WOOSTER, Ohio — The historic agreement of a new partnership between the United States and the European Union announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture means that organic foods certified in the U.S. can be sold in Europe for the first time, a move that could provide new market opportunities for certified organic growers in Ohio, an Ohio State University expert said.
The agreement, which now makes the $26.7 billion U.S. organic market functionally equivalent to Europe’s organic market, means organic growers nationwide no longer have to comply with often-contradictory rules setting different organic standards for each country, experts say.
The move means there are fewer regulatory hurdles for certified organic growers wishing to export their products to Europe, said Brian McSpadden Gardener, the new director of Ohio State’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research Program (OFFER) in Wooster.
“While most organic growers in Ohio focus largely on local and regional markets, some are already exporting their products internationally,” McSpadden Gardener said. “This new agreement should help that subset of growers and also positively impact innovative food processors that use organic ingredients.”
Stan Ernst, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural economist, calls the agreement “generally a good thing.”
“Anything that makes the policies a little more uniform has to make it easier for the supply chain to work,” Ernst said. “It will open new markets for certain producers.”
Now in its 15th year, OFFER provides science-based information to Ohio’s organic farmers. The nationally known organic farming research program is part of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and is the largest university agricultural bioscience research center in the U.S.
For more information, contact Tracy Turner at 614-688-1067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.