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Mark Keating's picture

USDA is on the Wrong Course When it Comes to GE Crops

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Consultant

          Today is the deadline for submitting your comments to USDA on the future of “coexistence”, the term the Department uses to describe the working relationship between farmers raising organic and non-GE crops and those who do plant GE varieties.  It is important that you share your informed opinion on this subject with the USDA since it must by law take into account the public comment it receives when formulating future policies.

OFRF Announces New Grant Round for Funding Organic Research

Contact: Brise Tencer, Executive Director

(831) 426-6606

brise@ofrf.org

For immediate release: Friday, February 14, 2014

Mark Keating's picture

USDA wants to hear from you: How Should GMO Seeds Be Regulated?

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Consultant

           USDA is currently requesting public comment on two milestone decisions involving GMO seeds and your voice is needed if we are to reject the status quo and build an organic future for American agriculture. The cutoff periods for public comment are approaching February 24 and March 4.  For too long, USDA has ignored sound science and public opinion by sanctioning the unrestricted release of GMO seeds and their leniency has produced devastating consequences for the environment, rural communities and family farmers.

Mark Keating's picture

GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR ORGANIC LIVESTOCK AND CROP PRODUCERS

    By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Consultant

     There is another organic research victory to celebrate beyond the $100 million over five years allocated to the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) in the new Farm Bill. The USDA announced this week that it is accepting applications for the 2014 Organic Transitions (ORG) program to fund the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices.  While limited to a total of $4 million for the program and an upper limit of $500,000 for individual projects, ORG grants are highly effective at bringing together agricultural professionals – primarily research scientists and extension educators – with working organic farmers to explore practical solutions to common production challenges and constraints.

2014 Farm Bill a Victory for Organic Farming

For immediate release: February 4, 2014

Contact: Brise Tencer, Executive Director

(831) 426-6606, brise@ofrf.org

 (Santa Cruz, CA)–The Organic Farming Research Foundation, which has advocated for restoration of funding for organic programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, is reacting positively to the news of passage of the Farm Bill by the Senate today. The Farm Bill restores long overdue support for organic agriculture including significant funding increases for the Organic Extension and Research Initiative (OREI), the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP), the National Organic Program (NOP) and the Organic Data Initiative (ODI). Despite significant shortcomings in the commodity, conservation and crop insurance titles of the proposal, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is celebrating the victories for organic agriculture found in the bill and urging the president to sign it.

OFRF-Funded Book Helps Organic Farmers Avoid Contamination from Genetically Engineered Crops



Press Release

Contact:
Brise Tencer, Executive Director

(831) 426-6606

brise@ofrf.org

For Immediate Release: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

(Santa Cruz, CA) Today marks the publishing of the book, Protecting Organic Seed Integrity, the first of its kind to define best practices for farmers who want to avoid contamination of their seeds from genetically engineered (GE) crops. These are sometimes referred to as GMOs.

 
The book, funded in part by a $10,966 grant from OFRF, is published by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) and was distributed to 450 farmers
at this week’s 7th Annual Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis, Oregon, one of the nation’s largest organic seed conferences. Beginning today, OSGATA is providing copies of the book to organic farmers without cost.
Karen Adler's picture

Sowing the Seeds of Organic Integrity

At the recent EcoFarm Conference in California, I attended a session called “Keeping GMOs out of Organic Food and Farms.” The panel included representatives from an organic food company, an environmental advocacy group, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and an organic dairy. At a time when the clamor for organic food is greater than ever, these activists, along with thousands of people involved in organic food and farming all over the world, are concerned about the growing threat of GMO (genetically modified organism) contamination.

One thing is clear: we are at a crucial tipping point regarding the future of organic juxtaposed against the genetic engineering of our food supply. And on the frontline are seeds—the very basis of life. As Vandana Shiva says, “Seed is created to renew, to multiply, to be shared, and to spread. Seed is life itself.”

Mark Keating's picture

Action Alert - Farm Bill: Organic Victories Tempered by More of the Same Industrial Ag

By Mark Keating, OFRF Policy Advisor

UPDATE 1/29/14 : Victory for Organic Farmers:  House passes new Farm Bill; Senate vote expected within days.

House and Senate negotiators have agreed upon on a new five year Farm Bill which significantly increases support for key organic initiatives including the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP), Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Organic Data Initiative (ODI).  The bill, which must still pass the House and Senate, also contains $5 million to modernize the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) and increases funding for local, beginning and sustainable agriculture programs including $150 million over five years for the Farmers Market Promotion Program.  The bill also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to consider the establishment of a dedicated Organic Research and Promotion Program, should the community elect to pursue one.  These groundbreaking victories, however, must be weighed against the billions of dollars which this proposal commits to the failed industrial agriculture model.

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