• 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!  

  • General

    Cultivating Care—and Policy Change: 7 Conference Workshops You Don’t Want to Miss

    February is quickly approaching and our policy team is preparing for another action-packed OEFFA Conference!

    We’ve put together a series of great workshop offerings focusing on a variety of policy-based topics. If you want to see how policy can bring real change in our food and farming system, you’re going to want to make time for these seven workshops at the 45th annual OEFFA conference, Cultivating Care.

    Online registration closes on February 1, so be sure to secure your three days of learning, sharing, connecting, and shopping today!

  • 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. 

  • Farm Bill,  General

    2023 In-District Recap

    Every August, members of Congress spend time back in their districts. This is a great time for them to connect with their constituents, support local businesses, and be in their community. Between August and October, we had four in-district meetings with legislators directly, or their local staff. We are so grateful for all our member leaders who helped put these together, participated in the visits, and shared their stories.

    Our Midwest state has a lot to offer regarding agriculture and food markets. All are unique and important for creating a food safety net that is sustainable for generations to come.  

  • Farm Bill,  Marketplace Equity,  Organic

    The Organic Cost Share Program—and its Uncertain Future

    The Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) provides cost share assistance to organic producers and handlers. This partial reimbursement of certification fees is critical for attracting new farmers to organic—and encouraging the continued certification of existing operations. Currently, eligible producers and handlers can receive a reimbursement of 75 percent (up to $750) of their certification costs.

    Organic cost share incentivizes participation in voluntary practices that protect our natural resources, build farm resilience, and help to meet the growing demand for organic products. Most importantly, this funding is relied upon by many farmers to support their businesses and provide the organic crops they are so proud of.

  • Farm Bill

    Farm Bill Update: October 2023

    Has it been a busy couple of weeks or what? With the government continuing to work towards funding resolutions, the 2023 Farm Bill timeline has been up in the air. The current version expired at midnight on Saturday, September 30, but we do have some idea of when we can expect a draft of the new farm bill.  

    Currently, the government is funded through November 17 and more resolutions will need to be made to avert another potential government shutdown. So, what does this mean? Well, programs through the USDA have been said to be viable until the end of the crop year (December 31).  

  • Climate Change,  Conservation,  Farm Bill,  Marketplace Equity,  Organic,  Soil Health

    Holistic Needs to Address in the 2023 Farm Bill

    This post was written by OEFFA Grassroots Policy Organizer, Nicole Wolcott, and originally appeared on the Marbleseed blog.

    A sustainable and resilient agriculture system is built from the ground up: from the grassroots. Our food system has a foundation in the soil, the very base of the earth. Keeping with this theme, our support building, education, and advocacy must be centralized in our communities. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has done deep work to cultivate a narrative that is centered in this thinking.

    We believe that all living things have intrinsic value, and it is up to us to make good, healthy, nutrient-rich, and sustaining food a right. Your voice and your opinions have power. As we continue to push for building a diverse and just food system in the 2023 Farm Bill, we need you to share your stories and truths. No matter your background or understanding of agriculture, you have a stake in our food system. You are a steward of the land; you eat and thrive off the land. Therefore, this groundswell of rich work is crucial to formulate an equitable living world for all.

  • Farm Bill,  General

    Working Together, Moving Forward: Reflections from Farm Aid 2023

    It’s not often that you get to enjoy locally grown food and listen to some of rock’s greatest legends while knowing that you’re contributing to a better food system. That’s why the Farm Aid festival is so meaningful. As John Mellencamp pointed out during the pre-concert press conference, “I don’t think any of us, in our wildest dreams, believed that 38 years later we would still be doing—and need to do—this.” The fight for family farmers will continue after a new farm bill is drafted, but the autumn air was crisp and full of hope and potential for the 22,000 who descended upon Noblesville, Indiana from September 22-23.

  • 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.