The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is presenting three sessions focused on the FSMA training requirement for all covered produce growers, and recommended for all produce growers of all sizes.
Who Should Attend. Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, farm food safety best practices, and co-management of natural resources and food safety. The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires “At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.”
Cost: $20/attendee. To register contact Theresa Tilton at email@example.com or 207-942-7396 or visit: https://extension.maine.edu/food-health/food-safety/northeast-produce-safety-training/
- Lisbon Falls, November 30, 2018 (Snow date: Dec 7)
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
UMaine Extension in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc Counties
24 Main Street, Lisbon Falls, Maine 04252
Registration closes November 23, 2018
Limit: 28 attendees
- Bangor, January 8, 2019 (Snow date: Jan 11)
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
UMaine Extension in Penobscot County
307 Maine Ave, Bangor, ME 04401
Registration closes January 2, 2019
Limit: 28 attendees
- Unity, February 8, 2019 (Snow date: Feb 15)
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
294 Crosby Brook Rd, Unity, ME 04988
Registration closes February 1, 2019
Limit: 28 attendees
NOP ISSUES EXTENSION OF ALLOWANCE OF PAPER POTS IN ORGANIC PRODUCTION
On Monday, November 5, MCS and all NOP-accredited certifiers were informed that the NOP has extended the use and allowance period for paper pots, originally scheduled for prohibition at the end of the growing season. The following is a portion of the announcement regarding the change.
The NOP is extending the allowed use of paper pots until further notice. Any additional changes to the allowance for the use of paper pots will be communicated to certifiers to provide adequate time to make any adjustments. For fairness and consistency in certifications across operations, all certifiers may allow paper pots during this extension period.
Paper pots have been formally petitioned to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) via the National Organic Program as an allowed material in crop production. In addition to presenting a discussion document on the petitioned material, the NOSB passed a resolution at its Fall 2018 public meeting recommending that the NOP allow the continued use of paper pot usage while this review and potential NOP rule making proceed. Paper pots are similar to the current National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) listing of newspaper or other recycled paper, which are in use in many soil-based systems. We agree that the NOSB’s resolution allows the program to extend the allowance for paper pots, while maintaining fidelity to the existing USDA organic regulations.
Northeast SARE is now accepting applications for the 2019 cycle of the Farmer Grant program. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on November 27, 2018. Projects awards are made in late February 2019 with projects to start in the spring. Application instructions and additional resources are available at: northeastsare.org/FarmerGrant.
The National Organic Coalition (NOC) is urging that now is the time to communicate with your House and Senate Farm Bill Conferees about the issues that will impact organic agriculture in the Farm Bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is urging House and Senate Ag Committee leaders to have a Conference Report ready soon after Labor Day. Although both the House and Senate will be on recess for all or part of the month, Ag Committee leaders will be very busy during August in an effort to prepare a Conference Report by the target date. NOC is asking allies in the organic community to take action right now to voice your support for organic in the Farm Bill.
Here are some ways you can get involved:
- Write a letter to your Farm Bill Conferee(s) urging support for organic or speak to the staffer who works on agriculture in that office. You can use the letter NOC sent to Farm Bill Conferees as a template.
- Meet with your Farm Bill Conferee(s) during the recess and urge support for organic using the talking points in this NOC’s Conferee letter.
- Make phone calls to Farm Bill Conferees. We need your help to bolster support for the certification cost-share program, which is in danger, as well as defend against attacks on the NOSB, and advocate strongly for permanent baseline funding for organic research. Contact NOC for an action alert template.
The Spring 2018 issue of The Organic Sprout is available online! Please follow this link. You can read it from any device of your choice or download as a PDF.
Contents include the results of our MCS Client Survey, a report on Organic Cost Share, organic labeling, and a host of vital information and resources.
And remember, back issues of the Sprout are also available on the MCS website: http://www.mofgacertification.org
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.
The 60-day public comment period runs from October 25, 2017 until December 26, 2017.