Contact: Holly Givens, 413-774-7511, Ext. 18
Organic Trade Association Praises U.S.D.A. Report Showing
Organic Feed Is Readily Available, Acceptably Priced
Greenfield, Mass. (July 21, 2003)-A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report should put to rest concerns about the availability or cost of organic livestock feed needed by organic producers, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) said today.
"The USDA report gives notice to those who have tried to use the availability of organic feed or its cost as vehicles for gutting the integrity of the organic standards. USDA has clearly found that there is ample organic feed and it's available for an acceptable price. This is a victory for organic farmers, the organic industry and every consumer who wants to preserve our nation's stringent organic standards," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director.
Posted at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/ProdHandlers/FeedStudyJune2003.pdf, the report, "Organic Feed for Poultry & Livestock: Availability and Prices," is the result of a 2002 Farm Bill mandate directing the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct an organic feed availability study. Subsequently, Section 771 of the 2003 Appropriations Bill, which would have allowed livestock producers to use the organic label on products that did not meet the organic standards if there were inadequate supplies of organic feed or if such feed cost more than twice the price of conventional feed, prompted USDA to compare feed prices. Of note: a massive educational campaign by OTA and others supportive of organic agriculture led Congress to repeal Section 771.
Concluding there is "more than enough feed grains to meet the needs of organic livestock and broiler producers," the report notes that 2001 acreage could have supported twice the organic broiler industry that existed in 2001 as well as the beef and dairy cattle certified organic for 2001. Also, it reports prices for organic poultry feed are generally not more than twice the conventional price. Because national organic standards prohibit the use of feed grains from genetically engineered sources, even if organic producers were allowed to use non-organic feed, it would have had to be from identify-preserved grain sources which itself is higher priced than conventional feed, the report notes.
USDA stated it did not have official data and projections for organic production, but used land grant universities' studies and Economic Research Service estimates for 2001 to make the projections. Organic corn and soybean acreage are expected to jump from 268,000 acres (2001) to 296,708 (2002), 353,560 (2003), and 650,785 (2004)-more than doubling in three years.
Representing the $11 billion organic industry in North America, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) encourages global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade. OTA's approximately 1,350 members include growers, shippers, retailers, processors, certifiers, farmer associations, brokers, consultants and others. See www.ota.com or OTA's consumer website www.theorganicreport.org.
Headquarters: 60 Wells Street, P.O. Box 547, Greenfield, MA 01302 USA ( (413) 774-7511
Fax: (413) 774-6432 ( e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ( web site: www.ota.com
Legislative Office: 205 South Whiting Street, Suite 308, Alexandria, VA 22304 USA ( (202) 338-2900
Printed on Recycled Paper
July 21, 2003
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