USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture

In an effort to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, USDA is expanding a crop insurance option that will allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product’s actual value. Certified organic products often return higher profits for farmers; however, it can take producers three years to transition from conventional to certified organic production.

New Study: Organic Agriculture Key to Helping Feed the World Sustainably

Washington State University researchers, John Reganold and Jonathan Wachter reviewed 40 years of science comparing the long-term prospects of organic and conventional farming. Hundreds of scientific studies later, their review provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment, and be safer for farm workers.

Learn How to Calculate Your Farm's Biodiversity

The Organic Center and Furman University are presenting a webinar about measuring on-farm biodiversity using a simple, free public tool called the Healthy Farm Index. The Healthy Farm Index is a biodiversity and ecosystem service planning and monitoring tool for farmers to better understand the direct connection to actions taken and responses at the farm scale. 

Research Explores Biological Control Against Fusarium Pathogens in Corn

The pathogenic fungus Fusarium threatens the integrity of corn crops in the form of blights and by producing mycotoxins, which can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. Efforts to control its spread are complicated because the fungus often resides in seeds; however, biological control microorganisms offer a promising organic alternative to chemical seed treatments.

National Organic Program Update from Eco-Farm Conference

The National Organic Program Update at the Eco-Farm Conference in Pacific Grove on January 22nd, provided a wealth of information for organic and transitioning farmers. The session featured Amy Lamendella, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in California, Miles McEvoy National Organic Program (NOP) in Washington, D.C., and Jean Richardson, National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), Vermont.

Grant Programs Help Ease Transition to Organic

North Dakota and Minnesota are providing grants to help ease the financial burden on farmers transitioning from conventional to organic farming. Hopefully, this will serve as a model to help other states create programs.

CSP Boosts Minimum Contract Payment: Signups Open Now

Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year have until March 31st to submit their initial applications to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). USDA will enroll 10 million acres of farm and ranch land in the program in 2016, with payments to farmers and ranchers of over three-quarters of a billion dollars over the next five years.

Kathleen Merrigan on List of Influential Women in Agriculture

OFRF Advisory Committee member, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, was included on Food Tank’s list of 27 influential women in food and agriculture. The announcement was made on January 28th.

Merrigan currently serves as Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, where she leads the GWU Sustainability Collaborative and GWU Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy.

USDA Announces $18.9 Million for Future Agriculture Scientists and Educators

On January 27, 2016, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced the availability of $18.9 million in competitive grants to support fellowships addressing challenges in nutrition, food security, climate change and other agricultural areas.

Fred Kirschenmann to Speak at OFRF's Annual Benefit Luncheon

We are delighted to announce that Fred Kirschenmann, a world-renowned leader in sustainable agriculture, will be the keynote speaker at OFRF's 19thAnnual Benefit Luncheon, kicking off the 2016 Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

Kirschenmann shares an appointment as Distinguished Fellow for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and as President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York.

Kirschenmann converted his family’s farm in North Dakota to a certified organic operation in 1976 and continues to manage the farm. He developed a diverse crop rotation that has enabled him to farm productively without synthetic inputs, while simultaneously improving the health of the soil.


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