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GREENFIELD, Mass. -- In hopes of drawing attention to the organic sector and to consolidate provisions for U.S. organic agriculture and farmers, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) here is seeking support to establish an organic title within the next Farm Bill.
"The 2007 Farm Bill is the key piece of legislation coming up that can influence organic agriculture and trade for years to come. We envision that all sectors of the organic business community can benefit if we work together on a Farm Bill that addresses the entire organic value chain," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director.
A membership-based business association, OTA is seeking provisions within the Farm Bill to benefit the organic farm community and that, in turn, will benefit any businesses that depend on this community. As a result OTA is currently reaching beyond its membership to encourage discussion of its Farm Bill proposal. The proposal OTA has drafted thus far calls for the following four major provisions:
--A National Organic Agriculture Initiative to provide overall policy direction for increasing U.S. organic production, comparable to what many other countries have done.
--An Organic Production Office to be responsible for coordinating communication between all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic programs, to ensure the maximum amount of cooperative effort.
--Support and enhancement for existing legislation. Although progress was made in funding organic production in the 2002 Farm Bill, some items can be improved, and almost all need to be reauthorized.
--Agency Cooperative Programs: Many USDA agencies have existing programs that could be expanded to meet the needs of organic producers and the organic trade in general.
"The Organic Trade Association wants everyone in the organic community to have the chance to get involved in this discussion, especially during this phase of gathering feedback," said DiMatteo, noting that as a result OTA is urging those within the organic farm community to provide input.
OTA will accept comments on its draft proposal from the wider community through April 24. Interested parties can submit comments by e-mail to [email protected].