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Updates and a Onerous Have a look at Natural Agriculture Analysis within the 2024 Farm Invoice


As lively members within the 2023-2024 (and perhaps into 2025?) Farm Invoice course of, we work diligently to remain knowledgeable and lively in growing legislative proposals that have an effect on natural agriculture analysis, but in addition the natural ecosystem at giant. A part of what we do is take part in coalition foyer days, like earlier in Might the place OFRF joined members of the Natural Commerce Affiliation, like Stonyfield, to verify we’re all constantly engaged with legislators and the natural sector. Two vital developments occurred the previous two months: Senator Stabenow unveiled the Part-by-Part (SBS) of the Rural Prosperity and Meals Safety Act, and the Home Agriculture Committee handed the Farm, Meals, and Nationwide Safety Act of 2024 (FFNSA). Now that the preliminary positions have been struck, we’re at a crucial juncture in advocating for strong natural analysis programming.

Dana Bourne, sustainability program supervisor for Lactalis (Stonyfield)
and OFRF’s Govt Director, Brise Tencer on the OTA Natural Week in DC, Might 2024.

Regardless of some vital enhancements included within the Senate SBS for the natural trade at giant, together with the Coordinating Natural Analysis Initiative, this framework doesn’t handle the crucial want of elevated budgets for natural analysis packages. The FFNSA misses its mark even additional, solely offering flat funding for USDA’s Nationwide Institute for Meals and Agriculture’s Natural Analysis and Extension Initiative. Though the safeguarding of agricultural analysis packages is at all times vital, flat funding at 2018 ranges is equal to a virtually 25% lower in this system’s efficient price range within the present financial system attributable to inflation. 

Natural farming programs are inherently designed to reinforce native ecosystems by way of practices like cowl cropping, crop-livestock integration, and the usage of perennials. These strategies have been scientifically confirmed to extend soil natural matter, enhance soil construction, and foster strong microbial communities—all of that are important for long-term fertility and productiveness. Past ecological advantages, natural agriculture is a crucial financial driver for rural economies, producing larger revenues and supporting native companies at a charge far exceeding that of standard farming.

Regardless of natural merchandise making up 6% of the overall meals market and over 15% of the produce market, lower than 2% of USDA-REE businesses’ budgets are allotted to natural matters. This persistent underfunding dangers stifling the expansion potential of the natural sector and jeopardizes the aggressive fringe of the USA in international natural markets.

In gentle of the demonstrated constructive impacts and the growing shopper demand for natural merchandise, we have now authored a letter that over 80 organizations have joined to reiterate the necessity for the next provisions within the upcoming Farm Invoice:

  • An annual improve of $10 million for the Natural Analysis and Extension Initiative (OREI).
  • Congressional authorization of the Researching the Transition to Natural Program, beginning at $10 million a 12 months and growing to $20 million within the third 12 months of the Farm Invoice.
  • An elevated price range for the Natural Markets and Knowledge Initiative, together with a mandated report on the financial influence of natural farming on communities.
  • The creation of an Natural Analysis Coordinator place inside the Workplace of the Chief Scientist to reinforce the group and communication of natural analysis on the USDA.
  • The inclusion of local weather change adaptation measures and the facilitation of Conventional Ecological Information, guaranteeing the respect and consent of tribal communities, into legislative priorities for OREI.

As we navigate the legislative course of, it’s crucial that we, alongside our companions and policymakers, guarantee natural agriculture analysis receives the eye and funding it critically wants. We urge all supporters of sustainable agriculture to affix us in advocating for a Farm Invoice that displays the importance of natural farming in at this time’s meals system.

We’re grateful for the management proven by legislators like those that have cosponsored the SOAR act within the Home and the OSRI Act within the Senate addressing these points, and we look ahead to seeing elevated collaboration to strengthen natural agriculture analysis.

We invite you to affix us on this crucial advocacy effort. Right here’s how one can become involved:

Contact your legislators: Urge them to help elevated funding for natural analysis packages.

Unfold the phrase: Share this weblog publish and details about the Farm Invoice along with your networks.

Keep knowledgeable: Comply with our updates on the Farm Invoice course of and different legislative developments affecting natural agriculture.

We’re grateful for the management proven by legislators who’ve co-sponsored the SOAR Act within the Home and the OSRI Act within the Senate. We look ahead to elevated collaboration to strengthen natural agriculture analysis.

Eat nicely and breathe deep,

Gordon

gordon@ofrf.org

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