By Melody Meyer
The Fall 2021 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting is just around the corner, October 19-21, and will be held virtually via live webinar. The NOSB will deliberate and vote on allowed and prohibited materials and make other decisions potentially impactful for organic producers and handlers.
The meeting agenda (along with proposals, discussion documents, and sunset reviews that will be considered) is posted on the NOSB website. The public comment period is now open, and the deadline to submit written comments and/or sign up for oral comments is September 30.
The NOSB will review 30 inputs currently included on the list of allowed and prohibited substances (available in the NOSB 2021 Fall Meeting Document) to determine if the listing should continue or be removed in 2023. Inputs may not be renewed if there is new information indicating they are harmful to human health, the environment, or aren’t necessary because natural alternatives are now available.
The public comment period is now open, and the deadline to submit written comments and/or sign up for oral comments is September 30.
The following materials are being petitioned to be newly allowed in organic crop production:
- Kasugamycin – An antibiotic for fire blight control.
- The Crops Subcommittee plans to reject the petition to allow Kasugamycin. Along with other prohibited antibiotics like Streptomycin, they find it incompatible with organic systems.
- Chitosan – Derived from seafood shells, Chitosan targets early and late blight, downy and powdery mildew, and grey mold.
- The Crops Subcommittee is split (4-4) on whether to allow this material.
- Biochar – Only derived from burning cow manure for use as a soil amendment.
- The Crops Subcommittee voted (5-3) in favor to allow this material.
The NOSB will review 30 inputs currently included on the list of allowed and prohibited substances, to determine if the listing should continue or be removed in 2023.
- Hydronium – Sulfuric acid plus calcium hydroxide as a manure processing aid.
- The Crops Subcommittee plans to reject the petition to allow Hydronium citing alternatives already available.
- Carbon Dioxide – For use as an algicide, disinfectant, sanitizer, and a pH adjuster for irrigation water sources.
- The Crops Subcommittee supports the petition to allow carbon dioxide as it has no apparent negative effect on the environment.
- Biodegradable Biobased Mulch - Biodegradable mulches that are 80-percent biobased.
- The Crops Subcommittee supports the petition to allow 80-percent biobased biodegradable mulches. However, there are currently no available products that meet the 80-percent biobased criteria.
One material is being petitioned to be prohibited in organic crop production:
- Ammonia Extract - Non-synthetic ammonia extract fertilizer.
- The Crops Subcommittee seeks to prohibit most ammonia products except those that are a component of fertilizer formulations with a C:N ratio of 3:1 or less and limited to a cumulative total use of 20 percent of crop needs.
One proposal would add restricted use of a material:
- Sodium Nitrate - The current proposal seeks to reinstate the restricted use of sodium nitrate fertilizer active ingredients. This activates the sunset review process, so the material isn’t allowed for unlimited use. (Sodium nitrate fertilizer active ingredients are currently allowed with no specific restrictions.)
- The Crops Subcommittee supports relisting Sodium Nitrate with restrictions.
Written comments can be submitted via Regulations.gov (Docket AMS-NOP-21-0038), with oral comments (3-minute slot) available during one of two webinar sessions on October 13 and 14.
To participate in the Fall 2021 meeting, written public comments or requests for oral comment speaking slots must be received by September 30, 2021.
For more information on how to sign up, go to: https://www.ams.usda.gov/event/national-organic-standards-board-nosb-meeting-sacramento-ca