NSAC's Blog

House Members Advocate for Organic Agriculture in the Farm Bill

September 30, 2013

A bipartisan group of Representatives delivered a “Dear Colleague” letter to House leadership on Friday September 27th, calling for House farm bill conferees to support key programs for organic agriculture in any upcoming negotiations.

Thanks to the leadership of Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Richard Hanna (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), and Ron Kind (D-WI) , as well as strong grassroots pressure from NSAC members and partners in the organic sector, dozens of Representatives from both parties and all parts of the country have joined together in calling for key investments in the future of organic agriculture as an essential part of the 2013 Farm Bill.

The letter noted that “organic is one of the most promising and fastest growing sectors in US agriculture today, with over 17,500 operations that keep family farmers on the land and provide jobs and opportunities in rural America.”  The US organic sector grew by over 10 percent last year and is poised for continued growth since domestic demand for organic food products continues to exceed domestic production.  Unfortunately, the continued growth of organic agriculture has faced headwinds since several key programs that fund research and data analysis for organic agriculture were left stranded in the 2012 Farm Bill extension.

Specifically, the letter calls for conferees to adopt the following provisions in any farm bill negotiation:

  • the higher level of funding in the House bill for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) which provides a dedicated funding stream for organic research that is critical to combating pests, managing weeds, and developing plant varieties suitable under organic growing conditions;
  • the Senate position on streamlining programs providing cost-share assistance for organic certification including the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program;
  • and the Senate positions, also in the 2012 proposed House Farm Bill, to fund technological improvements for the National Organic Program (NOP) and support data collection and reporting on the organic sector authorized within the Organic Production and Market Data Initiative (ODI).

NSAC joins the 36 Members of Congress who signed this letter in calling on Congress to include support for these key investments in organic agriculture in any future farm bill conference or extension negotiations.

Click here to view the organic dear colleague letter delivered to Congressional leaders.

Categories: Farm Bill, Organic, Research, Education & Extension

One response to “House Members Advocate for Organic Agriculture in the Farm Bill”

  1. […] HOUSE MEMBERS ADVOCATE FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN FARM BILL National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition […]