USDA announces public comment session for input on organic program



The U.S Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service  and it’s National Organic Program, have announced a public listening session for stakeholders to share their recommendations on the organic program’s’s rulemaking priorities and outstanding recommendations received from the National Organic Standards Board.

The session is scheduled to be held virtually on Monday, March 21, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time. The deadline to sign up to make oral comments during the meeting is Feb. 28. Written comments will be accepted through March 30, 2022.

The event includes a request for comments regarding upcoming standards development activities, including feedback about specific recommendations received from the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The Agricultural Marketing Service intends to use the information received from public comments to prioritize future rulemaking and standards development activities. 

More information on the session can be found here.

USDA announces new members for National Organic Standards Board
In addition to the public listening session, the USDA announced the appointment of four new members to the National Organic Standards Board. The NOSB is made up of 15 volunteer members representing the organic community. The new members announced today will serve five-year terms, through Jan. 2027.

“Members of the National Organic Standards Board serve a vital role listening to what the public has to say and weighing recommendations for updates to the organic standards through open, transparent and collaborative processes,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.

“Over the next five years, these new appointees will add their experience to help USDA provide farmers and handlers with the tools they need to meet consumer demand for organic products, and they will help ensure that organic is a part of efforts to build a more climate-smart, resilient, and equitable food system.

“We also extend our deepest gratitude to the outgoing members of the board for the dedication and significant contributions they made to the organic community,” Moffitt said.

New members:

  • Elizabeth (Liz) Graznak — Missouri — is appointed to an environmental protection and resource conservation seat. Graznak has a degree in Environmental Studies and has shown a commitment to sustainable agriculture as an organic farmer and during past appointments with environmentally focused boards.
  • Allison Johnson — California — is appointed to a public interest or consumer interest group seat. Johnson currently works for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She is an attorney with experience working with the organic regulations, an organic certifier, and has focused her work on sustainable food systems.
  • Dr. Dilip Nandwani — Tennessee — is appointed to the scientist seat. Nandwani is a professor at Tennessee State University and has a Ph.D. in Botany. He has 10 years of teaching experience, with a focus on organic agriculture, certification, and crop science.
  • Javier Zamora — California — is appointed to a farmer seat.  Zamora is with JSM Organics, a 100-acre vegetable/fruit farm, and has 20 years of farming experience. He has provided farmers assistance with direct marketing regulations, organic compliance, and developing direct marketing channels. He is fluent in Spanish.

About the NOSB
The NOSB is a Federal Advisory Board established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The Board operates in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act to assist in developing standards for substances used in organic production and to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on aspects of the National Organic Program. Learn more about NOP and the Board on their website.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)



Source link