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Brise Tencer's picture

New USDA Research Foundation Appoints Long-Time Organic Advocate to the Board

By Brise Tencer, Executive Director of OFRF

Noting that “every dollar invested in agricultural research creates $20 in economic activity,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the formation of a new foundation that will create public-private partnerships to fund agriculture, food, and nutrition research. Authorized by Congress as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research will seek private donations in order to fund research activities that focus on problems of national and international significance.

To what degree the new foundation will support organic farming research is not yet known, but the appointment of Nancy Creamer to the new foundation’s initial 15-member Board of Directors is reason to think that organic research will be on the radar.

Karen Adler's picture

New Tools for Organic Farmers Teach DIY Plant Breeding!

Organic farmers are always on the lookout for better ways to combat weeds, insects, and disease, and produce an abundance of the healthiest and best-tasting crops. Having plant varieties that are suited for organic systems may be key to producing higher yields and better quality crops, and could play an important role in increasing organic farmers’ success. However, few plant breeders are working on varieties specifically targeted for organic systems, and there are almost no such varieties available. How to fill this void? One of the groups best suited to do organic breeding work is organic farmers themselves.

Four new resources from Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), developed and produced with funding from OFRF and Clif Bar Family Foundation’s Seed Matters initiative, provide a wealth of information for farmers who want to learn the art and craft of plant breeding. The comprehensive manuals walk farmers through the methods of breeding new crop varieties on the farm.

OFRF Board Member Doug Crabtree to Receive Organic Trade Association’s Organic Farmer of the Year Award

OFRF is pleased to announce that Board Member Doug Crabtree will be honored at the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Leadership Awards Celebration on September 17 in Baltimore, Maryland. The association presents Organic Leadership Awards to recognize outstanding visionaries who demonstrate how organic practices can change our world for the better. Doug, as an organic farmer and policy advocate who strives to make his farming operation a compelling example of a better way to farm, certainly fits the bill.

“We were delighted (but not surprised) to learn that Doug Crabtree, now in his second term on OFRF’s board, has been named the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Farmer of the Year,” said OFRF Board President Meg Moynihan. “Doug is a passionate advocate for organic agriculture.”