Flint Farmers MarketImage source: Michigan Municipal League, Flickr

10 Minutes to Support Organic Farmers

In this season of gratitude, your voice is needed. Your call or email today could help organic farmers receive the cost share assistance they have been promised in fiscal year 2021.

In August, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced a partial defunding of the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, despite the difficult year for organic farmers who have lost markets and struggled to stay staffed during the pandemic. [Read Cornucopia’s August action alert for more background.]

As we send this message, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees are negotiating. If your congressional representatives are on either committee, your action is needed. Follow these steps to help:

    1. Determine who represents you in Congress. (If you’re not sure, you can find your House Representative using your zip code.)
    2. Look through the list on our website to see whether your Senators and Representative are on an appropriations committee. (Note: If you are in Colorado, South Dakota, or Wyoming, you have no Representatives or Senators serving on the Appropriations Committee.)
    3. If not, consider sharing this action alert on social media or by email. (Use our Facebook post for easy sharing.) You may have friends whose representatives are working on appropriations.
    4. If so, please contact your representative(s) with your personalized request that they ensure the Organic Certification Cost Share Program is fully funded. A personalized message is powerful. Cornucopia offers this sample text; please customize to the extent that you’re able:

    Dear Senator/Representative (NAME),

    I am (a dedicated organic food consumer)/(an organic farmer). In your role on the Appropriations Committee, I ask you to restore funding to the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). The OCCSP is most important for small to medium-sized organic farms and new organic farmers.

    This year has been burdensome for farmers as they attempt to keep farmworkers safe and struggle in markets made unpredictable during the pandemic.

    Inaccurate USDA reports to Congress about carryover balances have led to shortfalls in the OCCSP. Some of the most vulnerable farms across the country, now saddled with an additional and unplanned expense, are paying for the USDA’s mistakes. These farms are most likely to provide food for local communities and they are crucial to their rural economies.

    To close this funding gap for organic farmers, I ask the Appropriations Committee to provide $12 million in extra funding, to be available until expended, for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program in the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations package.

    Sincerely,
    (YOUR NAME)
    (YOUR TOWN, STATE)

    1. Then send The Cornucopia Institute a quick email to let us know about your outreach: cultivate@cornucopia.org.

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