The Organic Trade Association will bring three important issues to the attention of Congress during OTA's Congressional Education Day slated for Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.
The OTA wants fair appropriations for organic production. "With the implementation of the National Organic Program, organic producers should receive the same benefits conventional producers do," said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA's executive director, in a press release. Organic farmers have won the right to federal crop insurance, but funds are needed for market and agronomic research, effective enforcement and all other agriculture programs.
The OTA will ask legislators to release organic producers from existing federal marketing orders. Some organic producers must pay money into federal marketing order programs, such as research and generic product marketing, without receiving any direct benefit. "Because the prices and the demands for organic products are separate from conventional products, Congress should either create an alternative, organic marketing program or exempt organic producers from marketing orders," DiMatteo said.
Finally, the OTA seeks legislation that will require GM seeds, crops and by-products to be labeled. Additionally, because organic producers face the possibility of sanctions and economic loss for involuntary GMO contamination, the OTA wants producers of GMOs to accept any liability for the genetic contamination of organic products.
All OTA members can attend Congressional Education Day to work with legislators on these important issues. For more information and to register, contact Laura Stravino at 413.774.7511, ext. 23, or lstravino@ ota.com.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXII/number 9/p. 6