Organic Farmers Association, representing America’s certified organic farmers, applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s action to terminate the rulemaking process to establish a mandatory national research and promotion program for organic (Organic Checkoff). The proposed program was divisive among the organic community, and checkoff programs must have industry support to be instituted—this proposal did not.
The proposed Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP) would have required all certified organic operations, even those exempt from the checkoff itself, to submit annual gross sales reports. All entities whose organic gross sales exceed $250,000 would have been mandated to pay 0.001% of their annual organic net sales. Jennifer Taylor, Vice President of Organic Farmers Association and certified organic farmer in central Georgia commented, “Organic farmers already fulfill a heavy load of annual paperwork for their organic certification. Additional federally mandated paperwork would have been overly burdensome—especially for the 75% of certified organic farmers estimated to be exempt from the checkoff.”
Organic Farmers Association agrees with the Organic Trade Association and other organic stakeholder groups that organic research and promotion are necessary and needed by the whole community. We hope that together we can unite organic stakeholders to identify creative solutions to support organic agricultural research and grow organic markets.
Organic Farmers Association represents certified organic farmers—the bedrock of the movement. Organic Farmers Association encourages the USDA to continue to listen to the nation’s certified organic farming community to support the growth of America’s organic markets fueled by domestic organic food and commodities.