Invoking the challenges American farmers have faced from increased weather extremes, Brise Tencer, the Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), presented testimony last week to the U.S. House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research during its hearing on Increasing Resiliency, Mitigating Risk: Examining the Research and Extension Needs of Producers.
Tencer, who previously served as policy director at CCOF, cited OFRF studies that characterize organic farmers’ research needs. She explained how organic farming practices sequester carbon, reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, and build farm resiliency to climate disruptions. (These benefits of organic farming are described in CCOF’s Roadmap to an Organic California: Benefits Report.)
Tencer made specific requests for research into crop nutrient cycling dynamics, cover crop selection for rain-scarce regions, diverting organic waste streams into useful fertilizers, and breeding crop varieties and livestock breeds that are regionally adapted and resilient to weather extremes.
She also called for revitalization of the Cooperative Extension system nationwide in order to provide science-based information and technical support for producers.
Tencer ended her testimony with these words:
“These are challenging times for the people who grow our food. We urge Congress and USDA to ensure federal programs that include research, education, extension, and program implementation support organic producers and other farmers and ranchers that seek to integrate organic practices into their operations.”
Read her full testimony, including numerous scientific citations.
OFRF is a nonprofit 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.