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Organic Farming Research Foundation Applauds Farm Bill Victories for Organic Farmers and Ranchers
Date:5/27/2008

Congress Makes Substantial 'Down Payment' Toward a Fair Share for Organic

Agriculture Research

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's ten thousand organic farmers have won a strong commitment to organic systems research, according to the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF). "With the override of the President's veto and final passage of the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress has made a substantial down payment toward a fair share of federal funding for organic agriculture," said Steve Ela, an organic tree fruit grower from Colorado and President of OFRF.

OFRF led the fight for increased organic research, education and extension funding, which proved to be the biggest win for organic farming in the legislation. The 2008 Farm Bill provides $78 million for organic agriculture research and education, an historic five-fold increase from the $15 million allocated in the expiring 2002 legislation. These funds will dramatically expand competitive grants for the development and sharing of organic farming systems information through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Integrated Organic Program. Such an expansion is urgently needed to ensure that organic farmers and ranchers can continue to meet the growing demand for organic products and be successful stewards of their land.

While this increase is another major landmark for U.S. organic agriculture, it is still not a "fair share" of public investment in this area, according to OFRF. The new funding represents approximately 1% of USDA's research budget -- well behind organic products' nearly 4% share of the U.S. retail food market.

"U.S. producers need far greater science-based information resources than they currently have, in order to support the nation's desire for healthier food and farming systems," noted OFRF Executive Director Bob Scowcroft. "With this bill, Congress has made progress toward fulfilling organic agriculture's potential t
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SOURCE Organic Farming Research Foundation
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