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Spinach Varieties
The popularity of packaged salads has fueled increasing demand for organic spinach, but the success of the product has come with growing pains—namely, a fungal disease so widespread and destructive that it threatens the viability of the crop.
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by Colin O’Neil, Agriculture Policy Director, Environmental Working Group

More and more Americans want to avoid toxic pesticides on the foods they are buying and feeding their families. But the U.S. invests too little in growing more organic food. As demand for organic food continues to rise, American food companies and retailers are forced to rely on imports.

We think this should change. That is why we released a report advocating for Congress to reduce obstacles to organic transition through modest changes in the next farm bill and launched our Plate of the Union campaign with Food Policy Action Education Fund. Continue reading

organic meat processing
A report from the Organic Farming Research Foundation says the United States lacks enough organic meat processors. In the National Organic Research Agenda Report, the group concluded that although sales of U.S.-produced organic food exceed $6 billion annually, federal funding into organic production has not kept pace. Continue reading

certified organic farmers
The Organic Farmers Association is gaining momentum, according to Politico. The group, organized by the Rodale (roh-dale) Institute, has formed a steering committee and will hold leadership elections early next year. The panel includes 12 voting seats for certified organic farmers and seven non-voting seats for organic farm organizations. The Rodale Institute says the organization has “several hundred members” that it is asking about their lobbying priorities and expects to be active in farm bill discussions. Rodale Institute CEO Jeff Moyer said the startup group gained support last year from organic watchdogs who opposed the Organic Trade Associations’ stance on GMO labeling legislation. Moyer also said many of the farmers he’s talked to are against the Agriculture Department’s organic checkoff program, but the Organic Farmers Association has not yet taken a position on the checkoff issue.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.

eating habits
Everett Griner talks about how our eating habits have changed in today’s Agri View. Hear Everett’s report and learn more. →

demand gmo
Rising demand for organic and non-GMO foods led to a sharp rise in organic grain imports last year. A new report by CoBank says U.S. production of non-GMO crops has risen, but domestic production for organic corn and soybeans remains well short of current U.S. demand. Continue reading

organic welfare
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is delaying implementation of a controversial new rule on animal welfare standards for organic livestock and poultry. Continue reading

certified organic livestock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting the 2016 Certified Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. This effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production in the United States. Continue reading

conaway organic


Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service release of its new organic animal welfare standards. Continue reading

organic label
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced a final rule that strengthens the integrity of the organic label by clarifying production requirements for organic livestock and poultry. The final rule establishes a level playing field for organic producers, bolsters consumer confidence in the organic label, and ensures that all organic animals live in pasture-based systems utilizing production practices that support their well-being and natural behavior. Continue reading

In another poke in the eye to agriculture, the Obama administration tomorrow will issue a regulation that adds animal welfare standards to the nation’s organic food production law. The National Pork Producers Council will work with the Trump administration and Congress to repeal yet another “midnight” regulation. Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking comments on a proposal for a new industry-funded research and promotion program. The proposed Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order would cover certified organic products and would include a range of agricultural commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, breads, grains, snack foods, condiments, beverages, and packaged and prepared foods. It would also include non-food items, such as textiles, personal care products, pet food, and flowers. Organic imports – both those certified under the USDA organic regulations and those entering the U.S. under an organic equivalency arrangement – would also be covered. Continue reading

Rules that would change the production of organic meat are awaiting President Obama’s approval but may run out of time. That means they might not ever go into effect. The High Plains Public Radio website says the proposed rules would clarify current rules and create new standards of care for animals on organic livestock farms. Continue reading

Organic Producers and Handlers May Apply for Certification Cost Share Reimbursements; Expanded Eligibility for Transition and State Certification Cost

organic producers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification. Continue reading

organic livestock
The Department of Agriculture is “doing everything” it can to roll out the department’s organic livestock welfare rule before the Obama administration leaves office next month. Continue reading

organic products
University of California scientists are seeking certified organic growers to participate in a multistate soil and food-safety study.  The researchers are gathering data to develop national guidelines and best practices for using raw manure to improve soil health while minimizing food-safety risks in organically grown crops such as leafy greens, tomatoes and root vegetables. Continue reading

organic products
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of up to $3.8 million in funding to support research, education and extension to support organic farmers and ranchers as well as those adopting organic practices for the first time. The grants are funded through the Organic Transitions Program (ORG), administered by NIFA and authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Continue reading

USDA-Organic-Seal national organic
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will hold a public meeting in Denver, Colo., April 19-21, 2017.

The board meeting provides a forum for the organic community to provide input on issues concerning organic production and processing.  During the meeting, which is open to the public, the board will address several petitions about changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Continue reading

First Organic Grower to be President of Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau For the first time in its 99-year history, the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau has elected a certified organic grower as President of the organization. Tom Broz, owner, Live Earth Farms, assumed his new role with the Farm Bureau on November 1st, 2016.
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national organic
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed five new members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), adding valuable perspectives to the 15-member advisory board. Appointees will begin their 5-year service on the NOSB on Jan. 24, 2017.

The new members will fill positions that are specifically designated to represent various sectors of the organic community. Continue reading

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