As discussions continue on putting together the next farm bill, the Organic Trade Association recently held a press conference on its priorities for the new legislation. Tom Chapman, CEO of the Organic Trade Association, says they’re looking forward to working together on a bill that’ll be a “win for organic”.
“We’re excited to get working with our members, our coalition partners, and with Congress to get another win for organic, to make sure that we’re seeing the responsive organic standards, the thriving of American farmers, and making sure that we’re bolstering those supply chains to be resilient in the face of all the issues that have come up over the last few years.”
Adam Warthesen, the Community Relations Committee Chair and a member of the OTA Board of Directors, says organic has great support from both consumers and public officials. “One of the things that I’ve realized in organic is we have consumers on both sides of the aisle. We have businesses on both sides of the aisle, and it ends up that we have members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that support the industry. And if you think about the Organic Caucus in the House, we have Chellie Pingree from Maine as one of the co-chairs, and the other co-chair is representative (Dan) Newhouse from Washington, so we even have a geographical spread. That’s really powerful, I think. And we have seen within the committee structure an understanding that organic is a part of the larger agriculture industry and want to be able to support that choice for American farmers and businesses and consumers.”
Even with broad bipartisan support, he says the budget will likely be tight on this farm bill and will require a lot of work to make sure the OTA priorities are funded.
“We’re going to have to grow champions just like everybody else is doing in the farm bill and trying to find folks to lift marker bills and put them forward, to work with committee staff to roll them into the markup. And the question about resources. I mean, there are some mandatory tasks we have, like on OREI (Organic Research and Education Initiative) and building the research dollars, but that seems to have unusually broad support. And then some of the other programs like strengthening sort of the NOP’s (National Organic Program) hand with additional resources. Those are typically an authorization and those are anchored in and run through appropriations.”
For more information, go to ota.com.