June 22, 2018 – While the House Farm Bill was wholly opposed by Democrats, who were joined by some Republicans in their opposition, the House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill, by a vote of 213-211 with two Republicans and two Democrats not voting.
The U.S. Senate is currently working on their text for the Farm Bill (read about it here), which is different than the House version. If the House and Senate pass different bills, the differences will be parsed out in conference committee, and if approved, will go to the President to be signed into law.
In the House Farm Bill there are a number of provisions that support organic agriculture (read about them here). The House Farm Bill does include an increase for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) to $30 million annually. While this amount is not as robust as the recommendation put forth by OFRF which received broad support in Congress on both sides of the aisle, this does reauthorize the key organic research program and increase the funding by $10 million annually.
The 2018 Farm Bill is a do-or-die moment for several organic programs, including organic research. If a Farm Bill is not signed into law, funding for several organic programs including organic research will dry up. This Farm Bill could be a retreat from the progress we’ve made over the past 20 years or it could be a breakthrough to the strongest support yet for organics.
We strongly encourage the members of the Congress to work toward a bipartisan solution that supports America’s farmers, consumers, communities. As the process continues OFRF will keep advocating to ensure the voices and needs of organic farmers are heard, and that programs that support the success of the organics are included in the Farm Bill.
OFRF is in DC working every day to bring farmer voices to Congressional representatives from both parties. Now, more than ever, we are dependent on our supporters like you. A lot is at stake.