Jun 11, 2018
Organic Trade Association upbeat on Senate Farm Bill
Organic Trade Association is speaking well about the U.S. Senate’s draft Farm Bill, the text of which was released on Friday.
The Organic Trade Association, which represents more than 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states, said the bill represents strong growth in organic agriculture, and the opportunities that organic provides for the farm and food economy.
“The Senate Farm Bill provides important measures that will enable the organic sector to continue advancing,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “On behalf of our members in Michigan as well as nationwide, we thank Senator (Debbie) Stabenow for her efforts to ensure the historic investment in organic agriculture that this bill provides. Senator Stabenow has established herself as a true champion of organic through her tireless work for the sector in the last two Farm Bills. As the process moves forward, the Organic Trade Association stands ready to continue to strengthen policies impacting organic farmers, consumers and businesses.”
Top priorities of the Organic Trade Association included in the bill are:
- Important tools and funding for the improved oversight of international trade to ensure the integrity of organic throughout the global supply chain;
- The largest increase in funding for the flagship Organic Research and Extensive Initiative (OREI) program in farm bill history achieving baseline mandatory funding for the program. The Senate farm bill increases OREI funding from its current $20 million per year to $50 million per year by 2022 OREI ensures that organic farmers can continue to meet the unique challenges they face;
- Full funding for the organic certification cost-share program which helps to incentivize small and beginning farmers to transition to organic by relieving some of the associated costs with the annual organic certification fees;
- Full funding for the Organic Data Initiative, USDA’s organic data collection program that provides accurate market and production information for the organic industry.
The Committee’s ranking member, Stabenow, D-Mich., called the bill a “bipartisan” effort in a joint news release with Pat Roberts R-Kansas.
Top photo: Roberts, left, and Stabenow