18 Nov 2020
National Organic Coalition Asks Biden-Harris Administration to Put Organic Back on Safe Footing
Washington, D.C. – November 18, 2020 — The National Organic Coalition (NOC) has sent a letter to the Biden-Harris administration flagging the priorities President-Elect Biden should tackle right away to put organic agriculture back on solid footing now and in future years. Much of the immediate work that is needed involves getting several key organic rulemakings and programs back on track after years of delays or outright regulatory rollbacks by the previous administration.
“Organic agriculture is a climate-friendly, consumer-friendly, and farmer-friendly model of agriculture that can help the new Administration address many of the goals that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have outlined during the campaign,” said Abby Youngblood, Executive Director of the National Organic Coalition. “The Biden-Harris administration can deliver big wins to the organic community by restoring organic certification cost share funding and finalizing important rules that are critical to the livelihoods of organic producers and to consumer trust in the organic seal.”
NOC has asked the new Administration to work with the organic community to advance the following priorities:
Reinstate the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. This rule will require all organic poultry and egg operations to provide meaningful outdoor access for chickens and is essential for public trust in the certified organic label.
Finalize an enforceable Origin of Livestock Rule without delay. Organic dairy farmers are suffering and continued delays in implementing this rule will prolong the dire economic fate facing organic dairy farmers.
Move expeditiously to finalize the Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule. This significant rewrite of the organic regulations addresses fraud in organic supply chains.
Restore the Organic Certification Cost Share Program to the full reimbursement rates. The Trump administration has slashed reimbursement levels in the midst of a period of higher costs and disrupted markets caused by the pandemic. Restoring funding levels offers an excellent early opportunity to send a clear message of support for organic farmers from the Biden-Harris Administration.
Embrace organic agriculture as a key climate change solution. Organic practices are climate-friendly practices. The new administration should incentivize the adoption of organic agriculture and simultaneously support improvements in organic standards to solidify organic’s role as the gold standard for climate-friendly agriculture.
Build our food system back better than before, using the lessons of the pandemic. NOC has submitted detailed recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and to Congress about policy actions that should be taken to address challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic: https://app.box.com/s/khg95otgoko01huy63nthfa04pingn4w
Overall, NOC has found that industrial-scale food and agricultural systems have been far less resilient in responding to the disruptions caused by the pandemic than more direct-to-consumer models of agriculture, or other short supply-chain food systems. Many organic producers fall into these later models of production. In addition, it has been alarming to witness the degree to which the harm and recovery from the first wave of the pandemic, have exacerbated existing economic and health-based disparities between people of color and white people in our nation.
NOC encourages the new Administration to engage the U.S. food and agriculture sector in a dialogue on how we can best use these lessons learned from the pandemic to build our food system back, better than it was before.
As a coalition, NOC looks forward to working closely with the new Administration and a new Secretary of Agriculture to advance organic agriculture.
The full letter from NOC with detailed recommendations is available online: https://app.box.com/s/nr1tf7igrxh3k6k9j7p9vv7uu6iy03mi
About the National Organic Coalition:
The National Organic Coalition (NOC) is a national alliance of organizations working to provide a "Washington voice" for farmers, ranchers, conservationists, consumers, and industry members involved in organic agriculture. NOC seeks to advance organic food and agriculture and ensure a united voice for organic integrity, which means strong, enforceable, and continuously improved standards. The coalition works to assure that policies are fair, equitable, and encourage diversity of participation and access.
National Organic Coalition Press Release