The new Farm Bill has given new life to organic farming research, said the head of OARDC’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research program, which shared fruits of that growth at a recent public event. The program’s June 17 field day in Wooster featured new research by OFFER scientists.
“With the passage of the new Farm Bill, several key federal programs supporting organic farming and associated research and outreach efforts will once again be funded,” said OFFER Director Brian McSpadden Gardener.
The field day shared details on many of those efforts.
OARDC established OFFER in 1998 to provide science-based information for Ohio’s organic farmers.
Ohio has 506 farms certified under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, according to the agency’s 2012 Census of Agriculture. The total ranks ninth in the nation.
In all, the census reported U.S. organic farm sales of $3.12 billion in 2012, up from $1.7 billion in 2007.
“OARDC researchers continue to display leadership in providing the latest science-based information to organic growers throughout Ohio.”—Brian McSpadden Gardener
Science for Ohio’s organic food growers
- OFFER’s field day featured, for example, an OARDC study on free-range chickens and growing a special oats variety as organic feed for those chickens. A grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture funds the project.
- Topics also included studies on soil-building cover crops, biological control of foodborne diseases, and controlling problematic downy mildew and bacterial wilt in cucumbers.
- “By receiving competitive funding for such projects,” McSpadden Gardener said, “OARDC researchers continue to display leadership in providing the latest science-based information to certified organic growers throughout the state and beyond.”