• General

    Introducing: Policy Caucuses

    Join us for the official launch of the OEFFA Policy Caucuses! 

    Caucuses are a way for us to work together and amplify the voices of farmers and other OEFFA members to affect change in state and federal policies. OEFFA’s caucuses provide a space for community discussion, planning, and strategizing for policy change.

    Each caucus reflects ongoing policy priorities set by OEFFA members and will replace the previous farm bill workgroups:

  • General,  Organic

    Amplifying Farmers’ Needs at the 2024 NOC Fly-In

    Ohio farmers in front of the Capitol Building

    Last month, Milo and Nicole on our federal policy team were in DC for the National Organic Coalition (NOC) fly-in. NOC is an alliance of organizations across the country that advocate for organic farmer and consumer needs. During the fly-in, we focused on the following priorities:

    • Supporting the Organic Certification Cost Share Program and producers transitioning to organic
    • Addressing regulatory USDA bottlenecks
    • Advancing equity within agricultural programs and policies
    • Solving the organic dairy crisis
    • Supporting organic research
    • Advancing conservation practices and programs
  • Conservation,  General

    Our Farm Safety Net is Not “One Size Fits All”

    a field of forage with an organic dairy farm in the background

    Did you know that Ohio is home to 76,009 farms and 731 organic farms? Even though we are all consumers of food, its production is even more prominent here in Ohio. One might think that the needs of farmers who are doing vital work by feeding their communities are prioritized. However, this is not always the case.  

    Organic grain and dairy producers, vegetable farmers, small meat producers, small and mid-size producers, local food advocates, and many more remain underrepresented in mainstream government, academic, and industry spaces. Instead, agriculture voices are largely dominated by policy experts, researchers, and educators. It is important to get all perspectives, but having farmers at the center of our work is critically important to achieve a farming system that is sustainable for all. 

  • General

    NSAC 2024 Winter Meeting Recap

    a group of farmers and advocates in front of the US Capitol Building

    Our federal policy team is feeling extremely motivated and connected after joining fellow NSAC members in DC at the end of January. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) puts on a summer and winter meeting each year where its members join to strategize, build relationships, and learn about agriculture policy. This winter meeting was the largest to date!  

  • General

    Food Chains Follow-Up

    Food Chains movie poster

    The sign of a good documentary is that it leaves you with more questions than answers.

    If this is the case, then Food Chains did exactly that. There was hardly enough time to cover all of the thoughts, ideas, and questions that arose during the Sunday film screening and the panel discussion that followed. 

    That said, we’d like to elaborate on some of the points and programs that were brought up by our panelists and engaged members of the audience.

    For those who couldn’t brave the cold on January 14 (we don’t blame you), you missed 86 minutes of a look into the lives of farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida. Known as the tomato capital of the U.S., Immokalee’s population is largely comprised of migrant farmworkers who plant, pick, and process the popular fruit. It’s been reported that a whopping 28% of the town’s residents are people from Central America, Haiti, and Mexico who play this vital role in our food system.

  • General

    Cultivating Care—and Policy Change: 7 Conference Workshops You Don’t Want to Miss

    45th annual OEFFA conference: Cultivating Care

    February is quickly approaching and our policy team is preparing for another action-packed OEFFA Conference!

    We’ve put together a series of great workshop offerings focusing on a variety of policy-based topics. If you want to see how policy can bring real change in our food and farming system, you’re going to want to make time for these seven workshops at the 45th annual OEFFA conference, Cultivating Care.

    Online registration closes on February 1, so be sure to secure your three days of learning, sharing, connecting, and shopping today!

  • General

    2023 OEFFA Policy Retreat Recap

    OEFFA Policy team: Lauren, Heather, Milo, Nicole (pictured left to right)

    We are so thankful to have an impactful and close-knit policy team that plans change-making goals together. At the beginning of December, Policy Director Milo Petruziello, Grassroots Policy Organizers Lauren Hirtle and Nicole Wolcott, and Communications and Media Specialist Heather Seely got together to debrief 2023 and plan for 2024.

    The priorities we talked through included:

    • Building our interpersonal relationships;
    • Furthering our state policy and soil health work;
    • Advocating on the farm bill and federal policy;
    • Strengthening impactful connections with our member leaders; and
    • Leaning into the OEFFA Narrative in all the work we do.
  • Climate Change,  Conservation,  Farm Bill,  General,  Organic

    Historic Amount of Funding Available for Conservation

    A pile of 100-dollar bills

    Because of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the 2018 Farm Bill, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has nearly $5 billion in funding for conservation practices in 2024. Agricultural producers and forest landowners are encouraged to apply now to receive support for participation in voluntary conservation programs and the adoption of climate-smart practices.

    Well suited for a wide variety of producers—including organic and urban producers—USDA is now accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

  • Conservation,  Farm Bill,  General

    Farm Bill Extension Update

    The US Capitol Building at night

    On November 16, 2023, President Biden signed a short-term spending bill for the government. But what does this have to do with the farm bill? Well, this also included a one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill.

    Farm bill programs and the USDA will now be able to continue operating until September 30, 2024—exactly one year from when the 2018 bill originally expired. This had to happen because the 2023 Farm Bill was not finished being written, debated on, and budgeted for.

    With next year being a big election year, we are hoping that the final farm bill implementation will happen in the springtime. If this does not get moving as soon as the new year comes around, there is a worry that it could get pushed even further.  

  • Climate Change,  Conservation,  General,  Marketplace Equity

    Finding “Common Ground” Around Sustainable, Equitable Food Systems

    Lauren and Nicole (from left) with popcorn and ready to watch Common Ground

    In early November, OEFFA Grassroots Policy Organizers Lauren and Nicole had the pleasure of participating in a happy hour and movie screening of Common Ground. The screening was hosted by our partners at the Greater Cincinnati Regional Food Policy Council.

    The Food Policy Council is an initiative of Green Umbrella and a collaboration between individuals and organizations working toward a vision of a resilient food system.

    Common Ground is a follow-up to the film Kiss the Ground. Both highlight the importance of investing in local food systems and planetary health to foster a resilient food safety net.