Jun 16, 2022
OFRF’s Thelma Vélez speaks at hearing on agricultural resiliency, climate research

Organic Farming Research Foundation Research & Education Program Manager Thelma Vélez, Ph.D., testified before the full House Agriculture Committee hearing on “The Role of Climate Research in Supporting Agricultural Resiliency” on June 15.

Vélez was invited to share her expertise and summarized research findings that demonstrate the potential for organic systems to mitigate climate change and build resilience. She recommended more investment in organic research, education and Extension to support American farmers and ranchers in implementing the best practices for climate mitigation and adaptation. The hearing was live-streamed on the House Ag Democrats YouTube channel.

Vélez has over 15 years of interdisciplinary agriculture and food systems research experience. She spoke on behalf of Organic Farming Research Foundation, a national nonprofit that works closely with researchers, organic farmers, and policymakers across the U.S. to understand the challenges farmers face, and to provide the research and education tools needed to help them thrive.

OFRF recently published its 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA), a 230-page report compiling survey results and listening session data from over 1,000 certified organic producers. Over half of these farmers were concerned with adapting to climate change and nearly 90% of NORA participants implemented regenerative soil health management such as cover cropping, a climate-friendly practice.

“Less than 1% of the USDA’s annual research budget is spent on organic production topics, which is not aligned with the organic sector’s continually growing market share of 6%,” said Vélez. “While the organic method has been shown to have great potential to contribute to both climate mitigation and climate resilience, much more action-oriented research is needed to make widespread adoption possible.”

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