Blogs | March 2017

Input Needed for Biodiversity and Organic Farming Survey

A new research study, "Biodiversity and Organic Farming in the United States," led by OFRF Board member Carolyn Dimitri, based at New York University, needs the input of certified organic growers nationwide. The study will gather information about opportunities to measure or increase biodiversity in organic farming.

National Cover Crop Initiative Announced

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation launched its cover crop initiative at the National Press Club on Wednesday, March 22nd. OFRF was well represented at this event by Research Director Diana Jerkins, Policy Associate Michael Stein, and Board Member Klaas Martens.

Webinar: Analyzing & Reporting Organic Research Investments

This webinar features a discussion of the findings from our report, Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002 - 2014, which provides information on the progress USDA funded organic research projects have made in addressing critical research needs.We encourage all researchers, students, policy makers, and farmers interested in understanding research trends and opportunities to view the webinar.

 

 

OARS Scholarship Recipients Share Experiences

With funding support from Ceres Trust, OFRF awarded 20 scholarships to help with the cost of attending the 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium held earlier this year in Lexington, Kentucky. Scholarships were awarded based on the need and merit of applicants.

Scholarship recipients were asked to submit a write-up of their experiences at the conference. Here are a few excerpts from their reports.

House Ag Subcommittee Meets on Research Investment in Upcoming Farm Bill

The House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research held a hearing on March 16th to discuss agricultural research in the next Farm Bill. OFRF attended the hearing and will continue working with members on the Subcommittee, as well as the full Agriculture Committee, to help ensure Congress and the USDA are dedicating vital agricultural research investments that support organic farmers, and those seeking to transition to organic agriculture.

Kathleen Merrigan Delivers Keynote at OFRF Luncheon

OFRF’s 20th Annual Benefit Luncheon at Natural Products Expo West offered up a delicious organic menu and thought provoking discussion on the future of organic agriculture. The luncheon is a time-honored kickoff to Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural products show, attracting more than 77,000 attendees to the Anaheim Convention Center.
 

USDA Agriculture Outlook Forum

A panel discussion exploring the future of organic agriculture drew a packed room at the USDA Agriculture Outlook Forum on February 23rd. “The Outlook for Organic Agriculture,” moderated by OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer, examined the prospects for organic producers, consumer demand, and new initiatives to encourage organic transition. This is the second year organic has had its own session and OFRF was excited to see such a high level of interest.

Farm Bill Hearings Begin

Two weeks ago, the House Agriculture Committee kicked off its Farm Bill discussion with a hearing to review the economic challenges facing rural farmers. While much of the discussion focused on low farm commodity prices and declining net farm income for conventional agriculture, both Congressman John Faso (R-NY) and Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) mentioned organic farming, with Mr. Faso pointing out the strong market for organic dairy.  While testifying before the committee, Dr. Johansson, the USDA Chief Economist, highlighted the strong economic opportunities for domestic organic producers. 

OFRF Presents Research Needs at USDA Listening Session

On March 2nd, USDA’s Office of the Chief Scientist held a stakeholder listening session to identify opportunities, knowledge, and gaps in agricultural research, and evaluate research priorities for enhancing U.S. agricultural production systems over the next 50 years.  

OFRF’s Research Program Director, Diana Jerkins, presented to a wide ranging group of USDA officials, congressional staffers, researchers, associations, and non-profits on the challenges and research priorities identified in OFRF’s 2016 National Organic Research Agenda.

Last Call for Soil Health & Management Abstracts

Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium
Crop, Soil, Agronomy Societies Meeting, Special Session
October, 2017
Tampa, Florida

OFRF, in collaboration with the University of Florida-IFAS and the Florida Organic Growers & Consumers Association, invites submissions to the Organic Agriculture Soil Health Symposium (OASHS) for proposed research, education, and extension papers and posters.