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Senate Farm Bill recognizes organic agriculture’s growth and opportunities

Organic Trade Association welcomes congressional efforts to move organic forward

Maggie McNeil
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
Washington , DC
June 28, 2018
) — 

The 2018 Farm Bill passed by the Senate on Thursday recognizes the strong growth in organic and the opportunities that organic provides for the farm and food economy, and builds upon and strengthens the organic provisions in the recently passed House legislation. The Organic Trade Association thanks lawmakers for their critical work to move forward organic agriculture in our nation.

“As the leading trade group representing the American organic sector, it is our mission to protect and promote organic in the Farm Bill. The Senate Farm Bill provides important measures that will enable the organic sector to thrive, and we thank Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow and the U.S. Senate for their historic investment in organic agriculture,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association.

The association said it was confident that the strong organic provisions approved by both chambers would remain in the final legislation that will now be negotiated by conference committee.

“Unlike most issues swirling in the nation’s capital, organic garners bipartisan support, that has been vital in advancing our priorities in the farm bill,” said Batcha. “We’ve seen Congressional support for organic steadily grow in the past several years.”

Top priorities of the Organic Trade Association included in the Senate bill are:

  • Essential tools and funding for the improved oversight of trade to ensure the integrity of organic throughout the global supply chain;
  • The largest increase in funding for the flagship Organic Research and Extensive Initiative (OREI) program in over a decade to achieve stable, baseline mandatory funding for the program. The Senate Farm Bill increases OREI funding from its current $20 million per year to $50 million per year by 2023.  OREI  ensures that organic farmers can continue to meet the unique challenges they face;
  • Funding for the organic certification cost-share program that helps to incentivize small and beginning farmers to transition to organic by relieving some of the associated costs with the annual organic certification fees;
  • Full funding for the Organic Data Initiative, USDA’s organic data collection program that provides accurate market and production information for the organic industry.

“We thank the unwavering commitment of our organic champions – whether they are members of the Organic Trade Association or members of Congress--for ensuring a sound and healthy future for organic. Their support has been critical to the continued success of organic,” said Batcha. “The U.S. organic sector is now a $50 billion market, providing jobs and opportunities to rural and urban areas and choice to consumers.”  

Learn more about how organic programs and priorities are faring in this Organic Trade Association summary of the House and Senate bills.

Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.