This past September, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced a bill that would make urban farms of all types eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and would set up an office of urban agriculture within the agency. The Urban Agriculture Act of 2016, as envisioned by Senator Stabenow, would help create new economic opportunities, giving urban families greater access to healthy food and creating a healthier environment in cities and towns across the country.
As the new Administration and Congress take on their responsibilities, it is fitting to start framing policy advocacy toward building the next farm bill—a five-year omnibus bill that sets policy for commodity support and risk management, publicly funded ag research, rural development, conservation and nutritional support programs like SNAP—with the current bill set to expire in September 2018. This will be the first time that a farm bill has been written under an entirely Republican House, Senate, and Administration since 1954.
By Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
It is bittersweet to bid farewell to Congressman Sam Farr, who is the 20th Congressional District of California’s longest serving member— having served the district for twelve terms, since 1993.
On July 29, 2016 President Obama signed GMO labeling legislation into law. The law, which passed the House and Senate by large bipartisan majorities earlier this summer, creates federal mandatory GMO labeling.
OTA’s Farmers Advisory Council
The Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Policy Conference hosted another Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) summit, where FAC members met to discuss and reflect on FAC’s successes over the past three years, and contemplated how to increase participation and imagine where FAC will head in the next three years.
This summer, Organic Trade Association members banded together to defend the process by which organic regulations are created and implemented against an outside attack from Congress and the powerful livestock industry.
Enforcement of “Organic” claims on non-food items
Organic is one of the fastest growing segments of America agriculture and consumer demand for organic products continues to rise. The vibrant U.S. organic sector is creating jobs and opportunities in communities across the nation. OTA's 2016 Infographic tells the story of Organic: a Bright Spot for our Farms, our Food, and our Future.
The Compelling Case for an Organic Check-off
For over a decade, including six years as Chief Scientist of The Organic Center, I have focused on new science from around the world on the impacts of organic farming on food safety, food nutritional quality, and agriculture’s environmental footprint.