Representatives Newhouse and Pingree named 2019 Organic Champions

Organic Trade Association recognizes two members of Congress for their advocacy for organic

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Organic Trade Association on Tuesday honored two members of the U.S. House of Representatives for their important bipartisan advocacy on behalf of the organic sector. Saying that Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) were a “bipartisan powerhouse for advancing organic,” Organic Trade Association CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha presented the award to the two lawmakers in a ceremony kicking off the trade association’s Advocacy Day in D.C. as part of Organic Week activities.

The Organic Trade Association’s Organic Champion Award recognizes and honors individuals in government who have been supportive of organic agriculture and trade. Recipients are chosen upon the recommendation of trade association staff, and then voted on by the Board of Directors. This year, Newhouse and Pingree were selected for their collaborative efforts to advance organic in the 2018l Farm Bill and through their work on annual appropriations legislation that funds the National Organic Program and organic transitions research program. 

Although Congressman Newhouse of the state of Washington and Congresswoman Pingree of Maine come from opposite sides of the country and serve in different political parties, they have a lot in common. Both are farmers. They currently serve as co-chairs of the House Organic Caucus, and have been strong leaders in advancing organic policy on Capitol Hill. Both have served on the Agriculture Committee, and currently serve on the Appropriations Committee together.

“It is an honor to be named an Organic Champion with my colleague, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Washington’s organic agriculture greatly contributes to the economies of both our state and our nation. I am proud to have a partner in Chellie who understands the importance of strong, bipartisan support for one of the fastest-growing sectors of agriculture.”

“I feel honored to receive the 2019 Organic Champion Award, especially next to my colleague Congressman Dan Newhouse,” said Rep. Pingree. “I’ve been an organic farmer for more than 40 years, and my experiences deeply influence my policy views. I see it as my job to advocate for policies that support promising market opportunities for farmers, including in the organic sector. Congressman Newhouse and I see beyond party lines when it comes to supporting organic farmers across our country.”

Their joint introduction of the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2018 led to permanent baseline funding for OREI, more than double the current funding for organic research. This historic investment in organic research was one of the biggest victories for organic in any farm bill ever.

“We commend Representatives Pingree and Newhouse for their leadership on OREI. This was an outstanding bipartisan collaboration on behalf of organic—and a monumental achievement,” said Batcha.

Additionally, as members of the Appropriations Committee charged with writing USDA’s budget, they have provided the leadership to consistently increase funding for the National Organic Program and to restore funding for the organic transitions research program.

“It is critical that we have champions who are not only committed to pro-organic policies, but also for those champions to be accomplished legislators who know how to get their priorities and bills across the finish line. Both are true for Chellie and Dan,” Batcha added.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 9,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA's Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.



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