OSGATA Membership Votes To Oppose Industry’s Organic Check-off

A recent referendum by the OSGATA membership resulted in unanimous opposition to the “Organic Check-off” proposed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Significantly, not a single vote was cast in favor of the Organic Check-off.

Last week, the OTA formally petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to initiate a vote and requisite steps for implementing a proposed Organic Check-off program. Its stated purpose, as lobbied by the OTA, is to promote the organic industry while also funding gaps in organic research.

The OSGATA membership, comprised of certified organic farmers, seed companies, seed professionals, and affiliate organizations, is concerned that the proposed Organic Check-off will follow suit of other check-off programs in favoring large corporate businesses instead of small-scale family farmers and ranchers.

Other USDA Check-off mandatory tax programs have a history of restrictive promotion guidelines, further burdened by heavy bureaucracy, collections harassment, and a lack of financial accountability. There is little confidence that the proposed Organic Check-off will operate differently than other generic commodity check-off programs.

“The proposed Organic Check-off will not serve the interests of organic family farmers,” said fourth-generation Kansas farmer and certified organic seed grower Bryce Stephens, OSGATA Vice-President. “Our family has had experience with Wheat, Beef and Dairy Check-off programs. I encourage organic farmers to educate yourselves on the issue and reject the OTA proposal.”

Read the full press release here.

Organic farmers or organizations opposed to the Organic Check-off proposal may add their names to the No Organic Check-off website.

 

 

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