Congressional Organic Caucus Sees Promise in New Year

January 6, 2015 - As the US House of Representatives kicks off our nation’s 114th Congress today, OFRF welcomes back 32 members of the House Organic Caucus, and sends our thanks and appreciation to the eight caucus members who will not return in 2015, due to a combination of planned retirements and the 2014 mid-term elections.

Founded in 2003 at the instigation of Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), and sponsored by Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), the bi-partisan House Organic Caucus boasted 40 members in 2014. The eight departing caucus members include retiring congressional heavyweights George Miller (D-CA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), along with friends of organic ag Doc Hastings (R-Wash), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Tom Latham (R-IA), James Moran (D-VA), Bill Owens (D-NY), and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH).

But while congress changes up, U.S. organic farmers aren’t going anywhere, and their numbers are growing along with organic’s market share. Both OFRF and caucus leadership expect to pick up new members eager to represent this burgeoning, innovative segment of American agriculture.

OFRF salutes our outgoing caucus members for their dedication and support, which unquestionably has helped advance the work of U.S. organic farmers and ranchers, and supported increased investment in USDA programs that support organic farmers, such as Organic Agriculture Research and Extension programs and the National Organic Program.

The U.S. organic industry continues to see robust growth, with spending on organic foods exploding from an estimated $7.8 billion in 2002, to more than $35 billion in 2014, providing opportunities for American farmers and jobs for rural communities.

“I am proud of the work the Organic Caucus has done in building understanding and support for policy initiatives needed to support our farmers,” said Rep. Farr, who co-chairs the caucus along with Reps. Kind, Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “I look forward to working with OFRF and others to increase membership and participation in the Organic Caucus, and to build support for this vibrant sector of American farming.”

Written by Maria Gaura