Advocacy

Shaping and changing

OUR FOOD FUTURE

Research and capacity-building

Organic farmers lack access to quality research and practical learning resources to help them meet the unique challenges of organic production.

The USDA commits less than two percent of $2 billion to federal organic agriculture research each year. As a result, U.S. organic farmers are ill-equipped to confront barriers in transition to organic — combined with significant financial losses — or production challenges from pest management to sourcing resilient organic seed.

Strategic research investments support growth in any sector. Organic farmers need cutting-edge research that is relevant to their farming systems. And farmers can, and should, be frontline sources of knowledge and innovation to help develop a practical research agenda.

Dedicated research is needed to grow organic agriculture. However, many focus areas from soil health to pest management strategies in organic production systems have excellent benefits and relevance for non-organic agriculture producers as well.

2018 FARM BILL RESEARCH REQUESTS

  • Continue the Organic Research and Education Initiative Program and provide $50M in permanent annual funds towards organic agriculture priorities
  • Continue the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program at its current authorization of $60M in annual funds
  • Secure at least $50M in annual funds toward public seed and plant breeding development
  • Continue the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and provide $50M in permanent annual funds towards supporting the next generation of U.S. farmers

Working lands conservation

Privately owned crop, pasture, and rangelands account for nearly half of landmass in the U.S. It’s clear that farmers and ranchers have an enormous impact on our natural environment.

Working lands conservation programs provide farmers tools to protect and rebuild soil, keep waterways clean, preserve water resources, and enhance wildlife habitat — all while maintaining vibrant and productive farms and ranches.

2018 FARM BILL CONSERVATION REQUESTS

Rigorous and sensible organic certification

Organic certification is a voluntary federal regulatory program backed by a verification and enforcement of product claims.

Certification requires cooperation between government agencies and certifiers, ensuring regulations are strong, consistent and strictly enforced. We need more emphasis on authority and capacity to conduct investigations to maintain confidence in organic markets. Additionally, investments in technology and access to data to improve tracking of international organic trade will provide the necessary information to ensure a transparent and healthy marketplace.

As we work to increase organic integrity and oversight, we must make certain that organic certification remains accessible to small- and mid-sized operations by minimizing certification costs and burdensome paperwork.

2018 FARM BILL ENFORCEMENT REQUESTS

  • Provide funding for the USDA National Organic Program to set uniform standards and carry out compliance enforcement activities in the U.S. and internationally
  • Maintain funding for the National Organic Certification Cost Share program and increase flexibility in administering the program