Organic News

Cucumber and Melon Research Field Day

OFRF awarded a grant to Common Wealth Seed Growers in 2018 to assess resistance to both Bacterial Wilt and Cucurbit Downy Mildew among selected cucumber and muskmelon seedstocks. Farmers throughout the Eastern U.S. cite these diseases as issues; this project is a direct response to the need for new resistant varities that have the potential to make management easier, decrease losses, and extend the harvest period.

OFRF Announces New Process & Schedule for Next Grant Round

July 15, 2018—With demand for their research grants growing every year, OFRF is modifying its grant funding process to include a Letter of Intent prior to the submission of a full proposal.

“We are thrilled at the level of interest in our grants and the impact our funding has made over the years." says Diana Jerkins, OFRF’s Research Director. “Starting the cycle a little earlier with a Letter of Intent will help us prioritize the projects that most closely match our funding priorities." 

Taking the Next Steps for Organic in the Farm Bill

In a sweeping show of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 86-11 to pass their version of the Farm Bill. With the House passing a different version of the bill without Democratic support, lawmakers will meet later this summer to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills. With the current Farm Bill set to expire on September 30, 2018 there is a lot riding on this process. 

Here is a comparison of some of the organic provisions.

House of Representatives Passes a Farm Bill

While the House Farm Bill was wholly opposed by Democrats, who were joined by some Republicans in their opposition, the House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill, by a vote of 213-211 with two Republicans and two Democrats not voting.

The U.S. Senate is currently working on their text for the Farm Bill (read about it here), which is different than the House version. If the House and Senate pass different bills, the differences will be parsed out in conference committee, and if approved, will go to the President to be signed into law.

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill with Big Wins for Organic

June 13, 2018 - Today the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to favorably report the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042), the Senate Farm Bill, out of Committee by a vote of 20-1. Senator Grassley (R-IA) voted against the bill.

Farm Bill Draft Includes Much Needed Investment in Organic Research and Education

June 8, 2018—We are extremely excited to share the news that the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Farm Bill draft, released today, includes a much needed increased investment in organic research and education.

New OFRF Grant Examines Biosolarization for Weed Control

As the negative health and environmental effects of chemical soil fumigation become more apparent, there is a critical need for safe, alternative methods of soil fumigation to control weeds. To help address this need, OFRF has awarded a grant to Dr. Ashraf Tubeileh at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California to study the effect of biosolarization and cover crops on weeds and soil-borne pathogens.

Fresh From the Fields: Simple Gifts Farm

We recently had the opportunity to talk with OFRF Board President Jeremy Barker Plotkin of Simple Gifts Farm in Amherst, Massachusetts. Jeremy and his team are stewards of the North Amherst Community Farm (NACF), community-owned land preserved in perpetuity for farming. They are working to ensure the land remains an organic community farm, a wildlife corridor, and a place for local residents to enjoy nature and walking trails. They run the farm as an ecological unit, integrating vegetable crops and livestock, and connecting the community with their food supply. They also run an apprenticeship program to train the next generation of organic farmers.

Check Out our New Landing Page

We may not have all the answers but we think we’re off to a good start with our new landing page called Why Organic?. The page is designed to streamline access to the latest organic news, research, farmer stories, resources, and more.

Ferd Hoefner Honored by James Beard Foundation

OFRF is thrilled to share the news that Ferd Hoefner, Senior Strategic Advisor at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), was honored with a 2018 Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation. Ferd, a long-time member of OFRF’s Advisory Board, was recognized for his dedication to ensuring the voices of family farmers and the sustainable agriculture movement are heard on Capitol Hill.

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