Organic News

Farm Bill Signed into Law

After years of work and months of back and forth negotiations, the 2018 Farm Bill has been signed by the President.

This bipartisan bill makes long-overdue investments in organics and the future of American agriculture. The bill provides historic permanent baseline funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), continues to support the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, provides increased funding and enforcement authority for the National Organic Program, and supports the vital Organic Market and Production Data Initiative.

Historic Permanent Funding for Organic Research Secured in Farm Bill

December 11, 2018—Thanks to the hard work of OFRF and a broad coalition of organic champions, we have secured historic wins for organic agricultural research in the 2018 Farm Bill, which will provide $395 million for organic agriculture research and education over the next 10 years. This milestone is the biggest win for organic farming in the Farm Bill in decades, securing permanent funding for organic research at USDA.

OFRF-funded Research Supports the Creation of a Nutrient Budget Tool for Organic Grain Farmers

Increasingly, we are recognizing the value of a plant-based diet for human health and nutrition. But, have you ever thought about what fuels a plant? This is a question that is constantly on the minds of farmers, particularly organic producers who are prohibited from using synthetic fertilizers to feed their crops. Rather, organic farmers rely on organic inputs, such as green manures—plants that are grown and then intentionally plowed into the soil to add nutrients—to build soil health and feed beneficial soil life.

New Climate Guide Evaluates Best Organic Practices in Curbing Climate Change

December 4, 2018—Today the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) released the eighth guidebook in their immensely popular Soil Health and Organic Farming Series. Organic Practices for Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Carbon Sequestration examines research related to the capacity of sustainable organic systems and practices to sequester soil carbon and minimize nitrous oxide and methane emissions. The guide includes practical advice for reducing an organic farm’s “carbon footprint” and adapting to climate disruptions already underway. 

Senate Holds Hearing for the Chief Scientist at USDA

Even in the midst of a tense Farm Bill negotiation, the Senate Agriculture Committee convened to hear from the nominees for key positions at USDA. The nominees are, Mindy Brashears for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, Naomi C. Earp for Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights, and Scott Hutchins, for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics also known as the “Chief Scientist” at USDA.

How Can You Help Organic Farmers?

Submitted by Lola Dannehl-Schickman, Development Associate, OFRF

It's hard to believe fall is in full swing! I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like they blinked in June and suddenly found themselves in November. That being said, it’s a critically busy time here at OFRF as we continue to rollout our webinars on building soil health and prepare to go to press with several new publications we'll be sharing this winter conference season. Throw in preparations for our organic luncheon at Expo West in March, an Organic Agriculture Research Forum at Organicology in February, and . . . well, you get the idea.

OFRF Board Member Heather Darby Receives USDA OREI Grant

Until recently, organic milk was one of the fastest growing sectors in organic agriculture. However; with prices declining, interest in transitioning to grass-fed production methods is increasing. Expansion in this market has been particularly significant in the Northeast where farmers face challenging climate conditions that complicate cropping of traditional feed crops such as corn silage and therefore encourage more grass-based systems.

Fresh From the Fields: Elmwood Stock Farm

Elmwood Stock Farm is a 6th-generation family farm in Lexington, Kentucky that began as a producer of Black Angus breeding-stock cattle. The cattle are still an important part of the farm ecosystem and farm business, though over the past decade the family has branched out to produce a variety of organic vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, and cornmeal. Organic certification and close family involvement ensure that safe and sustainable farming practices are followed, livestock are well cared for, and land and water conservation remain a priority. 

USDA Organic Research Program Stalled Until New Farm Bill Passes

With the expiration of the 2014 Farm Bill on September 30, 2018, Congress allowed a wide range of important food and farm programs to also expire. These programs lost their authority to operate, and in some cases their funding. Among the programs thrown into limbo by this delayed Farm Bill is the main competitive organic research grant program at USDA, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). 

OFRF at SupplySide West

SupplySide West is coming up in Las Vegas November 6th through the 10th. OFRF's Executive Director, Brise Tencer, will be speaking on "The State of Organic" on Friday, November 9th at 11:30 as part of Esca Bona at SupplySide West Education, a platform to engage and serve companies working to create a better food system.

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