Farm bills are most widely known for crop subsidies, which influence the kinds of crops we grow. The farm bill also shapes nutrition programs such as food stamps, how many resources we will put into conservation of natural resources, the number of farmers’ markets we will see, and of course, the amount of resources going to support organic farmers. In fact, the legislation that first enacted uniform national standards for organic food, the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, was part of a farm bill.
Organic farmers have historically not received many benefits from farm bill programs, but the 2002 and 2008 farm bills began to change that. Now, organic farmers can apply for federal crop insurance programs and take advantage of grant programs that assist with the costs of organic certification. Organic farmers can also receive technical assistance and funds for implementing organic practices. Plus, USDA research programs spend millions of dollars on methods to improve organic farming techniques. All these important programs are at risk, voice your support now.
CCOF is hard at work ensuring that programs that support organic farmers and consumers continue to grow. We educate members of congress about the benefits of organic and offer ways to better support the sector through public policy. We also work closely with an array of coalition partners to promote organic in the farm bill because we believe there is strength in numbers. Our partners include the CA Farm Bill Caucus, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and the Organic Trade Association.
If you want to get involved in advocating for organic farmers and consumers, please contact CCOF’s policy department at firstname.lastname@example.org.