By Annika LaFave, OFRF Policy and Communications Intern OFRF Policy & Communications Intern, Annika LaFave in front of the capitol after 8 official meetings during NSAC's annual lobby day, and a "meet and greet" coffee chat. Earlier this month, I had the exciting opportunity to participate in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Lobby Day with Gordon [...]
2024 presents a challenging political landscape with pending appropriations, a new Farm Bill deadline, and a Presidential election fast approaching. OFRF chooses to view all these events as opportunities to advocate for increased public investments in organic agriculture research and to ensure that organic agriculture gets its fair share of USDA research funding.
2023 has been a year marked by environmental distress and political upheaval, but the organic sector emerged as a stronghold of resilience and progress. Amidst the disquieting headlines of the hottest recorded summer and unprecedented political twists, there are several organic milestones worth celebrating. This blog post focuses on those moments of light amid the darkness.
This month’s policy corner is written by Annika La Fave, our 2023 Fall Policy & Communications Intern. It dives into the challenges faced by farmers at the intersections of policy, research, and public health within the organic farming landscape.
Climate change has a significant impact on agriculture, particularly organic farming which is more dependent on natural systems. Long-term agroecological research is critical in understanding how different farming practices can build resilience against climate change.
This month, Gordon’s Policy Corner looks at the parallels between the worlds of politics and agriculture, and their shared need for predictability and adherence to deadlines: Climate change disrupts farming with unpredictable weather patterns, and political unpredictability in Washington, D.C. affects legislative actions. The dynamics of climate instability and political gridlock are deeply interconnected. Yet, amidst this uncertainty, there is a powerful action we can all take to influence change: effectively communicating to legislators and policymakers how these issues impact our lives. The Communicating with Legislators workshops equip participants with insights into legislative processes and encourage active involvement in shaping the future of the agriculture sector during these uncertain times.
As the seasons shift and government fiscal year deadlines loom, the world of organic farming faces a series of transitions, and uncertainty surrounding government funding and the Farm Bill. It is a critical time to continue to engage with policymakers, and to work 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. Despite the 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.
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!