NOFA-NJ Leaders Go To Washington DC To Work On National Policy Issues
NOFA-NJ Executive Director, Camille Miller and Board President Barbara Rose spent the week of June 16th in Washington DC with other organic farmer and rancher leaders to discuss forming a national organization to build an effective political voice for organic farmers and ranchers in the United States. Representatives from organic farming and supporting associations from the East, Midwest, Northwest, South, Upper Great Plains and mountain regions, representing approximately 1/3 of organic farmers nationwide attended this exploratory meeting. This organization would be a forum where organic farmers can debate and formulate national organic farm policy reflecting the needs and concerns of organic farmers plus represent organic farmer’s interests and concerns in broader issues where the voice of the organic farmer was needed or desired.
Mid-week was spent on the Hill speaking with NJ legislatures about the current policy issues affecting the organic community such as the recent major USDA policy changes conflict with organic foods Production Act (OFPA), the GMO contamination issue especially the USDA’s proposal to approve 2,4-D resistant crops that would hurt specialty crops in NJ with wind drift and, asking for support of the Defazio-Boxer Bills on GMO Labeling [H.R.1699/S.809]and opposing the Pompeo Bill [H.R. 4432] otherwise known as the Dark Bill which preempts state efforts on GMO labeling, prevents FDA from ever requiring labeling in the future, and codifies the current failed voluntary system in place since 2001. NOFA-NJ also signed on to a petition to disallow the use of the word “natural” on any food product containing GMOs. The week ended with the annual National Organic Coalition meeting among the many topics discussed for action this year was the contamination of grains with GMO properties and the huge economic loss to conventional non-gmo, sustainable and organic farmers; the protection of organic seeds and classical plant breeders and ; is there a need for an organic check-off?