Sending Office: Honorable Peter A. DeFazio
SUPPORT ORGANIC AGRICULTURE IN FY 2019
*This is a programmatic request*
-Deadline to Sign Letter March 13th COB-
Current Signers: Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brownley, Carbajal, Chu, Courtney, Delaney, Ellison, Esty, Holmes Norton, Gabbard, Garamendi, Kuster, Rick Larsen, Barbara Lee, Lieu, Loebsack, Sean Patrick Maloney, McGovern, Panetta, Scott Peters,
Schrader, Tsongas, Walz, Welch, Vargas
As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Organic Caucus, we recognize the contribution the organic industry has made to the U.S. economy and especially to rural America. We ask that you join us in supporting investment in organic agriculture by signing our letter
to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies encouraging them to fund key programs in FY 2019 that support organic farming and development.
Organic is one of the fastest growing sectors in U.S. agriculture. In 2016 the organic sector experienced an 8.4% growth rate, yet funds for organic programs make up less than one percent of the USDA budget. Funding these programs is a minimal and highly
cost-effective investment in rural America that will keep over 17,000 family farmers on the land.
We request the following levels of funding for these programs in FY 2019:
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program ($40 million)
The National Organic Program ($15 million)
Organic Transition Program ($5 million)
Organic Production Market and Data Initiatives ($500K)
Food Safety Outreach Program ($10 million)
Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas ($2.75 million)
The deadline to sign on is COB March 13th.
Peter DeFazio Ron Kind
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Bishop:
As you draft the Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, we ask you to invest in organic agriculture by funding key programs that underpin the sector’s strong growth at the
levels needed in order to make them successful. The organic agriculture sector is a growing industry that keeps over 17,000 American family farmers on the land, profitably producing food that is increasing in demand. After experiencing double-digit growth
for a decade, the sector continues to experience positive growth and grew by over 8% in 2016 to $47 billion.
Ensuring the continued growth of organic agriculture requires continuing the modest but important federal investment in organic agriculture. There is a critical set of national programs that work synergistically to provide the research, information, and
regulatory oversight so that the industry can flourish. These programs are:
- Organic Transitions Integrated Research Program (ORG)
ORG is a competitive research, education, and extension program that funds research that organic farmers need to improve and increase production.Funding ORG would help bridge the gap between organic sector growth and research
investment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- National Organic Program (NOP)
NOP enforces the national organic program standards, accredits certifiers, develops equivalency agreements, handles complaints – in essence, NOP performs regulatory oversight of the organic label, ensuring its integrity.Funding
NOP would ensure that NOP keeps pace with the sector’s strong growth.
- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)
SARE has helped turn farmer-driven research, education, and extension initiatives into profitable and environmentally sound practices for over two decades.Funding the program would jumpstart the Federal-State Matching Grants program
and continues important on-farm research.
- Organic Production and Market Data Initiatives (ODI)
ODI is a multi-agency organic data collection initiative that collects information vital to maintaining stable markets, creating risk management tools, and negotiating equivalency agreements with foreign governments.Funding ODI
would allow for continued price data collection and dissemination through Market News Reports.
- Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP)
FSOP is a new program that is critical to assisting all farmers, including the unique needs of the organic sector, in complying with the regulations of the Food Safety and Modernization Act.
- ATTRA / National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service
The ATTRA program, also known as the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, has provided practical, cutting edge information to millions of farmers, livestock operations, extension agents, conservation professionals
and many others for the past 30 years. In 2016, ATTRA responded to nearly 60,0000 technical assistance requests for resources and materials on sustainable agriculture production and farm energy issues, including 1,281 technical responses that required substantial
research. Over 590,000 users accessed information about sustainable agriculture on ATTRA’s website (www.attra.ncat.org), with more than 2 million page views. Sustainable agriculture workshops and presentations by ATTRA staff reached over 47,000 attendees.
Clearly, the resources that ATTRA provides to the farm community free of charge are in high demand and have helped thousands of farmers build more profitable and sustainable farming operations over the past three decades.
Funds invested in organic agriculture programs have accounted for less than one percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget in recent years, but the return on that investment has been substantial. Organic agriculture is a growing industry that
provides jobs throughout the supply chain – from farm fields to small businesses. We ask that you support its growth by funding the programs listed above.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0