The Organic Trade Association announced the industry plans to ask for its own checkoff. As permitted in the 2014 Farm Bill, the industry expects to ask for checkoff in the first quarter of next year, according to the Hagtrom Report. Organic Trade Association CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha said she believes USDA is going to be “cautious” in its guidelines, specifically pertaining to a divide between organic and conventional agriculture. She noted it would be different from other checkoff programs because it would cover a production process rather than a specific product and also cover the entire industry, not just one level of production.
Batcha stated one problem that must be addressed is that some officials believe the organic industry by its very existence disparages conventional agriculture, while checkoff rules generally do not allow one sector of agriculture to be critical of others. The organic industry is also worried that Mexico is moving too quickly to implement its organic standards act. OTA believes Mexico does not have the “infrastructure” of certifiers needed to implement the law by the planned date of April, the official said. OTA is hoping that Mexico may delay implementation