On the 20th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act, organic farmers joined Micheal Sligh of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA) in testifying before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Sligh, representing the National Organic Coalition (NOC) and founding Chair of the National Organic Standards Board, explained, "We are seizing the moment of commemorating two decades of certified organic food and farming in America to publicly acknowledge the many environmental and health benefits and to call for more government funding and participation in increasing the amount of organic food produced and consumed in the U.S."
NOC’s National Organic Action Plan (NOAP) was circulated to all Committee members. The NOAP, debuted publicly in January 2010, was the result of 11 meetings across the country over a five-year period involving 300 participants from 28 states. The NOAP presents the shared vision and action plan for establishing organic as the foundation of food and agricultural production systems in the U.S.
In his testimony Sligh was forthright in naming the great challenges that threaten the integrity of organic including: GMO contamination, food safety, seed concentration, lack of access to organic food for vulnerable populations and lack of funding for organic research. Sligh urged the Committee to use the 2012 Farm Bill as the vehicle for helping to establish organic as a strong and stable choice for food and agricultural production systems across the U.S. and concluded with a final call for government leadership in organic, "History will not only judge us by how well we manage our resources today," he said, "but how well we defend opportunities for future generations."