• State Policy

    The Future of Food and Farm Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

    All of our lives are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including OEFFA members and supporters concerned about sustainable agriculture and healthy local and regional food systems that are likely to experience disruption in the days and months ahead. Please know that OEFFA remains open for business; this includes our organic certification services as well as our education department. We are not in our Columbus office but are available by phone and email. We are currently advocating for policy responses to this pandemic that protect farmers, support local food systems, and protect public health. Please take every opportunity to contact your state and federal representatives and urge them to support these…

  • 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…

  • Dirty Energy,  State Policy

    Farmers Celebrate as Ohio EPA Terminates Permit for Coal Mine in Perry State Forest

    After two years of grassroots organizing, local farmers, community members, and forest supporters celebrated a major victory in their campaign to prevent coal mining on public land just outside New Lexington, Ohio in Perry County. On January 30, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) announced it will terminate CCU Coal and Construction’s wastewater discharge permit for a proposed 545 acre strip mine in the Perry State Forest in close proximity to farmland, local residents, and public recreation spaces. The termination of the permit came at the request of the coal company, according to OEPA, and will take effect April 1. “This is a huge victory for our community, our forest,…

  • General

    OEFFA’s Top 10 Policy Highlights for 2019

    Making policy change is often a long and slow process. It can be difficult to identify “big wins” sometimes, but there are so many milestones we can look back on in 2019 that helped move sustainable agriculture forward into 2020 and beyond. Here are 10 positive strides we made this year: Family Farm ReGeneration Act Advances in the Ohio Legislature The National Young Farmers Coalition conducted a survey of young farmers across the country which found the top challenge these farmers face is access to land. Since 2017 when OEFFA launched its Begin Farming program, we’ve seen first-hand the difficulty Ohio farmers experience getting on the land. That’s why, beginning…

  • State Policy

    Land Access Legislation Moves to the House Floor

    OEFFA has been working with members of the Ohio House and Senate to pass legislation that would incentivize land transfer between current landowners and beginning farmers. After months of work, the House Bill 183, the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, passed out of the Ohio House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee unanimously on November 19. OEFFA is thankful to the bill’s co-sponsors Rep. Susan Manchester and Rep. John Patterson. In October, OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program Coordinator, Rachel Tayse, presented testimony to the committee on the need for this bill based on her experience working with aspiring and early career farmers. According to Rachel’s testimony, “… OEFFA’s elder farmer generation call on…

  • General

    New Report Provides Roadmap on Climate Solutions in Agriculture

    Multiple adverse effects of the climate crisis have been documented in U.S. agriculture, including: Intensified droughts, floods, and storms; Stresses on crops, livestock, and farm personnel from higher summer temperatures; Disruption of seasonal development, flowering, and fruiting in horticultural crops; Shifting pest, weed, and disease life cycles and geographic ranges; and Disproportionate impacts on economically disadvantaged rural communities Certainly, farmers in the Midwest experienced some of these impacts this spring and summer with hurricanes, record setting rains, and summer drought. Although agriculture currently affects our climate through direct greenhouse gas emissions and the indirect loss of carbon in our soil, a report released this week demonstrates how organic and ecological…

  • General

    Nourishing People, Nurturing the Planet: A Call to Action on World Food Day

    Today is “World Food Day,” an international day of action when people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicating global hunger. As we join with the state, national, and international community today, it is important to critically consider the ways in which our food system so often fails us. Millions of people suffer from obesity and obesity-related diseases and more than a billion people globally are overweight. At the same time, 10 percent of the world—821 million people—currently experience chronic hunger. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a report saying the impact of the climate crisis on agriculture will result in growing world…

  • General

    National Climate Week: Agriculture Solutions to the Climate Crisis

    Since 1961, food production has increased by 240 percent, the use of synthetic nitrogen has increased by 800 percent, and land degradation has increased by 200 percent. As a result, agriculture accounts for about 13 percent of carbon dioxide, 40 percent of methane, and 82 percent of nitrous oxide greenhouse gas emissions. But, while agriculture is a significant contributor to the greenhouse gases causing the climate crisis, it can also be part of the solution. Resilient, sustainable agricultural systems can sequester carbon and benefit our climate, while improving public health. Land management-based responses to climate change can also help improve public health, eradicate poverty and hunger, and decrease food waste. This year’s extreme rains, floods, and…

  • Farm Bill

    Rethinking Crop Insurance

    This year, farmers across the Midwest have seen tornadoes, torrential rain, and flooding that made planting difficult, if not impossible. In Ohio, where 40 of 88 counties received disaster designation, many growers were unable to plant at all and those that did face increased disease, pest, and weed pressure and late harvests. Needless to say, the loss of marketable crops and reduced farm income has been devastating for many farmers. In the past, as OEFFA staff talk with growers about crop insurance, the phrase “my diversification is my insurance” has been a frequent refrain. Yet, this spring has many farmers rethinking the decision not to use crop insurance. While organic,…

  • State Policy

    Ohio Governor Signs Hemp Legislation into Law

    Farmers will soon be able to grow and process hemp in Ohio, after Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation this week removing its prohibitions. Before that can happen though, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) must develop a formal program and rules, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will need to approve. Hemp contains a fiber, grain, and oil that can be extracted for cannabidiol (CBD), which is now being used in food and dietary supplements. Both hemp producers and processors need to apply for a license to grow or process their products to be in compliance with state and federal law. Those licenses will be valid for three years.…