Farm Bill Discussion at Florida Organic Food & Farming Summit

Randall Weiseman Farm Bill, Organic

David Vaina

By Jaci Schreckengost

Discussion about the possible effects of the 2018 farm bill on organic growers was one of the topics at the recent Florida Organic Food & Farming Summit.

With the farm bill expiring in September 2018, many are eager to speak their minds to let those writing the new farm bill know what has and has not worked for them with the previous bill.

At the summit hosted by Florida Organic Growers (FOG), a panel on September 18 allowed growers to speak out about what they are looking for in the farm bill for the coming year. One panel member was David Vaina, education and outreach director for FOG. He said since a lot of the growers in the area have small-scale production, one of the important aspects for the 2018 farm bill is to help them with things such as infrastructure and support in the market.

For the farm bill, Vaina said it’s important to discuss “things that are going to level the playing field, and I think that sounds a little bit rhetorical, but really some serious investments that are going to help smaller growers.”

According to Vaina, there is a higher demand for organic products with the millennial generation. He says this can make the industry for organic products fall behind when attempting to meet demand when there are provisions that negatively affect the organic growers. With this demand, as well as the ability for organic products, especially in the state of Florida, Vaina says there is a lot of potential for growth in the industry.

Vaina also says research is an important tool to emphasize in the 2018 farm bill because it is needed for advancement in the industry, as well as answering questions growers have about certain issues. He says research helps with other issues in the farm bill, too, since those writing the bill can look at the data to make informed decisions, while listening to the growers.

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