Federal Comments: Organic Checkoff (2017) Iowa Organic Association comments submitted to USDA AMS in March 2017 opposing the proposed Organic Checkoff-- a federally mandated multi-commodity checkoff program that will affect all certified organic entities. To read IOA's full comments submitted to the USDA docket #AMS-SC-16-0112 click here.
Based on the majority position of IOA members, the IOA board voted unanimously to OPPOSE the organic checkoff at their April 2017 meeting. In order to come to this decision, the board surveyed the membership of Iowa organic farmers, organic processors, agriculture service providers and consumers. Of those who responded to the survey, 65% were certified organic farmers and 15% were certified organic processors. Agriculture Service Providers (researchers, educators, government employees, and agriculture supply providers) and Consumers also responded at 10% each. 80% of IOA members, representing the Iowa organic community oppose the proposed organic checkoff.
IOA opposes the checkoff because:
- it does not sufficiently address organic farmers’ research needs,
- farmers cannot opt out of the program,
- it is divisive between the people who market and those who produce organic products,
- Iowa checkoff dollars cannot return to support Iowa farmers,
- the assessment is cumbersome and burdensome, and
- not all certified organic entities will be allowed to vote in the initial referendum—even though they all will be required to participate in the checkoff annually by submitting their gross annual sales data to USDA.
Organic Checkoff: Federal comments submitted to request extension (Feb. 2017)