Fund organic to meet market demand

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As you embark on your important role as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, we are writing as farms, businesses and organizations representing a broad spectrum of perspectives about food and agriculture to express our strong, shared support for the USDA organic label and the federal marketing, research and data collection programs that support the label.

With the establishment of the National Organic Program in 2001, uniform national standards were created to govern the labeling of organic food and the use of the USDA organic seal. Consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA organic seal has been a driving factor in the exponential growth in the organic sector. In 2000, organic sales of products labeled under various conflicting state and private organic labels totaled only $6 billion. Today, as a result of the establishment of the uniform federal organic standards, total sales of organic food and beverages are nearly $50 billion. Domestically, the organic sector is home to nearly 24,000 certified organic family farms and other businesses.

Organic farmers are required to use farming practices that preserve and enhance natural resources, and organic processors are required to use ingredients that have passed strict environmental and human health reviews. Consumers are willing to pay higher prices for products that meet these higher standards. As a result, organic farmers and processors enjoy a higher price to reward them for their extra costs and efforts.

Organic regulations are voluntary, or opt-in, in the sense that farmers decide whether they want to participate in the National Organic Program. Similarly, consumers voluntarily decide whether to buy organic food. House Speaker Ryan has used the USDA organic standards as an example of a ”better way” to approach federal regulations to foster a stronger U.S. economy using a voluntary approach to regulations. The economic success of the organic sector also depends on strong enforcement by USDA and USDA-accredited organic certifier organizations domestically and internationally. It is the job of the certifiers to ensure that all organic operations meet the strict production, processing and handling standards established by USDA through an open and transparent public process. It is the job of USDA to use its accreditation and oversight functions to ensure that certifiers are enforcing the standards in an effective and uniform manner for all organic operations. Consumers depend on the integrity of the USDA organic seal, and expect uniform enforcement of the standards.

Despite the success and growth of the organic industry, the U.S. organic sector faces significant challenges. While organic sales are growing at a double-digit pace each year, domestic organic production is struggling to keep pace with that growth with an increased reliance on imports to meet the demand.

In the spirit of the public-private partnership that underlies the success of the organic sector, it is critical that your agency continue to support the work of the National Organic Program, as well as the research and data collection programs that will help ensure that U.S. organic farmers can meet growing consumer demand for their products. It is our firm belief that jobs associated with organic agriculture can and should be kept here in the United States, without having to rely on increased imports to meet demand for products we can produce here.

In that regard, we look forward to working with you to support the key marketing, research and data collection programs, as well as the strong standards enforcement procedures that are critical to the U.S. organic sector.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Adams Farm Slaughterhouse – organically certified
Albert Lea Seed
BJE Poultry
Blue River Organic Seeds
Clarkson Grain Co., Inc.
Clif Bar & Company
Dr. Bronner’s
Duna Fisheries, LLC
Eden Foods
Equine Veterinary Dental Services, LLC
Foodwaze LLC
Global Culture
Global Organic Alliance, Inc
Great Roots Ohio
I AM CLEAN ENERGY, LLC
Kamut International
Krazy Kraut Fermented Foods
Lundberg Family Farms
Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc.
MOM’s Organic Market
National Co+op Grocers
Natural Grocers NYSE:NGVC

Nature’s Path Foods USA Inc

OFARM
Ohio earth food
Orcas Food Co-op
Organic Advocacy
Organic Valley – CROPP Cooperative
Organically Grown Company
Patagonia
PCC Natural Markets
Straus Family Creamery
Sunshine Seasons
Sustane Natural Fertilizer
United Natural Foods, Inc
Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC
Village Bakery & Cafe
Hughes Dairy
Kings River Produce, Inc.
Silacci Dairy
Sweet Grass Organics
LaRocca Vineyards
Little Paradise Farm
Buttercup Farms
Big Duck Land & Cattle Co., Inc.
Farmer Johns
Topp Fruits
Mark D. Jones Organic Farm
Beach Road Farm
KANALANI OHANA FARM
Anderson Farms
Goldmine Farms
Christopher Farm
Dailys Thistle Rock Farm
Dick’s Organics
Mavourneen Farm
Blueberry Bottom
Okoboji Organics
Mt. Folly Farm
Beau Chemin Preservation Farm
Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA)
Land’s End Farm
Long Life Farm
Nick’s Organic Farm
Cowbells & Horsetails LLC
Plymouth Orchards
Stone Coop Farm
Hygieia Homestead
Plymouth Orchards
Graciem Organics
Hollow Brook Dairy
Blue Fruit Farm
Belt Farm
Terrapin Farm
Pete and Gerry’s Organics, LLC
Farm of Mary Boîte and Tom Hoag
Kingbird Farm
Peacework Organic CSA
Casper’s Farm
Twin Oaks Dairy LLC
Clearview farm
Hooting Hills Farm
Roaring Brook Farm
Short Fork Farm
Bramblestone Farm
Burr Farms Inc
Crow Pond Farm
DenMelin Dairy
Double J Farm
Falb Family Farm
Goodell Family Farm
Harmonious Homestead
Hi Dew Meadow Farm
Jonathan Gingerich
Lebanon Cedar Organic farm
Little Riley Creek Farm LLC
Maple Lane Farm of Greenfield, LLC
Marshy Meadows Farm
Martin Hollow Heritage Farm, LLC
Peach Mountain Organic
That Guys Family Farm
The Kale Yard
Whitehouse Specialty Crops
Yankee Street Farm
Peach Crest Ranch
Hardy Seeds
Preservation Farm
DoubleDale Farm
Full Circle Farms
Heilman Hogwash Farm
Skyhollow FArm
Village Acres Farm & FoodShed
Hawkeye Pro-Power
Elmer Farm
Maple Wind Farm
Windstone Farm
Sherman’s Mountain View Farm
Swallowdale Farm
Rocky Acres Farm
Morning Glory Farm
Three Springs Farm
Wood Prarie Family Farm
Accredited Certifiers Association
American Farmland Trust
Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
CCOF
Center for Environmental Health
Center for Rural Affairs
Central Maryland Beekeepers Association
Church Women United in New York State
Common Wealth Food Hub
Consumer Federation of America
Cuatro Puertas
Food & Water Watch
Food Action
GMO Free PA
Iowa Organic Association
L.A. Kitchen
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Michael Field Agricultural Institute
Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance
Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service
Missouri Farmers Union
MOSA Certified Organic
National Farmers Union
National Organic Coalition
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National Young Farmers Coalition
New England Farmers Union
NOFA-NJ
NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
Northeast Organic Farming Association – Interstate Council
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY)
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
Ohio Food Policy Network
IOIA
Oregon Tilth
Organic Farmers Association
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Seed Alliance
Osgata
PA Assoc for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)
Propolis Project’s Food Forest
RAFI
Rocky Mouintain Farmers Union
Rodale Institute
The Cornucopia Institute
The Farmers Guild & CAFF
Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
OK River Valley Chapter of OEFFA
Berkeley Food Institute
Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
Oregon State University Center for Small Farms & Community Food Systems

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