Organic News

University of Idaho Expands with New Organic Agriculture Center in Sandpoint

Organic and sustainable agricultural research, education, and outreach will be the focus at a stunning new facility donated to the University of Idaho by Dennis Pence of Sandpoint. The Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center features 50 acres of organic orchards and 30 acres for plot work, student projects, education, and outreach, as well as a dormitory and a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen.

Michael Parrella, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences dean, said the new center will help U of I link more effectively with the local community and provide a template for programs that focus both on local food systems and bigger agriculture 

Fresh From the Fields: Common Wealth Seed Growers

In 2018, OFRF awarded a grant to Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers in Virginia to assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seed stocks, and to continue with the development of a pickling cucumber that is resistant to both diseases.

 

OFRF Seeks Abstracts for 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum

 
August 15, 2018 – OFRF is pleased to announce the 2019 Organic Agriculture Research Forum to be presented in partnership with Organicology on February 16, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. 

OFRF Funded Researchers Aim to Boost Organic Grain Production in Upper Peninsula

In 2017, OFRF awarded a grant to researchers at Michigan State University to examine organic grain productivity in support of the organic livestock industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Organic grain production is virtually non-existent in the area and sourcing outside of the region is quite costly. The goal of this project is to increase knowledge of grain performance in an organic system, leading to the expansion of certified organic grain production and entry into the growing market for natural or organically produced meat.

Fresh From the Fields: Three Springs Farm

Three Springs Farm is a certified organic farm located in eastern Oklahoma in the Ozark Hills. Farmers Mike Appel and Emily Oakley cultivate over thirty different crops and more than 100 individual varieties on three acres of land. Their goal is to maintain a family operation that demonstrates the economic viability of small-scale farming.

Cucumber and Melon Research Field Day

OFRF awarded a grant to Common Wealth Seed Growers in 2018 to assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks. Farmers throughout the Eastern U.S. cite these diseases as issues; this project is a direct response to the need for new resistant varities that have the potential to make management easier, decrease losses, and extend the harvest period.

OFRF Announces New Process & Schedule for Next Grant Round

July 15, 2018—With demand for their research grants growing every year, OFRF is modifying its grant funding process to include a Letter of Intent prior to the submission of a full proposal.

“We are thrilled at the level of interest in our grants and the impact our funding has made over the years." says Diana Jerkins, OFRF’s Research Director. “Starting the cycle a little earlier with a Letter of Intent will help us prioritize the projects that most closely match our funding priorities." 

Taking the Next Steps for Organic in the Farm Bill

In a sweeping show of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 86-11 to pass their version of the Farm Bill. With the House passing a different version of the bill without Democratic support, lawmakers will meet later this summer to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. With the current Farm Bill set to expire on September 30, 2018 there is a lot riding on this process. 

Here is a comparison of some of the organic provisions.

House of Representatives Passes a Farm Bill

While the House Farm Bill was wholly opposed by Democrats, who were joined by some Republicans in their opposition, the House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill, by a vote of 213-211 with two Republicans and two Democrats not voting.

The U.S. Senate is currently working on their text for the Farm Bill (read about it here), which is different than the House version. If the House and Senate pass different bills, the differences will be parsed out in conference committee, and if approved, will go to the President to be signed into law.

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill with Big Wins for Organic

June 13, 2018 - Today the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to favorably report the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042), the Senate Farm Bill, out of Committee by a vote of 20-1. Senator Grassley (R-IA) voted against the bill.

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