The 15-member National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is seeking to fill five pending vacancies. The vacancies include two organic farmers/producers, two public or consumer interest representatives, and one USDA accredited certifying agent. The terms for the volunteer board are five years and would begin in January 2016.
Information on how to apply, if you are interested, can be found here.
The NOSB plays a key role in determining the use of synthetic and non-organic materials allowed for use in organic food and agriculture, and in advising the USDA Secretary on all aspects of organic policy. The five retiring members of the NOSB include several of the staunchest advocates for organic integrity.
Cornucopia has been strongly critical of several recent appointments, especially those made for the four seats reserved for farmers on the NOSB. Recent appointees include individuals who appear to not “own or operate” an organic farm as required by federal law. Instead, the appointees have been corporate employees of agribusinesses, and have more faithfully represented the wishes of their employees during votes on issues before the NOSB rather than the interests of real farmers.
The Cornucopia Institute will again send a FOIA to the USDA’s National Organic Program seeking the names of all applicants, so that we can shine a light on the nomination process and hopefully allow for the full organic community to weigh in on the selection process and encourage the appointment of the best and brightest to this important federal board. The USDA in recent years has been resolute in opposing this level of transparency.