The Organic Trade Association praised a significant step taken toward the creation of a new Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture as part of the U.S. House of Representative's Agriculture Committee in the 110th Congress. Democrats have designated Representative Dennis Cardoza, D-Cal., to chair the new subcommittee.
"This subcommittee will recognize the growing importance of organic agriculture in the United States and around the globe, and will be vital as OTA works with others in the organic community to advance organic agriculture in the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill discussion," says Caren Wilcox, OTA's Executive Director.
The subcommittee is one step closer to reality after the Democratic Caucus of the House Agriculture Committee met. In addition to Representative Cardoza, Democrats named to the subcommittee include Representatives Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., Tim Mahoney, D-Fla., John Barrow, D-Ga., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. There are still procedural steps that must be taken before the full committee signs off on the subcommittee list.
Jurisdiction of the subcommittee will include fruits and vegetables, honey and bees, marketing and promotion orders, plant pesticides, quarantine, adulteration of seeds, insect pests, and organic agriculture.
The $15 billion organic industry is the fastest growing sector of U.S. agriculture, representing 2.5% of the food and beverages sold in the United States, and a growing consumer demand for organic products.