Bakers Journal

U.S. organic agriculture research bill introduced

February 12, 2018
By Bakers Journal

Washington, DC – The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is applauding the introduction of bipartisan legislation that works to increase funding for the organization. 

The Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2018 was introduced Feb. 8 by Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

The bill, which serves as a Senate companion bill to the House’s Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 2436), reauthorizes the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) until 2023, and gradually increases funding to $50 million over five years, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said in a news release.

“OREI was created over 15 years ago when the organic industry looked very different,” said Kanika Gandhi, policy specialist at the coalition. “The organic industry has experienced massive growth over the last few years, and all signs indicate that consumer interest in organics will only continue to increase. Yet, despite its growth, domestic organic production continues to lag far behind demand for organic products. It is high time that our national investment in organic agricultural research is increased to catalyze the advancement of domestic production.”

The act is currently the only federal program focused specifically on research for the organic sector, the release said, yet unlike many other farm bill programs, OREI’s funding expires at the end of the 2014 Farm Bill cycle. Like its House companion, the new act will help to ensure that the funding for the program increases to an amount that will bring it more in line with current demand and growth projections for the organic industry.

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