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Farm Policy Matters

Monthly News Bulletin

1st Edition

Quick Links

Farm Bill

Food Safety

Fracking

Genetic Engineering

Climate Change

September 1, 2013

Dear Supporter

As part of your membership, you will now receive OEFFA’s monthly Farm Policy Matters News Bulletin highlighting the most pressing policy-related news, upcoming events, and opportunities for you to make a difference.

With so much happening right now--ranging from legislation on agricultural runoff in our waterways, to new and potentially burdensome food safety regulations--we’re launching this bulletin in an effort to keep you informed about issues that affect you!

We hope you find the information provided in this month’s bulletin useful and welcome you to submit ideas and news stories to policy@oeffa.org. If you would like to unsubscribe from this complementary news bulletin please use the link at the bottom of this email.

Thanks for your commitment to sustainable agriculture.

MacKenzie Bailey
Policy Program Coordinator
(614) 421-2022 Ext. 208


FOOD SAFETY WEBINAR: SIGN UP TODAY!

This month, OEFFA is asking Ohio farmers and food processors to register for a two-part webinar focused on pending food safety regulations. Comments on the rules are due to the Food and Drug Association (FDA) November 15.

On Monday, September 23 at 6 p.m., Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, will present an overview of the proposed regulations, who is affected, and how the rules could impact Ohio’s small farmers and markets. Register for this webinar today!

A follow up webinar set for Monday, October 28 at 6 p.m. will train attendees on how to submit comments to the FDA. OEFFA’s Policy Coordinator MacKenzie Bailey will help members navigate this process. Watch for a registration link in next month’s bulletin.



FOOD SAFETY RULES

In January, the FDA released a set of food safety rules for specialty crop growers and food processors. To read more on the proposed rules, click here or here

Since the rules were released OEFFA and our partners have raised concerns about the impact the regulations could have on farmers and local food systems. To learn more about some of these concerns, read OEFFA’s comments and thesel news articles: Farm and Dairy, the Huffington Post, and the Canton Repository.

NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT BILL

After growing political pressure to address toxic algae in Ohio waterways, legislators are expected to vote on a nutrient management bill this fall. 

The bill (SB 150), introduced by Senators Cliff Hite and Bob Peterson, will require applicators of commercial fertilizers to become certified, expand Ohio’s pesticide-use license to include fertilizer application, revise laws concerning agricultural abatement, and prohibit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) from publically disclosing certain information. It’s unclear if this bill can be a serious solution to the state’s nutrient runnoff problems since it currently does not address application of unmanipulated manure, require soil or water testing, establish mandatory reductions in the amount of nutrients applied, or prohibit the application of manure to frozen land. 

To read news coverage of the bill, click here and here. To read the full language of the bill, click here.

FARM BILL REAUTHORIZATION

When it comes to the Farm Bill, Congress really knows how to keep us on our toes. While the U.S. Senate has passed their version of the Farm Bill and appointed conferees in the hope of passing a Farm Bill before the extension expires on September 30, the U.S. House of Representatives has so far failed to move any meaningful legislation forward, first by severing the nutrition title (which includes SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) from the bill, and now by failing to successfully bring the bill to conference committee. 

To read more background on the Farm Bill, or about the programs that the current extension has left stranded without funding, click here.

With the process stalled, the fate of the Farm Bill remains unclear. To learn more about what the future may hold, please read this very informative blog post written by our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

FRACKING ON FEDERAL LAND

This month OEFFA joined the Sierra Club in asking Senator Brown to speak up for stronger protections from oil and gas drilling on federal and tribal lands, such as the Wayne National Forest in southeast Ohio. To read the full letter, click here. To read more about fracking and farmland, including profiles of affected farmers, click here.

CLIMATE CHANGE WEBPAGE

In recent years, farmers have been impacted by extreme weather events, which climate scientists attribute to rising temperatures. This month, OEFFA launched a new section of our website focused on climate change. The site includes information about climate change and farmland, links to organizations and resources, and actions you can take. To see the new webpage, click here.

ORGANIC RESEARCH AND PROMOTION PROGRAM

The Organic Trade Association has introduced an amendment to address legislative barriers in both the House and Senate Farm Bills that will establish an Organic Research and Promotion Program. This program is essentially an organic check-off program. Due to a history of distrust surrounding check-off programs, some organic organizations are concerned that the grassroots farming community will see little benefit from this program, while bearing the cost. If you are concerned about this program, sign the Northeast Organic Farming Association's petition. If you would like more information from the Organic Trade Association, visit their campaign website.

FDA POULTRY RULES

At the end of July the FDA released proposed guidelines intended to reduce the risk of salmonella infection among free-roaming chickens. Controversy surrounds the rules, due to its onerous nature and potential conflict with National Organic Program standards. To learn more about the rules check out this NPR article. To submit comments on these rules, click here.



UPCOMING POLICY EVENTS

Labeling GE Foods Meeting
On Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6pm, OEFFA GE Working Group will meet to discuss labeling GE foods in Ohio, planning a day at the statehouse, and an upcoming movie event. The meeting is potluck-style so bring your favorite dish! If you don’t live in Columbus – good news – we can connect you via phone! Contact mackenzie@oeffa.org or call (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208 for the details.

FSMA Webinar: Part One
Join OEFFA and Ariane Lotti from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Monday, September 23 at 6 p.m., for an online presentation about the food safety rules proposed by the FDA earlier this year. Register for the webinar today!

Fracking and Farmland Conference Call
On Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m., OEFFA’s Fracking Working Group will discuss OEFFA’s next steps in our campaign to protect farmers and their land from the potential dangers of fracking. To receive information about this call contact mackenzie@oeffa.org or call (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.

FSMA Webinar: Part Two
As a follow-up to the FSMA Webinar in September, OEFFA will provide detailed guidance for submitting comments on the proposed food safety rules. This online presentation will be held Monday, October 28 at 6 p.m. A registration link will be available in next months news bulletin.

Triple Divide Movie Screenings
Filmmakers, journalists, and co-founders of the Public Herald, Josh Prabanic and Melissa Troutman, will be touring Ohio with their new film Triple Divide. The film investigates the realities of fracking by examining problems with state oversight, impacts to farmers, and water issues.  Check out the trailer and find a screening near you!

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 421-2022 www.oeffa.org


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