Why Organic - News

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.

Passage of New Farm Bill Unlikely to Meet Deadline

Congress has less than a week to pass a new Farm Bill before the current law expires on September 30th. With the Ag Committee negotiators far apart on major issues, the chances of a Farm Bill getting done on time are slim.

The last time this happened, in 2012, Congress passed short term extensions to keep Farm Bill programs running. This time, an extension of current law isn't being considered yet. Both Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow have suggested an extension may not be necessary until the end of 2018 because much of the existing policies would not revert to decades-old law until the start of 2019.

Expo East – Braving the Storm

By Tim Schultz, Vice President of Research & Development for Lundberg Family Farms and OFRF Board Member

This year’s Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore began with a flurry of excitement as Hurricane Florence headed for the Southeast Coast of the United States. Early in the week, the Governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency in anticipation of potentially devastating wind, rain, and storm surge. By the time the show opened, it was pretty clear the storm and its horrendous damage, would be focused much further south, and the show continued on, though many registrants decided not to brave the elements.

Brise Tencer Interviewed for Food Sleuth Radio

OFRF Executive Director, Brise Tencer was interviewed by Food Sleuth Radio for a podcast that aired August 30th. In the episode, host Melinda Hemmelgarn asks Brise to explain the benefits of organic food and farming and how certification helps both farmers and consumers.

Farm Bill Conference Committee Meets as Deadline Approaches

The Farm Bill Conference Committee, composed of nine Senators and 47 Representatives, met publicly for the first time on September 6th. The House and Senate each passed different versions of the Farm Bill this year, tasking the Conference Committee with crafting a final version that will have to go back to both the House and Senate for approval, before being sent to the President for signature before it expires on September 30, 2018. This is no small task.

Why It’s Important to Keep USDA ERS Independent

By Carolyn Dimitri, Associate Professor of Food Studies, New York University, Board Member, OFRF

Earlier this month, Secretary Sonny Perdue of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced his intention to move the Economic Research Service (ERS) from Washington, DC and place it under the direction of the politically appointed Office of the Chief Economist. These changes will result in the loss of expertise and jeopardize the quality, relevance, and overall integrity of the agency’s research.

University of Idaho Expands with New Organic Agriculture Center in Sandpoint

Organic and sustainable agricultural research, education, and outreach will be the focus at a stunning new facility donated to the University of Idaho by Dennis Pence of Sandpoint. The Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center features 50 acres of organic orchards and 30 acres for plot work, student projects, education, and outreach, as well as a dormitory and a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen.

Michael Parrella, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences dean, said the new center will help U of I link more effectively with the local community and provide a template for programs that focus both on local food systems and bigger agriculture 

OFRF Seeks Abstracts for 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum

 
August 15, 2018 – OFRF is pleased to announce the 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum to be presented in partnership with Organicology on February 16, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. 

OFRF Funded Researchers Aim to Boost Organic Grain Production in Upper Peninsula

In 2017, OFRF awarded a grant to researchers at Michigan State University to examine organic grain productivity in support of the organic livestock industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Organic grain production is virtually non-existent in the area and sourcing outside of the region is quite costly. The goal of this project is to increase knowledge of grain performance in an organic system, leading to the expansion of certified organic grain production and entry into the growing market for natural or organically produced meat.

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