Farm policy matters. It matters to the small farmers and organic growers on the frontlines of our local food movement. It matters to everyone who wants access to safe, local, and sustainably-raised food. Farm policy shapes our environment, our communities, and the health of our families.
Too often, the livelihood and viability of sustainable and organic family farmers—and those of us who count on them—are under threat from policies that tilt the playing field in the wrong direction.
OEFFA works to counter the special interest influence over our decision-makers, give voice to the needs of small- and mid-sized producers, and work toward policies that are in the interest of the family farmers who enhance our rural communities and safeguard the environment.
Supporting Organic and Regenerative Agriculture
Soil is the foundation for life on earth. The management of a diverse community of living microorganisms is a basic tenet of organic agriculture. OEFFA works with the National Organic Coalition to maintain and improve the integrity of organic agriculture. OEFFA staff and farmers provide regular testimony to the National Organic Standards Board, which advises the National Organic Program. The organic industry has grown to more than $40 billion per year, providing an opportunity for new and existing farmers to prosper at a sustainable scale, but only as long as organic agriculture represents the best in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. Protecting Ohio's Farmland from Fracking High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing—commonly referred to as "fracking"—is being used widely to extract oil and natural gas in Ohio. The process uses large amounts of fresh water in combination with toxic chemicals and sand, generating vast amounts of toxic waste that is often injected into the ground. Ohio also accepts frack waste from other states. There have been numerous "fraccidents" since this process began and the potential for serious impacts to sustainable and organic farms. OEFFA is working to protect farmers and rural communities.
Creating a Level Playing Field Through the Farm Bill
The 2014 Farm Bill renewed programs that support beginning farmers, local food systems, organic agriculture, and healthy food access, thanks to a groundswell of support from grassroots farm advocates. As we head into discussions for the 2018 Farm Bill, we will need to work hard to ensure that these programs continue, receive the necessary funding, and are implemented in ways that work for sustainable and organic farmers. We also work toward positive changes that improve the farm safety net, provide greater funding for organic research, and promote effective farm conservation.
Labeling Genetically Engineered Food and Standing Up for Organic Farmers
Congress passed a genetically engineered (GE) food labeling bill in 2016, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has yet to write the rules necessary to implement this law. OEFFA will be working to ensure rules are developed that maintain transparency and protect organic and non-GE growers. The reality is that more than 90 percent of the corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beets, and canola grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered and GE production systems threaten the viability of organic and non-GE farmers. Many farmers have had their crops rejected due to contamination over which they had no control. We must do more to protect farmers and hold the developers of biotechnology accountable.
Creating Smart Food Safety Regulations
The Food and Drug Administration released two food safety rules aimed at reducing incidences of food borne illness. These rules apply to about 80 percent of the nation's food supply, impacting growers, processors, and food businesses across Ohio and the nation. OEFFA will continue to advocate for the resources to help farmers understand and implement these new food safety rules in a way that protects their livelihoods and does not hamper the growth of local and regional food systems.
Protecting Farmers From the Worst Effects of Climate Change
Farmers in Ohio and across the country have increasingly struggled with severe and unpredictable weather, including drought, flooding, and dangerous storms. At the root of these challenges is a progressively warming planet that, if not mitigated, could dramatically transform American agriculture and communities across the planet. That's why it's essential that we respond quickly and aggressively to the threat of climate change. While agriculture contributes significantly to climate change, it can also be a major part of the solution. We work to incentivize a food and agricultural system that can feed the world, sequester carbon, promote diversity and resilience, and support true sustainability through ecological farming practices.
Making Crop Insurance Work for All Farmers
Often called the farm “safety net,” the federal crop insurance program started in 1930s when many farms were decimated by the Dust Bowl and low commodity prices, as a way of protecting American farmers from the uncertainties of weather and market fluctuations. Today, it is the single largest agricultural subsidy program in the federal budget. Crop insurance is an important tool for protecting farmers, but OEFFA is working to win common sense reforms that protect beginning farmers, encourage environmental stewardship, and remove disincentives to innovation and diversified farming.
Explore OEFFA's Advocacy Toolkit, which includes resources for taking action and OEFFA's Farm Policy Matters Monthly News Bulletin archives.
The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.