Farmers worldwide are limited by a number of factors, including shortages of organic seeds and the breeds required for organic production. Farmers are also held back by a lack of funding for research on open-pollinated seeds, varietal development and traditionally-bred livestock.
While the largest public source of research dollars in agriculture in this country – the United States Department of Agriculture – has made significant strides in recent years to respond to this demand, more can be, and should be done. To help farmers meet this growing demand, our publicly-funded research institutions can do much more to emphasize open-source seeds and breeds freely available to farmers.
While support for organic farmers grows every year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) still directs only a fraction of its research budget toward open-source seeds and livestock breeds suitable to organic production.
We, the undersigned, applaud the USDA’s introduction of programs to support organic farmers and urge the USDA to continue to help farmers meet this consumer demand by at least doubling its annual investments toward the development of open-source, publicly-available seeds and breeds suitable for organic production systems.
Organic and conventional farmers need access to the most up-to-date non-patented genetics and breeds capable of thriving in a range of farming regions around the world. We call on the USDA to help support this vital research.
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