For organic growers, there is much good news in the recently passed farm bill.
- Increased funding for organic agriculture research and education
- Changes to the Conversation Reserve Program and the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program that make it easier to transition to certified organic production
- Support for promoting local farmers’ markets
- Commitment to collecting organic production and market data that will help organic products find consumers.
- Stricter regulations and enforcement for imported organic products.
- Support for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
Critics felt the farm bill could have done more to turn the tide of farm consolidation and close loopholes in subsidy payments that benefit large corporate farms, but overall most organic advocacy organizations are praising the bill. The bill is awaiting presidential approval at the time of this publication.
Reactions from key organic organizations can be found below.
"We are encouraged that the new farm bill makes critical investments in organic research and certification to support the positive ecosystem services certified organic farming provides to communities across the country..."
– OEFFA director, Carol Goland
"By establishing permanent, mandatory funding for innovative programs like the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program, Congress has made a pledge to ensure that our nation’s next generation of farmers and ranchers have the tools and resources they need to thrive, and that our local food and farm systems can continue to flourish."
– NSAC Interim-Policy Director, Juli Obudzinski,
"With this bill, Congress has made progress toward fulfilling organic agriculture’s potential to provide broad environmental and economic benefits for all."
– OFRF Executive Director, Brise Tencer
“The boost in funding for organic research and the provisions enhancing organic import enforcement are cause for celebration in the organic community. Our coalition members are deeply disturbed, however, by two provisions that undercut the work of the National Organic Standards Board. Our coalition will continue to fight to reverse policies that undermine the transparency, high integrity, and full participation in the organic standards setting process.”
– NOC Executive Director, Abby Youngblood