Target: Tom Vilsak, Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Provide financial support for farmers switching to organic practices.
Sales of organic food increased 72 percent between 2008 and 2014, but the number of farms producing organic food slightly declined during this same period. Such a huge increase in sales signals that the American consumer wants organic, sustainable food. Unfortunately, it’s a significant financial and time burden for farms to transition to organic practices and become a certified organic producer.
In 2015 alone, the federal government will spend nearly $150 billion in farm subsidies. As it stands today, none of this money is used to assist farmers with growing organics. Instead, it encourages farmers to grow unsustainable, GMO crops such as cotton, corn, soybean, rice, and wheat in order to receive the subsidy money. Instead, this money should be spent aiding and encouraging farmers to convert their farms to organic, sustainable practices and obtaining the necessary certifications once the transition is complete.
Further, funding from existing farm subsidies should be shunted to states providing resources, training, and support to farmers seeking to transition to organic practices. Currently, state support of these initiatives is decreasing due to lack of funding, but not lack of interest. In addition to the direct impact on the food supply, organic farming initiatives also ensure cleaner air and water and protect our pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
With farmland accounting for nearly 50 percent of land in the U.S., it is critical we return it to a healthy, organic state to ensure long-term sustainability. Demand farm subsidy funds be reallocated to support farmers transitioning to organic practices by signing this petition.
Dear Secretary Vilsak,
American farmers wishing to transition to organic farming practices and become a certified organic producer undertake a significant financial and time burden. Currently, none of the nearly $150 billion spent in farm subsidies supports farmers during this process. Instead, it is spent encouraging farmers to grow GMO crops like cotton, corn, and wheat.
American consumers have voted with their wallets. Between 2008 and 2014, sales of organic food increased by 72 percent, but the farms able to supply this demand shrank slightly. With such clear evidence of consumer preference, the number of farmers interested in becoming certified organic producers naturally increases as well, but due to the time and financial burdens involved, most choose to continue their current practices instead.
By reallocating funds in the existing farm subsidy fund, these farms would get the financial support they desperately need. The money would not only aid the farmers directly, but would also provide support for state programs that provide training and other support to organic farmers.
Listen to consumer demands and support the growth of organic farming in the United States.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture