Organic News

Ag Committee Discusses Opportunities in Organic

On July 13th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing on “Opportunities in Global and Local Markets, Specialty Crops, and Organics: Perspectives for the 2018 Farm Bill.” This is not the first time a Senate Farm Bill hearing has focused on organic and local foods, but it is worth noting that these topics have become an expected part of the committee’s business. The committee heard from Dr. Ken Dallmier, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Clarkson Grain Company, Inc., an organic grain company located in Cerro Gordo, Illinois; and Theo Crisantes, an organic farmer and Vice President of Operations at Wholesum Harvest, a grower and shipper of organic produce in Amado, Arizona.

Laura Ridenour Joins OFRF

Please join OFRF in welcoming Laura Ridenour to OFRF’s development team as Senior Development Officer. Laura has a lifetime of experience working with all aspects of food and farming—with and for farmers, chefs, entrepreneurs and retailers, and grassroots food advocates. Beginning with an internship at California Certified Organic Farmers in 1994, Laura has worked for a number of farmer and community-led NGOs from California and Washington DC, to Colorado and Washington State. Along the way, she gained extensive project management, marketing and fundraising skills, and was part of the establishment of two food policy councils.

OFRF Tour Highlights Florida's Organic Farmers

Last week, OFRF staff had the pleasure of leading a group of sustainable agriculture systems funders on a tour of organic farms in central Florida. It was part of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) forum, and it was the first tour in the forum’s 15-year history to focus exclusively on organic agriculture. OFRF’s Policy Associate, Michael Stein, provided this recap of the tour.

Ohio State Research Team Working on New Soil Health Tests

Predicting the capacity of soil to supply nitrogen is an ongoing challenge in organic farming. Organic farmers rely on the breakdown of organic matter through a microbially-driven process for crop nutrition instead of the application of synthetic fertilizers. One of the most frequent requests of organic farmers is to have access to better information about what is happening in their soil.

Educators Stress Need for Organic Research

On June 22nd, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to discuss agricultural research as part of the committee’s preparation for the next Farm Bill. Members of the committee heard from various university representatives on the opportunities and challenges institutions face in ensuring the U.S. remains a world leader in agricultural research and scientific advancement.

Mark Lipson Rejoins OFRF Team

OFRF is pleased to announce Mark Lipson’s return to the OFRF staff as Senior Policy and Program Specialist. Mark is a 30-year pioneer and influential leader in the organic farming community in California and nationally. "This is a vital time to invest in the future of organic with the introduction of the Organic Agriculture Research Act in the upcoming Farm Bill," said Brise Tencer, OFRF's Executive Director. "We are incredibly lucky to have Mark back on board for the ride."

Research Looks at the Effect of Diverse Soil Life on Vegetable Production

Healthy soil is the basis for thriving agriculture. In our survey for the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda, we found soil health research was the top priority of farmers in all regions of the U.S. To meet the need for more research in this area, three of the new research projects OFRF funded in 2016 focus on organic soil health.

These two-year projects have just completed their first year of research, and the preliminary results are already proving useful for organic farmers.

Bipartisan Interest in Research Positive Sign for Organic Sector

I was honored to be invited to testify at a Congressional roundtable discussion on organic agriculture hosted by the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research on June 15th. The briefing was well attended by majority and minority members of the committee and it was gratifying to see such a high level of interest in the organic sector.

OFRF received a kind introduction from Congressman Panetta, highlighting our many years of working to ensure organic farmers have the tools and support they need to be successful. I shared the production challenges and research needs of organic farmers as identified in our recent survey and listening sessions with organic farmers across the U.S. Members from both sides of the aisle were highly engaged and asked thoughtful questions.

Research Aims to Give Organic Feed Producers a Helping Hand

The growing demand for organically produced meat is providing opportunities for a new generation of organic feed grain farmers. To help these new farmers be successful, OFRF recently awarded a grant to a team of researchers and Extension Educators at Michigan State University.

Their goal is to develop a framework of research and knowledge of organic grain systems in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the lack of organic grain production for animal feed is limiting the growth potential of organic livestock operations.

New Tote Bags Support Organic Agriculture Research

Love organic? Then why not show it with this 100% organic cotton tote? Hand-stitched and made in the USA. This limited edition bag can be yours for a donation of $30 or more. Support OFRF today and you could be sporting this durable tote at farmers’ markets all summer long!

Limited quantities available. Offer good while supplies last!

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