Legislation Introduced to Align Organic Ag with Industry
The organic agriculture sector has been a growing segment for over 100 years but was really spurred in the 1990s. Now, Washington's Congressman from the 4th District, Dan Newhouse, has introduced legislation to help continue building on the organic agriculture front.
The Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards (CIAO) Act from Newhouse, which was originally introduced in the 117th Congress, will help update the process for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to respond to changes in organic and better align organic standards by requesting public input on recommended changes to organic standards every five years and create a five-year working period for USDA , and to work with the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to help with the recommendations.
The act would also make sure the USDA and NOSB have the information available from data sets including environmental and ecological, consumer and market, organic production and handling practices, organic research, and scientific data when giving the recommendations.
“Our agricultural sector is constantly evolving, and in order to keep progress moving forward, we must keep up with best-in-practice standards,” said Representative Newhouse. “As a third-generation farmer, I understand how crucial it is to ensure transparency in our organics process—for both producers and consumers—and it's imperative that we provide our growers certainty. This is how we spark further innovation and improvement within the organic industry."
The 1990 Farm Bill was the first to include the Organic Foods Production Act, creating a certification program at the national level. The organic agriculture segment has seen much success since then becoming a $67 billion U.S. market.
Many organic and specialty crop groups have come forward in support of the legislation.
Find more details on the bill here.
My Tour of the US Capitol Building
Gallery Credit: Robb Francis