Organics in the News

Missouri’s organic certification program nixed
Despite huge growth in the state’s organic sector, governor’s office drops organic program and sustainable agriculture demonstration project citing budget cuts.

By Dan Sullivan

April 21, 2005: Missouri’s organic certification program, not quite two years old, has been eliminated as part of $1.9 million in state department of agriculture budget cuts. Missouri’s growing cadre of organic farmers—who had relied on the state’s $100 organic certification fee—will now have to turn to private certifiers, whose fees are typically much higher.

Although a Missouri Department of Agriculture spokesman said all programs were sharing the burden, the director of the Missouri Farmers Union was quoted in published reports as saying that the cuts have been targeted at smaller farming operations. As part of those cuts, the state’s organic program coordinator and agritourism director positions were both eliminated, along with the Show-Me State’s demonstration program for sustainable agriculture.

At least one Missouri organic farmer is pursuing a federal complaint, alleging that the state has breached its statutory obligation to provide services and, by jeopardizing existing certification, subjected farmers to an “unlawful taking.”

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