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Organic Farmland Conversion Must Become a Major Policy Priority

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

This Week's News Items

Weekly News Summaries

First Course
The Guardian

Organic Food Sales in the UK are Soaring

By Jamie Doward

Retailers in the UK are reporting sales growth of organic food of up to 16%, the highest in more than a decade.

Peconic Public Broadcasting

A Generational Shift of Organic Farmers in California

With many organic farmers in California nearing retirement, a new crop of younger farmers is taking their place. The transition, however, doesn't always take place within the family.


Monsanto is Facing Lawsuits in 10 States over Dicamba

By Lorraine Chow

Monsanto's next-generation, super-toxic herbicide called Dicamba is causing many problems already. Farmers in 10 states are suing the company, alleging that it knew illegal spraying of Dicamba would be inevitable.

Second Course
Hindustan Times

A Barcode that Tracks the Origin of Organic Vegetables

By Ipsita Pati

As a way to crack down on fraudulent organic fruits and vegetables in India, a new barcode will allow consumers to identify the farmer, supplier and production date. Very cool.

Food Navigator

Miyoko's Kitchen Closes a $6 Million Series B

By Elaine Watson

The plant-based maker of organic cheese and butter products just closed a $6 million dollar round to increase production capacity, expand distribution and develop new products.


Stonyfield is Taking Big Steps to Reduce Sugar Content

By Beth Kowitt

Stonyfield aims to reduce the amount of sugar it purchases by 25%, and some of its products will have up to 40% less sugar.


German Supermarket Chain Lidl Has Aggressive Plans for U.S. Expansion

By Hayley Peterson

Another new supermarket behemoth is coming to the U.S. from Europe and is aiming squarely at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Aldi.

Max's Pick of the Week

I have long-believed that organic food companies need to use content more effectively to help sell their products. Here are five fashion brands that are doing it exceedingly well.

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