If we reflect back over the last few years, the organic industry has spent an incredible amount of time and tens of millions of dollars fighting for GMO-labeling.
And what did we get from it?
A horrible GMO-labeling bill that allows for the use of QR codes instead of on-packaging labeling. This bill also includes other provisions that could seriously damage the integrity of organic.
However, the massive outcry from consumers did lead to some major food companies agreeing to voluntarily label their products.
Was it the right fight to pick?
At the time, it certainly seemed so.
Yet, in hindsight, seeing the results of these efforts and the predicament we now face, a case could be made that it was a lot of wasted energy.
Going forward, our attention must be on the conversion of U.S. farmland to organic.
Market conditions necessitate action.
* A report, which I included in last week’s email, said that the demand for organic and Non-GMO grains is outpacing production.
This should not be a surprise. The U.S. organic sector comprises roughly 5% of the overall food industry, yet less than 1% of U.S. farmland is organic. We are simply not producing enough organic in the U.S. and, therefore, must rely on imports to satisfy demand.
* There are stories surfacing that the next American farm bust (WSJ Paywall) is upon us. If this is the case, the most obvious solution is to get these conventional farmers to switch to organic.
* Industry experts believe that fraudulent organic crops from abroad pose a serious problem.
The political climate is in our favor.
Converting American farmland will bring jobs back to the U.S. – Something President Trump wants.
Converting American farmland will support American farmers – Something President Trump wants.
With a Transitional Organic Program in place, what’s needed now is cooperation and unity among all factions who have an interest in organic, including small family farmers, Big Organic, Big Food, the Organic Trade Association, the Organic Farmers Association, and all of the organic consumer non-profits.
This means agreeing on a plan to jointly lobby Congress in order to help fund the conversion of organic farms while providing tax incentives to private entities who invest in the conversion of organic farms.
For our industry, one of the fastest growing in the country, to have less than 1% of organic farmland is unacceptable and was a major strategic mistake we allowed to happen.
This is something the leaders in the organic food movement need to address immediately.
Have a fantastic day!
Max Goldberg, Founder
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