Vicki

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So far Vicki Lowell has created 134 blog entries.

Tips to Enhance Carbon Sequestration

October 23, 2019 – Research shows that building soil health through sustainable organic management practices can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the impacts of climate change on production. OFRF’s series of guidebooks and webinars for building soil health help farmers and ranchers select the best management practices for their particular circumstances, while leading the way to more sustainable agricultural systems.

In the guidebook titled, “Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration,” lead author Mark Schonbeck offers ten tips to enhance carbon sequestration.

  1. Implement conservation practices such as diversified crop rotations and reduced tillage.
  2. Consider regenerative cropping systems that integrate multiple conservation practices with judicious use of compost or other organic amendments.
  3. Incorporate agroforestry practices such as silvopasture, alley cropping, and hedgerows.
  4. Implement management-intensive rotational grazing systems.
  5. Plant marginal cropland to perennial sod or trees.
  6. Plant deep-rooted cover crops, such as forage radish or cereal rye, to enhance root biomass.
  7. Diversify crop rotations by adding deep-rooted and perennial crops.
  8. Use diverse organic inputs that vary in their C:N ratio.
  9. Combine the use of compost and cover crops.
  10. Divert food and yard waste from landfills to amend cropland.

The entire Soil Health and Organic Farming series is available to download for free at ofrf.org. Printed copies are available upon request for a suggested donation.

Links to the free on-demand webinar series.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 23rd, 2019|News|

NIFA and ERS Relocation Delaying Farm Bill Implementation

October 18, 2019 – The House Agriculture Committee’s Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee held a hearing on October 17th to review the implementation of USDA Farm Bill research programs. The hearing centered on discussion of the agency’s move to Kansas City and the deep loss of expertise and experience that is resulting from the relocation.

For organizations like OFRF, a 2019 recipient of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grants awarded through NIFA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative, a particular concern is the reimbursement process for work already completed. OFRF has developed the survey for its project titled A National Agenda for Organic and Transitioning Research and is in the process of testing it with a select group of farmers before launching nationally. When Congressman Panetta presented the issue, Deputy Secretary Hutchins committed to following-up on the implementation of the grants.

House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Chair Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands addressed the issue head-on in her opening comments. “At a time of continued farm stress, it should be USDA’s top priority to support research efforts that directly benefit farmers.

“. . . Unfortunately, I believe my fears are becoming true. This week, I received updates on staffing levels and the status of Fiscal Year 2019 funding. ERS has appropriated funding to support 329 employees, but currently, a total of 214 positions are vacant – a vacancy rate of 65%. To put it bluntly, NIFA is in even worse shape. Out of 344 appropriated positions, 264 are currently vacant – a vacancy rate over 76%.  I was told these extreme staff shortages mean some grant recipients will not receive their funds until March 2020.

“These gaps in service reinforce the notion that this relocation was hurried, misguided, and mismanaged. ERS and NIFA have been undermined at the very time these agencies require knowledgeable staff to implement Farm Bill changes, administer grants, and complete critical economic reports. Our farmers and ranchers deserve better, and so do the valued career public servants who have left their positions within ERS and NIFA for other opportunities.”

 

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 18th, 2019|News|

Evaluating the Effects of Seeding and Inoculant Rates on Weed Suppression, Nodulation, and Soil Health on Organic Lentil Production in the Northern Great Plains

Evaluating the Effects of Seeding and Inoculant Rates on Weed Suppression, Nodulation, and Soil Health on Organic Lentil Production in the Northern Great Plains

Photo of a field of flowering lentil plants

Jed Eberly, Assistant Professor, Montana State University

Lentils are important for diversifying wheat-based cropping systems and are also beneficial in enhancing soil health. These benefits have contributed to the exponential growth in pulse crop acreage in The Northern Great Plains (NGP). However, little is known about the optimum seeding and appropriate inoculation rates to improve crop growth, nutrient acquisition, weed management, and yield potential for lentils in organic systems. The goals of this project are to evaluate effects of seeding rates on lentil yields and weed competition. These goals will be achieved through a multi-site replicated trials on grower’s fields in three different lentil growing areas of Montana. Three lentil varieties would be selected based on seed sizes; large, medium, and small and will be seeded at four different rates.

Impact: Improved lentil yields, nutritional quality, and better returns on investments for organic lentil growers.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 17th, 2019|Grant Award|

Join Us for the 2020 Organic Agriculture Research Forum

Graphic from the Organic Agriculture Research Forum flyer announcing the Jan 23, 2020 forum in Little RockOctober 15, 2019 – OFRF and Tuskegee University are pleased to announce the 2020 Organic Agriculture Research Forum (OARF) to be presented in partnership with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG). The Forum takes place on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the 2020 SSAWG Conference.

Farmers, students, and researchers who would like to apply for a scholarship of up to $600 to attend the forum should fill out the scholarship application no later than November 22nd, 2019.

The day-long forum will bring together scientists, organic farmers and ranchers, extension agents, non-profit organizations, and more to explore the latest research and science-based grower education, particularly as it relates to production in the southeast. Topics will range from assessing the impact of organic agriculture on climate change, to soil health, and pest and disease management.

The forum will feature many opportunities to learn from fellow attendees and presenters, beginning with oral presentations focused on research that addresses production, economic, and social challenges in organic farming and ranching. After the presentations, there will be a series of facilitated roundtable discussions, followed by a poster session and reception held in conjunction with SSAWG. The poster session will include a “People’s Choice” award and an award for “Best Research Poster” juried by a small panel of judges. Voting will take place during the Thursday evening reception.

The conference and scholarships are supported by Ceres Trust and the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant no. 2019-51300-30250 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production.

Southern SAWG facilitates the development of a more sustainable food and agriculture systems across 13 states in the Southern U.S. Since 1992 they have provided high quality educational materials and training opportunities on sustainable and organic production, marketing strategies, farm management, and community food systems development. Each year the Southern SAWG Conference brings together over 1,000 farmers, researchers, educators, and others in the sustainable agriculture field to share practical tools and information and strengthen their working relationships. The 2020 Southern SAWG conference will take place in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 22-25, 2020.

Tuskegee University has initiated an organic farming program for over 10 years to educate Alabama residents on the health benefits of organic vegetables. The program has grown in recent years to include site specific organic farming research on various vegetable crop varieties and integrated pest management throughout the Southern United States to provide recommendations to organic growers. Dr. Kpomblekou-A has served as director of the program at Tuskegee University since 2016.

Contacts:

Haley Baron, OFRF Education & Research Program Associate
haley@ofrf.org

Lauren Snyder, OFRF Education & Research Program Associate
lauren@ofrf.org

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 15th, 2019|Press Release|

OFRF is Turning 30! Save the Date!


October 9, 2019 – We’re celebrating a very significant milestone at our annual benefit luncheon at Expo West and we want you to join us! This must-attend event for organic industry leaders, market innovators, and brand-conscious consumers is the ideal place to network before the big show, and the all-organic lunch is always amazing!

Sponsorships are available now.

Individual tickets go on sale December 1, 2019.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 9th, 2019|News|

Vicki Lowell

Communications Manager

vicki@ofrf.org

Vicki joined OFRF in October 2015 after five years working with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County. At the food bank, she was responsible for sharing stories of people in need and the individuals, schools, businesses and non-profits that work to ensure everyone has access to healthy food and resources to help them get back on their feet.

As Communications Manager, she is responsible for disseminating relevant content across all channels and helping farmers access tools and resources that support their success. She is responsible for design and production of research reports, webinars, and educational materials, and works to increase outreach and nurture collaborative relationships with organic stakeholders.

Vicki began her career as a member of the Macintosh introduction team at Apple Computer in 1984 and spent a number of years working as an independent marketing writer. She is passionate about music and food and also works as a deejay at KPIG, a free-form Americana station broadcast from Freedom, California and streamed worldwide.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Sheila Golden

Program and Grants Manager

sheila@ofrf.org

Sheila Golden brings over ten years of program development and management experience from sustainable agriculture non-profits and UC Cooperative Extension. She leads OFRF’s grant-writing process and supports staff with program planning and implementation. She has a MS from UC Davis in Community and Regional Development.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Michael Stein

Policy Advisor

michael@ofrf.org

Michael Stein is an attorney and scientist who is passionate about organic and sustainable agriculture. He has focused his career on implementing legal and policy tools to address the environmental, health, and economic impacts of our food system.

Michael has worked extensively on food law and policy issues. He first started working to protect the health and wealth of our natural resources with Midwest Environmental Advocates, assisting family farmers in protecting their homes and communities from the negative environmental impacts of large-scale industrial agriculture. While at Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, he focused on the environmental and public health impacts of food waste, and also worked to address food sovereignty issues faced by Native American communities. His policy experience includes working with the Navajo Nation’s Washington, D.C. office, and managing the food campaigns at Green America.

Michael holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he focused on environmental law. He also earned an M.S. in environment and resources from the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Michael is currently based in Washington, D.C. where he advocates on behalf of organic farmers and organic agriculture to members of Congress and the federal government.

When not in D.C., Michael can be found hiking the hills of Virginia and procuring delicious products from local organic farms.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Mark Schonbeck

Research Program Associate

mark@ofrf.org

Mark Schonbeck has worked for 31 years as a researcher, consultant, and educator in sustainable and organic agriculture. He has participated in on-farm research into mulching, cover crops, minimum tillage, and nutrient management for organic vegetables. For many years, he has written for the Virginia Association for Biological Farming newsletter and served as their policy liaison to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. He has also participated in different research projects to analyze, evaluate and improve federally funded organic and sustainable agriculture programs. In addition, Mark offers individual consulting in soil test interpretation, soil quality and nutrient management, crop rotation, cover cropping, and weed management.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:21+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|

Lola Dannehl-Schickman

Development and Partnerships Manager

lola@ofrf.org

Lola grew up in a family where politics and activism were a part of daily life. She believes we must come together as a nation to support our organic farmers, protect our environment and ensure healthy, organic food is accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Lola graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 with BA in American Studies. She worked in fundraising and communication for a non-profit school in Oakland for four years before attending graduate school at Cambridge University where she received her MPhil in American literature. Lola is excited to be joining the stellar team at OFRF where she will have the opportunity to fuse her passion for political activism and sustainable, organic agriculture.

By |2020-01-08T18:12:22+00:00October 8th, 2019|Staff|
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