Organic transition package includes mentors, crop insurance subsidies
The Agriculture Department will spend $300 million on an initiative to help farmers transition to organic production and on "pinpointed" market development projects, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. It would be the single largest investment ever in organic agriculture by the USDA "and a big step in the right direction," said the Organic Trade Association.
Reinstate organic livestock rule, OTA asks judge
Warning that organic egg farmers face unfair competition daily, the Organic Trade Association asked a federal judge to order the USDA to reinstate a 2017 regulation setting welfare standards for organic livestock. The 2017 regulation said enclosed porches, used by some egg producers, do not …
Record sales of organic food as pandemic boosts home cooking
Americans bought a record $56.5 billion of organic food last year, an increase of nearly 13 percent from 2019, as shoppers flooded grocery stores due to stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, said a survey released on Tuesday by the Organic Trade Association. Certified organic food accounted …
USDA to expand enforcement of organic products
Utilizing authority granted in the 2018 farm bill, the USDA said it would propose a regulation on Wednesday to expand its enforcement of the production, handling and sale of organic products. If adopted, the regulation would reduce the number of uncertified businesses in the organic supply …
Organic industry backs immigration reform, covid-19 protection for farmworkers
The Organic Trade Association on Tuesday called for congressional action on two tracks to help farmworkers. The group seeks passage of an immigration reform law that would give legal status to undocumented farmworkers, and assistance in providing protective equipment to reduce the risk of infection by the coronavirus.
Slowest growth rate for organic food sales since 2009
Organic food is everywhere, from nationwide retailers to the local corner store, and facing increased price competition that slowed sales growth to its lowest rate since 2009, said the Organic Trade Association in an annual report on Wednesday.
Tally of organic farms and acreage inches upward since 2017
Sales of organic food are booming and account for more than 5 percent of U.S. grocery sales, running ahead of organic's small but growing share of the farm sector. The organic farms total is up by 3 percent and harvested acres are up by 2 percent from 2017, market data company Mercaris said on Tuesday.
Organic turns inward in the face of setbacks at USDA
On Thursday, Laura Batcha, chief executive of the Organic Trade Association, announced an OTA pilot project to prevent fraud in the organics supply chain. The group, she said, is also exploring a voluntary program to fund promotion and research for organics.
USDA kills the proposed organic checkoff program
The Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture issued a preliminary notice Friday morning terminating the proposed organic checkoff program. The program, which was controversial among organic industry stakeholders, would have funded research and marketing for organic products. No paywall
Nixed livestock rule and fraud top organic topics at food policy conference
The Department of Agriculture’s withdrawal of an organic animal welfare rule and fraudulent organic imports were hot topics at Wednesday’s National Food Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference, held by the Consumer Federation of America, is underwritten by some of the biggest food companies in the country, including Cargill, DowDuPont, General Mills, Walmart, and Tyson Foods.
USDA says it will kill its welfare rule for livestock on organic farms
Eleven months into the Trump administration, the Agriculture Department decided it lacks statutory authority to implement the livestock welfare rules that is wrote for organic farmers, and will announce today that it is killing the regulation. Groups representing conventional agriculture cheered the decision, which was disclosed at the end of last week, while the organic industry and its allies in Congress said USDA disregarded public sentiment and "could damage a marketplace that is giving American farmers a profitable alternative."
Organic farmer group names policy chief
The Organic Farmers Association, a national membership organization advancing the interests of certified organic farmers, said that it named Mark Rokala, a lobbyist on agriculture issues, as its policy director and also elected a policy committee. This new leadership will facilitate the association's policy platform.
Millennials are choosing organic food, says trade group
The millennial generation is "choosing organic" and as they become parents, the market for organic food will boom, says the Organic Trade Association, based on a survey of U.S. households. "Over the next 10 years, we’ll see a surge of new organic eaters and consumers – the Millennial parents of tomorrow and their children," said Laura Batcha, chief executive of the trade group.
Organic food industry sues USDA over slowdown of livestock welfare rules
In a challenge to the Trump administration's drive to erase Obama-era regulations, the organic food industry accused USDA of unlawfully delaying animal welfare rules that give livestock on organic farms more elbow room than allowed at conventional operations. Livestock groups and their allies in Congress have alternated between ridiculing the organic livestock rule and trying to scrap it.
USDA pulls organic certification of Turkish grain exporter
The USDA's National Organic Program said it revoked the certification of a Turkish company because it exported soybeans certified as "organic" to the United States that had been treated with pesticides. The action came after the Washington Post last month revealed that significant imports of both corn and soybeans had been labeled organic when they were not.
USDA extends comment period for organic checkoff 30 days
In line with the Trump administration's regulatory freeze, the USDA is extending the comment period by 30 days on the proposed organic checkoff, to April 19. The Organic Trade Association, the sponsor of the proposal, said it hoped the USDA will perform a timely review of comments and call a vote on the checkoff.
Coming soon: ‘certified transitional’ organic agriculture products
In a step the organic farming industry says will expand acreage, the USDA will allow growers to sell their products as "certified transitional" organic goods during the three-year conversion to organic farming.
Organic farming sector grows larger in new USDA survey
Based on a survey of organic certifying agents, USDA says there are 14,861 organic farms covering 5.3 million acres, a much larger tally than it reported in September when it relied on voluntary responses by producers to its questionnaire. In the September report, USDA cited 12,818 organic farms on 4.36 million acres.