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
It’s hard to believe, but we are already flying past the middle of 2014. For organic, it hasn’t been an aimless trajectory. It’s been an auspicious year so far for organic agriculture and organic products, with several wins in the Farm Bill and from the USDA. The Organic Associations’ 2014 Industry Survey showed that organic grew to an astounding $35.1 Billion and future growth is likely to keep pace or exceed the growth rate in 2014. Let’s take a midyear pause and look at how the organic industry is shaping up and where the challenges lie on this fantastic organic journey. Continue reading
The media has been abuzz with news of the government shutdown and the blame game is exuberant on both sides of the aisle. In 2011, after Republicans took control of the U.S. House, Congress passed just 90 bills into law. The only other year in which Congress failed to pass at least 125 laws was 1995. There are currently 5,628 bills and resolutions before the United States Congress. Of those, only about 5% will likely become law. These statistics make the 112th Congress, covering 2011-12, the least productive two-year gathering on Capitol Hill since the end of World War II.
It’s time to take a comprehensive look at how this non-action is usurping the standard operations of the National Organic Program and the entire organic industry. Where does Organic stand in the wake of all this legislative dysfunction? Continue reading
It’s that time of year again when many of us are on vacation. If you’re not working and enjoying these hot August nights, you’re in good company. Congress is also on recess until September 9. Lawmakers left Washington DC with unfinished business and a farm and agriculture community truly sweating it out. Continue reading
Last week, the House of Representatives finally passed a Farm Bill by a vote of 216-208. No Democrats supported the bill, and 12 Republicans voted against it. For the first time since 1949 it did not include the nutrition title or food stamps for hungry Americans. This new version of the Farm Bill included provisions that repeal the 1938 and 1949 permanent law provisions and make the 2013 Title I a permanent law going forward. If this ultimately became law in conference, it would never need to be reauthorized. Congress could consider them again but would never face a deadline requiring their re-authorization.
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is what happens next? Continue reading