2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Re-Cap

The Organic Agriculture Research Symposium brought together researchers, students, farmers and others from across the US for an informative and interactive day in Pacific Grove, California this week.

Free Webinars from USDA and eOrganics

USDA is hosting a webinar to discuss the request for application to two NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) organic grant programs: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions. The webinar will include a brief description of the two programs followed by a Q & A session. 

2016 OREI and ORG Request for Applications Webinars

USDA will host a webinar on Thursday February 11, 2016, from 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Time, to discuss the request for application to two NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) organic grant programs:

Making Farms Safer with Conservation Practices

Co-Managing Farm Stewardship with Food Safety GAPs and Conservation Practices: A Grower’s and Conservationist’s Handbook is now available. The handbook was co-written by Jo Ann Baumgartner, Executive Director of the Wild Farm Alliance, and partially funded through a research grant from OFRF.

A valuable resource for growers and conservationists, the handbook describes many opportunities for making farms safer by reducing pathogen presence with conservation practices and food safety Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs).

Organic Agriculture Research Symposium 2016 Live Broadcast

Plenary and key workshop sessions from the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS) will be broadcast as webinars. The conference takes place at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California on Wednesday, January 20, 2016. 

New Businesses Emerge as Demand for Organic Grows

The first fast-food chain certified organic by the USDA is receiving rave reviews. The Organic Coup, conceived by former Costco executive, Erica Welton, opened its first location in Pleasanton, California in 2015. The menu is simple: organic, air-chilled chicken fried in coconut oil and served as a sandwich, wrap or bowl.

In a recent article in Business Insider, Welton said, "We saw this huge shift happening at Costco with people purchasing more and more organic food." While the increased availability of organic ingredients is great, Welton provides a convenient organic option for those times when cooking is out of the question.

New Ruling Provides Exemption from Commodity Checkoff Programs

A new ruling, published by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service on December 31, 2015, exempts organic farmers and handlers from paying into commodity checkoff programs. USDA has estimated that the expanded exemption would save the organic industry $13.6 million.

Organic Agriculture Research Symposium Scholarships

The Organic Farming Research Foundation is pleased to announce the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to attend the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, a pre-conference on January 20, 2016 at the EcoFarm Conference in Asilomar, CA. Students, farmers and researchers who would like to apply for a scholarship of up to $350 should submit a letter of interest to by January 10th.

Organic Seed Key to Healthy Productive Crops

An article in Modern Farmer discussing the importance of organic seed to the future of agriculture, featured several organic researchers and farmers whose work provided the ingredients for a dinner in St. Helena, California benefitting Seed Matters. 

Seed Matters, an initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation, is working to improve the viability and availability of organic seed to ensure healthy, nutritious and productive crops. Their goal is to take the whole farm-to-table movement one layer deeper—from seed-to-farm-to-table. Matthew Dillon, who oversees the Seed Matters initiative, emphasized the importance of organic methods, “Seeds created in a conventional, chemically dependent environment yield far less resilient plants.”

Soil Health Institute Announced in Washington

To ensure that soil continues to be a vital natural resource for generations to come, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation announced the formation of the Soil Health Institute at an event on December 3, 2015.


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