During OTA’s 2013 Policy Conference yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack officially recognized the unique production system covering U.S. organic agriculture, and announced guidance to remove agency obstacles to its continued growth. A major part of his speech focused on plans to increase federal crop insurance coverage for organic crops this year and next, [...]
OTA has formally established a Farmers Advisory Council to provide input from small- to medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers and growers to the trade association on matters geared to advancing organic agriculture. Each state and regional organic farming organization that enters into a strategic alliance with OTA for the Farmers Advisory Council will receive one Council [...]
NOP recently launched a new feature on is website called Organic Topics of Interest. The new site provides perspective on controversial issues and the necessity for USDA to balance what farmers and processors need versus what consumers want. Topics currently discussed are carrageenan and protecting organic crops from synthetic fertilizers.
The White House has named Michael Scuse, most recently Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS), as Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary, effective May 4. Former Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan’s last day in office was May 3. Before joining the Obama Administration, Scuse was Agriculture Secretary for the state of Delaware, and served as [...]
The Research and Development Institute for the Agri-Environment (IRDA) inaugurated the Organic Agriculture Innovation Platform (OAIP) last week. Located in Saint-Bruno-De-Montarville, Quebec, the 90-hectare piece of land is the largest organic agriculture research site in Quebec and Canada. OAIP has received $13.1 million in funding, with $7.5 million for infrastructure and $860,000 in seed money, [...]
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Organic Program has announced the availability of $35,000 microloans to smaller farms producing specialty crops, including organic, and selling them through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. The loans are available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices.
European Union member states have voted for a continent-wide suspension of neonicotinoids pesticides linked to the collapse of bee populations in scientific studies. The European Commission has said it wants the moratorium to begin no later than July 1, 2013. Fifteen countries voted in favor of a ban. However, this was not enough to form [...]
Senators have unveiled immigration legislation, and will hold a hearing on it in the Judiciary Committee this week. It includes an agreement on wages and a visa cap for foreign agricultural workers—which has been a significant sticking point. Government estimates indicate that of the 1.1 million farm workers in the United States, about half of [...]
The Organic Seed Alliance is seeking suggestions for content and speakers for the 7th Organic Seed Growers Conference, to be held Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2014. Please submit proposals for presentations, posters, panels and roundtable discussions by July 1. The theme will be Innovation in the Field, a celebration of advancements in organic seed, and the [...]
Senators aim to unveil immigration legislation tomorrow, and hold a hearing on it in the Judiciary Committee next week. Senators involved in negotiations indicate there is an agreement on wages and a visa cap for foreign agricultural workers –previously a significant sticking point. Government estimates indicate that of the 1.1 million farm workers in the [...]