Press "Enter" to skip to content

Congress Priority Organic Food? l Congress Listening

(Organic Hangout) Congress Priority Organic Food? Organic crop and farm bill discussions wait for no man. Even as U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue gets settled into his new role, Congress is talking about agriculture policy and is listening.

WHY EAT ORGANIC FOODS? | FAMILY!

 

Congress Priority Organic Food?
U.S. Congress
A key emerging theme is that many food producers and rural communities are struggling. In a transitional moment such as this, it’s important to remember that organic agriculture leads to more profitable farms and job creation.

You May Like | Living Healthy Organic Lifestyle | Organic Food Better You

A recent study from Pennsylvania State University shows that when there is a density of organic operations, annual median household income increases by more than $2,000. Plus the county-level unemployment goes down. Washington State University examined 40 years of studies to analyze the comparative financial performance of organic and conventional agriculture and found that organic crop production is 22 percent to 35 percent more profitable than its conventional crop counterpart.
Even with this positive net impact, organic acreage hovers at 1 percent of overall U.S. production. Consumer demand for organic food tops 5 percent, with a growth rate of 13 percent in 2016.
 

Organic Acreage vs Demand | Congress Priority Organic Food?

Congress Priority Organic Food?

This disparity between organic acreage and organic demand creates an unfortunate situation where U.S. food companies are importing crops like organic soy that could be grown domestically. The importation of organic crops is a lost opportunity for American producers. New farmers and ranchers are statistically more likely to be interested in organic markets. Finally, we need them to step in for an aging farming population.
What will help increase the transition of acreage and farmers to organic production systems? The U.S. farm bill could play a huge role in offering farmers a choice. To serve the expanding organic market and diversify their incomes. At a minimum, Congress should increase the budget for organics at a rate that matches market demand.
 
There are several key areas that need incremental support. First is the National Organic Program.The program ensures integrity in the USDA’s organic label for producers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers and international trade partners. Two more are the Organic Research and Extension Initiative and the Organic Transitions Program.These provide research grants that improve the understanding, efficiency, and competitiveness of organic producers.
Additional areas are the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, which can mitigate some of the cost of certification. Especially for small and midsized farms, and Organic Environmental Quality Incentives Program funding through natural resources conservation services. The program provides producers with assistance to implement conservation plans and practices.

Policymakers should also support three other initiatives that offer farmers and rural communities a great return on investment. First are Value Added Producer Grants to help build develop rural economies. Many small organic farmers have limited access to the markets that are clearly clamoring for their products. Lack of proximity to certified organic elevators, processors, slaughter operations, and value-added manufacturing is a challenge for many farmers interested in entering the organic marketplace.

You May Like | Why Organic Food Better You l Studies Results Impressive

For instance, in Illinois, there are just 23 facilities capable of processing organic products compared to more than 900 conventional facilities. In Western states, the cost of transportation to the nearest certified facility can be so high that it squeezes already-thin margins and eliminates profitability. The
Value Added Producer Grant Program can assist in building this infrastructure. Still keeping assets and equity in the hands of farmers and farm cooperatives.

Value Added Producer Grant Program | Congress Priority Organic Food?

While the Value Added Producer Grant program was funded in 2002 at $40 million, that figure has been cut over the years to $15 million annually today. Yet, this is a program that builds local and regional processing capacity. Most importantly, generates economic gains for rural communities beyond a single season. Congress should set mandatory funding at $50 million. Setting aside 20 percent specifically for projects that include the construction of certified organic animal processing facilities and grain, oilseed, and pulse elevators and mills. This will have a positive impact on rural communities in every region in the United States.

Classical Plant Breeding Support | Congress Priority Organic Food?

A second vital need is to support classical plant breeding. Public cultivar development is essential for those producers underserved by the private seed sector. Which is increasingly concentrated and focused on a few major crops and regions of production. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, American Sustainable Business Council, and companies like Clif Bar are asking Congress to authorize $50 million per year in National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) research funding to support public cultivar development research. This investment is essential for the long-term success of both conventional and organic producers. Providing greater genetic seed diversity, the first line of defense for many challenges farmers face.
Finally, it is essential that Secretary Perdue ensures that USDA staff continue to learn about organic agriculture. The Agriculture Department currently has an excellent organic literacy program that educates USDA staff about all forms of production. So that they can effectively assist the diversity of farmers who make American agriculture successful. We’ve been encouraged by Secretary Perdue’s early comments about organics. We strongly encourage him to continue the literacy program and help further empower USDA staff to serve organic agriculture as a bright spot on the rural landscape.

We look forward to working with Secretary Perdue and Congress to help drive continued, and greater, success in the organic agricultural sector. The economic upside is significant, including thousands of good jobs and stronger rural communities. It’s time to make organic agriculture a national priority.

You may like – Study Confirms the Benefits of Organic Lifestyle Food Holistic Management International

Matthew Dillon is director of agricultural policy and programs for Clif Bar & Company.

Richard Eidlin is vice president of policy for the American Sustainable Business Council.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Appreciate your visit.

 

Place your comment with the other Hangout Comments BELOW

Your still here. We love that.

For your convenience we have made available items related to your interests.

Your purchase today is appreciated.

SHOP NOW


 

 

Congress Priority Organic Food?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *