Organic News

House Agriculture Committee Passes Partisan Farm Bill

On April 18th, OFRF Policy Associate Michael Stein attended the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill passed (26-20) along straight party lines and is on its way to the floor of the House of Representatives. 

Initial Draft of Legislation to Reauthorize the Farm Bill Released

Working closely with both Republicans and Democrats, OFRF has been advocating strongly for the inclusion of important organic provisions in the Farm Bill. We are very pleased the House Agriculture Committee has included increased support for organic research, data collection, and organic enforcement in the initial draft (House mark).

Collins Speaks Up, Perdue Applauds Efforts of Organic Farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was on Capitol Hill today testifying in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. Facing questions from the Senators on our food and farm economy, Secretary Perdue addressed a variety of issues ranging from trade between the U.S. and China and farm commodity prices to organic agriculture research.

Register Now for Free Webinar Series on Soil Health

OFRF and eOrganic invite you to attend a series of free webinars exploring the most recent research on soil health practices and how organic growers can build healthy soils on their operations.

The webinars provide practical guidelines for growers, in-depth analysis of research outcomes, and an opportunity to get your questions answered. Response to the first two in the series has been overwhemingly positive. 

“I am new to farming and have struggled to grasp some of the concepts of building and maintaining good soil. The 'light' went on while watching this webinar. Thanks so much! I am looking forward to the next webinars on this subject.”

“The seminar was great! I plan to share it with organic vegetable demo garden staff as well as general public at our farmer’s market plant clinics.”

“I have been working with cover crops, composting, and other soil health practices for years. I felt the webinar was very informative and well paced.”

New Guides Help Organic Producers Access Federal Programs

OFRF has developed two new guides to help organic producers navigate the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) offered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA).

The guides provide an overview of the programs, information on applying, contact information, and a glossary of terms. Both guides are available to download from OFRF’s website. A limited number of printed copies are available upon request.

Government Spending Bill has Wins for Organic Research and NOP

On March 23rd, the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill was signed into law just hours before the federal government would have shut down, and almost six full months since the current fiscal year began. This government spending package funds federal programs through the end of September 2018.

The bill appropriates $20.4 billion for USDA; roughly $2.1 billion above FY 2017 levels. The majority of the increase is directed toward improving rural infrastructure and fighting the opioid epidemic.

21st Annual Benefit Luncheon Celebrates Organic Research

March 8, 2018—Hundreds of guests enjoyed a delicious all-organic lunch at the City Grove in Anaheim, the first stop for many before attending Natural Products Expo West. The luncheon is a much-loved tradition not only for the delicious food but also for the opportunity to see old friends, make new connections, and celebrate the growth of the organic market.

Congressman Davis Visits Central Coast

Congressman Jimmy Panetta brought a group of organic growers and researchers to his office in Salinas on February 22nd to discuss organic production on the Central Coast with Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL). Davis serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and is chair of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. The discussion focused on the needs of the industry going into the 2018 Farm Bill.

OFRF Board Approves New President

February 22, 2018—Today, longtime board member and organic farmer Jeremy Barker Plotkin, was approved by unanimous vote to serve as OFRF’s Board President.
 
Jeremy has been a vegetable farmer for 19 years. After earning his M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Maine, he founded Simple Gifts Farm at the New England Small Farm Institute in Belchertown in 1999. Over the next seven years, he grew the farm tenfold, from a half-acre to five. In 2006 he moved his operation to the 37.8-acre North Amherst Community Farm and brought Dave Tepfer in to join him.

Brise Tencer Interview in Organic Matters

Organic Matters is a highly influential blog published by Melody Myer, a longtime leader in the organic industry. Melody currently serves as Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods (UNFI) and her career spans several decades in the organic and natural foods industry.

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