OEFFA Farm Policy Bulletin
Monthly News Bulletin
May 1, 2014
Much like the weather these days, state and federal food and farm policy issues have their ups and downs. Read on for the latest Ohio news and what it means for local farmers and food systems.
GE Legislation: Victory and Threat
The first true genetic engineering (GE) labeling bill was passed by the Vermont legislature last month. It is expected to be signed into law this week and take effect in 2016. Unlike Connecticut and Maine's GE labeling requirements, Vermont's law does not include a caveat that the surrounding states must also require labeling before the rule would go into effect.
Meanwhile, legislation to pre-empt states from passing GE labeling laws was introduced in Congress. Called the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014,” House Resolution 4432 was introduced by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R- KS) and G. K. Butterfield (D- NC) on April 10. Opponents renamed this bill the “DARK Act: Deny Americans the Right to Know.”
Organic Farmers Exempt From Conventional Commodity Checkoff
The 2014 Farm Bill clarified that any organic farm can be exempted from conventional commodity checkoff programs. Prior to this change, only farms that were 100% organic could request this exemption.
Grants Will Beef Up Support for Cooking at Schools
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made available $25 million in funding for schools to upgrade kitchen equipment. Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis. High-need schools, those with 50 percent or more of enrolled students eligible for free or reduced price meals, will receive priority consideration for funding.
Why Yes, That Was Caused by Fracking
Ohio geologists have connected the Youngstown earthquakes to fracking. Under Ohio's new permit conditions, all new drilling sites within three miles of a known fault or seismic activity of 2.0 magnitude or higher will need to install sensitive seismic-monitoring equipment.
Ohio Nutrient Runoff Bill Takes Next Step
Senate Bill 150, which will require farmers who apply fertilizer to 50 acres or more to attend certification courses, passed the Ohio House unanimously last week. The bill is expected to get a final Senate vote when lawmakers return later this month.
Fracking Event: “Living on the Shale”
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 421-2022 www.oeffa.org
On Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness Inc. will host an informative event about oil and gas development in Ohio, which will include respected speakers, networking opportunities, group discussions, and vendors. For more information or to register, click here (scroll to the bottom).
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