The organic food sector continues to grow, offering farmers new market opportunities and often times higher prices for their products. Unfortunately domestic production isn’t keeping up with consumer demand, in part because this demand hasn’t been matched with adequate research investments that support organic farmers. Funding for US organic research has been relatively stagnant since 2010.
That’s why Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act earlier this year. The bill would more than double funding for USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), increasing it from $20 million to $50 million in annual funding. OREI is critical to funding applied research projects that help organic farmers improve their production practices and respond to the needs of the people they feed. In the context of seed, there have been enormous returns on OREI investments, including new plant varieties that perform especially well in organic systems. We described some of these successes in this post.
Since its introduction this past spring, the Organic Agriculture Research Act has garnered remarkable bipartisan support, with more than 50 co-sponsors now signed on.
Help us maintain this momentum by contacting your member of Congress today. You can find your member here, and the message is simple:
I urge you to support the Organic Agriculture Research Act, H.R. 2436, in the next Farm Bill. This bill reauthorizes the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program and increases the annual funding to a much-needed $50 million. This increase will go a long way in supporting farmers in one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry, including farmers who are transitioning to organic so they can take advantage of this market opportunity. The potential to expand the organic industry for the benefit of American farmers, rural communities, and beyond is huge, but that growth requires an increased investment in organic research. Thank you.