About the Farm Bill:  
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.

NOC Priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill:
The current Farm Bill expires in September of 2018. NOC has issued an action alert urging the organic community to voice support for organic programs in the Farm Bill. 

The House and Senate each passed their versions of the Farm Bill in June of 2018. Our NOC score card compares and grades each of these bills on key organic priorities. In July of 2018, NOC delivered a letter to the House and Senate Ag Committee leaders, detailing our requests for the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee process.

Our top priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill include:

  • Organic Research: Investing in organic research is central to increasing domestic production of organic crops. NOC has endorsed the bipartisan Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436, S.2404), which increases funding to $50 million annually (by 2023 in the Senate version) for the USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).

  • Organic Certification Cost Share Assistance: One of the unique costs faced by organic farmers is the fee associated with the rigorous annual organic certification. Two federal programs, the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Act (AMA), provide organic farmers with modest organic certification cost-share assistance. Take Action: Organic Certification Cost Share is at risk.

  • Seeds and Breeds to Address Farmers’ Needs: Farmers need seeds and animal breeds ideally suited to their local growing conditions, changing climates, and farming systems. A provision should be added to the new Farm Bill to require USDA to devote $50 million annually to the public plant and animal breeding programs focused on developing regionally adapted cultivars and animal breeds. NOC has endorsed The Seeds for the Future Act, which would help American farms meet future challenges by reinvesting in our public plant breeding programs with a focus on regional adaptation.

  • Organic Import Oversight and Enforcement: The Farm Bill should include additional resources and authorities for USDA to implement enhanced procedures to track organic imports and ensure that imported products fully comply with U.S. organic standards. NOC has endorsed the bi-partisan Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3871) of 2017, which will improve oversight of organic imports.

  • Protect the USDA National Organic Program and National Organic Standards Board (NOSB): NOC strongly opposes any efforts to dilute the authority and role of the NOSB in the overall standard-setting process, or to seek statutory changes to the delicate balance of stakeholder slot allocations for the Board membership.

You can learn more about NOC’s advocacy on the Farm Bill:

  • NOC details our priorities for the Conference Committee process in this letter from July of 2018.

  • NOC’s score card compares and grade the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill on key organic priorities.

  • This document summarizes NOC’s Farm Bill Priorities and contains information about marker bills that advance those priorities.

  • NOC submitted testimony to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in August of 2017 detailing our priorities for the Farm Bill and we expressed strong opposition to efforts to dilute the authority and role of the National Organic Standards Board.