Greenfield, MA (July 23, 2001)—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) will bring key organic legislative issues to Congress during OTA’s Congressional Education Day slated for Oct. 11, 2001, in Washington D.C. Highlights of the day include an update by Senator Tom Harkin, (Democrat, Iowa) chair of Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and a reception for OTA members and legislators. In addition, OTA members will visit their legislators to talk about three important issues.
First, OTA is seeking fair appropriations for organic production. Organic farmers have won a key battle to receive the right to federal crop insurance, but more funds are needed for market and agronomic research, effective enforcement, and all other agriculture programs previously unavailable to organic producers. "With the implementation of the National Organic Program, organic producers should receive the same benefits conventional producers do," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA’s executive director.
Second, OTA will request that organic producers be released from existing federal marketing orders. Some organic producers are required to pay money into federal marketing order programs without receiving any direct benefit. "Because the prices and the demands for organic products are separate from conventional products, Congress should either create an alternative, organic marketing program or exempt organic producers from marketing orders until studies show the best way to integrate the organic production into existing marketing orders," DiMatteo added.
Finally, OTA will tell legislators about the importance of labeling products made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the need to hold companies that produce genetically modified organisms liable for genetic contamination. To assist organic producers in avoiding GMOs, as they must under federal organic standards, OTA seeks legislation requiring that GMO seeds, crops and byproducts be labeled. As long as organic producers face the possibility of sanctions and economic loss for involuntary GMO contamination, producers of GMOs should be required to accept any liability for the genetic contamination of organic products.
All Organic Trade Association members are invited to attend Congressional Education Day, and to work with their legislators on these important issues. For more information about the day’s events and how to participate, contact Laura Stravino, at 413-774-7511, Ext. 23, firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 23, 2001
Back to Archived Press Releases