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.
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?
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.