OFRF Brings Farmers’ Needs and Research Priorities to Washington DC


This blog was written by OFRF Research Associate, Joanna Ory, who recently traveled to Washington, DC to present OFRF’s research findings on the needs of organic farmers.

I gave presentations to USDA researchers and policymakers to let them know about the importance of organic research and the priorities for organic farmers, based on findings in our recently released 2016 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA). Although organic farmers and ranchers face unique challenges, research in organic systems can benefit everyone, as both organic and non-organic farms can use organic techniques to increase sustainability and solve production challenges.

Our findings show the need for greater investment in research on soil health, weed control, consumer benefits of organic food, economics and marketing, environmental protection and pest control. “How do I choose cover crops that are best suited for my organic farm and will build soil health?” This is the type of question expressed in our survey of over 1,000 organic farmers across the U.S.

OFRF published the 2016 NORA with the goal of setting an agenda for organic agriculture research that is responsive to organic farmers’ needs. Increased support for organic farming research will have far reaching impacts on revitalizing our rural communities and protecting the health of people and natural resources.

By bringing our scientific research findings to DC and engaging with the USDA, we hope that future federal funding will be increased for organic specific research. Our next steps will be bringing the NORA report to congressional offices. 

Both the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda and Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002-2014 are available to download at ofrf.org.