14, 2005, Organic Farming Research Foundation:
The 2005 Appropriations Omnibus bill, signed by President
Bush on Dec. 8, provides key U.S. organic agriculture
programs with funding levels equal to amounts appropriated
in 2004. Organic advocates are calling these funding
measures a small victory during a difficult fiscal year,
in which many substantial cuts have been made to federal
"Level funding for these programs this year is
evidence that Congress is increasingly aware of the
value of organic farming to both farmers and consumers,"
said Brise Tencer of the Organic Farming Research Foundation
Congress allocates money annually to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture and other federal programs, but only
in recent years has funding been directed specifically
to organic farming research programs. OFRF and allies
on Capitol Hill lobbied hard over the past 10 months
to secure renewal of these funds. The Organic Caucus,
a bipartisan group of 35 members of the U.S. House of
Representatives that formed in 2001, worked particularly
closely with OFRF to protect this funding.
"Organic farming offers many opportunities for
current and future farmers as more Americans want organically
produced products," said Organic Caucus member
Congressman Virgil Goode, R-Va., who serves on the House
Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee.
Organic provisions in the $388.4 billion Fiscal 2005
omnibus bill included $2 million for Organic Standards
(the National Organic Program at the USDA), $1.89 million
for the Organic Transitions research grant program,
and $500,000 for collecting data on the scale and growth
of organic agriculture in the United States.
"Organic farming is becoming more widespread every
year, and it's critical that we support that growth
by funding organic programs," said Congressman
Sam Farr, D-Calif., a strong Congressional advocate
for organics standards.
Thanks to the help of Representative Farr and California
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, OFRF was able to secure an additional
$125,000 for expanded research at the USDA Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) station in Salinas, Calif., the
only ARS research station with a dedicated organic research
"The increased funding to the Organic Minor Crops
project at Salinas places dollars where they can be
most effective," said Jim McCreight, Research Director
at ARS-Salinas. Dr. Eric Brennan's organic research
(the focus of the additional funding) emphasizes cover
cropping systems and crop rotations for organic strawberry
and vegetable producers in California's central coast.
While some additional funding requests made by OFRF
for USDA organic programs were not appropriated, Congress
included language that directs the USDA's Agriculture
Research Service to better serve organic producers and
consumers: "The Committee encourages ARS, when
appropriate, to direct research resources in a manner
that reflects the growing interest in organic production
and the need to provide enhanced research for this growing
To view a full list of organic program appropriations
for the 2005 fiscal year, visit http://www.OFRF.org/policy.