OFRF took part in the Agricultural Research Congressional Exhibition & Reception on April 5th at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The event, which drew a diverse crowd of university researchers, USDA officials, congressional staff, congressmen, and senators, featured cutting edge USDA funded research from over 20 universities. Organized by the AFRI Coalition, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research, and the SoAR Foundation, the event also featured several speeches from elected officials, including Chairman of the House Agricultural
Committee Mike Conaway, Congressman Rodney Davis, Senator John Hoeven, and Congressman Jimmy Panetta. Many of the congressmen voiced their support for agricultural research and the important role research plays in strengthening our agricultural sector.
Diana Jerkins, Research Program Director at OFRF, and Michael Stein, OFRF’s Policy Associate, attended the event and presented information from Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002-2014. For this report, OFRF analyzed 189 organic agriculture research, education, and extension projects funded by the USDA Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) and Organic Transitions (ORG) competitive research grant programs. The assessment provides information on the progress these programs have made in addressing critical research needs, as well as recommendations for enhancing program efficacy.
There was significant interest in OFRF’s work and many USDA officials and congressional staffers engaged in discussions about organic research. Several recipients of USDA organic research funding attended the event to showcase their projects. Overall, the exhibition brought together a diverse and bipartisan group of researchers and policy makers to showcase the depth and breadth of USDA supported agricultural research.
Farm bill discussions have already begun in earnest. This event served as an important reminder of the diversity of the American agricultural system, and the important role research plays in strengthening our economy, our rural communities, and our food system.