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New Report Cites Deficiency in Measuring Toxicity of Pesticide Interactions

The University of California, Los Angeles published a new report that reveals a major flaw in California’s approach to evaluating pesticide use. The problem is that regulators continue to assess pesticide safety one product at a time, even though growers often apply pesticide mixtures that contain multiple products.

USDA Makes Payments Available for Organic Field Border Buffers

Conservation or ‘field border’ buffers provide multiple conservation and environmental benefits, and also help farmers meet USDA organic certification requirements, including protecting soil and water quality and enhancing biodiversity and habitat. In some circumstances, the buffers can also protect organic farms against pesticide or genetic drift from neighboring operations.

Tipi Produce Named Farmers of the Year at MOSES

The Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) kicked off their 27th annual Organic Farming Conference on February 25th. The conference is the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming, with over 3,600 people attending this year. Jane Shey, OFRF's Policy Associate, and Board Member, Klaas Martens, were there.

Steve Pincus and Beth Kazmar of Tipi Produce were named Farmers of the Year. They have been certified organic farmers since 1994.On their farm, located outside of Evansville, Wisconsin, they use cover crops extensively to increase organic matter and strengthen fertility and soil biology on their farm. Some of their crops include carrots, melons, pepper and zucchini. They sell 45% of their products through a CSA and 55% to wholesale markets.

Scholarship Recipients Soak Up Knowledge and Make New Contacts at Research Symposium

OFRF was pleased to offer scholarships to qualifying applicants wishing to attend the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium in Pacific Grove, California. We awarded 20 scholarships in all.

Presented by OFRF and University of California Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension (KARE) Center, the symposium featured current and ongoing organic research findings on topics ranging from soil health, seeds, and plant breeding, to biodiversity and organic livestock systems.

USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture

In an effort to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, USDA is expanding a crop insurance option that will allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product’s actual value. Certified organic products often return higher profits for farmers; however, it can take producers three years to transition from conventional to certified organic production.

New Study: Organic Agriculture Key to Helping Feed the World Sustainably

Washington State University researchers, John Reganold and Jonathan Wachter reviewed 40 years of science comparing the long-term prospects of organic and conventional farming. Hundreds of scientific studies later, their review provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment, and be safer for farm workers.

Learn How to Calculate Your Farm's Biodiversity

The Organic Center and Furman University are presenting a webinar about measuring on-farm biodiversity using a simple, free public tool called the Healthy Farm Index. The Healthy Farm Index is a biodiversity and ecosystem service planning and monitoring tool for farmers to better understand the direct connection to actions taken and responses at the farm scale. 

Research Explores Biological Control Against Fusarium Pathogens in Corn

The pathogenic fungus Fusarium threatens the integrity of corn crops in the form of blights and by producing mycotoxins, which can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain. Efforts to control its spread are complicated because the fungus often resides in seeds; however, biological control microorganisms offer a promising organic alternative to chemical seed treatments.

National Organic Program Update from Eco-Farm Conference

The National Organic Program Update at the Eco-Farm Conference in Pacific Grove on January 22nd, provided a wealth of information for organic and transitioning farmers. The session featured Amy Lamendella, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in California, Miles McEvoy National Organic Program (NOP) in Washington, D.C., and Jean Richardson, National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), Vermont.

Grant Programs Help Ease Transition to Organic

North Dakota and Minnesota are providing grants to help ease the financial burden on farmers transitioning from conventional to organic farming. Hopefully, this will serve as a model to help other states create programs.

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