the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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proposed immigration legislation could have devastating effects on agriculture.

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President Donald Trump has today endorsed legislation proposed by two republican senators (David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas), which would introduce new limits on legal immigration. The new system would be based on merit over any other criteria, which means that highly skilled workers will receive priority over lower skilled workers or potential immigrants who have family members already residing within the United States. If passed, it would also reduce the number of refugees accepted by half, at a time when the world is facing the worst refugee crisis since WWII due to a complex combination of factors which include climate change and conflict.

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action alert! upcoming farm bill listening sessions.

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pictured: Colin Thompson, a Community Food Systems Educator for Michigan State University Extension credit: OFRF

As the next Farm Bill approaches, the House Agriculture Committee members are beginning to gather input from farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders. As you may know, several current programmes that contribute to the success of organic agriculture are under threat of elimination as so it is imperative that policy makers hear directly from organic farmers, researchers and organic farming advocates.

There are three upcoming listening sessions in the next week organised by the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Monday July 31 2017 – 1.00 pm. Texas

Angelo State University,
C.J. Davidson Conference Centre,
1910 Rosemont Drive,
San Angelo, Texas

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – 9:30 a.m. Minnesota 

Farmfest,
Gilfillan Estates,
28366 Co. Hwy 13,
Morgan, Minnesota

Saturday, August 5, 2017 – 9:00 a.m. Modesto, California
Address to yet to be announced.

If you are hoping to speak at one of the listening sessions, arrive early as the opportunity to speak will be decided on a first come first served basis and speaking time will likely be restricted to approximately 2 minutes.

Recently, at OFRF’s recommendation, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced H.R. 2436, the Organic Agriculture Research Act (OARA). This historic bipartisan legislation reauthorizes USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), and increases its mandatory funding from $20 million to $50 million annually. If passed, the Organic Agriculture Research Act would become part of the 2018 Farm Bill. It is important to show your support now.

If you would like more information about the listening sessions or the issues at stake, please email policy@ofrf.org.


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2017 ag census

This years ag census is underway friends!

Now is good chance to show the state of ecologic agriculture across the country and to signal that our growth is something the federal government needs to get behind.

Why participate? The data from the annual census can be used to shape the way the government makes decisions on ag policies across the board, from working to encourage new farmers, to expanding resources to help women, veterans, and underrepresented folks in ag. We make up a growing portion of food producers in the country so lets make our numbers count and let the government know we are here!

You can link here to the site to be sure you get included in this years census.


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guess who’s going to congress

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We are unbelievably proud and excited to stand with over 100 organizations in support of the Young Farmer Success Act, a bill that would help our nation’s young farmers manage their student loan debt and has finally gotten to the floor of congress. The legislation has been in the works for years now, due in large part to the National Young Farmers Coalition, and there’s no exaggerating how much it would support new farmers and dramatically increase access to both farming and farmland. Take action now to tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor HR 1060. (And be sure to send The National Young Farmers Coalition a thank you letter when it passes!)


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A NEW ASSOCIATION FOR ORGANIC FARMERS

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Last week the Rodale Institute announced that it was launching the Organic Farmers’ Association, headed up by Elizabeth Kucinich, Board Policy Chair for Rodale Institute.

From the regional organic farmer associations to the Organic Trade Association to NYFC to your humble Greenhorns here, there sure are a lot of associations composed of or supposedly representing farmers. So maybe you’re asking, do we really need another one?

Well, first thing to consider here is that there is actually no national organization that represents only organic farmers. The second thing to consider might be the recent failures to pass adequate GMO labeling legislation in congress. We’re wondering if the entry of another national player might change the field of agricultural policy. Does this mark a shift in the organic/sustainable ag movement in which organic farmers more seriously set their sights on federal policy?

Use the comments section to weight in! And maybe consider joining.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to bring organic farmers’ voices and their experience with agriculture to policymakers in Washington, D.C.,” said Kucinich. “Policymakers have not yet grasped the significance of organic agriculture for resilient, reliable, non-toxic food production, and its ability to mitigate climate change while restoring our nation’s soil health. We have an opportunity to benefit organic farmers, while positively impacting our nation’s health and mitigating our climate crisis.”


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ASAP: demand that obama veto the DARK act!

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The following message is from our friends at the Cornucopia Institute and references the recent GMO labeling law, so called the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, which purports to mandate GMO labeling while, in reality, does not give the FDA the ability to enforce the act, allows companies to opt for labeling practices that are not –er– exactly labeling, and (perhaps most dangerously) takes the right away from states such as Vermont to enact their own GMO labeling laws.

“President Obama has yet to sign the toothless GMO food labeling bill passed by Congress.  If you already called the President, or signed one of the “unofficial” petitions, urging him to veto the bill you still have one more chance to influence him.  Please sign the official We the People petitionto the White House today urging President Obama to veto this bill.”