Organic Trade Association applauds introduction of Organic Market Development Act
Legislation will unlock the potential of the organic marketplace
Washington, D.C., Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Organic Trade Association applauded the introduction of the Organic Market Development (OMD) Act in the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, saying the legislation will go far in helping to unlock the potential of the organic marketplace and ensure the continued growth of organic in the United States.
The “Organic Market Development Act” was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and its companion bill in the House by Rep. Anne Kuster (D-NH), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-CA).
The OMD Act is aimed at leveraging investments in new and expanded organic markets by funding and supporting increased processing capacity, market development activities, targeted equipment purchases, and other activities to increase consumption of domestic organic commodities. This legislation, codifying an existing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program, is fundamentally about solving the supply chain gaps for the market to support organic farmers and businesses. It creates a development program, administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, to offer grants annually to eligible applicants.
“We thank the sponsoring lawmakers for introducing this important legislation. With the strategic investments offered in the OMD Act, the organic community can unlock the potential of the organic marketplace and continue the growth trend and capitalize on the recent investments made by USDA in organic farming,” said Tom Chapman, CEO of the Organic Trade Association. “Passage of this legislation is key to ensuring transition and growth of organic at the farm level is carried through to the marketplace.”
“Wisconsin’s organic farmers and businesses are stepping up to meet the growing demand for organic products, and I’m committed to delivering the support they need to grow their businesses and reach new markets,” said Sen. Baldwin. “This legislation will build on the success of the Organic Market Development Grant program and allow more producers to access these resources and tools to grow our agriculture economy and ensure Wisconsin remains a leader in the organic food industry.”
“As Maine’s organic farmers face increasing challenges from changing global markets, climate change, and more, we must continue to provide resources and support to help them evolve with the times,” said Sen. King. “The Organic Market Development Act would codify an existing, and highly in demand, grant program to ensure the continuance of grant funding to Maine’s organic farmers so that they can respond to these challenges and pave the way for the future of the organic food industry. Thanks to my colleagues, Senator Baldwin, and Representatives Pingree and Kuster, for supporting Maine farmers and the entire American agriculture industry.”
“Organic agriculture is the fastest growing sector in the United States food industry – we need to support our farmers and producers as they grow more healthy food to meet rising demand,” said Rep. Kuster. “I am proud to introduce the Organic Market Development Act to help our local communities and organizations expand existing organic markets and establish new ones to meet the demand for organic goods.”
“Organic agriculture sales reached over $60 billion in 2022 and continue to grow, building a more resilient and sustainable food system. As more farmers consider making the transition from conventional to organic farming, we must strengthen organic processing and storage and enhance market opportunities,” said Rep. Pingree, a longtime organic farmer and member of the House Agriculture Committee. “I’m proud to introduce the Organic Market Development Act alongside Congresswomen Kuster and Salinas and Senator Baldwin to expand and create new markets for organic products.”
The demand for organic is strong and continues to grow. So strong that the growth has outpaced the infrastructure development needed for organic farmers and businesses to fully expand their markets and to capitalize on the economic benefits for growing organic. Lack of processing capacity and aggregation facilities, uncertain market access, and an insufficient supply of certain organic ingredients are all challenges that organic has to face in identifying and developing its markets.
While the U.S. organic sector has expanded to an over $67 billion market, domestic organic acreage has not kept pace with the growth in demand for organic products. The OMD Act will enable more domestic producers to take advantage of the economic opportunity offered by the robust organic market.
The OMD Act maintains the existing funding of $75 million annually through Commodity Credit Corporation funding. Additionally, the Act provides for an authorization for appropriations of $15 million for 2024 and each fiscal year thereafter.
“The Organic Market Development Act strongly compliments existing and proposed legislation with federal investments in organic research, farm-level transition opportunities, and process improvement for an effective oversight and regulatory function to ensure and maintain the organic standards and consumer confidence,” said Chapman.
Organizations and businesses in the organic industry can sign on to OTA’s endorsement letter for the bill here.
About the Organic Trade Association
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 10,000 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.
CONTACT: Maggie McNeil Organic Trade Association (202) 403-8514 [email protected]
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