Gordon’s Policy Corner

Gordon’s Policy Corner2023-05-16T18:05:01+00:00

Gordon’s Policy Corner

Gordon Merrick is OFRF’s Policy & Programs Manager. Here he shares periodic updates on what’s happening at the intersection of organic agriculture and policy.

How Research Helps Farmers

In Gordon's Policy Corner this month, we look at how agricultural research transcends boundaries between conventional and organic farming, offering invaluable insights to enhance sustainability and profitability for all growers. From economic viability to ecological vitality, explore the synergistic benefits of organic management and the critical need for continued federal funding to support agricultural resilience.

Organic Research Funding

Recent developments in the Presidential Budget Request for fiscal year 2025 (PBR25) reveal a concerning decrease in funding specifically allocated for organic-dedicated competitive grant programs. In this blog, we look at the justifications given for these policy changes, and discuss the impacts that will follow if these changes are made and why the role of organic agriculture has never been more crucial.

Organic Advocacy in Action: Reflections on NSAC Lobby Day

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 [...]

From Regulations to Legislation: Advocating for Organic Agriculture in 2024

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.

Organic Agriculture Shines in the Face of 2023’s Challenges

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.

Unpredictable Times in Agriculture and Policy

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.

OSRI Act Introduced

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 [...]

From Fields to Research Labs: how your story can inspire change

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?

Gordon’s Policy Corner: Organic Week with OTA

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.

OFRF Policy Priorities for 2023 Farm Bill & Appropriations

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.

Gordon’s Policy Corner: on the ground in DC, Farm Bill updates, and more

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.

Farmers on the Frontlines: Climate Change and the Farm Bill

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.

Senate Farm Bill Hearing on Ag Research Programs Features Former OFRF Board President Steve Ela

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.

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