OFRF News Archive2019-12-06T20:18:50+00:00

Now is the Moment to Help OFRF Support Organic Farmers

Every five years a U.S. Farm Bill is voted into law by Congress, directing hundreds of billions of dollars to flow into the food and agriculture systems. The 2023 Farm Bill is right around the corner and now is the moment to act. Help support farmers and advance organic agriculture in the 2023 Farm Bill. Thanks to a generous donor, contributions made today will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000! OFRF heard loud and clear from organic and transitioning farmers and ranchers about their needs in the 2022 [...]

May 10th, 2022|

Soil Health Practices Across the U.S.

The Organic Farming Research Foundation 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) is a report informed by surveys and focus groups conducted in 2020 with over 1,100 certified organic farmers and ranchers across North America. What Farmers Said In the NORA report, 83% of respondents reported used crop rotations at least sometimes, with the majority responding usage as very often. 88% of survey respondents used cover crops and green manures, with almost half of respondents indicating they cover crop very often. Only 19% of respondents indicated they intercropped very often and [...]

May 10th, 2022|

Free Webinar Shares Findings from 2022 National Organic Research Agenda

Join us online as OFRF Research & Education Manager Thelma Vélez, PhD, discusses results from the 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA). This free webinar from OFRF and eOrganic takes place on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 11AM Pacific / 12PM Mountain / 1PM Central / 2PM Eastern Time. Advance registration is required. "The 2022 NORA is the most comprehensive and thorough iteration of OFRF's national farmer studies to date. Over 1,100 organic producers gave us their opinions and the stories the data tells is striking. We need to continue [...]

May 2nd, 2022|

Organic Producers Lead the Nation in Soil Health Practices

Organic production starts with healthy soils which regulate water, sustain plant and animal life, filter and buffer potential pollutants, manage nutrients, and provide physical structure to support strong plant roots. According to the 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), organic producers lead the nation in adoption of soil health and environmental stewardship practices. Such practices include cover cropping, crop rotations, and perennial conservation plantings. Cover crop plants include legumes (such as clover, vetch, peas, and beans) and non-legumes (including cereals, grasses, and broadleaf species). Approximately 76% of organic field crop [...]

April 22nd, 2022|

Staff Spotlight on OFRF’s Deputy Director

Dominica Navarro Martinez (she/ella/they) is OFRF's new Deputy Director. She brings to this role an extensive background in nonprofit management, finance, administration, and strategic programmatic development. She has direct organic farming experience and previously worked for OFRF in an office management and programs capacity from 2015-2018. Dominica currently resides in Central Oregon with her family and dog Xochitl (pronounced Sochi), and enjoys sailing, hiking, seeking out hot springs in remote locations, growing food, and processing and preserving goods her family has grown, foraged, caught, or hunted. Tell us about yourself. [...]

April 12th, 2022|

2022 National Organic Research Agenda and 2022 State of Organic Seed Reports Released

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE As the Organic Industry Booms, Grower Challenges and Seed Needs Loom Large Two new assessments underscore the need for targeted investments in organic research (SANTA CRUZ, Calif., March 15, 2022) — Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) are proud to announce the release of the National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) and State of Organic Seed (SOS). The two reports are published every five years to examine organic farming challenges across the U.S., identify research needs, and better understand the organic seed needs of [...]

March 15th, 2022|

Federal Funding for Organic Research for the Current Fiscal Year 2022

By Ferd Hoefner, OFRF policy advisor On March 9, Congress finally produced the government funding bill for the fiscal year that started last October. Since October the government has been funding by a series of continuing resolutions that tracked the previous year’s budget amounts. Congress will now vote on the new final appropriations bill over the course of the next week, at which point it will be signed into law by the President. With April 1, the halfway point of every federal fiscal year, close at hand, it thankfully will [...]

March 10th, 2022|

Organic Agriculture Research Forum at EcoFarm Conference 2022

Organic Farming Research Foundation is hosting the 2022 Organic Agriculture Research Forum (OARF) at the 42nd Annual EcoFarm Conference. This year's event will be held virtually, March 9-18, with field days scheduled in April-June 2022. The following OARF workshops will be conducted online: Research Report-Back: Soil Health on Organic Farms in the Central Coast Tuesday, March 15, 1:15PM-2:30PM PT Scientists from the UC Berkeley Soil Health Project will present the results of their soil ecology, bird ecology, and social science research on the topic of soil health on organic vegetable [...]

March 9th, 2022|

OFRF Engaged in Agency Discussions to Promote Reform

By Ferd Hoefner, OFRF policy advisor Engaging with government agencies on topics of mutual interest is a critical aspect of working to advance improved public policy and resource allocations for organic farming. OFRF does that type of work on an ongoing basis. Two recent examples – concerning conservation and research - illustrate the point. In February, OFRF hosted a working meeting with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff and a wide variety of organic stakeholders. Over 20 people participated, including representatives of NRCS, OFRF, the Organic Trade Association, National [...]

March 9th, 2022|

Staff Spotlight on OFRF’s Research & Education Program Manager

Thelma Velez, PhD (she/her/hers) is OFRF's Research & Education Program Manager. Thelma joined Organic Farming Research Foundation in 2021 and brings over 12 years of experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems to the organization. When she isn't working, Thelma enjoys cooking and baking, rock climbing, and making art. She resides in Florida with her family and dog Mocha (a Boykin Spaniel and Lab mix), and visiting the Everglades National Park (both pictured right). Tell us about yourself. I am a creative problem solver. I love to cook and [...]

February 8th, 2022|

Crager Hager Farm – Sharing Insight on USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Organic farmer and OFRF Board Chair Bryan Hager knows about organic farming and the process it takes to get certified. Hager and his wife Wendy own Crager Hager Farm, a diversified fruit and vegetable farm in Carroll County, Georgia. Their farm is a year-round operation that grows salad and cooking greens such as lettuce and spinach, and popular market items such as tomatoes, beans, squash, and cucumbers. Crager Hager Farm also grows apples, pears, and heirloom strawberries and blueberries. In total, the farm grows 120 varieties of vegetable and fruit [...]

February 4th, 2022|

OFRF Facilitates USDA Agricultural Research Service Tour with Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Co-Sponsor of Ag Resilience Act

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) toured the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Salinas, Calif. with Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), a co-sponsor for H.R. 2803, the Agricultural Resilience Act (ARA). This tour of the organic fields took place on Saturday, January 15, 2022, and marks the second time Rep. Panetta’s congressional office has visited the ARS site with OFRF. “Central Coast farmers and ranchers have always been on the leading edge of organic production, thanks to their hard work and partnerships with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and organizations like [...]

February 2nd, 2022|

Applications Due for USDA’s Organic and Traditional Education and Certification Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide pandemic assistance to cover certification and education expenses to agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic. USDA will make $20 million available through the new Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) as part of USDA’s broader Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, which provides new, broader and more equitable opportunities for farmers, ranchers and producers.  Applying for Assistance Signup for 2020 and 2021 OTECP began on Nov. 8, 2021 and ends February 4, 2022. Producers apply through their [...]

January 31st, 2022|

We’re Hiring for a Deputy Director and a Policy & Programs Manager!

Organic Farming Research Foundation is looking for our next Deputy Director and Policy & Programs Manager! Join a team that envisions a future where organic farming is the leading form of agriculture. Since our founding in 1990, OFRF has sponsored organic farming research, education, and outreach to support organic and transitioning farmers across North America. This work is complemented by efforts to share our findings with policy makers, agricultural institutions, and federal agencies to support broader change and advance the organic sector. The Deputy Director position reports to the Executive [...]

January 25th, 2022|

Staff Spotlight on OFRF’s Partnership & Development Manager

Haley Baron (she/her/hers) is OFRF's Partnership & Development Manager. Haley joined the organization's Research & Education program in 2019 before stepping into her current role in early 2020. She is based in San Francisco and has over a decade of experience championing sustainable and equitable food systems. When Haley isn't building strong collaborative relationships with OFRF partners, she enjoys visiting farms and farmers markets, cooking, gardening, and recently took up ceramics. Haley enjoys exploring her home state of California, from hiking to "walking on Ocean Beach and in Golden Gate [...]

January 11th, 2022|

OFRF Policy Work – 2021 Year in Review

By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) had a busy year advocating for policies that benefit organic farmers. The following are excerpts from several policy articles that highlight the breadth of issues that OFRF worked on this year. They demonstrate the progress we’ve made, the relationships we’ve established, and ongoing work advancing OFRF’s mission to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. 1.  OFRF Attends USDA Briefing with Under Secretary Moffitt and Rep. Panetta In October, OFRF attended a USDA press [...]

January 5th, 2022|

In-person at the Organic Grower Summit

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. [...]

December 6th, 2021|

Staff Spotlight on OFRF’s Finance & Operations Director

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 [...]

December 1st, 2021|

President Biden Announces Largest Effort to Combat Climate Crisis in American History

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 [...]

November 9th, 2021|

Check Out OFRF’s 2021 Year in Review Video

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 [...]

November 9th, 2021|

OFRF Enters Cooperative Agreement with USDA NIFA

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 [...]

November 2nd, 2021|

Staff Spotlight on OFRF’s Senior Policy Associate

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 [...]

October 28th, 2021|

Letter from the Executive Director – Fall 2021

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 [...]

October 22nd, 2021|

OFRF Supports Letter from Congress to Leadership for Ag Research Funding

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 [...]

October 21st, 2021|

OFRF Attends USDA Briefing with Under Secretary Moffitt and Rep. Panetta

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 [...]

October 13th, 2021|

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