Vicki Morrone

Organic Vegetable and Crop Outreach Specialist

Michigan State University

C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

303 Natural Resources Bldg.

East Lansing, MI 48824


517-282-3557 (cell)

517-353-3834 (fax)

For information on organic agriculture production please visit:

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From: Organic Farming Research Foundation [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2008 6:25 PM
To: Vicki Morrone
Subject: OFAN: Give Organics A Fair Share in the Farm Bill!


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Organic Deserves A Fair Share in the
Farm Bill Conference! 

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 million/year. We 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 Committee. This 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.)

Farm Bill Conference Committee

Senate Conferees
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
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

Senator Carl Levin
Phone: 202-224-6221
Fax: 202-224-1388

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Phone: 202-224-4822 
Fax: 202-228-0325

Representative Mike Rogers
Phone: 202-225-4872
Fax: 202-225-5820
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]

Talking Points

*                          Please support the Senate mandatory funding
level of $16 million/year for the Organic Agriculture Research and
Extension Initiative (OREI).

*                          OREI provides crucial funding for organic
agriculture researchers to improve productivity and profitability of
organic farming systems. 

*                          More organic agriculture research is critical
in helping U.S. organic farmers and ranchers meet consumer demand for
organic food. 

*                          Fair share funding means that USDA research
funding for organic should at least match organic's share of the U.S.
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 budget. 

*                          Funding OREI at $16 million year is a first
step towards fair share funding for organic agriculture research and


The 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

Among 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.

OFRF 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.

For more information on fair share funding for organic agriculture
research, read our Organic Agriculture Research Policy Targets
<> .

For more information on organic provisions of the Farm Bill, read our 
Farm Bill Update <> .

To 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 website.

To read past updates and alerts visit our OFAN info page
<> . 


Join OFRF's Organic Farmers Action Network at our online subscription
page <> .

<> News Roundup

"Farm Bill Compromise to be Offered Next Week."
<>  -
Reuters, 2/8/08

"The Butz Stops Here."
<>  - The Grist,

"Bush Says He Might Veto Farm Bill."
N=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT>  - Associated Press, 2/6/08

"Organic Producers Can Still Rally for Farm Bill."
<>  - Agri
News, 1/29/08

"Is it too late for progressive farm and food policy reforms?"
<>  - The Daily Kos,

Upcoming Events

San Francisco, CA
2/13/08: Speak-Out and Eat-In For A Fair and Healthy Farm Bill!

Salem, OR
2/14-15/08: The Organic Seed Alliance's Fifth Organic Seed Growers

Richmond, VA
2/15-16/08: Ninth Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference and
Trade Show <> 

LaCrosse, WI
2/21/08 - 2/23/08:The Upper Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education
Service's 19th Annual Organic Farming Conference.

Albuquerque, NM
2/28/08: A Dialogue Meeting for A National Organic Action Plan. Contact
Liana Hoodes for more info: [log in to unmask] or 845-744-2304. 

2/29/08 - 3/1/08:The New Mexico Organic Farming Conference: The
Southwest's Premier Conference for Organic Agriculture.

Dalton, GA
2/29/08 - 3/1/08: Georgia Organics 10th Anniversary Conference:
Connecting at the Crossroads - New Directions for Farms, Foods &
Communities. <> 



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