May 2024

By Lily Hawkins, Policy Director

Farm Bill Framework

On May 1st, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow released a Farm Bill proposal, titled the Rural Prosperity and Food Security Act, which includes policies that can help move more U.S. agriculture to organic methods and make a positive impact for organic producers, providing authorization of funding that will allow the National Organic Program (NOP) to keep pace with the growth in the organic sector and will advance OFA’s Farm Bill priorities in numerous ways including:

  • Directs the National Organic Program to solicit public input on the prioritization of organic regulations to be promulgated or revised
  • Directs the Secretary to publish an annual report regarding recommendations received from the National Organic Standards Board, all regulatory and administrative actions taken, and justifications on why actions were or were not taken on those recommendations
  • Directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the efforts of the NOP to improve organic standards and provide recommendations on how the NOP can ensure that organic program standards evolve in a timely manner to meet consumer expectations and benefit organic producers
  • Directs the Department of Agriculture to improve collection of organic dairy market data
  • Clarifies the calculation of Conservation Stewardship Program payments for income forgone by a producer transitioning to an organic resource-conserving system
  • Continues funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative  
  • Provides enhanced coordination of organic agriculture research within USDA
  • Provides mandatory funding for organic production and market data initiatives
  • Provides stable funding for the Certification Cost-Share Program and increases the maximum payment to a producer or handler to $1,000
  • Directs research and development on ways to increase participation of organic producers in Federal crop insurance
  • Authorizes an Organic Market Development Grant program 
  • Increases the EQIP payment cap for organic producers, making the organic cap equal to the conventional payment cap

The House Agriculture Committee is expected to unveil their Farm Bill proposal soon after Chair G.T. Thompson holds a markup later this month. Once each Agriculture Committee has passed its own version of the bill, leaders from the House and Senate will work to combine the two bills, which will then be voted on by the full chambers.

OFA will continue to advocate for the inclusion of the important policies from the Senate proposal and key marker bills in the final Farm Bill.

In-District Meeting with Representative Max Miller in Partnership with OEFFA 

On Earth Day OFA and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association welcomed Congressman Max Miller for in-district farm visits at Woodlyn Acres Farm, LLC and County Line Family Farm to discuss organic agriculture, the Farm Bill, and leveling the playing field for organic.

Read more about it here!

Spring NOSB Recap

The National Organic Standards Board met the last week of April in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  The spring meeting reviews various National List materials on a five year cycle.  The NOSB discussion and public comments seek to verify that each material is still essential, there are no contamination issues, and there are no natural alternatives found since the last discussion.  At the fall NOSB meeting, they vote to retain or remove the discussed materials.  

At this meeting, the National Organic Program gave an extensive report on the implementation of the Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule, with a focus on tracking imports (22,000 NOP import certificates issued since mid-March!) under the enhanced scrutiny of this rule.  Numerous loads were denied entry into the U.S. organic market due to not having the required documentation.  

Modification of the compost definition was discussed, based on a petition to allow “compostable plastics” to be included as a compost feedstock.  OFA spoke against this change, due to the contamination risks associated with these plastics. The NOSB will continue this conversation in the fall. 

Proposals for improvement to organic crop insurance, including organic as climate smart, organic research priorities and more will be finalized in the fall.  Two petitions for rye pollen extract as not available as organic and magnesium carbonate as an anti-caking agent in chicory were not accepted to the handling section of the National List.  

A full recap of the five days of public comment and in-person meeting will be in the upcoming Organic Farmers Association Organic Voice magazine.

USDA Requests Applications to Fill National Organic Standards Board Vacancies

The National Organic Standards Board works to develop and update standards for substances to be used in organic production and to advise the Secretary on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. This year, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is requesting nominations to fill the following vacancies:   

  • One individual who owns or operates an organic farming operation or employee of such individual; 
  • Two individuals who own or operate an organic handling operation or employees of such individuals; 
  • One individual who owns or operates a retail establishment with significant trade in organic products or employees of such individuals; and 
  • One individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation. 

Board appointees will serve a five-year term beginning January 2025 and ending January 2030. Additionally, AMS is requesting applications for a pool of candidates that the Secretary of Agriculture can draw upon as replacement appointees if unexpected vacancies occur. 

Interested applicants can view more information about the NOSB, time commitments, workload, and how to apply, at the NOSB Nominations page. The deadline for applications is June 28th, 2024.

Join today and support organic farmers!

Organic Farmers Association members support a strong voice for organic farmers in Washington, D.C.

The Organic Farmers Association is the ONLY national organization where solely independent certified organic farms determine its policies and work agenda. OFA was founded on the belief that the voice of farmers like you should carry the most weight in agricultural policy decisions.

In recent years, OFA has made a difference by putting significant pressure on the USDA to finalize the Origin of Livestock Rule to help organic dairies and finalize the Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule to stop organic fraud and increase enforcement. We testified and advocated to allow paper pots for small-scale vegetable growers, introduced the ODAIRY Act of 2023, and advocated for stronger animal welfare standards for organic livestock and poultry production (OLPS Rule).

We have proved that farmer voices are stronger when we work together. Join us in this movement by becoming a member today! 


U.S. certified organic farmers should select this membership. Only farm members are eligible to vote on Organic Farmers Association policy positions and priorities. International farmers, or farms that are not certified organic, should select the Supporter Membership.

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Supporter Membership

Not a certified organic farmer, but want to support the organic farmers that make our planet and food systems a better place? Supporter members will be connected to the discussions about policies that affect organic farmers, and be called to advocate on their behalf.

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Organization Membership

Organizations that have a significant membership (or stakeholders) of certified organic farmers should select this membership. Organization Members receive the tools they need to advocate for policies important to organic farmers and extend their network.

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