June 12, 2019, Washington, DC – This spring, flooding left farm fields across the Midwest under water. Meanwhile, growers across the Southeast are continuing the hard work to recover from devastating hurricanes and tropical storms. In California, farmers and ranchers are still dealing with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking wildfires intensified by increasingly warm and dry weather.
Today, OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer, had the honor of appearing before the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research of the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss issues of resiliency and risk in agriculture. Tencer spoke about the need for integrated research, education, and outreach to provide farmers with the tools, technology, and support they need to build healthy resilient farming systems that can withstand climate change and steward the land for future generations.
Sustainable organic systems that maintain higher soil organic matter and biological activity, improve moisture infiltration and storage, and foster efficient nutrient cycling result in greater yield stability in the face of weather extremes and other stresses. Healthy soils have good structure (tilth), which allows them to absorb and hold moisture, drain well, maintain adequate aeration, and foster deep, healthy crop root systems. Such soils sustain crops through dry spells, require less irrigation water, and undergo less ponding, runoff, and erosion during heavy rains.
These are challenging times for the people who grow our food. We urge Congress and USDA to ensure federal programs that include research, education, extension, and program implementation support organic producers and other farmers and ranchers that seek to integrate organic practices into their operations.