Organic Farmers Disappointed with Farm Bill Extension

Organic farmers are accusing the federal government of throwing them under the bus in the wake of the farm bill extension agreed to earlier this week.

Despite months of protracted negotiations and the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee both passing versions of the farm bill, vital farm legislation was blocked by the House GOP, which refused to hold a floor vote on the bill.

Facing a severe price increase on several agricultural products, including milk forced Congress to take action on the long stalled bill. Rather than pass a new five-year farm bill, however, Congress chose to pass a nine-month extension of the expired farm bill.

Some provisions of the expired farm bill will not be extended, including aid for organic farming programs. Mandatory organic funding that was contained in the 2008 bill did not qualify for the automatic extension recently enacted by Congress.

“This is a huge loss for the organic sector,” said Barbara Haumann of the Organic Trade Association. “The cuts are severe. It will impact farmers who use safer practices and could discourage some farmers because of the loss of cost-share for certification.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer