It's Time to Share Your Story Again!

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) recently announced its draft agenda for the spring 2015 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting to be held in La Jolla, California at the end of April.

That means it’s that time of year again! Time for you to share your story and help determine the path of organic agriculture. Prior to the meeting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites the public to comment on what should be included and excluded in the organic standards. The NOSB—a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives—reviews these public comments, then recommends changes and adjustments to be made to the organic standards to the USDA.

This time around, the original materials included in the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances of the organic regulations are up for review, as they are scheduled to sunset in 2017. This original list includes almost 200 materials used for crop production, livestock production and processing.

CCOF is reviewing this long list of materials to see which ones our most relevant to CCOF members. The complete list can be viewed at the end of the Spring 2015 NOSB draft meeting agenda. In addition to the 2017 Sunset materials, a number of other materials will be reviewed at the April meeting:

Handling materials to be reviewed include:

  • Ammonium Hydroxide - petitioned to be added
  • PGME - petitioned to be added
  • Ancillary Substances for Microorganisms
  • 2016 Sunset Review: Including Egg White Lysozyme, L-Malic Acid, Microorganisms, Activated Charcoal, Peracetic Acid and others. 

Crops materials to be reviewed include:

  • Exhaust Gas - petitioned to be added
  • Calcium Sulfate - petitioned to be added
  • 3-decene-2-one - petitioned to be added
  • 2016 Sunset Reviews: Ferric Phosphate, Hydrogen Chloride

Livestock materials to be reviewed include:

  • Methionine (MET) - petitioned to be added
  • Acidified Sodium Chlorite (ASC) - petitioned to be added
  • Zinc Sulfate - petitioned to be added save

The agenda also includes the review of a number of documents as well as a panel on seed purity.

Discussion documents to be reviewed include:

  • Discussion Document: Contamination Issues in Farm Inputs
  • Discussion Document: Excluded Methods Terminology
  • Discussion Document: Prevention Strategy Guidance for Excluded Methods in Crops and Handling
  • Discussion Document: Aquaculture Legacy Document

The full set of discussion documents, materials descriptions, and questions on these materials posed by the NOSB provides more background on each item.

The USDA truly wants to hear from you. You can submit comments on this meeting’s proposals until 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at for docket number: AMS-NOP-15-0002 (click on the “Comment Now!” button). You can also sign up to present in-person oral comments at the meeting itself.