The organic industry has been working on defining and applying animal welfare requirements to the organic standards for over a decade. This work culminated in a final rule released just prior to the Administration change in January. Since that time, the effective date of the final rule has been delayed twice. Accompanying the most recent delay to November 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a comment period asking the public to weigh in on four options:
Major league baseball player Jayson Werth doesn’t look like an organic farmer—especially when he’s at the plate or in the outfield in his Washington Nationals uniform. But, looks can be deceiving.
The star hitter and outfielder has batted in almost 800 runs, hit more than 200 home runs and helped win a World Series in his now 15-year major league baseball career. He’s kept his eyes on the ball and on his health, and has eaten organic for more than a decade. And for almost a decade now, he’s also been an organic farmer.
In response to the discovery of fraudulent imports of soybeans from Turkey that violated federal organic regulations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Organic Program (NOP) in June revoked the organic certification of Beyaz Agro—a major Turkish grain exporter. The soybeans in question had been fumigated with aluminum phosphide—a prohibited substance under USDA’s National Organic Program—prior to arrival in the United Sates, yet were sold here as organic.
Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) this spring introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017, which would invest in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) to meet the needs of the growing organic sector. Sales of organic products in the U.S. reached approximately $47 billion in 2016, and expectations are for continued growth as more consumers choose organic.
Organic food and farming have many health benefits for consumers—they have lower levels and frequencies of pesticide residues, and can have higher levels of antioxidants and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, another less well-known health benefit centers on the welfare of farmworkers and families in agricultural areas.
Investing in communities and people improves lives …
and makes for good business
Good things are happening around the world:
After many years of dialog, there is a proposed research and promotion check-off program designed just for ORGANIC. All that’s needed now is YOUR comment to USDA supporting this game-changing initiative.
Ardent Mills has expanded its producer program to a total of seven U.S. states and a Canadian Province while adding more organic certified milling and packaging locations along with storage since announcing efforts to help U.S. wheat growers double organic wheat acres last December.
Farmers Advisory Council
The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) is growing its organizational and direct member participation. Numerous farmer organizations across the country have expressed interest in joining FAC, and OTA looks forward to working with each organization in facilitating their involvement. Similarly, as OTA continues to grow its direct farmer membership, we expect participation on FAC to develop in both its breadth and depth.