Hence, the interest of farmers in increasing their production of this type of food is not surprising, and a document has recently been published that will be very helpful.
The CORA New Agenda for Organic Products Research is a comprehensive report examining the needs and challenges of California farmers and the result of a national survey of more than 1,100 growers to identify problems and present practical solutions.
This report, presented by the OFRF Organic Agriculture Foundation, is important because California is the leading producer of organic agricultural products and it is imperative to address the needs of organic producers.
Some of the problems they expressed are the high cost of labor and its scarcity in the state; need for technical assistance in the organic management of weeds and pests with biological methods; soil conservation, health and fertility, and identifying local markets for organic foods, and more.
“Organic agriculture has historically been underinvested, in terms of research, education and outreach,” said Brise Tencer, executive director of the Foundation. “Both the new California Organic Research Agenda and the 2022 National Organic Research Agenda present incredible feedback directly to organic farmers and offer strong guidance on how best to support organic growth. this important sector of agriculture.
In 1997, OFRF published a seminal study, “Searching for the O Word ” documenting the paucity of federally funded organic farming research, and things have slowly changed since then.
In 2007, OFRF published the first report of the “National Organic Research Agenda” (NORA), a comprehensive plan for the country's organic research. It is a landmark document, based on the collaboration of farmers and ranchers, scientists and other agricultural experts to identify and prioritize research needs and outline clear recommendations for studies on organic agriculture.
Production of the CORA report was supported in part by the University of California Institute of Organic Agriculture, a new state program within the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology.
“One of our main activities is to generate new research and extension programs focused on organic agriculture,” said Houston Wilson, director of the Institute of Organic Agriculture. “The CORA report offers a blueprint to guide and prioritize our efforts, and we are really excited to turn this information into action.”
According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, farmers and ranchers in the state were responsible for 40 percent of sales of organic produce nationwide.
California has 965,257 acres in organic production, which equates to approximately 17.5% of all organic acreage in the United States. In value terms, California farmers and ranchers produce just over $4 billion in sales, or 40% of all organic farm product sales in the country (CDFA 2021).
The five counties with the most sales of organic products were Monterey, Santa Cruz, Kern, Los Angeles and Merced. In terms of ecological area, the top five counties were Kern, Modoc, Lassen, Tehama, and Siskiyou.
"This report will benefit organic farmers in California because it plays a critical reference role in building public support and developing research projects that address the specific needs facing the state's diverse organic farmers," Joji said. Muramoto, a UC Cooperative Extension organic production specialist based at UC Santa Cruz.
The CORA report is freely available online at https://ofrf.org/research/nora to farmers, policymakers, agricultural suppliers, and the general public.