The Farm Bill
The farm bill is a multi-year federal bill that defines United States food and farming policy. The farm bill funds the National Organic Program, organic certification cost share, conservation programs, and other programs important to organic producers.
The farm bill is divided into two parts: farm titles and the nutrition title. The nutrition title, which sets policy and funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps), receives 80% of farm bill funds.
The remainder is divided between 11 farm titles, ranging from commodities to crop insurance. These titles set the rules and funding for price and income support for commodity production, conservation programs including EQIP, rural development, research, forestry, energy, and more.
Organic farmers have historically not received many benefits from farm bill programs because of the farm bill’s historic focus on commodity crops rather than the specialty crops that are the bread and butter of organic, but as organic continues to grow and more attention is paid to vegetables, fruits, and nuts, so does organic representation in farm bills.
Read article The Farm Bill: What’s In It For Organic? from CCOF’s magazine Certified Organic.
CCOF at Work
CCOF was pleased to see organic priorities included in the 2018 farm bill, including first-ever baseline funding for an organic program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. Other wins included renewal of the organic certification cost share program, increased funding for the National Organic Program, funding for Conservation Stewardship programs that support organic and transitional farmers, and mandatory funding for the Organic Production and Market Data initiative.
CCOF’s policy team worked with CCOF members to educate members of Congress about the benefits of organic and encourage them to support programs important to the organic sector. CCOF also worked 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 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 email@example.com.
CCOF’s 2018 Farm Bill Priorities
National Organic Program: Authorize increased funding of 10 percent each year above the $15 million per year authorization.
National Organic Certification Cost Share Program: Protect funding at $11.5 million mandatory funding annually.
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative: Increase mandatory funding from $20 million to $50 million annually.
Organic Production and Market Data Initiative: Provide $5 million in mandatory funding over the life of the 2018 Farm Bill and an additional authorization of $5 million per year.
Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program: Protect funding, include succession planning as a grant purpose, and ensure grant availability for organizations providing training and technical assistance.
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program: Protect funding at current levels: $85 million annually.
Whole Farm Revenue Protection and Organic Crop Insurance: Improve crop insurance programs for organic producers.
Conservation Programs: Maintain funding for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), increase maximum payments for the EQIP Organic Initiative, and support Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
For more details, read our full list of 2018 Farm Bill Priorities.