It is such an honor to work in an industry that does so much for the planet. Organic agriculture conserves resources, protects the environment and minimizes pesticide use while feeding the world. Organic agriculture helps improve the lives of farmers in developing countries and provides a vibrant export opportunity for domestic producers.
Organic agriculture is also a bright spot in the U.S. economy. As Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) Deputy Anne Alonzo recently said, “U.S. consumer sales of organic products stood at $31.4 billion at the end of 2011, and are estimated at $35 billion for 2012. At the start of this year, there were 17,750 certified organic farms and businesses in the United States.”
Have you have ever wanted to be on the cutting edge of organic news and events? Do you want to better understand how the USDA regulates and protects the organic industry?
Here are ten ways you can become an Organic Expert.
1) Take a stroll around the National Organic Program (NOP) website. Their mission is to protect organic integrity and to make sure all products have consistent standards, whether they are coming from domestic or international sources.
2) Sign up for news and updates on initiatives that are communicated through the newsletter NOP Insider. This is the main way the USDA communicates with the organic community.
5) Sign up for The Organic Trade Association (OTA) Newsflash. This publication comes out once per week and is chock full of news and current events. The easiest way is to email your contact information (name, title, email address and company affiliation to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include “Sign Up for OTA Publications” in the subject line.
6) Become aware of your local and regional organic farming associations. Google organic farms and include your state or region. Become involved, support them and stay abreast of news and events.
7) Stay up to date on Organic science with The Organic Center whose mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming.
8) Read a classic organic agriculture book from an organic pioneer. There is a library of free downloads at soilandhealth.org. Access their Agricultural Library to read classics from authors such as Steiner and Rodale.
9) Continue to read, follow and share the Organic Matters Blog with others. Get in involved in the dialogue by making comments on each post.
10) Above all, buy and eat organic products. If you’re not already a primary user of organic foods, add one new organic item to your grocery list every week. Taste the difference. Your family and the planet will appreciate it.
And remember, you don’t need a PhD to be an Organic Expert. You just need to stay informed and stay active in industry issues!