The U.S. Department of Agriculture on January 17 announced it is seeking public comments to a proposal for a nationwide research and promotion check-off program organic.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last couple of months reassessing the future. The outcome of the 2016 presidential election was not what I expected.
As a policymaker—especially with my work in agriculture—it’s forced me to re-approach questions I previously thought I had answers to (or at least educated guesses).
COTA’s Fifth Annual Parliament Hill Day & Policy Conference took place this past October 25- 26. This two-day event brought together members from across the organic industry and Parliamentarians to discuss organic in Canada and share organic policy asks.
The Organic Reception on Parliament Hill, hosted by MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau, featured Canadian organic food and drink donated by COTA members. It was a great evening to relax and network with other industry leaders and MPs.
Canada’s current agricultural policy framework, Growing Forward 2, is set to expire in just over a year’s time. This five-year CAD$3 billion investment in the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector saw the administration of three federal programs—AgriInnovation, AgriCompetitiveness and AgriMarketing—as well as a number of cost-shared programs delivered across the provinces and territories. With this plan on its way out, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is in the process of developing the next agricultural policy framework.
The year 2016 yielded an impressive number of research projects of interest to the organic community, with studies coming out highlighting the environmental and health benefits of organic.
Farmers Advisory Council
The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) is growing its organizational and direct member participation. Numerous farmer organizations across the country have expressed interest in joining FAC, and OTA looks forward to working with each organization in facilitating their involvement. Similarly, as OTA continues to grow its direct farmer membership, we expect participation on FAC to develop in both its breadth and depth.
If all goes as planned, by September 2017 California will join nine states in restricting pesticide use near schools. Of the states with regulations, California’s will be the most restrictive as far as chemical use and application methods, says Brian Leahy, Director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).
On September 21, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown ushered in the next chapter of organic agriculture in California by signing into law the California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA). The law marks the first update to California’s organic law and program in over a decade, bringing about much needed reform to support the growing demand for organic agricultural products.
The Organic Trade Association unites and serves more than 8,500 organic farmers, handlers, ranchers, processors, distributors, and retailers across the organic supply chain. In fact, 2016 saw the biggest growth in OTA membership in over five years. If you’re one of the many members who already relies on OTA for its government relations, media outreach, and market insights work, thank you for your support. If not, take a look at a few of the many highlights of OTA’s work on behalf of the sector, and join us in our work to chart organic’s future.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has hired two experienced government affairs professionals to join its team.
Kelley Poole (above, left) is now OTA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. In addition, Megan DeBates (above, right) has been named Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions Both based at OTA’s Washington, D.C., office at the Hall of the States, they will help introduce organic food and farming to the new Administration and Congress.