Organic Grain Detectives Raise More Questions for the NOP

September 5th, 2019

New Paper by John Bobbe and Anne Ross, J.D. LL.M.:
Potential, Failures, and Pitfalls of the National Organic Program in Getting Control of Organic Grain Fraud

The integrity of organic grain underpins much of organic production. It provides the grains we eat, and it feeds the organic poultry, cattle, sheep, and other livestock that provide organic meat, dairy, and eggs.

Industrial organic livestock operations typically rely on imported “organic” grain because it is far cheaper than domestic organic grain, and it is available in enormous quantities.

John Bobbe and Anne Ross, J.D. LL.M.

When it comes to fraudulent organic grain imports, The Cornucopia Institute and OFARM have been at the forefront in calling on the USDA to act. Both groups have aggressively tracked suspicious shiploads of “organic” grain, investigated the identity of international supply chains responsible for many of these shipments, and advocated for stronger enforcement measures.

Now OFARM’s former executive director, John Bobbe, and Cornucopia’s Anne Ross have joined forces to again impress upon the NOP that the import crisis is ongoing and that the agency has not done enough to stop it. In a paper they co-authored, Bobbe and Ross contend, “NOP’s failed enforcement efforts have left many organic farmers in dire straits with seemingly nowhere to turn, except off the farm.”

In addition to raising questions about NOP priorities in implementing remedial measures, Bobbe stated, “NOP would also like to shove off most of its investigative work on the certifiers and appears to only look at complaints if they have a shut tight case handed to them before acting.”

Ross warns the situation for domestic organic grain farmers could only get worse if the NOP doesn’t act now to stop fraudulent imports from crossing U.S. borders. Ross worries that an increasing global supply of organic grain in a market already distorted by fraud leaves the U.S. organic grain farmers especially vulnerable.

The paper’s release comes a day before an appearance by the NOP’s Associate Deputy Administrator, Dave Glasgow, at OFARM’s meeting in Piper City, Illinois. OFARM members are looking to Glasgow for answers to the concerns Bobbe and Ross raised. Following the meeting, Cornucopia will report on whether those concerns were adequately addressed.

Read the entire paper [PDF]: Potential, Failures, and Pitfalls of the National Organic Program in Getting Control of Organic Grain Fraud

Excerpt by John Bobbe: The Farm Bill, Funding, and the NOP’s Misplaced Priorities

Excerpt by Anne Ross, J.D. LL.M.: It has been said that “each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.”

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