Organic News

Research Aims to Reduce Use of Nitrogen Fertilizers

In 2012 and 2013, OFRF provided research funding to James Nienhuis at the University of Wisconsin to identify snap bean genotypes with enhanced nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE). The current snap bean cultivar used in the industry does not fix nitrogen and requires supplemental nitrogen applications. Nitrogen applications have resulted in groundwater pollution problems throughout the state of Wisconsin. The commercialization of a nitrogen fixing cultivar, which will occur following Dr. Nienhuis’ final farm trial this summer, has the potential to decrease nitrogen use in this industry and protect water quality.

OFRF Awards 2017 Research Grants

OFRF's Research and Education Committee is pleased to announce the selection of five innovative projects for its 2017 research grant awards. Grantees were selected based on the relevance of their proposed research projects to fostering the improvement or adoption of organic farming systems.

"We were impressed with the large number of excellent proposals we had to draw from for this round of grants," said Brise Tencer, Executive Directer at OFRF. "As with the grants we funded in 2016, all of these projects focus on priorities identified by organic farmers in our 2015 national survey of organic farmers."

Last Call for Soil Health & Management Abstracts

Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium
Crop, Soil, Agronomy Societies Meeting, Special Session
October, 2017
Tampa, Florida

OFRF, in collaboration with the University of Florida-IFAS and the Florida Organic Growers & Consumers Association, invites submissions to the Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium (OASHS) for proposed research, education, and extension papers and posters. 

National Cover Crop Initiative Announced

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation launched its cover crop initiative at the National Press Club on Wednesday, March 22nd. OFRF was well represented at this event by Research Director Diana Jerkins, Policy Associate Michael Stein, and Board Member Klaas Martens.

Webinar: Analyzing & Reporting Organic Research Investments

This webinar features a discussion of the findings from our report, Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002 - 2014, which provides information on the progress USDA funded organic research projects have made in addressing critical research needs.We encourage all researchers, students, policy makers, and farmers interested in understanding research trends and opportunities to view the webinar.



OARS Scholarship Recipients Share Experiences

With funding support from Ceres Trust, OFRF awarded 20 scholarships to help with the cost of attending the 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium held earlier this year in Lexington, Kentucky. Scholarships were awarded based on the need and merit of applicants.

Scholarship recipients were asked to submit a write-up of their experiences at the conference. Here are a few excerpts from their reports.

House Ag Subcommittee Meets on Research Investment in Upcoming Farm Bill

The House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a hearing on March 16th to discuss agricultural research in the next Farm Bill. OFRF attended the hearing and will continue working with members on the Subcommittee, as well as the full Agriculture Committee, to help ensure Congress and the USDA are dedicating vital agricultural research investments that support organic farmers, and those seeking to transition to organic agriculture.

Kathleen Merrigan Delivers Keynote at OFRF Luncheon

OFRF’s 20th Annual Benefit Luncheon at Natural Products Expo West offered up a delicious organic menu and thought provoking discussion on the future of organic agriculture. The luncheon is a time-honored kickoff to Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural products show, attracting more than 77,000 attendees to the Anaheim Convention Center.

USDA Agriculture Outlook Forum

A panel discussion exploring the future of organic agriculture drew a packed room at the USDA Agriculture Outlook Forum on February 23rd. “The Outlook for Organic Agriculture,” moderated by OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer, examined the prospects for organic producers, consumer demand, and new initiatives to encourage organic transition. This is the second year organic has had its own session and OFRF was excited to see such a high level of interest.

Farm Bill Hearings Begin

Two weeks ago, the House Agriculture Committee kicked off its Farm Bill discussion with a hearing to review the economic challenges facing rural farmers. While much of the discussion focused on low farm commodity prices and declining net farm income for conventional agriculture, both Congressman John Faso (R-NY) and Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) mentioned organic farming, with Mr. Faso pointing out the strong market for organic dairy.  While testifying before the committee, Dr. Johansson, the USDA Chief Economist, highlighted the strong economic opportunities for domestic organic producers.