500px-USDA_organic_seal_svg - wikicommonsThe USDA is soliciting applications for five vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The 15-member volunteer board makes decisions on what synthetic and non-organic materials are allowed for use in organic food and agriculture, and advises the USDA Secretary on policy matters concerning organics.

The five-year terms begin on January 24, 2017. Written applications must be postmarked by June 3, 2016.  The NOSB, established by Congress in 1990, represents various stakeholders in organics with seats reserved for individuals matching various stakeholder interests.

The five vacancies on the board include an individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation; an organic farmer; an organic handler or processor who owns or operates an organic handling operation; a representative of a public or consumer interest group; and a scientist (with a background in toxicology, ecology, or biochemistry).

Individuals seeking more details and application materials for one of the vacancies on the NOSB can find that information here. Assistance may also be obtained by contacting Michelle Arsenault via email or by calling 202-720-0081 or the NOP main office at 202-720-325.

The Cornucopia Institute has renewed its call to USDA Secretary Vilsack to make the NOSB selection process open and transparent. “Many in the organic community would welcome the opportunity to provide constructive feedback on the potential appointees and help ensure that the best and most qualified individuals are the focus of the final appointment process,” said Cornucopia’s Codirector Will Fantle in the correspondence with Vilsack.

Cornucopia recently sued the USDA for the appointment of two agribusiness employees to seats on the NOSB that are exclusively designated for farmers. “A transparent selection process would decrease the possibility that an appointee to the NOSB does not meet the letter of the law and help assure that all voices and perspectives in the organic community are heard,” observed Fantle.

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