Organic leaders praise Senate bill. ( File Photo )

Organic trade groups are applauding the Senate’s introduction of the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2018.

The legislation, which would increase annual funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative from its current $20 million to $50 million by 2023, was praised by the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Center. The legislation was introduced by Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

“Robust funding for organic agriculture research is critical for organic’s continued advancement, Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of Organic Trade Association, said in a news release. “Ensuring adequate funding for organic research is one of the Organic Trade Association’s top priorities for the Farm Bill, and we are grateful for the bipartisan support in Congress that this priority has received.”

Jessica Shade, director of science programs for the Organic Center, said the increased funding will be valuable.

“Since it was established in the 2002 farm bill, the Organic Research and Extension Initiative, organic’s premier competitive grants research program, has enabled new organic crop varieties, breakthroughs in pest and weed control, crop rotation, and the development of effective and compliant farm inputs,” Shade said in the release. “Adequate funding for this important program is essential to enable further research advancements.”