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An Organic Researcher Perspective on Organic Check-off Funds

As organic researchers, we are very excited about the prospect of organic check-off funds going towards supporting research to help us address U.S. organic farmers’ most pressing needs to increase production of organic food, feed and fiber. For years, we have fought the federal government and our state universities for every organic research dollar. Traditionally, organic research has been woefully underfunded.

CCOF Undertakes Report on California’s Organic Program

Many CCOF members feel strongly that fees charged by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Organic Program are duplicative of the fees that they pay for organic certification to the National Organic Program (NOP) and that the state program should be eliminated. In response to these concerns, CCOF’s policy team is undertaking a research and review process to examine the role of the California state organic program relative to the NOP and develop a set of policy recommendations.

Cole Crop Growers Sought to Monitor Bagrada Bug Activity in the Central Valley

Cole Crops

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s efforts to develop a biological control program for the bagrada bug, the laboratory of Dr. Brian Hogg at the USDA in Albany, California, is investigating whether any native predators or parasitic wasps attack bagrada bug eggs. The laboratory is currently looking for organic farms growing cole crops in the Central Valley to include in its survey.

Deadline Extended to Submit Proposals on a New Organic Promotion Order

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended the deadline for the public to submit alternative or partial proposals on a new industry-funded organic promotion order until July 20, 2015.

The USDA will consider the submitted proposals prior to publishing a proposed Organic, Promotion, Research, and Information Order that would create an industry-funded promotion and research program for organic products under the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996.

New Report Assesses Federally Funded Organic Research

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) has completed its analysis of federally-funded organic research projects and released the findings in the report Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments 2002-2014.

OFRF analyzed 189 organic research projects that were funded by USDA’s Organic Research and Extension Initiative and Organic Transitions competitive grants over the course of 13 years, representing $142.2 million of research funds.

New Study Finds That Maintaining Diverse Vegetation on Farms Enhances Food Safety

A new study out of the University of California, Berkeley shows that removing vegetation adjacent to farms on California’s Central Coast has not reduced the incidence of E. coli found in fresh produce. Instead, the reverse is true: farms that retained nongrazed riparian or other natural vegetation types had significantly lower prevalence of generic E. coli in water and pathogenic E. coli in produce.

OFRF Organic Farmer Survey Opportunity Extended to September 14

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) announced that it will keep its National Survey of Organic Farmers open through September 14, 2015.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

The 34-question survey focuses on certified organic farmers’ research needs and also collects information on the organic community’s experience with GMO contamination, pesticide drift, and food safety issues.

OFRF Receives OREI Grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) a grant to evaluate federal organic research programs. 
 
USDA awarded the grant through the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). This year, USDA awarded $23 million in grants under OREI and the Organic Transitions program to improve the competitiveness of organic crop and livestock producers.
 

OFRF Researches Organic Suppression Methods for Soil-Borne Plant Pathogens

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is currently working on a project that could assist organic farmers in seed treatment. Conventional farming practices that focus on chemical treatment and fumigation can be harmful to both the environment and humans alike, and many of these methods are prohibited in organic production. OFRF is expanding on the work of prior studies that found suppression of soil-borne plant pathogens from microbes present in solid and liquid organic soil amendments.

OFRF Survey Gathers Organic Farmers’ Research Needs

Please take a few moments to respond to the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s (OFRF) National Survey of Organic Farmers. Widespread participation by organic farmers across the country will ensure that all types and scales of certified organic production are reflected in the survey’s results. Responses will be accepted through August 30.

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