The just-passed Farm Bill contains some nice funding increases in areas that support the organic industry. The Sustainable Ag Coalition put out a nice “snapshot” of Farm Bill “wins” related to sustainable and organic ag. Wins specific to organic…
ASSIST FARMERS’ AND RANCHERS’ TRANSITION TO ORGANIC PRODUCTION
National Organic Certification Cost Share Assistance
WIN: $22 million over 5 years in mandatory funding, a nearly five-fold increase compared to the previous farm bill, to help cover the costs of organic certification for farmers and handlers.
Organic Conversion Assistance
PARTIAL WIN: A new technical and financial assistance option within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for producers transitioning to organic production.
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative
WIN: $78 million over 4 years in mandatory funding, a five-fold increase compared to the previous farm bill (with an additional $25 million a year authorized for appropriations) to fund competitive grants for organic farming research and extension.
Organic Data Collection Initiative
WIN: $5 million over 5 years, first-time mandatory funding to fund a USDA organic data collection effort; will supplement appropriated dollars for the same program. An additional $5 million a year is authorized for appropriations.
Organic Crop Insurance
PARTIAL WIN: Sets in motion a process at USDA that should have the effect of ending the current discriminatory treatment of organic producers under the Federal crop insurance program, but will likely take several years longer than the SAC-proposed solution incorporated in the Senate-passed bill.