Agricultural Act of 2014 May Finally Be a Win for Organic Farmers

Written by on April 29, 2014 in Farming & Gardening with 0 Comments

By Sally Painter | Top Secret Writers

It took three years, but finally the new farm bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) was passed and is being touted as a “historic win” for the organic industry.

President Obama signed the bill on February 7, 2014. The bill replaces the 2008 farm bill extension that had defunded valuable programs, such as marketing, research, certification, data-collection and cost-share that helped organic farmers become more productive and develop better marketing techniques. Thanks to the new bill, those programs will be reinstated and additional new ones implemented.

It was only a year ago that organic farmers felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under them when Congress couldn’t agree on a new farm bill and simply extended the 2008 farm bill.

Most Organic growers are breathing a sigh of relief with the passing of the new farm bill and look forward to improvements over the next five years.

King Ammendment

One modification written into the new farm bill impacts the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that created produce safety rules that most organic industry professionals complained would put an end to organics and small farmers.

According to Food Safety News the new farm bill modified the Benishek Amendment.

The Benishek Amendment would have prevented the FDA from enforcing FMSA regulations until additional scientific studies and cost versus benefit analyses were completed. The modified amendment only requires the analysis be released with the final rule, allowing the FDA to enforce FMSA.

The King Amendment that would forbid states from imposing higher standards on foods from other states was eliminated.

The new farm bill will assist organic and other farms, but, will it offer farmers the financial aid needed to satisfy some of the expensive mandates set by the FSMA? While the government is giving money to what’s considered the step-child of US agriculture, when compared to the vast amounts of money given to agriculture chemical research, it’s a drop in a very large bucket.

What the New Farm Bill Means for Organic Growers

Some of the programs the new farm bill provides to organic growers will give access to grants and loans. Other programs support conservation and offer funding for organic research and education. And other programs are designed to address pest emergencies.

Research projects that address some of the critical issues facing organic growers can now be funded. These issues reach beyond growing challenges, but also will aid growers in marketing their produce.

Some of the provision highlights include: …

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