Organic farmers ought to be getting a fair share of the research dollars we, as taxpayers, provide to help our farmers do better in their fields and in the marketplace. It’s only logical. Organic farming is growing more than most any other part of the farm economy. A fair share of the research dollar would help these farmers, who are growing good food that is often fresher, better for us and better for the environment, than food produced using more conventional methods.
Congress right now is debating farm programs and funding as it looks at the new Farm Bill. Unfortunately, cutting budgets is a big topic of conversation. In the Senate, there is agreement to dedicate $16 million per year to organic research. In the House, the figure is only $5 million per year. Either amount would be far short of a real “fair share” of farm research spending. Given the growth in organic farming and its growing importance to people buying organic foods, a real “fair share” would be close to $100 million per year. The Senate is only suggesting $16 million per year, which we suggest is far better than what the House has on the table. That’s why Farm Aid a few days ago joined dozens of other family farm and food organizations to sign a letter to the members of Congress negotiating over the Farm Bill urging them to do the right thing and support the Senate plan.
Here is a copy of the letter Farm Aid signed: