Category Archives: OEFFA Press Releases

Organic is Non-GMO and More: New Product Logo Helps Consumers Understand the Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2015

Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,
Kate Blake, Certification Program Manager, (614) 262-2022 Ext. 223,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Columbus, OH—While a growing number of consumers are seeking foods made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), they may be getting less than they think from non-GMO labeled products.

According to Michelle Ajamian, owner of Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, “Non-GMO labels don’t guarantee crops are grown without chemicals. In fact, unless the food is certified organic, it may be grown with even more chemicals than GMO crops.”

To help consumers find food that is both non-GMO and environmentally friendly, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has released a new label that OEFFA-certified organic farmers and processors can use on their products, in addition to the standard USDA organic seal. This label reminds consumers that choosing organic foods allows them to avoid GMOs and protect public health and the environment.

To use the organic label, foods must not only be non-GMO but they must also be grown without synthetic pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemical fertilizers.

“Shagbark Seed & Mill chose organic certification over non-GMO verification to support the farmers that go beyond non-GMO by working with nature, instead of against it. That means cover crops, crop rotations, and healthy soil. That means no GMO seed, ever. The result is a product we’re confident will protect water and soil resources and feed us the best quality food on all fronts,” stated Ajamian, whose certified organic mill sells beans, flour, pasta, chips, and other products.

Organic farmers undergo a rigorous annual third party verification process that includes an organic system plan, multiple reviews of that plan, and an inspection of the farm.

“As a result, the organic seal is the gold standard in ecological labeling and consumers can have confidence that farmers are adhering to the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program,” said OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu. “Regardless of which version of the organic label a farmer or processor chooses, the organic seal guarantees that the product was made without GMOs. Organic is also the clear choice for shoppers who are concerned about the health and sustainability of their food.”

Annual Public Tour and Workshop Series Features Ohio’s Organic and Sustainable Farms: 2015 Guide Now Available

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2015

Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,
Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209,
Do you want to experience life as a shepherd? Learn how to effectively combat weeds in the garden without chemicals? See draft horses make sorghum cane into sweet syrup? Sample local meats, cheeses, and artisan jams and preserves? Or learn how to butcher your own poultry or install your own solar photovoltaic system?
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is sponsoring 15 tours, nine workshops, a one-day Women Grow Ohio event, and a farm to table dinner as part of the 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series. The series, which features these and other topics, will allow Ohioans to see, taste, and experience life on the farm while gaining practical new skills.
“This is a great chance for everyone interested in local foods to turn over a new leaf, learn how sustainably produced food is grown, and to connect with others who share a passion for sustainable agriculture,” said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s Communications Coordinator. “Whether you want to gain a greater understanding of how food gets from the field to the dinner table, or pick up production or marketing pointers for your own farm, this series offers something for everyone.”
Meet local farmers and experience sustainable farming up close and personal during these OEFFA’s farm tours:
Develop your farm and do-it-yourself skills, during these workshops which allow participants to delve deeper into specific topics:
Celebrate Ohio farms and flavors, during this unique farm to table dinner:
OEFFA has offered annual farm tours for more than 35 years, providing unique opportunities for growers, educators, and conscientious eaters to learn about sustainable agriculture and local foods on the farm from growers and producers with years of practical experience.
The 2015 farm tour and workshop series is promoted in cooperation with the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team and the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, who are sponsoring additional tours. In total, the series features 29 farms tours, one university research center tour, 10 educational workshops, a one-day Women Grow Ohio event, and a benefit dinner.
For additional information and a complete list of all farm tours, including dates, times, farm descriptions, and driving directions, click here.

Solar Electric Workshop Scheduled for June: Farmers and Others Can Learn How to Design and Install Photovoltaic Systems

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2015

Contact: Milo Petruziello, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206,

Press Release

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and Jay and Annie Warmke of Blue Rock Station will be offering a five-day solar electric workshop designed for people who want to make their farm, home, or business energy independent, or who are looking to start their own business installing photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The workshop will be held Monday, June 15 through Friday, June 19 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at OEFFA’s offices in the Ohio Lumbermen’s Building at 41 Croswell Rd. in Columbus, OH.

“During previous courses, we’ve helped many people to enter a new career field or gain the skills necessary to design and install their own PV system,” said instructor Jay Warmke.

Jay is the author of numerous textbooks on the subject, teaches renewable energy classes at Central Ohio Technical College, and serves as vice president of Green Energy Ohio. He and his wife Annie put this knowledge into practice at Blue Rock Station, a 38 acre educational center which is home to Ohio’s first Earthship and a 6kW solar array.

During this training course, participants will learn how to design and install photovoltaic systems through lectures and hands-on labs. They will learn with a working PV system, dismantling and reinstalling it, troubleshooting, and testing its proper operation. The class will also learn how to construct a working solar generator to run pumps, freezers, lights, and more when the grid goes down.

As part of the class, registrants can nominate a site to serve as a “real world” model; one site will be selected and together the class will evaluate, size, and design a system for that site.

At the end of the week, participants will have the opportunity to sit for an internationally recognized certification Level 1 examination offered by the Electronic Technicians Association (ETA).

“Many farmers and homesteaders are looking for a way to be energy independent and reduce their reliance on polluting fossil fuels. With prices for PV systems falling and demand on the rise, systems are becoming economical for nearly every home or farm,” said OEFFA Program Assistant Milo Petruziello. “Finding qualified personnel to install and maintain systems remains a challenge, however. We hope this course will give people the tools they need to harness the power of the sun.”

The cost of the workshop is $930 for OEFFA members and $970 for non-members. The cost includes ETA fees, an installation toolkit, and a course workbook. Lunch is provided on each class day.

Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Register at by June 10. To register by mail, send a check made out to OEFFA along with the names of all attendees, addresses, phone numbers, and emails to OEFFA Solar Workshop, 41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH 43214.

For more information, or to register by phone, please contact Milo Petruziello at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206 or For more information about Blue Rock Station, call (740) 674-4300 or go to

OEFFA Joins Groups to Challenge Major USDA Change to Organic Rule

Washington, DC, April 8, 2015 – Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. A coalition of 15 organic food producers and farmer, consumer, environmental, and certification groups asked the court to require USDA to reconsider its decision on the rule change and reinstitute the agency’s customary public hearing and comment process.

When it comes to organic food production, consumers and producers expect a high level of scrutiny and are willing to pay a premium with the knowledge that a third-party certifier is evaluating compliance with organic standards. The burgeoning $35+ billion organic market relies heavily on a system of public review and input regarding decisions that affect organic production systems and the organic label. The multi-stakeholder National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)[1], appointed to a 5-year term by the Secretary of Agriculture, holds semi-annual meetings to solicit public input and to write recommendations to the Secretary on organic policy matters, including the allowance of synthetic and non-organic agricultural materials and ingredients.

The unilateral agency action taken to adopt major policy change without a public process, the plaintiffs maintain, violates one of the foundational principles and practices of OFPA —public participation in organic policy-making. In adopting the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), Congress created standards for organic certification and established the NOSB to oversee the allowance of synthetic materials based on a determination that they do not cause harm to human health and the environment and are necessary in organic food production and processing, given a lack of alternatives. Under the law, a review of these materials takes place on a five year cycle, with a procedure for relisting if consistent with OFPA criteria. Plaintiffs in this case maintain that the USDA organic rule establishes a public process that creates public trust in the USDA organic label, which has resulted in exponential growth in organic sales over the last two decades.

At issue in the lawsuit is a rule that implements the organic law’s “sunset provision,” which since its origins has been interpreted to require all listed materials to cycle off the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years unless the NOSB votes by a two-thirds majority to relist them. In making its decision, the NOSB is charged with considering public input, new science, and new information on available alternatives.

In September, 2013, in a complete reversal of accepted process, USDA announced a definitive change in the rule it had been operating under since the inception of the organic program without any public input. Now, materials can remain on the National List in perpetuity unless the NOSB takes initiative to vote it off the List.

In a joint statement, the plaintiffs, representing a broad cross-section of interests in organic, said:

We are filing this lawsuit today because we are deeply concerned that the organic decision making process is being undermined by USDA. The complaint challenges the unilateral agency action on the sunset procedure for synthetic materials review, which represents a dramatic departure from the organic community’s commitment to an open and fair decision making process, subject to public input. Legally, the agency’s decision represents a rule change and therefore must be subject to public comment. But equally important, it is a departure from the public process that we have built as a community. This process has created a unique opportunity within government for a community of stakeholders to come together, hear all points of view, and chart a course for the future of organic. It is a process that continually strengthens organic, supports its rapid growth, and builds the integrity of the USDA certified label in the marketplace.

The plaintiffs in the case, represented by counsel from Center for Food Safety, include: Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Equal Exchange, Food and Water Watch, Frey Vineyards, La Montanita Co-op, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, New Natives, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farmers Association Massachusetts, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, PCC Natural Markets, and The Cornucopia Institute.

[1] The NOSB is a 15 member Board comprised of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, retailers, certifiers and food producers who advise the Secretary of Agriculture and the National Organic Program on all matters related to organic food and agriculture policy.

Poll Shows Bi-Partisan Support for GE Labeling in Ohio

For Immediate Release: March 12, 2015

Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, 
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Columbus, Ohio– A poll of Ohio voters conducted this February illustrates overwhelming support for labeling food that contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

“There can be no doubt that Ohio voters want the right to know what they eat and feed their families,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “The results clearly show voters—regardless of political party—support GE labeling and disapprove of GE food.

OEFFA contracted with Public Policy Polling for an independent poll of 520 registered Ohio voters on February 4-5, 2015. Key findings include:

  • 87% of Ohio voters want GE foods labeled and 61% disapprove of GE food;
  • 70% of women—the primary food purchaser in most households—disapprove of GE food and 92% of the women polled want those products labeled;
  • Support for GE labeling is a non-partisan issue: 89% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents support GE labeling.
According to OEFFA member and clinical nurse Lynne Genter, “This poll clearly illustrates that Ohioans are knowledgeable about genetically engineered foods and want to know when foods contain GE ingredients. Ohioans have raised their concerns in a unified voice and our legislators should pass a GE labeling bill.”

Despite widespread use, consumers and non-GE farmers have expressed serious concerns about the technology, including drift of GE pollen contaminating other plants, the patenting of seed and ownership of nature, the increased use of synthetic chemicals that has led to herbicide resistant “superweeds,” and other potential environmental and human health impacts.

These concerns are often the subject of much debate, particularly given the lack of independent scientific review and oversight. “It’s clear from this survey that Ohioans want the right to choose,” said Lipstreu. “Just as consumers can choose whether to buy juice from concentrate, labeling foods produced with GE ingredients can provide them with information they are asking for in a clear and cost effective way.”

A two page issue brief and infographic summarizing the poll results can be found at

OEFFA Announces 2015 Stewardship and Service Awards

Bill Dix and Stacy Hall of Athens County and John Sowder of Franklin County Recognized

COLUMBUS, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2015 recipients for the Stewardship Award and Service Award.Bill Dix and Stacy Hall of The Brick Dairy Farm received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and John Sowder received the Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA.

The announcements were made on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15 as part of OEFFA’s 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil.

2015 Stewardship Award Winners—Bill Dix and Stacy Hall, Athens County

In 1992, Bill Dix and Stacy Hall started Big Rumen Farm, a 300 acre pasture-based dairy farm in Athens County with a small herd of Jersey heifers and a milking parlor. In the years that followed, they joined a regional network of dairy farmers known as “Prograsstinators,” which in conjunction with Cornell University, helps producers compare financial information to improve the management and profitability of grass-based dairy operations.

Bill and Stacy also purchased a second farm outside of Albany, called The Brick Dairy Farm, named for its red, clay soil which had been degraded after years of conventional production. By focusing on grazing rather than confinement, the couple has been able to build top soil and make the land productive.

Smart business people committed to creating change in their local community and in the dairy industry, they worked with Warren and Victoria Taylor to create Snowville Creamery in 2007, a small-scale dairy processing plant located on The Brick Dairy Farm. Fresh, grass-fed milk from Bill and Stacy’s 250 cross-bred dairy cows is minimally processed and packaged on-site. Today, Snowville’s milk, yogurt, and other products are available in more than 125 retail locations.

Early supporters of OEFFA, Bill and Stacy have been members for more than 25 years.

“The partnership between Bill and Stacy and Snowville Creamery is a great story that shows what’s possible when farmers, food processors, and the community team up to support sustainable agriculture and local producers. Bill and Stacy took a gamble, and made their vision a reality,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland.

2015 Service Award Winner—John Sowder, Franklin County

Long-time OEFFA member John Sowder of Columbus served on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees from 1992 until 2015, including multiple terms as board treasurer. John helped to grow OEFFA, develop new administrative systems, and provided dependability and financial guidance during lean years in the organization’s history.

He regularly lends his catering and event management skills to OEFFA, helping to organize farm-to-table events and OEFFA’s conference meals, which are locally sourced and made from scratch. He can be found each year in the kitchen at the OEFFA conference, where he helps to serve more than 2,000 meals to attendees. He has also helped encourage his peers within Ohio’s catering and food industry to serve more local food from Ohio producers.

“John’s commitment to OEFFA and central Ohio’s local food movement is unquestionable. Always quick to smile and laugh, John has played a leading role in OEFFA’s growth and success, though, in John’s modest way, it’s often behind the scenes and out of sight to most people” said Goland.

For a full list of past award winners, click here.

“All of our award winners—Bill, Stacy, and John—have shown an unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture over the course of decades.  These awards are a small way that we, as a community, can recognize their contributions and express our gratitude for their work, from which we all have benefited,” said Goland.

Ohio’s Largest Food and Farm Conference Features Three Pre-Conference Workshops: Regenerative Agriculture, Poultry, and Dairy Herd Health Sessions Will Provide In-Depth Knowledge to Farmers and Veterinarians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2015Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will host three full-day pre-conference workshops in Granville, Ohio on Friday, February 13 as part of its 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil.

“These events feature some of the country’s top experts, and are designed to provide ecological growers a deeper education than short workshops or webinars can,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “This year, we’re also offering a session geared toward livestock veterinarians so they are better positioned to serve organic dairy clients. These practices can be used in non-organic dairy systems as well.”During this pre-conference workshop, John Kempf, founder of Advancing Eco-Agriculture, will help farmers learn regenerative farming principles which allow soil and plant health to improve, not degrade, over time. Using these techniques, growers will discover how they can produce disease- and pest-resistant crops, which are healthier and more nutritious.

An Amish grower from Middlefield, Ohio, Kempf is an internationally recognized lecturer on biological agriculture, plant immunity, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology.
Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network will discuss effective and profitable strategies for sustainable poultry production during this pre-conference workshop. For the past 30 years, Adkins has raised more than 50 breeds and varieties of chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. A licensed poultry judge, he established the International Center for Poultry in 1992 and has taught at field days, workshops, and conferences.Designed for poultry producers of any scale, this session will explore the unique advantages of sustainable production systems while exploring the history of traditional heritage breeds and the transition to hybrid breeds and industrial production models. Growers will walk away with an understanding of the breeding, feed, forage, facilities, and care required for different size production models, and how to make their poultry businesses profitable through effective financial planning, marketing, and consumer education.

During this pre-conference workshop, veterinarians Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz and Dr. Luciana da Costa from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Organic Valley staff veterinarian Dr. Guy Jodarski will help dairy producers and veterinarians serving organic dairy farmers learn how practical management and mastitis control practices can improve milk quality and farm profitability. Attendees will learn the basic requirements for good udder health, strategies for managing clinical mastitis, and more.
Thanks to funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program, a limited number of scholarships are available for veterinarians to attend the dairy herd health pre-conference event at no cost. To request a scholarship, or to nominate a veterinarian who would benefit from this opportunity, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209 or
All pre-conference workshops will be held from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, February 13 at Granville High School, 248 New Burg St, Granville, Ohio. Pre-registration is required and costs $75 for OEFFA members and $90 for non-members.
The pre-conference workshops will be offered as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the U.S.
In addition to pre-conference events, this year’s conference will feature keynote speakers Alan Guebert and Doug Gurian-Sherman; nearly 100 educational workshops; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment. Separate registration is required for all conference events.
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to

Scientist and Biotechnology Expert Doug Gurian-Sherman to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Food and Farm Conference


Renee Hunt, Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Respected scientist, author, and expert on sustainable agriculture and genetic engineering (GE), Dr. Doug Gurian-Sherman will be the featured keynote speaker at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil, on Sunday, February 15 in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

“Doug is one of the nation’s foremost experts on genetic engineering and its impacts,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “His scientific perspective will help attendees cut through the misinformation, hyperbole, and rumors about GE crops.”

Gurian-Sherman will speak as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the country.

In his Sunday, February 15 keynote address presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill, “Can’t We All Just Get Along? Techno Fixes, Agroecology, and the Future of Agriculture,” Gurian-Sherman will discuss the ways in which farmers that emphasize technological improvements rather than whole systems solutions are approaching farming from fundamentally different perspectives. He’ll explore whether these systems can coexist, what approaches actually work in successful agricultural systems, and the relationship between biotechnology, no-till farming, agroecology, and crop breeding.

Drawing on the example of toxic algae pollution in Lake Erie, Gurian-Sherman writes for Civil Eats, “piecemeal fixes like no-till, though they have some important benefits, will not fix a system that is fundamentally broken. We need systematic change, not band-aids.” In another article, he goes onto say, “by recognizing the opportunities provided by organic farming, we might be able to reverse current misplaced priorities and move toward a resilient, ecologically sound, and highly productive approach to farming.”

On Sunday, February 15 at 9:30 a.m., Gurian-Sherman will also lead a two hour workshop, “Genetically Engineered Crops: What You Need to Know About Health and Contamination Risks.” He will present the facts about public health, contamination, and government regulations surrounding GE food, which he recently discussed during an interview on All Sides with Ann Fisher.

Gurian-Sherman is the Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Senior Scientist at the Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C. He is the founding co-director and former science director for the biotechnology project at the Center for Science and the Public Interest. From 2006 to 2014, he served as senior scientist in the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Previously, Gurian-Sherman worked at the Environmental Protection Agency where he examined the human health impacts and environmental risks of genetically engineered plants. He also worked in the biotechnology group at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and he served on the Food and Drug Administration’s inaugural advisory food biotechnology subcommittee.

He is a respected scientist, widely cited expert on biotechnology and sustainable agriculture, and author of dozens of articles, papers, and reports, including the landmark Union of Concerned Scientists report Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops.

In addition to Gurian-Sherman, this year’s conference will feature syndicated agricultural writer Alan Guebert on Saturday, February 14; nearly 100 educational workshops; three in-depth pre-conference workshops on Friday, February 13; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.
The OEFFA conference will be held at Granville High School, 248 New Burg St. in Granville. For more information about the conference, or to register, go to Past conferences have sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.

Award-Winning Journalist to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Food and Farm Conference: Alan Guebert to Discuss Future of Farming

Renee Hunt, Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Award-winning agriculture journalist Alan Guebert will be a featured keynote speaker at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil, on Saturday, February 14 in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

“For more than 20 years, Alan has had his finger on the pulse of American agriculture, offering keen insights into the politics, money, and technology behind our nation’s food and farm system,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
Guebert will speak as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the country.
In his Saturday, February 14 keynote address presented by Northstar Café, “Farming’s Future Faces: Shaping the Course of Our Food System,” Guebert will explore the ways in which science, technology, and big business have changed farming over the last 50 years—from the introduction of synthetic nitrogen and genetic engineering, to the rise of large grocery chains that have replaced small corner shops—and what the next 25 years may have in store.
In a December radio interview, Guebert told Ag Today in Central Ohio, “It’s all going to change because it always changes… Every 25 years or so, something really big comes along and changes everything in agriculture.”His keynote will explore why the future of farming will require us to focus on public policy and private muscle to ensure the tools, resources, and knowledge we use today and tomorrow are intelligent, sustainable, and profitable.
On Saturday, February 14 at 10:35 a.m., Guebert will also lead a one hour workshop, “Should We Have an Organic Check-Off Program?” This moderated debate will explore both sides of a proposed organic check-off program.

Guebert, an award-winning freelance agricultural journalist and expert who was raised on a 720 acre dairy farm in southern Illinois, began the syndicated agriculture column “The Farm and Food File” in 1993. It now appears weekly in more than 70 newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Throughout his career, Guebert has won numerous awards and accolades for his magazine and newspaper work. In 1997, the American Agricultural Editors’ Association honored him with its highest awards, Writer of the Year and Master Writer.
Guebert has been described as “one of America’s finest writers on the workings and the politics of our food system” by Eric Schlosser and “a rare gift to farmers and non-farmers alike since he provides down-home wisdom that helps us all make sense of the important, but often misunderstood food and farm issues” by Fred Kirschenmann.
He has worked as a writer and senior editor at Professional Farmers of America and Successful Farming magazine and contributing editor at Farm Journal magazine.His new book, The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in spring 2015.
In addition to Guebert, this year’s conference will feature respected scientist and biotechnology expert Dr. Doug Gurian Sherman as keynote speaker on Sunday, February 15; nearly 100 educational workshops; three in-depth pre-conference workshops on Friday, February 13; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.
The OEFFA conference will be held at Granville High School, 248 New Burg St. in Granville. For more information about the conference, or to register, go to Past conferences have sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.
Our Sponsors
Northstar Café, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, OSU College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, UNFI, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Greenacres Foundation, Jorgensen Farms, Mustard Seed Market and Café, Natural Awakenings Central Ohio, Cincinnati, and Toledo, Organic Valley, Snowville Creamery, Albert Lea Seed Company, Eban Bakehouse, Edible Cleveland, Edible Ohio Valley, Green BEAN Delivery, Green Field Farms, Lucky Cat Bakery, Metro Cuisine, Raisin Rack Natural Food Market, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, Swainway Urban Farm, Whole Foods Market, Advancing Eco-Agriculture, Andelain Fields, C-TEC of Licking County, Casa Nueva, Columbus Culinary Institute, Curly Tail Organic Farm, DNO Produce, Eden Foods, Kevin Morgan Studio, King Family Farm, Law Office of David G. Cox, Luna Burger, Northridge Organic Farm, Ohio Environmental Council, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Sustainable Poultry Network, WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio, Bad Dog Acres, Bexley Natural Market, Bluebird Farm, Carriage House Farm, Glass Rooster Cannery, Hartzler Dairy Farm, The Hills Market, Krazy Kraut, Lucky’s Market, Marshy Meadows Farm, Middlefield Original Cheese, Nourse Farms, Schmidt Family Farms, Stutzman Farms, Wayward Seed Farm
Press Passes and Media Inquiries
OEFFA offers a limited number of press passes to members of the media who would like to attend conference and pre-conference events. We can also help members of the press schedule interviews with keynote speakers and workshop presenters. To arrange an interview, request a press pass, or for other media inquiries, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or

Last Minute Budget Makes Long-Term Mistakes: Press Statement by Amalie Lipstreu

Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

“A new spending bill unveiled by Congress this week removes critical resources for voluntary conservation programs that help farmers with the work of protecting our natural resources. Hundreds of millions of dollars are stripped from programs highly utilized by farmers including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program.

This move will cut funding which the 2014 Farm Bill made mandatory. It is a backdoor approach to de-fund agricultural programs by those putting together the budget bill.  When environmental regulation is opposed, voluntary approaches to address environmental concerns are held up as the solution. The commitment to improving agriculture and the environment is called into question when those measures are undercut.

The EQIP program is an important tool for farmers implementing measures to address natural resource concerns, like toxic algae affecting Ohio’s waterways such as Lake Erie and Grand Lake St. Marys. Nationally more than1.5 million acres were planted with cover crops between 2009 and 2012 as a result of the EQIP program, helping to reduce nutrient runoff.

The demand for EQIP technical assistance and resources already exceeds the funding allocated to Ohio. Further reductions in funding are a disincentive to conservation.

The new spending bill also includes a detrimental anti-farmer provision that would create an unfair marketplace for meat and poultry producers. It removes protection from retaliation when they use their first amendment rights, denies them the right to a jury trial, and even denies them the right to know how the prices they receive are calculated. This should not be part of any legislation in a free market economy.

As lawmakers hurriedly craft a deal to prevent government shutdown, sustainable agriculture and the rights of family farmers should not be sacrificed.”