Organic Certification Changes

Organic Certification Changes

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A Congressional group sent a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue expressing concerns over recent changes to the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, including a proposed reduction in the reimbursement rate and the maximum assistance permitted.

U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse says organic ag is important in Central Washington …

NEWHOUSE … “In the Fourth District, we have the highest number of organic farmers of any district in the state, and I believe we are fourth largest in the nation.”

Newhouse says the growth has been impressive …

NEWHOUSE … “It’s a growing part of the agricultural industry in the state of Washington, so it’s an important part of the economy. And, organic farmers, just like conventional farmers, have seen a lot of challenges over the last few months, certainly with the pandemic.”

It’s important, he says, that USDA knows this …

NEWHOUSE … “I felt it was important to point out to the Secretary that this is not particularly good timing, on their part, to effectively increase the cost for farmers to get organically certified.”

And, Newhouse says organic farmers don’t need more challenges …

NEWHOUSE … “It gives them another challenge while their facing an incredibly difficult time. So, that was why we decided it was important to point that out to them, to raise this issue with the Secretary and hopefully we can get some positive change.”

Newhouse expects some reaction from the USDA soon.

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