Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) today hailed an agreement signed by the U.S. and the European Union to allow organic products certified in the U.S. or in Europe to be sold as organic in either region. The agreement partners the world's two largest organic producers, and establishes a platform to promote organic agriculture, the organic industry and related jobs.
"The Central Coast is home to a vast number of organic farmers and industry leaders," said Congressman Sam Farr. "This agreement will go a long way in promoting organic around the world, bringing down barriers and opening markets to American organic producers on the Central Coast and across the nation."
"This agreement is a win-win-win; it provides opportunity for growth of the organic sector which is good for our economy, it reduces paperwork and costs for organic farms and processors that used to have to get an additional certification to sell organic products to the EU, and it will mean more organic choices for consumers," said Brise Tencer, Director of Policy and Programs for California Certified Organic Farmers. "This agreement has the potential to create additional opportunities for Central Coast growers to expand their markets."
The pact, which goes into effect June 1st, makes the world's two largest organic markets, $26.7 billion in the United States and $26 billion in the EU, functionally equivalent. It will save organic farmers from having to deal with two different and sometimes contradictory, sets of rules.
The European Commission's Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program--which oversees all U.S. organic products--will both take on key oversight roles.
Congressman Farr is the Democratic Ranking Member of the Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, the committee charged with funding the USDA. The subcommittee will begin work this week with testimony from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.