Bipartisan Bill Supports Increased Funding for Organic Research

On May 16th, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panneta (D-CA) introduced a bill to support increased funding for organic research. The Organic Agriculture Research Act will raise funding for USDA’s Organic Research Extension Initiative (OREI) from $20 million to $50 million annually.

OFRF drafted language and advocated for passage of the $15,000,000 OREI in the 2002 Farm Bill and is pleased to support this bill. “Since its inception, OREI has developed a substantial body of research-based information and tools to support the success of organic farmers across America,” said Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF. “At a time when the demand for organic food is increasing, it is critical that we continue funding research that supports this promising opportunity for rural communities across the U.S.”

On their 400 acre organic grain farm in Kansas, OFRF’s Board Chair Mary Fund and her husband have been farming organically for nearly 25 years. “When my husband and I started Amerugi Farm, there was little support from any direction, except other organic farmers,” said Fund. “Now, due to the collaborative efforts of organic farmers, organic advocates, and groups like OFRF across the country, I am optimistic we will see continued growth in the organic sector.”

“Organic Research and Extension Initiative funding has been critical in solving problems and developing ways for farmers to increase productivity, prevent loss, and streamline their operations,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “But insufficient funding has led to many unmet research needs and missed opportunities. The Organic Agriculture Research Act would increase funding to reflect the industry’s growth in the market and maintain its momentum.”

In 2015, OFRF conducted a national survey of certified organic producers and hosted 21 listening sessions. We used the input we received from nearly 2,000 farmers to map the need for future research investment in the 2016 National Organic Research Agenda. We also published an analysis of USDA organic research investments. Together, these reports provide an in-depth understanding of the state of organic agriculture in the U.S., and the research needed to increase both the number of organic farms and acres. The Organic Agriculture Research Act will ensure continued investment in this critical research.

See related blog, Organic Week Kicks Off with D.C. Briefing

The 2016 National Organic Research Agenda report is available to download here.

Taking Stock: Analyzing and Reporting Organic Research Investments, 2002-2014 is available to download here.

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