Reps. Pingree, Newhouse, and Panetta Introduce Legislation to Increase Funding for USDA’s Flagship Organic Research Program

A news release on Tuesday from Rep. Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) indicated that, “Today [Rep. Pingree], Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) will introduce the Organic Agriculture Research Act to support the continued growth of the nation’s booming organic agriculture industry.

“The legislation increases funding for USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI), from $20 million to $50 million annually. The program funds applied research projects across the country that help organic farmers improve their operations and meet the growing consumer demand for organic food.”

Graphic from, “Congresswoman Pingree leads bipartisan bill to support continued growth in organic agriculture industry” (May 16, 2017).

The news update indicated that, “U.S. organic product sales currently exceed $43 billion per year, up from less than $19 billion in 2007 and $3.5 billion in 1997. Almost 13 percent of the produce sold in the U.S. is now organic.

“Organic farms are 35 percent more profitable than the average farm.  Premiums paid to organic farmers can range from 29 to 32 percent above non-organic prices. The difference in on-farm net income in many cases is what makes staying on the farm possible.”

This week’s press release added that, “Unfortunately, domestic production is not keeping up with consumer demand for organic products—a missed opportunity for American farmers. One problem is that the dramatic increase in consumer demand has not been met with an increase in public investment in organic research. Funding for OREI has remained around the same level since 2010.”

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