A USDA Federal Mandatory Checkoff is NOT our only option to grow organic.
There are many other options our creative organic community should look at BEFORE locking ourselves into a lifelong mandatory USDA tax with a dismal history of helping farmers.
We encourage the full organic community to come together to discuss and explore these options:
1. EDUCATION & PROMOTION: More examples like the Organic Valley Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) program, a grant program funded by organic dairy checkoff dollars that supports grassroots organizations across the country that promote organic products and provide technical assistance to organic producers.
2. RESEARCH: For 20 years, the Organic Farming Research Federation (OFRF) has been facilitating research for some of the most innovative entrepreneurs in America—organic farmers. OFRF has proven to be rooted in the grassroots of organic farming, and works hard to continue production-based research. With more research funding directed to production-oriented entities like OFRF, just think what we could do!
3. VOLUNTARY CHECKOFF: While we are adamantly opposed to a mandatory USDA checkoff program, some producer groups have found great success in a voluntary checkoff. Voluntary checkoffs are set up OUTSIDE the government. They can be 100% producer owned and led. That means, actual organic farmers (the ones you see at market and at the feed mill—not the ones in suits around a board room) are making the decisions about how to spend the collective money. The voluntary pistachio grower checkoff program ($14 million annual budget) and the voluntary fresh market tomato grower & processor checkoff program ($1 million budget for social media) are two good examples.