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  • Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) - Farm Policy Matters
    to the advisory The toxic algae problems at the state s lakes are a good example of the environmental impacts of conventional agricultural practices Manure and phosphorus fertilizers that wash off farm fields and into waterways are the most significant sources of the blooms of toxic algae When these nutrients escape where they are meant to be farm fields and end up in the water they provide an ideal medium for the growth of toxic algae Organic and sustainable growers use practices that protect soil air and water resources Every crop needs phosphorus to thrive but organic growers use natural forms of phosphorus manure management practices and planting patterns such as cover crops that reduce runoff from fields protecting our precious water resources from becoming toxic cesspools In addition to providing educational workshops organic certification services and direct assistance and support to organic farmers and help all farmers reduce their use of chemicals OEFFA also works to advocate for state and federal policy that helps provide support for sustainable agriculture including The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program NOCCSP The cost share program makes financial assistance available to help defray the costs of organic certification for producers and handlers of organic products Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education SARE Program Since 1988 SARE has helped advance farming systems that are profitable environmentally sound and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service ATTRA ATTRA provides information and other technical assistance to farmers ranchers Extension agents educators and others involved in sustainable agriculture The Conservation Stewardship Program CSP The CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to undertake additional conservation activities on farm thus rewarding farmers for improving maintaining and managing conservation activities The Environmental Quality Incentives Program EQIP The EQIP Organic

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/farmpolicy_toxicalgae.php (2016-02-17)
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  • Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) - Farm Policy Matters
    our secure server to complete the payment portion of your membership Select Donation Amount Donation Amount Select 30 Donation 40 Donation 50 Donation 100 Donation 250 Donation Home Join Donate

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/donate_fpm.php (2016-02-17)
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  • USDA Waives Regulatory Authority for GE Crops | OEFFA News
    and other organizations have successfully sued the agency for failing to conduct these assessments before removing crops from the plant pest list In 2000 Congress passed the Plant Protection Act which broadened the Plant Pest Act to include a noxious weed provision giving the USDA the authority to regulate any GE crop with the potential to spread or become hard to control As biotechnology companies have begun using non pest material to develop GE crops the plant pest provision has become a less useful tool for the regulation of GE technology Scotts Miracle Gro s GE bluegrass for example was modified using no plant pest components allowing the company to successfully argue that their product should not be regulated as a plant pest The USDA eliminated its other tool for regulating GE bluegrass the noxious weed provision when they released a statement this summer declaring that the weed risks posed by GE and conventional bluegrass are essentially the same That is the USDA maintains that GE bluegrass poses no greater risk for spreading uncontrollably than conventional grass despite being engineered to withstand herbicide applications By determining that the GE bluegrass was neither a plant pest nor a noxious weed the USDA is under no obligation to perform environmental impact or endangered species analyses allowing the grass to enter the market with virtually no independent review Given that Kentucky bluegrass is expected to become available for use on home lawns throughout the country we can anticipate a corresponding increase in the use of Roundup Glyphosate the active ingredient in Roundup has been linked to non Hodgkin lymphoma endocrine disruption multiple myoeloma DNA damage immune suppression and miscarriage Even more concerning the USDA s bluegrass decision signals a hands off approach to regulating GE technology which will make it even easier for

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=522 (2016-02-17)
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  • October Marks First Farm to School Month | OEFFA News
    kitchen and the pasta dough is made fresh daily This year Granville expects to source 45 percent of their food from farms and dairies within 50 miles of the school Farm to School programs are based on the idea that students will choose healthier foods including more fruits and vegetables if they are fresh picked at the peak of their flavor and if those choices are reinforced with educational activities This idea has borne fruit in Granville After contracting with AVI Food Systems the percentage of students purchasing school lunches grew from 22 to 67 percent Nationally the choice of healthier options in Farm to School cafeterias has increased daily fruit and vegetable consumption both at school and at home Increased access to nutritious meals and food education help students develop healthy eating habits and reduce their risk for obesity and other health issues In addition to serving up healthier food choices the school has incorporated gardening into their curriculum to help teach students about where their food comes from Granville High School started an organic garden eight years ago which is part of the curriculum for two science classes and a summer school class in sustainability The garden produces vegetables for the school lunch program and for a summer farm market Because of this integrative approach Farm to School programs benefit the entire community children farmers parents and teachers Farm to School programs open up new markets for farmers and increase demand for local and sustainably produced food Such initiatives help keep food dollars in the local economy and create a generation of informed food consumers who understand not only the nutritional significance of their food choices but also the economic environmental and social impacts as well Dilbone is the director of business operations with Granville Exempted Village Schools

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=509 (2016-02-17)
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  • New livestock rules don’t address all the issues | OEFFA News
    address numerous issues at the heart of many consumer concerns with today s animal agriculture industry The routine use of antibiotics and indoor confinement are examples of standard practices associated with industrial agriculture not addressed by the new standards These practices will remain commonplace Additionally some of the reforms in the standards have been mischaracterized or overstated by the media and by proponents The Dispatch reported that veal crates would be eliminated in 2018 However individual pens still may be used for the first 10 weeks of life Since bob veal are generally marketed at 3 weeks of age calves may still spend most if not all of their lives in individual pens And although animal welfare representatives claim the regulations prohibit new egg operations from confining laying hens in cages and place a moratorium on the construction of new battery cage facilities the standards grandfather in existing poultry farms in perpetuity allowing them to expand the use of conventional battery cage systems For new facilities cages still are permitted but they must be enriched with some feature such as a perch In either case these cages must provide only 67 square inches per bird two thirds the size of a standard sheet of notebook paper Although the new standards help establish a minimum bar for the treatment of livestock Ohioans who want confinement free meat dairy and eggs still must seek them out from alternative sources Those options are available Certified organic products require farmers to emphasize preventive health care and accommodate an animal s natural nutritional and behavioral requirements which include documented inspected access to pasture for a minimum of 120 days a year Select restaurants and grocery stores offer organic and pasture raised products Consumers also may shop at farmers markets and other direct market outlets allowing

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=470 (2016-02-17)
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  • Sen. Brown Brings ‘Grown in Ohio’ Listening Tour to Drewes Farm in Custar | OEFFA News
    to ensure that the feedback I receive in these sessions will help shape the final piece of legislation Producers and individuals involved in agriculture from several counties across Northwestern Ohio attended Many of the participants are members of statewide farm organizations including Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association Ohio Farm Bureau Ohio Farmers Union Ohio Soybean Association the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the Women s Farm Consortium Brown held a similar series of listening sessions prior to the last Farm Bill and at one roundtable the idea for the Average Crop Revenue Election ACRE program was born and eventually adopted in the final Farm Bill The ACRE provision allows farmers to choose a new safety net program that protects against drops in yield or prices which is critical for farmers given the uncertain and volatile farm economy In March Brown addressed the Ohio Farm Bureau in Washington D C where he announced his plans for the Grown in Ohio tour At that speech Brown outlined priorities for economic development and job growth in Ohio s agricultural industry In March Brown also held a call with nearly 30 Ohio farmers to announce that he will be the new Chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Jobs Rural Economic Growth and Energy The critical panel is responsible for job creation in small towns and rural communities and the continued development of renewable fuels and clean energy technologies that support rural America Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on both the U S Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry and the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Agriculture is still Ohio s largest industry As the first Ohioan in more than 40 years to serve on the U S Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry Sen Brown is looking

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=449 (2016-02-17)
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  • In our Fields and On Our Plates: Challenging Monsanto’s GE Patents | OEFFA News
    Farm Association the Public Patent Foundation PUBPAT filed suit against Monsanto The case Organic Seed Growers Trade Association et al v Monsanto was filed in federal district court in Manhattan The plaintiffs representing more than 270 000 individuals are preemptively asking the court for protection from being accused of patent infringement should they ever become contaminated by Monsanto s GE seed The suit also challenges the validity of Monsanto s Roundup Ready patents under both statute and case law precedent requiring patented products to demonstrate clear social utility and not be dangerous to health The specter of GE crops and seeds contaminating the non GE food supply continues to grow particularly since the U S Department of Agriculture USDA recently deregulated Monsanto s GE alfalfa and sugar beets and Syngenta s GE corn designed for biofuel production The deregulation of alfalfa is particularly dangerous since it is the nation s fourth largest crop planted on over 21 million acres of land Alfalfa is used in many organic farmers crop rotations and is the key feedstock for the dairy industry Because GE crops are prohibited under the organic label if organic fields are contaminated or organic livestock consume contaminated feed a farmer cannot sell those products as organic The Dangers of GE Food Beyond contamination and the threat to our food supply GE foods present many ethical challenges Seed once common property of past present and future generations has been privatized patented and made into a corporate intellectual property right GE seed commodifies life and turns a renewable resource into a non renewable non reproducing product GE foods have also not been shown safe to eat The scientific literature on long term human safety is divided but many of the studies arguing that GE food is safe were conducted by the biotechnology companies that commercialized the seed Monsanto has used their patent rights to systematically prevent rigorous independent scientific research on GE foods GE seeds are also directly responsible for the increased use of pesticides and herbicides Glyphosate the key ingredient in Roundup has been linked to non Hodgkin lymphoma endocrine disruption multiple myeloma DNA damage immune suppression and miscarriage Finally much like the overuse of antibiotics has created antibiotic resistant super germs the pervasive use of glyphosate has created herbicide resistant superweeds Farmers are now having to resort to more labor intensive weed management strategies and more toxic and complex mixtures of herbicides to combat these weeds How to Avoid GE Food Because there is no requirement to label GE products the best way to avoid GE food is to buy organic because organic farmers are prohibited from using GE seed or livestock feed Look for the organic label and support farmers who are growing food organically and preserving heirloom seed varieties For produce a savvy supermarket shopper can also use information on the product s Price Look Up PLU code According to the International Federation for Produce Standards for bulk produce if the PLU code begins with 9 and

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=412 (2016-02-17)
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  • A Band of 60 Davids Challenges Monsanto, the Goliath, in Federal Court | OEFFA News
    05 04 business energy environment 04weed html The complaint raises allegations concerning Monsanto s aggressive assertion of its patents for transgenic seeds noting that 500 farmers are investigated for patent infringement each year and that Between 1997 and April 2010 Monsanto filed 144 lawsuits against farmers in at least 27 different states for alleged infringement of its transgenic seed patents and or breach of its licene to those patents Most serious is the allegation that Monsanto has made accusations of patent infringement against those who never wished to possess its transgenic seed The complaint cites the nationally broadcast CBS Evening News segment entitled Agricultural Giant Battles Small Farmers Monsanto Goes to Great Lengths to Protect Its Patents on Genetically Modified Crops www cbsnews com stories 2008 04 26 eveningnews main4048288 shtml The complaint minimizes Monsanto s commitment to not exercise our patent rights where trace amounts of our patented seeds or traits are present in a farmer s fields as a result of inadvertent means on a page entitled Monsanto s Commitment Farmers and Patents on its website www monsanto com newsviews Pages commitment farmers patents aspx Plaintiffs assert that this commitment by Monsanto fails to define what is meant by trace amounts or inadvertent means Plaintiffs fear that Monsanto will assert its transgenic seed patents against certified organic and non transgenic seed farmers who come to possess more than trace amounts of Monsanto s transgenic seed even if it is not their fault In an insightful article entitled Food Culture with the subtitle Genetically modified agriculture holds both the promise of drought and virus resistant crops and the peril of unraveling the natural food chain in a recent issue of Audubon Magazine March April 2011 www audubonmagazine org features1103 biotech html writer Alisa Opar notes that the USDA to date has approved more than 70 applications for transgenic plants Since the first transgenic crops were planted 15 years ago according to Ms Opar their use has skyrocketed With reference to Monsanto s transgenic seed with the glyphosate resistant trait she notes that Glyphosate resistant weeds like horseweed are popping up and she writes that Monsanto s solution is to engineer a trait for resistance to an older herbicide called dicamba Such step would put even more pesticides into the environment and Penn State weed ecologist Dave Mortensen is quoted as estimating that herbicide use on soybeans will increase by 70 percent in a few years A scientist from the Center for Food Safety worries that Dicamba is a lot nastier than glyphosate because of volatilization and its toxicity Ms Opar also cites the testimony of Steve Smith director of agriculture for Red Gold America s largest private canned tomato processor in testimony before Congress The widespread use of dicamba herbicide possesses the single most serious threat to the future of the specialty crop industry in the Midwest With the filing of their lawsuit the plaintiffs will compel a federal court to address one major argument against genetically modified food

    Original URL path: http://www.oeffa.org/news/?p=304 (2016-02-17)
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