Organic Research Funding Bill Gains Momentum

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The Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) is gaining crucial bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, with an additional 37 cosponsors signing on in recent weeks. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the bill to support increased funding for organic research.  

The proposed legislation would renew and provide $50 million in funding for the USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).  OFRF’s Executive Director, Brise Tencer, explained that while it is a significant increase, it is necessary to narrow the historical deficit of public support for organic farming systems. “OFRF applauds these representatives for working in a bipartisan way to propose this critical support for organic farms and businesses in communities across America.”

“In Iowa’s Third District, farmers strive to meet the demand for organically grown products and they need support and information to make informed growing decisions,” said Congressman David Young (R-IA). “As a supporter of exploring new and effective ways for Iowa farmers to grow crops and raise livestock, I’m happy to continue my support of organic agriculture research as I’ve done as Iowa’s only member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Appropriations.”

"A USDA report released last week found that the organic market had incredible growth between 2015 and 2016. Not only did sales grow sharply, but also the number of certified organic farms and acres,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. "I’m excited to see bipartisan support continue to build for the Organic Agriculture Research Act and its goal of bringing federal organic research dollars more in line with the industry's share of the market. It's clear that to sustain growth in organic production and make the operations cost-effective for farmers, we need more research."

“I am encouraged to see even more colleagues joining our bipartisan effort to support organic research programs,” added Representative Newhouse. “As the market share for organics continues to grow, legislation like our Organic Agriculture Research Act becomes even more necessary to improve methods and tools used by farmers across the country to meet the needs of consumers.” 

Members of Congress from across the country that have recently signed on to support the Organic Agriculture Research Act, include David Young, (R-IA), Scott Peters (D-CA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Peter Welch (D-VT), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Ann M. Kuster (D-NH), Jim Costa (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Ryan A. Costello (R-PA), Jerrold Nadier (D-NY), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), James McGovern (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Richard Nolan (D-MN), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Donald A. McEachin (D-VA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), and Darren Soto (D-FL).

OFRF is grateful for the support of representatives from across the country, and looks forward to working with members of Congress to continue to grow and strengthen organic agriculture in the next Farm Bill.

Read more about the Organic Agriculture Research Act.