If all goes as planned, by September 2017 California will join nine states in restricting pesticide use near schools. Of the states with regulations, California’s will be the most restrictive as far as chemical use and application methods, says Brian Leahy, Director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).
Nine years ago, Paul Quinn College, a college on the south side of Dallas, TX, was financially struggling. Its graduation rate was a dismal one percent. Michael Sorrell, the new college president, decided it was time to make some big changes.
If you’re looking for social media content to showcase the value of organic, you’ve come to the right place. Despite organic sales reaching all-time highs, the organic community is still often asked to prove the value of organic and defend it from innacurate claims. We have all heard the misleading statements that organic cannot feed the world, or that it’s not really better for your health. To combat this misinformation, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) has created a collection of visually engaging graphics that are chock-full of facts proving organic is worth it.
Information collected from U.S. accredited organic certifying agents for 2014 and 2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released in December 2016 showed 14,861 U.S. organic farms in operation in 2015, with 5.3 million acres farmed organically. Of that total, slightly more than 2.1 million acres were used for certified organic pasture and rangeland.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in January published the final rule on animal welfare standards for organic livestock and poultry in the Federal Register. The Office of Management and Budget had been reviewing the rule since a public comment period ended in July.
Based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, the final rule:
On January 11, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help guide farmers transitioning into certified organic agricultural production.
Using standards developed by OTA, the National Certified Transitional Program will provide oversight to approved Accredited Organic Certifying Agents offering transitional certification to producers. This will help ease the transition process to organic, allow farmers to sell their products as certified transitional at a premium, and encourage more organic production.
The growth of the organic industry relies on continued consumer confidence that the organic label is backed up by an assurance of adherence to the organic production and handling standards. To ensure that organic farmers and handlers are meeting organic requirements, organic certifiers conduct annual inspections, unannounced inspections, residue testing, and market surveillance. In addition to these enforcement mechanisms, complaints from the general public serve an important role in identifying potential violations of the organic standards.
Bioponics and containerized production were a significant topic of discussion at the Fall 2016 NOSB meeting in St. Louis, MO. Hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, bioponics, and containers are all buzzwords that are used to describe different production systems, but what do these various terms and definitions mean, and what do these systems look like?
Organic regulations require certified operations to demonstrate they are promoting ecological balance, conserving biodiversity, managing livestock to meet health and wellness requirements and using only approved farming and handling inputs. Organic agriculture is also governed by the basic rule that natural and organic inputs are allowed while synthetic inputs are prohibited. In some cases, however, synthetic or non-organic inputs are the only option available because of the absence of a natural or organic alternative.
This past September, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced a bill that would make urban farms of all types eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and would set up an office of urban agriculture within the agency. The Urban Agriculture Act of 2016, as envisioned by Senator Stabenow, would help create new economic opportunities, giving urban families greater access to healthy food and creating a healthier environment in cities and towns across the country.