Organic and conventional farmers disagree on legislation

Organic and conventional farmers groups are at odds over a portion of the farm bill considered in the House Agriculture Committee this week, according to an AP report. At issue is an amendment which would allow the organic food industry to undertake industry-wide promotional campaigns called checkoffs. These campaigns are facilitated by the Agriculture Department but paid for by industry. Advocates for conventional farming argue that checkoff ads for organic products won’t be able to avoid disparaging conventional counterparts as the rules require, and Mike Conaway (R-TX) accused organic farmers of getting a free ride at the expense of conventional agriculture. A similar amendment was included in the Senate version of the bill, making its inclusion in the final unified document likely.