By Haley Baron, OFRF Partnership & Development Manager As the OFRF team walked into the large conference room filled with people at the 2021 Organic Grower Summit (OGS) in Monterey, CA last week, it was hard to believe we were actually there… in person! OGS is a gathering of organic farmers and industry professionals to share ideas and new techniques, and connect with our organic community. After canceling OGS 2020 and nearly two years since our last in-person event, we were excited (and a little nervous!) to finally be there. [...]
Sheila Golden (she/her/hers) is OFRF's Finance & Operations Director and has been with the organization since 2018. She is based in the Santa Cruz area and has over a decade of program development and management experience in sustainable agriculture and cooperative extensions. In her free time, Sheila plays music and runs a concert series in a cave. A lover of adventure, Sheila enjoys hiking and biking. "I also spend a lot of time throwing balls in the river and frisbees at the beach for my dog, Scruggs," says Sheila. Tell [...]
On October 28, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the Build Back Better framework, which includes a historical push to address climate change and a $555 billion investment in a clean energy economy. The framework proposes a 50-52% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, amounting to roughly over one gigaton. Funding for research and research facilities, including organic research, has been designated in the framework. Increasing resilience and natural solutions by investing in soil conservation is also specifically addressed in a White House statement. ”OFRF is very pleased that Congress [...]
Organic Farming Research Foundation created a 5-minute reel of highlights from this past year. Watch this video for updates from its Research, Education, and Policy and Advocacy departments. Program successes include: The soon-to-be released National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) report; The 2021-22 organic research grant cycle that focuses on climate mitigation and resilience and prioritizes early career and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color researchers, farmers and ranchers; Educational materials addressing the challenges of Southern US farmers; A multi-year partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); and Advocacy efforts [...]
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has entered into a 3-year cooperative agreement with USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). OFRF will be tasked with analyzing investments in organic made through two key programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions (ORG) grant program by commodity, region and research topics. As part of the 3-year agreement, OFRF will compare priorities identified in 2016 and 2021 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), a report OFRF conducts and releases every five years. NORA contains comprehensive recommendations for future [...]
Trevor Findley (he/him/his) is OFRF's Senior Policy Associate and has been with the organization since 2021. He is based in Washington, DC, and has been working in food and agricultural policy since 2015. His belief that everyone should have access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally-relevant food makes Trevor a strong advocate for farmers and ranchers who are helping make that a reality. When Trevor isn't focused on policy work for OFRF, he enjoys triathlons, mountain biking, cooking and baking. Tell us about yourself. I grew up in rural Oregon [...]
Over 20 years ago, I joined the OFRF team to help advocate on behalf of organic farmers across the country. Organic was a fledgling industry with farmers in grave need of science-based resources and support. As part of these efforts, OFRF successfully advocated for Congress to create a new staff position at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Salinas research station that would focus fully on organic agriculture research, the country’s first. Dr. Eric Brennan, the scientist who took that role 20 years ago and continues to hold it today, was [...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (SANTA CRUZ, Calif., October 21, 2021) — Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) supports a recent letter delivered to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that supports agricultural research in the Build Back Better Agenda. Thirty Members of Congress have signed on to this letter to leadership, requesting that the $7.75 billion investment in agricultural climate research, innovation and research infrastructure is included in the House Agriculture Committee’s portion of the budget reconciliation legislation. Approximately $3.64 billion is intended for research facilities, with a [...]
Two USDA COVID assistance programs were discussed, including the Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program which has an approaching deadline of November 22. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) recently attended a USDA press with USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20). The event discussed two federal pandemic assistance programs, the USDA’s Pandemic Response and Safety Grant and the Farm and Food Worker Relief Grant, which total over $1 billion for affected workers and business. "OFRF is excited to show support [...]
By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate The OFRF policy team has been hard at work advocating for more federally funded organic agriculture research. Congress is currently in the midst of budget reconciliation, a process that allows them to fast-track legislation related to spending, revenue, the surplus or deficit, and public debt. The current budget resolution calls for $3.5 trillion in spending, and OFRF wants to make sure that organic research receives a share of the increased spending. More specifically, OFRF has asked members of the House and Senate to [...]
By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate OFRF and its advisors recently met with organic farmer and newly-confirmed USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt and Senior Advisor Mike Schimdt to discuss the department’s plans to help producers transition to organic production. USDA Secretary Vilsack has previously announced that the department will spend a couple hundred million dollars to help farmers and ranchers transition to organic. Given OFRF’s research focus and in-depth analysis in the National Organic Research Agenda, OFRF is well-equipped to provide the department with recommendations that will help [...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (SANTA CRUZ, Calif., August 23, 2021) -- Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) hosted Representative Jimmy Panetta’s (D-CA, 20th) congressional staffers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Salinas, Calif. last week. The site visit focused on the importance of increased investment in organic research and was instrumental in Rep. Panetta’s decision to co-sponsor H.R.2803, the Agricultural Resilience Act (ARA). OFRF organized the tour of the organic fields at the ARS led by Dr. Eric Brennan, USDA Research Horticulturist and the ARS’ only dedicated organic researcher in [...]
By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate The Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) Senior Policy Associate, Trevor Findley, participated in the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) virtual fly-in, where organic supporters asked members of Congress to support a bill to increase accountability in organic standards. The National Organic Program is run by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and includes a federal advisory committee that makes recommendations to improve and advance organic standards. This committee, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), meets twice a year and accepts public input at its meetings. Since [...]
By Shelby Kaplan, OFRF Research and Education Intern She recently graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in plant pathology and a minor in food systems. She will continue her studies in the fall at ASU to receive a graduate certificate in food policy and sustainable leadership. As an OFRF intern this summer, I have been working with Thelma Velez, the Research and Education Program Manager, to create a free soil health course titled, Organic Soil Health for the Southern Region. This course builds on a recent OFRF [...]
The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University recently published The Critical To-Do List for Organic Agriculture, which features 46 recommendations that would improve the state of organic agriculture in the United States. OFRF Executive Director, Brise Tencer, and consultants Mark Schonbeck and Ferd Hoefner, were acknowledged for their advice and support in helping formulate the 46 recommendations. While policy-based improvements can be time consuming, the majority of recommendations in the report could be accomplished administratively by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning the USDA [...]
July 13, 2021—OFRF is excited to announce that we are now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) for our research grant program. This grant cycle, in addition to continuing our support for farmer-led research, OFRF is prioritizing applications from early career researchers and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We believe it is critical to foster the next generation of researchers and support historically underserved and marginalized communities, while also ensuring all farmers have the most up-to-date and science-based information. OFRF is reserving half of our grants for BIPOC applicants. [...]
By Ferd Hoefner, OFRF policy advisor Right after taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis. Among many other things, the Order directed USDA to collect stakeholder input regarding climate change mitigation and resilience within the agricultural and forestry sectors. Specifically, the Order asked USDA to “collect input from Tribes, farmers, ranchers, forest owners, conservation groups, firefighters, and other stakeholders on how to best use Department of Agriculture programs, funding and financing capacities, and other authorities, and how to encourage the voluntary adoption of climate-smart [...]
It’s not every day that you meet a high school student from Texas who is as passionate about organic farming as Andrew James. We had the privilege to talk with Andrew recently about why he cares so deeply about growing food in a way that supports a resilient food system and why he thinks research is a critical part of the puzzle.
May 19, 2021—The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are thrilled to announce the continuation of their partnership to fund on-farm research advancing the climate benefits of organic agriculture systems.
By improving soil health and increasing soil organic matter, farmers and ranchers draw down atmospheric carbon levels while simultaneously making their farms more resilient to climatic and other future shocks.
May 7, 2021—On April 15, OFRF co-sponsored the National Organic Coalition’s (NOC) Pre National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Spring meeting. This half day event gathered over 200 organic advocates, farmers, researchers, and brands to discuss some of the most pressing issues in organic agriculture.
You have likely observed the disastrous effects of climate change around you: irregular rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, disappearance of pollinators and native plant habitats, coupled with appearance of invasive species, pests and diseases.
April 7, 2021—OFRF had a strong year with major accomplishments across research, education, and advocacy. We couldn't have done it without you. Take a peek at our brand new 2020 annual report to learn more!