WASHINGTON – The Homegrown Organic Act of 2017 – H.R. 3637, by Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H. – is a pro-jobs, pro-consumer and pro-environment proposal that would give farmers who want to transition to organic agriculture the assistance they need, said EWG Legislative Director Colin O’Neil.
“Any member of Congress interested in expanding market opportunities for U.S. farmers – while at the same time reducing pesticides, fertilizer and animal waste in drinking water sources, and giving more consumers access to homegrown organic food – should support this bill,” said O’Neil. “Rep. Kuster’s common-sense proposal is an example of how the government can work in partnership with family farmers who want to thrive, and also be a good environmental steward.”
The Homegrown Organic Act would modify existing voluntary agricultural conservation programs to better assist producers who want to switch to organic. The simple changes called for in the bill would provide transitioning producers with valuable technical and financial assistance, as well as make more farmland available to producers wanting to farm organically.
While the demand for organic foods continue to surge, with double-digit sales growth each year, there is not enough domestic supply to keep pace. As a result, many organic food companies are forced to import many of their staple organic ingredients like corn and soybeans, which could be grown in the U.S.
“There’s no reason that the largest corn and soybean producing nation in the world should be importing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of organic corn and soybeans that could be grown by American producers,” said O’Neil. “With less than 1 percent of our farmland set aside for organics, Congress should better position America’s farmers and ranchers to meet the growing demand for organic food.”