Organic agriculture gets $50M boost from USDA

Feeling like 50 million bucks: Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced $50 million for a new initiative to meet the Obama Administration's promise to encourage more organic agriculture production. The 2009 Organic Initiative, to be funded as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will provide financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production. (USDA.gov Release No. 0146.09)

3 Responsesto “Organic agriculture gets $50M boost from USDA”

  1. Wollstonecraft says:

    I think this is a bad idea. Organic has been growing just fine without handouts. In an attempt to level the playing field, I’d prefer the government stop (or begin reducing) subsidies in the first place instead of handing out even more money.

  2. Eric Reuter says:

    I second that comment. Organic farmers do not need new handouts and subsidies, they just need a level playing field. When a problem is created by government policies in the first place, the last thing that will fix it is more government spending to mitigate the spending that's already happening.

    If the USDA wants to support small and/or organic farmers, it should focus on reworking the morass of food safety laws, liability and insurance issues, and business regulations that prevent or discourage small farms in the first place. That would do far more than new handouts.

  3. Bonnie P. says:

    Guys, you are not going to get a level playing field just by bulldozing the big mountain of money that production farmers have been getting for decades. At this point organic is disadvantaged in so many ways: academic research, plant and animal breeds, from a labor standpoint.... The funding is not that much, and it doesn;t sound like handouts to me, it sounds like financial encouragements to do the right thing. Call it affirmative action for ag.

    And hey, why do we have to choose between funding and reworking the morass of food safety laws, liability, and insurance? Why can't we have both?  And you can skip the funding if you don't need it or like it.