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News Center - Advocacy

November 16, 2023

Recent coverage of a lawsuit filed by an Oregon hazelnut farmer against the USDA for certification of producer groups has headlined "Vast Fraud," "Illegal Imports," and "Shadow Certifications," but these stories misalign disputes over organic policy and international trade manipulation with allegations of fraud.

November 7, 2023

On October 24-26, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) held its biannual public meeting in Providence, RI. The primary purpose of NOSB meetings is to provide an opportunity for organic stakeholders to give input on proposed NOSB recommendations and discussion items. The meetings also allow NOSB to receive updates from USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture. The meeting got underway with a call to order and opening remarks from Dr. Jennifer Tucker, the National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator.

October 25, 2023

Our hard work has paid off – thank you! 

Today the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is celebrating the long-awaited strengthening of organic animal welfare standards by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This action by the department is a major win for organic producers, consumers and for all of you who have steadily advocated for more robust regulations. 

October 19, 2023

This week, legislation was introduced in Congress that could be critical for the continued success of organic. The bipartisan Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards (CIAO) Act guarantees that organic standards will keep evolving and improving, and it holds the federal government accountable for keeping up with the needs and expectations of the dynamic organic marketplace.  

September 27, 2023

On September 27, 2023, champions of our domestic food system introduced the Organic Market Development (OMD) Act. The bill was led in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and its companion bill was led in the House by Rep. Anne Kuster (D-NH), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-OR). The legislation will go far in unlocking the potential of the organic marketplace and ensuring the continued growth of organic in the United States.

September 21, 2023

A critical component and distinguishing characteristic of the USDA organic program is the industry’s ongoing commitment to participate in the reevaluation of standards to ensure the label remains consistent with the intentions of the organic community.

September 12, 2023

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) was first incorporated in the Farm Bill in 2008 to support specialty crop producers and consumers. Since then, SCBGP has been an important program for organic specialty crop producers, who have faced increasing market demand for decades. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized SCBGP at historic levels, with a mandatory $85 million available per year. 

August 18, 2023

UPDATE: USDA Announces Top Off to 100% of Projected Marketing Costs 

On September 20, 2023, USDA announced a second round of payments would be disbursed automatically to producers who have been approved through the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP). The Farm Service Agency reported $15 million had been paid out already for 75% of projected 2023 marketing costs. The second round of payments would increase assistance by 25% to 100% of projected marketing costs. 

May 17, 2023

Last week, the Organic Trade Association gathered with organic businesses from across the supply chain, coalition partners, scientists, advocates and policymakers in the nation’s capital for Organic Week 2023. Leaders in organic farming, business and science discussed complex organic issues including plastics in the supply chain, cultivating diversity in the sector, and projects to maximize the industry’s climate benefits.

September 9, 2022

The Farm bill sets U.S. federal agriculture policy and is reauthorized by Congress through the House and Senate Agriculture Committees roughly every five years. It includes titles covering nutrition, commodities, conservation, trade, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture and organic agriculture, livestock, crop insurance, and more. In addition to updating programs and policies, Congress also determines the funding levels for various programs at USDA.

September 9, 2022

With the 2023 farm bill right around the corner, it’s a good time to get to know the decisionmakers who will have a hand in setting the country’s food and agriculture policy for the next five years.

September 9, 2022

Organic supports climate resilience, economic security, and health equity. CCOF’s goal is to expand the benefits of organic to all of California by transitioning 30 percent of California’s agricultural land to organic by 2030. Currently, just under 10 percent of farmland in California is organic. To reach this target, we took a deep dive into the research on the benefits of organic and how organic can be supported at the policy level. We developed nearly 40 recommendations in our Roadmap to an Organic California: Policy Report. And now, we’re enacting these recommendations.

September 6, 2022

Although agriculture issues will likely not be top of mind for voters in the upcoming midterm elections this November, the outcomes of this election cycle will certainly influence farm policy in a big way. Congress has recently begun rewriting and reauthorizing the current farm bill, which expires in 2023. The timing of this process is colliding with the upcoming midterms, whose outcome will shape what is in the farm bill and who gets to decide.

August 8, 2022

On August 9, 2022 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) published the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) Proposed Rule to strengthen organic animal welfare standards.

July 26, 2022
A running list of engagement opportunities, recap articles, and other helpful information leading up to the finalization of the 2023 Farm Bill.  
July 21, 2022

Since April 2021, when the Organic Trade Association (OTA) celebrated the introduction of the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act (CIAO) by our champions in Congress, the association has been hard at work to keep continuous improvement and accountability moving forward. OTA and our members have continued to advocate for a more transparent and streamlined organic rulemaking process so that the industry can keep pace with the demands of a changing marketplace and consumer expectations.

June 28, 2022

The House Appropriations Committee passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs markup on June 23, 2022 by a 31-26 vote.

June 21, 2022

Following President Biden’s Executive Order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” which creates a White House Competition Council and directs Federal agency actions to enhance fairness and competition across America's economy, USDA is directed (among other things) to submit a report on the effect of retail concentration and retailers' practices on competition in the food industries.

June 16, 2022

Following a series of working groups and listening sessions with Organic Trade Association (OTA) members throughout the last year, on June 1, 2022, USDA announced its intention to invest $300 million into a new Organic Transition Initiative program as part of the USDA Food System Transformation Framework. 

February 28, 2022

“What’s in a word? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” –William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet In a recent flurry of press releases and federal rulemaking, USDA’s Risk […]

February 28, 2022

It seems like just yesterday that the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. Now, the fruits of that labor are finally being implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture […]

February 28, 2022

Over the years, I have been asked some really tough questions about organic farming. Whether it’s from my uncle at Thanksgiving who fears that organic can never produce high enough […]

February 28, 2022

In 2021, the Organic Trade Association’s Retailer Council took on the task of modernizing the Good Organic Retail Practices (GORP) guide. This tool is an important asset in helping retailers […]