Mark Keating's picture

Fall Bill Seeds Beginning to Sprout…

Driven by strong bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate on Monday night approved its version of the 2013 Farm Bill by a vote of 66 to 27.  The bill renews Washington’s commitment to organic agriculture by reauthorizing three key programs – the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and Organic Data Initiative (ODI) – which were allowed to lapse under the current Farm Bill extension.  The funding for these programs is limited - $16 million annually for OREI, $11.5 annually for NOCCSP and $5 million for ODI over the bill’s five year lifespan – but these are essential investments in the future of organic agriculture.  Similarly, the Senate’s Farm Bill offers modest but meaningful support for a number of vital beginning farmer, conservation and direct marketing initiatives and reforms which stalled during the extension.  The good news overall is that the Senate stepped up to the plate and passed a Farm Bill which validates organic production as an important part of American agriculture’s future.

Karen Adler's picture

The Real Dirt on Organic Farming

This is part 3 of the 3-part series "From the Ground Up: What Does It Mean to be Certified Organic?"

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
--Wendell Berry

Mark Keating's picture

GE Wheat Found Growing Wild in Oregon

On May 29, USDA announced that a western white wheat variety genetically engineered to withstand applications of the herbicide glyphosate (RoundUp©) had been discovered growing wild in an Eastern Oregon field.  The ultimate source of the wheat is no mystery: USDA confirmed that it was the same variety which Monsanto had been authorized to field test in sixteen states, including Oregon, between 1998 and 2005.  What remains unknown is how the wheat, which was never approved for commercial release, migrated from those research fields onto a commercial farm.

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