As a member of the National Organic Coalition (NOC), each year NOFA Vermont travels to Washington, D.C. to meet with our elected officials about issues impacting organic farmers and consumers. This year's NOC fly-in, from June 6-8, focused on priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill, funding requests for key organic programs, and ensuring consistent enforcement of organic standards by the National Organic Program (NOP).
NOC Members Take to the Hill
Source: National Organic Coalition (June 16, 2017)
On Wednesday, June 7, NOC members convened in Washington, D.C. for our annual fly-in. Thirty coalition members met with more than 60 Members of Congress and their staffers, including with Senator Leahy and Representative Pingree, two key organic champions. We discussed our priorities for organic under the new administration, including how to further organic in the next Farm Bill and in the 2018 appropriations process.
We asked Members of Congress to increase funding for the NOP to ensure that the organic standards are consistently enforced and called on Congress to tighten oversight of the USDA to bring bad actors in the dairy sector and their organic certifying agents into compliance and to stop fraudulent imports of organic commodities.
The phenomenal growth in the organic sector (80% increase since 2010) is exciting. But, as this infographic demonstrates, funding for organic oversight and organic research is stagnant, and growth in acres of organic cropland lags far behind, meaning that imports of organic products are pouring in to fulfill growing consumer demand. NOC is urging Congress to address challenges that hinder growth in U.S. organic production through the upcoming Farm Bill and annual appropriations process so we can reap the economic and environmental benefits of producing more organic food domestically. In this vein, we are urging Members of Congress to support bi-partisan legislation to increase funding for organic research.
NOFA-VT Membership & Advocacy Coordinator Maddie Monty meets with Senator Leahy.