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Farm Bill: Fight for critical advancement of organic

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.  

The Organic Trade Association spearheaded the largest organic coalition in recent history to support this bill. Now, your voices need to be heard. Contact your representative and urge them to back CIAO. We’ve put together a comprehensive toolkit to help you take these actions and more. Download it by completing the form below.

If you or your business is a constituent of a House Agriculture Committee member, contact us for assistance on this targeted outreach.

Unfortunately, the federal regulatory apparatus has stifled innovation and continuous improvement within the industry. In the last 20 years, USDA completed rulemaking on only four topics, three of which required an audit from the Office of Inspector General or an act of Congress. Consumer trust in organic relies on strong and regularly updated standards that reflect the latest understandings on soil, climate, health, animal welfare, and more.    

Our goal is for Congress to include the reforms of CIAO in the next Farm Bill now under consideration. The Farm Bill charts the course for the nation’s agriculture and nutrition programs and is key to the success of the organic marketplace. To ensure that organic will continue to be the gold standard for transparent, sustainable food systems in the future, USDA must be responsive to consumers, businesses and farmers. CIAO creates a regulatory process for the National Organic Program to revise to organic standards across 5-year cycles based on public input, tangible evidence and science, and recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board. By establishing a specific time frame to act, the bill will require the USDA to make predictable updates to further the marketplace.    


The success and continuation of organic can never be taken for granted. Right now, there are attempts on Capitol Hill to block the USDA from adopting critical regulations to update organic animal welfare provisions. These regulations, the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards, have been under discussion and review for over twenty years and are widely supported by the organic sector and the public at large. If these latest efforts to thwart a fully vetted and reviewed organic regulation are successful, it would set a dangerous precedent for organic rulemaking and threaten the future of organic.  

That’s why we need your help. Support our drive to ensure that organic standards stay relevant and current, and to make sure USDA fulfills its legal responsibility in administering the National Organic Program. Show your support for this critical legislation and the future of organic.  

Together, we grow organic.  

Tom Chapman

CEO/Executive Director 

Organic Trade Association


Download your CIAO toolkit by completing the form below: