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Educators Stress Need for Organic Research

On June 22nd, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss agricultural research as part of the committee’s preparation for the next Farm Bill. Members of the committee heard from various university representatives on the opportunities and challenges institutions face in ensuring the U.S. remains a world leader in agricultural research and scientific advancement.

Mark Lipson Rejoins OFRF Team

OFRF is pleased to announce Mark Lipson’s return to the OFRF staff as Senior Policy and Program Specialist. Mark is a 30-year pioneer and influential leader in the organic farming community in California and nationally. "This is a vital time to invest in the future of organic with the introduction of the Organic Agriculture Research Act in the upcoming Farm Bill," said Brise Tencer, OFRF's Executive Director. "We are incredibly lucky to have Mark back on board for the ride."

Research Looks at the Effect of Diverse Soil Life on Vegetable Production

Healthy soil is the basis for thriving agriculture. In our survey for the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda, we found soil health research was the top priority of farmers in all regions of the U.S. To meet the need for more research in this area, three of the new research projects OFRF funded in 2016 focus on organic soil health.

These two-year projects have just completed their first year of research, and the preliminary results are already proving useful for organic farmers.

Bipartisan Interest in Research Positive Sign for Organic Sector

I was honored to be invited to testify at a Congressional roundtable discussion on organic agriculture hosted by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research on June 15th. The briefing was well attended by majority and minority members of the committee and it was gratifying to see such a high level of interest in the organic sector.

OFRF received a kind introduction from Congressman Panetta, highlighting our many years of working to ensure organic farmers have the tools and support they need to be successful. I shared the production challenges and research needs of organic farmers as identified in our recent survey and listening sessions with organic farmers across the U.S. Members from both sides of the aisle were highly engaged and asked thoughtful questions.

Research Aims to Give Organic Feed Producers a Helping Hand

The growing demand for organically produced meat is providing opportunities for a new generation of organic feed grain farmers. To help these new farmers be successful, OFRF recently awarded a grant to a team of researchers and Extension Educators at Michigan State University.

Their goal is to develop a framework of research and knowledge of organic grain systems in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the lack of organic grain production for animal feed is limiting the growth potential of organic livestock operations.

New Tote Bags Support Organic Agriculture Research

Love organic? Then why not show it with this 100% organic cotton tote? Hand-stitched and made in the USA. This limited edition bag can be yours for a donation of $30 or more. Support OFRF today and you could be sporting this durable tote at farmers’ markets all summer long!

Limited quantities available. Offer good while supplies last!

New Educational Guides Now Available

OFRF is excited to announce a new series of educational guides designed to help organic farmers and ranchers enhance the soil health and overall resilience of their operations. “These guides to practical organic soil health management will assist farmers in selecting the best practices for their particular circumstances, while leading the way toward more sustainable agricultural systems," said Diana Jerkins, Research Program Director at OFRF.

Organic Week Kicks Off with D.C. Briefing

OFRF, in partnership with the Organic Center and the House Organic Caucus, held a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. May 22nd to educate members of Congress on the importance of organic research. At the briefing, Kelliann Blazek, Legislative Assistant to Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME), discussed the bipartisan legislation Pingree introduced earlier this month. If passed, the Organic Agriculture Research Act would raise funding for USDA’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), from $20 million to $50 million annually.

Support OFRF Today

Farmers are stewards of the land. We are all invested in their success. 

Organic farming practices conserve water and generate healthy soil. Healthy soil sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and is one of the most powerful and immediate methods we have to reduce greenhouse gases. However, we won’t see the true impact of organic farming until we can scale it.

Bipartisan Bill Supports Increased Funding for Organic Research

On May 16th, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panneta (D-CA) introduced a bill to support increased funding for organic research. The Organic Agriculture Research Act will raise funding for USDA’s Organic Research Extension Initiative (OREI) from $20 million to $50 million annually.

OFRF drafted language and advocated for passage of the $15,000,000 OREI in the 2002 Farm Bill and is pleased to support this bill. “Since its inception, OREI has developed a substantial body of research-based information and tools to support the success of organic farmers across America,” said Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF. “At a time when the demand for organic food is increasing, it is critical that we continue funding research that supports this promising opportunity for rural communities across the U.S.”

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