OFRF Coverage Priorities for 2023 Farm Invoice & Appropriations

2023 is an enormous 12 months for the meals and farm methods in the US. This 12 months the 2018 Farm Invoice expires, and a brand new Farm Invoice should be handed. The farm invoice is a bit of omnibus laws that will get handed each 5 years or in order that impacts farming livelihoods, the practices used to develop meals, and even what’s grown. The farm invoice covers applications starting from growing entry to crop insurance coverage for farmers to offering entry to wholesome, nutritious meals to households; from starting farmer coaching to monetary and technical help for sustainable farming practices. Primarily, the farm invoice offers the coverage and authorized frameworks that make up our meals and farm methods. What will get included or excluded from the farm invoice has an amazing impression on farming and the meals system within the US for the following 5 years. 

Concurrently, the annual appropriations course of can also be underway. This course of occurs yearly and establishes the discretionary funds for the US. Congress makes use of what is called an authorization-appropriation course of. Put merely, authorization of spending establishes coverage priorities and paths ahead for businesses and the applications they administer. Appropriations then funds these businesses and applications, except there’s obligatory funding included within the farm invoice.

The farm invoice is an authorization invoice. However, it additionally consists of some obligatory funds, that are  funding sources outdoors of the overall appropriations course of. The final appropriations course of determines the funds for what is permitted within the farm invoice however not funded by way of obligatory funding. Drafting a coverage is barely step one within the advocacy course of. Ensuring the federal government has the instruments and the funds it must successfully implement and administer these insurance policies and the applications which can be created is simply as vital. If one thing is decided as a precedence within the farm invoice, however then doesn’t get allotted adequate funding within the appropriations course of, it gained’t get very far. This is the reason OFRF, together with our companions, have interaction in each processes. We advocate for each the insurance policies and the funding to assist natural farmers thrive. 

As a corporation dedicated to the development and widespread adoption of natural farming methods, OFRF is deeply concerned in each the farm invoice and the appropriations processes. We’re working arduous to advocate for organics at each flip.

On the core, OFRF is worried with:

  • Constructing resiliency to each local weather and provide chain disruption by way of natural administration and extra localized meals methods.
  • Investing in analysis in natural agriculture. Analysis has important advantages to public good and return on funding, with every greenback of funding into public analysis offering over $20 in financial profit.
  • Supporting the enlargement of natural manufacturing to fulfill growing market demand for natural merchandise by way of further investments in analysis related to natural producers.
  • Ensuring natural producers, and people thinking about transitioning to natural manufacturing, have the analysis instruments and alternatives wanted to thrive.

Demand for natural merchandise continues to develop whereas home manufacturing has not stored tempo, leading to shoppers buying an increasing number of imported natural merchandise. Agricultural and financial analysis is important to help natural producers and facilitate elevated home manufacturing of natural merchandise. The insurance policies OFRF is advocating for will end in expanded analysis instruments to farmers. In addition they present market indicators to researchers that natural agriculture analysis is a valued and vital space of examine. This incentivizes younger researchers to pursue natural agriculture analysis tasks and experience of their careers.

Public investments in agricultural analysis may also have a major impression on rural agricultural communities. That is one thing that OFRF continues to middle in our work. For instance, many grant analysis applications require that analysis tasks contain native agricultural producers. This participation implies that farmers, ranchers, and meals producers are concerned within the analysis and ensures that the analysis produces action-oriented, usable merchandise that enhance the financial profitability and ecological vitality of farming operations. Moreover, almost all tasks present compensation to the collaborating farmers, paying them for his or her effort and time concerned within the analysis. This represents a direct profit to producers partaking in analysis tasks.

The Farm Invoice

OFRF’s precedence areas are:

  • Improve the natural analysis being performed by Agricultural Analysis Service (ARS) to a portion equal to the natural market share.
    • In 2022, the ARS (the only in-house analysis operation at USDA) spent ~$15 million on direct natural analysis out of a $1.8 billion funds, or lower than 1%. That very same 12 months, the natural product gross sales market exceeded $60 billion for the second time, representing over 6% of the full market. Natural and traditional producers rely upon analysis merchandise that assist them make economically and ecologically sensible selections. The long-term analysis tasks at ARS produce high-quality analysis merchandise that aren’t at all times doable by way of shorter-term, grant-funded tasks. The Farm Invoice is a crucial alternative to ship a transparent message to ARS that they need to enhance the quantity of funding going to natural agriculture to at the very least its market share to assist producers meet the chance of accelerating demand for natural merchandise.
  • Improve funding into the USDA’s Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture (NIFA) analysis into natural administration methods
    • OFRF is asking for widespread funding throughout all NIFA analysis applications to fulfill the growing want as extra producers transition into natural manufacturing, particularly on condition that there is no such thing as a analysis part supported by the USDA’s historic Natural Transition Initiative. Rising NIFA funding for natural analysis throughout all aggressive grant applications, from OREI to the Agriculture and Meals Analysis Initiative (AFRI), would offer continued help for growing the technical service and institutional data essential to fulfill the wants of producers nationwide.
  • Totally fund and develop the Natural Knowledge Initiative (ODI)
    • ODI is a multi-agency initiative that performs financial evaluation, natural danger assessments, survey and statistical evaluation, and market knowledge assortment. This program has been profitable in offering worthwhile info to Congress, authorities businesses, and the natural sector. There has not been a full, systematic USDA evaluate of the natural market since 2014. Funding the ODI would enable the USDA to supply that service. A rise in funds would enable for stronger intra-agency cooperation and be used to modernize methods and supply high-value, correct natural value reporting and natural knowledge assortment.

So as to tackle these precedence areas, we’re working with our companions in Congress in each the farm invoice course of and the annual appropriations course of, together with introducing a number of marker payments and submitting testimony to committees. A marker invoice is a invoice that’s launched in Congress to sign coverage concepts and collect help. A marker invoice communicates widespread help by way of the method of co-sponsorship. These marker payments don’t get adopted as standalone payments, however are designed to be included into the bigger farm invoice. Marker payments assist lawmakers, trade representatives, and grassroots advocates construct help for insurance policies. With giant omnibus laws just like the farm invoice, having smaller packages like marker payments assist concepts get consideration. The extra help {that a} marker invoice receives, the extra doubtless it is going to be to get included into the ultimate invoice, so hold an eye fixed out for alternatives to help these efforts!


In our appropriations advocacy for 2024, we now have 4 particular requests for discretionary funding, intimately associated to our coverage and program advocacy: (1) $35 million and report language for natural agriculture subjects on the Agricultural Analysis Service (ARS); (2) $10 million for the Natural Transitions Analysis Program (ORG) operated by the Nationwide Institute for Meals and Agriculture (NIFA); (3) $60 million, or full licensed ranges for the Sustainable Agriculture Analysis and Schooling Program (SARE) operated by NIFA; and (4) $1 million for the Natural Knowledge and Markets Initiative (ODI), a joint initiative of the Agricultural Advertising and marketing Service (AMS), Financial Analysis Service (ERS), and the Nationwide Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS).

The entire insurance policies included in these efforts signify numerous hours working with our companions, and a major step towards offering wanted investments into natural agriculture analysis, and supporting a rapidly-growing and -maturing natural meals and agriculture market. 

To deepen the impression of our advocacy, although, we want your assist! Info, figures, and statistical breakdowns of the results of elevated public funding in agricultural analysis might be compelling, however the experiences and tales of researchers and farmers talk the impression greater than a report ever may. This is the reason we at OFRF are starting to implement a brand new technique in our coverage advocacy: story banking. We’re amassing and amplifying tales of researchers who’ve successfully shared their analysis with decision-makers. The primary instance we shared is the story of Dr. Eric Brennan, who was in a position to weigh in on Ag Order 4.0 and alter the course of historical past. In case you have a narrative concerning the impacts of your analysis, please attain out to share it with us! 

Marker payments we labored with Congressional companions to craft will probably be launched over the following two weeks. We’re excited to share extra particulars about them and our advocacy work quickly. Keep tuned.

. . .

Learn extra:

2018 Farm Invoice

NSAC, What Are Appropriations, https://sustainableagriculture.web/our-work/campaigns/annual-appropriations/what-are-appropriations/

NSAC, What’s the Farm Invoice, https://sustainableagriculture.web/our-work/campaigns/fbcampaign/what-is-the-farm-bill/

USDA, Farm Invoice Spending, https://www.ers.usda.gov/subjects/farm-economy/farm-commodity-policy/farm-bill-spending/

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