National Organic Program
Support the Senate request of $1.5 million for the National Organic Program (NOP), a $300,000 increase, together with the language specifying that the increased funds should go for a peer review panel and a staff director for the National Organic Standards Board. OTA had originally requested $1.8 million for the NOP. OTA supports the Senate proposal for additional funds targeted to the specific programs objectives outlined above.
Conservation Security Program
Fully fund the Conservation Security Program at the level proposed by the Senate. OTA strongly supports this program, as organic farmers are well-placed to benefit.
Support the House request for $500,000 in funds for new data collection, and the Senate language seeking market and price data. OTA supports the House proposal to add $500,000 for new organic data collection, and the Senate language to improve market and price data. OTA also supports the Senate language asking USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service to devote funds to organic market data collection. OTA urges ERS to work with AMS, NASS, and RMA on the collection of segregated data on the production and marketing of organic agricultural products. This data should be included in the ongoing baseline of data collection regarding agricultural production and marketing, as directed in the farm bill. Specifically, data should be collected on prices, yields, acreage and production costs in the organic sector. OTA would like ERS to use no less than $100,000 to coordinate organic price collection with AMS and/or NASS.
Current allocations for organic programs are surprisingly low: just $1.2 million for the National Organic Program, overseeing several thousand certified farmers and manufacturers, plus certifying agents, enforcement operations, and international equivalency negotiations.There is currently no funding to continue existing production data collection or allow USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service to provide market price data collection.