(photo credit: Jean English)
NASS to follow-up with producers who have not yet responded
Maine Farmers still have time to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Although the first deadline has just passed, NASS will continue to accept Census information through the spring to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture that represents all farmers and ranchers. Continue reading
MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) is pleased to announce the 2018 application period for becoming certified organic is now open through June 30, 2018. Interested producers in the Crop, Livestock, and On-Farm Processing categories wishing to certify should contact the office for more information, or find forms, materials, and resources at www.mofgacertification.org. Processor applications are accepted year round. For more information, please call 207-568-6030 or email email@example.com.
- Ask to speak with the staffer who works on agriculture.
- Tell the staffer that you are calling as a constituent and an organic farmer/processor.
- Express appreciation for the senator’s/representative’s leadership in growing and protecting organic agriculture.
- Ask them to voice strong support for organic certification cost-share in the next Farm Bill.
- Tell them that Congress should reauthorize, with adequate funding, organic certification cost share because the program helps organic farmers stay in business and keep jobs here in our local economy.
- Explain how organic certification cost-share is important to your farming operation and to organic farms and processors around Maine.
- Explain that going through the annual certification process is challenging for many reasons and the cost of annual certification is expensive.
- Emphasize how your farm is protecting natural resources and, by getting certified each year, you are demonstrating compliance with the beneficial conservation practices required by national organic regulations.
- Point out that organic agriculture is a bright spot in our economy. These are jobs that can and should be created here at home. Rather than relying on imports, certified organic farmers in our communities should be supported in their efforts to meet that demand.
A new Sound and Sensible Organic Certification video series, filmed in Washington State and developed by WSDA (Washington State Dept of Agriculture), features certified organic clients and addresses some common questions about USDA Organic regulations and the certification process. They include:
These videos were developed in partnership with USDA National Organic Program as part of the Sound and Sensible Initiative. For more information on other Sound and Sensible projects, visit the National Organic Program.
As the demand for organic food and products in the United States has grown dramatically over the last 10 years, so has the complexity of organic supply chains. The supply chain, domestically and internationally, now involves a series of complex transactions with businesses that grow, handle, package, manufacture and transport organic goods. USDA accredited certifiers ensure that the integrity of the supply chain is unbroken from farm to table for American families.
Ensuring Public Trust in the Organic Seal
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program (NOP) provides training and support for more than 2,000 certifier staff worldwide so they have the necessary tools to ensure the integrity of the system through consistent enforcement of the law.
Today, the agency published an interim instruction, NOP 4013: Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Imports, that provides a range of available information in one convenient place. The interim instruction details the requirements for certifiers who oversee organic products imported into the United States. The instruction:
- Clarifies responsibilities for certifiers in the U.S. and around the world
- Recommends best practices for reviewing and issuing import related documents
- Highlights handling instructions needed to maintain the integrity of the organic status for imported organic products
- Details required documentation and recordkeeping
Public Comments Welcomed
While Interim Instruction NOP 4013 is designed to assist USDA accredited certifiers, public comment is also invited.
- View the Federal Register notice
The 60-day public comment period runs from October 25, 2017 until December 26, 2017.
The 2014 Farm Bill required the USDA to create premium organic price elections for all commodities and to offer a new insurance product—Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.
We are conducting a national survey of needs and attitudes, in order to make recommendations to the USDA on further improvements to crop insurance for organic, diversified, and specialty crop growers.
That survey closes October 31, 2017.
Please take a confidential 20-minute survey at www.ncat.org/cropinsurance. And share the link with friends and colleagues; here’s a social media post you can use.
Anyone farming or ranching commercially in the United States is eligible to participate, and we are offering a $20 honorarium to early respondents.The survey can be taken on any computer, smart phone, or other mobile device. To preview the survey before taking it, go to www.ncat.org/surveypreview.
For more information, click here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The House Agriculture Committee on Friday launched a new video series entitled “Farm Bill Friday,” and said it would release a new video from members of the House Conference weekly highlighting the importance of a strong Farm Bill for all Americans. Watch committee member Congressman Don Bacon of Nebraska kick off the Farm Bill Friday series.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing extending compliance deadlines on Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) provisions for produce water standards. Finalized in 2015, the water standards aim at keeping deadly pathogens like E. coli 0157:H7 out of water used to grow crops by increasing testing and monitoring efforts. The proposed extension appeared Wednesday in the Federal Register. FDA said it would extend compliance deadlines after receiving feedback from farmers and other stakeholders that more time is necessary to ensure farmers have the necessary training and information to comply and that states establish strong produce regulatory programs before inspections begin. To learn more about the Organic Trade Association’s role in shaping food safety regulations, visit our food safety web page. The proposed rule is open for public comment until November 13.