Senate passes its version of 2013 Farm Bill

StabenowThe U.S. Senate on Monday evening approved the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954), its version of the Farm Bill, by a vote of 66 to 27. Read this bill online. It includes $16 million in funding for each of FY 2014-2018 for Organic Agriculture Research Extension Initiatives; $5 million in mandatory funding for each of FY 2014-2018 for Organic Data Initiatives; $15 million in funding for each of FY 2014-2018 for the National Organic Program (NOP); $5 million in funding for technology upgrades at the NOP; strong enforcement tools with protections for the due process rights of certificate-holders; a requirement that organic price elections for crop insurance are completed no later than 2015; strong language facilitating organic participation in conservation programs; positive reforms to certification cost share; and an exemption from conventional check-off programs for organic producers and handlers and authorization for USDA to consider an application by the organic sector for a research and promotion order. The U.S. House of Representatives is set to open debate on its version of the Farm Bill next week.  For more on the process, read this Politico article,and stay tuned to OTA’s U.S. Government Affairs Forum.

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