(ALERT OVER) USDA Filling Five Vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board

June 27th, 2011

The USDA is seeking nominations for five upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Appointees will serve a five-year term beginning Jan. 24, 2012. Vacancies for the 15-mem¬ber organic advisory board must represent a particular constituency as identified by Congress, and the particular openings are for:

• an organic [agricultural] producer [farmer/rancher/grower];
• an organic handler [processor, grain elevator, etc.];
• a consumer/public interest representative;
• a scientist;
• and an environmentalist

The positions aim to represent various sectors of the organic industry, and to ensure that the Board contains a variety of members with expertise in fields including toxicology, ecology, and biochemistry.

In the past, widespread abuse during the Bush and Obama administrations led to corporate agri¬business representatives being appointed to positions that were earmarked for farmers or consumer advocates. Because of this history, Cornucopia is appealing to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to respect the will of Congress and to make the nomination process public so that the very best candidates can be appointed. Transparency and openness will help the organic community advise the USDA on the best possible candidates for the NOSB, so we have also asked that the department release a list of candidates, to allow the public to supply input.

The NOSB is responsible for determining allowed and prohibited substances/inputs used in organic agricultural production and food, as well as advising the USDA Secretary on organic regulations and policy.

Board meetings customarily occur twice a year, in the spring and fall, in various locations across the country.

If you are interested in applying for one of the vacancies, visit www.regulations.gov and search for AMS-NOP-11-0006-0001. Individuals can nominate themselves for one of the appropriate slots. Nominations must be postmarked by July 17. For more information, contact katherine.benham@ams.usda.gov at the USDA.

Please feel free to contact us at The Cornucopia Institute if you’re considering applying for one of these slots.

It’s imperative that we have truly qualified and independent stakeholders in the organic community helping guide the future of this movement and industry. We hope you will consider this important opportunity for public service.

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