through incorporating the benefits of a diverse soil microbiome. 
 
Download the guide here.

Organic Week Kicks Off with D.C. Briefing

OFRF, in partnership with the Organic Center and the House Organic Caucus, held a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. May 22nd to educate members of Congress on the importance of organic research. At the briefing, Kelliann Blazek, Legislative Assistant to Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME), discussed the bipartisan legislation Pingree introduced earlier this month. If approved, the Organic Agriculture Research Act would raise funding for USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), from $20 million to $50 million annually.

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Farmers are stewards of the land. We are all invested in their success. 

Organic farming practices conserve water and generate healthy soil. Healthy soil sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and is one of the most powerful and immediate methods we have to reduce greenhouse gases. However, we won’t see the true impact of organic farming until we can scale it.

OFRF Researcher Provides Testimony on Organic Research

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a Farm Bill field hearing in Frankenmuth, Michigan on May 6th. “Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: Perspectives on the 2018 Farm Bill from Michigan” was facilitated by Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, and included testimony from 17 witnesses on issues ranging from nutrition assistance and rural development, to organic research.

Double Digit Growth Continues for Organic Sector

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released this week shows double digit growth in the organic sector—an increase of 13 percent between the end of 2015 and 2016. According to USDA there are now 24,650 certified organic operations in the United States and 37,032 around the world.

Organic Farmers Talk, Panetta Listens

What’s on the minds of organic farmers in California’s 20th Congressional District? Newly elected Congressman Jimmy Panetta got some answers to that question and more when he sat down with local farmers and other leaders from the organic agriculture sector this week at OFRF’s Santa Cruz office. The roundtable discussion provided a great opportunity to help ensure the needs of organic farmers are represented in the upcoming Farm Bill, which Panetta will be helping to write as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.

Congress Voices Support for Research

OFRF took part in the Agricultural Research Congressional Exhibition & Reception on April 5th at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The event, which drew a diverse crowd of university researchers, USDA officials, congressional staff, congressmen, and senators, featured cutting edge USDA funded research from over 20 universities. Organized by the AFRI Coalition, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research, and the SoAR Foundation, the event also featured several speeches from elected officials, including Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee Mike Conaway, Congressman Rodney Davis, Senator John Hoeven, and Congressman Jimmy Panetta. 

Research Aims to Reduce Use of Nitrogen Fertilizers

In 2012 and 2013, OFRF provided research funding to James Nienhuis at the University of Wisconsin to identify snap bean genotypes with enhanced nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE). The current snap bean cultivar used in the industry does not fix nitrogen and requires supplemental nitrogen applications. Nitrogen applications have resulted in groundwater pollution problems throughout the state of Wisconsin. The commercialization of a nitrogen fixing cultivar, which will occur following Dr. Nienhuis’ final farm trial this summer, has the potential to decrease nitrogen use in this industry and protect water quality.

OFRF Awards 2017 Research Grants

OFRF's Research and Education Committee is pleased to announce the selection of five innovative projects for its 2017 research grant awards. Grantees were selected based on the relevance of their proposed research projects to fostering the improvement or adoption of organic farming systems.

"We were impressed with the large number of excellent proposals we had to draw from for this round of grants," said Brise Tencer, Executive Directer at OFRF. "As with the grants we funded in 2016, all of these projects focus on priorities identified by organic farmers in our 2015 national survey of organic farmers."

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