• Farm Bill

    The Path to a New Farm Bill (Regularly Updated)

    It’s GO time! Our federal policy team has been busy at work keeping up to date with the farm bill action in Congress. In this blog, you’ll find all relevant updates, with the oldest news at the bottom and the most recent updates at the top. Stay tuned for more as things are moving. 

  • 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.  

  • Climate Change,  Conservation,  Soil Health

    Protecting Ohio’s Most Valuable Natural Resource

    Ohio Soil Health Week banner

    It is impossible to overstate the importance of what is under our feet. Healthy soil is at the root of healthy water, food, economies, and communities. When taken care of, soil has the potential to store carbon and help mitigate the climate crisis. Yet, even with all that relies on healthy soils, this natural resource is increasingly becoming lost or degraded. The value of soil is simply overlooked and those who do recognize the importance of healthy soils are without the support to preserve them.

    There is a need to educate the public on the importance of healthy soils while celebrating this natural resource. That’s why OEFFA and the Ohio Soil Health Initiative (OSHI) are planning an Ohio Soil Health Week—a weeklong celebration that will bring together farmers, community members, organizations, state leaders, and legislators to amplify different voices and share how powerful and important Ohio’s soils are.

  • 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).

  • 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.