Organic News

Retailers Turn Down Genetically-Modified Salmon

Even though AquAdvantage salmon, the first major genetically modified animal product deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA, won’t be available for two years, retailers are already taking a stand. Among others, Costco, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Target have said they will not sell the GMO fish produced by Massachusetts-based company, AquaBounty.

Organic Farming Improves Soil Health

Organic soil management practices contribute to soil health and provide ecosystem services such as the minimization of nutrient losses to the environment and the reduction of plant susceptibility to disease. The journal article “Soil Health and Related Ecosystem Services in Organic Agriculture,” by Lynette K. Abbott and David A.C. Manning provides a useful review of the soil building benefits of organic farming.



New Farmers Focus on Sustainability with Help from USDA

Cameron Green and Eric Wittenbach bought their 8.5 acre farm in Okanogan, Washington eight years ago, with the intention to make it as sustainable as possible. However, as beginning small-scale famers, they knew they would need some help.

Their work with a local forestland owner led them to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), where they began working with a conservation planner to develop a strategy for growing organic crops on their land now, and return it to a native, natural system in the future.

Organic Farming Handbook Available from USDA

The National Organic Farming Handbook published by USDA is now available to download. It provides an overview of organic agriculture and the National Organic Program (NOP), as well as information on conservation planning and activities.

FDA Releases New Food Safety Rules

On November 13th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced major steps toward preventing foodborne illness by finalizing rules implementing the bipartisan Food Safety Modernization Act. These safety standards are a significant step toward strengthening our food safety system.

Foodborne illness affects roughly 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) in the United States each year. The objective of these rules is to help prevent problems across the entire food system, rather than waiting to act until illness occurs. The rules apply to produce farms and make importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards.

Register Now: 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium


November 11, 2015 - Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) invites you to attend the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium, a pre-conference at the annual EcoFarm Conference, on January 20, 2016 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA.

Jointly hosted by OFRF and the University of California, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension (KARE) Center, this event provides an opportunity for researchers, farmers and people from across the US to meet and share knowledge on organic farming research.

Organic Adoption of Field Crops Low Despite Opportunity

An article published by USDA on November 2nd takes a look at why—despite strong interest in organic food and potentially higher returns—organic adoption of corn, soybeans and wheat  in the U.S. remains low. According to the article, the main reason could be a lack of information about the relative costs and returns of organic and conventional production systems on commercial farms, and the performance of farms choosing the organic approach.

EPA to Ban Dangerous Pesticide Chlorpyrifos

Approximately 15 years after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned chlorpyrifos from residential use, the agency has proposed to ban the neurotoxic pesticide from use in agricultural fields as well. The announcement came after recent court of appeals decisions gave EPA a deadline to take meaningful action on a 2007 legal petition to ban the chemical.

OFRF Currently Accepting Research Proposals

November 5, 2015 - The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) grants program is currently accepting research proposals from applicants residing in Canada, Mexico and the United States. In particular, OFRF encourages farmers, ranchers, graduate students, early career researchers, veterans, and Extension personnel to consider applying.