USDA Makes Payments Available for Organic Field Border Buffers

Conservation or ‘field border’ buffers provide multiple conservation and environmental benefits, and also help farmers meet USDA organic certification requirements, including protecting soil and water quality and enhancing biodiversity and habitat. In some circumstances, the buffers can also protect organic farms against pesticide or genetic drift from neighboring operations.

Scholarship Recipients Soak Up Knowledge and Make New Contacts at Research Symposium

OFRF was pleased to offer scholarships to qualifying applicants wishing to attend the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium in Pacific Grove, California. We awarded 20 scholarships in all.

Presented by OFRF and University of California Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension (KARE) Center, the symposium featured current and ongoing organic research findings on topics ranging from soil health, seeds, and plant breeding, to biodiversity and organic livestock systems.

USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture

In an effort to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, USDA is expanding a crop insurance option that will allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product’s actual value. Certified organic products often return higher profits for farmers; however, it can take producers three years to transition from conventional to certified organic production.

New Study: Organic Agriculture Key to Helping Feed the World Sustainably

Washington State University researchers, John Reganold and Jonathan Wachter reviewed 40 years of science comparing the long-term prospects of organic and conventional farming. Hundreds of scientific studies later, their review provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment, and be safer for farm workers.

National Organic Program Update from Eco-Farm Conference

The National Organic Program Update at the Eco-Farm Conference in Pacific Grove on January 22nd, provided a wealth of information for organic and transitioning farmers. The session featured Amy Lamendella, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in California, Miles McEvoy National Organic Program (NOP) in Washington, D.C., and Jean Richardson, National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), Vermont.

Grant Programs Help Ease Transition to Organic

North Dakota and Minnesota are providing grants to help ease the financial burden on farmers transitioning from conventional to organic farming. Hopefully, this will serve as a model to help other states create programs.

CSP Boosts Minimum Contract Payment: Signups Open Now

Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year have until March 31st to submit their initial applications to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). USDA will enroll 10 million acres of farm and ranch land in the program in 2016, with payments to farmers and ranchers of over three-quarters of a billion dollars over the next five years.

Kathleen Merrigan on List of Influential Women in Agriculture

OFRF Advisory Committee member, Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, was included on Food Tank’s list of 27 influential women in food and agriculture. The announcement was made on January 28th.

Merrigan currently serves as Executive Director of Sustainability at George Washington University, where she leads the GWU Sustainability Collaborative and GWU Food Institute, and serves as Professor of Public Policy.

USDA Announces $18.9 Million for Future Agriculture Scientists and Educators

On January 27, 2016, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced the availability of $18.9 million in competitive grants to support fellowships addressing challenges in nutrition, food security, climate change and other agricultural areas.

Free Webinars from USDA and eOrganics

USDA is hosting a webinar to discuss the request for application to two NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) organic grant programs: Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions. The webinar will include a brief description of the two programs followed by a Q & A session. 


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