Proposed Farm Bill would Weaken Organic Programs
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by Countable | 5.9.18
What’s the story?
- The Farm Bill introduced by the House Agriculture Committee would weaken organic standards and cut funding for – or eliminate - programs that assist organic farmers.
- Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), a farmer herself, tweeted:
How would the Farm Bill affect organic farmers?
- Effectively eliminates the Farmers Markets Promotion Program, which awards grants that “support outreach and promotional activities that help direct producer-to-consumer markets become self-sustaining in communities across the country.”
- Does not reauthorize the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, which helps small and mid-size farmers defray the costs associated with obtaining and maintaining organic certification.
- Permits the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sidestep the National Organic Standards Board and allow post-harvest handling substances, like sanitizers, to be used in organic production.
- Ends the Conservation Stewardship Program, which pays farmers to reduce erosion, protect drinking water, and preserve wildlife habitat.
What are supporters of the bill saying?
- Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) said he’s “expecting that the Republicans will actively work to make the bill better.”
- And committee member Austin Scott (R-GA) said that after “working around the clock to craft a farm bill that meets the unique needs of our agriculture sector and rural America,” this bill:
“Gives our farmers, ranchers and producers the tools they need to provide food, not only for America, but also for the rest of the world. This legislation also strengthens our nation’s nutrition programs to assist those who struggle to put food on the table, while helping people gain the skills necessary to secure well-paying jobs and achieve the American Dream.”
What do you think?
Do you support the proposed changes to organic farming that are included in the farm bill? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
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(Photo Credit: LPETTET / iStock)
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