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NOC Weighs in on Senate 2018 Farm Bill

Posted: June 13, 2018

On Wednesday, June 13, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a Farm Bill that includes significant wins for organic. NOC applauds Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow, and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee for addressing important organic priorities in the bill and putting organic on a path to success. NOC would like to give a special thanks to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in recognition of their leadership to advance organic legislation and priorities. The bill includes a significant boost in funding for organic research, provisions to address fraudulent organic imports, and funding for organic data collection initiatives.

One noteworthy achievement in the Senate draft legislation is the inclusion of full funding for the organic certification cost-share program, which helps organic family farms thrive and boosts our local economies. The House version of the Farm Bill, which to date has been unable to achieve the necessary support for passage, eliminated funding for the cost-share program.

NOC was also greatly encouraged by language in the bill to assess public plant and animal breeding efforts and to develop a plan to preserve the viability, and public access to, critical seed varieties.

While the bill receives high marks for the majority of organic priorities advanced by National Organic Coalition members and our organic colleagues, the bill includes an unnecessary statutory change to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) process for reviewing and approving materials for use in organic. NOC has long argued that any statutory changes to the NOSB are unnecessary and potentially undermine the integrity of organic and we strongly oppose the inclusion of this provision. 

NOC is excited by numerous wins for organic and we are appreciative of the work achieved by Senate Agriculture Committee members on both sides of the aisle to advance organic. NOC has developed a score card to provide more details about how this draft Farm Bill stacks up and compares to the House version on core organic priorities.

The bill is expected to move to the floor of the Senate before the July 4th recess.   

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