2014 Farm Bill a Victory for Organic Farming


For immediate release: February 4, 2014

Contact: Brise Tencer, Executive Director

(831) 426-6606, brise@ofrf.org

 (Santa Cruz, CA)–The Organic Farming Research Foundation, which has advocated for restoration of funding for organic programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, is reacting positively to the news of passage of the Farm Bill by the Senate today. The Farm Bill restores long overdue support for organic agriculture including significant funding increases for the Organic Extension and Research Initiative (OREI), the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP), the National Organic Program (NOP) and the Organic Data Initiative (ODI). Despite significant shortcomings in the commodity, conservation and crop insurance titles of the proposal, the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is celebrating the victories for organic agriculture found in the bill and urging the president to sign it.

Reacting to the news, Executive Director Maureen Wilmot issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased about the increased funding for organic programs in this bill, which in one case represents a 161% increase over 2008 Farm Bill levels. OFRF has been actively engaged in advocating on behalf of organic farmers. While we feel other parts of the bill have failed to address commodity-related reforms, we are very gratified to see increases in funding for the programs helping organic farmers thrive. A farm bill is long overdue and we are, with some reservations, applauding its timely passage. ”

 OFRF is particularly supportive of the proposal’s increase in mandatory OREI funding to $20 annually for five years, which is a 28% higher than the 2008 Farm Bill.  OREI supports rigorous, cutting edge scientific inquiry into organic production and handling practices and requires that organic farmers and other stakeholders participate in the research, which must be conducted on certified land.  In its brief history, OREI has already begun to validate the empirical results which certified farmers have long witnessed on their operations: organic production systems can benefit crop and livestock health, reduce dependency on off-farm inputs, enhance conservation of natural resources including biodiversity and improve the operation’s economic efficiency. The 2014 Farm Bill includes one-time appropriations of $5 million for both the NOP and ODI which will enable USDA to better serve certified operations and also directs the Department to upgrade crop insurance offerings for organic producers.

The 2014 Farm Bill significantly expands funding for the NOCCSP which is another cost-effective investment in the future of organic agriculture.  The NOCCSP, which reimburses certified producers and handlers in thirty-five states up to $750 or 75% of their certification costs, whichever is less, will be funded at $11.5 million annually, an increase of 161% from previous levels.  Certified producers and handlers in the remaining fifteen states have access to similar certification cost share through an ongoing funding mechanism.  The NOCCSP plays an especially important role in enabling small, limited resource and beginning organic farmers to achieve and maintain certification.

On the down side, the bill cuts billions from the very conservation programs that help farmers address production challenges and protect natural resources and the environment.  The final bill also reduces benefits for a portion of SNAP (food stamp) participants.

For more information on OFRF: www.ofrf.org


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OFRF Mission: To foster the wide spread adoption and improvement of organic farming systems. At OFRF, we build the vital infrastructure that supports the success of organic farmers. Our four areas of focus are: POLICY, where we grow champions in Congress and federal agencies; EDUCATION, where we work to integrate organic farming programs into all agricultural universities; GRANTMAKING that expands the adoption of organic farming and practices while addressing urgent issues faced by many organic farmers in America; and building COMMUNITY to cultivate a broader and deeper connection among organic supporters.