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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Filing complaints to USDA: An aspect of organic integrity

The growth of the organic industry relies on continued consumer confidence that the organic label is backed up by an assurance of adherence to the organic production and handling standards. To ensure that organic farmers and handlers are meeting organic requirements, organic certifiers conduct annual inspections, unannounced inspections, residue testing, and market surveillance. In addition to these enforcement mechanisms, complaints from the general public serve an important role in identifying potential violations of the organic standards.

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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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National List Criteria: Inside the review process

Organic regulations require certified operations to demonstrate they are promoting ecological balance, conserving biodiversity, managing livestock to meet health and wellness requirements and using only approved farming and handling inputs. Organic agriculture is also governed by the basic rule that natural and organic inputs are allowed while synthetic inputs are prohibited. In some cases, however, synthetic or non-organic inputs are the only option available because of the absence of a natural or organic alternative.

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Welcome new OTA members!

The single most effective way you can address the range of critical issues facing your organic business is by joining the Organic Trade Association. OTA has promoted and protected the organic business community for thirty years. We have the strategic know-how to effectively address issues, both large and small, that impact your bottom line. Welcome to the new OTA members who have joined us in 2016.

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Organic News and Trends

The booming U.S. organic industry posted new records in 2015, with total organic product sales hitting $43.3 billion, up a robust 11 percent from the previous year’s record level and far outstripping the overall food market’s growth rate of 3 percent, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey.

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Farm Advocacy Update

OTA’s Farmers Advisory Council

The Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Policy Conference hosted another Farmers Advisory Council (FAC) summit, where FAC members met to discuss and reflect on FAC’s successes over the past three years, and contemplated how to increase participation and imagine where FAC will head in the next three years.

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