Promoting Federal Sustainable and Organic Programs
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.
Ohio farmers spoke in favor of these programs and legislators listened. As members of the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee, Ohio’s Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Marcia Fudge played a special role in these victories. We must continue to work to protect funding for these programs. If you are interested in accessing Farm Bill funding or have participated in any Farm Bill programs in the past, please contact OEFFA and let us know how the programs have benefited your farm or operation.
Farm Bill programs support organic and sustainable farming practices and help farmers to develop their businesses and market their products:
The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP) reimburses participating organic producers and handlers for 75 percent (up to $750) of their certification fees. This program helps make organic certification affordable,enabling farmers and processors to meet the growing demand for organic food.
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) invests in the next generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs by helping them access land, credit, and crop insurance; launch and expand new farms and businesses, and receive training, mentoring, and education.
The Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), formerly the Farmers' Market Promotion Program (FMPP), provides funding to community supported agriculture programs, farmers’ markets, and farm markets to develop marketing information and business plans; support innovative market ideas, and educate consumers. The newly expanded program will also provide grants to farms, food hubs, and other businesses that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products. The 2014 Ohio award recipients include the Lake to River Food Cooperative, GROW Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, and WSOS Community Action, Maumee Valley Growers, and Promedica.
Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) provide funding for feasibility studies and business plans, marketing value-added products, and farm-based renewable energy projects. Read about the 2014 VAPG award winners, Daniel and Ann Trudel of Ann's Raspberry Farm.
In 2011, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative (EQIP OI) awarded more than $430,000 to certified organic and transitioning growers in 20 Ohio counties to install high tunnels, plant cover crops, address water runoff and erosion, utilize Integrated Pest Management techniques, and make other important conservation improvements. Organic farmers can apply through EQIP or EQIP OI. EQIP funding was reduced for 2015, so growers should expect a competitive awards process.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) provides payments to farmers to help them conserve water and energy; improve and protect the soil, water, and air, and mitigate climate change. Hundreds of Ohio farmers have used CSP to improve conservation practices on their farms but this program has been historically underutilized by organic farmers.
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.