Policy

NSAC Visits Organic Farmers & Researchers in Madison

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and over 100 member organizations descended on Madison, Wisconsin for the annual NSAC summer meeting August 6th – 9th. NSAC policy covers a wide variety of issues, from crop insurance, to plant breeding, to conservation. Organic production was front and center at the meeting. Madison, home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a hotbed of organic research and the surrounding area has hundreds of organic farms. (Pictured right: R&G Miller and Sons, Inc.)

Hearings Provide Opportunity to Weigh in on Upcoming Farm Bill

While August is a busy time for many farmers around the country, it is also the time when things slowdown in Washington, D.C. as members of Congress head back home. This August, however, members of the House Agriculture Committee have been crisscrossing the country to hear about a broad array of concerns over the Farm Bill.

Congressman LaMalfa Talks Farm Bill with Organic Producers

This blog was written by Mark Lipson, Senior Policy and Program Specialist at OFRF.

When Congress takes its August recess and Members go home to their districts, it’s a great time to meet with them directly. This year, it’s an especially good time for farmers to express their thoughts directly on the Farm Bill coming for renewal in 2018. This week I had the pleasure of sitting in with organic growers from Butte County, California when they met with their Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Oroville).

Bipartisan Bill Supports Increased Funding for Organic Research

On May 16th, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced a bill to support increased funding for organic research. The Organic Agriculture Research Act will raise funding for USDA’s Organic Research Extension Initiative (OREI) from $20 million to $50 million annually.

OFRF drafted language and advocated for passage of the $15,000,000 OREI in the 2002 Farm Bill and is pleased to support this bill. “Since its inception, OREI has developed a substantial body of research-based information and tools to support the success of organic farmers across America,” said Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF. “At a time when the demand for organic food is increasing, it is critical that we continue funding research that supports this promising opportunity for rural communities across the U.S.”

USDA Delays Animal Welfare Rule

On January 18th, USDA released the final rules for more stringent animal-welfare standards for organic agriculture. The new rule will now take place 60 days later than planned due to the administration's freeze on new regulations. Under the new rules, organic cattle, pigs, and poultry must be allowed outdoor access each day, and living conditions must include fresh air, sunlight, and proper ventilation.  Additionally, livestock must have at least enough space to stand up, lie down, and move about.  

Celebrate an Organic Year

As 2016 rolled into 2017 many of us made resolutions, pledging to lose weight, eat healthier, support a worthy cause, or forge deeper connections in the coming year. While most start out with good intentions, it's not always easy to live up to our expectations. 

With looming political uncertainty, and concerns over a deeply divided America, we all prepare to face changes and challenges in the coming year. As we forge ahead with hope, determination, and dedication one thing that we cannot abandon is our food system. Our food system is integral to our bodies, our communities, and our planet. Food is a language spoken by every culture, and organic food seeks to embrace diversity and biodiversity while promoting a food system that leads to c safe, healthy, and resilient communities, ecosystems, and economies for today and for future generations.

Soil Health Institute Releases Research Landscape Tool

The Soil Health Institute released its Soil Health Research Landscape tool on January 3rd.  This free online library and search engine includes more than 1,000 scientific research papers, research progress reports, and other publications and references. This will be a resource for agricultural and environmental scientists, industry leaders, agricultural producers, policy makers, journalists, and others interested in soil health.

CSP Undergoes Major Changes in 2017

The USDA recently announced a sweeping reinvention of its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), including several changes related specifically to organic agriculture. CSP is designed to support farmers and ranchers as they actively manage and expand conservation activities on their agricultural land.

USDA Streamlines Access to Cost Share Program

Beginning March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide to apply for federal reimbursement for costs related to receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

USDA Streamlines Access to Cost Share Program

Beginning March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices nationwide to apply for federal reimbursement for costs related to receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

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