1. 13 Percent Growth in Organic Farms in U.S. From 2015-2016
USDA confirmed that the organic industry continues to grow domestically and globally, with the 2016 count of U.S. certified organic farms and businesses reflecting a 13 percent increase from the previous year. The annual increase in the states with the largest numbers of organic are: CA (8%); WI (10%); NY (21%); PA (37%) and WA (4%). The complete list of certified organic farms and business is available through USDA’s Organic Integrity Database which is maintained by USDA-accredited certifying agents.
2. Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) Asks NOSB to Hold Proposing Seed Regulation Changes
Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), a nonprofit based in Townsend, WA representing the organic seed trade, has asked the National Organic Standards Board for more improvements in the NOSB Crops Committee proposal before the board vote. OSA commended the NOSB for its effort to strengthen guidance for organic seed procurement in written comments. Click to see OSA’s written comments.
3. USDA Cancels Reimbursement for Transitional Certification Fees
USDA announced that it has canceled the expansion for its Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) because there are no transitional programs established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The expanded program, debuted in January, was based on standards developed by the Organic Trade Association to enhance domestic production of raw organic ingredients. Learn more about here.
4. Leopold Center for Sustainable Ag Faces Shutdown at Iowa State
The Iowa House-Senate agricultural proposals for the 2018 budget would eliminate $400,000 in annual appropriations and reassign $1.5 million in tax revenue from nitrogen fertilizer sales used to fund the renowned research and education center. The bill slashes the state's general fund budget for agriculture and natural resources programs by 5.6 percent, specifically calls for closure of the center. Click for the story in the Des Moines Register.
5. California’s Baloian Farms Introducing New Organic Produce Items
Fresno-based Baloian Farms plans to introduce organic green beans and green peppers to its Coachella Valley season this year. Moving north to Fresno in mid-May, Baloian will introduce organic zuchinni and yellow squash.
Sierra Lopes, marketing specialist for Baloian Farms said “Our plans for 2017 are to grow organic green peppers, green beans and soft squash, but we are certainly looking for ways to develop this program in the future. Our organic green pepper harvest will begin in the Coachella Valley in the beginning of May.”
Baloian is a fourth-generation farm and a major supplier of peppers and mixed vegetables. Click here for more.
“With the increased demand, there also needs to be a corresponding increase in supply. This will be a big challenge in the future for growers of organic produce. It’s going to be a big challenge to hit yields and procure enough supply to meet the demand. One big influence for the growth in demand in the future will be the impact of Millennial moms.”
Jerry Moran, Naturipe Farms