NOC Members Convene in DC to Stand Up for Organic
On March 27, 22 members of the National Organic Coalition participated in a DC Fly-in, where we met with 60 Congressional offices to advocate on behalf of organic. One of our top asks was a request that Congress pay attention to challenges we face in the organic dairy sector. NOC has been urging USDA to move forward with a new regulation to close loopholes for transitioning conventional dairy livestock into organic production. Farmers who use loopholes to continuously transition conventional animals into organic diary herds can distort the market by rapidly expanding their herds and they also have significantly lower costs of production. This creates a severe economic disadvantage for the many organic dairy producers who are complying with the intent of the organic regulations.
For this reason, NOC used our fly-in as an opportunity to urge Congress to take action by requiring USDA to put forward a new regulation to close this loophole.
NOC has also been a strong advocate for increases in funding for the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to address enforcement challenges in the organic sector, including organic import fraud. The NOP is responsible for overseeing the growing organic industry, which stands at more than $50 billion in sales annually in the U.S. Significant boosts in funding over the past two years are already paying off – the NOP has hired more staff to investigate complaints of fraud and USDA has successfully halted shipments of corn and soybeans coming from Turkey. But additional resources are needed for the NOP to keep pace with growth in the marketplace. For this reason, we are requesting that Congress boost funding for the NOP from $14 million to $18 million in Fiscal Year 2020.
NOC also spoke with many offices about exciting research that demonstrates the potential of organic agriculture in fighting climate change. Organic agriculture reduces greenhouse gas emissions, sequesters carbon in the soil, and builds resiliency of our food system. Any congressional action to address climate change should support organic agriculture as a climate change solution.