• General

    The End of Organic Farming…as we know it

    Guest blog post by Jim Riddle, Organic Independents LLP, Blue Fruit Farm The fundamental concepts of organic farming have always been, “Feed the Soil, not the Plant,” and “Healthy Soil leads to Healthy Crops, Healthy Animals, Healthy People, and a Healthy Planet.” Now, those concepts have been turned on their head, with a recent Appeals Court ruling that you don’t even need soil for growing terrestrial crops, in order to be certified organic in the United States. If the ruling is allowed to stand, it will mean that crops grown using hydroponic methods can officially be certified as “organic,” as has been done by a handful of renegade certification agencies…

  • General

    Representatives Kaptur, Bustos Bring Farm Bill Listening Session to Ohio

    The week of August 22, U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) joined the House Agriculture Committee and held a listening session in Fremont, Ohio. More than 200 members of the public participated in the session in person or online. Ohio Representative Marcy Kaptur (right and center) and Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos (left) One of the prominent topics was crop insurance. While some major commodity groups repeat a refrain often heard during the 2018 Farm Bill discussions, “Don’t touch crop insurance,” sentiments may have shifted a bit since then. President of the Ohio Farmers Union and organic farmer Joe Logan reiterated the importance of the crop insurance program…

  • General

    Moving the Needle on Land Access

    When the National Young Farmers Coalition formed, they started their work by assessing the challenges faced by beginning farmers. It came as no surprise to many that access to farmland was, and remains, a huge hurdle for farmers just getting started. The cost of land to purchase or lease continue to climb and, combined with the significant investments in starting a new operation, often put a farming career out of reach for many. We know secure land tenure ensures that farmers are able to invest in place and provide culturally relevant food, medicine, and connection to their communities. That tenure also allows them to invest in practices and management systems…

  • General

    Making a Difference Together: Six Conference Conversations You’ll Want to Be a Part of

    For many, getting the OEFFA conference schedule of workshops, keynotes, and networking events can make you feel like a kid in a candy store. There’s so much good material to choose from and opportunities to connect with old friends and make new ones, all while working collectively toward a healthier future. The 2022 conference will be no exception. If you want to see real change in our food and farming system—changes that support organic and regenerative farmers and invest in healthful local and regional food choices—you’re going to want to be a part of these key conversations at the 2022 OEFFA conference, Rooted and Rising, February 12 online and February…

  • General

    Beginning Farmer Bill on the Move

    Farmland Access Legislation Moving in the Senate Ohio House Bill 95- The Family Farm ReGeneration Act The end of first year of Ohio’s 134th General Assembly brought the passage of Ohio House Bill 95 (HB 95). The Family Farm ReGeneration Act passed with almost unanimous support (Republican House Member Thomas Brinkman, Jr. was the only dissenting vote). OEFFA has been championing legislation to alleviate the overwhelming challenges beginning farmers face in finding affordable farmland for several years. Ohio can be proud to rank 6th in the nation in the number of beginning farmers. If we are to enjoy the food security and economic development benefits of agriculture, we must ensure…

  • General

    Anti-Trust, Take Two

    Seed Competition Last month, Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. This EO is exciting in many ways, from the sheer scope of its ambition to its acknowledgment of some of the many ills that have plagued American farmers, from unfair contract farming to retaliation. More on that EO can be found here. One of the most exciting facets of the Order, however, only received a few sentences’ worth of attention. The Order charged the Secretary of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, with submitting a report to the White…

  • General

    Biden Expands Antitrust Protections in Agriculture

    This first in a series of two blog posts was written by OEFFA policy intern, Eliza VanNess, a second year law student at the Ohio State University. On July 9th, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which covers a variety of industries including the agricultural sector. The Order identifies consolidation as a threat to the survival of small family farms and proposes a number of antitrust measures to bolster support for these farmers.  This EO is the latest in a long tradition of antitrust regulations spurred on by the agricultural industry. The most sweeping regulation was the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA),…

  • Organic

    Organic Animal Welfare Rule to Move Forward

    Animal welfare rules for organic livestock farmers have been in limbo for more than a decade. In 2017, the Obama administration published the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule, which the Trump administration subsequently withdrew. When the Biden administration took office, many organizations, including OEFFA, asked that three pending organic rules be first on the list of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) actions. OLPP was key among them. In mid-June, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced that the agency plans to reinstate animal welfare standards. Organic Farmers Want Animal Welfare Regulation It is important to note that organic farmers want regulation. The OLPP policy received more than 120,000 supportive comments, representing…

  • General

    New Pandemic Cover Crop Program is a First Step

    June 10, 2021 This blog a re-posting from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), which will offer a $5 per acre premium discount to producers who planted qualifying cover crops during the 2021 crop year and enrolled in eligible federal crop insurance policies. The PCCP is administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and funds for this program are coming from the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers (PAP) program.  To receive this premium benefit, eligible farmers must file their acreage report with FSA by next Tuesday, June 15, 2021. For additional details about the…

  • State Policy

    Prosperous Soil Health Solutions

    An Old Topic Getting New Attention While good soil health practices date back to indigenous cultures, the green revolution shifted the focus away from working within natural systems toward the use of high yielding seed varieties, irrigation, mechanization, fertilizers, and pesticides. We are seeing the unintended consequences of this approach and its limitations, leading many to advocate for these old ways, while bringing in new scientific insight and understanding. Past land use practices and intensive forms of agriculture that have not focused on good soil management, have led to a tremendous loss of soil organic matter worldwide. These vulnerable soils have less resilience to drought and flooding, and during heavy…