WOOSTER, Ohio — On Aug. 30, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown met with Ohio sustainable and organic farmers to discuss their needs and challenges before the 2023 Farm Bill.
Held at Green Field Farms in Wooster, this roundtable brought together organic grain producers, grass-based livestock farmers, fruit and vegetable growers, and food and farm businesses involved in the sustainable agriculture economy. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) partnered with Green Field Farms for a tour and listening session.
“This is an incredibly challenging time that also provides many opportunities,” said OEFFA Policy Director Amalie Lipstreu. “We can provide greater support for farmers to ensure clean water, sequester carbon, and grow healthful food for their communities, while contributing to a diverse and resilient food supply.
“Senator Brown has been a champion for local and regional food systems. Strengthening these systems helps small and mid-scale farmers sell into higher value markets and the public better access local food,” Lipstreu continued. “Those investments lead to a stronger food supply chain better able to withstand disruptions like we saw during the start of the COVID pandemic.”
Many sustainable and organic farmers are interested in being part of the solution to climate change. Holistic systems such as organic agriculture use synergistic suites of beneficial practices.
For livestock farmers, many seek investments in custom meat processing so they can access markets. Due to the limited number of processing facilities, some livestock farmers have had to schedule their appointments up to two years in advance.
“I am having to schedule processing for animals whose mothers’ mothers have not been born yet,” said Mike Jones of Tierra Verde Farms.
Crop insurance was discussed as an important topic in the upcoming farm bill. Eli Dean of Timberlane Farms said crop insurance was an incredibly valuable tool, but its subsidies need to be brought in line with other farm subsidy programs that have caps in place.
Lipstreu said, “The challenges ahead require reorienting our food and agriculture system toward soil health, product and ecosystem diversity, and assuring that the farm bill incentivizes the production, processing, and distribution systems to help us meet those goals.”
Learn more about OEFFA’s grassroots work with the 2023 Farm Bill at action.oeffa.org.
— Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association