What’s New at the USDA for Organic Producers?


By Melody Meyer

The USDA offers many resources to help organic producers navigate the roadmap to successful farming. Tune into some of the opportunities to learn more and participate in the USDA programs that can assist you in the future.

Are you thinking about transitioning acreage?

Find out what motivates organic producers to transition to organic, what the major challenges are and what resources are needed to support transition.    A Webinar discussing transition to organic survey will be held Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 at 3 p.m. Eastern.  The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ben Bowell, organic specialist, and Oregon Tilth will present the results of a national survey of producers who are transitioning or have recently transitioned to organic.  For more information, visit the webinar’s web page.

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Are you looking for an easier way to achieve Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)?

The Specialty Crops Program’s Specialty Crops Inspection Division (SCI) launched GroupGAP, a new food safety certification program. This voluntary USDA GAP programs helps verify that produce growers and handlers are taking measures to reduce the risk of contamination. Your buyers look for USDA GAP-certified suppliers to source safe specialty products. GroupGAP allows farmers, food hubs, and marketing organizations of all sizes to band together and pool resources to achieve USDA GAP certification.  Learn more here.

Do you now about the USDA “Hotline” for Produce Industry on good delivery?

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There is a free service offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that has helped save the produce industry more than $140 million in the past three years. The USDA Hotline helps the produce industry understand what makes a “Good Delivery”. The hotline is a free service offered by SCP’s Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) Division. They welcome all producers to call the “Good Delivery” Hotline at 1-800-495-7222, option #2, where help is only a phone call away. 

Twice a year, the NOSB meets to listen to public comments, discuss specific items pertaining to organic agriculture, and vote on recommendations to the USDA. These meetings, are open to the public, and are an important forum for public comment, and support transparency in the standards development process. The fall 2017 NOSB meeting will be held October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Jacksonville, Florida. During this meeting, the Board will discuss various important topics, such as hydroponics and changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. For information about how to submit written comments, both oral and written, and to access the meeting materials, please visit the meeting webpage: Fall 2017 NOSB Meeting webpage.  Don’t miss the opportunity to comment, the deadline is October 11, 2017, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Don’t miss the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting this fall.

Organic Produce Network (OPN)
In Their Words: Miles McEvoy

In Their Words: Miles McEvoy


OPN Connect recently chatted with Miles McEvoy, the Deputy Administrator for the National Organic Program (NOP) housed within the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). He has worked in organic agriculture for more than 25 years and in 1988 was named the first organic inspector for the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

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In Their Words: Tom Deardorff II

In Their Words: Tom Deardorff II


The predecessor company to Deardorff Family Farms was founded in Los Angles in 1937 as a distributor for local growers.  In the 1960s, the firm began its transition to Ventura County and to grower-shipper status as the third generation of Deardorff joined the operation. Today, the company is led by fourth generation cousins Tom Deardorff II and Scott Deardorff, who engineered the addition of an organics focus more than a decade ago.  Tom discusses the transition with OPN in this edited and condensed transcript.

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Ashley’s Better Bites: Organic Lettuce

Ashley’s Better Bites: Organic Lettuce


By Ashley Koff, RD

When I say lettuce, you say…??? Delicious? Boring? Nutritious? Not Really?

When it comes to lettuces, there’s a lot of confusion about what is better, so let me debunk that right now. Any organic lettuce is better. Even better? A variety of organic lettuces. Why? Let’s look at what organic lettuce can do for you.

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Organic Lettuce Market Stays Strong

Organic Lettuce Market Stays Strong


The market on organic lettuce was strong this week trading in the high $20s, largely because of the same issue plaguing all California production ---heavy spring rains which delayed plantings and caused production gaps moving into June.

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Weekly Top 5: Organic News You Need to Know 

Weekly Top 5: Organic News You Need to Know 


  1. Gladstone Acquires Organic Farmland in North Carolina and Arizona
  2. Robots Welding Water Knives are the Future of Farming – Agriculture Continues to Automate 
  3. Sun World founder Howard P. Marguleas Passes Away at 82 
  4. Call for Nominations: National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
  5. Changes for U.S. Industrial Hemp Farming
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Organic Produce Network (OPN)