Organic Producers Asked to Weigh in on U.S. Organic Research Agenda

December 12, 2019

Santa Cruz, CA – Today, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) released the first phase of a national survey to gather input from organic farmers and ranchers on their top challenges. This closed portion of the survey is being sent to a random sample of producers on the National Organic Program (NOP) list. Upon completion of the random sample, the survey will be sent to the entire NOP list.

Results will be published in updates of OFRF’s National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) report and OSA’s State of Organic Seed (SOS) report. These reports will include a detailed set of recommendations to inform both public and private research investments for years to come.

"By implementing the closed, random sample survey first, we increase our ability to accurately identify the needs of organic farmers and ranchers,” said OFRF’s Research & Education Program Manager, Lauren Snyder. “The data we capture will inform the focus of applied organic research, as well as guide the development of educational and technical assistance programs to strengthen organic food systems and promote their widespread adoption."

“Organic farmers need seeds that are developed to thrive without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and adapted to their local climate and soil conditions,” says Kiki Hubbard, who co-leads the SOS project. “We’re eager to collect new data from organic producers to inform the next roadmap for increasing the diversity, quality, and integrity of organic seed available to U.S. farmers.”

OFRF, OSA, and a broad coalition of organic champions were instrumental in securing an increase in federal funding for organic research from $20M to $50M in the 2018 Farm Bill. This increase provides an unprecedented opportunity for researchers to tackle the challenges that inhibit the growth of organic production. Updated NORA and SOS reports will ensure this increased funding is allocated in a way that reflects the needs of organic farmers and ranchers.

The survey, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) through grant 2019-51300-30249, is being distributed by the Social and Economic Science Research Center (SESRC) at Washington State University.

Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is a non-profit foundation that works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production.

Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) is a non-profit that works nationally to advance ethical seed solutions to meet food and farming needs in a changing world. Through research, education, and advocacy, OSA fosters organic seed systems that are democratic and just, support human and environmental health, and deliver genetically diverse and regionally adapted seed to farmers everywhere.

Lauren Snyder, Research & Education Program Manager, OFRF
(831) 426-6606
Kiki Hubbard, OSA Advocacy & Communications Director
(406) 544-8946