Why Organic - News

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 8 acres of organic orchards, surrounded by 8 acres of organic field plots, 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.

Cucumber and Melon Research Field Day

OFRF awarded a grant to Common Wealth Seed Growers in 2018 to assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks. Farmers throughout the Eastern U.S. cite these diseases as issues; this project is a direct response to the need for new resistant varities that have the potential to make management easier, decrease losses, and extend the harvest period.

OFRF Announces New Process & Schedule for Next Grant Round

July 15, 2018—With demand for their research grants growing every year, OFRF is modifying its grant funding process to include a Letter of Intent prior to the submission of a full proposal.

“We are thrilled at the level of interest in our grants and the impact our funding has made over the years." says Diana Jerkins, OFRF’s Research Director. “Starting the cycle a little earlier with a Letter of Intent will help us prioritize the projects that most closely match our funding priorities." 

Taking the Next Steps for Organic in the Farm Bill

In a sweeping show of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 86-11 to pass their version of the Farm Bill. With the House passing a different version of the bill without Democratic support, lawmakers will meet later this summer to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. With the current Farm Bill set to expire on September 30, 2018 there is a lot riding on this process. 

Here is a comparison of some of the organic provisions.

House of Representatives Passes a Farm Bill

While the House Farm Bill was wholly opposed by Democrats, who were joined by some Republicans in their opposition, the House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill, by a vote of 213-211 with two Republicans and two Democrats not voting.

The U.S. Senate is currently working on their text for the Farm Bill (read about it here), which is different than the House version. If the House and Senate pass different bills, the differences will be parsed out in conference committee, and if approved, will go to the President to be signed into law.

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