Organic Farmers Association Members Present at Farm Bill Meeting


On August 3, Organic Farmers Association Director, Kate Mendenhall, and Steering Committee Chair, Jim Riddle, presented testimonies at the Farm Bill Listening Session: Conversations in the Field in Morgan, Minnesota. Testimonies include the need for investing in organic for the 2018 Farm Bill.

For more than 30 years, Jim Riddle has been an organic farmer, gardener, inspector, educator, policy analyst, author and avid organic eater. Jim was founding chair of the Winona Farmers Market Association and the International Organic Inspectors Association, and co-author of the International Organic Inspection Manual. Jim served on the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Task Force for many years and was instrumental in passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program, which now is a Farm Bill program that provides 75% reimbursement for organic certification costs nationwide. Jim worked for the University of Minnesota as Organic Outreach Coordinator and as Organic Research Grants Coordinator for Ceres Trust. Jim owns and operates Blue Fruit Farm, where he and his wife grow blueberries, black currants, elderberries, aronia berries, honeyberries and more. Jim served on the Leadership Team for eOrganic, the national Extension Community of Practice for organic agriculture and on the Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Jim is former chair of the USDA National Organic Standards Board and is a leading voice for organic agriculture.

"Data complied by the National Organic Coalition shows that the US market for organic food has grown 80% over the last six years, while the amount of certified organic American cropland has only grown 12% during the same period. This situation has led to a massive increase in questionable imports, and points to several major opportunities for the next Farm Bill." Click here to view Jim Riddle's Farm Bill testimony

Kate Mendenhall worked with Pesticide Action Network and CUESA at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco before traveling to the east to work for NOFA-NY for a decade, the last five years as their Executive Director. Now Kate lives in her hometown in Okoboji, Iowa working with the Iowa Organic Association and starting her own organic mixed livestock farm.

"Organic agriculture is the future of American agriculture. It is the fastest growing sector of U.S. agriculture. Organic family farmers are able to remain viable because organic farms are 35% more profitable than average farms, and organic agriculture helps to maintain rural vitality and healthy drinking water, air, and soil-elements essential for our country’s future." Click here to view Kate Mendenhall's Farm Bill testimony

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One Response to “Organic Farmers Association Members Present at Farm Bill Meeting”

  1. roxanne martz

    I joined the veteran’s coalition in hopes of getting some assistance in farming as I am a disabled veteran, work for the VA and the stress I have been under for the past few years brought me to the point of re-thinking my future path. So far I really haven’t gotten anywhere with them except they pointed me to Agrability out of Virginia, MN who then told me about the U of M building a Passive Solar Greenhouse and I attended the open house. That is as far as I have gotten. I have experience with grant writing, managing volunteers, am familiar with some farming as my sister owns an orchard in CT, but I have never owned a farm. The Veteran’s Coalition showed video’s and resources of agencies granting assistance with donations of farms to first time farmers or disabled veterans. I am both and female, but unable to catch a break here. I have spent many months researching and I am not looking to start another non-profit, I want to leave the VA, and have some joy and peace in my life again but before I can do any farming I would need land. Would your organization be able to help me with that? I won’t be writing any type of business plan unless I can see land of my own in the future. I am sure there has got to be a gifting program out there somewhere available to someone like me?

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