Cornucopia’s Take: Natural Grocers’ Alan Lewis recently visited Capitol Hill to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill with lawmakers. He shares his experience, insight, and disturbing commentary below about what this may mean for organic food and agriculture.
Will Coming “Reforms” at the USDA Spell the End of Organic?
by Alan Lewis
Back Room “Reform” of the National Organic Standards Board May Be a Direct Threat to Organic Integrity.
I spent a week on Capitol Hill recently, during which I spoke with over two dozen congressional staffers and lawmakers about the upcoming 2018 Farm Bill. With about 400 days to go before the 2012 Farm Bill funding ends, everyone in the food/agriculture/nutrition arena is focused on negotiating to protect their favorite programs. Senator Roberts (R-KS), the dean of farming in the Senate, has stated there will be no added funding. If you want something new, then first find something someone else can do without. The Trump Administration has, of course, threatened a budget with hefty reductions in spending for both rural safety net (crop insurance, price supports) and urban safety net (SNAP, school nutrition) spending.
In May, the USDA began an agency reform initiative to cut out unnecessary spending and streamline regulation. These appear to be a code phrases for dismantling many longstanding programs that big agriculture can do without, but that smallholders are too disorganized and powerless to fight for. Read Full Article »