Organics and Sustainability

Laws, Regulations and Programs Pertaining to Organics and Sustainability - See Chapters 13&15 of the Federal Produce Policy Manual

 

February 25, 2016

New Study Suggests Organic May Be More Nutritious

As the popularity of the “organic” label grows, there is an ongoing debate on whether or not organic food products are healthier than conventional ones. 

To view the article, click here.

National Organic Program: USDA Organic Regulations

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) submitted the 2016 Sunset Review to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) through the Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) following the NOSB's October 2014 and April 2015 meetings. The 2016 Sunset Review pertains to the NOSB's review of the need for the continued allowance for seven substances on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List). Consistent with the NOSB's review, this publication provides notice on the renewal of five synthetic and two nonsynthetic substances on the National List, along with any restrictive annotations. For substances that have been renewed on the National List, this document completes the 2016 National List Sunset Process.

To view the rule, click here.

To view the announcement, click here.

Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced a new step to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, by expanding a crop insurance option to allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product's actual value. The expanded coverage is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) continued commitment to provide farmers with resources and tools to meet the growing demand for certified organic products. The Secretary made the announcement at the White House during remarks to participants at the USDA Market Summit.

To view the announcement, click here.

Economic Issues in the Coexistence of Organic, Genetically Engineered (GE), and Non-GE Crops

The Economic Research Service (ERS) released a report examining organic and conventional product markets, common coexistence practices, and the economic impacts when GE material is detected in non-GE products.

To view the report, click here.

 

February 18, 2016

New National Organic Summary Report

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced a new weekly organic market news report that provides transparency in the marketplace by presenting data collected by market reporters from wholesale markets, retail ads, and industry participants from around the U.S. It includes links to additional organic market information and Market News contacts. This report will be updated and available on a weekly basis and is published by the AMS Market News Divisions.

To view the report, click here.

USDA Publishes Presentation on Expansion of the Organic Assessment Exemption

The National Organic Program (NOP) has released a recorded presentation that provides an overview of modifications to the organic assessment exemption regulations under 23 Federal marketing orders and 22 research and promotion programs, collectively referred to as “commodity promotion programs.”

The presentation provides an overview on how the amendments to the exemption will be applied to businesses under each of the commodity promotion programs moving forward.  The recording can be accessed at http://www.ams.usda.gov/report-presentation/organic-exemption.

To view the announcement, click here.

Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production.

The National Organic Program (NOP) published a new handbook titled “NOP 2040: Instruction: Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production.” This instruction clarifies U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy regarding the organic certification of industrial hemp production by USDA-accredited certifying agents.

To view the handbook, click here.

Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation in Organic Production

The National Organic Program (NOP) announced a webinar on Thursday, March 17, 2016, from 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time, on the new NOP guidance concerning natural resources and biodiversity conservation. The guidance provides examples of practices that support the conservation principles and demonstrate compliance with USDA organic regulations. This webinar will also share opportunities for USDA NRCS to support producers as they implement these conservation practices.

To learn more or register, click here.   

 

February 11, 2016

EC and Colombia Organic Product Agreement Talks

The Agriculture and Rural Development department of the European Commission (EC) announced the start of bilateral trade talks with the Government of Colombia on trade in organic products between the two countries.

To view the announcement, click here.

EC and Mexico Organic Product Agreement Talks

The Agriculture and Rural Development department of the European Commission (EC) announced the start of bilateral trade talks with the Government of Mexico on trade in organic products between the two countries.

To view the announcement, click here.

 

February 04, 2016

New Data on Organic Agriculture Production

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced it has begun conducting the 2015 Certified Organic Survey to gather up-to-date data on certified organic crops and livestock in the United States. This special survey effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the United States.

NASS is mailing the survey to all known organic farms in the United States. The form asks farmers to provide information on acreage, production, and sales for a variety of certified organic crop and livestock commodities. In addition, NASS is gathering information about organic farmers’ production and marketing practices. The agency urges all participants to respond by February 19. After this date, NASS will follow up by mail, phone and personal interviews with those who have not responded. Producers can return their forms by mail or complete the survey online at www.agcounts.usda.gov.

To view the announcement, click here.

NOP 5611: National List Sunset Dates Revised

The National Organic Program (NOP) has revised NOP 5611: National List Sunset Dates document, which replaces the August 27, 2015 version. Changes to the document reflect the removal of fortified cooking wine from the National List resulting from the 2015 sunset review process and the removal of two expired materials from the National List (streptomycin and tetracycline).

To view the document, click here.

 

January 21, 2016

Guidance for Accredited Certifying Agents and Certified Operations on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announcing the availability of a final guidance document intended for use by accredited certifying agents and certified operations. The guidance document is entitled: Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation (NOP 5020). This guidance document is intended to inform the public of NOP's current thinking on this topic.

To view the notice, click here.

To view the announcement, click here.

 

January 14, 2016

Final Guidance on Substances Used in Post-Harvest Handling of Organic Products

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announcing the availability of a final guidance document intended for use by accredited certifying agents, and certified and exempt organic operations. The guidance document is entitled: Substances Used in Post-Harvest Handling of Organic Products (NOP 5023). This guidance document is intended to inform the public of NOP’s current thinking on this topic.

To view the notice, click here.

AMS Releases Report on NOP Compliance & Enforcement Actions for 1Q FY2016

The National Organic Program posted an updated Compliance & Enforcement/Appeals Summary report. The quarterly report outlines NOP's compliance, enforcement and appeals activities during the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year (October 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015). The data highlights the number of incoming and completed complaints; the initial actions taken; and case dispositions, including settlements made and penalties levied.

To view the report, click here.

 

January 07, 2016

Exemption of Organic Products from Assessment

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) modified the organic assessment exemption regulations under 23 Federal marketing orders and 22 research and promotion programs (commodity promotion programs). This rule amends the current regulations to allow persons that produce, handle, market, process, manufacture, feed, or import “organic” and “100 percent organic” products to be exempt from paying assessments associated with commodity promotion activities, including paid advertising, conducted under a commodity promotion program administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), regardless of whether the person requesting the exemption also produces, handles, markets, processes, manufactures, feeds, or imports conventional or nonorganic products. Currently, only persons that exclusively produce and market products certified as 100 percent organic are eligible for an exemption from assessments under commodity promotion programs. This rule expands the exemption to cover all “organic” and “100 percent organic” products certified under the National Organic Program regardless of whether the person requesting the exemption also produces, handles, markets, processes, manufactures, feeds, or imports conventional or nonorganic products.

To view the rule, click here.

To view the announcement, click here.

Appoints Members to the National Organic Standards Board

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced the appointment of six new members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).  The following appointees will begin their service on the NOSB on January 24, 2016: Harriet Behar from Wisconsin as an environmental protection and resource conservation expert; Jesse Buie from Mississippi and Emily Oakley from Oklahoma as the two new organic producer representatives; Scott Rice from Oregon as the new accredited certifying agent representative; and Vena Romero-Briones from Hawaii and Daniel Seitz from Massachusetts as the two new public interest or consumer interest group representatives.

To view the announcement, click here.          

 

 

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