Farm Bill implementation high on list for Organic Trade Association fly-in

Twenty-two farmer members of the Organic Trade Association’s Farmers Advisory Council, a national coalition of organic farmers and organic farming organizations representing nearly 8,000 organic farms, will come to Washington on Feb. 5 and 6 to meet with new and incumbent members of Congress, to familiarize the freshmen lawmakers with organic and to discuss the implementation of the organic provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Coordinated by the Organic Trade Association’s Farmers Advisory Council, the event will bring in farmers from 11 states stretching from California to Maryland, from Texas to Minnesota. The diverse group includes dairy farmers, grain and specialty crop growers, egg and livestock producers. The Farmers Advisory Council represents over 8,000 certified organic farmers nationwide.

“The 116th Congress has 101 new members of the House and 10 new Senators, and many of these new lawmakers aren’t familiar with organic,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association. “It’s important that we help our members get connected to these freshmen Congressional members so they can educate the new policy makers about the benefits of organic agriculture, the unique challenges that organic producers and businesses face, and the importance of federal policies that advance American organic agriculture and the organic sector.”

Batcha said implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill will be a key discussion point. “The Organic Trade Association and its members worked hard to get top organic priorities included in the Farm Bill, and now we want to ensure that this bill – and all of its gains for organic – is implemented in a timely manner.”

In addition to scheduled meetings with over 40 lawmakers and national agricultural organizations, the group will host an Organic farmer roundtable for congressional staff on important organic issues. The roundtable will include a moderated discussion with a panel of farmer members who were featured in the recent National Geographic article “We don’t have enough organic farms. Why not?”. They will expand on the themes highlighted in the article and lead a conversation about overcoming challenges of organic transition and closing the gap between consumer demand and domestic acreage.

The member organizations of the Farmers Advisory Council include California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Georgia Organics, Organic Egg Farmers of America, Montana Organic Association, Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance and Tilth Alliance of Washington.

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