OFRF Staff Present NORA Report to CDFA

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Several OFRF staff met with Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in December to discuss ideas for strengthening organic agriculture research in California. Brise Tencer, Executive Director of OFRF, Joanna Ory, Research Program Associate, and Michael Stein, Policy Associate, met at the Secretary’s office in Sacramento to present the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) published by OFRF earlier this year.

OFRF’s goal is that the farmer-identified priorities in the NORA report, such as research on organic soil practices for drought conditions, organic weed management, and organic control of pests like Bagrada bug, will help shape the agenda at the CDFA. Our goal is that these priorities will reinforce the importance of organic research as part of the Specialty Crop Block Grant program, the Healthy Soils Initiative, and UC agricultural research programs.

Specific requests included the following:

• Reinforce the importance of organic research as part of the Specialty Crop Block Grant program through increased funding of organic projects and organic representation in review committees.

• Recognize the importance of organic practices in creating healthier soils and create demonstration projects to highlight organic farming as part of the Healthy Soils Initiative.

• Work with the UC agricultural research programs to strengthen organic farming research.

• Encourage commodity groups to increase support of organic farming through grants and research.

We’d like to thank Secretary Ross and CDFA Deputy Secretary, Jenny Lester Moffitt for their time and we look forward to continuing to work together on grant-making priorities at the CDFA.