USDA Seeks Nominations for the National Organic Standards Board

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is seeking nominations to fill five vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a federal advisory committee whose 15 members represent the entire organic sector and whose recommendations are an important part of the organic standards development process. Appointees will serve a five-year term of office beginning January 24, 2017.

Vacancies for the 15-member board include:

  • an organic producer who owns or operates an organic operation,
  • an organic handler or processor who owns or operates an organic handling operation,
  • an individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation,
  • a representative of a public or consumer interest group, and
  • a scientist (toxicology, ecology or biochemistry).

USDA is also seeking nominations for a pool of candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the position categories outlined below, should unexpected vacancies occur. A person appointed to fill a vacancy will serve for the remainder of the five-year term of the vacant position. Additionally, USDA intends to renew the NOSB charter for two years, as it has done since the NOSB was established.

Made up of dedicated public volunteers appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, NOSB members include four organic farmers; two handlers; three experts in environmental protection and resource conservation; three representatives of public interest or consumer groups; an expert in toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry; an organic retailer; and an organic certifying agent representative.

Committee member duties include:

  • Attending committee meetings (travel paid by USDA)
  • Participating in bi-monthly subcommittee conference calls
  • Reviewing materials and/or recommending changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
  • Advising the Secretary on other aspects of the USDA organic regulations

The NOSB was established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and operates in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, helping develop standards for substances used in organic production and advising the Secretary of Agriculture on aspects of the National Organic Program.

Written nominations, with cover letter, resume, and an advisory committee background information form, must be postmarked on or before June 3, 2016. Find out more information about NOSB nominations and access the required forms.

USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by its industry. Diversity includes gender, race, disability, length of service, and size and type of operation.


This article was adapted from a USDA press release distributed on April 4, 2016.