Organic News

Register Now for Free Webinar Series on Soil Health

OFRF and eOrganic invite you to attend a series of free webinars exploring the most recent research on soil health practices and how organic growers can build healthy soils on their operations.

The webinars provide practical guidelines for growers, in-depth analysis of research outcomes, and an opportunity to get your questions answered. Response to the first two in the series has been overwhemingly positive. 

“I am new to farming and have struggled to grasp some of the concepts of building and maintaining good soil. The 'light' went on while watching this webinar. Thanks so much! I am looking forward to the next webinars on this subject.”

“The seminar was great! I plan to share it with organic vegetable demo garden staff as well as general public at our farmer’s market plant clinics.”

“I have been working with cover crops, composting, and other soil health practices for years. I felt the webinar was very informative and well paced.”

New Guides Help Organic Producers Access Federal Programs

OFRF has developed two new guides to help organic producers navigate the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) offered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA).

The guides provide an overview of the programs, information on applying, contact information, and a glossary of terms. Both guides are available to download from OFRF’s website. A limited number of printed copies are available upon request.

Government Spending Bill has Wins for Organic Research and NOP

On March 23rd, the fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill was signed into law just hours before the federal government would have shut down, and almost six full months since the current fiscal year began. This government spending package funds federal programs through the end of September 2018.

The bill appropriates $20.4 billion for USDA; roughly $2.1 billion above FY 2017 levels. The majority of the increase is directed toward improving rural infrastructure and fighting the opioid epidemic.

21st Annual Benefit Luncheon Celebrates Organic Research

March 8, 2018—Hundreds of guests enjoyed a delicious all-organic lunch at the City Grove in Anaheim, the first stop for many before attending Natural Products Expo West. The luncheon is a much-loved tradition not only for the delicious food but also for the opportunity to see old friends, make new connections, and celebrate the growth of the organic market.

Congressman Davis Visits Central Coast

Congressman Jimmy Panetta brought a group of organic growers and researchers to his office in Salinas on February 22nd to discuss organic production on the Central Coast with Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL). Davis serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and is chair of the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. The discussion focused on the needs of the industry going into the 2018 Farm Bill.

OFRF Board Approves New President

February 22, 2018—Today, longtime board member and organic farmer Jeremy Barker Plotkin, was approved by unanimous vote to serve as OFRF’s Board President.
 
Jeremy has been a vegetable farmer for 19 years. After earning his M.S. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Maine, he founded Simple Gifts Farm at the New England Small Farm Institute in Belchertown in 1999. Over the next seven years, he grew the farm tenfold, from a half-acre to five. In 2006 he moved his operation to the 37.8-acre North Amherst Community Farm and brought Dave Tepfer in to join him.

Brise Tencer Interview in Organic Matters

Organic Matters is a highly influential blog published by Melody Myer, a longtime leader in the organic industry. Melody currently serves as Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods (UNFI) and her career spans several decades in the organic and natural foods industry.

Fresh From the Fields: Soper Farms

OFRF board member Harn Soper is part of a four-generation Iowa farming family based in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Soper Farms is a century farm, having been in the family for more than 100 years. The Soper family voted to transition the farms, which comprise about 800 acres, to organic, starting in 2010.

When I was eleven and working on my family farms in Emmetsburg, our license plate proudly stated “Iowa, A Place To Grow”. That has never been more true than today. What has changed for my family is how we farm, moving from conventional chemical-based farming to organic.

Farm Bill for an Organic Future: Report from Eco-Farm 2018

The Farm Bill is coming! The Farm Bill is coming! Attendees at the 2018 Ecological Farming Conference got an expert-level rundown of organic agriculture in the upcoming federal Farm Bill.  OFRF’s Executive Director Brise Tencer (center) was joined on the panel by Laura Batcha (at right), CEO of the Organic Trade Association, and Kelly Damewood (at left), Policy Director for California Certified Organic Farmers. Here’s a brief rundown of the highlights.

Bipartisan Organic Research Funding Bill Introduced in Senate

Contact:
Michael Stein, Policy Associate
(831) 426-6606
 
February 7, 2018 - Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) have joined together to introduce the Organic Agriculture Research Act in the Senate. The bill will renew the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), the USDA’s flagship organic research program, and increase the funding annually over the life of the next Farm Bill. 

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