Organic News

OFRF Staff Present NORA Report to CDFA

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 Introduces Spanish Educational Guide at Latino Farmer Conference

Larissa Hernandez, a Research Intern at OFRF, provided this recap of the 2nd Annual Latino Farmer Conference in Monterey, held on November 15, 2016.

I recently attended the 2nd Annual Latino Farmer Conference and had the opportunity to meet farmers and let them know about OFRF's research program and our resources for Spanish speaking farmers. The farmers showed interest in learning about organic practices, and many were interested in our Soil Health Educational Guide, which is now available in Spanish.

USDA Offers Grants to Help Meet Demand for Organic Products

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is offering up to $3.8M in funding to support research, education and extension for both new and existing organic farmers and ranchers. The effort is aimed at helping more farmers gain access to the growing market for organic products in the U.S., which is now valued at more than $43B.

The grants were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and are funded through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG). Applications are due March 9, 2017.

Former OFRF Board Chair Joins NOSB

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an advisory group responsible for considering issues and making recommendations to USDA on topics including the production, handling, and processing of organic products, held its biannual meeting in mid November in St. Louis. These meetings provide the opportunity for organic stakeholders to provide input on proposed changes and recommendations. After receiving recommendations from the NOSB, the USDA will publish its final rules on the issues.

Giving Thanks

As many of us prepare to sit down and enjoy a good meal with family and friends on Thanksgiving, we take a moment to reflect and give thanks. In giving thanks to the hosts, the cooks, and those that do the cleanup this Thanksgiving, also take a moment to give thanks for the planting, raising, nurturing, cultivating, and harvesting of the bounty of agricultural products that grace the Thanksgiving table.

Looking Forward

The election of any new President comes with many challenges and opportunities. For the first time in eight years America is preparing for an Administration change. Starting in 2017, we will now be dealing with single party control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency.  Looking forward, the political landscape will most certainly change dramatically. 

Webinar: 2016 National Organic Research Agenda

OFRF's  2016 National Organic Research Agenda webinar is now available for viewing. The webinar provides an overview of OFRF's recommendations for future investment in organic agricultural research, based on OFRF's 2015 survey of organic farmers, nationwide listening sessions with organic farmers, and a review of key documents and recommendations from other organizations.

Webinar: OFRF 2016 National Organic Research Agenda

The full report is available to download here.

Soil Guide Now Available in Spanish

OFRF is pleased to announce a Spanish translation of its educational guide titled, Soil Microbial Interactions and Organic Farming. This resource explores the role of microorganisms, like bacteria, in creating healthy soil ecosystems that benefit organic farms. Microorganisms help create healthy soil, remove soil contaminants through bioremediation, and improve plant health by controlling weeds and plant disease.

NRCS Champions to Assist Organic Producers

As the demand for organic products continues to grow, more farmers and ranchers are becoming certified organic producers and transitioning all or part of their operations to organic production. In response, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is developing a network of field-level staff to help newer farmers understand and leverage resources. The position is designed to help improve field capacity in assisting organic and transitioning-to-organic producers.

OFRF Brings Farmers’ Needs and Research Priorities to Washington DC

This blog was written by OFRF Research Associate, Joanna Ory, who recently traveled to Washington, DC to present OFRF’s research findings on the needs of organic farmers.

I gave presentations to USDA researchers and policymakers to let them know about the importance of organic research and the priorities for organic farmers, based on findings in our recently released 2016 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA). Although organic farmers and ranchers face unique challenges, research in organic systems can benefit everyone, as both organic and non-organic farms can use organic techniques to increase sustainability and solve production challenges.

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