Organic Farmers Association Policy Positions

1. Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP)
Organic Farmers Association (OFA) SUPPORTS the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule and asks the USDA to implement the rule by November 14, 2017 without further delay.

2. Organic Checkoff: Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP)
OFA OPPOSES the Organic Checkoff.

3. Organic Liaison at USDA
OFA SUPPORTS refunding the Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisory staff position to serve as a communications link between the National Organic Program and the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture.

1. Hydroponics
OFA supports the work of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and urges the National Organic Program (NOP) to stop the certification of hydroponic systems until specific regulations for these types of operations go through the NOSB recommendation process and are then adopted through the proposed and final rule process by the NOP.

A. Aeroponics
OFA is OPPOSED to allowing aeroponic production systems to be certified organic because they do not meet the requirements of OFPA or the Organic Rule.

B. Aquaponics
OFA is OPPOSED to allowing aquaponic production systems to be certified organic at this time. If aquaculture standards are issued in the future, and concerns about food safety are resolved, aquaponics could be reconsidered.

C. Hydroponics and Container Growing
OFA SUPPORTS the NOSB Crops Subcommittee draft recommendation, which states, “For container production to be certified organic, a limit of 20% of the plants’ nitrogen requirement can be supplied by liquid feeding, and a limit of 50% of the plants’ nitrogen requirement can be added to the container after the crop has been planted. For perennials, the nitrogen feeding limit is calculated on an annual basis. Transplants, ornamentals, herbs, sprouts, fodder, and aquatic plants are exempted from these requirements.”

OFA SUPPORTS the NOSB Crops Subcommittee draft recommendation, which states, “Any container production system that does not meet the standard of a limit of 20% of the plants’ nitrogen requirement being supplied by liquid feeding, and a limit of 50% of the plants’ nitrogen requirement being added to the container after the crop has been planted is defined as hydroponic and should not be allowed to be certified organic. For perennials, the nitrogen feeding limit is calculated on an annual basis. Transplants, ornamentals, herbs, sprouts, fodder, and aquatic plants are exempted from these requirements.”

1. Expanded Organic Research
OFA SUPPORTS passage of the Organic Agriculture Research Act (HR 2436).

2. NOP Enforcement to Ensure Organic Integrity
A. OFA SUPPORTS full and equitable enforcement of NOP standards.
B. OFA SUPPORTS the Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act.
C. OFA SUPPORTS a consistent interpretation and implementation of §205.237 Livestock feed and §205.239 Livestock living conditions.

3. Organic Certification Cost Share
OFA SUPPORTS renewal of organic certification cost-share programs, with adequate mandatory funding to meet projected demand.

4. NRCS: EQIP, CSP, CRP Programs for Extended Organic Support
A. Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
OFA SUPPORTS that the payment limits under the Organic Initiative within the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) should be equalized with the rest of the EQIP program.
B. Conservation Stewardship Program
OFA SUPPORTS Congress to direct USDA to recognize required organic practices within the full suite of conservation programs including the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and expand CSP organic bundles to transitioning organic farmers.
C. Conservation Reserve Program
OFA SUPPORTS reform of CRP to include organic producers and producers planning to transition to organic as additional allowed applicants to be eligible to participate in CRP transition incentive payments (TIP).

5. Crop Insurance Improvements for Organic Producers
A. Organic Price Elections
OFA SUPPORTS Congress to direct the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to prioritize development of additional organic price elections for crop insurance coverage, and review policies that cap Contract Price Addendums at two-times the conventional price election for any specific crop.
B. Whole-Farm Revenue Protection
OFA SUPPORTS continuation of Whole-Farm Revenue Protection established in the 2014 Farm Bill and recognize the change in farm revenue after a farm has transitioned to organic.
C. Storage Loan Organic Price Elections
OFA SUPPORTS Congress to direct the Farm Service Agency to develop organic price elections for storage loans offered.
D. Dairy Margin Protection Program

OFA SUPPORTS extension of the Dairy Margin Protection Program to cover organic dairy operations by using the cost of organic dairy feed and inputs to calculate organic milk margin.

6. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) Organic Priority Funding
OFA urges Congress to include a BFRDP funding priority for projects focused on providing organic technical assistance to beginning farmers.

7. Organic Production Market and Data Initiatives (ODI)
OFA SUPPORTS reauthorization of the Organic Data Initiative to provide $5 million per-year in mandatory funding for USDA organic data efforts, as well as a continuation of existing language authorizing additional funding through the annual appropriations process.

8. Public Seeds & Breeds Research Funding
OFA SUPPORTS the new Farm Bill requiring USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to use its existing competitive grants research programs to collectively allocate $50 million annually to public plant and animal breeding programs, with a priority focus on developing regionally adapted organic cultivars and animal breeds.

9. The Importance of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
OFA STRONGLY OPPOSES any efforts to dilute the authority and role of the NOSB in the overall standard-setting process, or to seek statutory changes to the delicate balance of stakeholder slot allocations for the Board membership.

PRINT & READ FULL 2017-2018 POLICY POSITIONS

Organic Farmers Association certified organic farm members voted on these “urgent policy positions”, providing Organic Farmers Association with member-driven policies to engage in relevant organic policy issues.

These policy positions will be ratified by Organic Farmers Association certified organic farm members.

OFA Urgent Policy Position Process:

  1. Urgent policy issues may arise outside the annual policy development process. Any Organic Farmers Association farmer member or organizational member may propose an urgent issue for the Policy Committee to consider at any time. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of Policy Committee members is needed to determine whether an issue has urgent status. Only policy issues deemed urgent will be considered for review outside the annual policy review schedule. If the policy issue is deemed to be urgent, the following shall happen:
  2. If Organic Farmers Association already has a policy position that deals with the urgent issue in the official Policy Platform, then the Governing Council may take appropriate action immediately.
  3. If Organic Farmers Association does not have a policy position on the urgent issue, the Policy Committee shall decide whether the issue is consistent with Organic Farmers Association’s mission, previous policy decisions, and/or is a good use of Organic Farmers Association’s resources.
    ‌• If not, then Policy Committee recommends to the Governing Council that no action be taken.
    ‌• If so, the Policy Committee shall research and create a draft policy position for consideration by the Governing Council.
  4. Approval by three-fourths (3/4) of the Governing Council is required to adopt an urgent policy position.
  5. Any urgent policies approved by the Governing Council must be shared with the full membership and approved by Organic Farmers Association members as per the annual policy development process, described above, to be included in the Organic Farmers Association Policy Platform.