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2018 Farm Bill Becomes Law with Wins for Organic

by Peter Nell |

In late December, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law. Crucially, the farm bill includes provisions to authorize and fund the National Organic Program (NOP), the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP), and other organic programs.

CCOF and our members worked hard to build support for organic priorities in the farm bill throughout 2018. The 2014 Farm Bill expired in September 2018 without a replacement bill. However, Congress successfully pushed for the passage of the farm bill during the lame-duck session, the period after elections but before the new legislators’ terms begin. 

The bill includes landmark wins for organic agriculture, including the first-ever baseline mandatory funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). The bill would increase funding for OREI up to $50 million in 2023. The increased funding will provide stable funding to researchers, allow for more organic research to occur around the country, and develop important tools needed for organic production.

NOCCSP, or organic cost share, was also reauthorized in the bill. Cost share is the only program that provides relief to organic producers by reimbursing 75% of their certification expenses up to a cap of $750 per scope. NOCCSP will be allocated less money per year than in the last farm bill, but the program will also reimburse producers using $16.5 million in carryover funds.

The bill also increases funding to the NOP to modernize international trade tracking and data collection systems, funds organic data initiatives, and conservation programs. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition provides further details in their blog on the organic provisions in the farm bill.  

In the new year, CCOF will continue working with our members to advance organic agriculture for a healthy world through local, state, and national policy.