An Organic Check-Off Program – The Complete Picture
Say YES to a technical legislative fix exempting all certified organic operations from a mandatory Federal National Research and Promotion Programs (NRPPs)
Say NO to reclassification of organic as a commodity, which would open the door to the establishment of a mandatory Federal Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP)
Say YES to a more inclusive and transparent process of discussion
within the full organic community
Updated February 22, 2013
- Jim Riddle's thoughts on an organic checkoff, added February 22, 2013.
- Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP), the complete picture, added February 22, 2013.
- Richard Mathews presentation to the WODPA Conference 2012
- Summary of Producer position on the OTA proposal for MOSES Conference
- NODPA's Position
- Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing, (OFARM Inc.) Position
- Sign on letter to Congress to oppose OTA’s lobbying for an amendment in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill 2012
- Presentation at the 2012 NODPA Field Days of the challenges of the OTA proposal
- NODPA News Article, July 2012, on OTA’s proposal
- OTA’s amendment proposed by their lobbyist The Podesta Group for Senator Casey to propose as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill
- 2008 report and 2012 audit report on check-off programs that show the poor management of the existing Federal Check-off programs
- Revised guidelines for all Federal Check-off programs
- COMMODITY PROMOTION, RESEARCH, AND INFORMATION ACT OF 1996 that forms the basis for all Federal Check-off programs
The 2002 Farm Bill, and implementing regulations, exempts certified producers and handlers of 100 percent organic products from National Research and Promotion Programs (NRPP) - check-off programs. The Organic Trade Association is spearheading a move to amend that legislation. The amendment would do two things. First, the exemption would be expanded to cover certified producers and handlers of organic and 100 percent organic products. Second, organic as a multi commodity grouping would be reclassified as a single commodity.
The amendment is preliminary to establishing an Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP). Proponents believe an ORPP is needed to distinguish organic in the marketplace, grow demand, and educate consumers.
What We Believe
- All groups should work together to promote only the technical fix that allows exemption of all organically certified operations.
- It is premature to support reclassification of organic as a commodity thereby authorizing the creation of a mandatory ORPP.
- There are too many issues needing to be addressed before seeking an ORPP. See examples on page 3 the Summary of Producer Position, presented at the MOSES Conference.
The ORPP would be a federally mandated program subject to policies, procedures, and guidelines of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). By statute USDA would be required to provide ongoing oversight of the program. USDA’s Secretary of Agriculture has final approval authority over every word in every promotional campaign.
How USDA Views Organic:
- Organic is a production claim. Organic is about how food is produced and handled.
- Organic is not a content claim. It does not represent that a product is “free” of something.
- Organic is not a food quality or safety claim. Organic is not a judgment about the quality and safety of any product. Organic does not mean a product is superior, safer, or healthier than conventionally produced food.
What an ORPP cannot do.
- Promote products in any way other than generically
- Disparage another agricultural commodity.
- Use funds to influence governmental regulatory action or policy, including the NOSB and NOP.
- Use the program as a “pass through” to fund other organizations