OFRF Researcher Provides Testimony on Organic Research

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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.

One of the witnesses, Collin Thompson, a Community Food Systems Educator for Michigan State University Extension, received a grant from OFRF in 2017. He is working with fellow MSU researcher Ashley McFarland, to research organic grain productivity in support of the organic livestock industry in the Upper Peninsula. Their goal is to develop a framework of research and knowledge of organic grain systems in the region, and to determine the market potential for farm adoption.

As part of his testimony, Thompson outlined the important role of federal investment in agriculture research. “The critical initial funding we received at UPREC through the Agriculture and Food Research Institute is essential to the work I do every day,” he explained. “Simply put, I could not help growers without this support.” Thompson also pointed out the need for increased support for organic research. “Funding for the USDA’s primary organic research program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Program (OREI), has held steady around $20 million annually since 2008,” he noted. “As both a certified organic producer and a professional in the industry, I urge Congress to support organic agriculture by significantly increasing funding of OREI and ORG in the next Farm Bill, and through encouraging the Agriculture Food and Research Initiative to address the needs of the organic sector.” 

Thanks to Collin for his participation and testimony regarding the importance of increasing support for organic research.

You can read more about the research at Michigan State University here.