Organic industry clout grows with consumer demand

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By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The organic industry is gaining clout on Capitol Hill, prompted by rising consumer demand and its entry into traditional farm states.

But that isn't going over well with everyone in Congress.

Tensions between conventional and organic agriculture boiled over this week during a late-night House Agriculture Committee debate on a sweeping farm bill that has for decades propped up traditional crops and largely ignored organics.

When Rep. Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Democrat, offered an amendment to make it easier for organic companies to organize promotional campaigns, there was swift backlash from some farm-state Republicans.

But growing consumer interest in organics proved tough for others on the committee to ignore. Eight Republicans joined with the panel's Democrats in supporting the amendment, which was adopted 29-17.

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