Washington, D.C.—The Organic Market Development (OMD) Act was introduced in the Senate on September 27 by  Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Angus King (I-ME), Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and its companion bill in the House was introduced by Rep. Anne Kuster (D-NH), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-CA). The act maintains the existing funding of $75 million annually through Commodity Credit Corporation funding, plus provides for an authorization for appropriations of $15 million for 2024 and each fiscal year thereafter. 

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) said the legislation will help unlock the potential of the organic marketplace and ensure the continued growth of organic in the United States. “We thank the sponsoring lawmakers for introducing this important legislation. With the strategic investments offered in the OMD Act, the organic community can unlock the potential of the organic marketplace and continue the growth trend and capitalize on the recent investments made by USDA in organic farming,” said Tom Chapman, OTA CEO. “Passage of this legislation is key to ensuring transition and growth of organic at the farm level is carried through to the marketplace.” He added that the act "strongly compliments existing and proposed legislation with federal investments in organic research, farm-level transition opportunities, and process improvement for an effective oversight and regulatory function to ensure and maintain the organic standards and consumer confidence.”

The OMD Act is aimed at leveraging investments in new and expanded organic markets by funding and supporting increased processing capacity, market development activities, targeted equipment purchases, and other activities to increase consumption of domestic organic commodities, OTA explained. Codifying an existing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program, the act is about solving the supply chain gaps for the market to support organic farmers and businesses, the association added.

“Organic agriculture sales reached over $60 billion in 2022 and continue to grow, building a more resilient and sustainable food system. As more farmers consider making the transition from conventional to organic farming, we must strengthen organic processing and storage and enhance market opportunities,” said Rep. Pingree, a longtime organic farmer and member of the House Agriculture Committee.

OTA Statement on Efforts to Block Organic Animal Welfare Rule

In separate news, OTA responded to efforts on Capitol Hill to block USDA adoption of finalized organic animal welfare standards: "Efforts on Capitol Hill to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from adopting critical regulations to update key organic animal welfare provisions are a blatant attack on organic. The Organic Trade Association is launching an all-out effort to fight this attack. Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) has introduced an amendment to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill to effectively block USDA from moving forward with the nearly finalized Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards. This follows a similar amendment offered earlier on the House side by Cong. Keith Self, (R-TX). The action by these lawmakers is unjust and unwarranted and represents a broader attempt to dismantle the National Organic Program. The OLPS regulations have been under discussion and review for over twenty years and are widely supported by the organic sector and the public at large. Adoption of these amendments would set a dangerous precedent for organic rule-making and threaten the future of organic." 

Background:  OTA Call to Action: Organic is Under Threat

Related: OTA Awarded Lead Role in USDA Organic Partnership Program

Organic Sales Surpass $60 Billion