Senate Agriculture Committee released bipartisan farm bill


June 8, 2018 (Kutztown, PA) –  The Organic Farmers Association (OFA) applauds the Senate Agriculture Committee for releasing a bipartisan bill that supports organic farmers’ needs and priorities for future growth.

The Organic Farmers Association thanks Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow and members of the committee for recognizing consumers’ demand for more local organic food and including farm bill provisions that will equip American farmers with what they need to meet that demand through increased domestic production.  Especially, the Organic Farmers Association recognizes the work Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jon Tester (D-MT) did to include important organic legislation in this Farm Bill.

“Organic Farmers Association is pleased to see some wins for organic farmers in the Senate Farm Bill,” says Dave Colson, Organic Farmers Association President and owner of certified organic New Leaf Farm in Maine.  “American family organic farmers encourage Congress to work toward a bipartisan farm bill that supports the growth of healthy food and families.”

Organic Farmers Association thanks our members—including many organic farmers from across the country who reached out to their Senators to voice their policy needs and priorities while the committee was in negotiations.  We will all need to stay active and follow farm bill development to ensure organic provisions remain in the bill.

Priorities set by farm members of the Organic Farmers Association that were included in the bill are:

  • Commitment to organic integrity by including important tools and funding for the National Organic Program to ensure and enforce organic standards throughout the supply chain.
  • Full and mandatory funding for the organic certification cost-share program, which supports farmers to enter the organic market by reimbursing some of the annual fees for organic certification;
  • An increase in funding for organic research. The bill incrementally increases funding for the Organic Research and Extensive Initiative (OREI) program from its current $20 million per year to $50 million per year by 2022. Organic research is imperative to support farmers’ ability to overcome organic production challenges and continue to meet the growing consumer demand for organic food;
  • Full funding for the Organic Data Initiative (ODI), USDA’s organic data collection program that provides accurate market and production information for the organic community.

Organic Farmers Association will continue to analyze the Senate Farm Bill and provide more insight and analysis to our members in the coming week.