The federal government shutdown is going on its fourth week with no clear resolution in sight. According to estimates from S&P Global, the shutdown has already cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion, and If it continues two more weeks, the economic damage could surpass $5.7 billion.
The shutdown is causing issues for farmers across the nation. Local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices have been closed, affecting farmers with agency loans. Food safety inspectors are working while missing paychecks, and important Ag data isn’t being collected. What does the shutdown mean specifically for the Organic Sector?
Many organic programs are left without moorings in this uncharted territory. Continue reading →
If you’ve ever walked the halls of Congress with talking points in hand, you know the thrill of democracy in action. Having the opportunity to advocate for funding or policy change with your elected Congressperson is the most important way for you to participate in the legislative process. With Farm Bill discussions underway and mid-term elections around the corner this year, it’s critical for organic proponents to show up and speak up for organic food and agriculture. Continue reading →
Last fall the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) made the decision not to prohibit hydroponic and container growing methods in organic production. This decision left some members of the organic community infuriated and galvanized. They vowed to dig in and create a label that meant something more than the USDA seal. After a few short months, the Real Organic Project (ROP) was formed by farmers and advocates who say that they are reclaiming the original meaning of organic. Continue reading →
The organic industry has been peppered with a spate of news about a few bad actors trying to sell conventional products as organic. Most notably, containers of fraudulent soybeans were found entering the US market from Eastern Europe through Turkish exporters.
This, of course, is bad for US producers who have to compete with prices created from a false supply chain.
It is also bad news for the organic industry as a whole. Every vitriolic headline casts doubt and uncertainty in the heart of the organic consumer. Continue reading →
I spent the early part of my early adult life buying, selling, and trading fresh organic produce. I was too busy building businesses and helping farmers grow theirs, to pay attention to pesky things like regulations or federal funding. Heck, I was so naïve I didn’t even know about the Farm Bill and its billion-dollar effect on food and farming.
Then in 2007, an entire universe of possibility opened up when I walked into the halls of Congress to advocate for organic funding in the next Farm Bill. I realized from that point forward that staying politically engaged is one of the most powerful ways to support the organic movement and the trade. Continue reading →