GRO Organic Check-off Program would benefit growers

My family’s egg business was saved by going organic. We were rescued again when we joined forces with the Organic Trade Association to fight a regulation that threatened the continuation of our operation. Now the organic sector has a chance to band together for a common cause that could benefit the entire organic industry and better all of our futures.

What we’ll be voting on is a check-off program that for the first time in the history of agricultural check-offs is one designed specifically for the organic sector.  A check-off paid for by organic producers and organic businesses, and run by those same organic stakeholders.

Over the years of interacting with consumers, we know first-hand how confused consumers are about organic in the broad sense. To have a program that educates on the benefits of organic is critical. We also know first-hand how insufficient is the funding for organic research. The need for more research to enable the organic sector to expand is urgent, and an organic check-off would address that need.

It’s estimated an organic check-off could bring in $30 million annually to help fund research, technical assistance and promotion activities for the organic sector. The possibilities are enormous.

The GRO Organic check-off has been designed to prevent the possibility of our funds being misdirected for activities that don’t help our sector, or that might violate the rules governing check-offs. I’m impressed at all the reforms built into this check-off to make it transparent and responsive and effective. This is a check-off that we can trust to work in our best interests.

We know at Pete and Gerry’s that we can’t do this alone. Our mission as a business is to provide an opportunity for family-scale egg producers to thrive, and we would not support the GRO Organic check-off if we did not believe it will benefit all stakeholders in organic.

This check-off by necessity is going to be to so broad to promote the benefits of organic no matter what size our farm is or what size our company is. There are shared values and shared principles of organic. That is what the organic check-off will promote. //

By Jesse Laflamme, CEO and owner of Pete and Gerry’s Organics LLC | As seen in WATTAgNet