FARM BILL – ready for Conference Committee

July 11, 2018

Two versions of the Farm Bill – one from the House and one from the Senate – have now been passed, and the slow road to a new Farm Bill (this one expires Sep. 30, 2018) moves to a Conference Committee to work out the differences.  Both bills have good, but slightly different organic fraud bills, and are fairly good on organic research, but both have different but very troubling language changing the authority of the National Organic Standards Board.  Stay tuned in the coming months for more twists and turns… 

 The House bill is terrible on both the agriculture and food front, including provisions that, according to NSAC, "Would severely undermine local and regional food economies, weaken or eliminate popular conservation programs, and take food from the mouths of hungry Americans.”  It is also specifically bad for organic – eliminating the Organic Certification Cost Share; no attention to Seeds & Breeds, and no movement on Crop Insurance reform for organic.

The Senate bill, on the other hand, “Invests in local, farm-to-fork food systems; Rejects efforts to take food from hungry families and economic opportunities from farmers; and Rightly recognizes the value of ag conservation programs.” [NSAC].  For organic, it has funding for  Certification Cost Share, has good language but no money for Seeds & Breeds, and has some conservation and risk management reforms important to organic.