• Climate Change,  Conservation,  Marketplace Equity,  Soil Health

    Conservation, not Consolidation (Take Action!)

    Over the last few weeks, we have been posting an educational ‘Farm Safety Net Fridays’ series on our Instagram page. This has all been leading up to a week of action titled: Conservation, not Consolidation. You may have seen a blog post from us a few weeks back about the farm safety net. In it, we outlined how some folks on Capitol Hill want to use climate-smart agriculture funding to prop up commodity programs.  

    Some lawmakers in Congress are being pressured to raise commodity program subsidies by $20 to $50 billion. These include the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, which makes payments to commodity farms relative to a price floor, or a “reference price,” fixed in legislation. Just 0.3 percent of farms are projected to benefit most from an increase in PLC reference prices.  

  • General

    NSAC 2024 Winter Meeting Recap

    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!  

  • Conservation,  Farm Bill,  General

    Farm Bill Extension Update

    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

    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. 

  • General

    Farm Bill 2023: A Major United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Policy

    Guest blog post by Sasha Miller, Purplebrown Farmstead and Farm Store

    Image Credit: Purplebrown Farmstead

    More folks should discuss the farm bill when it renews every five years because it affects so much of our society through its policies and funding allocations. The farm bill not only determines in part what we eat and how much it costs, but also influences the wages of workers, who is able to become a farmer, the level of social support for improving food access, and what type of support is provided at all.

    And, in the context of current climate challenges, the farm bill has a major impact on our collective carbon footprint, by encouraging certain agricultural production methods through its policies. For instance, conventional agriculture practices include nitrogen and topsoil runoff, major algae blooms in our lakes, methane pollution from CAFOs, and deforestation of vital forests for pasture and crops. These practices are incentivized through the farm bill and other USDA programs and lead to climate instability, tragic droughts, more frequent floods, wildfires, and more.  

  • State Policy

    OEFFA Members Work the Statehouse

    OEFFA 2019 Lobby Day a Success!

    OEFFA members and staff honed advocacy skills and met with their legislators at the Ohio Statehouse May 7

    Support for beginning farmers has been a high priority for OEFFA and its members for years. The policy program has been advocating for the state to adopt a measure successfully implemented in Minnesota that provides tax credits for landowners who sell or lease land or other agricultural assets to beginning farmers.

    The recent release of the five-year Census of Agriculture by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed some good news for Ohio agriculture generally, and reveals opportunities for the state to grow healthy food systems, contribute to rural community economic development, and grow the agricultural sector by supporting this industry.

    After decades of farm loss, the number of farms is on the rise and Ohio is 6th in the nation in the number of beginning farms. While the growth in the number of beginning farms is positive sign, starting an agricultural business is full of challenges one of which is access to land and capital.

    Rowan Patton and Sheryn Bruff prepare for legislative meetings after a morning of training and role play

    On May 7 about 20 members, staff and supporters gathered at Trinity Episcopal Church to hear from long-time lobbyists from the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. Cheryl Subler and Adam Schwiebert talked about what it’s like to meet with legislators, how to establish good long-term relationships and the importance of follow up. OEFFA Policy Director Amalie Lipstreu and Operations Coordinator and former legislative staffer Greg Hargett role played some possible meeting scenarios for attendees.

    In the afternoon, 17 meetings were held between the House and Senate and considerable support was garnered for the Family Farm ReGeneration Act, or HB 183. Two steps are needed to move this from an idea to a program that encourages farmers to sell or lease land to beginning farmers: the first is that it is included in the two year biennium budget, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of June, and the second is that the bill passes both chambers and is signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine.

    The House passed its version of the budget on May 9, and it did not include the HB 183 provisions. There is still time to advocate for its inclusion in the Senate version as well as general support for the bill’s passage. Learn more about bill here and sign-on to the petition today!