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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.

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.

SARE Offers Free On-Farm Research Guide

A new resource from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)  provides detailed instructions for crop and livestock producers, as well as educators, on how to conduct research at the farm level using practical strategies and peer-reviewed research findings. How to Conduct Research on Your Farm or Ranch also includes a comprehensive list of in-depth resources and real-life examples.

Calling All Researchers

On April 5th, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research, Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, and the AFRI Coalition are partnering to convene an Agricultural Research Congressional Exhibition and Reception in Washington D.C.

Organicology Focuses on Sustainable Food Future

The Organicology conference in Portland, Oregon the first week of February offered education, workshops, and networking opportunities for thousands of organic enthusiasts and stakeholders. The conference included discussions on a broad array of topics, from business and marketing issues to the transition and growth of organic farmland. Much of the talk revolved around the opportunity for increasing organic production in the U.S. in order to fulfill growing demand currently being met with imported product. Opportunity abounds, but not without serious challenges. Hearing directly from farmers and everyone along the supply chain at this conference, the message was clear. We all need to work together on solutions that will move us toward a significant increase in organic agriculture in the U.S.

OFRF Wraps Up a Successful 2017 OARS

OFRF welcomed 90 farmers, researchers, and students from around the world to the Organic Agriculture Research Symposium in Kentucky on January 25-26, for presentations and discussion on organic agriculture topics ranging from soil health and pest management to social science and organic transition.

USDA Delays Animal Welfare Rule

On January 18th, USDA released the final rules for more stringent animal-welfare standards for organic agriculture. The new rule will now take place 60 days later than planned due to the administration's freeze on new regulations. Under the new rules, organic cattle, pigs, and poultry must be allowed outdoor access each day, and living conditions must include fresh air, sunlight, and proper ventilation.  Additionally, livestock must have at least enough space to stand up, lie down, and move about.  

OFRF Receives FSA Grant

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has been chosen to receive a competitive grant from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) designed to facilitate the increased use of the agency's programs and services among organic farmers.

"OFRF is honored to receive this grant and will draw upon our extensive experience communicating the usefulness of USDA programs and other resources to organic and transitioning farmers and ranchers," said OFRF's Executive Director, Brise Tencer. "This grant will allow OFRF to continue to help organic farmers address the challenges they face, and take advantage of the opportunities and resources available to help organic farming grow and thrive."

Celebrate an Organic Year

As 2016 rolled into 2017 many of us made resolutions, pledging to lose weight, eat healthier, support a worthy cause, or forge deeper connections in the coming year. While most start out with good intentions, it's not always easy to live up to our expectations. 

With looming political uncertainty, and concerns over a deeply divided America, we all prepare to face changes and challenges in the coming year. As we forge ahead with hope, determination, and dedication one thing that we cannot abandon is our food system. Our food system is integral to our bodies, our communities, and our planet. Food is a language spoken by every culture, and organic food seeks to embrace diversity and biodiversity while promoting a food system that leads to c safe, healthy, and resilient communities, ecosystems, and economies for today and for future generations.

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