OEFFA is a leader on organic and sustainable agriculture in Ohio.
OEFFA represents more than 4,000 members and 1,300 certified organic operations. Our members attend meetings and hearings and contact decision makers, building grassroots support for policies that support farmers and protect the environment. OEFFA’s policy director represents our members interests directly with state leaders.
Building Healthy Soil
Launched in early 2018, the National Healthy Soils Policy Network is a group of farmer-centered organizations that advocate for state and federal policies on behalf of sustainable, organic, beginning, and minority family farmers. The group recognizes the importance of using farmer-informed policy to scale up these practices, leveraging robust funding, technical assistance, and research to accelerate their widespread adoption at the state level. Members share models, lessons learned, and strategies related to policies that incentivize agricultural practices with climate benefits, in particular, those that build healthy soils.
Network members are aligned in their conviction that many farming and ranching management practices can significantly mitigate climate change, enhance on-farm resilience to extreme weather and drought, and improve water and air quality and that these solutions require supportive policies.
OEFFA is a member of the network and serves on the steering committee. We are working with Ohio farmers and organizations to advance soil health policy and programming in Ohio through the Ohio Soil Health Initiative.
Protecting the Land That Feeds Us
The state of Ohio has been losing prime and unique agricultural land for decades, and is identified by the American Farmland Trust (AFT) as a key state in need of land protection efforts. Ohio has put many tools in place to stem the tide of this land conversion including the Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, Agricultural Security Areas, Agricultural Districts, and property tax relief through the Current Agricultural Use Valuation Program.
Despite the strong utilization and success of these programs, AFT released updated research and analysis showing that these tools are not enough as Ohio scored among the top states in the nation for the conversion of agricultural land to urban and highly developed and low-density residential uses. Ohio needs to invest more in land use planning, encourage communities to develop comprehensive plans, identify agricultural resources, and adopt policies to protect them.
OEFFA is committed to promoting policies that protect farmland for future generations and we can’t do that work without informed farmers and members willing to take action. Please take a look at the wealth of resources developed by AFT, find out how your state scored, and contact us to get involved.
OEFFA’s other state policy priorities can help more farmers work in concert with nature, increase profitability, and grow new farmers by:
Making Investments in Regional Food Economies by:
- Supporting the Ohio Food Policy Network
- Advocating for strategic investment through utilization of federal farm bill funding, including the Local Food and Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, and the Regional Food Economies Investment Program
- Supporting institutional purchasing that opens up markets for in-state producers
Supporting Agriculture That Pays Ecosystem Dividends by:
- Providing resources for farmers interested in transitioning to organic
- Investing in research, education, and Extension services for organic production
- Hosting a state organic working group to identify ways to promote best management practices and support the growth of organic in Ohio. Ohio is sixth in the nation in the number of organic producers and second only to California in the amount of land in transition to organic.
Facilitating Agriculture for the Next Generation by:
- Increasing resources for farm succession planning
- Providing tax incentives for landowners who transition their land to beginning farmers through the Family Farm ReGeneration Act
- Continuing funding for the Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (AEPP)
- Increasing the state allocation to Soil and Water Conservation Districts to ensure local staff can facilitate participation in AEPP