Representatives of the organic community met with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Bill Implementation Team this week to discuss the implementation of organic provisions within the 2008 Farm Bill.

The meeting, arranged by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), was an opportunity to present information on the significance of organic provisions to the team charged with implementing the Farm Bill.

The USDA Farm Bill Implementation Team is charged with crafting 70 implementation rules by 90 days after the 18 June enactment of the Bill.

"This meeting was very important as we shift from legislative advocacy to the hard work of implementation," said Mark Lipson, senior policy analyst for the Organic Farming Research Foundation. "Our wins in the Farm Bill must be integrated into each agency's work plan as directed by the USDA leadership, but it won't happen automatically. The broader organic community must continue to work together, share the workload, and present a united front. This is essential to our success."

The OTA-led group included representatives of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), National Organic Coalition, Centre for Food Safety, Rodale Institute, National Centre for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Food and Water Watch, Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and Florida Organic Growers.

During the meeting, OTA spokespersons and other participants stressed the importance of National Organic Program funding, organic production and market data, research needs, organic crop insurance provisions, the national cost share certification programme, and provisions for organic agriculture in conservation programs.

Particular emphasis was given for a well-implemented nationwide USDA support system for conversion to organic agriculture.