FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Because the Natural Business Booms, Grower Challenges and Seed Wants Loom Giant
Two new assessments underscore the necessity for focused investments in natural analysis
(SANTA CRUZ, Calif., March 15, 2022) — Natural Farming Analysis Basis (OFRF) and Natural Seed Alliance (OSA) are proud to announce the discharge of the Nationwide Natural Analysis Agenda (NORA) and State of Natural Seed (SOS). The 2 stories are revealed each 5 years to look at natural farming challenges throughout the U.S., establish analysis wants, and higher perceive the natural seed wants of producers.
The natural meals market skilled unbelievable progress in 2020, with gross sales surpassing $56 billion, a 12 p.c enhance from 2019. The natural seed market has additionally grown in recent times as a result of this demand for natural meals in addition to a dramatic rise in gardening in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stories launched immediately present complete assessments and proposals for making certain the continued progress and success of natural farming within the U.S. Particularly, NORA particulars natural analysis wants with the aim of informing future investments that help the success of natural farmers and ranchers and people transitioning to natural manufacturing. SOS particulars tendencies in natural seed sourcing, challenges confronted by natural seed producers, public investments in natural plant breeding, and extra.
In 2019, OFRF and OSA had been collectively awarded funding from the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s (USDA) Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Natural Analysis and Extension Initiative (OREI) for the NORA and SOS tasks. The next 12 months, OFRF and OSA launched a nationwide survey of natural farmers and ranchers, along with a survey concentrating on transitioning-to-organic operations, to higher perceive these producers’ challenges, wants, and views. Greater than 1,100 producers responded to the survey and a further 100 producers attended 16 listening periods throughout the nation. General, farmer participation mirrored the identical demographics of these within the U.S. farming sector as documented within the USDA’s Nationwide Agricultural Statistics Providers 2019 Natural Survey.
Highlights from the Nationwide Natural Analysis Agenda
“Natural farming has been traditionally under-invested in, by way of analysis, schooling and extension,” says OFRF Govt Director Brise Tencer. “The 2022 Nationwide Natural Analysis Agenda presents unbelievable suggestions instantly from natural farmers and gives a compelling roadmap for tips on how to finest help the expansion of this necessary sector of agriculture.”
Survey respondents supplied enter and views on their present natural manufacturing methods, together with using regenerative soil well being administration practices, water conservation, natural inputs, and natural seed. Findings verify that natural producers lead the nation in adoption of soil well being administration and climate-friendly practices. The 2022 NORA additionally examines present farmer considerations in natural agriculture, farmers’ most well-liked sources and modes for information-sharing, and summarizes the impacts of COVID on natural producers.
Respondents additionally shared their manufacturing and non-production challenges, which OFRF then analyzed by area, farming expertise, and race/ethnicity. This explicit NORA compares the experiences of each Black, Indigenous, and Folks of Shade (BIPOC) and White farmers, and divulges BIPOC producers are experiencing many natural manufacturing challenges and at the next price than their White counterparts.
Along with figuring out gaps in present natural and transitioning-to-organic manufacturing challenges, NORA highlights farmer-identified options and methods shared throughout its focus group discussions. NORA additionally gives complete suggestions to information OFRF’s analysis and coverage initiatives. Proposed investments and focus areas embody, however are usually not restricted to, technical help, natural analysis, and racial fairness programming.
Highlights from State of Natural Seed
The State of Natural Seed report is a part of an ongoing venture to observe natural seed methods within the U.S. Greater than ever, natural seed is considered as the inspiration of natural integrity and a vital part to furthering the rules underpinning the natural motion. Each 5 years, SOS serves as a progress report and motion plan for rising the natural seed provide whereas fostering seed grower networks and insurance policies that intention to decentralize energy and possession in seed methods.
The replace launched immediately contains considerably extra knowledge than the 2016 report, together with a deeper examination of natural seed producer/firm challenges and their networks. This and different knowledge will be explored by an interactive web site the place customers can type 5 knowledge units by area, crop sort, and different identifiers (see: https://organicseed.shinyapps.io/SOSData/).
Natural farmers produce meals otherwise, and meaning they want completely different seed for the crops they develop – seed developed to thrive with out artificial chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and tailored to their native local weather and soil circumstances. Natural seed can be a regulatory requirement. The USDA’s Nationwide Natural Program requires using natural seed when commercially obtainable.
Sadly, OSA’s latest findings present no significant enchancment in natural producers utilizing extra natural seed in comparison with 5 years in the past. This lack of progress places in danger the viability of the natural seed business and the integrity of the natural label. Specifically, the biggest natural operations nonetheless use comparatively little natural seed, and knowledge means that natural certifiers’ enforcement of the natural seed requirement might be strengthened.
Nevertheless, OSA’s knowledge factors to progress in different areas, together with public investments going towards natural plant breeding and different natural seed analysis initiatives. Greater than $39 billion have been invested in some of these tasks within the final 5 years alone. This represents the biggest public funding in natural seed methods that OSA has ever recorded. Extra natural plant breeders are having success releasing new varieties as effectively.
“The findings are clear, they usually underscore the pressing have to modernize natural seed coverage, help the success of present and new seed producers, and confront the dire dangers local weather change poses to our seed provide,” says OSA’s Kiki Hubbard, lead creator of the report.
Obtain this Press Launch (214 KB, PDF)
About Natural Farming Analysis Basis
Natural Farming Analysis Basis (OFRF) works to foster the development and widespread adoption of natural farming methods. OFRF cultivates natural analysis, schooling, and federal insurance policies that deliver extra farmers and acreage into natural manufacturing.
About Natural Seed Alliance
Natural Seed Alliance (OSA) works nationally to advance moral seed options to satisfy meals and farming wants in a altering world. By way of analysis, schooling, and advocacy, OSA fosters natural seed methods which are democratic and simply, help human and environmental well being, and ship genetically numerous and regionally tailored seed to farmers.