cows in field

Future of Organic – National Organic Farmer Workshop: Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 1:00 PM-5:00 PM EST

It has been 30 years since the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) was signed into law and while the organic sector has made many advances, there is still much to be done to ensure the continued success of the organic movement and truly achieve the gold standard in food systems. The Organic Trade Association (OTA), the Organic Farmers Association (OFA), and the Swette?Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University (ASU), led by Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, are embarking on a partnership to bring together organic farmers nationwide invested in the continued success and growth of organic.?

Collectively, the organic stakeholder workshops will explore what has and?has not?worked since the federal organic program was established and set a new pathway for the future. Participants are encouraged to bring their new, old, radical or repurposed ideas to take us through the next 30 years of organic farming. Individual organic farmers are encouraged to apply to attend the workshop and share their ideas directly. The outcomes of the workshop will contribute to a report that will outline improvements or clarifications necessary to the law and regulatory process within USDA and inform updates to the Organic Foods Production Act and other priorities in the next farm bill.

For those who are able to attend the workshop virtually, register here:

For those unable to attend the workshop, the printed survey can be downloaded at: and the online survey can be completed at:

Breakouts Topics at the workshop

This workshop includes four breakout topics to address important issues for the future of organic. Registrants will select their preferred and alternate choices from the following topics during registration. Prior to the workshop, all participants will be provided their assigned topic along with a Workshop workbook.

USDA & NOP – Standards development, certification, fees, and other federal services

The structure of the U.S. organic regulatory framework has a truly unique, participatory structure that comes with high expectations from stakeholders. This breakout will explore the responsibilities that government and stakeholders have in developing and implementing the organic standards and areas for improvement. We will explore how to improve the certification and inspections process, certification fees and cost-share. Also we will explore how to improve access and effectiveness of the various programs and services offered across USDA agencies for organic producers.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT – Advancing environmental, human health and social justice outcomes

Organic certification is based on a commitment to continuous improvement. Unfortunately, the original aims of the Organic Foods Production Act have not been fully realized, the organic standards do not include labor, social and emerging environmental and animal welfare issues. This breakout will explore how continuous improvement should be defined in organic standards. We will examine how USDA programs and services can better support organic farms and to advance outcomes related to the environment and conservation, labor and social justice, and accessibility to more nutritious organic foods.

FARM & MARKET VIABILITY – Market development, label claims, fraud prevention

A healthy market for organic products in to the future requires a clear market distinction backed by strong standards and enforcement. Industry consolidation, and fraud threaten farm and market viability and consumer trust in organic. This breakout will explore factors that are holding back growth in organic markets and identify solutions across sectors, geographies, demographics, and markets. We will explore how to support farm viability and develop strong organic markets in the face of competing label claims, fraud, industry consolidation, and other challenging industry dynamics.

ORGANIC TRANSITION – Overcoming barriers to successful transition to organic and managing market impacts

Organic farming presents a promising opportunity for U.S. farmers, yet less than one percent of domestic farmland is certified organic today. The three-year land transition after the last application of a prohibited substance is an important prerequisite to becoming eligible for organic certification, many farmers face steep challenges and barriers when seeking to transition to organic production. This breakout will explore the opportunities for supporting farmers to transition and stay in organic production. We will explore various incentives, support programs, and transitional certifications that can help farmers through the transition process. We’ll also examine concerns that you may have about new farms transitioning to organic and how to manage market impacts to support a healthy organic market for all.

For more information: or or PO Box 709, Spirit Lake, IA 51360 -202-643-5363.