why organic

National Organic Producer Survey Opens Today

February 18, 2020 – The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) have released two national organic surveys—one for certified organic producers and the other for producers transitioning to organic certification. This collaborative effort is part of a USDA-funded project seeking to learn more about the challenges and research priorities of organic farmers and ranchers, and those transitioning land to certified organic production.

OFRF, OSA, and a broad coalition of organic champions were instrumental in securing an increase in federal funding for organic research from $20M to $50M in the 2018 Farm Bill. This increase provides an unprecedented opportunity for researchers to tackle the challenges that inhibit the growth of organic production—strong farmer participation in these surveys is critical to informing that investment.

Survey results will be published in updated versions of OFRF’s National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) report and OSA’s State of Organic Seed (SOS) report, both of which have been invaluable resources for ensuring research funding is relevant and responsive to the needs of organic producers, while also identifying gaps where additional investment is necessary. By collaborating on these surveys, OFRF and OSA hope to reduce survey fatigue and increase grower participation.

“OFRF is committed to advancing the research needed to meet the current challenges of organic farming, with the goal of creating a more resilient and ecologically sustainable agricultural system,” said OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer.

“Understanding the research needs of organic farmers, including in the area of seed and plant breeding, is critical to the ongoing growth and success of organic agriculture,” Hubbard adds.

If you are a certified organic farmer/rancher, please respond to this survey:


If you are a farmer/rancher transitioning to certified organic production (this means no land currently certified organic), please take this transitioning producer survey:


The survey is being administered by Washington State University and all responses will be kept confidential. Questions about the survey may be directed to Lauren Scott at lauren.n.scott@wsu.edu or 1-800-833-0867.

The project is supported by the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant no. 2019-51300-30249 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production.

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is a non-profit that works nationally to advance ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world. Through research, education, and advocacy, OSA fosters organic seed systems that are democratic and just, support human and environmental health, and deliver genetically diverse and regionally adapted seed to farmers everywhere.





By |2020-02-19T00:19:41+00:00February 19th, 2020|News|

OFRF Hosts Packed Workshops at EcoFarm

Haley Baron and Kelsey Grimsley at OFRF table at EcoFarm

Haley Baron and Kelsey Grimsley at OFRF table at EcoFarm

February 5, 2020 – It was an extra special EcoFarm Conference this year because OFRF had four of our team members attending and participating. We coordinated two workshops at EcoFarm and had a booth in the trade show for the first time ever. It was also a chance to see many old friends, farmers, partner organizations, and board alumni. 

Being at EcoFarm was a further reminder that farmers, agriculture service providers, and more crave information not only about organic farming but also how to make their voices heard. We had 40 people attend the workshop on “Farmer Inspired Research,” during which OFRF shared how our newly funded research projects address grower needs. We also gave a sneak peek at our 2020 national survey of organic farmers (launching soon!) and how it will inform our next National Organic Research Agenda.

We had over 80 people at our “Setting Beginning Organic Farmers up For Success” workshop. Attendees were eager to squeeze in as many questions as possible with our speakers who focused on the guiding principles behind building healthy soils, and the strategy and record-keeping necessary to successfully crop plan and bring products to market. 

At the Legislator Town Hall Friday evening, OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer, introduced California Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Karen Ross, the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Conversation topics ran the gamut from climate change to how citizens can stay involved in agriculture policy.

And when we weren’t meeting new and old friends or moderating our sessions, we caught a few stunning sunsets over at Asilomar State Beach. 




By |2020-02-05T23:57:43+00:00February 5th, 2020|News|

Researchers and Farmers Come Together at 2020 OARF

poster sessionJanuary 31, 2020 – Holding this year’s Organic Agriculture Research Forum in Little Rock provided an opportunity for researchers and farmers to focus on challenges associated with organic farming in the Southern region. The forum was presented jointly by OFRF and Tuskegee University in partnership with the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG).

Dr. Lauren Snyder, Education and Research Program manager for OFRF welcomed participants to the day-long event before handing it over to Professor Kokoasse Kpomblekou-A from Tuskegee University for an update on organic farming research in the Southeast.

Throughout the course of the day, 16 researchers presented on topics exploring the importance of soil health in building resiliency, breeding crops for organic production, and the attributes and nutritional value of organically grown produce. Safiullah Pathan, an Assistant Professor at Lincoln University in Missouri, wowed the crowd with his presentation on nutrient-rich leafy green quinoa and its potential for organic farming.

After the presentations, attendees broke into groups to identify and prioritize the research, education, and policies needed to address challenges in organic farming systems, particularly in the face of a changing climate. Topics included seed and plant breeding, soil health, and weed and pest issues, among others. Each group then shared their priorities.

As soon as the forum was over, it was time for a joint Poster Session with presenters from the forum and SSAWG.

Presentations from the forum will be available on e-organic in the next week. You can download the agenda here.

scholarship participants

Fifteen researchers and farmers received scholarships to attend the event thanks to Ceres Trust.

OARF was supported by the Organic Agriculture and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant no. 2019-51300-30250 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.




By |2020-02-12T16:44:21+00:00January 30th, 2020|News|