Why Organic - News

Farm Bill Passes House and Senate

After years of work and months of back and forth negotiations, the 2018 Farm Bill passed the House and Senate and is on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

This bipartisan bill makes long-overdue investments in organics and the future of American agriculture. The bill provides historic permanent baseline funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), continues to support the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, provides increased funding and enforcement authority for the National Organic Program, and supports the vital Organic Market and Production Data Initiative.

Historic Permanent Funding for Organic Research Secured in Farm Bill

December 11, 2018—Thanks to the hard work of OFRF and a broad coalition of organic champions, we have secured historic wins for organic agricultural research in the 2018 Farm Bill, which will provide $395 million for organic agriculture research and education over the next 10 years. This milestone is the biggest win for organic farming in the Farm Bill in decades, securing permanent funding for organic research at USDA.

New Climate Guide Evaluates Best Organic Practices in Curbing Climate Change

December 4, 2018—Today the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) released the eighth guidebook in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series. Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration examines research related to the capacity of sustainable organic systems and practices to sequester soil carbon and minimize nitrous oxide and methane emissions. The guide includes practical advice for reducing an organic farm’s “carbon footprint” and adapting to climate disruptions already underway. 

Senate Holds Hearing for the Chief Scientist at USDA

Even in the midst of a tense Farm Bill negotiation, the Senate Agriculture Committee convened to hear from the nominees for key positions at USDA. The nominees are, Mindy Brashears for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, Naomi C. Earp for Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights, and Scott Hutchins, for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics also known as the “Chief Scientist” at USDA.

OFRF Board Member Heather Darby Receives USDA OREI Grant

Until recently, organic milk was one of the fastest growing sectors in organic agriculture. However; with prices declining, interest in transitioning to grass-fed production methods is increasing. Expansion in this market has been particularly significant in the Northeast where farmers face challenging climate conditions that complicate cropping of traditional feed crops such as corn silage and therefore encourage more grass-based systems.

USDA Organic Research Program Stalled Until New Farm Bill Passes

With the expiration of the 2014 Farm Bill on September 30, 2018, Congress allowed a wide range of important food and farm programs to also expire. These programs lost their authority to operate, and in some cases their funding. Among the programs thrown into limbo by this delayed Farm Bill is the main competitive organic research grant program at USDA, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). 

OFRF at SupplySide West

SupplySide West is coming up in Las Vegas November 6th through the 10th. OFRF's Executive Director, Brise Tencer, will be speaking on "The State of Organic" on Friday, November 9th at 11:30 as part of Esca Bona at SupplySide West Education, a platform to engage and serve companies working to create a better food system.

New Study Associates Organic Diet with Reduced Risk of Cancer

A new study reported in the New York Times on October 22nd examines the relationship between an organic food-based diet and cancer risk. Funded entirely by public and government funds at the Center of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cite, researchers collected data for five years on the consumption frequency and dietary intake of 68,946 French adults, primarily women.

New Webinar Series on Soil Health in the Western U.S.

Please join OFRF and eOrganic for a series of eight free webinar trainings on organic farming and soil health in the Western U.S. The webinars will target agricultural professionals including Extension personnel, other agency personnel, and agricultural consultants in an effort to increase expertise in organic practices that promote soil health.

More than 1,100 Scientists Oppose USDA Agency Moves

(October 1, 2018)—More than 1,100 scientists and economists from across the country sent a letter to congressional leaders today, opposing the Trump administration’s proposal to reorganize and relocate key research branches at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The proposed changes threaten scientific integrity at the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and could further marginalize their critical research from policymaking, according to the letter. If Secretary Perdue’s plans are realized, the ERS and NIFA will be relocated from their current offices in Washington, DC, and the ERS will be transferred to the aegis of the Office of the Chief Economist, which reports to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

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