It remains to be seen if Congress will get its act together to pass a Farm Bill before year’s end. But here’s what we do know. If Congress succeeds in passing a 2018 Farm Bill, it will almost certainly be bad news for the organic industry.
We already know that the House version, H.R.2, includes potentially devastating attacks on organic and regenerative food and farming. Fortunately, the US House of Representatives voted down H.R. 2 last week. But we’re not out of the danger zone yet—the House is scheduled to vote on its bill again on June 22.
The Senate is about to drop its Farm Bill as early as June 6, according to Politico. We haven’t seen that bill yet. But we do know that the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee—Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)—aren’t great friends of organic. We also know that the Senate Farm Bill will be bipartisan—which means it’s sure to pass.
The Organic Trade Association, which should be committed to protecting organic standards from any sneak attacks in the Farm Bill, has indicated that it will stand with consumers. But we’re skeptical, given the group’s track record.
In the meantime, we’re urging supporters of organic to ask their Senators to protect organic and regenerative food and farming.
House Farm Bill Contains Direct Attacks on Organic
H.R. 2, the House Farm Bill, would severely erode the power of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The NOSB is an independent standards-setting body which, under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, has the authority to determine which non-organic substances are allowed in organic.
If the House Farm Bill were to become law, the NOSB’s authority would be undermined in two significant ways:
1. The NOSB would be required to “convene a task force to consult …read more