Activism…The Cornucopia Institute
Support a Strong, Sustainable Food System and an Independent NOSB
Congress has been working to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which governs an array of agricultural and food programs. The first draft bill failed to pass the House, but a new draft was just pushed past the vote on Thursday, June 21.
Meanwhile, the Senate Agricultural Committee has produced a bipartisan Farm Bill. This Senate draft bill has some advances for the organic market, including boosts to organic research funding, some provisions to address fraudulent imports, some enhanced conservation programs, and maintaining certification cost-share programs.
However, there are some problems in the Committee bill as well. First, the Senate draft bill cuts funding from the primary working lands conservation programs (Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives program). Second, there are changes to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that are unnecessary and potentially harmful.
Those changes deal with how NOSB members vote on the inclusion and exclusion of synthetic (i.e. non-organic) materials on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (which dictates what farm inputs and food ingredients can be used in organic agriculture and food production). The change being proposed in the Senate Bill allows synthetic materials to stay on the list indefinitely unless voted off. This change has already been (in our opinion, illegally) enacted through order by former National Organic Program director, Miles McEvoy, and then rubber-stamped during the 2013 NOSB meeting. However, if immortalized in the Farm Bill, Cornucopia’s legal challenges to this policy will become moot.
It is vital that legislators know this change will make it easier for synthetic materials to continue being used by organic farmers – something neither consumers nor ethical organic farmers want from the marketplace.
Tell your Senators the materials on the National List should NOT stay on the list indefinitely. This move would only undermine the traditional powers of the NOSB and the integrity of the organic label.
If you are an organic livestock farmer or rancher, or are involved in the industry, please be sure to mention that. Comments from organic consumers are vitally important too, especially if you tell your Congress member why you care. If you are a consumer, you can also let your Congress member know that this regulation is vital to your continued trust in the organic label.
For an in-depth explanation of what the Farm Bill is, and why it matters for the U.S. Food system, check out this paper.
|HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING THIS? CLICK HERE FOR A WEB VERSION.
READ RECENT ACTION ALERTS FROM THE CORNUCOPIA INSTITUTE.
The Cornucopia Institute
is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to family farmers, consumers, stakeholders involved in the good food movement, and the media.
|P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
TEL: 608-625-2000 | FAX: 866-861-2214 | www.cornucopia.org