SIGN THE PROXY LETTER: Remove Current USDA Organic ManagementSeptember 24th, 2015
Illegal Power Grab Greasing the Skids for “Organic” Factory Farming and
Potentially Contaminated/Fraudulent Imports
Make no mistake about it: This is an indictment, alleging corruption at the USDA that is ruining the credibility of the organic label. If you agree after reading this message and supporting materials, we ask that you print out, sign, and mail us the linked proxy (you can also fax it to 866-861-2214). Please add your voice to the other farmers, and their urban allies, supporting organic integrity!
Who owns the organic label? We do!
Your voice is needed more than ever to save organics.
The Cornucopia Institute is asking you to help bring new management into place at the USDA’s National Organic Program that will be truly dedicated to carrying out the intent and spirit of the landmark Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA). We need you to turn up the heat on USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Program Deputy Administrator
Image source: USDA
Early in his tenure, the USDA’s new head of the National Organic Program (NOP), Miles McEvoy, announced that the NOP was entering the “age of enforcement.” Yet major fraud investigations have languished, and some large perpetrators have even received favorable treatment and anonymity during Mr. McEvoy’s tenure. Click here to see more.
In September 2013, Mr. McEvoy unilaterally announced sweeping changes in the operation of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). This 15-member, multi-stakeholder body was established by Congress as a buffer between agribusiness lobbyists and organic stakeholders to ensure that Big Ag did not corrupt the organic label.
Mr. McEvoy has stripped much of the power from the NOSB. Along with the illegal stacking of the board with agribusiness executives instead of working farmers, this body has become a rubber stamp for corporate/industrial organics.
[For a point-by-point indictment of the corrupted management at the NOP, please either print out and read the proxy or skip to the end of this message.]
Stand with us to help save organics.
Add your voice to the call for new organic program management.
Deep fissures have developed in the organic community that are undermining the public/private partnership Congress envisioned upon passage of OFPA 25 years ago. This growing divide threatens the credibility and reputation of the organic label. Help us make the changes necessary to protect the bright promise organics offers to food, agriculture, and the health of our planet.
P.S.: This is not a fundraiser. Any donation is totally optional, and we will deliver your proxy regardless. However, if you can help us financially offset the work we do here at Cornucopia, specifically this campaign, we would be grateful. Our principal request is to please mail back your proxy:
The Cornucopia Institute
PO Box 126
Cornucopia, WI 54827
P.P.S.: Why a proxy instead of an online petition that would be easier to click on and sign? There are so many petitions flying around out there that politicians tell us that they are virtually meaningless. At the same time, USDA officials have told us that when we bring in cardboard boxes filled with these proxy letters (as we have done twice before), they take notice! Their eyes roll back because of the work involved in processing them: they have to scan each letter into their system and type out each name to reply. Thousands of these proxies, literally, carry a lot of weight.
Thanks for joining many others in this special effort to save the meaning of organics!
We call on Secretary Vilsack to stop the following corrupt practices at the USDA
(included in the proxy):
- Cease ignoring the advice and counsel of the National Organic Standards Board: The NOSB has been bypassed, and policy resolutions it has adopted have been ignored or countermanded. These include recommendations to prohibit engineered nanomaterials in organics, carrageenan in organic infant formula, and soilless/hydroponic production from being certified as organic.
- Stop undermining the authority of the NOSB: In a break with congressional intent and a 20+ year precedent of respecting the NOSB’s authority, NOP leadership stripped the board’s ability to set their own procedures, work plan, and agenda. This demonstrates gross disrespect to the organic community.
- Restore the Sunset provision Congress established to limit synthetics/non-organic ingredients and inputs in organics: The two primary authors of OFPA, Senator Leahy and Congressman DeFazio, both have stated to you that the action to gut the Sunset provisions was a violation of the intent of Congress. This decision should be reversed and its architect should be removed from his position of authority.
- Establish judicious enforcement: The NOP has allowed “factory farms” to operate that are clearly in violation of the law, refusing to investigate scofflaws. In cases where willful violation of organic standards has been found, the NOP has failed to publicly identify these operations, preventing their examples from acting as a deterrent to other industry players. Furthermore, the NOP has let violators off the hook with “sweetheart” negotiated deals (again, in secrecy) and has mishandled serious cases of alleged fraud.
- Safeguard the integrity of seats on the NOSB: Congress specifically created designated positions on the board to assure diverse representation by all organic stakeholders: farmers, certifiers, consumer advocates, retailers, manufacturers, environmentalists, and scientists. This mandate has been illegally violated by the appointment of corporate executives representing agribusiness interests and by individuals who have never even attended an NOSB meeting. The appointment process should be open to public scrutiny, and only the best and brightest in the organic community should be appointed to the NOSB.
- Cease the investments in public relations and disingenuous proclamations about “transparency”: Start posting all public documents on the NOP website and fully complying with requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).