By Michael Stein, Policy Associate, OFRF


Going to the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference is an eye-opening experience every year and an opportunity to interact with Midwest organic farmers, beginning farmers, and those interested in transitioning to organic production. MOSES also brings together people from across the organic community, from lobbyists to activists, to billion-dollar organic companies.


OFRF had a booth at the conference to talk with farmers and conference goers about the research, education, and outreach work we do. We disseminated the latest research on soil health and organic farming practices (part of the Soil Health Guidebook and webinar series). These guidebooks and webinars, which are available to download for free, piqued the interest of the farmers, businesses, and agriculture professionals at the conference. 


We also showcased our newest guidebook, Reducing Risk through Best Soil Health Management Practices in Organic Crop Production. Made possible with support from the USDA Risk Management Agency, this guidebook summarizes and aggregates scientific research on soil health practices that can help farmers reduce risk from catastrophic events. Based on NRCS principles, it provides farmers with best practices to help build soil health and resilience as part of a farm safety net. 


Fortunately, there are now a few federal farm safety net options available for organic producers. Thanks to changes in federal crop insurance policy, organic farmers can now insure their organic crops at a higher organic price than conventional crops. Additionally, farmers have the option to ensure their farm revenue as part of the Whole Farm Revenue Protection program. This is a sound option for diversified farmers that generate farm revenue from a variety of farm products. Both of these options are outlined in great detail in OFRF’s new guidebook on Crop Insurance Options for Organic and Transitioning Producerswhich has been in high demand at various conferences around the country we’ve attended. MOSES was no exception.  


With the help of organic specialist Harriet Behar, I also presented detailed information on Crop Insurance Options for Organic and Transitioning Producers to an engaged audience of organic farmers, transitioning farmers, organic advocates, and staff from the USDA Risk Management Agency. This well attended session provided an opportunity for us to get feedback from the organic community about challenges with crop insurance and risk management. We hope to draw on this input and feedback to help shift crop insurance policies to be more supportive of organic and transitioning producers.