General,  Organic

Amplifying Farmers’ Needs at the 2024 NOC Fly-In

Last month, Milo and Nicole on our federal policy team were in DC for the National Organic Coalition (NOC) fly-in. NOC is an alliance of organizations across the country that advocate for organic farmer and consumer needs. During the fly-in, we focused on the following priorities:

  • Supporting the Organic Certification Cost Share Program and producers transitioning to organic
  • Addressing regulatory USDA bottlenecks
  • Advancing equity within agricultural programs and policies
  • Solving the organic dairy crisis
  • Supporting organic research
  • Advancing conservation practices and programs

Learn more about these priorities here.

“It was a three-day whirlwind experience learning lots of things about government, agriculture, and the organic system. Fighting for proposals for the organic farmer. OEFFA staff has been greatly helpful in enlightening me on the experience. Farmer Dave leaving DC hope changes are made.”

– Dave Shively

Ohio Farmers on Capitol Hill

Our Ohio team brought organic grain farmer Dave Shively and organic vegetable producers Joe and Renee Ramunni with us. They all had an absolutely wonderful time walking around DC and lobbying for the first time!  

As a coalition, we met with Representative Chellie Pingree’s (D-ME) office before meeting with Ohio members of Congress. Our office visits included Senator Brown, Senator Vance, Representative Latta (Dave’s Congressman), and Representative Miller (Joe and Renee’s Congressman). All were very fruitful conversations and we were excited that Representative Miller was able to meet Joe and Renee directly.   

“OEFFA staff told us that farmer stories are what’s most important and it took us a while to believe them but it is so true and made a big impact! And the fact that small farms also have an impact especially in our direct communities, our goals and dreams are just different than larger farms.”

– Joe and Renee Ramunni

On Friday, Milo met with the USDA (Jenny Moffitt, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs) with the NOC coalition. They discussed issues such as the updates from the EPA on the status of the omnibus nitrogen rule, increasing money for the organic cost-share program, the importance of better data on the organic dairy cost of production, and ways the USDA can lower the barriers farmers of color face in obtaining organic certification. The coalition also reviewed updates from the Strengthening Organic Enforcement and Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards implementations.   

Our strategy meetings with NOC partners were lively, information-packed, and productive. Going forward, we hope to work in coalition to advance organic dairy policy, educate legislators on why we are losing organic farmland, combat greenwashing terms that confuse the public about the value of organic, protect organic seed supply, and emphasize “collective liberation” in our efforts for supporting farmers of color and diversified operations. 

Take a look at these pictures for some smiles and inspiration!