Washington, D.C.—The Organic Trade Association (OTA)’s Laura Batcha presented testimony before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, during a hearing titled “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Horticulture and Urban Agriculture.”
Batcha—OTA’s Executive Director and CEO—outlined key organic industry priorities for the next farm bill, according to a press release, including: continuous improvement and modernization as detailed in the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic (CIAO) Act; investment in organic research and cost share; support for transitioning farmers and ranchers; and recognition of organic as the original “climate-smart” agriculture.
“Organic is at a critical juncture and inflection point,” said Batcha. “We know that consumers recognize and trust the USDA organic label…but consumer preferences on how their food is produced are evolving and shifting rapidly. Organic’s greatest opportunity in the next farm bill lies in living up to the expectations that farmers, businesses, and consumers have of the organic seal and in taking a hard look at how to best structure the public private partnership for future success.”
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The testimony happened during OTA Organic Week, at which members of the association gathered to strategize around public policy and 2023 Farm Bill Priorities. OTA has been developing farm bill priorities over the past year through a series of membership and ally meetings and events. OTA also collaborated with Arizona State University’s Swette Center on an interactive conference series titled “The Future of Organic,” which drew nearly 300 participants. The participants—growers, business leaders, and advocates—attended workshops that delved into topics like organic transition, farmer engagement, nutrition, farmworker health, and more.
OTA appropriations priorities for FY 2023 include: $24 million for the National Organic Program; $5 million for the Organic Certification Cost-Share Program; $10 million for the Organic Transition Research Program; and funding the Organic Data Initiative at $1 million.