The dawn of a new year always brings new opportunities. This year, we are continuing our work to advocate for expanded public investments in organic agriculture research. To be honest, 2024’s political landscape is admittedly daunting:
- FY24 appropriations still need to be passed by the end of the month.
- The Farm Bill is running up against a new March deadline.
- The FY25 appropriations process is about to begin.
- There’s a Presidential election on the horizon.
That being said, at OFRF, we see these events as opportunities to ensure organic agriculture gets the recognition it deserves.
As we highlighted last month, 2023 was a momentous year for organic policy development in the regulatory space. In 2024, we hope to bring that momentum to the legislative body and work with our coalition partners to amplify our voices and call for increased public investments in organic agriculture research.
To do this, we have two primary initiatives. First, we will continue to build broad support for the Organic Science and Research Investment (OSRI) Act in the Senate and the Strengthening Organic Agriculture Research (SOAR) Act in the House. If you still need to get familiar with these significant marker bills, check out those links for an overview and some information on how you can help spread awareness about them. Second, we are committed to ensuring that appropriators comprehend the urgent need for increased funding in agricultural research and the far-reaching impact these investments have on the nation- economically, ecologically, and socially.
Including the SOAR and OSRI Acts in the 2024 Farm Bill is more than just a step forward in achieving parity between organic agriculture’s share of USDA research funding (currently <2%) and its market share (>6%). More importantly, these investments will touch the lives of communities nationwide.
Agricultural research programs extend beyond answering producers’ queries or supporting early-career scientists—although they excel at both. These programs significantly benefit the rural communities actively participating in and hosting vital research projects. Notably, every dollar invested in public agricultural research generates an impressive $20 of benefits. Despite this documented impact, public funding for agricultural research has seen a 20% decline since the turn of the century, in stark contrast to increased funding in other research areas during the same period.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, we are intensifying our efforts in appropriations advocacy, ensuring that the offices of appropriators understand the critical importance and impact of the programs under their control.
However, for us to maximize our effectiveness, we need your help! If you have a story involving a research finding, participation in a research project, or a persistent research question that needs answering, please use our story form to contribute and help us raise awareness!
As always, please reach out if you want to get involved or are curious about our work! firstname.lastname@example.org