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         February 2015

OEFFA Conference to Offer People and Policy Track
The “People and Policy” workshop track at the OEFFA conference on February 14-15 will feature five food policy workshops and eight powerful speakers. Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman, a respected scientist and Director of Sustainable Agriculture at the Center for Food Safety, will present a two hour session on genetic engineering, public health, and contamination risks, in addition to his Sunday afternoon keynote address on biotechnology and agroecology. Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice and Ted Auch will also offer a two hour session on how fracking impacts Ohio farms. Workshops on accessing important Farm Bill programs, local food policy councils, and tools for influencing public policy (yes you really make a difference!) will also be offered. Come to learn, share and network with us!

Food Policy Meet and Greet  After OEFFA Conference
Are you working on farm and food policy or hoping to get more involved?! Join the Licking County Local Food Council, OEFFA, and policy movers and shakers from around the state to network and discuss upcoming 2015 issues and strategies in a casual and fun atmosphere, following the first day of OEFFA's conference on Saturday, February 14 in Granville. Light appetizers will be provided by Denison Dining and a cash bar is available. The meet and greet will be held at the Roost at Denison University, on the third floor of Slayter Hall Student Union, at 200 Ridge Rd. in Granville. For more information contact Bryn Bird at (740) 587-1100 or bird.bryn@gmail.com.

Organic Farm Survey Now Underway
The USDA Organic Farming Census is now underway. We’ve heard from some of our members that they don’t think the census if important and they don’t plan to participate. However, this census will provide important information about the growth, trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the organic industry. The information collected will also help the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) develop more organic prices elections for federal crop insurance policies, allowing organic producers to insure their crops at the full organic price, which is often well above the conventional price. RMA also needs organic production data in order to establish new crop insurance products that are specifically tailored to organic farmers. Participate in the survey today: click here.
 
Tell the USDA You Support the Organic Check-Off Exemption
Last month we told you about the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule exempting more organic producers and handlers from paying into traditional commodity check-off programs.  The comment deadline has been extended to February 17th so If you have not previously commented, there is still time! Learn more about the organic exemption and how you can comment here.

Are You Being Poisoned?
Many people are concerned about the environmental and health impacts of genetically engineered (GE) foods, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But as the non-GMO labeling industry grows, there is a piece of very important information that is being lost. Non-GMO food can still be produced using harmful herbicides and pesticides which are known to cause cancer and other serious diseases. Last summer, the EPA approved Monsanto’s request to allow levels of glyphosate (the main ingredient in the Roundup herbicide) contamination in your food up to a million times higher than what has been found to be carcinogenic. What is the best way to avoid GE food and dangerous chemicals: Buy Organic!

Superweeds Meet Supercorn
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is approving new GE crops at a fast pace. Most recently, APHIS received a request by Monsanto to deregulate a new type of corn specifically engineered for “Increased Ear Biomass” and to withstand the chemicals used to combat superweeds. This is another step in the wrong direction. The GE industrial model is not sustainable without subsidies, and brings with it unacceptable environmental and health costs. APHIS is currently seeking comments about the potential environmental and economic  impacts of this new supercorn. Click here to submit comments and tell APHIS not to approve this GE corn!

Lawmakers to Make Phosphorous Run-Off a Legislative Priority
At the end of the Ohio legislature’s last session, the issue of phosphorous pollution was gaining traction. Then House Bill 490 fell apart. According to a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch, Rep. Dave Hall has broken House Bill 490 into four separate bills. One of those will deal with Lake Erie algae issues exclusively. The bill has been given to the House speaker to determine how it will move forward.

Thousands Protest Industrial Farming in Germany
GE food, industrial farming, and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were the issues that brought out more than 25,000 people to protest in Germany. Protesters called for a worldwide right to food, legal restrictions to protect food and agriculture from genetic manipulation, and a stop to the building of mega-factory farms. 

There is real concern that TTIP and the Transatlantic  Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), another similar proposal, will jeopardize farm livelihoods and undermine consumer protection and food safety standards.



Farm Bill  ♦  Food Safety  ♦ Fracking  ♦ GE Labeling  ♦ Climate Change
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Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

41 Croswell Rd., Columbus OH 43214

(614) 421-2022   www.oeffa.org

OEFFA

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