June is fully in swing here in Vermont where I live and down in DC where the Farm Bill process continues.
In Vermont, the first cutting of hay is being dried and bailed, ewes and their lambs are headed to pasture, and crops are getting in the ground. In the Northeast we’ve also just experienced an unusually late, historic frost. If you were like me, and rolling the dice to plant a little early this year, I hope you didn’t lose too many crops and are able to recover easily as we transition into the warmer weather again. The biggest sign that summer is here in New England, though, is the black flies that are now out in force! We’re looking forward to some rain in the forecast to keep things happy, as it’s been a dry spring again this year. Never a dull moment farming in a changing climate!
In DC, marker bills are being introduced and cosponsors corralled. This past month we were thrilled to share the announcement that the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research (SOAR) Act was officially introduced in Congress. You can take a look at our SOAR Act Toolkit here. Keep an eye out for a Senate Companion bill coming soon; we’re still working with representatives and partners to get the final details ironed out. (Sometimes with policy work it’s a hurry up and wait game!). Drafting of the Farm Bill is actively happening in both chambers, appropriations bills are slowly being drafted (partly due to the Debt Ceiling Debacle), and August recess plans are being made and solidified. As we wait for the text of the Farm Bill which will come later this summer, and for Report Language from the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in the coming weeks, policy work is in a holding pattern until the next sprint (did I mention hurry up and wait?).
During this small lull in updates from DC, we wanted to take this opportunity to devote this month’s Policy Corner to ask you, dear reader, a favor:
Can you take a moment to share your story as a researcher or a farmer interacting with organic agriculture research? We are collecting and amplifying stories of researchers around the U.S. who have effectively shared their research with decision-makers or have benefitted from organic research. Are you a farmer that’s participated in a research project? Are you a researcher who has been awarded or participated in a project funded by the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) or Organic Transitions Program? Are you a farmer who has used research products that were created through these programs? If so, it would be great to hear from you as we work to advocate in support of these programs, while also addressing the needed reforms we are fighting for!
We need your help to deepen the impact of our advocacy work! Facts, figures, and statistical breakdowns of the effects of increased public investment in agricultural research are important, but the lived experiences and stories of researchers and farmers communicate more than a report ever can. As we head into the summer months, can you take a moment to share a little bit of your experience with us? Or, share this with a farmer or researcher you know who has a good advocacy-related story to tell?
Thank you for being a part of the movement for organics.
. . .
Photo credit: Matthew Bornhors