OTA Annual Hill Day
The full House Appropriations Committee finished markup on the FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill on Friday, June 19, and thanks to OTA's Annual Hill day, a new threshold for organic appropriations has been set.
OTA thought the news couldn't get better than history being made in Chicago last week, but I returned to Washington to another milestone for organic agriculture and the organic industry.
The good news is on the Appropriations front. The full House Appropriations Committee finished markup on the FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill on Friday, June 19. A new threshold has been set for support for organic in the annual appropriations process.
The final markup shows National Organic Program appropriation of $6.7 million, a huge boost from $3.9 million for the current year. The organic transition program that provides some needed funds for various applied research projects got a major increase to $5 million from the $1.8 million which it has been stuck at for a long time in the past. There is no limiting language on the mandatory organic research funding of $20 million in 2010 and cost share funding of $22 million spread over five years. All other Farm Bill mandates will receive their full funding.
Special thanks go to the OTA members and Oregon Tilth staff who attended OTA's annual Hill visit day on March 26, calling on 34 Senate and House offices advocating for OTA-endorsed FY'10 appropriations requests. Your 'asks' have largely been answered.
The historic appropriations gains come on the heals of the official signing of the bi-lateral equivalency agreement reached between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that took place June 17 at the Organic Trade Association (OTA)'s All Things Organic™ Conference and Trade Show at Lakeview Center, McCormick Place, in Chicago.
In her keynote address at the Organic Trade Association (OTA)'s All Things Organic™ Conference and Trade Show, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced to a standing room only audience, that an equivalency agreement had been reached. This historic equivalency agreement will allow the continued smooth flow of certified organic products between the two countries and support the continued growth of this rapidly expanding market in North America. It is the first such equivalency agreement worldwide for the organic industry.
It has indeed been a big week for organic!