General

Last Call for Soil Health & Management Abstracts

Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium
Crop, Soil, Agronomy Societies Meeting, Special Session
October, 2017
Tampa, Florida

OFRF, in collaboration with the University of Florida-IFAS and the Florida Organic Growers & Consumers Association, invites submissions to the Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium (OASHS) for proposed research, education, and extension papers and posters. 

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.

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.

Reception Showcases USDA's Organic 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 

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."

National Cover Crop Initiative Announced

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation launched its cover crop initiative at the National Press Club on Wednesday, March 22nd. OFRF was well represented at this event by Research Director Diana Jerkins, Policy Associate Michael Stein, and Board Member Klaas Martens.

Webinar: Analyzing & Reporting Organic Research Investments

This webinar features a discussion of the findings from our report, Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002 - 2014, which provides information on the progress USDA funded organic research projects have made in addressing critical research needs.We encourage all researchers, students, policy makers, and farmers interested in understanding research trends and opportunities to view the webinar.

 

 

OARS Scholarship Recipients Share Experiences

With funding support from Ceres Trust, OFRF awarded 20 scholarships to help with the cost of attending the 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium held earlier this year in Lexington, Kentucky. Scholarships were awarded based on the need and merit of applicants.

Scholarship recipients were asked to submit a write-up of their experiences at the conference. Here are a few excerpts from their reports.

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