• Soil Health,  State Policy

    State Soil Health Policy: An Update

    Pictured (left to right): Amalie Lipstreu, Dave Brandt, Lauren Hirtle, Walnut Creek Seeds intern

    It’s been a while since we’ve shared in-depth updates on our soil health policy efforts in Ohio. But rest assured, behind the scenes and at the Statehouse, OEFFA’s policy team, the Ohio Soil Health Initiative (OSHI), member leaders, and partners have been working hard to make progress to prioritize soil health in Ohio. 

    This winter, with the previously proposed Soil Health Task Force Bill (HB 669) on pause and the legislative session heading towards a state budget review process, OSHI saw an opportunity. We set forth a budget proposal for the Soil Health Pilot Program. The program would fund innovative projects around the state focused on improving soil health, establishing farmer networks to share their knowledge on soil health practice implementation, and helping to increase farm resilience and profitability while alleviating Ohio’s water quality concerns and more. 

  • Climate Change,  Farm Bill,  Organic,  State Policy

    OEFFA Members Making Change

    Amalie Lipstreu and other organic advocates on the steps of the US Capitol Building

    There are few windows of opportunity to make changes to something as big as our food and farming system. When those opportunities present themselves, we have to be prepared to act. Fortunately, OEFFA staff and members have been working for months to advance positive change.

    Last year, OEFFA members attended community and virtual listening sessions or participated in an online survey leading to the development of OEFFA’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities. During the fall, member leaders and staff formed groups to support beginning and BIPOC farmers, increase investments in organic and sustainable research and regional food systems, address consolidation, and promote soil health and climate resilience.

  • State Policy

    Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Now Available

    OEFFA members held Ohio Statehouse lobby day about the Family Farm ReGeneration Act

    Farmland Access is the Biggest Challenge Young Farmers Face

    The cost of buying or leasing land, combined with other significant start-up costs, puts a farming career out of reach for many. Farmers of color, in particular, have been historically disenfranchised from the land and unable to access USDA credit programs.

    But, we need these next generation farmers on the land. Secure land tenure allows farmers to invest in practices and management systems that are sustainable, provide resilience, and strengthen the viability of our food system. It also helps protect Ohio’s disappearing farmland from development.

  • Conservation,  State Policy

    Ohio Soil Health Bill Moving Forward

    Paul Dorrance and Jim Linne talking about pasture-raised livestock and soil health at Jim's farm in Hillsboro, Ohio

    This growing season (like many before) has seen months of challenging conditions including excessive rain followed by days on end of high heat and drought. In facing these challenges, Ohio farmers know that improving soil health is a critical component to mitigating the impacts of these extreme weather events, as well as offering a myriad of other environmental benefits.

    But our farmers can’t do this alone. It’s essential that there is legislative investment in supporting and incentivizing the use of good soil management practices to create lasting environmental and economic resiliency.

  • State Policy

    Moving the Needle on Land Access

    Organic grain farmer Dean Mcilvaine providing testimony at the Ohio Statehouse in December, 2021

    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 that are sustainable, provide resilience, and strengthen the viability of our food system.

  • Conservation,  State Policy

    Contact Your Representative Today for Soil Health Into the Future!

    Soil health

    OEFFA members know that healthy soil is foundational to sustainable agriculture. While healthy soil is the basis for healthy crops, animals, and humans, decision-makers at the statehouse overwhelmingly are not talking about this important issue.

    That’s why OEFFA, the Ohio Soil Health Initiative, and allies are urging decision-makers to pass legislation that creates a Soil Health Task Force that includes public hearings and the creation of a proposed comprehensive soil health action plan within 1-year of establishing the task force.

  • State Policy

    Beginning Farmer Bill on the Move

    Beginning farmers work in an Ohio farm field

    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.

  • State Policy

    Ohio House Passes HB 95 to Help Farmers Overcome Land Access Challenges

    Take action on HB 95 to help pass the Family Farm ReGeneration Act

    On June 28, by a vote of 96 to 1, the Ohio House passed the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, which could clear a major hurdle for the next generation of Ohio farmers and create greater resilience in our local food system!

    Thank you to everyone who has helped us get this far, by signing our petition, attending a hearing, or contacting a legislator. Your action really does make a difference!

    Access to—and secure tenure on—affordable, high-quality farmland is the number one challenge young farmers face. At the same time, millions of acres of farmland is being lost to development or changing hands as older farmers retire.

  • Conservation,  State Policy

    Family Farm ReGeneration Act Heads to House Floor

    The Ohio House Agriculture Committee has unanimously passed House Bill 95, the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, putting us one step closer to achieving much-needed support for beginning farmer land access and providing greater resilience to Ohio’s food system!

    Sponsored by Representatives Susan Manchester (R-84) and Mary Lightbody (D-19), the bill now heads to the full House for a floor vote.

    The Family Farm ReGeneration Act provides an important bridge between landowners and land seekers, authorizing tax credits for those who sell or rent farmland, livestock, buildings, or equipment to beginning farmers. It also provides a credit for beginning farmers who attend a financial management program.

  • State Policy

    Prosperous Soil Health Solutions

    Rolling hills and an organic farm shown in the background

    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.