the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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watch: national young farmers coalition lindsey lusher shute’s fantastic statement before the senate.

We are so proud of Lindsey Luscher Shute after her outstanding performance before the senate committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She did a fantastic job of representing the struggles facing young farmers, from land access and affordability, student loan debt, health care affordability to the bias against women and people of color in the existing agricultural framework. She went on to outline the progress needed going forward and the issues that need to be addressed in the next Farm Bill in order to support a new generation of farmers who face different challenges and require different support mechanisms.

Lindsey also submitted a full written testimony that goes into much more detail about the young farmers movement. To read the full testimony click HERE


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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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crop insurance reform

Federal crop insurance is the major farm safety net program. It is also the costliest program outside the nutrition title of the federal Farm Bill. Unlike most other Farm Bill programs, there are no limits on crop insurance subsidies and only minimal conservation requirements.
This makes the program ripe for reform. We predict action on federal crop insurance will be among the most contentious issues during the 2018 Farm Bill debate. We have identified 4 key areas for changes, click HERE.


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how to intelligently argue for increasing land access

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The United States is entering a period of significant land transfer; an estimated 400 million acres will change hands in the next 20 years as farmers retire and sell or pass on their land. This is equivalent in size to the Louisiana Purchase and represents half of the farmland in our country.

Running with a crowd of like-minded earthy hippy commie-pinko queer progressives doesn’t always teach one the skills necessary to defend her morals when they are challenged. Which is why I am a big advocate for teaching yourself how to argue points that may seem obvious but— for seemingly mysterious reasons— are not accepted by the population as a whole. Towards this goal, I’d like to share something with you.

This article, co-authored by Ecology Center staffers Leah Fesseden and Dani Gelardi, appeared fabulously in the Greenhorns email inbox last week and concentrates particularly on the historic exclusion of people of color, women, Native Americans, and other disenfranchised communities from access to agriculture land and capital.

We approach a period of time in which both 400 million acres is transitioning from old to new owners and the price of farmland continues to increase dramatically. The issue of barriers to land access is particularly salient. Briefly detailing 300 years of institutional racism, the authors argue that we need to be doing everything in our power to lower barriers to entry for beginning farmers— and particularly those that come from historically disadvantaged populations. They have three suggestions as how best of go about this:

1. Advocate for changes to the farm bill

2. Support local programs like Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), that work to lower the barriers to entry for beginning farmers

3. Support local producers through markets, direct orders, and CSAs

And I’d add one more suggestion: read more!


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bumper harvest for commodity crops and subsidies

Nov 19 (Reuters) – U.S. farmers are about to reap a bumper harvest not just in corn and soybeans but also in new subsidies that could soar to $10 billion, blowing a hole in the government’s promise that its new five-year farm bill would save taxpayers money.

Because of ample supplies, corn prices have fallen well below the long-term average price used as a benchmark for one of the new programs. Ironically, this year’s bumper harvest may not be large enough to compensate for those price falls and revenues for some farmers could be low enough to trigger payments.

“Crop insurance has drifted away from that basic safety net concept and the farm bill has taken it even farther away.”

Click to continue reading this Reuters Article

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Acton.Org


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AG GAG and other thoughts, by john ikerd

10 Reasons to Oppose ‘Right to Farm’ Amendments

 I grew up on a dairy farm and currently live in a small town in a farming area. I have spent my 50-year professional career working in agriculture, mostly with farmers and people in rural communities. I think farmers have the same “right to farm” as other Americans have to pursue any other professional occupation. However, I don’t think real farmers deserve, need, or even want special constitutional privileges. Here are ten reasons for opposing “right to farm amendments.”

1. Agricultural producers already benefit from special right to farm “legislation in all agricultural states. These laws protect farmers from frivolous nuisance suits brought by uninformed or intolerant neighbors who have moved into traditional farming communities.

2. People in rural communities who have the greatest concern for the future of family farms and rural communities are opposing right to farm amendments. National organizations, such as the Humane Society of the U.S. and the Sierra Club, support rural opponents because they don’t think agriculture should be exempt from public accountability for their actions.

Continue reading


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usda press release: organic markets are growing, 2014 farm bill funding helps access these markets

USDA organic

In today’s press release, the USDA has announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and internationally. Certified organic farms and businesses in the United States have witnessed a 245% increase since 2002 while consumer demand continues to increase exponentially. To help producers further access these markets, the 2014 farm bill has included provisions to support the organic community, including:

  • $20 million annually for organic research, agricultural extension programs and education.
  • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture for policy reform.
  • Expanded options for organic crop insurance
  • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for the USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off.
  • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations.
  • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain.
  • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75% of certification costs, up to $750/year.

For more information,  check out the USDA Organic Resources Page