This is a compensated campaign with the Organic Trade Association and Mamavation. All opinions expressed are my own.
Eating organic is something that I wish I could say we did all the time, but as a mom of three, I know first hand just how expensive grocery shopping can be already. Organic food not only taste better and has a better texture but they are also free of harmful pesticides and chemicals. This is why I’m pretty excited about what’s about to happen to the organic food industry.
Do you remember…
Beef, it’s what’s for dinner?
The Incredible Edible Egg
These slogans are the result of the incredibly popular advertising campaigns that helped make these commodities, like milk, beef and eggs, become a regular part of our family’s meal plan. These national marketing campaigns were funded by something called check-off programs. Check-off programs have done so much for the food industry, including raising money for education, advertising, marketing and has even helped with expansion into other markets. And now a check-off program just might be coming soon to the organic food industry. If approved, this would do amazing things for the organic food industry, including bringing down costs of organic food!
So what exactly are Check-off programs and how do they work?
Check-off programs are named after the process by which farmers agree to participate. Basically, farmers would check-off to agree to contribute to a central fund that would benefit the organic food market as a whole. These programs are created by pooling money from organic farmers, handlers, and processors to promote the sector, educate consumers, and conduct research on organic production methods. The programs do not promote one brand over the other but rather the food as a whole.
The goal of this program is to ultimately make organic food more accessible to more people and get it onto more shopping lists and dinner plates across the country. The program would benefit organic farmers and ensure that they have the best tools they need in order to succeed and be profitable. More organic farmers entering the market means more organic food options and lower prices for consumers.
The Organic Check-off program could raise over $30 million per year for promotional, educational and research activities. Over time, this would be a game-changer for the organic sector.
An Organic Check-off program would generate money for the organic sector to:
- Educate consumers about what organic is and its benefits
- Distinguish organic from lesser claims and unregulated seals like “natural”
- Confirm the science behind the environmental and public health benefits of organic
- Undertake research to solve problems such as invasive pests and weed control
- Bring new farmers into organic production through information and technical assistance
- Reduce the supply crunch by transitioning farmland to organic production across the U.S.
What makes the Organic Check-off so special?
The organic check-off program is very reform-minded. It is unlike any other check-off that has preceded it. Imagine being able to educate the next generation in the of agricultural leaders about the benefits and opportunities of organic farming. The funds could be used to invest in young farmer education through grants, scholarships, and supervised agricultural experiences.
We need more organic farmers!
How You Can Help
A proposal for an organic check-off program has been published in the federal register and we are now in a 60-day public comment period. This is the final step!
The USDA wants to hear from consumers like you. The more positive comments in the register, the more likely this will happen! Click here and submit your name, address and comment to the federal register.
To support the Organic Check-Off Program, visit the GROorganic.net. Your comment has already been added for you, all you need to do is provide your name and address.
Please share this post with everyone you know that is passionate about organic food. The public comment period ends on March 20, 2017.