The Next 5 Million Acres of Organic

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Organic farming is at an interesting crossroads, with consumer demand for organic food far outpacing production. The opportunity for both new organic farmers and conventional farmers transitioning to organic has never been better, yet the most recent USDA Organic Farming Survey shows a decrease in organic acreage. To reverse this trend, investment in research, education and policy to support organic farmers is needed now more than ever.

In 2015, OFRF took on a major initiative to ask organic farmers about the challenges they currently face. After conducting listening sessions around the country and completing a National Survey of Organic Farmers, we have feedback from well over 1,000 farmers about their challenges, information needs and research priorities.

Farmers have told us that research on weed control, building soil health and fertility, and coping with water management during drought and flooding are major priorities right now.

We are already planning several exciting new efforts to meet their needs, including funding new research, developing more farmer-ready education tools to share practical information, and meeting with legislators and key USDA officials to ensure they are hearing the voices of our organic farmers.

The time to invest our energy and resources is now. Please continue to support organic farmers with your donation today. Together we can grow organic acres to produce more healthy food, protect the environment, and create economic opportunity for our nation’s farmers. Thank you.

Steve Pedersen, High Ground Organics and Tom Broz, Live Earth Farm, with Research Leader, Dr. Carol Shennan, UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

OFRF’s $49,000 grant to research organic soil borne disease control for strawberries as an alternative to methyl bromide led to an additional $2.8M in government funding. Experiments using anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) reduced soil borne diseases in a way that’s economical and better for the environment and people.

“This research has a lot of important ramifications. We’ve been able to reduce soil borne diseases so we can do shorter rotations and increase the health and vitality of our crop.”

— Steve Pedersen, High Ground Organics