Appropriations2005

FY2005 Organic Appropriations Recommendations - Organic Trade Association
Organic Trade Association
   twitter   facebook   linked In   rss
Loading
transparent

FY2005 Organic Appropriations Recommendations

 

Appropriations Requests and Rationale

FY 2005

March 17, 2004

 

The Organic Trade Association is pleased to offer this request for FY 2005 funding for priority programs.  OTA strongly endorses both appropriations for unfunded 2002 Farm Bill authorizations for organic issues and full funding for the Conservation Security Program.

 

 

National Organic Program

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

National Organic Program (USDA-NOP)/AMS Organic Standards

1.77M

1.5M

2M

2M

 

The National Organic Program is the center of organic activity at USDA.  Its major functions are 1) accrediting certification agents to certify to a single national standard and 2) enforcing that standard.

 

Responding to a strong growth in consumer demand for organically produced foods, Congress enacted the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) to authorize the creation of national organic standards so that consumers across the nation could be confident that one common set of rules applies to all foods that carry the label "certified organic." 

 

Although OFPA was enacted in 1990, it was not until October of 2002 that the organic standards were finally put in place, and even now, many of the key aspects of the National Organic Program envisioned in the Act have yet to be implemented.  The slow pace of standards implementation and oversight is related in part to the lack of adequate funding.         

 

OTA seeks report language requesting NOP to publish a list of certified operations, with contact information (by location, certifier, and category of farmer or handler) and a report on enforcement issues and activities.  These could be combined into an annual program report.  An electronic version would be acceptable and would avoid printing costs.  As NOP resides within the Agricultural Marketing Service, OTA would also like NOP to assist in the marketing of organic products, much as FAS assists in the international arena.

 

In FY04, the National Organic Program (NOP) received funding of $1.5M.   In addition, Congress included report language in FY04 that urged the NOP to use some of the funding increase received in FY04 to comply more fully with statutory requirements of OFPA.  Specifically, the report language in FY04 called on NOP to hire an Executive Director for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), to create an ongoing Peer Review Panel, and to improve scientific technical support for the NOSB.  OTA very much appreciates the Congressional efforts to provide NOP with the necessary funds and direction to bring about full compliance with OFPA.

 

However, because of delay in the FY04 appropriations process, it is premature to measure USDA's compliance with the FY04 funding directives of Congress.   Therefore, OTA urges the Committee to reiterate the importance of OFPA compliance in report language on the National Organic Standards Board Staff Director and the Peer Review Panel (see below).

 

National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Staff Director            

 

§2119j of OFPA states, "The Secretary shall authorize the Board to hire a staff director and shall detail staff of the Department of Agriculture or allow the hiring of staff, and may, subject to necessary appropriations, pay necessary expenses incurred by such Board in carrying out the provisions of the title, as determined appropriate by the Secretary."  Without a staff director, it is very difficult for the NOSB (an all-volunteer Board) to adequately oversee the standards implementation process, as required by OFPA.  

 

Peer Review Panel

 

§2117 of OFPA authorizes the Secretary to establish a "peer review panel" to assist in the accreditation of certifying agents, and 7 CFR 205.509 (of the National Organic Program Final Rule) states, "the Administrator shall establish a peer review panel pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. App. 2, et seq.).  The peer review panel shall be composed of not less than 3 members who shall annually evaluate the National Organic Program's adherence to the accreditation procedures in subpart F of these regulations and ISO/IEC Guide 61, General requirements for assessment and accreditation of certification/registration bodies, and the National Organic Program's accreditation decisions."

 

Recently, USDA contracted with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to conduct an audit of the National Organic Program.  OTA views this as a positive first step in the necessary effort to seek objective oversight to the National Organic Program.  However, a one-time audit such as that conducted by ANSI should not be viewed as compliance with the statutory requirement for the creation of an ongoing peer review panel to oversee the accreditation activities of NOP.   

 

In order to fulfill these above-mentioned statutory requirements, and to more adequately implement the necessary accreditation and enforcement functions of the National Organic Program, OTA urges your support for the appropriation of $2M for AMS Organic Standards. 

 

In addition, within the overall funding for the National Organic Program of AMS, clear language should be included to reiterate, as was stated by Congress through the FY04 appropriations process, that part of the funding be used for: 1) the hiring of a staff director for the National Organic Standards Board; 2) the creation of an ongoing Peer Review Panel to oversee the USDA accreditation process for organic certifiers; 3) compiling and publishing a list of certified organic operations; and 4) producing a report on enforcement activities.

 

 

Data Collection and Information

 

These several requests address data collection throughout the various sectors of the organic industry.  Data collection is the basis for all other program activity, and Congress recognized this by authorizing data collection programs for organic goods in the 2002 Farm Bill, including §7407, “Organic production and market data initiatives,” and an internal data collection in §7409, “Report on producers and handlers of organic agricultural products.”  These activities should be carried out within AMS’ Market News Report; a joint ERS-AMS production report; and NASS, including both over-sampling surveys on organic production and supply chain surveys.  These should be funded collectively at a total of $2.5M.

 

Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS)

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS)

N/A

N/A

0

1M

 

OTA requested a total of 1.5M for FY04 for pilot data collection programs in Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS).  Some projects have begun to move forward, and therefore OTA is disaggregating its data collection request for FY05.

 

AMS has begun a pilot project on reporting prices for organic poultry and eggs.  OTA would like to see similar programs for a certain variety of farm products in several regions of the country.  OTA understands that such a program would require significant staff time and requests Congress to require AMS to provide similar (though not as extensive) programs for organically produced products as AMS currently does for conventionally produced products.

 

Economic Research Service

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Organic Data Surveys

500K

 

500K

 

0

1M

(Organic)

 

ERS is currently the only agency in USDA that is collecting data on organic production, and its resources are extremely limited—so much so that the re-direction of only a few staff could mean the loss of an essential longitudinal organic production data collection.  OTA needs to know the extent of organic production, and even the current collection only gives acreage, not yield.  Knowing yield, especially over time, is essential for forecasting.

 

National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS)

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS)

Organic Data Surveys

0

0

0

500K

 

OTA anticipates that several surveys, including over-sampling of organic growers and supply chain surveys, would significantly increase industry knowledge of the underlying economic structure and dynamics of the organic trade.  OTA has been in conversation with NASS and looks forward to cooperating with NASS in developing surveys that will produce the most vital information most efficiently.

 

2002 Farm Bill follow-up

 

For the 2002 Farm Bill, OTA advocated for funding for research, data collection, and certification cost-sharing.  Congress agreed.  In these requests, OTA is following through to try to get Congress to fund the authorizations at appropriate levels.

 

§7406: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) organic funds

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

§7406: Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) organic funds

4M

03 (2.1M)

04 (1.9M)

500K

4M

 

In 2003, this program received $2.1M.  With very little publicity, 29 research proposals were submitted, of which 20 were deemed fundable. Total requests for fundable projects were approximately $5M.  

 

 

 

 

 

§7408: National Agriculture Library / International Organic Research Collaboration

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

§7408: National Agriculture Library/International Organic Research Collaboration

N/A

N/A

0

500K

 

The 2002 Farm Bill authorized a program to assist US researchers in researching foreign experiments in organic agriculture.  This would help reduce redundant work, increasing the effectiveness of research funds, and significantly advance the strategy for improving the U.S. organic research agenda.

 

§7409: Report on Producers and Handlers of Organic Agricultural Products

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

§7409: Report on Producers and Handlers of Organic Agricultural Products

N/A

N/A

0

100K

 

OTA is very interested to learn the extent to which USDA supports organic farmers and handlers.  Congress supported this objective by including language in the 2002 Farm Bill, but the report will not be produced until it is funded.  OTA believes this $100,000 is ample enough to produce a sufficiently thorough report.

 

§10605 Farmers Market Promotion Program

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

§10605: Farmers Market Promotion Program

0

0

0

6M

 

The 2002 Farm Bill authorizes such sums as are necessary to carry out this program for each of FY02 through FY07.  Thus far Congress has not appropriated any funds for this program. In an August, 2000 study, USDA found that 66,700 farmers were selling at farmers’ markets with annual retail sales totaling $888M. OTA seeks an initial appropriation of $6M for FY05.  The USDA Census reports that the number of farms under $2500 in annual sales grew by 19% from 1997 to 2002, while the number of all other farms declined.  Many of these farmers would benefit greatly from farmers market promotions.

 

Conservation Programs

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

Organic liaison within NRCS

N/A

N/A

0

250K

set-aside

Conservation Security Program (CSP)

N/A

N/A

209M

249M

 

Organic liaison within NRCS

 

The goals of NRCS are completely consistent with the goals of organic farmers.  The NOP rule states in several sections that organic farmers must maintain or improve the quality of farm soil and water.  NRCS should recognize this unique congruence by assigning sufficient staff to an office whose primary duty would be to form a liaison with the National Organic Program so that organic farmers received not only targeted attention from NRCS regarding the availability of programs, but also assistance in applying for the benefits of the applicable programs.  This is especially important given the passage of funding for the groundbreaking Conservation Security Program, an initiative OTA believes will strongly benefit organic farmers.

 

OTA would like to see the following language in the conference report:   “Due to the fact that organic farmers are required to maintain or improve the quality of their soil and water, it is the sense of Congress that USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) establish a formal liaison between USDA’s National Organic Program and State NRCS programs.  Furthermore, Congress notes that NRCS has been supplied, through the Risk Management Act of 2000, with several millions of dollars to be spent on the on-going transition to the National Organic Program, and that at least $250,000 of these funds will be considered sufficient for the establishment of such an office.”

 

Conservation Security Program

 

The Conservation Security Program was authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill as a new comprehensive working-lands conservation program designed to provide financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers nationwide who develop conservation programs that contribute to clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and long-term carbon storage. It is a program of major importance to sustainable and organic producers. The Administration’s FY05 budget proposes to limit program spending to $209M, which is $40M less than the $249M needed to fully fund the program in 2005.  This reduction is a 16% cut in funding and would restrict the program from being implemented as a full entitlement program without restrictions. OTA requests Congress to support the full $249M in funding for FY05.

 

 

Rural Development/Business and Cooperative Programs

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA)

 

2.5M

0

3M

Value Added Grants Program (VAGP)

 

15M

15.5M

40M

 

The 2002 Farm Bill authorized $40M annually in mandatory funding through 2007 for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program and opened the door to defining organic as a value-added enterprise.  The program was fully funded at $40M in FY02 and FY03. It received $15M in discretionary funding in FY04. The Administration’s budget for FY05 asks for $15.5M in discretionary funding, a 39% cut over its authorized level of $40M.

 

Organic producers have sought grants through the program for the marketing and processing of organic commodities ranging from wheat for pastry flour to apples for hard cider.  We are asking for full funding at the program's authorized levels of $40M.  Roughly 8% of the funding in FY02 and 11% of the funding in FY03 went to producers marketing organic products.

 

 

Organic Agriculture Research

 

A number of research programs contribute to organic agronomy.  OTA is listing these separately from organic market research.  In general, OTA supports a 1.8% “fair share” set-aside within the National Research Initiative, which would generate about $18M for organic research in ARS.

 

National Research Institute and former IFAFS programs

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

National Research Initiative (NRI)

N/A

N/A

N/A

1.8% set-aside for organic

NRI funding for former Initiative for Future Agriculture and Farm Systems (IFAFS) programs

N/A

N/A

25% of NRI

 

25% of NRI

 

Agricultural research on organic production has typically lagged in funding proportionate to funding for research on conventional production.  While some strides have been made, to OTA’s knowledge, USDA has neither adopted or discussed the research agenda of the Organic Farming Research Foundation, nor created its own organic research agenda.  Instead, individual projects are funded without regard to their usefulness to the identified agenda.  While OTA appreciates the funding given, Congress should support the efforts that have been made to place organic research in a larger context.

 

OTA supports increasing the directive that a percentage of the NRI be spent on former projects of the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Farm Systems (IFAFS), from 20% to 25%.  There are a variety of worthy organic programs and consortia, including the North East Organic Network, or NEON, a multi-state project based at Cornell University (www.neon.cornell.edu).  NEON’s current funding, through a competitive grant, is $1.2M (for three years) for whole farm system research on twelve (now eleven) organic farms within the socio-economic context of their communities.  NEON has already provided the research basis for some spin-off studies.  This funding is needed so that competitive research programs such as these can continue to be funded, and so that the results of there research are able to be used by others.

 

Additionally, in recent decades, public funding for classical plant and animal breeding has

dwindled, while funding by private firms for the development of a narrow list of major crop varieties has grown significantly.  Unfortunately, this shift has greatly curtailed the development of seed varieties and animal breeds that are well suited to the unique needs of sustainable and organic farmers, and the consumers who demand their products.   Despite this public research need, the National Research Initiative is doing very little to foster research by our nation's land grant universities in the area of classical plant and animal breeding.  OTA is seeking report language to urge CSREES to make classical plant and animal breeding a greater priority in future NRI grant proposal request processes. 

 

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

 

 

FY04

Requested

FY04

Received

FY05 Proposed Budget

FY05

OTA Request

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

18M (Chpt. 1)

 

12.3M (Chpt. 1)

9.2M

15M

7M (Chpt. 3)

4.4M (Chpt. 3)

3.8M

5M

 

SARE works to increase knowledge about—and help farmers and ranchers adopt—practices that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially responsible. To advance such knowledge nationwide, SARE administers a competitive grants program first funded by Congress in 1988.  Many organic farmers benefit from a variety of SARE programs.

 

OTA thanks you very much for your consideration.
 
 
2014 Annual Fund

Research and Promotion 2012

TOPO


TOPO


TOPO
 
print