Organic Seed Alliance applauds Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) for introducing the Organic Agricultural Research Act of 2018 yesterday, serving as the Senate companion bill to the House’s Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 2436). Both bills reauthorize the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), USDA’s flagship organic research program, and aim to increase the funding level to $50 million. OREI is the only federal program focused solely on organic research and yet its funding will expire at the end of the 2014 Farm Bill cycle (this September). These bills help ensure the renewal of this critical program while increasing the funding level to one that is more commensurate with demand for research that benefits organic farmers.
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.
“We’re so grateful to Senators Collins and Casey for their leadership and support of organic research,” says OSA Advocacy Director Kiki Hubbard. “This bipartisan initiative is essential to the ongoing growth and success of organic agriculture, and will provide a much-needed investment in organic seed systems that are the foundation of a diverse organic food supply.”