Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) has joined the growing bipartisan effort to increase funding for the USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). As a co-sponsor of the Organic Agriculture Research Act (HR 2436) Rep. LaMalfa joins fellow Agriculture Committee member, Congressman John Faso (R-NY) and California Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) and 50 other Members of Congress who have signed on to support the bill.
“California agriculture adds more than $47 billion a year to our state’s economy, responsible for over half of all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the country,” said LaMalfa. “As markets and consumer demands change, it’s important we provide our farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to keep up and remain competitive. The OREI program does just that, and I’m proud to support this legislation.”
HR2436 was sponsored originally by Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). The bill seeks to renew the OREI program and increase its funding to $50 million per year.
Sales of organic products continue to grow by double digits (23% growth in 2016, USDA Organic Production Surve). Yet, U.S. organic production is growing at a relatively slower pace. American farms are not keeping up with consumer demand, and we are increasingly turning to imported organic products. This is a lost opportunity for our farmers, our communities, and our country. Federal investment in organic research has been stagnant for nearly a decade. Congressman LaMalfa and the bill’s other co-sponsors are leading Congress to help American farmers meet the challenges of organic farming systems and highly competitive global markets.
Organic farms and businesses have proven to be a strong engine of jobs and economic health throughout the U.S. California’s 1st District is no exception. Congressman LaMalfa has 234 certified organic operations in his district according to the Organic Trade Association.
“We are grateful to Congressman LaMalfa for taking the time to hear directly from farmers and about the importance of increased investment in organic research,” said Brise Tencer, Executive Director at OFRF. “It is encouraging to see this level of bipartisan support for a bill that will help America’s organic farmers succeed.