Cook County Farm Bureau Policy Submittals Approved by Delegates
Through a grassroots process, Farm Bureau members submitted the following resolutions to delegates at the 2018 Illinois Agricultural Association® annual meeting.
The resolutions support:
- Farmers selling organic products being required to display the USDA Certified Organic logo and their certification number and
- The term organic being defined as a production standard set by the USDA National Organic Program for marketing label use (Title 7, Subtitle B, Chapter I, Subchapter M, Part 205).
There have been instances in the county of growers selling produce as “privately certified” at farmers markets. By displaying the USDA Certified Organic logo and their certification number, the integrity of the organic certification program is better ensured.
Farmers wishing to market their products as “organic” undergo a rigorous certification process including: adopting specific management practices, an extensive application process, document inspection; and site inspection by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Only this agent can issue the organic certification. In addition to being time consuming, the organic certification process is expensive. Annual certification costs vary widely depending on the certifying agent, size, type, and complexity of the farm. Certification costs may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Typically, there is an application fee, annual renewal fee, assessment on annual production or sales, and inspection fees.
Government Assisted Nutrition Programs
The resolution replaces existing Farm Bureau Public Aid policy and creates the Government Assisted Nutrition Program policy. The policy provides that we support:
- Programs to provide a basic nutrition benefit to need-based individuals.
- Benefit allotments based on a fair value amount that accounts for the true cost of food, geographical food price variation and time costs for food preparation.
- Incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables.
- Educational programs and incentives for participants to utilize benefits to purchase food meeting nutrition dietary guidelines.
- All program participants utilizing benefits for home-delivered groceries not including service fees and delivery charges.
- The acceptance of benefits at CSAs, farmers markets, online grocery stores, and farm stands.
- Charitable food provider access and funding to purchase domestically produced United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commodities for distribution to need-based individuals.
- Illinois Health and Human Services staff contacting nutrition program recipients who request a replacement Electronic Benefits (EBT) card more than twice in a 12-month period.
- Increasing food bank funding for food and nutrition assistance programs, cold storage, and distribution costs.
- Work or educational training requirements for able-bodied recipients.
SNAP benefits are distributed to participants in the program; but the real benefits are the contributions SNAP makes to society as a whole. SNAP has been called “the cornerstone of the nation’s nutrition safety net” and is one of the most important programs in place to prevent hunger and food insecurity in the United States. The program has also been shown to be an economic boon for the nation, increasing consumer spending in supermarkets and grocery stores across the nation.