Regulations from the National Organic Program (NOP) dictate that organic producers must use organic seed when commercially available. However, as organic farms continue to increase in size and number it appears to be putting a squeeze on organic seed availability. The NOP seed standards were initially established in 2002, but growers report that in recent years those regulations have become more of an issue for large scale organic growers.
“The National Organic Program would allow us to go out and find three different suppliers to question if they had our seed available organically and if it was not available organically, we could get a product conventionally,” said President and Owner of Kings River Produce Steve Beck. “That’s been really difficult to find and it’s getting tighter every year.”
Beck participated in a grower panel where he explained the challenges for the organic industry is acquiring enough organic seed as farming operations continue to expand. “The National Organic Program is really buckling down and so those of us that grow quite a few acres it’s very difficult to find the varieties that will fit our program in the volumes that we need as organic seed…that’s one of the main hot points in the national program right now is the organic seed availability,” Beck noted.