For the nation's 10,000 organic farmers, this hearing is a historic juncture—the first time [Congress] has held a hearing dedicated to organic agriculture. Despite developmental challenges, organic agriculture, organic foods, and the certified organic label are powerful success stories. [But] federal investment in organic research and extension did not begin until 2001, and remains miniscule. Lack of research has inhibited U.S. production, and thus there is an accelerating decline of U.S. share in rapidly growing domestic and international markets. This is the number-one limiting factor that inhibits the growth of organic agriculture, in turn limiting the beneficial impacts for the rural economy and the environment.

—Mark Lipson, policy program director for the Organic Farming Research Foundation, testifying before Congress on April 19, 2007