In September, as the seasons shift and government fiscal year deadlines loom, the world of organic farming faces a series of transitions. The blog discusses the uncertainty surrounding government funding and the Farm Bill, emphasizing the need for continued engagement with policymakers. It also highlights OFRF's efforts to equip individuals in the organic farming community with tools to engage with legislators and encourages the sharing of information on organic field days and relevant newsletters. The blog emphasizes the importance of staying connected and working collectively to support the growth of organic agriculture.
This month's Policy Corner has a guest author, OFRF Policy and Communications Intern, Adam Bagul. As August Recess sweeps Senators and Representatives out of DC and back to their home districts, Adam explains what this means for constituents who can use this opportunity to speak with policy-makers and advocate for organics.
Today, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is happy to deliver to the leadership of Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry a letter in support of the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research Act. OFRF and the undersigned believe this bill represents significant investments into answering research questions that organic producers continue to grapple with. “We are excited to be [...]
This year's extreme weather events have highlighted the immediate hazards of climate change. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is witnessing the impact firsthand, with staff reporting historic tornadoes, hail, droughts, floods, and wildfires across the nation. Despite the urgent need for action, there is a lack of urgency in Washington, D.C. to address these issues. OFRF is advocating for bills in Congress and emphasizing the crucial role of agricultural research programs. With a decline in public funding for agricultural research, OFRF aims to gather stories and urge policymakers to invest in research and conservation to tackle climate challenges.
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 DC, marker bills are being introduced and cosponsors corralled. Sometimes with policy work it’s a hurry up and wait game! 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?
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) delivered to the leadership of House Agriculture Committees a letter in support of the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research (SOAR) Act. OFRF and the undersigned believe this bill represents significant investments into answering research questions that organic producers continue to grapple with.
OFRF’s Policy and Programs Manager, Gordon Merrick recently traveled to DC to participate in the Organic Trade Association’s Organic Week. He met with members of Congress from both major political parties and found that they and their staff are increasingly aware of the benefits of organic farming and why the industry deserves support from the Farm Bill. OFRF has worked with Representatives in the House to introduce the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research Act (SOAR Act) and is working with allies in the Senate to draft a companion bill.
2023 is a big year for the food and farm systems in the United States. This year the 2018 Farm Bill expires, and a new Farm Bill must be passed. Simultaneously, the annual appropriations process is also underway. As an organization committed to the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems, OFRF is deeply involved in both the farm bill and the appropriations processes. We are working hard to advocate for organics at every turn. This article explains OFRF's policy priorities for the current Farm Bill and Appropriations negotiations processes.
It has been a busy spring in the policy world this year! With “marker bill season” fully upon us, OFRF is actively working with our coalition and congressional partners to advocate for expanded public support for organic agriculture research. Read more about what our Policy & Programs Director, Gordon Merrick has been up to this spring, including flying to DC with the National Organic Coalition, hosting a series of workshops on Communicating with Legislators, and amplifying the need for continued research on organic farming.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation is hosting a series of workshops this spring on Communicating with Legislators. The free session will be free and held remotely. The first two sessions will be Tuesday, February 28th and Wednesday, March 15th, with more to come later in the spring!
OFRF and our partners are getting a clearer picture of the Farm Bill landscape. One thing remains abundantly clear, that agricultural research continues to be a bright spot for bipartisan legislation, and we are excited to leverage that fact this Farm Bill cycle.
Farmers and ranchers, the people who produce our food, are often on the frontlines of challenges facing our society. Among the most pressing of those issues is the changing climate and an industrial food system that prioritizes profits over the health and wellbeing of people and the planet. Because of their place on the front lines of these challenges, farmers and ranchers represent a vibrant space of innovation and creativity to meet them. The 2023 Farm Bill cycle is a ripe opportunity to make solid advances towards a just transition to a new type of production that both mitigates and adapts to our changing climate.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on the “Farm Bill 2023: Research Programs” on December 6th. The only farmer testifying was Steve Ela, a fourth-generation farmer who has been farming organically for nearly thirty years at Ela Family Farms, his family’s farm in Hotchkiss, Colorado. As one of five panelists invited to share their expertise, Ela spoke to the importance of organic systems research and extension programs to all farmers.
As one would expect, the fall season has certainly brought a sense of urgency to Washington! But, like a lot of things in the policy world, initial deadlines are simply goals. We have seen a variety of extensions, delays, and even a continuing resolution this season and wanted to be sure you know of these continuing opportunities to engage in the policy process!