March 2023 Policy Update

March 2023

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Organic Farmers Visit Washington D.C.

Last week, members of OFA’s Policy Committee and Governance Committee traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for our Farm Bill priorities. Over the course of the week farmers visited the offices of nearly 50 members of Congress to advocate for policies that will strengthen the National Organic Program and support organic farmers, including the following issues:

  • Organic Integrity
  • Assistance for Organic Dairy Farmers
  • Organic Research
  • Making USDA Programs work for Organic Farmers
  • Climate & Conservation
  • Increasing Organic Infrastructure
  • Working with Allies to Build a Better Food System

OFA members also joined allies to participate in the Rally for Resilience and march to the Capitol and conducted meetings at USDA. In a meeting with National Organic Program (NOP) staff they advocated the need for a faster timeline for rulemaking, discussed the rollout of the recently finalized Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule, and reiterated the importance of limiting organic certification to soil-based farms, not those that rely on hydroponics or container systems. At the Farm Service Agency (FSA), farmers spoke on the need for staff at state FSA offices to be educated on organics, the importance of fully funding organic certification cost-share, and asked questions about the recently announced Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program. 

Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are accepting public comment on Farm Bill priorities. You can use the links below to make your voice heard. Use OFA’s Farm Bill priorities for talking points and specific programs, and be sure to include information about why these policies will help YOUR farm.

USDA Announces Funding to Increase Independent Meat Processing Capacity

Last month, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $59 million in investments to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain. The grants will be provided to five independent processors as part of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP). Recipients include a facility in Virginia that will use the funds to expand its organic chicken processing capacity. 

This round of grants was preceded by 2 previous rounds of grants announced in November of last year, and this January. Read more about these USDA programs here.

Participate in the National Organic Standards Board’s Spring Meeting

The NOSB meets twice a year to work on recommendations to the USDA about organic standards and the National List of materials that are allowed or prohibited in organic production. The in-person portion of this year’s Spring NOSB will take place in Atlanta, Georgia. 

  • Public Comment Webinar Day 1: Tuesday, April 18 from Noon - 5:00 pm Eastern
  • Public Comment Webinar Day 2: Thursday, April 20 from Noon - 5:00 pm Eastern
  • NOSB Public Meeting Day 1: Tuesday, April 25 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern
  • NOSB Public Meeting Day 2: Wednesday, April 26 from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern 
  • NOSB Public Meeting Day 3: Thursday, April 27 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Eastern

You can watch the meeting online, and the public comment portions of the meeting will be virtual. Meeting information and the registration form to sign up for public comment are here (registration form is at bottom of page.) The deadline to submit written comments and requests to provide oral comments is April 5, 2023.

February 2023 Policy Update

February 2023

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Strengthening Organic Enforcement Final Rule Released At Last!

National Organic Program enforcement and stopping organic import fraud have been top priorities for Organic Farmers Association members since our founding. After several years of advocacy, the new Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) rule was finally released in January, with an implementation date set for March 19, 2024. Our full 2020 comments on the rule can be read here.

The final rule is a long overdue step towards the robust enforcement needed to protect the integrity of the organic label and the economic viability of organic farms that rely on consumer trust in that label. It will address topics including: applicability of the regulations and exemptions from organic certification; National Organic Program Import Certificates; recordkeeping and product traceability; certifying agent personnel qualifications and training; standardized certificates of organic operation; unannounced on-site inspections of certified operations; oversight of certification activities; foreign conformity assessment systems; certification of grower group operations; labeling of non retail containers; annual update requirements for certified operations; compliance and appeals processes; and calculating organic content of multi-ingredient products. 

There is still more work to do to prevent fraud in the organic sector and provide a level and fair playing field for organic producers. OFA will continue to advocate before Congress to provide the National Organic Program (NOP) with the resources needed to increase the agency’s standards of training, information sharing, and other enforcement activities, and the authority needed to address fraud in domestic or international markets, such as stop sale authority. 

USDA Announces Assistance for Organic Dairy Farms

Organic dairy farmers are in crisis due to drought, market consolidation, and skyrocketing energy and feed costs brought on by unstable global markets and inflation. 

Organic Farmers Association (OFA) and allies have been calling on Congress to provide emergency financial relief to organic dairy farmers to help offset the high cost of production before more farms go out of business. Late last year, congress directed USDA to find sources of funding to help organic dairy farmers. USDA’s Farm Service Agency moved swiftly, and, in January, announced its plans to distribute funding. USDA’s full announcement is posted here.

The details of the new Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP) are still in development, and OFA is working with organic dairy farmers and allied organizations to stay abreast of developments and to advocate for a strong program that will deliver the  maximum payments directly and entirely to farmers. So far, USDA has said that the program will be administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency and will cover up to 75 percent of projected 2023 marketing costs for eligible organic dairy producers - targeting small and mid-sized operations.  

While this aid is desperately needed, the amount of money earmarked for the program will not be enough to make organic dairy farmers whole. New programs specifically tailored to address increased cost of production for organic dairy are still urgently needed as part of the 2023 Farm Bill, and OFA will continue working with our organic dairy farmer members and Congress to advocate for strong long term solutions for organic dairy.

Key Congressional Committees Finalized

This month, the 118th Congress finalized key committee assignments and subcommittee leadership.

The Democratically controlled Senate Agriculture Committee added two new Democrats. Senator Peter Welch (VT) served as US representative since 2007 and is known as an ally to organic farmers. This is his first term in the Senate. John Fetterman is also a newly elected Senator. He formerly served as Lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, and focused on the need to fight consolidation in agriculture and implement anti-trust policies in meatpacking during his Senate campaign.

The Republican controlled House Agriculture Committee has added a slew of new members, and  made some changes to its subcommittee structure. Organic policy will now generally come under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture, chaired by Representative Brad Finstad of MN to chair. Some issues of importance to OFA, such as crop insurance and research will be covered by other subcommittees.

Republicans John Rose, Ronny Jackson, Marc Molinaro, Monica De La Cruz, Nick Langworthy, John Duarte, Zach Nunn, Mark Alford, Derrick Van Orden, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, and Max Miller have been added to the committee. And eleven new members were added; freshman legislators, Yadira Caraveo, Andrea Salinas, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Don Davis, Jill Tokuda, Nikki Budzinski, Greg Casar, Jasmine Crockett, Jonathan Jackson, Eric Sorensen and Gabe Vasquez, as well as Elissa Slotkin, who is new to the Agriculture committee. There was intense competition for the remaining democratic seats, but House Ag veterans Chellie Pingree, Salud Carbajal, Darren Soto, and Angie Craig all came away with spots.

The subcommittee's jurisdiction will cover trade agreements and commitments, agricultural export programs, and U.S. food aid initiatives; SNAP Oversight of commodity distribution programs, and Marketing and promotion programs related to fruits, vegetables, and other specialty crops.

Farm Bill Hearings Continue

With committee membership largely decided, both House and Senate Agriculture Committees are getting to work on the Farm Bill.

The Senate Agriculture Committee has held two full committee hearings so far in 2023.One focused on Commodity Programs, Crop Insurance, and Credit, and one focused on Trade and Horticulture. You can view the committee calendar and see recordings of past hearings here.

Meanwhile in the House Ag committee, G.T. Thompsone held a listening session at the Pennsylvania Farm show in January, and the House Agriculture Committee held its first official meeting on February 8th.

January 2023 Policy Update

January 2023

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Leadership Changes in Congress

A divided Congress with narrowly held majorities on both sides means a challenging path for the 2023 Farm Bill.  

This month marks the start of the 118th Congress, with Republicans narrowly in the majority. Representative Kevin McCarthy (California) was elected House Speaker early on Saturday, after 15th rounds of voting! This was the first time in 100 years that multiple rounds of voting were required to elect a House speaker. Because the Republican majority is so slim, just 20 House members on the far right were able to hold up the election and eventually extracted concessions that will significantly weaken the speaker position, and empower the most conservative wing of the party.  The delay in electing the House Speaker also pushed back the formation of key House committees including the Ag Committee. Presumed House Ag Chair G.T. Thompson pushed back the date of his first committee listening session. Originally slated for this Saturday, it’s been rescheduled to Friday, January 13th.

Meanwhile in the Senate, where Democrats retained the majority, Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) has announced that she won’t seek reelection in 2024. Senator Mike Bennet (D-Colorado) is likely next in line for her committee chair position, though Senator Klobuchar or Senator Gillibrand may also seek the role. Democrats will be left with  a tough Senate race in battleground state Michigan, providing motivation for them to try to pass the Farm Bill on time, before the next election cycle.

Organic Agriculture Makes Gains in the Appropriations Package

Last month, Congress finally passed the annual spending package, after months of delay. The bill will increase 2023 funding for the National Organic Program from $20 million to $22 million. The package also promises $7.5 million dollars to the Organic Transitions Program for organic research.

In addition to these funding increases, the spending omnibus includes language giving the USDA 30 days to report on available funding for relief for organic dairy farmers, and the following language highlighting the need for increased data collection about market conditions: “The agreement recognizes the need for organic dairy producers to have detailed data about market conditions in order to make decisions about the value of their products. Within 60 days of enactment of this Act, AMS is directed to brief the Committees on the feasibility of collection and publication of organic fluid milk data from all Federal Milk Marketing Orders.”

USDA Releases 2021 Organic Survey Results

Last month, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) release the results of their 2021 Organic Survey, a census of all known operations with certified or transitioning organic production in the United States conducted in cooperation with the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). The survey results show a 13% increase in total sales of organic products from 2019, and a 5% increase in the number of certified organic farms in that same period. Click here for the full results of the 2021 survey and previous surveys.

Save the Date: Rally for Resilience

Over the past year we’ve seen the launch of significant federal incentives for climate-friendly agriculture. And with 2023 as a Farm Bill year, the time is now to keep the pressure on in Washington for further policy change. 

On March 6-8 farmers and farm organizations from around the country will converge in DC and at satellite events in other states to call on Congress to make sure the 2023 Farm Bill provides farmers with the resources and incentives they need to address climate change.

Click here to view the event page and find out how you can get involved.

December 2022 Policy Update

December 2022

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

All Midterm Election Results Are Now In

One month after the midterm elections we know the final outcome of all the national races. After John Fetterman’s win in Pennsylvania and Rev. Warnock’s victory in the runoff in Georgia, the Democrats will maintain their Senate majority despite Kyrsten Sinema’s recent decision to register as an independent.  Senator Stabenow will likely maintain her role as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Meanwhile, Republicans have taken control of the House, but with a smaller majority than they had hoped for.  Representative G.T. Thompson of Pennsylvania has been elected as the new Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. He will have a challenge ahead in crafting a Farm Bill acceptable to both the far-right Freedom Caucus in the house and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

2023 Farm Bill Hearings Continue

Despite the narrow path the next Farm Bill will have to walk, incoming House Agriculture Chairman Thompson has publicly stated that he is committed to passing it on time. He has announced that he will hold a listening session-style hearing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg during the first weekend in January. This will be a chance for him to formally lay out his priorities for the must-pass legislation as Committee Chair for the first time.

Meanwhile, House and Senate Agriculture Committees continue to hold hearings on the Farm Bill under the current leadership. Last week, Colorado organic farmer and former NOSB member Steve Ela delivered powerful testimony during the Senate Agriculture hearing on Farm Bill research programs, saying that more research is needed on the benefits of a systems-based approach in overcoming problems in agriculture. 

You can read his full testimony here, and watch the hearing here

Extended Deadline for Annual Spending Bills Draws Near

October 1 marked the beginning of the federal government’s new fiscal year. Congress was supposed to have passed annual appropriations bills to set spending for federal agencies such as the USDA.  However, they were unable to reach an agreement on the final package of bills and passed a resolution allowing them to avoid a government shutdown by extending the deadline until December 16th.

With that deadline rapidly approaching, the two parties have yet to reach an agreement on spending levels for the final omnibus bill. Democrats have threatened to pass a year-long funding extension that will freeze federal spending at the current levels through September 30th, 2023.

In the appropriations bills that have been drafted for the USDA for Fiscal Year 2023, organic programs are faring well. The House has already passed a bill that would increase funding for the National Organic Program and includes language to direct the NOP to strengthen its enforcement of organic soil health requirements. The Senate has a draft bill, which also included an increase in funding for the NOP and good report language on enforcement. The Senate bill still needs to be passed, and any differences between the two bills must now be reconciled and passed by the extended December deadline.

Delayed Organic Regulations

With the Origin of Livestock final rule finally being released this spring, we still need USDA action on several other critical issues related to the integrity of the organic label. The public comment period on the proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards rule closed last month and is now back at the Office of Management and Budget, a division of the White House that signs off on federal regulations, for review. We are also waiting for the USDA to finalize the Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule, which includes a long list of changes to the USDA’s process for detecting and preventing fraud in organic supply chains. Several months ago Agriculture Secretary Vilsack pledged that the rules would be released this year, so OFA is watching closely for any movement. 

Do you have experience with Commodity Contracting through the Agricultural Marketing Service?

USDA wants to hear about "Barriers Facing Small Firms and Businesses Providing Halal, Kosher and Organic Products in Commodity Contracting With the Agricultural Marketing Service.” The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) wants to update its Commodity Procurement Program Small Business and New Vendor Strategy and is accepting public comment through December 27th. More information is available here.

It is difficult for organic producers to participate in these federal contracts, which purchase and distribute food to schools, food banks, Tribal organizations, and international food aid programs because they are generally awarded based on price. If you have experience dealing with these programs or have been frustrated that they aren’t more accessible, please consider submitting a comment this month, or reaching out to OFA Policy Director Lily Hawkins at

Second Pool of Grants Awarded Through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities

Yesterday, Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA will be investing $325 million in 71 projects as part of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. This is the second round of funding and follows the September announcement of 70 projects selected to receive up to a total of $2.8 billion. USDA is distributing this funding with the goal of expanding markets for climate-smart commodities to benefit producers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This second round was intended to focus on projects involving small and/or underserved producers and minority-serving institutions.

There was enormous interest in the program with over $18 billion worth of proposals submitted. Several organizations with an organic focus received awards, including many projects led by OFA organization members and allies. The full list of awards given can be found here.

November 2022 Policy Update

November 2022

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Today is Election Day

With many tight midterm races around the country, we are expecting changes in the committees working on annual spending bills and the 2023 Farm Bill.  Once the votes have been counted and election results determined, each party will convene conferences in both the Senate and the House to determine their nominees. Whichever party comes away with the majority will appoint the committee chairs, and the percentage of a party’s representation in each chamber will determine how many seats they get on each committee. Then in January when the newly elected Senators and Representatives take office, they will vote to confirm the nominees. OFA will provide analysis of what those new assignments mean for organic policy in DC. 

Expanded List of Import Codes Available for Organic Oversight

Identification and oversight of organic imports is key to ensuring organic integrity. USDA is working with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to provide new electronic import oversight tools to monitor imports at US ports and borders.

Products with at least 3 importers and $1 million in annual imports can be assigned a unique Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code that the tool U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) uses to track goods. Until recently there were only a few dozen of these HTS codes available for organic products, but the number has expanded over the last few years, and is now up to 84 organic, with 12 added this year.

HTS codes specific to organic will be especially important as electronic NOP Import Certificates are phased in. Some importers are already using the electronic system, as part of a voluntary pilot phase. USDA says they are working with stakeholders to build the case for more organic HTS codes to protect the organic seal and support supply chain traceability. 

Ask the USDA for rapid implementation on Organic Animal Welfare Standards

This August, the USDA released a proposed rule to update the Organic Poultry and Livestock Standards. The public comment was originally set to close on October 11th, but has been extended through November 10th. 

These updated standards have been awaited for years, with many delays including lawsuits triggered by the USDA’s decision not to finish an earlier proposal. OFA supports the proposed rule, which would not allow porches in chicken houses to qualify as outdoor access. 

However, the USDA has proposed possible 5 year or 15 year timelines for certified egg-producing operations to come into compliance with the rule once it’s been finalized. OFA is urging USDA to set a faster 3 year timeline, to rapidly finalize the rule and level the playing field for farmers as soon as possible.

Click here to send a comment telling USDA you support the proposed rule, and that they need to set a more aggressive 3 year implementation timeline

Join the USDA Listening Session on Organic Pinpointed Market Development Support

On November 15th USDA will host a listening session to “invite input from stakeholders about innovative ways in which organic infrastructure investments could support increased access to processing, storage, distribution, and consumer markets.” The listening session will take place on Zoom from 3-4pm EST, and written questions and comments can be submitted in advance. This is an opportunity for organic farmers to let the USDA know how Organic Transition Initiative funding can be most helpful. For more details and the RSVP link click here.

Coming Up: OFA’s Annual Policy Platform Process

Over the winter, OFA will begin its annual policy platform and priority setting process. This begins with a survey of all U.S. certified organic farmers and OFA organizational members asking them to submit policy position proposals and prioritize policy issues. Once the results are in, OFA’s Policy Committee will review the results, and draft policy statements for review and comment by membership. The final proposals will be voted on by OFA farmer members, and those that get 60% of the popular vote and 60% popular support in at least two-thirds of the regions will become part of the OFA policy platform.

Fall 2022 OFA Oral Comments to NOSB

October 18, 2022
Kate Mendenhall, Executive Director

RE: General Comments to the NOSB via Webinar Testimony

Thank you, NOSB members, for the opportunity to speak before you today.  My name is Kate Mendenhall, I am the Executive Director of the Organic Farmers Association.  OFA represents a strong national voice for domestic certified organic farmers.

Today I will be addressing Compliance, Accreditation, & Certification topics.

Proposal: NOSB Technical Support:  We have spoken to this point before and support research assistants for NOSB members.  We have concerns about these assistants being USDA employees for both the potential conflict of interest and the pervasive lack of organic knowledge within the USDA.  The board functions well currently, and research assistants should not interfere but support individual members’ research needs as directed by the board member.  We also urge the NOP to consider expanding the approved reimbursable expenses to help farmers on the board cover costs they incur to participate in the meetings, such as the cost of hired help for their farm while performing board duties.

Fraud Prevention:  OFA appreciates the Board’s work on deterring fraud, it continually ranks as a high priority for farmers.  We support the subcommittee’s proposal requiring acreage reporting and their recommendations to the NOP regarding small-diversified growers. The reporting should account for succession planting where total acres/crop may exceed total farm acres.  Organic paperwork is already burdensome for farmers, so streamlining this requirement and making sure it aligns with farms using paper records is important.

Traceability requirements must consider the different marketing structures of various commodities; tracing sales data for commodity corn is very different from tracing sales data for highly perishable wholesale market vegetables with many buyers.

In addition to oversight of certifiers, NOP must provide clear guidance when there is a discrepancy or questions on how organic standards should be interpreted.  Any guidance should be transparent and distributed to all accredited certifiers. Regarding standardized forms, we encourage a pilot project focusing on areas of high fraud risk like grains to identify how it affects certifiers, inspectors, and farmers.  We support exploring common forms for consistency and encourage collaboration with certifiers to identify the best existing models for replication and trial as well as assess what forms farmers currently use.  Common forms do have a positive ability to create more consistency among certifiers and expand the opportunity for translation.

Finally, I’d like to support more board and NOP attention to racial equity within the organic community and efforts to actively address barriers to organic certification and success.  While organic certification is understandably rigid as a regulatory system and at times that is incredibly important, at times prioritizing our humanity and our commitment to the principles of care and fairness is equally if not more important.  Understanding our cultural differences, barriers to entering agriculture, and additional societal weight that people of color unfairly carry is important to expand who gets and stays certified organic.  As forms are created and systems refined, ensuring a racial equity lens is applied must be a top priority.


October 20, 2022
Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

RE: General Comments to the NOSB via Webinar Testimony

Thank you, NOSB members, for the opportunity to speak before you today.  My name is Lily Hawkins, I am the Policy Director of the Organic Farmers Association.  OFA was created to be a strong national voice and advocate for domestic certified organic farmers.  

Today I will be addressing the issues of climate-smart agriculture and contamination.

OFA members agree with the NOSB that certified organic production should be automatically considered “climate-smart” and therefore eligible for any and all funding opportunities and support through relevant USDA programs. 

Organic agriculture has tremendous potential to address climate change while making sure that family farms flourish. But to meet its full potential, we need the USDA to take several steps to protect the integrity of the USDA-certified organic label. This is needed to maintain the standing of the organic label with consumers, ensure a level playing field for organic farmers, and make sure that organic methods provide the maximum benefit in addressing the climate crisis. 

There are several critical areas of NOP rulemaking and enforcement necessary to ensure that organic agriculture is truly climate-smart: 

First, the NOP must finalize the long-overdue Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards Rule as quickly as possible to strengthen standards that ensure outdoor access and prioritize pasture-based systems. 

The NOP must also prioritize enforcement of the existing pasture standard to guarantee that organic animals are raised in climate-friendly pasture-based systems.

Second, the NOP must ensure that Organic Farming is Soil-Based. The NOP’s decision to allow hydroponic operations to be certified organic, as well as inconsistent interpretation of the NOP’s guidance for how container operations transition to organic, could undermine consumer confidence in the organic label overall and reduce the potential for organic agriculture to sequester carbon. For organic agriculture to maximize its potential as climate-friendly agriculture, soil must be recognized as the cornerstone of organic production. 


Another area where NOP can support farmers in their efforts to ensure organic integrity is in providing support and guidance to farmers dealing with contamination from outside sources. 

This comes in the form of genetic contamination from GMOs, and pesticide drift like what’s being caused by Dicamba, which can travel great distances. And more recently - legacy contamination from per-and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) or “forever” chemicals is coming to light. This PFAS contamination comes from municipal and industrial sludge applications that took place decades ago, but is only recently being tested for. The problem isn’t limited to organic producers, but organic farmers have bravely led the way in pulling products once contamination has been discovered.

Farmers need help from state and federal agencies to cope with contamination, including assistance with soil and water testing, technical assistance for determining whether farm operations can safely continue, and compensation for lost production and lost farm value due to contamination. 

NOP can help by advocating on this issue at higher levels of the USDA, APHIS, RMA, and the EPA. and by providing certifiers with specific guidance on what to do when organic operations experience drift/contamination.  We encourage this guidance to be developed with farmer input.

Farmers’ investment in organic needs to be protected from these sources of contamination. 


Organic Grain Growers: Iowa Suspends Global Processing Inc.'s Grain Dealer Licenses

On October 7, 2022, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) suspended the warehouse and grain dealer licenses for Global Processing Inc. of Kanawha, Iowa. As a result of this action, Global Processing Inc. shall not operate as a warehouse operator or grain dealer within Iowa until further order of the Department and must surrender any warehouse and grain dealer certificates to the Department.   The company also has grain facilities in Minnesota and Nebraska.

Global Processing Inc.’s licenses were suspended in Iowa in accordance with Iowa Code Chapters 203 and 203C. The suspension is based upon the company’s failure to have sufficient funds to cover producer grain checks and failure to file monthly financial statements in accordance with Iowa Codes 203 and 203C. The Department has requested that a hearing on the Department’s action be held in the immediate future, that date will be set on Wednesday, October 12.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Grain Warehouse Bureau regulates and examines the financial solvency of grain dealers and grain warehouse operators. The functions of the Bureau include warehouse licensing, warehouse examination, grain dealer licensing, and grain dealer examinations.  If you sell to an Iowa-licensed grain dealer the elevator is required to pay the farmer within 30 days of grain delivery.  If the farmer request immediate or earlier payment, the buyer is REQUIRED to pay the farmer within 24-48 hours of that request.  If a grain farmer selling in Iowa finds that the buyer has not met these regulatory protections for farmers, farmers should call the IDALS Grain Warehouse Bureau to report a claim:  515-281-5324.  While the bureau monitors annual, and sometimes quarterly, and monthly financial statements for grain dealers, hearing from farmers that a buyer is having trouble paying producers is helpful for IDALS to conduct an investigation in a timely manner.


Unfortunately, you will need to wait until Global Processing's hearing date to determine whether their license will be revoked.  If it is revoked, then you should call your state Department of Agriculture's Grain Division.    In the event their license is revoked, click here for our state directory and instructions we created for the Pipeline Foods' bankruptcy case in 2021.


The IDALS staff are recommending farmers contact their attorneys to evaluate where grain needs to be delivered and whether they can get out of those obligations.




October 2022 Policy Update

October 2022

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Comments on Proposed Animal Welfare Standards Due November 10th

This summer, the USDA released a proposed rule to update the organic standards for how livestock are raised. This comes after years of delay, including lawsuits triggered by the USDA’s decision not to finish an earlier proposal. The proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards rule would not allow porches in chicken houses to qualify as outdoor access, but does request input from the public on how long it should give current operations to come into compliance with tighter standards. The deadline for public comments was originally set for October 11th, but last week it was pushed back to November 10th. 

These stronger standards are long overdue, and we are asking USDA to set a faster 3 year timeline than the 5 year or 15 years they have proposed for certified egg-producing operations to meet the outdoor space requirements for laying hens.. 

To weigh in, visit our action page and tell USDA you support the proposed rule, and that they need to set a more aggressive 3 year implementation timeline

Deadline for Annual Spending Bills Extended

October 1 marked the beginning of the federal government’s new fiscal year. Congress was supposed to have passed annual appropriations bills to set spending for federal agencies such as the USDA by September 30th.  However, they were unable to reach an agreement on the final package of bills and instead passed a resolution to allow the government to continue operating under the 2022 budget until December 16th - narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. 

In the appropriations bills that have been drafted for the USDA for Fiscal Year 2023, organic programs are faring well. The House has already passed a bill that would increase funding for the National Organic Program and includes language to direct the NOP to strengthen their enforcement of organic soil health requirements. The Senate has a draft bill, which also included an increase in funding for the NOP and good report language on enforcement. The senate bill still needs to be passed, and any differences between the two bills must now be reconciled and passed by the extended December deadline.

Watch the National Organic Standards Board’s Fall Meeting

The NOSB meets twice a year to work on recommendations to the USDA about organic standards and the National List of materials that are allowed or prohibited in organic production. After several years of virtual meetings, the NOSB is planning for an in-person meeting in October in Sacramento, California, but will continue to only take public testimony virtually.  Watch OFA’s tweets @OrganicFarmersA to follow organic farmer testimony. 

  • Public Comment Webinar Day 1: Tuesday, October 18 from Noon - 5:00 pm Eastern
  • Public Comment Webinar Day 2: Thursday, October 20 from Noon - 5:00 pm Eastern
  • NOSB Public Meeting Day 1: Tuesday, October 25 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Pacific
  • NOSB Public Meeting Day 2: Wednesday, October 26 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Pacific
  • NOSB Public Meeting Day 3: Thursday, October 27 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Pacific

The deadline to register for comments has closed, but you can still watch the meeting online. Click here for more information and the link to watch! You can also read OFA’s written comments.

Congress Members Campaigning in Home Districts

With the midterm elections just one month away you may see your member of Congress campaigning at events in your area. This is a great opportunity to ask them to support our priority issues.

Here are some ideas of what to say if you get the chance:

  • “Will you support Farm Bill funding to support independent organic farmers and help move more U.S. farms to organic methods?”
  • “Will you encourage the USDA to swiftly implement updates to animal welfare provisions in the organic standards?”
  • You can even invite your member of Congress to visit your farm for a more in depth conversation. 

Grants Awarded Through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities

In September, the USDA announced 70 projects that were selected to receive up to a total of $2.8 billion as part of a funding opportunity called Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. This was the first of two planned funding pools that the USDA is distributing with the goal of expanding markets for climate-smart commodities to benefit producers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There was enormous interest in the program with over $18 billion worth of proposals submitted. Several organizations with an organic focus received awards, the full list of awards given in this first round can be found here

Project proposals for the second pool were due in June, and are currently being evaluated by the USDA, and the selections should be announced later this year. They say the focus of the second round will be on projects involving small and/or underserved producers and minority-serving institutions.

OLPS Comment Deadline Extended: Nov. 10, 2022

The USDA extended the comment deadline for the organic animal welfare standards to NOVEMBER 10, 2022.  Please sign our petition and submit an individual comment to the USDA in favor of fast finalization, implementation, and enforcement of the OLPS rule.   Farmers have been waiting far too long for the organic standards to clarify animal welfare standards the great majority of organic livestock farmers already implement on their farms.

Organic Farmers Association Hires New Policy Director 

Former Food and Water Watch Maryland Senior Organizer will lead organic policy advocacy efforts. 

September 12, 2022: Organic Farmers Association, the nation’s unified voice for certified organic farmers, has named Lillian Hawkins to replace outgoing Patty Lovera as its new Policy Director who is moving to a fulltime role with Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment.

Hawkins brings an impressive background in grassroots organizing on farm and environmental issues and lobbying in Maryland with Food & Water Watch (FWW). Previously, she founded a local advocacy organization, SOMA Action, where she honed her activism and lobbying skills to enact change for her community. 

“I am looking forward to working closely with organic farmers from across the country to make sure their policy priorities are strongly represented in Washington, D.C.,” said Hawkins. “Working directly with community stakeholders to make their lives better has been a passion of mine, and I am excited to bring my skills to helping organic farmers build a stronger farmer movement with Organic Farmers Association.”

“Hawkin’s background in effective grassroots mobilization around sustainable environmental policy will help Organic Farmers Association coordinate strong campaigns to realize wins for organic farmers in Washington, D.C.,” said Organic Farmers Association director Kate Mendenhall.  

As Policy Director, Hawkins will work directly with Organic Farmers Association’s elected Policy Committee, comprised of twelve certified organic farmer members and six advisory organizational members from six U.S. geographic regions. She will facilitate the annual grassroots policy development process, where all U.S. certified organic farmers are invited to submit policy priorities and policy positions for the Policy Committee’s review, and ultimately OFA farmer members’ vote.  She will also lead OFA’s efforts on the upcoming farm bill, making sure organic farmers’ priorities are included.

Hawkins will build on the robust policy program led for the past three years by Lovera.  Lovera will continue to be an advisor to OFA during the transition and comments,  “Lily Hawkins will be a strong advocate for organic farmer policy priorities, and is well positioned to bring a strong organic voice into the development of the next Farm Bill.”  

Hawkins will begin her work at Organic Farmers Association preparing certified organic farmers for the upcoming farm bill and Washington, D.C. advocacy day in March 2023 when certified organic farmers from across the country will unite for training and advocacy to represent their fellow organic farmers and educate elected officials about the needs of organic farmers.

To join or support Organic Farmers Association in its efforts to bring an organic voice to national policy, please visit


ABOUT ORGANIC FARMERS ASSOCIATION: The mission of the Organic Farmers Association is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. With the purpose to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations. Learn more at


Media Contact:

Kate Mendenhall
Executive Director
Phone: 202-643-5363