Organic Valley looks to farm bill to expand organic research - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Organic Valley looks to farm bill to expand organic research

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LA FARGE, Wis. (WXOW) – Organic farmers are among those who will benefit from the new farm bill signed by President Obama just more than a week ago.

So Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D) Wisconsin, made the trip to La Farge to tour Organic Valley Monday.

"This is important to our agricultural future," Baldwin said, praising the five-year bill for increasing funding and research into organics.

"It's been something that's been predominantly funded by organizations, like Organic Valley, rather than having government support," she said.

Organic Valley staff said the bill is a step in the right direction, hoping the government support shines light on the importance of the organic industry, especially in Wisconsin. The state is only second to California in number of organic farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We would like to see more research into organics so we can get more verification and assistance we see working. But it'd be nice to have the science back that up," said Organic Valley CEO George Siemon.

It's a concern he addressed directly to the senator.

"The science behind organics and promoting more organic foods is what we see as kinda our next stage," Siemon added.

For Sen. Baldwin, it's about giving farmers more certainty.

"Farmers manage a lot of risks and they need tools to help them manage those risks. And those tools need to be strong and they need to work," Baldwin said.

She hopes organic farmers have those tools now that a long-term agriculture policy is in place.

There are provisions in the farm bill that will help traditional farmers make the transition to organic farming, if that's something they want to do.

More then 350,000 jobs in Wisconsin are related to the agriculture industry, according to a study by UW-Extension.

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