Early this month, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2018. This bill would reauthorize the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) until 2023, with a gradual increase of funding, from 20 million dollars to 50 million dollars annually.
“OREI was created over 15 years ago when the organic industry looked very different,” said Kanika Gandhi, Policy Specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “The organic industry has experienced massive growth over the last few years, and all signs indicate that consumer interest in organics will only continue to increase. Yet, despite its growth, domestic organic production continues to lag far behind demand for organic products. It is high time that our national investment in organic agricultural research is increased to catalyze the advancement of domestic production.”
Currently OREI is the only federal program specifically focused on organic research, and it is the only federal farming program whose funding is set to expire at the end of the 2014 Farm Bill cycle. If this bill is passed, it will help ensure that the funding for the program increases to an amount that will bring to the total budget for organic research in line with the current demand and growth projections for the organic farming industry.
Passing the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2018 would mean that organic farming in America could continue on a level that would keep up the growing demands of the country for organic food products, and continue to further increase the quality of organic farming.
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