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Organic Trade Association statement on Farm Bill extension


Maggie McNeil
(202) 615-7997
November 16, 2023
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Late last night Congress passed a bipartisan one-year extension of the 2018 Farm Bill. The extension safeguards agricultural programs critical for organic, such as the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) which received baseline funding in the 2018 Farm Bill. It maintains the oversight and enforcement activities of the National Organic Program and provides needed certainty to farmers moving into the new calendar year. The extension also provides funding for so-called “orphan programs” that are important to organic but lack a permanent funding mechanism. These programs include the Organic Production and Market Data Initiative, the Organic Integrity Database, and the National Organic Certification Cost-Share. 

The Organic Trade Association appreciates the foresight of the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership in not letting the funding for these essential programs expire.  

The Organic Production and Market Data Initiative collects information vital to maintaining stable markets, creating risk management tools, and assisting in negotiating equivalency agreements with foreign governments, and is key to informing organic farmer planning. The Organic Integrity Database will be utilized to provide oversight of imports when the National Organic Program’s historic new Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule comes into effect in March 2024. This oversight is critical to consumer protection and integral to ensuring fair competition for American farmers. Additionally, for organic to continue the growth it has achieved over the last decade, the Organic Certification Cost-Share program is crucial for attracting new, young farmers to organic to help build a diverse and thriving organic agriculture community. 

“Through our advocacy efforts and in collaboration with other groups who are concerned about fair competition and rising costs for farmers, we will continue to make permanent funding for the “orphan programs” a high priority for the next version of the Farm Bill,” said OTA CEO Tom Chapman. “We thank the leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow and Chairman Thompson, as well as Ranking Members Boozman and Scott, however, Congress cannot take the full year to complete a new version. The Farm Bill charts the course for agriculture, and organic farmers need updated policy and the stability and certainty that the Farm Bill provides.”