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Organic Priorities Highlighted at House Farm Bill Hearing

Organic Trade Association CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha testifies on organic farm bill priorities before the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research

Reana Kovalcik
(202) 615-7997
Washington DC,
March 29, 2022
) — 

Organic agriculture, a $62 billion/year and growing industry, was center stage today as Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) Laura Batcha presented expert testimony before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. In her testimony, Batcha outlined key industry priorities for the next farm bill, including: continuous improvement and modernization as detailed in the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic (CIAO) Act, investment in organic research and cost share, support for transitioning farmers and ranchers, and recognition of organic as the original “climate-smart" agriculture. 

“Organic is at a critical juncture and inflection point,” said Batcha. “We know that consumers recognize and trust the USDA organic label...but consumer preferences on how their food is produced are evolving and shifting rapidly. Organic’s greatest opportunity in the next farm bill lies in living up to the expectations that farmers, businesses, and consumers have of the organic seal and in taking a hard look at how to best structure the public private partnership for future success.” 

Batcha’s testimony comes during a busy OTA Organic Week, at which members of the trade association gathered to strategize around public policy and 2023 Farm Bill priorities. OTA has been developing farm bill priorities over the last year through a series of membership and ally meetings and events. In order to better understand organic stakeholder priorities for the next farm bill, OTA collaborated with Arizona State University’s Swette Center an interactive conference series, “The Future of Organic”. Nearly 300 growers, business leaders, and advocates participated in the workshops, which delved into topics like organic transition, farmer engagement, nutrition, farmworker health, and more. 

OTA will host a fly-in on Wednesday, March 30 at which association members will head to the Hill to meet with their congressional representatives on farm bill, the CIAO Act, and FY 2023 appropriations priorities. OTA appropriations priorities for FY 2023 include: $24 million for the National Organic Program; $5 million for the Organic Certification Cost-Share Program; $10 million for the Organic Transition Research Program; and funding the Organic Data Initiative at $1 million.