16 Apr 2018
Draft of 2018 Farm Bill Introduced in the House — On April 12, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) introduced his draft of the 2018 Farm Bill. While the bill contains limited provisions in support of organic, there are several serious threats as well. The bill would end funding for the Organic Certification Cost Share. It would also legitimize the practice of naming employees of industrial organic operations to seats on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that were clearly meant to be held by small-scale farmers, handlers and retailers. The bill also threatens a number of conservation initiatives and programs that benefit small-scale farms both organic and conventional.
The National Organic Coalition has prepared a Scorecard evaluating issues of importance to organic farmers and consumers. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has published a series of blog posts concerning six major issues: beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, crop insurance and commodity subsidies, local/regional food systems and rural development, research and seed breeding, conservation, and organic agriculture.
All in all, this bill represents a significant threat to organic on several fronts. It will go through an amendment process -- make sure your Representative knows where you stand as the House debates these issues.