Earlier this week Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced that organic farmers would be getting their piece of the 2008 Farm Bill pie. The 2009 Organic Farm Initiative sets aside $50,000,000 for a new initiative to meet the Obama administration's promise to encourage more organic agriculture production. Funding for the initiative is being made available as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
"Assisting organic producers is a priority of the 2008 Farm Bill as well as for Secretary Vilsack and the Obama administration," said Merrigan. "The objective of this initiative is to make organic food producers eligible to compete for EQIP financial assistance."
The fact that funds for organic farming is being included is a positive step. As I reported the other day, organics (not just food, but food is a large part of it) grew 17.1 percent last year despite the crummy economy. Organic food now accounts for 3.5 percent of all food sold in the U.S., and organic producers have managed to gain that much of the market without any subsidies from the government so far. I think that shows that organic producers are hard-working, dedicated and know what they’re doing. They deserve to be brought into the farming initiatives that the government has. I just hope the government doesn’t put ridiculous requirements on them once they get the money that will hamper the good work that they’ve been doing.