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Farm Policy Matters

Farm policy matters. It matters to the small family farmers and organic growers who are on the frontlines of our local food movement. And it matters to the consumers who are demanding access to safe, local, and sustainably-raised food because they care about the health of their families, their communities, and the environment.

Unfortunately, the livelihood and viability of sustainable and organic family farmers—and the consumers who count on them—are constantly under threat from policies which tilt the playing field in favor of large-scale, corporate-controlled, industrial agriculture.

OEFFA works to counter the special interest influence that large commodity groups and factory farms have 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.

Promoting Organic and Federal Sustainable 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. OEFFA works to ensure that these programs are funded each year and implemented in ways that work for sustainable and organic farmers. We also work toward positive changes in the long-term with a focus on the next Farm Bill. This includes examining ways to improve the farm safety net. Maintaining and improving the integrity of organic agriculture is an important part of our work as well. We work with the National Organic Coalition and participate in the National Organic Standards Board process to represent the needs of organic farmers and protect the trust consumers have in the organic label.
 
Labeling Genetically Engineered Food and Standing Up for Organic Farmers
More than 90 percent of the corn, soybean, cotton, sugar beets, and canola grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered (GE). Alfalfa was the first perennial GE crop; now, GE crops, and even GE animals, are added to store shelves on a regular basis. GE production systems threaten the viability of organic and non-GE farmers and pose health and environmental concerns for consumers. Despite overwhelming public support for clear and transparent labels, the federal government has sided with industry in hiding our right to know what we eat and feed our families. OEFFA is working to protect consumer choice by providing the policy analysis, tools, and advocacy consumers need to advocate for mandatory GE labeling.

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. 
  
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. 
  
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. 
  
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. 
  
Protecting Ohio's Water Quality through Sustainable Farming Practices
Farming practices are a major contributor to the algal blooms seen in lakes throughout Ohio. Without significant policy changes that recognize the need to approach farming as a biological system, water, recreational lakes, and waterways will continue to be jeopardized; businesses will continue to be economically harmed, and taxpayers will continue footing an ever-more expensive bill to make our water safe.


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 policy@oeffa.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.

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