A proposal has been submitted to the USDA by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) for USDA to conduct a referendum for an organic research and promotion order checkoff. OFARM along with a number of other organizations are not opposed to funds for research and promotion, but are opposed to the OTA proposal as presented for a number of reasons.
First, and foremost is why farmers have spent a lot of time decrying the intrusion of government into their business through rules and regulations Now comes along a proposal that would require organic farmers to fund more government rules and regulations for research and promotion. Ultimately, organic farmers will be footing the bill. OFARM has been working with a number of like-minded organic farmer groups as there simply has to be a better way to do this. The conventional commodity checkoff programs have been rife with misspent money and lack of accountability. In the case of the pork checkoff, farmers voted out the checkoff and the courts blocked those efforts so farmers still are paying into a checkoff program they voted to do away with.
For years, the organic community has sought to make "organic" stand out to consumers. Now to get a checkoff, OTA (an industry trade group) had Congress classify organic as a single "commodity" just like dairy, pork or beef.
To continue to be informed of the latest developments on this issue, go to www.noorganiccheckoff.com and also like the site on Facebook.