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Danforth organic farmer wins sustainable ag award

January 28, 2016

Harold Wilken, of Danforth, began farming 33 years ago and credits his first landlady, 82-year-old Ivadelle Dubois, with trying to get him to "just say no" to synthetic chemical herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers...On Thursday, the pioneering organic farmer was awarded the R.J. Vollmer Award for Sustainable Agriculture by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Organic tackles the scale issue

January 26, 2016

With sales of organic commodities rising even as their share of U.S. acreage remains less than 1%, it’s natural to ask how much success the organic sector can expect in meeting demand. Panelists at a Jan. 22 EcoFarm Conference workshop on “Scaling Up Organic” sketched answers to that question, even as they acknowledged obstacles their industry faces.

GRO Organic check-off program would benefit growers

January 19, 2016

By Jesse Laflamme: My family’s egg business was saved by going organic. We were rescued again when we joined forces with the Organic Trade Association to fight a regulation that threatened the continuation of our operation. Now the organic sector has a chance to band together for a common cause that could benefit the entire organic industry and better all of our futures.

USDA Announces $3.8 Million Available to Help Producers Transition to Organic Farming

January 14, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $3.8 million to support research, education, and extension projects that will assist current organic producers and those transitioning into organic farming. The funding is available through the Organic Transitions Program, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The real risk to organic is lack of production

January 8, 2016
Laura Batcha: I was disappointed to read The Packer editorial board’s “Dump transitional organic program” on Dec. 28, and to see this distinguished publication’s lack of awareness of the pressures the organic sector is currently facing.

Organic Trade Association Wants Transitional Designation

January 4, 2016

The Organic Trade Association intends to ask USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to establish a transitional organic designation for farmers converting their land to organic production.   This would allow these farmers to utilize the services of the NRCS.  South Dakota organic grower Charlie Johnson says it’s a reasonable request because it takes time to convert to organic production. 

USDA to finalize rule expanding organic checkoff exemption

January 4, 2016

Additional organic farmers and handlers will be exempt from paying into commodity checkoff programs under a rule being finalized by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

OTA hopes to “turn the corner” on organic supply shortages in 2016

December 18, 2015

The Organic Trade Association in 2016 will push forward several initiatives to help industry “turn the corner” on the supply shortages currently holding it back from meeting surging demand for organic products, the group’s CEO Laura Batcha says. 

The Outsize Importance of the Tiny Organic Seed

December 17, 2015

“Parsley could be the new kale. You laugh, but I might make this happen,” says the owner of Wild Garden Seed, who’s spent much of the past 30-odd years living off the grid in Philomath, Oregon, where he breeds new lettuces, quinoas, and other edible plants.

Organic apples claim larger market share, experts say

December 9, 2015
Washington apple marketers are bullish on organic apples given consumers' hunger for healthy foods. Marketers foresee continued increase in sales.