California to join other states in restricting school pesticides

If all goes as planned, by September 2017 California will join nine states in restricting pesticide use near schools. Of the states with regulations, California’s will be the most restrictive as far as chemical use and application methods, says Brian Leahy, Director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).

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Gallery of organic facts: A resource for promoting organic and correcting misinformation

If you’re looking for social media content to showcase the value of organic, you’ve come to the right place. Despite organic sales reaching all-time highs, the organic community is still often asked to prove the value of organic and defend it from innacurate claims. We have all heard the misleading statements that organic cannot feed the world, or that it’s not really better for your health. To combat this misinformation, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) has created a collection of visually engaging graphics that are chock-full of facts proving organic is worth it.

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The Organic Trade Association 2016 year in review

The Organic Trade Association unites and serves more than 8,500 organic farmers, handlers, ranchers, processors, distributors, and retailers across the organic supply chain. In fact, 2016 saw the biggest growth in OTA membership in over five years. If you’re one of the many members who already relies on OTA for its government relations, media outreach, and market insights work, thank you for your support. If not, take a look at a few of the many highlights of OTA’s work on behalf of the sector, and join us in our work to chart organic’s future.

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Fifty U.S. companies certified to GOTS

Fifty companies in the United States are now certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Meanwhile, Canada has seven companies certified to the program. GOTS is the stringent voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing—including spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing—of apparel and home textiles made with organic fiber. The standard includes both environmental and social criteria.

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U.S. organic acreage tops 5.3 million

Information collected from U.S. accredited organic certifying agents for 2014 and 2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released in December 2016 showed 14,861 U.S. organic farms in operation in 2015, with 5.3 million acres farmed organically. Of that total, slightly more than 2.1 million acres were used for certified organic pasture and rangeland.

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OTA adds two policy experts

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has hired two experienced government affairs professionals to join its team.

Kelley Poole (above, left) is now OTA’s Vice President of Government Affairs. In addition, Megan DeBates (above, right) has been named Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions Both based at OTA’s Washington, D.C., office at the Hall of the States, they will help introduce organic food and farming to the new Administration and Congress.

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USDA approves new transitional certification program

On January 11, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help guide farmers transitioning into certified organic agricultural production.

Using standards developed by OTA, the National Certified Transitional Program will provide oversight to approved Accredited Organic Certifying Agents offering transitional certification to producers. This will help ease the transition process to organic, allow farmers to sell their products as certified transitional at a premium, and encourage more organic production.

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An introduction to organic ‘bioponics’ and containers

Bioponics and containerized production were a significant topic of discussion at the Fall 2016 NOSB meeting in St. Louis, MO. Hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, bioponics, and containers are all buzzwords that are used to describe different production systems, but what do these various terms and definitions mean, and what do these systems look like?

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