• 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…

  • General

    What Does a Biden Administration Mean for Sustainable Agriculture?

    We recently survived one of the most contentious elections in recent memory. Whomever your preferred candidate, we now have a declared winner in Joe Biden. But what does that mean for sustainable and organic agriculture, local food systems, and conservation policy? One of the priorities of President-Elect Joe Biden’s agricultural agenda is to strengthen anti-trust enforcement. According to the campaign website, “American farmers and ranchers are being hurt by increasing market concentration. Biden will make sure farmers and producers have access to fair markets where they can compete and get fair prices for their products—and require large corporations to play by the rules instead of writing them—by strengthening enforcement of…