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

o provide broad environmental and economic benefits along with the sustained harvests needed to feed us all. Matching federal resources to the organic share of the marketplace is the next step, and we will continue working towards that."

Congressional Champions

Congressional support for organic research was led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Iowa dairy farmer and OFRF board member Francis Thicke said, "Chairman Harkin was a true champion for organic agriculture in this bill, and we owe him great thanks. He has seen first-hand what organic farming has meant to family farmers in Iowa, and it is part of his vision for U.S. agriculture."

Another key leader on the bill was California Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced). As chair of the newly created House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, Cardoza was crucial to formulating the initial organic provisions in the bill and preserving these gains through its final passage. OFRF board member John Teixeira, an organic grower in Rep. Cardoza's district, noted that "Dennis has a lot of organic farmers in his district, and he helped make sure we were heard and respected in the process."

Other champions for organic agriculture in the Farm Bill process included Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), New York Representative Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Saratoga Springs) and Wisconsin Representative Steve Kagen (D-Green Bay). Congress's two certified organic farmers, California Representative Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) and Senator John Tester (D-MT), do not serve on the Agriculture Committees but played helpful supporting roles.

In addition, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and New Jersey Representative Rush Holt (D-West Windsor) successfully led the opposition to a harmful provision that could have limited the USDA's ability to reward the use of organic farming systems for conservation goals.

Key Role
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SOURCE Organic Farming Research Foundation
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