Wins for Organic in Senate Bill
For immediate release: August 2, 2018
National Organic Coalition, Abby Youngblood, email@example.com, 646-525-7165
Senate Passes Agriculture Funding Bill that will Strengthen Integrity of USDA Organic Seal
Washington, D.C. – August 2, 2018— Yesterday the Senate passed an annual agriculture funding bill that represents a significant step forward for organic. While consumer demand for organic products has skyrocketed, domestic production of organic products has not kept pace with demand. Organic sales reached nearly $50 billion in 2017, but an increasing percentage of organic food is being imported to fill the gap, resulting in a missed opportunity to generate jobs, economic growth, and environmental benefits in communities across the United States.
NOC would like to thank full Committee Chairman Shelby, Vice Chairman Leahy, Subcommittee Chairman Hoeven and Ranking Member Merkley, as well as Senator Baldwin, Senator Tester, and other Senate Appropriations Committee Members for passing a bill that makes noteworthy progress to address the gap in domestic supply of organic and to strengthen organic integrity. The bill bumps up funding for the National Organic Program (NOP) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from $12 million to $15 million annually.
The NOP is responsible for overseeing the nearly $50 billion organic industry. There are more than 41,000 organic farms and operations in 120 countries. The NOP is charged with ensuring that the USDA organic standards are enforced in a uniform way around the globe and investigating complaints of fraud. The increase in funding recognizes the need to enhance enforcement procedures to safeguard the integrity of the organic label.
The bill also includes vital funding increases for the Organic Transitions Program and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (SARE) Program. These two research programs tackle on-farm challenges, such as soil fertility and pest, weed, and disease management strategies. The cutting-edge research conducted through the Organic Transitions and SARE programs help farmers become more productive, efficient, and profitable and leads to the development of new agricultural practices that can be used by conventional and organic farmers alike.
“We are encouraged that the Senate bill dedicates resources to bolster the integrity of the USDA organic program and to help farmers address the challenges they face each and every day on the farm,” said Abby Youngblood, Executive Director of the National Organic Coalition. “NOC has been fighting for enhanced resources to tackle fraud and also increases in organic research to help more farmers transition to organic production in response to increases in demand each year in the marketplace.”