Organic Farming gets a Break

Are you an organic farmer trying to avoid paying promotion and marketing fees? Until recently you were straight out of luck; with only certified exclusive organic farmers being exempt from those fees. However, a new rule was just developed in which all organic farmers, are exempt from these frustrating fees.

Some of you may be asking what exactly are program and marketing fees?

Well, they go towards paying organizations including Cotton Board, National Watermelon Promotion Board, Modesto-based Almond Board of California, and Raisin Administrative Committee. All of these advertising programs are very different but they are all funded by the fees previously paid for by non-organic and uncertified organic farmers.

The money gained for these organizations is mainly used in advertising campaigns; however, many organic farmers claim that the universal “blanket” ads that those organizations produce do not do their products justice. If anything, organic farmers want advertisements that promote the uniqueness of their premium products.

produce in supermarket

In fact, many organic farmers do not utilize the ad campaigns. One resident in Palmdale California states that, “organic farmers do not need to advertise,” this belief is explained by Max Pierson, an adviser to the Agriculture Department. He states that, “[organic farm’] customers find them no matter what, because they value health. They should not have to support advertising for all that quasi-food from the rest of the industry.”

Returning to all of the advertising companies mentioned above, this new rule could cause a vast income reduction. Emiliano Escebedo, executive director of the Mission Viejo, a California based Hass Avocado Board is reported to of made the comment, that this new rule and the, “loss of revenue due to the expanded exemption will impact funding steams for the very programs this rule seeks to promote.” For example, the California Almond Board is preparing for an income loss of about $298,000 and the Raisin Administrative Committee will lose $180,000. Overall, the Agriculture Department will face income reductions in those programs by about $13.6 million, which means that the organic farmers are making great savings.

However, the Agriculture Department is currently reviewing a proposal from an Organic Trade Association, which would create an industry promotion program for organic crops funded by the Agriculture Department. This idea, at no surprise, carries mixed opinions in the organic farming population.

This new rule will largely impact the organic farmers who now do not have to pay those huge fees to the advertising companies. These organic farmers have a new opportunity where they can reinvest these funds into new equipment, expand their production, or concentrate more on their produce. This is key for small farms who are not certified organic and can now have all of their money devoted to their product.

Without the burden of having to pay high advertising fees the organic community is sure to see changes. Whether it be small farms that are able to grow or a farm that can afford new equipment to thus speed up production. Additionally, since the organic farmers did not use these advertisements it was always a waste of their money and with this new rule they can use all of their money for their farms.

As an organic farmer previously not exempt from paying the ludicrous marketing and advertising fees, your future is looking up. Going forward we should expect to see a surge in the organic community as many more farms have more money to reinvest in more useful methods. As for me, I am looking forward to seeing more organic products on the shelves of my local grocery store.

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