I have been fortunate enough to visit many foreign countries, be it for my job or volunteering with International Executive Service Corps. In my capacity working with organic farmers, I have developed a deep appreciation for the services and support our USDA offers. If you are a farmer, rancher, handler or consumer, there is something for you at the USDA. They provide a multitude of resources to help organic producers navigate the road map to successful farming. They encourage consumers to weigh in and participate in the evolution of the organic regulations. Since everyone eats yet only a few of us farm, it’s important to stay abreast of our Department of Food and Agriculture. Tune into some of the opportunities to learn more and participate in the USDA programs.
If you’re thinking about transitioning acreage:
Discover what motivates organic producers to transition to organic, what the major challenges are and what resources are needed to support the transition. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, organic specialist Ben Bowell, and Oregon Tilth presented the results of a national survey of producers who are transitioning or have recently transitioned to organic. You can view the webinar discussing a transition to organic survey that was held on Tuesday, June 6th, 2017. To find out more, visit the webinar’s web page.
Mark Your Calendars for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting this fall.
Twice a year, the NOSB meets to listen to public comments, discuss specific items pertaining to organic agriculture, and vote on recommendations to the USDA. These meetings are open to the public and are an important forum for public comment. They support transparency in the organic standards development process. The fall 2017 NOSB meeting will be held October 31 – November 2, 2017, at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Jacksonville, Florida. During this meeting, the Board will discuss various important topics, such as hydroponics and changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. For information about how to submit written comments, both oral and written, and to access the meeting materials, please visit the meeting webpage: Fall 2017 NOSB Meeting. Don’t miss the opportunity to comment; the deadline is October 11, 2017, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.Mark Your Calendars for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting this fall.
If you wish to serve on the NOSB now or in the future, USDA is seeking candidates!
The USDA is looking to fill one vacancy for an individual with expertise in the areas of environmental protection and resource conservation. This seat is open to serve on the NOSB from January 2018 to January 2023. They are also seeking nominations for a pool of candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies.
If you think you’re the next person for this volunteer board, submit a written nomination with your resume, a completed AD-755 Application Form, and a cover letter (optional). This must be postmarked on or before August 7, 2017. For more information, visit the NOSB Nominations webpage.
If you dabble in produce, there is a USDA “Hotline” for Good Delivery Standards you should keep handy:
There is a free service offered by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that has helped save the produce industry more than $140 million in the past three years. The USDA Hotline helps the produce industry understand what makes a “Good Delivery.” The hotline is a free service offered by SCP’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) Division. They welcome all producers to call the “Good Delivery” Hotline at 1-800-495-7222, option #2, where help is only a phone call away.
Never downplay the role that the USDA serves in providing us more organic food and fiber, transparency, and support. The USDA plays a crucial role in our quest to improve our food and farming future.