U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, is among three lawmakers who want to more than double funding for a key U.S. Department of Agriculture organic research program.

Pingree is working with Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Washington Republican, and Rep. Jimmy Panetta, a California Democrat, on the Organic Agriculture Research Act. The legislation increases the funding of the Organic Research and Extension Initiative from $20 million to $50 million annually.

The program helps pay for research projects that help organic farmers improve operations and meet consumer demand. Pingree cites the fact that sales of organic food have doubled in the U.S. in the last 10 years as evidence that the added funding is needed.

The bill has the backing of the Organic Trade Association and other organic industry groups.

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