The Cornucopia Institute

The Cornucopia Institute, through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, provides needed information to family farmers, consumers and other stakeholders in the good food movement and to the media. We support economic justice for the family-scale farming community – partnered with consumers – backing ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.

Showdown at the Organic Corral

February 15th, 2017

Dueling Corporate Interests Wait to See What the New Trump/Perdue Administration Will Do with the Pending Updates to Organic Animal Welfare Standards

 Industry watchdog releases detailed analysis of pending rule

One of the pending regulations released in the final days of the Obama administration, and put on hold by the Trump White House, was an already controversial rule that pits legitimate family-scale organic farmers against the operators of “factory farms” that had already been accused of violating existing organic animal welfare standards.  A newly released analysis by a prominent organic industry watchdog, The Cornucopia Institute, explains what is at stake and why economically powerful forces in organics are squawking, principally, over new space requirements proposed for chickens.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule was published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, and amends current organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The new rule adds provisions for livestock handling, avian living conditions, and transport for slaughter, and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices.  It includes mandates for the care of cattle, hogs, and poultry.

“The new rulemaking was in response to a more than decade-long controversy about concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, confining as many as two million laying hens on a single ‘farm’ without the legally mandated access to the outdoors,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.  “This rule neither solves the problem nor makes any faction in the industry happy,” Kastel added.

Herbruck’s “organic” poultry operation in Saranac, Michigan

Read Full Article »

Hain Celestial Under SEC Investigation

February 14th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: Many large, primarily conventional corporations have bought organic brands, and Hain Celestial is no exception. Consumers committed to supporting independent brands with a true commitment to organic values can use Cornucopia’s scorecards to help make choices at the market.

Organic food giant under SEC investigation
Sustainable Food News

Hain Celestial’s stock drops to lowest level since June 2013 after agency subpoenas documents

Shares of the Hain Celestial Group, Inc. plunged more than 15 percent to a new low Monday morning after the organic and natural food giant manufacturer said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has placed it under investigation and subpoenaed it for documents related to its previously reported accounting errors.

The Lake Success, N.Y.-based company (NASDAQ: HAIN), which owns the Earth’s Best organic baby food and BluePrint cold-pressed juice brands, among others, said in a securities filing late Friday that it “is in the process of responding to the SEC’s requests for information and intends to cooperate fully” with the agency’s investigation. Read Full Article »

Kinder CAFOs?

February 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: While we are pleased that some improvements are occurring in conventional agriculture, Cornucopia recommends only certified organic food. For instance, the label Certified Humane does not limit flock size, prohibit beak trimming, or require outdoor access in laying hens.

The US is making a big shift away from factory farming
Business Insider
by Gus Lubin

Hens in battery cages
Source: Farm Sanctuary

The US is quietly making historic progress on farm animal welfare, with ten states and hundreds of brands coming out against the most notorious kinds of factory farming.

“You’re seeing almost every major retailer, almost every major fast food producer and restaurant chain committing to phasing out the use of battery cages and/or gestation crates,” ASPCA Farm Welfare director Daisy Freund tells Business Insider. “We are going beyond our dreams here, and yet we’re really just getting started.” Read Full Article »

Even NRCS Understands that Organic is Soil

February 13th, 2017

Cornucopia’s Take: The National Organic Program should respect organic law which clearly requires good soil stewardship. They could begin by listening to other experts in the field like long-time organic pioneering growers at Keep the Soil in Organic and government scientists at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Profile in Soil Health: Chris Roehm

“Investing in soil health is fundamental to good organic growing. I think they are essentially one in the same.”
Chris Roehm, organic farmer Read Full Article »

A Treasure in the Valley

February 10th, 2017

Purple Sage Farms’ Quest for Success

[This article was previously published in the winter issue of The Cultivator, Cornucopia’s quarterly newsletter.]

by Rachel Zegerius
Communications and Development Associate at The Cornucopia Institute

Photo courtesy of Arlie Sommer

Organic farmers Tim Sommer and Tamara Sloviaczek are deeply connected to their family, their community, their customers, and to the many ecological systems with which they interact daily.

For many organic farmers, such connections are the lifeblood of a successful business. For Tim and Tamara, the founders of Purple Sage Farms, many of these connections did not exist in 1988, when the pair of corporate marketing professionals returned home to Idaho to pursue a love of farming.

At that time, there was no organic certification program in their state, there was no cooperative marketing infrastructure, and the local food movement had yet to take hold.

Since then, not only has this duo developed a successful herb farm, but through years of advocacy, organizing, and hard work, they have helped spark the good food movement in southwestern Idaho. Read Full Article »

The Cornucopia Institute
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
Ph: 608-625-2000