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Say No to setting up an Organic Check-Off

Say Yes to permanently exempting all organically certified operations from paying into federal mandatory check-off programs

Check Resources
Updated August, 18, 2013. There are a lot of things organic farmers need to know about the Organic Check-Off program which the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is very actively lobbying Congress to pass in the 2013 Farm Bill. It is critical that all organic farmers understand how this will impact them and immediately express their views on this important issue.

  • Did you know that the mandatory federal Organic Check-Off Program being pushed through Congress RIGHT NOW can’t promote organic as anything different than other farm products?
  • Did you know that the mandatory federal Organic Check-Off Program will be another tax imposed on organic farmers’ already limited income?  
  • Did you know that the Organic Trade Association is attempting to force through an application to the USDA to establish an organic check-off under the USDA’s very restrictive and bureaucratic structure? In exchange for support for their proposal, OTA is giving away free iPads!
  • Did you know that once an Organic Check-Off  Program is set up all exemptions from check-off programs for any organic operations will disappear.

The Organic Trade Association is singlehandedly moving the proposed Organic Check-off Program through Congress. They have deep pockets and access to resources that have already got bi-partisan support for their proposed program in a deeply divided Congress. Over the past eighteen months, the OTA has hired very proficient and highly paid lobbyists to push their legislative language through Congress. They are using sophisticated and expensive media campaigns that include mass mailings to organic farmers across the country to promote their program. In the process, the views of thousands of organic farmers are being ignored or distorted by OTA so as to confuse Congress and present themselves as the sole voice representing all organic farmers.

We, the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA), the Northeast Organic Farming Assoc. of New York, Inc. (NOFA-NY), the Organic Farmers Agency for Relationship Marketing Inc. (OFARM), the Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (MODPA), the Food and Water Watch and Francis Thicke (dairy farmer and National Organic Standards Board member), do not have deep pockets or access to vast resources in order to  present an alternative view to OTA; therefore, Congress only hears one voice and one perspective. However, we have developed ways for everyone to have their views heard.  

As individuals, you can sign this petition that says that you DO NOT support the establishment of an Organic Check-off program but you DO support a permanent exemption which would exempt all organically certified operations from paying into federal mandatory check-off programs.

As an organization, you can sign on to a letter that states your organization is opposed to the creation of an Organic Check-off Program but supports exempting all organically certified operations from paying into any of the existing check-off programs. To sign on to the letter please send an email to ednodpa@comcast.net  with NO to an Organic Check-Off in the subject line.

The sign-on letter is below and at:

http://www.nodpa.com/Organizational support letter for sign on by organizations opposing a check-off 8.14.13.pdf

This letter will be presented to all venues engaged in organic check-off program discussions and legislation, including all members of Congress, all Farm Bill House and Senate conference committee members,  all Congresional committees that OTA might engage to include legislative language promoting an organic check-off,  and to the USDA.