The Organic Trade Association is facilitating an industry-wide discussion to evaluate a potential Research and Promotion Program for organic. Input from the entire organic community is being collected at Town Hall meetings across the country. Please check back often for updates to frequently asked questions.
Are their implications of defining organic as a “commodity”?
This document clarifies our legal opinion that the organic research and promotion order amendment offered in the Senate by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and in the House by Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) would define organic as a “commodity” only for purposes of the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996, which applies only to research and promotion orders. There would be no additional consequences, because laws are interpreted narrowly – a definition in one law does not extend to any other laws.
What language has been provided by the Senate and House?
This language was included in the Farm Bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 64-35 on June 21, 2012. This language was offered as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill in the House Agriculture Committee by Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT). Because no full Farm Bill was passed in 2012, the House and Senate will begin drafting Farm Bills again in 2013.
What is USDA's Position on an ORPP?
USDA has the authority to accept applications for research and promotion orders, which are a USDA-administered, industry-funded programs. USDA administers these order through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), but the decision to create a research and promotion order is solely made by a referendum of industry participants. USDA does not take a political position on the technical fix amendment. USDA counsel reviewed the language, offered technical tweaks to the language, and indicated that as written, there would be no barriers to implementation.