Looking to the Future: Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Policy in the Next Farm Bill

Politics and Policy

Saturday, February 4

10:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m.


Federal policy plays a critical role in supporting organic production systems, and with one year to go until the next farm bill, now is the time to focus on how to defend and strengthen key programs and policies that benefit organic producers. Additionally, transitioning to organic production remains a key barrier to meet the expanded organic demand, and now is the time to identify policy opportunities to address this gap.

This roundtable discussion will provide an update from Washington, DC and dig into policies ranging from working lands conservation and crop insurance to research and certification cost share. Policy experts from the National Organic Coalition (NOC), the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) will provide an overview of the political challenges and opportunities that we expect to encounter moving into the next farm bill. NOC, OFRF, and NSAC will also share key strategies and opportunities for grassroots outreach to engage and mobilize around critical organic wins in the next farm bill. 

In addition to digging into the specific programs that matter for organic producers, we will also preview the "marker bills" to be introduced in 2017. These marker bills will set the stage for the upcoming farm bill campaign, containing the major changes and improvements that we hope to see included in the farm bill. Finally, the 115th Congress be in place in early 2017, so this roundtable will also focus on the new and returning members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, with an eye to members of the Organic Caucus who we will need to champion our wins within the next farm bill. This workshop will also involve feedback from the audience regarding policy needs and options.  

Speakers: Alyssa Charney, Policy Specialist, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition; Brise Tencer, Executive Director, Organic Farming Research Foundation; Mark Lipson, Research Associate, Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems, UC Santa Cruz; Steve Etka, Policy Director, National Organic Coalition;  Laura Batcha, CEO & Executive Director, Organic Trade Association, Megan Debates, Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions, Organic Trade Association (OTA)