Policy & Advocacy
NOFA-NH shares and acts on local and national opportunities to support sustainable, organic and regenerative agriculture, farmers and farmworkers, land access, climate resilience, an equitable food system, and more. Below is a list of our recent actions and other resources related to activism and the legislative process.
You can play an even larger role in these efforts by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter, joining our Board of Directors and our/or Policy Committee. Contact us to learn more.
NOFA-NH Farm Bill Listening Session for Farmers
February 17, 2022 | 12 - 1 p.m. ONLINE
NOFA-NH is hosting a meeting for our farmer members on February 17th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. to gather input about core organic priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. We will discuss topics such as farm and market viability including label claims and fraud prevention; organic transition; USDA & NOP standards development, certification, fees, etc.; and continuous improvement. Feedback will be shared with the Organic Farmers Association to help with advocacy efforts and may be reported at the National Organic Farmer Meeting on March 2nd. Stay tuned for more information!
The NH Farm to School Network, with the sponsorship of over 10 New Hampshire state legislators, submitted the Local Food for Local Schools Reimbursement program as a bill to the New Hampshire legislature. The reimbursement program will incentivize New Hampshire school districts and food service directors to purchase locally grown and produced food for breakfast and lunch services in cafeterias across the state, boosting youth health and wellness, agricultural viability.
Danone, owner of Horizon Organic Milk, abruptly ended contracts with 89 organic dairy farm families in the Northeast. Though Danone is the global leader in fresh dairy products, owns over 20 brands, and is a 10.3 billion-dollar company, they claim they cannot afford to continue to support family organic dairy farms that have helped build the Horizon Organic brand for decades. Organic advocacy organizations joined together and started a petition demanding that Danone stand with Northeast organic dairy farmers.
We are happy to announce that the Board of NOFA-NH voted in June 2021 to become one of the 1000 Real Organic Project Fans and an annual contributor to the Project.
The Real Organic Project (ROP) is a newly formed organization that is doing vital work to restore integrity to the USDA organic label. Many of you may already know Dave Chapman of Long Wind Farm, VT, who co-chairs this farmer-led organization with Linley Dixon. Some of you may even remember Dave’s convincing presentation about “Saving Real Organics” during a panel discussion at the 2018 NOFA-NH Winter Conference.
In response to Bayer's announcement that it will remove glyphosate from its weed killer Roundup by 2023 for the U.S. market, NOFA-NH signed onto a letter urging Home Depot and Lowe’s to end sales of Roundup immediately, eliminate all products containing glyphosate from stores and online sales immediately, increase offerings of organic approved products and other safer alternatives, and more.
In advance of the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, NOFA-NH signed onto a letter calling for policymakers at all levels of U.S. government to reject net-zero pledges and greenwashing:
"The United States must drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 through absolute reductions. Laws and regulations must keep fossil fuels in the ground; eliminate sources of non-fossil based climate pollution, including industrial wood biomass and emissions-intensive agricultural practices like factory farming; and facilitate a Just Transition to clean, renewable energy and regenerative farming rooted in principles and methods of agroecology. The United States must also transfer funds and technical assistance to developing countries to enable global climate action."
With heatwaves sweeping the nation this summer signaling the continued threat of climate change, NOFA-NH signed onto a letter urging OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect workers from outdoor and indoor heat exposure and related illnesses and injuries.
Members of NOFA-NH's Policy Committee, representatives of the New England Farmers Union, Stonyfield Organic, Megafood, Stonewall Farm, and others helped to draft the language of HB 199: An Act including soil health and soil conservation in the state soil conservation plan. The act, which was introduced by Representative Bixby of District 17 (Strafford County), passed the state House and Senate, and is currently awaiting the Governor's signature to become law. The legislation explicitly expands the mandate of the state’s ten county Conservation Districts to encourage practices that contribute to biologically active, healthy soils and officially recognizes the capacity of such soils to increase drought resistance and climate resilience
NOFA-NH signed onto a letter of support for the enforcement of the Origin of Livestock Rule, which governs the process of transitioning conventional dairy livestock to organic production in an effort to safeguard organic dairies.
NOFA-NH signed onto a letter supporting the Capital for Cooperatives Act, aimed at allowing co-ops to access essential Small Business Administration financing tools and loans.
NOFA-NH signed onto a letter of opposition to HB 544, aimed at restricting businesses that contract with the state and organizations receiving funding from the state from offering diversity, equity and inclusion training to employees.
Farm to School: NOFA-NH was one of the voices involved in drafting a bill designed to incentivize the purchase of local foods for New Hampshire’s school children. This legislation will provide an extra state dollar for every three dollars of federal money that's directed towards local foods for NH’s school children.
NOFA-NH signed onto a letter supporting Migrant Justice and their Milk With Dignity Campaign, which advocates for dignified working conditions in dairy supply chains. The letter called on Hannaford Supermarkets to join Milk With Dignity for their Hannaford brand dairy products.
In solidarity with Migrant Justice, Fair World Project, the Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Project, the NOFA Interstate Council, and others, NOFA-NH signed onto a letter concerning Fair Trade USA’s (FTUSA) solicitation of feedback for their Agricultural Production Standard Dairy Draft Amendment, and urging Fair Trade USA to dissolve its comment process and halt its pilot in the dairy industry.
NOFA-NH thanks Governor Sununu, Commissioner Jasper and the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food for expanding the NH Agriculture COVID-19 Relief Program to include aid for any farmers who have lost revenue or incurred expenses due to COVID-19.
The NH Food Bank, NH Food Alliance, NH Farm Bureau Federation, and NOFA-NH partnered to create a program that will help reduce food waste, support our local economy, and nourish residents in need called NH Feeding NH. The NH Food Bank received funding from the CARES Act to enable food pantries to purchase fresh and local produce, meat and dairy directly from NH Farms. The program worked with 170 farms and 77 pantries in its pilot year, 2020, and is continuing in 2021 as an official program of the NH Food Bank.
Despite written testimony from NOFA-NH based on a community survey of 60 farmers, many of whom indicated negative financial impacts from COVID-19, farms that grossed less than $50,000 in 2019 will not qualify for the $10 million in aid provided to growers in the Granite State. Though NOFA-NH understands that a sense of limited funds motivated this decision, we are disappointed with the outcome, and feel it does not reflect the findings of our community survey.
We thank the 178 respondents who provided input on NOFA-NH’s COVID-19 Community Impact Survey. Your responses were extremely valuable in shaping NOFA-NH’s testimony to the Stakeholder Advisory Board of the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR), the advisory board that will help the Governor decide how to spend New Hampshire’s $1.25B CARES Act funds.
ACTION ALERT! The CARES Act was passed into law on March 27 with some important, but insufficient, financial support provisions for farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. Help secure additional needed funding, push provisions to get emergency funds into the right hands, and pass systemic policy reforms. We urge you to call your members of Congress and voice your concerns. If you are unsure of your elected officials, click on this link.
On April 8, 2020, NOFA-NH signed onto a letter from the Alliance to End Hunger outlining important priorities for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that had been left out of the COVID-19 response bills. The letter highlighted the importance of increasing SNAP benefits in the next (C4) bill, and was sent to Majority and Minority leaders of the House and Senate and the President, and included the Vice President, Secretary Purdue, and chairs/ranking members of House & Senate Agriculture committees.
NOFA-NH advocated for organic land care practices, testifying on Feb 12, 2020 in favor of a number of bills relating to pesticide use: HB 1195, An Act relative to pesticide use and notification of such use on community playgrounds; HB 1190, An Act relative to banning the pesticide chlorpyrifos; HB 1196, An Act relative to eliminating exposure to certain pesticides and establishing an alternative pest management working group; and HB 1172, An Act relative to prohibiting state agencies from spraying pesticides targeting mosquitoes before dusk.
NOFA-NH testified on January 15, 2020 in favor of HB 1638. The bill would provide state funding for increased SNAP benefits as an incentive for the purchase of fresh, locally produced food.
NOFA-NH supported and helped to promote HB646-FN: “An Act Relative to the Labeling Signage, And Restrictions On the Sales and Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides," also known as "The Saving New Hampshire’s Pollinators Act" The New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture Committee voted to place HB646-FN, into an interim study measure on November 7, 2019. The Committee will begin studying the issue in January 2020. If passed, New Hampshire would become the fourth U.S. state to curb the use of pesticides to protect pollinator populations, joining Maryland, Connecticut, and Vermont, which have each passed similar legislation.
Learn more about the national context of HB:646-FN in this Beyond Pesticides blog post.
NOFA-NH signed on to a letter urging members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, and the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources to oppose industrial finfish aquaculture (or ocean CAFOs).
NOFA-NH signed on to a letter urging the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry to "fully support organic agriculture in the Farm Bill and to oppose any changes that would undermine the organic standards and the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)."
NOFA-NH signed on to a letter urging the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry to "write a full, fair Farm Bill that protects and grows support for the conservation, rural development and nutrition programs that are essential to our communities, including full funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program."
NOFA-NH signed on to a letter urging the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, and the US Department of Agriculture to address America's dairy crisis.
ACTION ALERT! Encourage the NH Senate to VOTE NO on House Bill 1233 - A bill preempting local regulation of seeds and fertilizers - Unfortunately, HB 1233 passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on April 25th. It will be heard on the Senate Floor Wednesday, May 2 at 1:00 PM and Thursday, May 3 at 10:00 AM. We urge you to call your Senators and voice your concerns about this bill. If you are unsure of your Senator, click on this link.
Action Alert! Keep the Soil in Organic - On October 15, 2017, NOFA-NH participated in the "Keep the Soil in Organic" Rally in Hanover, NH, as part of the international movement of organic growers and consumers focused on keeping organic standards true to their roots. The rally was one in a series of many leading up to the National Organic Standards Board's (NOSB) November 2017 vote. NOFA-NH would like to thank all of the organizers and participants who made the "Keep the Soil in Organic" Rally in Hanover a success!
The New Hampshire Legislative Process
Ever wonder how the legislative process really works? Here is a basic overview of how an idea becomes law in New Hampshire, by NOFA-NH Board President Amy Manzelli, Esq.,