MOA 2020 Policy Proposals

The MOA Policy Subcommittee, led by Co-chairs Doug Crabtree and Nate Powell-Palm submit the following twelve proposals for approval by the MOA membership. A discussion session will take place via Zoom on November 18, 2020, at 7 pm to learn more about the proposals. Voting will take place electronically beginning November 5, 2020 for all MOA members and close on December 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm.

One resolution will be retired because it is no longer relevant. See below for more information. 

  1.  MOA supports tying the percentage of research devoted to organic agriculture at the federal and state level to an amount equal to or greater than the percentage of food which is sold in the US as organic. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

2.  MOA supports federal, state, and private efforts to improve broadband internet across the state, in both urban and rural areas. – Submitted by Jamie Lockman

Contributions to MOA's Mission? This proposal demonstrates that MOA supports efforts to improve broadband internet service across the state that is essential for business and education.

What are the possible benefits to adopting your policy proposal? Members will be better connected and better able to conduct business, participate in educational opportunities, connect with others, and more.

What are the possible benefits to adopting your policy proposal?  Montana ranks 50th or last of all the states for internet service, which includes broadband, DSL, Dial-Up, Cable modem, satellite, and others. Of the over 26,000 farms in Montana, only 21,000 of them have any internet access. Our rural communities still lack reliable broadband internet service and enough cell phone coverage for both household and business needs. Many governmental, marketing services, and education resources rely on the internet, but it is tough for rural Montanans to participate if they have inadequate service.  With the COVID pandemic, more business and schoolwork have moved online.

3. MOA recognizes organic farming as a means to mitigate the effects of unpredictable and extreme weather events. – Submitted by Jamie Lockman

Contributions to MOA's Mission? Promotes organic farming for the people's highest good of the people, the environment, and the state's economy.

What are the possible benefits of adopting your policy proposal? Demonstrates MOA’s support of initiatives that recognize organic agriculture that mitigates the effects of climate change, unpredictable and extreme weather events.

 What are the possible objections to adopting your policy proposal? Some MOA members do not accept the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change.

What support do you have for your proposal? MOA works with several organizations including OTA, the Organic Center, NSAC, OSA, OFA, and others that recognized organic farming as a means to mitigate the effects of climate change. There are numerous studies that confirm organic farming methods mitigate and are more resilient to unpredictable and extreme weather events and continuing research that investigates the benefits of soil health, crop diversity, crop resilience, etc.

4. MOA supports the Organic Certification Cost Share Program reimbursement rates to at least those set forth by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill for 75% of organic certification costs or $750 maximum for each certification scope (crops, livestock, wild crops, and handling) or higher. - Submitted by MOA Policy Subcommittee

Contributions to MOA's Mission? MOA promotes organic farming. OCCPS helps organic farmers obtain and maintain USDA organic certification.

 What are the possible benefits of adopting your policy proposal? Organic farmers, ranchers, and handlers will receive financial support to obtain and maintain USDA organic certification. It can be an incentive for those considering transitioning to organic certification.

What are the possible objections to adopting your policy proposal?  Some members may not want to support federal tax dollars being spent on a support such as this.

What support do you have for your proposal? More than 50% of Montana's certified organic operations use this program.

5. MOA supports having all county extension agents in Montana receive adequate instruction on organic methods to advise their constituents on this subject. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

6. MOA supports focusing on the value of nutrition, environmental benefits, and dollars produced per acre or animal unit for organic production. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

7. MOA supports all efforts to process more of Montana's organic food, which is produced in Montana and encourages the development of better distribution of these Montana products to local, regional, national, and international markets. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

8. MOA supports all efforts to perfect organic biological controls of disease, weeds, and pests. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

9. MOA supports all efforts to improve soil health-building practices in organic production. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

10. MOA supports developing a nutrient density label so farmers might have a way to receive or demand higher prices for higher values of what they produce. – Submitted by Bob Quinn

11. MOA supports the US Postal Service’s mission is to provide the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service; that it adheres to the basic functions to bind the nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people; and that it shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. – Submitted by Jamie Lockman

Contributions to MOA's Mission? This proposal demonstrates that MOA supports the USPS for national and international service for essential governmental, business, education, and networking purposes.

 What are the possible benefits to adopting your policy proposal? It is essential that members are able to conduct business via USPS with affordable, reliable, and timely mail service.

 What are the possible objections to adopting your policy proposal? N/A

 What are the possible benefits of adopting your policy proposal? In 1792, Congress passed the first major postal law that encouraged the exchange of printed news by allowing publications to travel through the US Mail at extremely low rates of postage — in some cases for free — to ensure the success of the democracy. Many MOA members rely on the US Mail to stay connected to family and friends, to ensure the success of their businesses, and to participate in governance and other activities, as an active citizen.

12. MOA supports the USDA implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) as approved by the National Organic Standards Board. - Submitted by Jeff Schahczenski

Contributions to MOA's Mission? Promotes a robust National Organic Program that strengthens family farms through meaningful and coherent regulations.

What are the possible benefits of adopting your policy proposal? The National Organic Standards Board recognizes that consumers’ trust in the organic label and industry growth depends on the strength and consistent application of the organic regulations. NOSB has an integral role in advising USDA to promulgate these volunteer standards and strives to seek consensus among organic stakeholders in its recommendations to USDA and the secretary. The recently finalized Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule was based on a unanimous NOSB recommendation to USDA in 2011. The NOSB recommendation was the product of a decade of public NOSB meetings, lengthy discussions, public comment periods, and consultation from organic producers, processors, consumers, and the veterinary and scientific community. According to a survey by Organic Egg Farmers of America from 2014, most organic egg producers representing most organic egg production already adhere to the practices and standards outlined in the rule. A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 83% of consumers who frequently purchase organic products believe that organic eggs should come from hens with access to the outdoors. Additionally, USDA APHIS has found no significant differences in mortality rates between organic and conventional laying hen operations. Support for this rule has been expressed through public comments by major and growing organic brands4. The rule is supported by organic producers, consumers, the industry, and the NOSB.

What are the possible objections to adopting your policy proposal? Large-scale operations and others that do not comply with the rule.

13. TO BE RETIRED:

Resolution 3.  The Montana Organic Association urges the United States Department of Agriculture to provide funding to assist the Montana Department of Agriculture to become an ISO 65 accredited certifier. Adopted February 6, 2005.       This resolution is no longer relevant.               

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