Engaging with members of Congress and their staff is a critical component to advocating on behalf of organic. The good news is that the Organic Trade Association has an excellent story to tell.
Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) this spring introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017, which would invest in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) to meet the needs of the growing organic sector. Sales of organic products in the U.S. reached approximately $47 billion in 2016, and expectations are for continued growth as more consumers choose organic.
In late 2016, more than 500 organic operations, from organic fruit and vegetable growers, grains and oilseed farmers, livestock and poultry producers, dairy farmers, organic processors, and food makers across 45 states, participated in a comprehensive farm bill survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
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Good things are happening around the world:
Ardent Mills has expanded its producer program to a total of seven U.S. states and a Canadian Province while adding more organic certified milling and packaging locations along with storage since announcing efforts to help U.S. wheat growers double organic wheat acres last December.
In 2013, COTA published its first Organic Market Report as a baseline study for the organic sector in Canada. We are excited to be working on an updated version of this report with the most recent stats on the Canadian organic market, production and acreage, consumer preferences, and organic trade flows. For a taste of what you’ll see in the report, here are some highlights:
The 7th annual Organic Week this past September 17-25 was the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products yet. Thousands of individual events and retail promotions were held across Canada, showcasing the benefits of organic and its positive impact on the environment and human health. Canada’s National Organic Week brought together the entire organic supply chain, consumers, and governments to celebrate this amazing sector. Here is a recap of the campaign:
An update from The Organic Center
A trusted source of information about scientific research concerning organic food and farming, The Organic Center covers up-to-date studies on sustainable agriculture and health, and collaborates with academic and governmental institutions to fill gaps in our knowledge. The Organic Center also works to make the science of organic accessible to food producers so that they, in turn, can make organic food accessible to people of all walks of life.
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.