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Summary of the 2016 Spring National Organic Standards Board Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met at the end of April to hear public comment, discuss the 2018 Sunset Materials, and vote on a number of proposals. NOSB also welcomed six new board members at the April meeting, including CCOF member Jesse Buie!

Proposals Passed by NOSB

Take Action to Support Origin of Livestock Rulemaking

Now is the time to support the implementation of the long-overdue Origin of Livestock proposed rule. The rule would ensure clear and enforceable requirements for the sourcing of organic dairy herds by requiring new dairy animals to be managed organically from at least the last third of gestation. The organic community has advocated for this rule for many years. Inconsistent interpretation of the current rule has put some farmers at a disadvantage in an already struggling industry. On October 1, 2019, the USDA reopened the rule’s public comment period.

Update on Court Ruling Against USDA Compost Guidance

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not properly issue guidance on the allowance of green waste in compost used for organic production. USDA has 60 days to appeal the decision.

The ruling is the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed against USDA that challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems. The Court held that USDA did not properly issue the guidance because it did not provide for public notice and comment.

USDA Announces Rulemaking Process on Organic Appeals

Last week, USDA announced it will propose rulemaking on adverse actions appeals process within the national organic standards. 
 
The proposed rule will streamline the appeals process and ensure that the National Organic Program (NOP) can more efficiently stop producers from marketing noncompliant products as organic. 
 
The rulemaking is part of USDA’s broad strategy to strengthen oversight of organic imports.

USDA Appoints Dr. Jennifer Tucker as Deputy Administrator of NOP

USDA announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Tucker as Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program (NOP) under the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Dr. Tucker previously served as the Associate Deputy Administrator of the NOP. As Deputy Administrator of the NOP, Dr. Tucker will oversee the development and enforcement of the national organic standards. 
 

USDA Grants Temporary Variance to Certified Organic Livestock Producers

In response to requests made by CCOF and other certifiers, the National Organic Program (NOP) approved a temporary variance request pertaining to the livestock pasture standards. The variance applies to organic ruminant livestock producers located in California counties that have been designated as primary natural disaster areas.

USDA Launches Organic Learning Center Featuring CCOF-Produced Content

Last week the National Organic Program (NOP) launched the Organic Integrity Learning Center, an online platform that will provide free organic education geared towards certifiers, inspectors, reviewers, and compliance specialists. CCOF-produced videos were featured in a lesson titled “Sound and Sensible Organic Certification.” These videos were produced with a grant from USDA’s Sound and Sensible initiative to ease the process of transition and certification for producers.

USDA Proposes Updates to National List with New Allowed and Prohibited Substances

The National Organic Program released a proposed rule to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The proposed rule is based off public input and recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board from 2018.
 
Stakeholders may submit comment on the proposed amendment by December 17, 2019.

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