Photo credit to Shawn Linehan
Each year, the Discretionary spending portion of the federal budget must go through the appropriations process in Congress. Since many organic and other agriculture programs are funded through discretionary spending, the National Organic Coalition participates in the Appropriations process by submitting testimony and taking action.
The Farm Bill is the primary agriculture and food policy legislation of the federal government. This omnibus bill deals with agriculture, food assistance programs, and other aspects under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The National Organic Coalition advocates for organic programs in the Farm Bill.
Food Safety and Food Safety Regulations has become a serious issue for all producers. From The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to new meat, egg and poultry rules, both farmers and eaters need to stay engaged.
Genetic Engineering (GE) and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not a part of organic production. NOC works hard to ensure that organic seeds and breeds are viable, and receive funding from USDA, and that genetic contamination of organic and non-GE crops is acknowledged, mitigated, and follows the principles of "polluter pays".
The NOSB is a 15-member volunteer board from diverse members of the organic community. The Organic Law grants the NOSB sole authority to recommend adding materials to or removing materials from the National List, recommendations on a wide variety of other topics related to organic standards. They hold public meetings twice a year, and NOC holds a public meeting the day prior to each NOSB meeting at the same site.
The federal government has largely stopped funding classical breeding efforts at State land grant institutions to develop public cultivars, and has largely shifted agricultural germplasm research toward only patented varieties that prevent farmers from saving seeds. Yet one of the basic building blocks of any successful agricultural system - conventional or organic - is farmer access to seeds and breeds that are well adapted to local conditions, soils and climates. NOC advocates to make classical plant and animal breeding a priority within the USDA research apparatus.