Large and mid-size organic growers may need to become more involved in national advocacy groups to ensure their needs are also being considered when lobbying for changes in the industry. The diversity of organic farming operations can complicate matters when it comes to addressing specific industry concerns.
“I call it ‘commercial organic’ agriculture. We’re not hobby farmers, we grow large quantities of product on many acres,” said President and Owner of Kings River Produce, Steve Beck. “We as an industry, those of us that are commercial organic farmers need to have our voice out there and not let these small operators make our decisions.”
Beck noted that his involvement with the Organic Farmers Association made him aware of the need for more representation in national organizations by producers of his size. “One person may have three acres of organic vegetables outside of Nashville, another one may be in Georgia and they’ve got 15 acres, and they were probably the second largest compared to what I have,” said Beck, “and I don’t necessarily want them to be my voice.”