OPN Connect Newsletter 335 · August 31, 2023

“The SOE Deadline Looms—Are You Ready?” Ed Session Announced for OGS 2023

With March 19, 2024, comes full implementation of the National Organic Program’s (NOP) Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) rule, and with that, new challenges are coming into view for producers, distributors, and importers. Navigating and adhering to these new requirements for organic producers and handlers will be the subject of the first announced educational session of the Organic Grower Summit (OGS) 2023 presented by Western Growers and OPN.

“The SOE Deadline Looms—Are You Ready?" is designed to help growers better understand the upcoming changes and will feature organic industry leaders providing operational and administrative details of the SOE rule as its deadline for compliance edges closer to reality.

OPS 2024 Retailer Reg square

Moderated by John Foster, Chief Operating Officer at Wolf & Associates and a former member of the National Organic Standards Board, panelists for the session include Dr. Jennifer Tucker, Deputy Administrator at National Organic Program; April Vasquez, Chief Certification Officer for CCOF; Meredith Kiser, Compliance Director at Heath & Lejeune; Theojary Crisantes, Chief Operating Officer at Wholesum Family Farms; and Bianca Kaprielian, CEO and Co-Owner of Fruit World. The newly announced and timely session is part of a robust educational program designed to inform and engage organic producers, their service providers, and supply chain partners.

Panel for "The SOE Deadline Looms—Are You Ready?" ed session

“When OGS 2023 commences, there will be just 111 days left for the NOP’s deadline for its full steam-ahead Strengthening Organic Enforcement compliances. As the clock ticks, growers, distributors, importers, and handlers on the organic produce supply chain are challenged by this most rigorous change to USDA’s organic standards in 20 years,” said Foster. “This panel goes straight to the top for answers with the USDA’s NOP Deputy Administrator Dr. Jenny Tucker reporting key updates imperative to the organic produce industry. If you are feeling a sense of urgency regarding SOE mandates, this panel is a priceless resource of currency and expertise on these new regulations.”  

Vitalis June 2024

Foster said the SOE is the most significant organic regulatory change since regulations were implemented 20 years ago. “Mandatory changes are coming for the certification of brokers and traders for every imported organic product and for qualifications of inspectors and certification staff. This panel of industry leaders will provide operational and administrative details, showing attendees how to steer clear of bureaucratic potholes and ensure there are no disruptions to the supply chain,” he said.