Organic News

New Survey Shows Growth in Organic

After compiling and analyzing data from 12,818 certified organic producers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2015 Certified Organic Survey. This survey collected information from certified organic producers to assess the amount of land under organic certification, the marketing practices of certified organic producers, and the sales of certified organic products.

Event Celebrates Farr’s Organic Legacy

The organic community came together on August 31st to celebrate the achievements of Representative Sam Farr, who will retire in January 2017 at the end of his current term. Farr is the Central Coast’s 20th district’s longest serving member of Congress and is the ranking member on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.

We gathered to celebrate his tireless leaderiship in the organic farming sector, especially as a steadfast leader in creating and securing funding for organic programsDuring his 23 years in Congress, Representative Farr was a champion of many causes including affordable housing, the oceans, the Peace Corps. At the event he inspired guests at the event to keep working hard at the local level to effect change, recalling the grassroots efforts in Santa Cruz in the early 70’s that helped establish standards for organic agriculture and more support for organic farmers.

Soil Health Institute Holds First Annual Meeting

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), an organization consisting of a broad collaboration of agricultural leaders, held its first annual meeting July 27-29 in Louisville, Ky. OFRF’s Research Program Director, Diana Jerkins and OFRF Board member, Klaas Martens serve on the board of the Institute, which includes farmers, land grant university specialists, USDA scientists, conservation leaders, soil laboratory scientists and foundation/non-governmental organization leaders.

OFRF Releases Analysis of USDA Research

OFRF released its analysis of organic research funded by the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions (ORG) competitive research grant programs. This in depth analysis of programs funded from 2002-2014 offers an unprecedented assessment of the progress these programs have made in addressing critical research needs, and also provides recommendations for future research investments by USDA.

OFRF Seeks Research Abstracts for 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium

August 10, 2016 - Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), in partnership with the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University, invite the submission of research abstracts for presentation at the 2017 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium (OARS), taking place on January 25-26, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky, immediately preceding the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference (SAWG).

OFRF Workshop at Sustainable Agriculture Conference

On July 31, Joanna Ory, a Research Associate at OFRF, ran a workshop at the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference on the education and research needs of organic farmers. The conference, hosted by University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, was a dynamic convergence of educators, activists, students, farmers, and other leaders working to create a more sustainable and equitable food system. The theme this year was, “The Ecology of Food Systems: Engaging Interdisciplinary and Applied Education for a Just and Sustainable Agriculture.” Several powerful speakers and presenters led the effort to discuss issues such as the importance of learning from indigenous knowledge regarding food production and healthy diets.

A New Way to Protect Fruit from Pests and Disease

Growing organic peaches is extremely difficult in the Southeast due to high pest and disease pressures and the lack of effective, organically approved pesticides. As a result, very few growers have taken the risk and transitioned into organic peach farming.

Using Bacteria for Crop Fertilization

A major challenge for organic farmers lies in determining the right amount of nitrogen (N) to add to crops and the best time to do it. Farmers using organic nitrogen fertilizers such as manure and compost face serious limitations because these fertilizers, which often come from off the farm, are low in N content, often hauled long distances, and can contribute to soil salinization.

Support Organic Farming

 

Techniques and findings from OFRF-funded research have been widely implemented by organic farmers over the years, with information disseminated online, in sponsored publications, and at farming conferences and field days.

Researchers Help Farmers Improve Soil Health with Green Manures

OFRF has awarded a grant to Iris Vaisman and Dr. Martin Entz at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg to help increase the use of green manures (GMs), which play an essential role in organic grain-based systems on the Canadian prairies by contributing to soil health, cash crop yield, and grain quality.

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