• 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),…

  • 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…

  • Conservation,  General

    Unpacking Land Policy and What is Needed for a More Equitable Farming Future

    This guest post was written by Holly Rippon-Butler, Land Campaign Director with the National Young Farmers Coalition. The Coalition is a national advocacy network of young farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. Editor’s Note: To begin helping to address the challenges identified in this report, OEFFA is working to pass the Family Farm ReGeneration Act. The bipartisan House Bill 95, which would help beginning farmers access farmland and provide greater resilience to Ohio’s food system, has cleared its House committee hurdles and awaits a full House floor vote. If you care about these issues and would like to get involved, complete this petition to the Ohio legislature and call…

  • 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…

  • General,  State Policy

    Find Our Where Your Local Candidates Stand on Food and Farm Issues

    The election season is well underway.  As you ponder who will get your vote in the upcoming election, OEFFA, in partnership with the Ohio Farmers Market Network, Produce Perks Midwest, and the Ohio Food Policy Network, compiled an Ohio Candidate Questionnaire—a list of seven questions you can use to find out where each candidate stands on important food and farm issues related to climate, food access, and local food systems.  There is an urgent need to help candidates understand the challenges Ohioans face every day in accessing healthy food, as well as those faced by farmers working to provide that food. Hold your candidates accountable this season and ask them to champion your priorities!…

  • General

    The Sequel is Better: CFAP 2 is Available Now

    Guest post from Jeff Schahczenski, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist Like many of our favorite movies, the sequel to the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program (CFAP 2) is an expansion and improvement of the original. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) began taking applications for CFAP 2 on September 21, 2020. The program will end on December 11, 2020. About $14 billion has been made available to fund this relief effort for U.S. agriculture producers impacted by COVID-19. For Judy Owsowitz, owner and founder of Terrapin Farm in Whitefish, Montana, CFAP 2 is welcome help for the significant losses she experienced…

  • General

    Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: A Faltering Start and an Uncertain Future

    While the highly consolidated global food supply chain has broken under the pressure of the COVID-19 crisis, our diverse and distributed local and regional food system has proven more resilient. Many OEFFA farmers have been able to adapt to the market disruptions that occurred as restaurants and schools closed, by pivoting to other strategies like online pre-ordering and taking advantage of strong customer demand. Farmers’ markets moved quickly to adapt to the new reality of social distancing by implementing drive-thru markets, online ordering systems, and other market modifications. While these adaptations helped keep local food flowing, they did not come without cost, both financial and human. These changes included things…

  • General

    Economic Assistance for Farmers through the Paycheck Protection Program

    UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, the initial round of PPP funding under the CARES Act has been exhausted, but small farms can apply for another set of federal disaster loans under a new deal reached April 21 by Congress and the Trump Administration. The agreement allows agricultural operations with fewer than 500 employees to qualify for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), which offers up to $10,000 in advance to businesses that are losing revenue amid the pandemic. Learn more and apply for EIDL. The deal also replenishes the depleted PPP, setting aside an additional $321 billion for the program, including $60 billion for small businesses without access to…

  • General

    Comprehensive Climate Bill Invests in Farm-Based Solutions

    One of very few farmers in Congress, Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) recently introduced the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), the most comprehensive climate and agriculture bill ever introduced. It lays out 12 bold and necessary goals to meet over the next 20 years to restore lost soil carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost on-farm renewable energy, and reduce food waste, among other laudable goals. According to the Congresswoman, “Farming has always been a risky business, but unpredictable, extreme weather patterns are creating immense challenges that threaten our nation’s food production and jeopardize the livelihood of American farmers.” Currently, agriculture contributes more than 8 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the…