OFRF and FFAR Fund Research on Increasing the Productivity and Market Value of Pulse Crops for Arid Organic Conditions

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – December 23, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its sixth award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Dr. Travis Parker of University of California – Davis was awarded $19,970.00 to research dependable pulse crops for arid regions that promote the ecological and financial sustainability of organic farms.

Legume crops provide plentiful plant protein and have several agronomic advantages for organic farmers, including the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Certain legume species and varieties provide further advantages, including extreme heat tolerance, low water requirements, and high market value. Despite this, little is known about their yields in organically-managed arid environments, and little breeding has been done to improve their agronomic performance.

This research will screen diverse cowpeas and tepary beans to identify varieties that can outcompete standard commercial pulses, and evaluate and select varieties of common bean specifically for organic environments. Researchers will also use novel sequencing and molecular biology techniques to identify the genes governing the most valuable heirloom common bean seed color patterns.

By evaluating specific pulse varieties, researchers hope to find varieties with higher yields, while conducting genetic investigation that will facilitate genetics-informed breeding of high-value, high-productivity beans. A greater understanding of these traits will help lead to more widespread adoption of pulse crops for more dependable and resilient organic rotations in arid regions.

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

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Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

By |2022-12-19T20:03:22+00:00December 21st, 2022|Press Release|

OFRF & FFAR fund On-Farm Research of Best Management Practices for Including Cover Crops in Midwestern Corn

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – December 9, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its fifth award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Axel Garcia y Garcia of the University of Minnesota, was awarded $20,000 to research effective management practices to  include cover crops into long-season cash crops.

Inclusion of cover crops continues to be a priority for organic farmers, but many struggle with successful establishment in long-season cash crops, especially in the upper Midwest. Typical practices of aerial seeding into standing corn and drilling after fall harvest have yielded inconsistent results leading to low adoption rates. Farmer ingenuity has fueled many independent investigations that spark interest, but have lingering questions on timing, species selection, and methods that demand answers to make the outcomes repeatable and consistent.

This project will address these needs by evaluating how well different cover crop species establish depending on method of seeding. It will help determine the effects of cover crop species on corn yield, soil fertility and weed incidence. By including several species, this research will evaluate treatment interactions to help understand best management practices for individual cover crop species. Researchers hope that this information could potentially help growers select species based on their production system and available equipment.

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

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Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/ 

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

By |2022-12-05T21:36:58+00:00December 8th, 2022|Press Release|

OFRF and FFAR Fund On-Farm Organic Research of Companion Plantings for a New Invasive Brassica Pest

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – November 3, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its third award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Christiana Huss of the University of Georgia, was awarded $19,977 to research companion plants that reduce the destruction caused by invasive yellow-margined leaf beetle (Microtheca ochroloma) on leafy brassica greens across the Southeastern United States.

The yellow-margined leaf beetle is an invasive pest that threatens organic production of  high value leafy brassica greens across the Southeast and beyond as winters become milder. This research will evaluate an innovative landscape ecology approach that involves a combination of repellant intercrops and attractant companion plants in a “push-pull” design for bio-control of the pest.

“Finding a suitable companion plant is an accessible approach for many farmers who wish to lessen their chemical inputs for pest control.” said Huss, principal investigator for the project. “We are thrilled to explore this technique and hope to find a solution!”

This project will leverage agricultural diversity to mitigate the destruction of the invasive M. ochroloma on brassica greens by testing potential intercrops’ ability to repel M. ochroloma. The project will then be assisted by ten organic farmers to trial the most successful combination of companion plants for managing M. ochroloma on their own farms.

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

###

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/ 

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

By |2022-10-27T17:40:56+00:00November 2nd, 2022|Press Release|

OFRF Gives Presents the 2022 National Organic Research Agenda to the National Organic Standards Board

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF., Oct. 2022)—Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) presented the National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), a comprehensive report that examines current needs and challenges of organic farmers and ranchers across the country and provides policy and research recommendations to address producer-identified issues. The national organic survey data boasts responses from over 1,100 producers and 16 listening sessions held across the U.S. 

“Organic farming has been historically under-invested in, in terms of research, education and extension,” says OFRF Executive Director Brise Tencer. “The 2022 National Organic Research Agenda presents incredible feedback directly from organic farmers and provides a compelling roadmap for how to best support the growth of this important sector of agriculture. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) members and the audience were very interested in how our research agenda aligns with the USDA’s new Organic Transition Initiative (OTI) investments.”

As part of its Food System Transformation Framework, the USDA’s OTI is taking meaningful steps toward supporting both organically-certified farmers and ranchers as well as producers who wish to transition into organic production. OFRF has been working alongside policymakers and industry partners to advocate for this crucial investment that supports producers’ adoption of organic management while building a resilient and equitable food system.


NORA report findings indicate that managing production costs is a substantial challenge for 71% of producers surveyed, and an overwhelming number of producers (76%) expressed substantial need for technical assistance with the organic management of weeds, pests, and disease. In addition to detailing farmer challenges on and off the field, OFRF’s NORA report provides a comparison analysis of farmer responses based on commodity, location, and farming experience.

The NORA report is available online (www.ofrf.org/research/nora/) free of charge to farmers, policymakers, ag suppliers, seed companies, and the general public.

 

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About Organic Farming Research Foundation

Organic Farming Research Foundation 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.

http://www.ofrf.org/

 

Media Contact

TKTK

By |2022-10-27T20:28:58+00:00October 27th, 2022|News, Press Release|

OFRF & FFAR Fund Research on Organic Farming System for BIPOC and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

(SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. – October 25, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its third award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Dr. Jennifer Taylor of Lola’s Organic Farm was awarded $20,000 to conduct participatory research and outreach to build capacity for access to and engagement in organic farming systems and organic agriculture for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and socially disadvantaged farmers.

This farmer-led research project titled, “Organic For All”, is a participatory capacity building agricultural research and outreach project that will help identify needs, hindrances and barriers with BIPOC farmers and work together to develop solutions and resources through relevant learning sessions that provide education, hands-on training, and technical assistance. The Organic For All project is designed to help farmers walk through the development of their own organic farming systems or organic agroecology farm practices and organic agriculture.

“This project, and on-farm research in general, enables relationship-building with the farmer, the community, and researchers. It builds a unique opportunity to support the specific needs of that farmer and says to the world that farmers have important knowledge to share,” said Taylor.

This project will address the gap in participation and access opportunities for socially disadvantaged farmers, BIPOC farmers and underserved farming populations to provide training and education. Outreach efforts will build relationships for greater access and participation in organic farming systems and organic agriculture.

This year’s research grant program prioritized farmers, early career researchers, and BIPOC applicants. The six projects chosen focus on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience and have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000.00 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

###

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/ 

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

By |2022-10-25T16:14:53+00:00October 25th, 2022|Press Release|

USDA Announces Organic Transition Initiative Investments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Funding toward Technical and Direct Farmer Assistance, Market Development

(August 22, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the initial details on a historic $300 million investment in the Organic Transition Initiative. As part of its Food System Transformation Framework, the USDA is taking important steps toward supporting both organically-certified farmers and ranchers and producers who wish to transition into organic production. Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has been working alongside policymakers and industry partners to advocate for this crucial investment that supports producers’ adoption of organic management while building a resilient and equitable food system.

“Organic farming brings environmental and economic benefits to communities across the country, but has historically been under-invested in,” said Brise Tencer, OFRF Executive Director. “This is a meaningful investment in key programs to support organic and transitioning farmers. We have advocated for these goals for many years and it is exciting to see them come to fruition.”

“We are expanding USDA’s support of organic farmers to help them with every step of their transition as they work to become certified and secure markets for their products,” said  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA’s announcement proposes four primary Organic Transition Initiative investments:

  • Transition to Organic Partnership Program: Up to $100M in wrap-around technical assistance for organic transition across six regions and includes farmer-to-farmer mentoring. This program will be managed by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
  • Organic Pinpointed Market Development Support: Up to $100M in organic supply chain improvements that provides more and better market options for producers seeking support in areas such as organic processing capacity and infrastructure, market access, and insufficient supply of certain organic ingredients. This program will be managed by USDA’s AMS.
  • Organic Management: $75M for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a new Organic Management conservation practice standard and offer financial and technical assistance to producers who implement the practice.
  • Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance (TOGA): $25M for USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to support transitioning and certain certified organic producers in reducing cost related to crop insurance coverage.

The USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative programming directly responds to research findings in OFRF’s 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA). Overwhelmingly, organic and transitioning-to-organic producers surveyed found “farmer-to-farmer networks and mentoring are by far the most effective ways to obtain and share information.” Additionally, finding and developing markets for organic products was a leading non-production challenge among organic farmers surveyed in the 2022 NORA report. 

“We are thrilled to see this investment,” said Gordon N. Merrick, OFRF Policy & Programs Manager, but also added, “Importantly though, we must remember that this is Agency action with a limited time table. We are committed to making sure we see meaningful support for organic agriculture be codified in the Farm Bill in 2023, which is just around the corner.” 

With the 2023 Farm Bill season beginning in earnest after the finish of August recess, Members of Congress will start introducing marker bills and staking out positions on important issues. OFRF will be working closely with its partners on Capitol Hill to ensure there are the necessary resources and organic research for producers to transition to or maintain organic farming systems as seamlessly as possible. 

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About Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Farming Research Foundation 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.
http://www.ofrf.org/

Policy Contact
Gordon Merrick, OFRF Policy & Programs Manager, gordon@ofrf.org

Media Contact
Caroline Baptist, OFRF Communications Manager, caroline@ofrf.org

 

By |2022-08-22T15:45:41+00:00August 22nd, 2022|News, Press Release|

OFRF Provides Testimony to full House Ag Committee on the Role of Climate Research Supporting Ag Resiliency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(JULY 6, 2022) – Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Research & Education Program Manager Thelma Vélez, PhD, recently testified before the full House Agriculture Committee hearing on “The Role of Climate Research in Supporting Agricultural Resiliency.” As one of five panelists invited to share their expertise, Vélez summarized research findings that demonstrate the potential for organic systems to mitigate climate change and build resilience. Her testimony and extensive Q&A reflected Dr. Vélez’s 15+ years of interdisciplinary research experience and thorough recommendations for more investment in organic research, education, and extension to support American farmers and ranchers. The hearing took place on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 10:00 AM ET, and is publicly available for viewing on the House Ag Democrats YouTube channel.

“OFRF was honored by the invitation to speak before the full House Agriculture Committee,” said Brise Tencer, OFRF Executive Director. “We are proud to share our expertise based on many years of reviewing and tracking research related to organic farming and climate mitigation and adaptation.”

Vélez was the first to speak before the full House Agriculture Committee, roughly 20 minutes into the livestreamed hearing. “While the organic method has been shown to have great potential to contribute to both climate mitigation and climate resilience, much more action-oriented research is needed to make widespread adoption possible,” testified Vélez.

Throughout the three-hour meeting, Vélez responded to questions from House Representatives including Alma Adams, Shontel Brown, Bobby Rush, Chellie Pingree, Glenn Thompson, Rick Allen, Annie Kuster, Angie Craig, and Jim Baird.

“It was an honor to be invited to weigh in on a critical issue facing our nation and impacting the backbone of our food system,” said Vélez. “It is clear that many representatives are concerned with building resilience across America’s farms and the message that organic growers are leaders in this movement was well received.”

In her testimony, Vélez cited OFRF’s recently published 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), a 230-page report compiling survey results and listening session data from over 1,000 certified organic producers. Over half of the farmers surveyed were concerned with adapting to climate change and nearly 90% stated they implemented regenerative soil health management practices, such as cover cropping, a climate-friendly practice.

When fielded a question from Rep. Kat Cammack, Vélez drew from experience with South Florida farmers who focused on carbon sequestration and soil fertility. In conversation with Rep. Stacey Plaskett, Vélez advocated for increased investment in climate research for U.S. Territories. Having researched and worked with farmers building resilience to a changing climate in the Caribbean, Vélez recommended a focus on farmer-led work and “researchers on the ground with farmers.”

OFRF has led organic farming and research initiatives since its inception in 1993 and has advocated for federal policy supporting integrated research, education, and outreach to farmers who build healthy resilient farming systems that withstand climate change and steward the land for future generations. “It is a testament to how OFRF serves as a reliable and consistent resource on the sound science behind organic farming systems,” said Tencer.

On June 24, 2022, OFRF submitted supplemental testimony to the House Committee on Agriculture. The organization recommends expanded support of key USDA research programs including the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE), in the next Farm Bill. Citing its 2022 NORA report, OFRF also advocates for investments in technical assistance, university extension, and farmer training.

The testimony also states that organic agriculture is a proven strategy to help build resilience in the face of supply chain disruptions and climate change. Organic agriculture maximizes the effective use and cycling of on-farm and regionally-sourced resources and minimizes reliance on industrially produced inputs. Organic farmers produce food every day without relying on synthetic fertilizer – supplies for which have been impacted by the war in Ukraine. OFRF supports actionable research that focuses on the wide adoption of organic systems of production and the climate resiliency services it offers.

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About Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Farming Research Foundation 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. http://www.ofrf.org/

Media Contact
Caroline Baptist, OFRF Communications Manager, caroline@ofrf.org

By |2022-07-06T17:55:49+00:00July 6th, 2022|News, Press Release|

OFRF and FFAR Announce On-Farm Organic Research Grant Addressing Climate Resilience for Coffee Producers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(June 29, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its second award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Alejandra Guzman Luna, affiliated with Universidad Veracruzana and in collaboration with the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative at the University of Vermont, was awarded $19,970 to evaluate organic farming practices for staple crops in Chiapas, Mexico.

Mexico’s highland region of Sierra Madre del Sur, known for its coffee production, has been severely impacted by the climate crisis. The local area experiences food insecurity and total profitability for smallholder coffee producers remains volatile. This project takes a participatory research and demonstration approach to develop and integrate organic staple crop production into more sustainable organic coffee agro-ecosystems.

“Diversity and mutual collaborations are always the best way to approach agriculture and research,” said Guzman Luna, principal investigator for the project. “I am thankful to OFRF for founding our Participatory Action Research designed and carried out with smallholder coffee producers to move staple crops into organic practices in the south of Mexico.”

The project will address the perceived lack of viable organic alternatives in growing staple crops such as corn and bean. The research team will conduct a participatory diagnosis of the challenges of growing staple crops organically; co-design and establish four experimental and educational plots; and systematize the results and widely disseminate them to local ag leaders and communities, other smallholder coffee cooperatives in the region, actors in the coffee value chain, scholars, and general public.

“Organic systems that emphasize soil health help farmers and ranchers increase resilience to the impacts of climate change,” said OFRF’s Executive Director Brise Tencer. “We are pleased to invest in farmer/researcher collaborations that support science-based solutions addressing the most pressing challenges facing organic farmers and ranchers today.”

This year’s program prioritized farmers, early career researchers and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) applicants. Six projects focused on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

“FFAR is thrilled to support six organic research grants through this collaboration with the Organic Farming Research Foundation,” said Dr. LaKisha Odom, FFAR scientific program director. “These research grants are funding audacious soil management techniques that enhance crop productivity, improve environmental health and support increased farmer resiliency to severe weather events.”

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

(Photos: Traditional and organic milpa of Doña Amalia, a member of the coffee cooperative.)

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Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

https://foundationfar.org/


Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.

http://ofrf.org

By |2022-06-29T23:01:44+00:00June 29th, 2022|News, Press Release|

OFRF’s Thelma Vélez to Speak to House Agriculture Committee on Agricultural Resiliency, Climate Research

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(June 14, 2022)Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Research & Education Program Manager Thelma Vélez, PhD, will testify before the full House Agriculture Committee hearing on “The Role of Climate Research in Supporting Agricultural Resiliency.” Vélez was invited to share her expertise and will be summarizing research findings that demonstrate the potential for organic systems to mitigate climate change and build resilience. She will also recommend more investment in organic research, education, and extension to support American farmers and ranchers in implementing the best practices for climate mitigation and adaptation. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 10:00 AM ET, and will be live streamed on the House Ag Democrats YouTube channel.

Vélez has over 15 years of interdisciplinary agriculture and food systems research experience. She will speak on behalf of Organic Farming Research Foundation, a national nonprofit that works closely with researchers, organic farmers, and policy makers across the U.S. to understand the challenges farmers face, and to provide the research and education tools needed to help them thrive.

OFRF recently published its 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), a 230-page report compiling survey results and listening session data from over 1,000 certified organic producers. Over half of these farmers were concerned with adapting to climate change and nearly 90% of NORA participants implemented regenerative soil health management such as cover cropping, a climate-friendly practice.

“Less than 1% of the USDA’s annual research budget is spent on organic production topics, which is not aligned with the organic sector’s continually growing market share of 6%,” says Vélez. “While the organic method has been shown to have great potential to contribute to both climate mitigation and climate resilience, much more action-oriented research is needed to make widespread adoption possible.”

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Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

Media Contact
Caroline Baptist, OFRF Communications Manager, caroline@ofrf.org

By |2022-06-15T10:11:32+00:00June 14th, 2022|News, Press Release|

OFRF and FFAR Announce Research Grant on Organic Farming Approaches to Coffee Leaf Rust Disease

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(June 9, 2022) – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are pleased to announce its first award for the 2021/22 OFRF organic research grant cycle. Colehour Bondera of Kanalani Ohana Farm was awarded $19,900 to research organic farming systems options for controlling Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) on five organic farms in Kona, Hawaii.

This farmer-led research project takes a whole-systems approach to evaluate plant health-based options for managing coffee leaf rust (CLR), a potentially devastating disease for all coffee growers but especially organic farmers. Long-term organic growers have seen limited efforts in the state to explore or disseminate information about organic approaches to dealing with this new coffee disease.

“Funding from this OFRF grant provides an opportunity to help working farmers address the arrival of a new pest via farmer-directed research,” says Bondera. “By seeking community involvement and buy-in, this project supports the work of five participating organic farms to learn and work with Hawaii-produced coffee tree inputs to seek impacts at controlling the pest, coffee leaf rust – CLR, which currently has no known long-term solution in the global coffee industry.”

The project will research coffee leaf rust management by increasing biodiversity, using on-farm and island-made inputs and sequestering more carbon through increased soil organic matter. The impacts of additional fertilizer and indigenous micro-organisms (IMO) sprays on reducing CLR will be monitored and tested, with University of Hawaii organic system faculty assisting with analyses. Farmers will oversee research, data analysis and dissemination through already established networks in the community.

“We are thrilled to be able to invest in this research that supports the success of a key organic crop in Hawaii,” said Brise Tencer, OFRF Executive Director.

This year’s program prioritized farmers, early career researchers and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) applicants. Six projects focused on climate mitigation and building on-farm resilience have been awarded a grand total of $119,817 in funding. The 2021/22 cycle was made possible by a $66,000 grant from FFAR and matching funds from OFRF and its research partners.

“FFAR is thrilled to support six organic research grants through this collaboration with the Organic Farming Research Foundation,” said Dr. LaKisha Odom, FFAR scientific program director. “These research grants are funding audacious soil management techniques that enhance crop productivity, improve environmental health and support increased farmer resiliency to severe weather events.”

To date, OFRF has invested over $3 million in 361 grants across North America to advance scientific knowledge and improve the ecological sustainability and economic prosperity of organic farming systems. All OFRF-funded research must involve farmers or ranchers in project design and implementation, take place on certified organic land, and include strong education and outreach components. All research results are freely available in OFRF’s online database.

###

Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.
https://foundationfar.org/ 

Organic Farming Research Foundation
The 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. Project results are shared freely at ofrf.org. OFRF also provides free access to all of its educational materials and resources.
http://ofrf.org

Media Contact
Caroline Baptist, OFRF Communications Manager, caroline@ofrf.org

By |2022-06-09T19:02:54+00:00June 9th, 2022|News, Press Release|
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