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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
AUGUSTA— This October, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) will team up with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help Mainers dispose of unusable and waste pesticides. The Obsolete Pesticides Collection Program, jointly sponsored by the BPC and DEP, and funded through pesticide product registration fees, has kept more than 99 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream since its start in 1982.
This free annual program is open to homeowners, family-owned farms and greenhouses. Collections will occur at four sites: Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland. Participants must pre-register by September 29, 2017. Drop-ins are not permitted. The collected chemicals will be taken to out-of-state disposal facilities licensed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency where they are incinerated or reprocessed. Click here for more info!