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Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) Honored with Organic Champion Award

Organic Trade Association recognizes DeFazio for his years of leadership and service to the organic industry

Reana Kovalcik
(202) 615-7997
Washington , DC
March 30, 2022
) — 

In 1990, then junior Congressmember Peter DeFazio (D-OR) did the unthinkable – he dug in his heels for a farm bill amendment that he knew was opposed by both the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee. Against the odds, that amendment – the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) – passed and the National Organic Program was born. Representative DeFazio would spend the next 30 years building on that bold act and cementing his place in history as an organic champion. At this week’s Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) Organic Week, DeFazio was honored with the Organic Champion award for his decades of leadership and support.  

“We have Congressmember DeFazio, alongside his counterpart Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), to thank for bringing organic into the fold at USDA,” says OTA CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha. “Thirty-plus years after the 1990 Farm Bill, it’s amazing to see how much organic has grown in the U.S. – and none of it would be possible without leaders in Congress like Representative DeFazio. I’m so grateful that we have this opportunity to recognize his many years of service with the Organic Champion Award at Organic Week 2022.” 

In addition to co-authoring OFPA and helping to create federal standards for the then-burgeoning organic agriculture movement, DeFazio also founded and co-chaired – alongside Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) – the House Organic Caucus, a group of bipartisan lawmakers dedicated to promoting the organic sector. Today, the Caucus boasts more than 50 members. DeFazio, Kind, and Leahy have all announced their retirements this year and are all being honored for their leadership at during Organic Week 2022. 

“I’m honored to receive the Organic Champion Award from the Organic Trade Association,” said DeFazio. “In 1990, I was proud to author the bill that established the National Organic Program, which ensures that when consumers buy food labeled as organic, they can trust it truly is. Consumers know that when food has the USDA Organic label, it meets a high national standard. Over my time in Congress, I’ve continued my support of the organic industry by helping provide robust funding for federal programs as well as fighting to maintain the integrity of the organic label. I thank the Organic Trade Association for this award.”   

“Congressman DeFazio was willing to introduce and fight for the Organic Foods Production Act in the House when no one else would consider doing so,” says Lynn Coody of Organically Grown Company. “He has taken the lead for decades on organic policy, always with the goal of advocating for directions that would allow organic farmers, handlers, and processors to prosper. His leadership will be sorely missed by many, especially by those of us who have had the honor of working with him.” 

The retirement of several organic champions from Congress this year opens the door for the industry to pass the baton to a new, more diverse generation of leaders. There are many young, passionate leaders in Congress today who have seen the benefits that organic can bring to producers, local economies, and to families and who would make inspiring leaders. The Organic Trade Association looks forward to working closely with our champions in Congress (current and future) and with leaders throughout the industry to continue cultivating organic opportunity.