General

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.

Fresh From the Fields: Common Wealth Seed Growers

In 2018, OFRF awarded a grant to Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers in Virginia to assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seed stocks, and to continue with the development of a pickling cucumber that is resistant to both diseases.

 

Register Now for Free Webinar Series on Soil Health

OFRF and eOrganic invite you to attend a series of free webinars exploring the most recent research on soil health practices and how organic growers can build healthy soils on their operations.

The webinars provide practical guidelines for growers, in-depth analysis of research outcomes, and an opportunity to get your questions answered. Response to the first two in the series has been overwhemingly positive. 

“I am new to farming and have struggled to grasp some of the concepts of building and maintaining good soil. The 'light' went on while watching this webinar. Thanks so much! I am looking forward to the next webinars on this subject.”

“The seminar was great! I plan to share it with organic vegetable demo garden staff as well as general public at our farmer’s market plant clinics.”

“I have been working with cover crops, composting, and other soil health practices for years. I felt the webinar was very informative and well paced.”

OFRF Publishes Soil Educational Guide

OFRF is pleased to announce the publication of its new educational guide titled, Soil Microbial Interactions and Organic Farming. This resource explores the role of microorganisms, like bacteria, in creating healthy soil ecosystems that benefit organic farms. Microorganisms help create healthy soil, remove soil contaminants through bioremediation, and improve plant health by controlling weeds and plant disease.
 
In 2015, OFRF surveyed organic farmers to find out about their most pressing challenges and research needs. They rated research and information on soil health as the highest priority. The guide addresses this need and provides information for organic farmers on how to build healthy soils through incorporating the benefits of a diverse soil microbiome. 
 
Download the guide here.

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.

OFRF Hits the Road: Spreading the Word on Soil Health

By Lauren Snyder, Education and Research Program Associate at OFRF

One of my roles at OFRF is to disseminate information on organic farming practices to diverse audiences. A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to San Luis Obispo to give a presentation on the principles and practices of building soil health at an organic research symposium hosted by Nutrien Ag Solutions, the world’s largest agriculture inputs company. Interestingly, I learned that their crop consultants are increasingly working with organic farmers and Nutrien Ag Solutions has identified a need to expand their knowledge of organic production practices.

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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