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  • Letter to Congress In Support of Beginning Farmers and Ranchers | OEFFA News
    easements at agricultural use value for beginning farmers through the Agricultural Land Easement Program in order to increase the availability of affordable land especially in areas facing growing development pressure 3 Authorize a microloan program including intermediary lending in order to expand credit options and simplify the Farm Service Agency loan application process for new farmers 4 Increase the advance payment option within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program which would make it easier and financially viable for a new farmer to adopt conservation practices on their operations Additionally we encourage provisions that ensure outreach to our nation s military veterans interested in starting farming as well as robust funding for outreach and assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers This farm bill process has already dragged on for far too long Every day Congress fails to proceed forward with a bill is a day we miss the opportunity to make better investments in the next generation of American farmers and ranchers this delay has both short term on long term consequences for our communities We urge you to move deliberately and swiftly in finalizing a farm bill that incorporates these beginning farmer measures Sincerely Agribusiness Incubator Program Agriculture and Land Based Training Association Alden Economic Development Committee Alternative Energy Resources Organization Angelic Organics Learning Center Beau Chemin Preservation Farm Beginning Farmers LLC Black Farmers Agriculturalists Association California Certified Organic Farmers California FarmLink Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Catholic Charities of Louisville Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas Center for Rural Affairs Chicago Botanic Garden Community Alliance with Family Farmers Community CROPS Community Food Agriculture Coalition Community Food and Justice Coalition Cultivate Kansas City Cultivating Community Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Dakota Rural Action Delta Land Community Earth Learning Ecological Farming Association Elma C Lomax Incubator Farm Family Farm Defenders Farley Center Farm Incubator Farm Fresh Rhode Island Farmer Veteran Coalition Farmworker Association of Florida Inc FARRMS Fay Penn Economic Development Council Finger Lakes Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training Food Water Watch Food Democracy Now Food Field Food Works Georgia Organics GoFarm Hawaii Groundswell Center for Local Food Farming Hawthorne Valley Farm Hmong National Development Inc Hope Farms Bethany Christian Services Illinois Stewardship Alliance Independent Living Services of Northern California Institute for Washington s Future Intertribal Agriculture Council Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Iowa Farmers Union Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Just Food KAKOO OIWI Kansas Rural Center Kauai Community College Kerr Center Inc Land For Good Land Stewardship Project Leeward Community College Liberty Prairie Foundation Local Food Hub Lowcountry Local First Lutheran Social Services New Lands Farm Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Maine Rural Partners Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Michigan Farmers Union Michigan Food and Farming Systems Michigan Land Use Institute Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service Minnesota Citizens Organized Acting Together Minnesota Farmers Union Minnesota Food Association National Catholic Rural Life Conference National Farmers Organization National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition National Women In Agriculture Association National Young Farmers Coalition Nebraska Sustainable

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1268 (2016-02-17)
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  • BLM Fracking Rule Letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown | OEFFA News
    an enormous increase in traffic and water use For lands that have been designated or set aside because of their ecological value or because they contain a drinking water source there must be some mechanism to make them off limits to fracking activity In fact the importance of a provision to protect certain unique and sensitive areas was outlined as a recommendation by President Obama s shale gas advisory subcommittee in its August 2011 90 Day Report 2 The rule is devoid of many basic best management practices and requirements Perhaps the most glaring of these is the failure to prohibit the use of fracking waste pits These pits are highly problematic for a number of reasons including that animals can easily access them the risk of failure contamination relative to other containment methods e g closed loop systems and the lack of requirements related to liner integrity The BLM even recognized these and other risks related to open pits in a 2012 Instructional Memorandum advising BLM employees to attempt to have drillers utilize closed loop systems 3 The draft rule also does an inadequate job in regards to chemical disclosure The chemical disclosure requirement in the rule relies on FracFocus which has been shown to be a flawed method of disclosure 4 In the current version of the rule drilling companies do not need to provide the chemical constituents of their drilling fluid until after a well is fracked they have the ability to shield themselves from disclosure based on trade secret provisions and they do not even need to provide the exact inputs for each well but rather merely provide the inputs for a representative well This is unacceptable and poses considerable risk to the environment and human health Instead every chemical that is injected into each individual well should be disclosed before fracking occurs trade secrets provisions should be completely eliminated and thorough baseline water testing should be conducted prior to drilling The use of diesel fluid as well as other toxic chemicals that have been proven to be dangerous should also be prohibited The BLM rule also fails to address well construction guidelines and setbacks for specific areas such as houses schools and campgrounds Studies indicate that all well casings will fail at some point and a significant number fail in the beginning of their lives 5 Thus it is essential that stringent well construction rules are adopted within this rule recognizing that even thoughtfully designed well construction rules cannot prevent the failure of well casings over time Responsible siting of wells is also important Sufficient set backs should be adopted to protect homes schools campgrounds and recreational areas water sources and other sensitive locations Finally air pollution regulations should be incorporated into the rule as fracking sites are responsible for a substantial volume of concerning air contaminants including methane nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds These emissions pose a grave risk to human health as well as the health of our climate The current BLM

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1244 (2016-02-17)
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  • Full and Fair Farm Bill NOW | OEFFA News
    Shiprock NM Dine Policy Institute Tsaile AZ Diocese of Springfield in Illinois Springfield IL Dockery Group LLC Elm City NC Earth Cluster of Franciscans International Rochester MN Echota Cherokee Nation Fort Washington MD Ecological Farming Association Soquel CA Edible San Diego San Diego CA Environmental Working Group Washington DC Equinox Farm Shirley IN Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Chicago IL Fair World Project Portland OR Family Farm Defenders Madison WI Farm Aid Cambridge MA Farm to Table New Mexico Santa Fe NM Farm to Table Food Services Oakland CA FarmBillPrimer org Baltimore MD Farmer Jane Sebastopol CA Farmers on the Move Battle Creek MI Farms Not Arms Petaluma CA Farmworker Association of Florida Inc Apopka FL Farmworkers Center El Paso TX Fay Penn Economic Development Council Lemont Furnace PA Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund Atlanta GA Feeding America San Diego San Diego CA Florida Certified Organic Growers Consumers FOG Gainesville FL Food and You West Des Moines IA Food Chain Workers Alliance Los Angeles CA Food Democracy NOW Seattle WA Food For All Buffalo NY Food System Economic Partnership Ann Arbor MI Food Health and Environmental Justice Coalition Kansas City KS For Chicana Chicano Studies Foundation Northridge CA Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration La Crosse WI FRESHFARM Markets Washington DC Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries FIRM Inc Fresno CA Georgia Organics Atlanta GA Grassroots International Boston MA Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council Grand Rapids MI Green Bee Soda Brunswick ME Green For All Washington DC Greene County Democrat weekly newspaper Eutaw AL GrowFood org Mount Vernon WA Haitian International Youth Leadership Institute Inc Shannon NC Hazon San Francisco CA Health Care Without Harm Reston VA Hill Connections Chaseburg WI Hmong National Development Inc Washington DC Hour Children LIC NY Housing Assistance Council Washington DC Hunger Action Los Angeles Los Angeles CA Hunger Action Network of New York State New York NY Indian Nations Conservation Alliance Twin Bridges MT Inland Mexican Heritage Joshua Tree CA Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Minneapolis MN Institute for Community Engagement Las Cruces NM Interfaith Community Services Escondido CA Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative Sebastopol CA Intertribal Agriculture Council Billings MT Iowa Environmental Council Des Moines IA Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Baltimore MD Kentucky Resources Council Inc Frankfort KY Kikandwa Environmental Association Kampala WI La Semilla Food Center Las Cruces NM Land Stewardship Project Minneapolis MN Latinos in Agriculture Leaders Conference San Antonio TX Lideres Campesinas Oxnard CA Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service New York NY Live Real Boston MA Local Food Hub Charlottesville VA Local2Global Advocates for Justice Kansas City KS Local Matters Columbus OH Long Island Cares Inc The Harry Chapin Food Bank Hauppauge NY Los Jardines Institute The Gardens Institute Albuquerque NM LTV Productions Corp Saugus MA Maine Rural Partners Orono ME Maria Hines Restaurants Seattle WA Maryknoll Affiliates Mexico Silver City NM Maryknoll Society Ossining NY Maternity of Mary Church St Paul MN Michael Fields Agricultural Institute East Troy WI Michigan Food and Farming

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1223 (2016-02-17)
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  • Letter to Congress: Equity Amendments for a Fair 2013 Farm Bill | OEFFA News
    their food At least 93 percent of Americans want to know whether there are GE ingredients in their food regardless of race income education or party affiliation and 26 states are moving to require GE labeling Merkley OR Tester MT Blumenthal CT Begich AK Heinrich NM Boxer CA 978 Repeal of Biotechnology Rider in the Continuing Resolution SUPPORT The Continuing Resolution passed by Congress earlier this year contained a provision that strips federal courts of the authority to halt the sale or planting of biotechnology products that have not been adequately reviewed for their economic and environmental impacts This amendment would strike that harmful provision Coburn OK Durbin IL McCain AZ 999 Limit crop insurance subsidies for wealthiest farmers SUPPORT This amendment would reduce the level of federal premium support for crop insurance participants with an Adjusted Gross Income AGI over 750 000 by 15 percentage points for all buy up policies beyond catastrophic coverage The Congressional Budget Office CBO estimates this amendment which affects less than 1 percent of farmers would save more than 1 2 billion dollars over ten years Furthermore we support any amendment that would extend the premium reductions and waivers for supplied in crop insurance to beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers All three groups are provided premium reductions in the NAP Non Insured Disaster Assistance Program in the Miscellaneous Title We urge Senators to OPPOSE the following amendments Roberts KS The following amendments reduce SNAP funding Roberts 949 To eliminate the low income home energy assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program OPPOSE This amendment eliminates the SNAP Heat and Eat Program by reducing benefits to those who also receive energy assistance Roberts 950 To eliminate duplicative employment and training programs from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program OPPOSE This amendment eliminates the SNAP employment and training program Sessions AL Both of the following amendments reduce SNAP funding Sessions 946 To terminate the current Partnership for Nutrition Assistance Initiative between the United States and Mexico OPPOSE This amendment terminates the current Partnership for Nutrition Assistance Initiative between the U S and Mexico This Partnership established by the Bush Administration helps low income legal immigrant often citizen children access food allowing them to be healthier better educated children with brighter futures Sessions 947 To require the use of the systematic alien verification for entitlements program in the administration of the supplemental nutrition assistance program OPPOSE This amendment requires all members of a household applying for SNAP to provide documentation of citizenship or immigration status If each household member could not meet the documentation requirements then the entire household would be ineligible Currently states may not deny SNAP to eligible individuals based on the status of other family members who are not seeking services Research shows that this new requirement would adversely impact senior citizens especially African Americans who live in rural areas because they do not have a birth certificate Some may have never been issued a birth certificate because their birth was not officially registered in some cases due to racial discrimination in hospitals or poverty which prevented access to hospital care Imposing these new requirements would create enormous administrative hurdles for the most vulnerable delay benefits for needy households who must seek original birth certificates and terminate benefits to individuals who cannot access such documentation Thune SD 991 Cuts to SNAP Education OPPOSE Would cut SNAP Nutrition Education by 2 1 billion by reducing state s funding to 5 per SNAP participant We are continuing to review more amendments as information becomes available and will forward any additional recommendations that will also benefit these communities and we have also attached an earlier letter signed by more than 130 groups affirming the priorities reflected here As you move to complete action on this important bill we urge you to make all funding and policy recommendations relative to farm bill programs with an eye toward the future concern for the next generations of our nation s farmers and ranchers healthy and nutritious for food for all and inclusivity of all women minority tribal and limited resource farmers farmworkers and communities who are often in greatest need of these important programs Sincerely Agricultural Missions Inc New York NY Alabama State Association of Cooperatives Forkland AL Alianza Nacional de Campesinas Oxnard CA American Indian s Truths WPFW 89 3 FM Pacifica Radio Washington DC Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation Brinkley AK Ashtabula Geauga Lake Counties Farmers Union Windsor OH Atlantic States Legal Foundation Inc Syracuse NY Atrisco Land Grant Albuquerque NM BioRegional Strategies Albuquerque NM Canjilon Grazing Allotment Canjilon NM Center for Social Inclusion New York NY Colorado Hispanic Ranchers Farmers Antonito CO ColorOfChange org Oakland CA Community Food and Justice Coalition Oakland CA Community to Community Bellingham WA Delaware Local Food Exchange Wilmington DE Fair World Project Portland OR Farm to Table Santa Fe NM FarmBillPrimer org Baltimore MD Farmworker Association of Florida Apopka FL Federation of Southern Cooperatives Rural Training and Research Center Epes AL Federation of Southern Cooperatives East Point GA Fernandez Ranch Centerville WA Food Water Watch Washington DC Food Chain Workers Alliance Los Angeles CA Grassroots International Boston MA Hispanic Organizations Leadership Alliance HOLA Washington DC Hunger Action Network of New York Albany NY Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Minneapolis MN Intertribal Agriculture Council Billings MT Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Baltimore MD Kentucky Resources Council Inc Frankfort KY La Merced del Pueblo de Chilili Chilili NM La Plazita Farm Albuquerque NM League of United Latin American Citizens LULAC Hereford TX Lennon Ranch Lookout CA Live Real Oakland CA Maine Rural Partners Orono ME Minnesota Food Association Marine on St Croix MN Mississippi Association of Cooperatives Jackson MS Morning Star Farm of Taos Arroyo Seco NM National Dignity Campaign San Francisco CA National Family Farm Coalition Washington DC National Hmong American Farmers Inc Fresno CA National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association Washington DC National Women In Agriculture Association Oklahoma City OK

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1202 (2016-02-17)
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  • Letter to Congress: Seeds and Breeds in the Farm Bill | OEFFA News
    their regions and cropping systems In particular farmers lament limited cultivar options in major crops especially publicly held cultivars released by land grant universities that are adapted to regional farming needs to satisfy the national market By improving agricultural productivity and resilience classical breeding also improves food security for our growing population Senator Tester s amendment seeks to reinvigorate classical plant breeding in the public sector to better ensure farmers have the seeds and breeds they need to be successful Sincerely Arkansas Rice Growers Association Arkansas California Farmers Union California Carolina Farm Stewardship Association North and South Carolina Center for a Livable Future Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Maryland Center for Rural Affairs Nebraska Dakota Resource Council North Dakota Dakota Rural Action South Dakota Delta Land Community Arkansas Draper Family Farm Iowa Family Farm Defenders Wisconsin Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Texas Food For Maine s Future Maine Friends of Family Farmers Oregon Grain Millers Inc Indiana Iowa Minnesota Oregon Hawai i Public Seed Initiative Hawaii Idaho Rural Council Idaho Kansas Farmers Union Kansas Kansas Rural Center Kansas Land Stewardship Project Minnesota Mississippi Association of Cooperatives Mississippi Missouri Farmers Union Missouri Missouri Rural Crisis Center Missouri Montana Farmers Union Montana National Cooperative Grocers Association National National Family Farm Coalition National National Farmers Union National National Hmong American Farmers National National Organic Coalition National National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Nebraska Farmers Union Nebraska New England Farmers Union New England Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Ohio Oregon Rural Action Oregon Organic Farming Research Foundation Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing Inc National Organically Grown Company Oregon Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association National Organic Trade Association National Organic Valley Wisconsin Organization for Competitive Markets Nebraska Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Pennsylvania Prairie Quest Farm Iowa Progressive Agriculture Organization Pennsylvania R CALF National Ranch Foods Direct Colorado Rural Advancement Foundation International USA National Rural Vermont Vermont Seed Matters California South Agassiz Resource Council North Dakota Steve s Seed Conditioning Illinois Stonebridge Ltd Iowa The Land Institute Kansas The National Young Farmers Coalition National Union of Concerned Scientists National United Natural Foods Inc National Virginia Association for Biological Farming Virginia Western Colorado Congress Colorado Western Organization of Resource Councils Women Food and Agriculture Network Iowa Agricultural Scientists and Professionals Catherine Badgley Ph D Ecology and Evolutionary Biology University of Michigan Zach Bouricius Consultant Plant Soil and Insect Science from University of Massachusetts at Amherst Liz Carlisle Ph D Candidate National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow Center for Diversified Farming Systems University of California Berkeley John E Carroll Ph D College of Life Sciences and Agriculture University of New Hampshire Eric Casler Ph D Candidate Conservation Biology Program University of Minnesota Martha L Crouch Ph D Consultant on Agriculture and Technology Julie Dawson Ph D Postdoctoral Research Associate Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics Cornell University New York George M Diggs Jr Ph D Professor of Biology Austin College Texas J Franklin Egan Ph D Department of Crop and

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=1192 (2016-02-17)
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  • OEFFA Testimony, Comments, and Sign On Letters | OEFFA News | Page 2
    the Forest Stewardship Program Extends and expands the advance payment authority for socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers from 30 to 50 in all conservation and forestry programs with cost shares Add protection of the land of owned and operated by socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as a purpose for the use of Farm and Ranch Land Protection funds and to authorizes payment of up to 90 percent of the value of development rights in areas with high loss of land owned by socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers Add a 10 set aside for BFRs and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in the Conservation Innovation Grant subprogram Whole Farm Conservation and Forestry Planning Farm bill authority for special incentives for beginning limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers should be continued and authority added that Natural Resource Conservation Service NRCS and the Forest Service to provide these farmers and ranchers with technical and financial assistance through EQIP CSP Conservation Technical Assistance or other programs to develop whole farm resource management system plans Treatment of Farms With Limited Base Acres The Farm Bill 2008 exemption for limited resource beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers from the base acreage minimum should be extended for producers receiving any direct counter cyclical or average crop revenue election payments provided in the 2013 Farm Bill Enhanced Access to Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program Previous setasides for projects serving socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in the BFRDP should be continued and the matching requirements for these projects reduced to 10 Enhanced Opportunities in Value Added Producer Grants Priority for Value Added Producer grant projects benefitting beginning farmers and ranchers should be expanded include socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers as well as the set aside of program funding for these projects and the match requirement reduced to 10 for projects benefitting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers Rural Cooperative Development Access Set asides for projects serving socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers should be continued Assistance with Transitioning to Bioenergy Crops Access to the Biomass Crop Assistance Program should be expanded by adding programs serving more than 51 beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers as a selection criteria for projects Access to Rural Energy for America Program Matching requirements for project serving tribes and socially disadvantaged farmers ranchers and communities in the REAP program should be reduced to 10 for Feasibility Studies and for Projects and an annual report required on amount and percentage of funds provided to these groups in each program Report on Specialty Crop Production by Certain Farmers Language should be included as passed in the House 2012 Committee bill to require USDA to conduct a study on specialty crop production by small women socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers who are significantly represented in specialty crop production This provision would also require USDA to assess the public and private sector tools available to help expand improve and add value to the agricultural operations of these producers which are also an important source of varieties of products for preferred by expanding markets of growing diverse cultures Data is a critical first step in bolstering production for these sectors of agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grants The requirement in the conference report in the 2008 farm bill that requires states to stipulate a plan for reaching and meeting the needs of small scale women socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers who are significantly represented in specialty crop production in their applications for Specialty Crop Block Grants should be continued Emergency Disaster Relief Program for Farmworkers The current program authority for emergency disaster relieve for farmworkers should be expanded to add a 2 million replenishable standing disaster fund and authority provided to the Secretary to require Farm Service Agency to assess conditions among farmworkers when assessing any disaster and to address the needs of farmworkers in any disaster declaration or response Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2013 Sponsored by Representative Tim Walz and Senator Tom Harkin H R 1727 S 837 Section by Section Summary Title I Conservation Title III of the Farm Bill Sections 101 102 131 Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentive Program CRP TIP Amend Sections 1231 and 1235 of the Food Security Act to to reauthorize CRP TIP through 2018 and provide 50 million in mandatory funding over the life of the farm bill Additionally include provisions to strengthen the conservation language create a comprehensive conservation plan option create an easement option through the Grassland Reserve Program or the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program and allow transition between family members who meet the eligibility criteria but only in the case of land sales to the younger generation Section 111 Farm and Ranchland Protection Program FRPP Amend Section 1238I of the Food Security Act of 1985 to make preserving farm viability for future generations a part of the purpose of the program and to give funding priority to easements with an option to purchase at the agricultural use value to deals that transfer the land to beginning and farmers and ranchers to applicants with detailed farm succession plans and other similar mechanisms to maintain the affordability of protected farm and ranch land keep it as working land and foster new farming opportunities Sections 121 132 Environmental Quality Incentives Program EQIP Amend Sections 1240B of the Food Security Act of 1985 to continue the existing cost share differential for beginning limited resource and socially disadvantaged producers within EQIP and reaffirm the advance payment option allowing beginning and socially disadvantaged producers to receive an advance payment for the project s costs for purchasing materials or contracting services but increase the limit on the advance payment from 30 percent to 50 percent of costs Also increase the rate at which USDA can provide conservation technical assistance to beginning farmers and include a priority on beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers within the Conservation Innovation Grants subprogram Section 133 Whole Farm Conservation Planning Amend Sections 1244 a of the Food Security Act of 1985 to strengthen special incentives to beginning farmers and ranchers and limited resource producers to participate in federal agricultural conservation programs by authorizing NRCS to provide these farmers and ranchers with technical and financial assistance through EQIP CSP or other programs to develop whole farm resource management system plans Title II Credit Title V of the Farm Bill Sections 201 203 Direct Farm Ownership Experience Requirement Amend Section 302 b 1 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to provide the Secretary with greater discretion in determining the number of years of farm management experience required for qualified beginning farmers and ranchers to be eligible for direct farm ownership loans Also raise the cap on these loans by indexing the loan cap to farmland inflation rates Section 202 Conservation Loans Amend Section 304 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to raise the guarantee amount under USDA Conservation Loans from 75 to 90 percent create a 50 percent target participation rate for beginning farmers and ranchers similar to the targets for other loan programs and delete the existing provision that waives the family farm eligibility requirement which is required for all other FSA loan programs Section 205 Down Payment Loan Limits Amend Section 310E b 1 C of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to increase the limit on the size of the land value that can be FSA financed from 500 000 to 677 000 consistent with other FSA direct loan programs Section 211 Microloan Authorization Amend Section 313 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to create a new simplified loan category within USDA s direct operating loan portfolio to provide flexible capital through microloans not to exceed a balance of 35 000 that shall be available to any eligible borrower but will have special incentives for young beginning and veteran farmers including a lower interest rate and exempting microloans to these borrowers from counting towards their loan history term limits Also establish a cooperative lending program to allow USDA selected intermediaries to make microloans to eligible borrowers Section 221 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts Pilot Program Amend Section 333B of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to reauthorize this matched savings program per the 2008 Farm Bill but with 5 million per year in mandatory funding to jump start the program IDAs will be administered by the Farm Service Agency FSA through pilot programs in at least 15 states Section 222 Graduation to Commercial Credit Amend Sections 311 c and 319of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to modify the FSA loan term limits provisions to not more than 15 consecutive years for guaranteed loans and not more than 9 consecutive years for direct loans Sections 204 223 Priority for Participation Loans Amend Section 346 b 2 A of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to give priority within direct farm ownership loans to joint financing participation loans and down payment loans that involve private lenders Also decrease the unreasonably high minimum interest rates on these loans to make them more relevant in the current low interest rate climate Section 206 Limited Resource Interest Rate Amend Section 316 a 2 of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to adjust the minimum interest rate on direct loans to low income borrowers so that it reflects the current low interest rate climate Section 207 Definition of Qualified Beginning Farmer Amend Section 343 a 11 F of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to modify the definition of qualified beginning farmer and ranchers so that the average not median farm size is used to determine FSA loan eligibility Title III Rural Development Title VI of the Farm Bill Section 301 Value Added Producer Grants Amend Section 231 of the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 to retain the priority and set aside for projects benefitting beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers but clarify the language to make both individual farmer grants and farm business and coop grants practical and effective Direct USDA to develop an outreach and technical assistance strategy to reach underserved states and regions Renew mandatory farm bill funding at 20 million a year Title IV Research Extension and Related Matters Title VII of the Farm Bill Section 401 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Amend Section 7405 c of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to reauthorize this highly successful flagship training program through 2018 and provide with 20 million per year in mandatory funding Also include a new priority on agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training programs for military veterans and food safety training Include a 10 percent cooperative agreement alternative to higher negotiated administrative reimbursement rates Section 402 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Research Priority Amend Section 2 b of the Competitive Special and Facilities Research Act of 1965 to include a new program area to support research education and extension projects related to beginning socially disadvantaged and immigrant farmers and ranchers farm transition and entry new marketing and farm viability alternatives and related issues Also clarify the authorizing legislation to ensure that all AFRI programs including integrated are fully competitive and open to all eligible entities Title V Crop Insurance Title XI of the Farm Bill Section 501 Risk Management Partnership Programs Amend Section 522 of the Federal Crop Insurance Act to add a strong emphasis on beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers within this partnership grant program that funds projects to inform farmers about crop insurance products and broader risk management topics Title VI Miscellaneous Title XIV of the Farm Bill Section 601 Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison Add a new section in Subtitle A of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 to create a new Veterans Agricultural Liaison position at USDA charged with facilitating the process of educating returning veterans about and connecting them with beginning farmer and rancher training and agriculture vocational and rehabilitation programs Statement from MacKenzie Bailey Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association May 8 2013 OEFFA Testimony Comments and Sign On Letters Lauren Food and Drug Administration Listening Session on Proposed Food Safety Rules Tuesday April 30 2013 Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Wooster OH Good Afternoon My name is MacKenzie Bailey and I am the Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA Since our start 34 years ago OEFFA has been dedicated to promoting and supporting sustainable ecological and healthy food systems Today we have a membership of more than 3 200 dedicated farmers consumers gardeners chefs researchers and retailers Together we are working to recreate a regionally scaled farming processing and distribution system that move food from farm to local fork OEFFA is also an accredited organic certifier and certifies more than 750 operations throughout the Midwest many of whom are growers or food processors that will be required to either fully or partially adhere to the FDA s proposed preventative controls and produce rules For this reason we are diligently working to educate and engage our members in the rulemaking process We understand the importance of providing safe food free from dangerous pathogens and have recently offered a training workshop to our members on methods for meeting Good Agricultural Practices Nevertheless the proposed rules are daunting to many producers and I d like to address several areas of concern First is that of cost Under the proposed rule Ohio s many small family farmers will incur expenses perhaps higher than they can afford According to the FDA s own estimates a small farm would bear a more than 27 000 1 initial cost of compliance and from then on an average annual cost of nearly 13 000 2 The average net cash income for farmers nationally was 10 percent of sales in 2011 3 In other words initial compliance with the produce safety rule could consume more than half of a small farm s yearly profits i e a farm with sales of 450 000 making 45 000 profit per year would see their profits drop to 17 434 in the first compliance year This scenario is only more extreme for the very small farm which is estimated to incur more than 22 000 4 in initial compliance expenses i e a farm with sales of 200 000 making 20 000 profit per year would lose money their first year of compliance If the FDA does not address the cost of the proposed rule many of America s farmers may face the real risk of going out of business and our nation s ability to attract future generations of farmers will only become more difficult Second is that of conflict with the organic standards The Food Safety Modernization Act stated that produce standards should not conflict with the U S Department of Agriculture s USDA National Organic Program NOP regulations for certified organic production For example the NOP allows farms to use raw manure fertilizer if it is applied 120 days approximately four months before harvest if the crop s edible portions come into contact with the soil Under the proposed rule a nine month restriction period would be required which is excessive in comparison to the organic standards 5 Third is that of exemptions The smallest farms those making less than 25 000 will be exempted from the produce safety rule while others fall under a modified requirement status There are many questions about the withdrawal of such statuses as well as the restitution process There need to be clear predictable steps leading to a withdrawal rather than a one strike and you re out approach Finally every farmer I have met strives to provide safe food free of pathogens that cause illness Training and education for preventing food safety outbreaks is necessary for farmers to succeed Adequate funding will be needed for plain speak training materials workshops and outreach Maintaining safe food in this country is essential but it should not create unnecessarily burdensome regulations that put diversified sustainable and organic farms at risk of going out of business Many of these farms are already at lower risk of creating large foodborne illness outbreaks due to their size scope and for some alternative farming practices that maintain soil and water integrity Thank you for your time 1 Table 12 pg 53 http www fda gov downloads Food GuidanceRegulation FSMA UCM334116 pdf 2 Cost and Benefits http www regulations gov documentDetail D FDA 2011 N 0921 0001 3 Local Food Not Safe From FDA Safety Rules http www carolinafarmstewards org food safety 2 more 771 4 Table 12 pg 53 http www fda gov downloads Food GuidanceRegulation FSMA UCM334116 pdf 5 http www ota com organic foodsafety manure html Statement from MacKenzie Bailey Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association May 8 2013 OEFFA Testimony Comments and Sign On Letters Lauren Addressed to the Franklin County Planning Commission on a Zoning Amendment Regarding Chickens Ducks and Rabbits Wednesday May 8 2013 Good afternoon and thank you for accepting my request to speak today about the proposed zoning amendment to allow chickens ducks and rabbits on lots less than 5 acres My name is MacKenzie Bailey and I am the Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association or OEFFA Since our start 34 years ago OEFFA has been dedicated to promoting and supporting sustainable ecological and healthy food systems Today we have a membership of more than 3 200 dedicated farmers consumers gardeners and homesteaders including more than 300 members in Franklin Co Together we are working to recreate regionally scaled farming processing and distributions systems that move food from farm to local fork We are extremely encouraged to hear about the county s efforts to make allowances for small livestock that will strengthen local food security give consumers more of a connections to their food and potentially save Franklin Co residents money In February OEFFA submitted comments to the County Economic Development and Planning Department that we felt would improve the practical application of the Zoning Amendment After reading the most recent draft of the amendment it is clear that the County looked carefully at each comment submitted and made thoughtful adjustments changes that have both simplified and clarified the requirements and which will allow animal owners to more easily comply with the regulations Namely OEFFA was pleased to see a reduction in the fencing requirements for lots more than 1 acre more flexibility in the disposal storage and application of manure and reference to the standards established by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board For us one area of concern remains the restriction on the number of animals allowed on lots larger than 1 acre In our original comments we recommended two dozen birds for every acre of land We stand by that recommendation for two primary reasons 1 The first is that The current allotment is too small for a family to sustain themselves According to Harvey Ussery author of The Small Scale Poultry Flock a family of four requiring two eggs per day per person would need a flock of a dozen laying hens If the same family would like to raise chickens for meat they would need many more animals In our original comments we provided a conservative estimate that if a family of four ate one bird a week they would need 52 birds for the year I spoke with a chicken farmer who explained to me that it wouldn t be unreasonable to expect a family to bring those birds to slaughter on a quarterly basis Meaning at any one point in time this family of four would need a minimum of 25 birds Depending on a family s individual circumstances they may need more birds When OEFFA originally submitted comments the rule appeared to count rabbits separate from birds now it counts all animals on a point system This change would further restrict a family who preferred to produce their own supply of meat and eggs 2 The other point I d like to make is that birds do not require much space and as acreage increases the likelihood that they would create a nuisance or public health concern decreases In fact as a comparison the Ohio Livestock Care Standards allow for as many as 43 560 laying hens per acre Granted those allotments are intended for commercial use but it illustrates just how little space two dozen birds would require For these reasons and because it is important to OEFFA and our members that the rules meet their intent I ask the County to consider raising the number of animals allowed to two dozen per acre I d like to end my comments today on a personal note I am not an Ohio native I transplanted here five years ago from Buffalo NY One of the reasons I ve stayed in Ohio and plan to remain here is that the local food economy is thriving I appreciate the value of keeping my dollars local and even more so I enjoy the strong sense of community that is associated with the local food movement I m proud to live in a county that is proactively creating policies that support homesteaders farmers markets and food cart businesses In the future I hope the County considers expanding the rules to cover commercial production Nevertheless I want to emphasis how appreciative OEFFA is to have these new allowances in place and thank you again for your efforts as well as to have the opportunity to provide input on this important issue Over One Hundred Organizations and Businesses Unite to Oppose Controversial Agricultural Biotech Rider in Senate Spending Bill March 15 2013 OEFFA Testimony Comments and Sign On Letters Lauren March 13 2013 The Honorable Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Senate Minority Leader The Honorable Barbara Mikulski Senate Appropriations Chairwoman The Honorable Richard Shelby Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Dear Majority Leader Reid Assistant Majority Leader Durbin Chairwoman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby The undersigned group of over one hundred food businesses and retailers and family farm consumer health environmental and civil liberties groups unite to express strong opposition to the biotech rider Sec 735 in the proposed Senate Continuing Resolution Last September our groups wrote to applaud your decision to exclude this dangerous policy rider from consideration in the current Continuing Resolution This provision represents a serious and unique assault on the fundamental safeguards of our judicial system and would negatively impact farmers the environment and public health across America For these reasons we oppose its inclusion in any appropriations bill and call for it to be eliminated from the bill On the heels of federal court decisions that have found approvals of several genetically engineered GE crops to be unlawful the agricultural biotech industry quietly slipped a policy rider into the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would strip federal courts of the authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal potentially hazardous GE crop while the U S Department of Agriculture USDA assesses those potential hazards In several recent lawsuits federal courts have ruled for farmers businesses and public interest plaintiffs based on the finding that USDA had violated federal law by failing to adequately consider the potential harms of GE crops it had approved In reversing USDA s decisions these federal courts have quite reasonably barred or restricted sales and planting of such unlawfully approved crops pending further review while allowing continued cultivation of those already planted This rider is specifically intended to prohibit courts from imposing such reasonable restrictions in the event of similar cases in the future undermining judicial authority in the interests of maximizing biotech industry seed sales This unreasonable and biased provision would prevent a court from putting in place court ordered restrictions even if the approval were fraudulent or involved bribery Further this provision would compel USDA to immediately allow continued planting of a GE crop upon request even if in the course of its assessment the Department finds that it poses previously unrecognized risks If this occurs USDA will be severely hampered from preventing costly transgenic contamination episodes resulting in market rejection of U S agricultural products and the loss of foreign and domestic markets and untold millions of dollars in revenue Many agricultural product markets around the world including some of our nation s most prized trade partners demand food grown without the use of GE technology The stark reality that American farmers and our economy will face if the upcoming funding bill includes the biotech rider that U S seed crops and foods contaminated with GE material cannot and will not be sold in many international markets Both conventional non biotech and organic farmers have suffered substantial losses in the past due to contamination episodes If this provision were to become law USDA would be forced to immediately approve all permits for continued planting of an unapproved biotech crop exposing more farmers to substantial damage risk This would further damage the ability of American farmers to compete in foreign markets and would put our nation s delicate agricultural markets at risk Far from safeguarding farmers the only parties whose interests are assured by this rider are those of the agricultural biotech industry The facts are important is weighing this issue GE crop developers have misled Congress with this false and self serving provision Every court that has reversed a USDA decision to approve a GE crop has carefully weighed the interests of all affected farmers as is already required by law The unimpeachable fact is that no farmer has ever had his or her crops destroyed USDA already has working mechanisms in place to allow partial approvals and the Department has used them making this provision completely unnecessary This agricultural biotech provision would set a dangerous precedent for congressional intervention in the judiciary Our federal courts have long been the last resort for people seeking to challenge illegal actions by the government or its officials including actions that may threaten freedom from discrimination access to education access to health care property ownership and other important social benefits including clean air clean water and the fair distribution of government resources If this provision were to become law it would harm not only those who would otherwise challenge illegal government actions but also all people and communities who benefit from efforts to root out government abuse and unlawful action The ability of U S courts to review evaluate and judge an issue that impacts the nation s public and environmental health is a strength not a weakness of our legal system For the foregoing reasons we oppose the biotech rider Sec 735 in the Senate Continuing Resolution and collectively call for it to be eliminated from the bill Respectfully submitted Business Trade and Farming Associations Alaska Trollers Association Albert s Organics Annie s Inc California Certified Organic Farmers Clif Bar and Company CROPP Cooperative Organic Valley Del Cabo Inc EConsulting Eden Foods Equal Exchange Federation of Southern Cooperatives Good Earth Natural Foods High Mowing Organic Seeds Independent Natural Food Retailers Association Jacobs Farm Lundberg Family Farms Nature s Path Foods Inc Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance Northeast Organic Farming Association Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association Interstate Council Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing Inc Organically Grown Company Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association Organic Trade Association PCC Natural Markets San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association Stonyfield Farm Straus Family Creamery United Natural Foods Inc Wood Prairie Farm National State and Local Organizations AllergyKids Foundation Alliance for Humane Biotechnology Alliance for Natural Health USA American Civil Liberties Union Beyond Pesticides Bluefestival Californians for Alternatives to Toxics Center for Biological Diversity Center for Environmental Health Center for Food Safety Consumers Union Cornucopia Institute Cuatro Puertas Dakota Resource Council Dakota Rural Action Earthjustice Ecological Farming Association Environmental Working Group Farm Aid Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Food and Water Watch Food Democracy Now Food Rights Network Friends of Family Farmers Friends of the Earth Go Wild Campaign Idaho Rural Council Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Institute for Responsible Technology Iowa Breast Cancer Edu action Just Label It Label GMOs Loka Institute Mangrove Action Project Midwest Environmental Justice Organization Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services Millennium Institute Moms Advocating Sustainability National Cooperative Grocers Association National Family Farm Coalition National Organic Coalition National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Natural Resources Defense Council Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society New England Farmers Union Non GMO Project Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides Northwest Resistance Against Genetic Engineering Oakland Institute Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OMB Watch Oregon Rural Action Oregon Tilth Organic Consumers Association Organic Farming Research Foundation Organic Seed Alliance Partners for the Land Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples Pesticide Action Network North America Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine Progressive Agriculture Organization Public Citizen Rural Coalition Rural Vermont Sierra Club South Florida Cancer Association Sustainable Fairfax Sustainable Living Systems The Endocrine Disruption Exchange Union of Concerned Scientists Washington Biotechnology Action Council Western Colorado Congress Western Organization of Resource Councils Weston A Price Foundation CC Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin Senate Assistant Minority Leader Jon Kyl Speaker of the House John Boehner Majority Leader Eric Cantor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer U S House of Representatives U S Senate Open Letter to Grant Pingree Waiver January 8 2013 OEFFA Testimony Comments and Sign On Letters Lauren January 7 2013 The Honorable Nancy Pelosi 235 Cannon House Office Bldg Washington DC 20515 Dear Congresswoman Pelosi We the undersigned organizations and businesses strongly encourage you to grant Congresswoman Chellie Pingree a waiver to serve on both the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Agriculture Congresswoman Pingree has a uniquely extensive understanding of food and farm policy Not only does her farming background lend credit to her commitment to American agriculture but it also bolsters her grasp of complex agricultural policy Over the past 2 years Congresswoman Pingree has demonstrated true leadership by advocating for small and beginning farmers rural communities and local food systems as economic development engines These are critical issues that need her continuing leadership and participation As the 113 th Congress continues the process of reauthorizing the Farm Bill it is critical to have continuity from one Congressional session to the next which Congresswoman Pingree provides as a recent member of the Agriculture Committee during the 2012 Farm Bill debate The Local Farm Food and Jobs Act she sponsored in the House with Senator Sherrod Brown as the lead on the identical Senate bill was a bill we supported and ultimately formed the basis of much of what was good about the Senate passed and House Committee passed farm bills in 2012 American farmers rural communities and consumers would greatly benefit from having Congresswoman Pingree continue to serve on the Agriculture Committee in the 113 th session of Congress Sincerely National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association National Sign on Letter to Support Beginning and Minority Farmers and Ranchers November 12 2012 OEFFA Testimony Comments and Sign On Letters Lauren November 12 2012 Dear Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Members Pat Roberts and Collin Peterson Opportunities in the agricultural sector are thriving and strong despite current disaster related setbacks The contributions of farm families are the economic and social lifeblood of many towns cities and counties through out America Agriculture is a jobs creator where the dedication and commitment of farmers and ranchers ultimately feed clothe and fuel our nation Yet as a profession farming and ranching continues to be one of the most difficult careers to enter Even with encouraging market conditions in many parts of agriculture be it local regional or international or organic conventional or niche those who want to farm face daunting challenges Access to land high input and start up costs and insufficient training and networking options can deter prospective new agricultural producers The 2008 Farm Bill made significant progress in addressing some of the struggles beginning farmers and ranchers wrestle with The bill included improved beginning farmer conservation and credit measures and more training and assistance support than ever before The inability to date to pass a new farm bill so far this year however has brought a dozen critical programs to a screeching halt As of October 1 many of the most innovative forward looking farm bill programs have at least temporarily been terminated Two of those programs have proven their ability to help new farmers and ranchers the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program These two programs are uniquely situated to help new agricultural producers The programs enable community based organizations and educational institutions to provide and strengthen local training and assistance efforts that support new farmers and ranchers Considering the broad diversity of agriculture and regional variability this decentralized approach is smart and practical The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program BFRDP awarded 145 projects in the past four years providing nearly 75 million to grow a base of new farmers and ranchers From community groups to land grant universities this program has reached 48 states and according to USDA by 2011 had served 38 000 beginning farmers and ranchers While 145 projects have received awards 528 projects have requested support since 2009 demonstrating that there remains an unmet need The Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program is specifically aimed at one of the exploding areas of growth in agriculture farmers and ranchers from communities of color first nations people and military veterans Individuals in these communities who are often just getting started come to agriculture with very distinctive and specific needs such as language barriers cultural differences and service disabilities In the most recent three years for which data is available 158 grants worth 45 million were made to groups and university programs in 34 states around the country in both rural and urban communities These competitive grant programs are the only federal programs exclusively dedicated to training beginning and minority farmers and ranchers The projects funded through these programs make a real and lasting difference for new farmers and ranchers Allowing these programs to lapse within a stalled farm bill is unacceptable and irresponsible In a new farm bill Congress has the opportunity to re invest in these highly successfully and much in demand programs We appreciate the fact that the Senate passed and House Committee passed farm bills include some mandatory funding for both programs but strongly urge you to increase the funding level for each program to 100 million over 5 years 20 million annually during negotiations over the final bill We the undersigned organizations request that Congress advance a 2012 Farm Bill before the end of the calendar year which helps foster the next generation of agriculture producers You have the support in the countryside the need is real and the time to act is now Public policy that supports and promotes new farmers and ranchers is an investment worth making Sincerely Adelante Mujeres OR Agriculture and Land Based Training Association CA AgriSystems International PA Alabama State Association of Cooperatives AL Alternative Energy Resources Organization MT American Federation of Government Employees AFL CIO MO American Sustainable Business Council DC Angelic Organics Learning Center IL Ashley Ridge High School SC Beginning Farmers LLC MI BioRegional Strategies NM Black Farmers Agriculturalists Association NC Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living IL California Certified Organic Farmers CA California FarmLink CA Carolina Farm Stewardship Association NC Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas KS Center for Rural Affairs NE Center on Race Poverty the Environment CA Centro Ashé MD Centro Campesino MN ChangeLab Solutions CA Chicago Botanic Garden IL Clemson University New and Beginning Farmer Program SC Community Food and Justice Coalition CA Cultivating Community ME Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship WI Dakota Rural Action SD Delaware Local Food Exchange DE Delta Land Community AR

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  • OEFFA News | Ecological Food and Farm News | Page 7
    research funds Even if they are not directly beholden their universities are I know from talking to a lot of them that there is pressure to say the right thing I m not saying they re making things up but if you don t ask certain questions all you have is the answers to other things Expert to Examine Ways to Build a Successful Sustainable Farming System February 2 2015 Annual Conference OEFFA in the News Lauren Public News Service 01 22 15 By Mary Kuhlman PHOTO Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Scientist at the Center for Food Safety Doug Gurian Sherman COLUMBUS Ohio While the nation s agriculture industry is productive a leading scientist and biotechnology expert says it s not sustainable Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Scientist at the Center for Food Safety Dr Doug Gurian Sherman says the industrial model of farming focusing on methods rather than the whole system has contributed to loss of biodiversity as well water and air pollution He suggests moving toward an agroecological approach that takes into account the ways farming interacts with the environment To use natural processes that are more and more understood through the science of ecology in a way that enhances production and preserves scarce resources and reduces the impacts and pollution from farming says Gurian Sherman He says no till farming is an example of focusing on only a method While it reduces soil erosion and saves water it has increased the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides Gurian Sherman will discuss the relationships between biotechnology and agroecology and how they can combine to build a successful sustainable agricultural system when he speaks at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association s annual conference in February Gurian Sherman points to the toxic algae pollution in Lake Erie as another example because it is linked to the runoff of excess nutrients from no till farming It illustrates dangers or risks of relying on piece meal solutions without taking a more holistic systemic view of agriculture as an endeavor and as a system in the environment as opposed to a series of methods he says Another problem says Gurian Sherman is the uneven playing field when it comes to social political and regulatory views of agriculture Maybe about two to five percent of our agricultural research budget goes to ecologically based and sustainable farming systems and the rest goes towards reinforcing the industrial model including improving its efficiency he says Gurian Sherman adds research has contributed tremendously to the success of industrial farming and with better support sustainable farming systems would become more efficient as well He s scheduled to speak at the conference in Granville on Feb 15th Ohio s Largest Food and Farm Conference Features Three Pre Conference Workshops Regenerative Agriculture Poultry and Dairy Herd Health Sessions Will Provide In Depth Knowledge to Farmers and Veterinarians January 28 2015 OEFFA Press Releases Lauren FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28 2015 Contact Renee Hunt Program Director 614 421 2022 Ext 205 renee oeffa org Lauren Ketcham Communications Coordinator 614 421 2022 Ext 203 lauren oeffa org The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA will host three full day pre conference workshops in Granville Ohio on Friday February 13 as part of its 36th annual conference Sustainable Agriculture Renewing Ohio s Heart and Soil These events feature some of the country s top experts and are designed to provide ecological growers a deeper education than short workshops or webinars can said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt This year we re also offering a session geared toward livestock veterinarians so they are better positioned to serve organic dairy clients These practices can be used in non organic dairy systems as well During this pre conference workshop John Kempf founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture will help farmers learn regenerative farming principles which allow soil and plant health to improve not degrade over time Using these techniques growers will discover how they can produce disease and pest resistant crops which are healthier and more nutritious An Amish grower from Middlefield Ohio Kempf is an internationally recognized lecturer on biological agriculture plant immunity mineral nutrition and soil microbiology Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network will discuss effective and profitable strategies for sustainable poultry production during this pre conference workshop For the past 30 years Adkins has raised more than 50 breeds and varieties of chickens ducks geese and turkeys A licensed poultry judge he established the International Center for Poultry in 1992 and has taught at field days workshops and conferences Designed for poultry producers of any scale this session will explore the unique advantages of sustainable production systems while exploring the history of traditional heritage breeds and the transition to hybrid breeds and industrial production models Growers will walk away with an understanding of the breeding feed forage facilities and care required for different size production models and how to make their poultry businesses profitable through effective financial planning marketing and consumer education During this pre conference workshop veterinarians Dr Päivi Rajala Schultz and Dr Luciana da Costa from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Organic Valley staff veterinarian Dr Guy Jodarski will help dairy producers and veterinarians serving organic dairy farmers learn how practical management and mastitis control practices can improve milk quality and farm profitability Attendees will learn the basic requirements for good udder health strategies for managing clinical mastitis and more Thanks to funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education NCR SARE Professional Development Program a limited number of scholarships are available for veterinarians to attend the dairy herd health pre conference event at no cost To request a scholarship or to nominate a veterinarian who would benefit from this opportunity contact Eric Pawlowski at 614 421 2022 Ext 209 or eric oeffa org All pre conference workshops will be held from 10 a m 4 p m on Friday February 13 at Granville High School 248 New Burg St Granville Ohio Pre registration is required and costs 75 for OEFFA members and 90 for non members The pre conference workshops will be offered as part of the state s largest sustainable food and farm conference on Saturday February 14 and Sunday February 15 an event which draws more than 1 200 attendees from across Ohio and the U S In addition to pre conference events this year s conference will feature keynote speakers Alan Guebert and Doug Gurian Sherman nearly 100 educational workshops a trade show activities for children and teens locally sourced and organic homemade meals and Saturday evening entertainment Separate registration is required for all conference events For more information about the conference or to register go to www oeffa org conference2015 Opting out Farm bill exempts more organic farmers from checkoffs January 20 2015 OEFFA in the News Organic Certification Lauren Farm and Dairy 1 14 2015 By Brian Lisik SALEM Ohio Circleville Ohio based dairy farmer Perry Clutts has been farming 100 percent certified organic since 2005 Since transitioning from a conventional dairy operation Clutts has not had to pay into the national dairy checkoff order thanks to a 2002 farm bill provision exempting 100 percent organic operations from conventional checkoffs A proposed rule change announced by the U S Department of Agriculture Dec 15 would expand that exemption to include 95 percent organic farmers handlers marketers and importers otherwise known as primary organic operations The USDA recently fast tracked its efforts to expand the exemption part of the 2014 farm bill A 30 day public comment period on the proposed rule change ended Jan 15 There are 22 national research and promotion checkoff programs Under these programs producers of a particular agricultural product pay assessments to fund marketing campaigns and research initiatives that benefit their commodity The USDA estimates the organic exemption has freed up 13 6 million for the organic sector which produces an estimated 35 billion in annual sales according to the USDA Not far enough Laura Batcha CEO and executive director of Organic Trade Organization applauded the USDA s efforts to implement the rule change so quickly The 100 percent exemption solved some of the problems but was drafted in such a way that it was restrictive Batcha said Communications from some of the commodity orders were bordering on disparaging to organic They were not promoting organic a lot The USDA s proposed rule change Batcha explained would apply to split operations those that farm both organically and conventionally It would also address instances when non organic agents are used in processing such as sanitizing agents on a production line or milk processing line Carol Goland executive director for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association said the USDA s proposed rule change corrects the 2002 rule s inequity in defining different types of organic operations In a sense what this farm bill does is better define the multiple foods and crops of organic as a single commodity Goland said adding that OEFFA fully supports the proposed rule change Public comment A number of conventional commodity organizations including the United Soybean Board and the Almond Board of California have requested the USDA extend its 30 day public comment period due to the complexity of the issue Organic checkoff option The 2014 farm bill grants the USDA authority to not only expand the organic exemption in the 2002 farm bill but to also explore options for an organic specific checkoff order Maggie McNeil director of media relations for the Organic Trade Association said the organization has been working on the framework for such a checkoff for three years McNeil said they hope to have the application out within the next two months If accepted by the USDA it then has to go through a comment period and a referendum an actual vote of all organic stakeholders in the industry A lot of people know the word organic but don t know really what it means said Clutts who also sits on the board of the Organic Trade Organization It is based on a very specific criteria like no other food process anywhere I think the collective pool could do something bigger to promote organic agriculture Gaining majority support for an organic checkoff order however could be challenging Goland said OEFFA recognizes the need for organic research and promotion and feels the organic sector should be able to spend its money as it sees fit But I would not necessarily go so far as an organic checkoff she said Several comments on the USDA s rule change proposal also cautioned against an organic checkoff Please stop the start of a checkoff plan for organic products wrote Roger Pepperl of Wenatchee Washington based organic fruit farm Stemilt Growers Our organic world is too large and diverse to have an organization work on our behalf We grow organic tree fruit and have nothing in common with organic cotton organic beef etc Organic farmer Ted Weydert of DeKalb Illinois added Contrary to popular belief the Organic Trade Association only speaks for a very small number of actual organic farmers This checkoff is not needed Does Fracking Threaten Future of Ohio Organic Farms January 20 2015 OEFFA in the News Organic Certification Lauren Public New Service 10 13 2014 Mary Kuhlman PHOTO Certified organic farmer Mick Luber of Bluebird Farm in Cadiz Ohio says he s concerned about what possible contamination from nearby fracking operations could mean for the future of his business Photo credit Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association COLUMBUS Ohio Certified organic farming is a growing business in Ohio but some farmers warn that the threat of contamination from hydraulic fracturing could dampen its future Some of the chemicals used in fracking have been identified as naturally occurring toxic substances metals and radioactive materials In eastern Ohio Mick Luber is a certified organic grower and owner of Bluebird Farm in Cadiz He says several well pads and a compressor station are located near his land He is worried about contamination of soil water and air and what it could mean for his organic certification I m in a quandary about the production on my farm being of good quality says Luber Do I lose my business I ve put 30 years into this soil to make this soil grow You don t just go someplace and oh well it s bad here I ll just go over the hill If prohibited substances including some fracking chemicals are detected on a certified organic farm the producer may have to wait at least three years before becoming eligible for recertification Ohio is home to more than 700 certified organic operations and nearly 57 000 acres of certified organic land Luber says an air quality monitor showed high levels of particulate matter on his farm He says one time he discovered water running white from springs coming out of a well pad near his land The Ohio EPA had a 165 day investigation supposedly and said there was no problem says Luber But from my estimation somehow they fractured the rock structure so that anything spilled on that well pad site will get into that water and flow down through the stream Besides drilling sites there are pipelines used to transport gas and injection wells that store fracking waste throughout the state In the event of an accident or spill Luber says it s impossible to know the full extent of the danger What they re doing is a bad idea he says Any cement you put in is going to crack sometime So all these wells are eventually going to leak And if they have all these chemicals in these wells they re going come up and they re going to affect the groundwater and they re going to affect people s health Supporters of hydraulic fracturing say it is an economic boon for the state but opponents argue the risks outweigh the benefits Federal Produce Rules Still on Table January 20 2015 Farm Policy OEFFA in the News Lauren Farm and Dairy 11 05 2014 By Chris Kick SALEM Ohio The public comment period continues for new federal rules designed to increase the safety of the nation s produce and to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act The U S Food and Drug Administration has revised its rule proposal various times over the past couple years and announced its most recent revision Sept 19 with a public comment period that extends through mid December What changes The current rules reflect five basic changes farmers sought including more flexible definitions for water quality and manure application a new definition of which farms must meet the new rules and more clarity over who is exempt Although the rules have been changed many times farmers and the groups that represent them say they re pleased FDA is listening They FDA are taking a lot of feedback They are trying to make sure that the rule meets the needs but that it is also a workable rule said Kristi Boswell director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation Boswell said the most recent revision addresses Farm Bureau s concerns but Farm Bureau continues to be involved with the process and the final rule The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association said the FDA is to be commended for listening to farmers and the public and for realizing that a second draft was necessary Amalie Lipstreu OEFFA policy program coordinator said the original regulations issued in 2013 contained several requirements that would have jeopardized organic farmers discouraged growth of local food systems and negatively impacted the conservation of natural resources In response OEFFA and other state and national groups mobilized more than 18 000 farmers consumers and food businesses to submit comments to FDA Farm definition One of the biggest concerns among organic and non organic growers was the FDA definition of different sized farms and farm businesses Previously the rule required producers who sold more than 25 000 worth of food to comply but it also counted non produce crops such as corn and soybeans The current rule counts only the sale of produce foods which gives farmers more flexibility as to which level of compliance they must meet Basing farm size on sales of covered produce rather than total sales is incredibly important for diversified farming operations Lipstreu said Also the definition of farm is revised so that a farm no longer would need to register as a food facility merely because it packs or holds raw agricultural commodities grown on another farm under a different ownership Manure application Another major revision is the time period when farmers can apply manure prior to harvesting a crop The FDA is removing the nine month proposed minimum interval between application and harvest while it reviews a more appropriate time interval Also at the relief of organic farmers FDA does not intend to take exception to farmers complying with the USDA s National Organic Program standards which call for a 120 day interval between the application of raw manure for crops in contact with the soil and 90 days for crops not in contact with the soil Boswell said time will tell what the final rule will look like and how it will work but at the same time FDA made a great step forward by listening to producers Program costs Once the rule is complete the FDA will need to determine how it will implement the rule and how implementation will be funded The legislation would increase the burden on FDA s inspection functions the number of employees and the agency s annual operating budget Without additional funding FDA will be challenged in implementing the legislation fully without compromising other key functions according to FDA Get the details About 48 million people one in six Americans get sick 128 000 are hospitalized and 3 000 die each year from foodborne diseases according to recent data from

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  • Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) Good Earth Guide Product Search
    non ohio Daryl Headings Certified Organic by OEFFA Starline Organics Profile Athens OH Athens Matthew and Angie Starline Certified Organic by OEFFA Stauf s Coffee Roasters Profile Columbus OH Franklin Robert Metzger Certified Organic by OEFFA Steckler Grassfed Profile Dale IN non ohio Jerry Steckler Certified Organic by OEFFA Steury s Organic Farm Profile Montgomery MI non ohio Enos B Steury Certified Organic by OEFFA Stone Coop Farm Profile Brighton MI non ohio Joannee DeBruhl Certified Organic by OEFFA Stone Garden Farm Profile Richfield OH Summit Jim and Laura Fry Stonecrop Farm Profile Newport VA non ohio Gwynn Hamilton and Robert Webster Certified Organic by OEFFA Stony Mountain Botanicals Farm Profile Loudonville OH Ashland Millie Fodor Storehouse Tea Company L L C Profile Chagrin Falls OH Geauga Paula Hershman Certified Organic by OEFFA Straight Creek Valley Farm Profile Georgetown OH Brown Christine Tailer Straits Brothers Profile Millersburg OH Holmes Ralph Straits Certified Organic by OEFFA Stranger s Hill Organics Profile Bloomington IN non ohio Lee Jones Certified Organic by OEFFA Strawberry Hill Farm Profile Fresno OH Coshocton Ron and Mary Meyer Certified Organic by OEFFA Stutzman Farms Profile Millersburg OH Holmes Monroe Stutzman Certified Organic by OEFFA Sugar Valley Maple Profile Middlefield OH Geauga James J Miller Jr Certified Organic by OEFFA SugarWood Acres Profile West Farmington Ohio Trumbull Jonathan Woodford Certified Organic by OEFFA Sunbeam Family Farm Profile Alexandria OH Licking Ben Dilbone Sundog Specialty Crops Profile Sunbury OH Delaware Mike Anderson Sunflower Sundries Profile Mt Olivet KY non ohio Jennifer Gleason Sunny Meadows Flower Farm Profile Columbus OH Franklin Steve Adams Sunnyrock Farm Profile Blanchester OH Clinton Jason and Kimberly Zerkle Sunnyside Farms Profile Redford MI non ohio Jennifer Mergos Sunrise View Farm Profile Shreve OH Holmes Daniel R Weaver Certified Organic by OEFFA Sunset Ridge Profile Urbana

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