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 [...]
By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate The OFRF policy team has been hard at work advocating for more federally funded organic agriculture research. Congress is currently in the midst of budget reconciliation, a process that allows them to fast-track legislation related to spending, revenue, the surplus or deficit, and public debt. The current budget resolution calls for $3.5 trillion in spending, and OFRF wants to make sure that organic research receives a share of the increased spending. More specifically, OFRF has asked members of the House and Senate to [...]
By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate OFRF and its advisors recently met with organic farmer and newly-confirmed USDA Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt and Senior Advisor Mike Schimdt to discuss the department’s plans to help producers transition to organic production. USDA Secretary Vilsack has previously announced that the department will spend a couple hundred million dollars to help farmers and ranchers transition to organic. Given OFRF’s research focus and in-depth analysis in the National Organic Research Agenda, OFRF is well-equipped to provide the department with recommendations that will help [...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (SANTA CRUZ, Calif., August 23, 2021) -- Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) hosted Representative Jimmy Panetta’s (D-CA, 20th) congressional staffers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Salinas, Calif. last week. The site visit focused on the importance of increased investment in organic research and was instrumental in Rep. Panetta’s decision to co-sponsor H.R.2803, the Agricultural Resilience Act (ARA). OFRF organized the tour of the organic fields at the ARS led by Dr. Eric Brennan, USDA Research Horticulturist and the ARS’ only dedicated organic researcher in [...]
By Trevor Findley, OFRF Senior Policy Associate The Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) Senior Policy Associate, Trevor Findley, participated in the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) virtual fly-in, where organic supporters asked members of Congress to support a bill to increase accountability in organic standards. The National Organic Program is run by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and includes a federal advisory committee that makes recommendations to improve and advance organic standards. This committee, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), meets twice a year and accepts public input at its meetings. Since [...]
By Shelby Kaplan, OFRF Research and Education Intern She recently graduated from University of Wisconsin Madison with a degree in plant pathology and a minor in food systems. She will continue her studies in the fall at ASU to receive a graduate certificate in food policy and sustainable leadership. As an OFRF intern this summer, I have been working with Thelma Velez, the Research and Education Program Manager, to create a free soil health course titled, Organic Soil Health for the Southern Region. This course builds on a recent OFRF [...]
The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University recently published The Critical To-Do List for Organic Agriculture, which features 46 recommendations that would improve the state of organic agriculture in the United States. OFRF Executive Director, Brise Tencer, and consultants Mark Schonbeck and Ferd Hoefner, were acknowledged for their advice and support in helping formulate the 46 recommendations. While policy-based improvements can be time consuming, the majority of recommendations in the report could be accomplished administratively by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning the USDA [...]
July 13, 2021—OFRF is excited to announce that we are now accepting Letters of Intent (LOI) for our research grant program. This grant cycle, in addition to continuing our support for farmer-led research, OFRF is prioritizing applications from early career researchers and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We believe it is critical to foster the next generation of researchers and support historically underserved and marginalized communities, while also ensuring all farmers have the most up-to-date and science-based information. OFRF is reserving half of our grants for BIPOC applicants. [...]
By Ferd Hoefner, OFRF policy advisor Right after taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis. Among many other things, the Order directed USDA to collect stakeholder input regarding climate change mitigation and resilience within the agricultural and forestry sectors. Specifically, the Order asked USDA to “collect input from Tribes, farmers, ranchers, forest owners, conservation groups, firefighters, and other stakeholders on how to best use Department of Agriculture programs, funding and financing capacities, and other authorities, and how to encourage the voluntary adoption of climate-smart [...]
It’s not every day that you meet a high school student from Texas who is as passionate about organic farming as Andrew James. We had the privilege to talk with Andrew recently about why he cares so deeply about growing food in a way that supports a resilient food system and why he thinks research is a critical part of the puzzle.
May 19, 2021—The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) are thrilled to announce the continuation of their partnership to fund on-farm research advancing the climate benefits of organic agriculture systems.
By improving soil health and increasing soil organic matter, farmers and ranchers draw down atmospheric carbon levels while simultaneously making their farms more resilient to climatic and other future shocks.
May 7, 2021—On April 15, OFRF co-sponsored the National Organic Coalition’s (NOC) Pre National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Spring meeting. This half day event gathered over 200 organic advocates, farmers, researchers, and brands to discuss some of the most pressing issues in organic agriculture.
You have likely observed the disastrous effects of climate change around you: irregular rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, disappearance of pollinators and native plant habitats, coupled with appearance of invasive species, pests and diseases.
April 7, 2021—OFRF had a strong year with major accomplishments across research, education, and advocacy. We couldn't have done it without you. Take a peek at our brand new 2020 annual report to learn more!
January 19, 2021 – Stephen Gray and his family are the third generation to farm their land in Ashkum, Illinois, which they are transitioning to organic using practices such as cover crops and minimal tillage to build the soil and reduce disruption to soil life.
January 14, 2021—In 2019, OFRF provided a second grant to Edmund Frost of Common Wealth Seed Growers to assess resistance to both bacterial wilt and cucurbit downy mildew among selected cucumber seedstocks.
December 17, 2020 - To increase understanding of how virtual peer-to-peer learning can help more farmers increase their knowledge and improve their practices, OFRF has awarded a grant to Sarah Brown at Oregon Tilth.