Farm Bill extension causes trouble for organic farmers

Nov 11, 2013

One of the pressing issues before Congress is the need to pass a new Farm Bill.

A Farm Bill extension was passed last January to give Congress more time to get the final bill passed.

And within that extension was an unhappy surprise for many organic farmers: it no longer contained an annual federal subsidy that helped certified organic farmers cover the cost of getting their operations inspected. That is a key step in being certified organic.

What does the loss of this subsidy mean to organic farmers in Michigan? And does a farm have to go through the trouble and expense of getting certified to be organic?

Lee Arboreal owns the Eaters' Guild Farm in Bangor, a farm that is certified organic, and he's on the board of the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance.

Tomm Becker owns Sunseed Farm, just out of Ann Arbor. His farm is not certified, but uses organic practices.

And Vicki Morrone is an Organic Farming Specialist at the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University.

The three of them joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.