General

Grant Programs Help Ease Transition to Organic

North Dakota and Minnesota are providing grants to help ease the financial burden on farmers transitioning from conventional to organic farming. Hopefully, this will serve as a model to help other states create programs.

CSP Boosts Minimum Contract Payment: Signups Open Now

Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year have until March 31st to submit their initial applications to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). USDA will enroll 10 million acres of farm and ranch land in the program in 2016, with payments to farmers and ranchers of over three-quarters of a billion dollars over the next five years.

Kathleen Merrigan on List of Influential Women in Agriculture

OFRF Advisory Committee member, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, was included on Food Tank’s list of 27 influential women in food and agriculture. The announcement was made on January 28th.

Merrigan currently serves as Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, where she leads the GWU Sustainability Collaborative and GWU Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy.

USDA Announces $18.9 Million for Future Agriculture Scientists and Educators

On January 27, 2016, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced the availability of $18.9 million in competitive grants to support fellowships addressing challenges in nutrition, food security, climate change and other agricultural areas.

Fred Kirschenmann to Speak at OFRF's Annual Benefit Luncheon

We are delighted to announce that Fred Kirschenmann, a world-renowned leader in sustainable agriculture, will be the keynote speaker at OFRF's 19thAnnual Benefit Luncheon, kicking off the 2016 Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

Kirschenmann shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York.

Kirschenmann converted his family’s farm in North Dakota to a certified organic operation in 1976 and continues to manage the farm. He developed a diverse crop rotation that has enabled him to farm productively without synthetic inputs, while simultaneously improving the health of the soil.

2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Recap

The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, presented by OFRF and University of California, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extensnion (KARE) Center, brought together researchers, students, farmers and others from across the US for an informative and interactive day in Pacific Grove, California on January 20th. A pre-conference to the annual Eco-Farm Conference, the symposium featured sessions ranging from soil health and biodiversity to farming and livestock systems, including current and ongoing organic agriculture research findings.

Several themes emerged throughout the day including the need for more a holistic approach to advancing organic agriculture, better dissemination and sharing of research; and, of course, greater investment in research in critical areas such as soil, water, pest and weed management.

The symposium began with a plenary session featuring Andre Leu, IFOAM/Organics International President (shown in the photo with OFRF Executive Director, Brise Tencer) and Mathieu Ngouajio, USDA/NIFA National Program Leader in Cropping Systems.

2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Re-Cap

The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium brought together researchers, students, farmers and others from across the US for an informative and interactive day in Pacific Grove, California this week.

Free Webinars from USDA and eOrganics

USDA is hosting a webinar to discuss the request for application to two NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) organic grant programs: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions. The webinar will include a brief description of the two programs followed by a Q & A session. 

2016 OREI and ORG Request for Applications Webinars

USDA will host a webinar on Thursday February 11, 2016, from 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time, to discuss the request for application to two NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) organic grant programs:

Making Farms Safer with Conservation Practices

Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices: A Grower’s and Conservationist’s Handbook is now available. The handbook was co-written by Jo Ann Baumgartner, Executive Director of the Wild Farm Alliance, and partially funded through a research grant from OFRF.

A valuable resource for growers and conservationists, the handbook describes many opportunities for making farms safer by reducing pathogen presence with conservation practices and food safety Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).

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