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July 10, 2024

The Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) rule, first published in January 2023 and implemented on March 19, 2024, is the single largest update to USDA organic regulations since the creation of the National Organic Program (NOP) and has been a sea change for the organic sector. To keep its members informed on this critical rule, the Organic Trade Association recently held a webinar, NOP Enforcement in the SOE Era: The Power of Data, in which Dr.

June 27, 2024

Social media has consistently promoted organic products, connecting consumers with the benefits of organic living. The impact of social media on all our daily lives is deep, and deepest with younger consumers. These younger consumers are today’s most important organic buyers, and their likes and dislikes are increasingly shaped by social media.

June 18, 2024

In recent years, the beginnings of a seismic shift have been observed in consumer behavior, primarily driven by the younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z are not just interested in what they eat; they are deeply invested in the values that their food represents. This trend towards value-based eating has the potential to transform the food industry, with organic food at the forefront of this revolution. 

June 11, 2024

USDA organic has an expanding fanbase in Gen Z. The Consumer Perception of USDA Organic Report released earlier this year from the Organic Trade Association, revealed that young people are driving the growth of organic as they prioritize value-based eating. 77% of Millennial and Gen Z survey respondents described organic claims as at least somewhat important to them, jumping from only 55% of Gen X and Baby Boomer consumers.   

May 22, 2024

On Friday, May 17th, the House Agriculture Committee released the full draft of its Farm Bill in advance of the committee markup scheduled for Thursday, May 23.

March 20, 2024

On March 6, 2024, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 4366) by a roll call vote of 339-85. Farmers and food and fiber companies across the country can finally breathe a sigh of relief with the risk of a USDA shutdown being put to bed after a series of short extensions and shutdown threats since fiscal year 2023 funding expired last September.

February 16, 2024

For organic coffee roaster Candy Schibli, a cup of coffee isn’t just a cup of coffee. It represents a ritual savored by people around the world and a healthy spark for greater mental and physical potential. And in Schilbi’s case, a product produced sustainably and organically by mostly small farmers who are women of color.  

February 12, 2024

Helping people become healthy naturally and organically is in Dr. Dana Nettles’s DNA. Born into a family with a long legacy of healing and close ties to nature, and raised by parents who were a physician and a nurse, Dr. Nettles grew up respecting and learning the healing powers of nature and wanting to share that knowledge with others in their journeys to health. 

December 21, 2023

As we end this year and begin another, it’s time to reflect on the huge accomplishments of 2023 while also gearing up for more challenges ahead in 2024. First and foremost, I want to say thank you to all of the trade association's members for your unflagging commitment to organic and your hard work to keep pushing organic forward.  

December 21, 2023

Organic Trade Association and The Organic Center increase organic’s visibility around the world 

While international trade expert Sarah Gorman was in Germany this fall helping to showcase American organic products to thousands of fair goers at the biggest food and beverage trade show in the world, scientist Dr. Amber Sciligo was on the other side of the globe trekking across China with a small group of international organic researchers and lecturing on organic agriculture at Chinese universities.  

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November 14, 2023

There was a time when shoppers could only find natural beauty products at their local co-ops, and even people who were committed to buying organic foods wouldn’t have pledged their allegiance to pure personal care. In 2021, there’s a totally different story. Today, 68% of American females purchase natural and organic beauty products, up from 49% in 2008, and these numbers are expected to continue to grow exponentially in this already $16 billion industry.

November 7, 2023

On October 24-26, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) held its biannual public meeting in Providence, RI. The primary purpose of NOSB meetings is to provide an opportunity for organic stakeholders to give input on proposed NOSB recommendations and discussion items. The meetings also allow NOSB to receive updates from USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) on issues pertaining to organic agriculture. The meeting got underway with a call to order and opening remarks from Dr. Jennifer Tucker, the National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator.

October 25, 2023

Our hard work has paid off – thank you! 

Today the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is celebrating the long-awaited strengthening of organic animal welfare standards by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This action by the department is a major win for organic producers, consumers and for all of you who have steadily advocated for more robust regulations. 

October 19, 2023

This week, legislation was introduced in Congress that could be critical for the continued success of organic. The bipartisan Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards (CIAO) Act guarantees that organic standards will keep evolving and improving, and it holds the federal government accountable for keeping up with the needs and expectations of the dynamic organic marketplace.  

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October 10, 2023

Citrus fiber is considered the new kid on the block in the hydrocolloid world. Though it provides functionalities such as high water holding and emulsification properties similar to some hydrocolloids, this upcycled fiber is produced from a byproduct of the citrus juicing industry. At the same time, not all citrus fibers are created the same. Some citrus fibers, like Citri-Fi®, contain both insoluble and soluble fiber with high levels of intact pectin.

September 27, 2023

On September 27, 2023, champions of our domestic food system introduced the Organic Market Development (OMD) Act. The bill was led in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and its companion bill was led in the House by Rep. Anne Kuster (D-NH), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-OR). The legislation will go far in unlocking the potential of the organic marketplace and ensuring the continued growth of organic in the United States.

September 21, 2023

A critical component and distinguishing characteristic of the USDA organic program is the industry’s ongoing commitment to participate in the reevaluation of standards to ensure the label remains consistent with the intentions of the organic community.

September 12, 2023

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) was first incorporated in the Farm Bill in 2008 to support specialty crop producers and consumers. Since then, SCBGP has been an important program for organic specialty crop producers, who have faced increasing market demand for decades. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized SCBGP at historic levels, with a mandatory $85 million available per year. 

September 12, 2023

A recent survey completed by Ketchum, a global communication consultancy group, has provided insight into the food and purchase behaviors of the newest generation of household purchasers, Generation Z. Gen Z, or individuals born between 1997 and 2012, are increasingly influencing the food market through independent purchases and by informing household food purchases.

August 18, 2023

UPDATE: USDA Announces Top Off to 100% of Projected Marketing Costs 

On September 20, 2023, USDA announced a second round of payments would be disbursed automatically to producers who have been approved through the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program (ODMAP). The Farm Service Agency reported $15 million had been paid out already for 75% of projected 2023 marketing costs. The second round of payments would increase assistance by 25% to 100% of projected marketing costs. 

May 17, 2023

Last week, the Organic Trade Association gathered with organic businesses from across the supply chain, coalition partners, scientists, advocates and policymakers in the nation’s capital for Organic Week 2023. Leaders in organic farming, business and science discussed complex organic issues including plastics in the supply chain, cultivating diversity in the sector, and projects to maximize the industry’s climate benefits.

September 9, 2022

Something that’s been on my mind lately is the volume of conversation around sustainability and climate-smart initiatives. Climate change presents an existential challenge for human civilization, and we must all work creatively together to keep its worst impacts at a minimum.

Sustainability is a colossal undertaking, challenging companies to examine every aspect of how they conduct business. And while sustainability is a much larger conversation than organic, organic should definitely be a cornerstone of the sustainability equation.

September 9, 2022

Did you know that Organic Trade Association provides a wide array of opportunities for our members to connect to international markets? We apply for and receive funding annually from the Foreign Agricultural Service at USDA to bring U.S. organic companies overseas to key export markets for organic.

September 9, 2022

The Farm bill sets U.S. federal agriculture policy and is reauthorized by Congress through the House and Senate Agriculture Committees roughly every five years. It includes titles covering nutrition, commodities, conservation, trade, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture and organic agriculture, livestock, crop insurance, and more. In addition to updating programs and policies, Congress also determines the funding levels for various programs at USDA.

September 9, 2022

What can you do to protect your business from organic fraud?

The success of the organic sector relies entirely on consumer trust in the USDA organic seal. Supply chains compromised due to fraud can erode consumer trust in the integrity of the organic brand and hurt organic farmers everywhere. It is critical that every organic business has a system in place that will prevent fraud and support the promise of providing organic products that people can trust.

September 9, 2022

With the 2023 farm bill right around the corner, it’s a good time to get to know the decisionmakers who will have a hand in setting the country’s food and agriculture policy for the next five years.

September 9, 2022

Spices and aromatic dried herbs impart ample flavor when added to foods. Akin to spices, brewed tea leaves center many a daily ritual promoting mental stimulation or relaxation. Together, spices, herbs, and teas find use because of their desired flavors and medicinal and nutritional benefits, and their consumption is growing. Where do organic standards and production methods reveal noteworthy benefits?

September 9, 2022

Soil Health on Organic Farms

Healthy soils are essential for resilient crop production and supporting the ecosystem. They retain water, support a diversity of organisms vital to decomposition and nutrient cycling, provide crops with essential nutrients, and store away carbon, helping to mitigate global climate change. The growing demands for food, feed, fiber, and fuel cannot be met without healthy soils.

September 9, 2022

After four years of supporting and growing U.S. organic products in the global marketplace, Alexis Carey has departed the trade association to pursue an advanced degree and further her international career goals. The Organic Report caught up with her to discuss her time at OTA.

September 9, 2022

As part of Organic Trade Association’s partnership with Edelman to study organic trust among consumers in the United States, Edelman used its global reach to survey trust among consumers in five key export markets for U.S. organic producers: France, Germany, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The findings from this Organic Trust Barometer are critical in maximizing existing lucrative trade opportunities for U.S. brands, and will provide important background as we pursue updated equivalence arrangements with important trading partners.

September 9, 2022

On February 7, 2022, U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $1 billion in grants for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities through the Commodity Credit Corporation. The purpose of the new program is to support the production and marketing of “climate-smart commodities,” produced using USDA-defined climate-smart practices, through 30 to 50 pilot projects over the next five years. Organic Trade Association applied for the first pool of funding, designated for projects ranging from $5 million to $100 million.

September 9, 2022

In May 2021, OTA established a Diversity & Entrepreneurship Program and Fund as part of its Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) commitment. The Diversity & Entrepreneurship Program and Fund provides (among other benefits) a two-year Trade Membership with voting rights to Organic Trade Association for businesses that are 51 percent owned and controlled by under-represented groups including Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Indigenous American/Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, and women.

September 9, 2022

Organic supports climate resilience, economic security, and health equity. CCOF’s goal is to expand the benefits of organic to all of California by transitioning 30 percent of California’s agricultural land to organic by 2030. Currently, just under 10 percent of farmland in California is organic. To reach this target, we took a deep dive into the research on the benefits of organic and how organic can be supported at the policy level. We developed nearly 40 recommendations in our Roadmap to an Organic California: Policy Report. And now, we’re enacting these recommendations.

September 9, 2022

Each week, OTA’s Accounting Manager, Janet Martz, processes hundreds of financial and administrative transactions for the organization. However, she never had the opportunity to meaningfully engage with members or OTA’s programming until the establishment of the Diversity Council.

September 9, 2022

In June, OTA announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors, Daniella Velazquez de Leon and Johanna Phillips. The two bring deep expertise and generational experience to the trade association’s board. Here, we get to know them a bit better.

September 9, 2022
Pricing Pressures

Consumer prices are on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, food prices are up just over 10 percent from a year ago. Organic foods are no exception; only three out of 20 items in the Organic Market Basket did not see a price increase this period. Ongoing supply chain shortages (labor, ingredients, and transportation) have conspired to push prices higher. Organic prices, while slower to rise initially, are not exempt from these pressures. Here are a few observations by major category.

September 6, 2022

Although agriculture issues will likely not be top of mind for voters in the upcoming midterm elections this November, the outcomes of this election cycle will certainly influence farm policy in a big way. Congress has recently begun rewriting and reauthorizing the current farm bill, which expires in 2023. The timing of this process is colliding with the upcoming midterms, whose outcome will shape what is in the farm bill and who gets to decide.

August 8, 2022

On August 9, 2022 the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) published the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) Proposed Rule to strengthen organic animal welfare standards.

July 26, 2022

A running list of engagement opportunities, recap articles, and other helpful information leading up to the finalization of the 2023 Farm Bill.  

July 21, 2022

Since April 2021, when the Organic Trade Association (OTA) celebrated the introduction of the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act (CIAO) by our champions in Congress, the association has been hard at work to keep continuous improvement and accountability moving forward. OTA and our members have continued to advocate for a more transparent and streamlined organic rulemaking process so that the industry can keep pace with the demands of a changing marketplace and consumer expectations.

June 28, 2022

The House Appropriations Committee passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs markup on June 23, 2022 by a 31-26 vote.

June 21, 2022

Following President Biden’s Executive Order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” which creates a White House Competition Council and directs Federal agency actions to enhance fairness and competition across America's economy, USDA is directed (among other things) to submit a report on the effect of retail concentration and retailers' practices on competition in the food industries.

June 16, 2022

Following a series of working groups and listening sessions with Organic Trade Association (OTA) members throughout the last year, on June 1, 2022, USDA announced its intention to invest $300 million into a new Organic Transition Initiative program as part of the USDA Food System Transformation Framework. 

May 17, 2022

Addressing climate change and bolstering American resilience was a central promise of President Joe Biden’s campaign. While still on the trail, then candidate-Biden stressed that “climate change poses an existential threat – not just to our environment, but to our health, our communities, our national security, and our economic well-being.” Biden also promised to invest in organic farming practices “such as conservation programs for cover crops and other practices aimed at restoring the soil and building soil carbon".

April 5, 2022

Over the last week, a flurry of regulatory activity has taken place across organic agriculture.

February 28, 2022

In use for centuries, the term ‘consumer’ came into its own in the 1920s, as our economy offered a greater volume and variety of things to purchase, accompanied by the […]

February 28, 2022

If 2020 was the year for figuring out how to maintain business from home, 2021 was the year for expanding trade opportunities overseas via computer screen. Over the course of […]

February 28, 2022

“What’s in a word? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” –William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet In a recent flurry of press releases and federal rulemaking, USDA’s Risk […]

February 28, 2022

Two years into the pandemic, there is perhaps no more familiar cultural phrase describing the past year than “You’re on mute.” It immediately conjures memories of a 2021 filled with […]

February 28, 2022

It seems like just yesterday that the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. Now, the fruits of that labor are finally being implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture […]

February 28, 2022

Over the years, I have been asked some really tough questions about organic farming. Whether it’s from my uncle at Thanksgiving who fears that organic can never produce high enough […]

February 28, 2022

Because organic farmers are banned from using common conventional materials such as most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, the tools available for them to tackle common agricultural challenges are limited. Agricultural […]

February 28, 2022

The history of pesticide manufacturing and use in the United States reveals an enduring legacy of environmental racism against communities of color and their collective action for environmental justice. Humans […]

February 28, 2022

From supply chain failures during the global pandemic to the UN Food Systems Summit, food systems have been in the spotlight for the past two years. While this focus on […]

February 28, 2022

In 2021, the Organic Trade Association’s Retailer Council took on the task of modernizing the Good Organic Retail Practices (GORP) guide. This tool is an important asset in helping retailers […]

February 28, 2022

With the kickoff of the Organic Trade Association’s new Student Member program, The Organic Report spoke with one of the association’s newest members Aliça Diehl (22), a Master’s of Business […]

February 28, 2022

Organic farmers are the only farmers required by law to conserve soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Maintaining these natural resources is critical because organic farmers rely on nutrients in […]

February 28, 2022

The last couple of years have been challenging, to say the least. And in Washington, D.C., things have been no different. As many people reevaluate their lives and reflect on […]

February 22, 2022

American consumers are more focused now than ever before on the healthfulness and environmental impact of their purchases. As the historic leader in health and environmental sustainability, the organic industry […]

February 22, 2022

The Long Tail of the Pandemic Buying Surge For the latest edition of the Organic Market Basket, we’re looking at the 13-week period ending just after Thanksgiving 2021. The major […]

February 22, 2022

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has been recognizing inspiring and innovative leaders in our industry for over 20 years. In 1997, the first-ever OTA Leadership Award was given to Senator […]