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Organic Trade Association statement on Senate Farm Bill that provides historic advancements for organic agriculture

*MEDIA STATEMENT*

Maggie McNeil
(
mmcneil@ota.com
(202) 403-8514
(202) 615-7997
)
Washington , DC
US
 (
June 8, 2018
) — 

The Farm Bill introduced by the Senate Agriculture Committee recognizes the strong growth in organic and the opportunities that organic provides for the farm and food economy. The Organic Trade Association thanks Chairman Roberts, Ranking Member Stabenow and members of the committee for their critical work to move forward organic agriculture in our nation.

The Organic Trade Association would also like to extend special thanks to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jon Tester (D-MT) for their leadership in advancing key pieces of legislation to advance organic that were included in this Farm Bill.

Statement from Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association:
“As the leading trade group representing the American organic sector, it is our responsibility to protect and promote organic in the Farm Bill. The Senate Farm Bill provides important measures that will enable the organic sector to continue advancing, and we thank the leaders and members of the Senate Agriculture Committee for their historic investment in organic agriculture. As the process moves forward, we stand ready to continue to strengthen policies impacting organic farmers, consumers 
and businesses.”

Top priorities of the Organic Trade Association that were included in the bill are:

• Important tools and funding for the improved oversight of international trade to ensure the integrity of organic throughout the global supply chain;

• The largest increase in funding for the flagship Organic Research and Extensive Initiative (OREI) program in farm bill history achieving baseline mandatory funding for the program. The Senate farm bill increases OREI funding from its current $20 million per year to $50 million per year by 2022  OREI  ensures that organic farmers can continue to meet the unique challenges they face;

• Full funding for the organic certification cost-share program which helps to incentivize small and beginning farmers to transition to organic by relieving some of the associated costs with the annual organic certification fees;

• Full funding for the Organic Data Initiative, USDA’s organic data collection program that provides accurate market and production information for the organic industry.

The inclusion of the strong organic provisions in the Senate bill comes on the heels of the largest Washington fly-in ever by the organic industry hosted by the Organic Trade Association. On May 23, over 140 organic stakeholders from around the country -- organic farmers, organic businesses and organic entrepreneurs – visited 160 Congressional offices to advocate for organic in this next farm bill. The Organic Trade Association thanks those organic champions for their tireless work and their unwavering commitment to ensuring a successful future for organic.

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