Deserves A Fair Share in the
Now is the time for organic
farmers to demand a fair share for organic research and education funding!
Last week, the Senate appointed its members of the Conference Committee
that will resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the
new Farm Bill, starting the final stage of Farm Bill negotiations. The
Senate’s Farm Bill funds the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension
Initiative (OREI), USDA’s premier organic agriculture research
program, at $16 million/year, but the House version funds it at only $5
need your help to secure the Senate amount in the final bill!
This amount is still far short of
fair share funding for organic research and education, but would make a
strong down payment.
Please tell your Senators and
Representatives to support at least $16 million/year for OREI in the final
Farm Bill! A list of Senate conferees and likely
House conferees is below. If your Senators and Representatives are not on
this list, please tell them to speak to their colleagues on the Conference
is our last opportunity to demand fair share for organic agriculture
research funding – your calls and letters are needed NOW!
(Scroll down for contact info for your Members of
Congress, talking points, and background info.)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Max Baucus (D-MT)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Deborah Stabenow (D-MI)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Likely House Conferees
(The House hasn’t yet named their conferees, but here’s a list
of likely members.)
Collin Peterson, (D-MN)
Tim Holden (D-PA)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
Joe Baca (D-CA)
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)
David Scott (D-GA)
Earl Pomeroy (D-GA)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Robin Hayes (R-NC)
Jo Bonner (R-AL)
Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Contact Info for Your Members of Congress
Written letters and calls are more effective than emails. Please fax your
letter as mail takes several weeks to arrive in DC offices. Include your
name and address in your letter, and mention if you are a farmer or
Please let us know if you
contact your member of Congress and how they respond.
Call or email Tracy Lerman, Policy Program Assistant at (831) 426-6606 x
108 or [log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask].
support the Senate mandatory funding level of $16 million/year for the
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).
provides crucial funding for organic agriculture researchers to improve
productivity and profitability of organic farming systems.
organic agriculture research is critical in helping U.S. organic farmers
and ranchers meet consumer demand for organic food.
share funding means that USDA research funding for organic should at least
match organic’s share of the U.S. retail food market.
organic represents almost 4% of US food spending, but organic research
funding is less than 1.5% of USDA’s research budget.
OREI at $16 million year is a first step towards fair share funding for
organic agriculture research and education.
2008 Farm Bill is in the final stages of negotiations. The House and Senate
both passed their versions of the bill in 2007 and the differences between
the two versions will be worked out in a joint House-Senate conference
committee. The Senate named their Farm Bill conferees last week (Feb. 4th).
House conferees are not named yet but will likely include the subcommittee
chairs of the House Agriculture Committee.
the various provisions being negotiated is the funding amount for the
Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). OREI is
USDA’s premier competitive grants program for organic agriculture
research, and was funded at $3 million/year in the 2002 Farm Bill. The
Senate Farm Bill funds it at $16 million/year but the House version funds
it at only $5 million/year. We are calling for the Senate amount to be
included in the final Farm Bill.
has long been advocating that a fair share of USDA research dollars be
allocated towards organic agriculture research, meaning that the percentage
of organic research funding would at least match organic’s share of
the retail food market. Currently, organic represents almost 4% of US food
spending, but organic research funding is less than 1.5% of USDA’s
research and education budget for FY08. We estimate that current fair share
funding for organic should be at least $120 million/year across all USDA research
agencies. By the end of the 2008 Farm Bill, fair share funding will be
closer to 10% of USDA research spending (at least $200 million/year).
Mandatory funding for OREI at $16 million/year, along with increases in
funding for organic agriculture research in the other USDA research
agencies is still far short of fair share funding, but would bring us
closer to that goal.
more information on fair share funding for organic agriculture research,
read our Organic Agriculture Research Policy Targets.
more information on organic provisions of the Farm Bill, read our Farm
view detailed differences between the House and Senate passed versions of
the Farm Bill, see this interactive
summary of the Farm Bill posted on the House Agriculture Committee
read past updates and alerts visit our OFAN
Join OFRF's Organic Farmers
Action Network at our online