Organic Week in Brief: Five Need-to-Knows
1. USDA Hosts Webinar on Organic Reporting Today at 2:00 pm EDT
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will host a live, interactive webinar on organic reporting to learn how Specialty Crops (Produce) and other programs provide you free access to market information about organic products. Click to register. Covered areas include:
- The scope of AMS’s Organic reporting capabilities
- Our new Organic's landing page
- The easy to use AMS Market News Portal for timely, accurate information
- How you can put Market News Organic reports to work for your business
- Question & Answer session to address issues important to you
2. New Resources for Organic Handlers, Certifiers and Inspectors
The National Organic Program has published two new resources for organic handlers, certifiers and inspectors. The first is a half hour training module that reviews the organic control system and key requirements related to organic system plans, inspections, and recordkeeping. The second is a Resource List with several existing resources related to inspections and recordkeeping.
3. Representatives introduce The Organic Agriculture Research Act to Increase Organic Research
Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced a bill to support increased funding for organic research. The Organic Agriculture Research Act will raise funding for USDA's Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) from $20 million to $50 million annually.
“Organic Research and Extension Initiative funding has been critical in solving problems and developing ways for farmers to increase productivity, prevent loss, and streamline their operations,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “But insufficient funding has led to many unmet research needs and missed opportunities. The Organic Agriculture Research Act would increase funding to reflect the industry’s growth in the market and maintain its momentum.”
4. Clearwater Organic, Largest U.S. 'organic' hydroponic greenhouse, to resubmit organic certificate application
Clearwater Organic Farms, LLC's 15-acre, 650-square-foot facility will be producing certified-organic, baby leaf greens by the end of the year, making it the nation's largest, organic, hydroponic commercial greenhouse.
The company had submitted its application for an organic certificate to Oregon Tilth last year, but had to withdraw it on March 15 because the facility's hydroponic system would not be complete, with all equipment ready to begin production, within the six-month window between submitting the application and being granted certification. Oregon Tilth does not require plants to be growing to be inspected.
Today, certified-organic crops being grown by hydroponic operations include herbs, greens, tomatoes, peppers, berries, edible flowers and other mixed vegetables. A recent industry survey commissioned by the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) showed 17 organic certifiers have certified 30 hydroponic operations, 22 aquaponic operations and 69 container-based operations.
5. USDA Warns Industry of 8 Fake Organic Certificates in Marketplace
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday warned the organic food industry of eight fake organic certificates circulating in the marketplace.
The agency's National Organic Program (NOP) said in an email that the posting of fraudulent certificates does not necessarily mean that the operator or certifying agent named on the certificate was involved in illegal activity.
See all fraudulent organic certificates publicly reported here.
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