In the Media: Oregon Tilth Discusses Transition Needs and Opportunities at Organicology
During last week’s three day Organicology Conference, Drew Katz, transition services coordinator at Oregon Tilth, discussed the need for organic transition and market pressure on the organic industry with conference attendees during the “Transition and Growth in the Organic Sector” intensive, covered by Eric Mortenson of Capital Press:
Katz said some Oregon growers are concerned that more organic production means they won’t be able to find sources of chicken manure, for example, or will get outbid for it.
He and other speakers said organic producers need to tackle the problems in a variety of ways. The industry needs more processors, distributors and storage capacity in addition to more farmers, and should be telling the public about organic’s broader impact.
Katz said organic production can be an economic driver in rural areas, and while not a “silver bullet” for climate change problems, it can be a factor in reducing the effect.
Most speakers and attendees appeared to favor the “transitioning to organic” certification label hammered out by the Organic Trade Association and USDA. Such a label might allow farmers who are in the second-year of the required three-year transition, for example, to label their products that way and perhaps gain the higher price people pay for organics. Backers see the transition label as an “on-ramp” into the organic market.