Growth in organic, attacked by some in the sector, brings with it political power and should be embraced, said Kathleen Merrigan, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture who played a major role in writing the Organic Foods Production Act while a Senate aide. “Let’s celebrate that we are Big Food with Values,” she said.
Growing to about 5% of U.S. food sales, and with sector participation from small mom-and-pop farms to billion dollar businesses, there is a tension about being called “Big Food”. But that big-ness may help the sector fight any political challenges in the coming years – and should be celebrated for its role in getting organic a seat at the table.
The size of the sector and its growing popularity will make it more difficult for competitors in conventional agriculture to convince Trump administration officials to lower the government standards that give consumers confidence in the USDA certified organic label or to reduce the research funding that the industry has strived hard to achieve.