August 27, 2019—It is now widely understood that living healthy soil provides the foundation for successful farming, and supports plant, animal, and human life. However, while the concept of “feeding the soil” has been around for a long time, for many it is still uncharted territory. To support farmers and ranchers in selecting the best management practices for building soil life and soil health, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has released the ninth topic in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series of guidebooks and webinars, Understanding and [...]
September 5, 2019 – Despite widespread opposition from researchers and members of Congress, along with questions of the legality of the move from the USDA’s inspector general, moving the Economic Research Service out of Washington DC and into Kansas City is well underway. Compounding the controversy is the bold statement of Mick Mulvaney, who, in early August, celebrated the move as an effective way to “drain the swamp.”
September 4, 2019 –The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Tuskegee University are pleased to announce the 2020 Organic Agriculture Research Forum (OARF) to be presented in partnership with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the 2020 SSAWG Conference. This year’s research forum will feature oral presentations, facilitated round table discussions, and a robust joint poster session with SSAWG. Presenters are invited to submit abstracts for the forum. Oral and poster presentations will be selected based on their innovative excellence, [...]
August 20, 2019 – Heading to Organicology? Join OFRF to learn about the latest in organic research and provide input on priorities for future research funding. Organic Research for the Non-Researcher, Friday, February 15th, 10-12 am, Broadway III/IV During this interactive session led by OFRF, Organic Seed Alliance, and Oregon Tilth, participants will have the opportunity to identify and prioritize the most pressing research needs for organic farmers and ranchers. Don't miss this opportunity to share your voice! Organic Agriculture Research Forum, Saturday, February 16th, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm, Galleria [...]
August 20. 2019 – I had the pleasure of attending the Vitalis Organic Seed Field Day in San Juan Bautista, California on Thursday, August 15th. The company was founded in The Netherlands in 1994 and is a division of Enza Zaden, the global leader in organic seed production and breeding. All Vitalis varieties are certified organic and they work closely with regional organic seed dealers to serve the needs of open field, high tunnel, and greenhouse growers. It was interesting to learn about which traits are desirable for [...]
August 14, 2019 – Cover cropping is an important practice for building soil health, protecting the soil surface from erosion and compaction, and suppressing weeds and pests. Truly sustainable agriculture relies on maintaining effective vegetative cover of the soil, and the National Organic Standards require certified organic producers to include cover crops in their crop rotations. The Natural Resources Conservation Service has developed four basic principles of soil health management in which cover crops play key roles. Keep the soil covered as much as possible. – Year-round living vegetation or residue [...]
August 13, 2019 - OFRF is excited to introduce the first learning module, Organic Soil Health Management, in its free online training program for beginning farmers, existing organic farmers, and farmers in transition to organic production. The content throughout the training program focuses on organic specialty crop production in California. “Healthy soils are the foundation of a successful organic farm, but determining which soil building practices will work best in a particular farming system can be challenging,” explains OFRF’s Education and Research Program Manager, Lauren Snyder. “The goal of this training program is [...]
SANTA CRUZ AND WASHINGTON D.C. (August 1, 2019) - Soil health is a critical component of organic farm management. The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) are funding two soil health research projects that examine how diversification practices control weeds and increase yields. OFRF and FFAR funded these two projects as part of a larger initiative to support soil health research and promote environmental sustainability. A grant to Dr. Jed Eberly at Montana State University was announced earlier this year. Implementing diversification practices, such as crop rotations and [...]
July 1, 2019—OFRF is pleased to announce the Fall 2019 Request for Letters of Intent is now open for 2020 grant funding. The program is open to all applicants residing and conducting research in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The deadline to submit Letters of Intent (LOI) is Friday, August 16, 2019. Successful applicants will be notified in fall 2019 and invited to submit a full proposal. OFRF is committed to supporting innovative research that meets the current challenges of organic farming, and fosters the adoption and improvement of organic farming systems. Since 2006, [...]
June 28, 2019 – United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue met with agriculture stakeholders at a Town Hall meeting in Watsonville, California on Friday, June 28th. He was joined by Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). While technology innovations in agriculture were top of mind following Perdue's attendance at the Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas earlier in the week, the question and answer session focused on some of the more pressing issues facing growers—the need for increased investment in research, more support for small growers, the relocation of [...]
June 27, 2019 – Late snow and lots of rain have prevented or delayed planting on many farms. USDA provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters. Learn about coverage, technical and financial assistance, and more at farmers.gov. OFRF offers several resources to help farmers and ranchers manage risk. All resources are available to download for free. Print quantities may be available upon request. Downloads A Guide to the USDA Noninsured Crop Disaster [...]
June 19, 2019 – Rory Beyer was raised on the dairy farm his parents have owned since 1973. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in Animal Science, he returned to the farm and several years later, made the transition to organic production. Today, the Beyers farm 385 acres, raising dairy, beef, corn, and small grains. Since going organic, Rory says the cows are healthier and producing more and, in seven years, they’ve seen their soil organic matter (SOM) go from 1.7% to 4.4% as [...]
June 12, 2019, Washington, DC - This spring, flooding left farm fields across the Midwest under water. Meanwhile, growers across the Southeast are continuing the hard work to recover from devastating hurricanes and tropical storms. In California, farmers and ranchers are still dealing with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking wildfires intensified by increasingly warm and dry weather. Today, OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer, had the honor of appearing before the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research of the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss issues of resiliency and risk in [...]
June 6, 2019 – From the uncertainty of weather and the markets, to understanding which events are most likely to impact you—risk management is an important part of decision making on the farm. As OFRF works to make programs and policies related to crop insurance, conservation, and soil health better for organic farmers and sustainable agriculture, it is vital for us to have your input on the programs and practices you use to manage risk. Having risk management systems that provide support for farmers, such as crop insurance, can [...]
May 30, 2019 – OFRF's wildly popular webinar series on soil health and organic farming is now archived and available to view on-demand. Registration numbers for the live webinars were off the charts, causing eOrganic to have to upgrade their platform to handle the volume. Thousands of farmers, agriculture professionals, and researchers from 48 states and 14 countries attended the live webinars. The archived versions have been viewed over 7,000 times! The webinars align with topics covered in OFRF's Soil Health and Organic Farming Guidebooks to explore the most recent [...]
May 28, 2019 – Last week, OFRF and the organic community were in Washington, DC in full force advocating on behalf of the organic sector. Organic Week provides a great opportunity to bring the needs of organic farmers and ranchers to Congress and USDA, discuss issues, showcase outstanding work, and thank our organic champions. The Organic Trade Association (OTA) named Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) the 2019 Organic Champions. Working in a strong bipartisan fashion, Newhouse and Pingree introduced and advanced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of [...]
May 21, 2019 – OFRF has awarded a grant to Aysha Peterson at UC Santa Cruz to examine barriers to adoption of plant-based nutrient management strategies among organic, socially disadvantaged farmers in Salinas, California. Peterson hopes to bridge the gap between research and implementation by using qualitative data to answer questions about adoption and decision-making processes.
May 15, 2019 – Congratulations to longtime research associate at UC California Santa Cruz, Dr. Joji Muramoto, who recently became the first Cooperative Extension Specialist in the UC system dedicated to organic agriculture. Leading a statewide program focused on organic production of strawberries and vegetables, Muramoto plans to focus on soil fertility and the organic management of soil-borne diseases. Some of the most significant scientific advancements in strawberry research have been made by Muramoto and Dr. Carol Shennan at UC Santa Cruz, where they have pioneered alternatives to methyl bromide [...]
Jeremy Barker-Plotkin, OFRF Board President and Farmer, Simple Gifts Farm, Amherst, Massachusetts May 8, 2019 – Greetings! With just days to spare, we exited 2018 with a Farm Bill that makes long overdue investments in organic agriculture, including $395 million for organic research and education over the next ten years. Thanks to the hard work of OFRF and a broad coalition of organic champions, we achieved historic permanent baseline funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). For nearly 30 years, OFRF has played a critical [...]
May 5, 2019 – Proceedings from the 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum are now available. This day-long event held on February 16th in Portland Oregon, featured innovative presentations from researchers across all disciplines related to organic farming and food systems. Download the proceedings Presentations from the 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum were recorded by eOrganic and are also available. View the presentations Special thanks to Ceres Trust for their scholarship support.
April 29, 2019 – Development, testing, and release of resistant varieties is essential to controlling downy mildew and bacterial wilt, diseases that pose a significant and costly production challenge for organic farmers. OFRF is pleased to announce a second-year research grant to Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers to continue his assessment of downy mildew resistant cucumber seedstocks. Frost will focus on evaluating and advancing cucumber seedstock lines that performed well in his 2018 trials. Frost has been producing certified organic vegetable seeds at Twin Oaks Seed Farm in [...]
April 16, 2019 – OFRF announced the first of five grants the organization will award this year focused on the most pressing challenges facing organic farmers and ranchers today. The grant is funded in part by a match from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) aimed at funding research related to improving soil health and reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.
March 22, 2019 – We were thrilled to offer scholarships to attend our Organic Agriculture Research Forum in February and wanted share feedback we received from some of the recipients. Thanks once again to Ceres Trust for funding the scholarship program. As you will see from the comments below, their investment yields a strong return in the continuing education of both farmers and researchers. DeLisa A. Lewis, Green Fire Farm I came to the Organic Agriculture Research Forum in Portland wearing two different hats, farmer and researcher. My family [...]
March 22, 2019 – Recordings from the 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum held in February are now posted. There are 15 sessions covering a wide range of topics available to view. View 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum sessions. Thanks to eOrganic for recording the sessions and making them available!
March 12, 2019 – By Lauren Snyder, Research & Education Associate, OFRF March 12, 2019 – As I was eating my breakfast this morning, I looked out the window and caught a glimpse of a bobcat passing through our field. It was such an incredible way to start the day; feeling inspired by nature and grateful to live in such a beautiful environment. However, my cheery mood quickly evaporated when I got to the office and skimmed the latest headlines. These days, it seems every time we open our devices, [...]
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