agricultural research

Organic Production Priorities Outlined During Farm Bill Hearing

Brian GermanFarm Bill, Organic

Organic production was one of the topics of discussion during a recent House Agriculture Committee hearing. The Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research heard from Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Batcha pointed out that the organic industry, valued at approximately $62 billion annually, is at “a critical juncture and inflection point.” As the 2023 Farm Bill begins to be developed, Batcha explained that it offers an opportunity to further strengthen the organic sector.

“We know that consumers recognize and trust the USDA organic label,” Batcha testified. “But consumer preferences on how their food is produced are evolving and shifting rapidly. Organic’s greatest opportunity in the next farm bill lies in living up to the expectations that farmers, businesses, and consumers have of the organic seal and in taking a hard look at how to best structure the public private partnership for future success.”

Organic Production

Farm bill supported programs such as the Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, Organic Research and Extension Initiative, Organic Data Initiative, have been essential in supporting the organic sector. Batcha expressed appreciation for the progress made in supporting the organic industry but noted that continued development of updated standards will be critical moving forward. OTA has been working with industry stakeholders in developing priorities for organic production in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Some areas have already been identified as key factors for further improving conditions within the organic industry. Batcha noted that further investment in organic research and cost share opportunities will be critical moving forward. Increasing support for transitioning farmers and ranchers and continuous improvement and modernization as detailed in the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Act are also points of emphasis for the industry. “We look forward to working with this committee to ensure that organic continues to have a bright, successful future by creating oversight and tools for continuous improvement in the next farm bill,” said Batcha.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West