Completed Action Alerts Archive

Comment by October 4: Ask the NOSB to Uphold Real Organic Integrity

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

[This alert is over.]

Beyond Pesticides is a highly-respected ally in our fight to protect the integrity of the organic label. Since we are doing less direct scrutiny of materials, we are depending more upon their analysis. Why?

  1. In a process greatly accelerated during the Obama administration, the National Organic Standards Board has been successfully stacked with employees of members, or corporate allies, of the powerful industry lobby group, the Organic Trade Association — even in seats designated for citizens who “own and operate” organic farms.
  2. Under the leadership of the NOSB board representative who works for Clif Bar, the OTA-friendly panel gave away much of its power and autonomy to set its work plan and meeting agendas to the political appointees at the USDA. The will of Congress, that the NOSB be an independent body advising the USDA Secretary, has been subverted.
  3. Finally, since the Trump administration has taken over, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has shown no hesitation in overruling unanimous votes on approving/disapproving non-organic substances for use in organic food and agriculture (and has scuttled animal welfare policy advice as well). This disrespect for the public-private NOSB collaboration is unprecedented.

Thus, we are directing more of our resources to marketplace education and activism. However, Cornucopia staff will be at the upcoming NOSB meeting to “witness” the proceedings and report back to the organic community. And we will be testifying.

As an example, all the materials of concern to Beyond Pesticides, delineated below, are dubious in terms of their need. Good organic stewardship is about preventing problems with crops and livestock rather than having to remediate them, using chemicals, after the fact. It is quite questionable whether or not these proposals are consistent with the philosophies underpinning organic management (a requirement of law before they are approved).


Comment by October 4 to Protect Organic Integrity!

The Fall 2018 NOSB meeting dates have been announced and public comments are due by October 4, 2018. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. Written comments may be submitted through until 11:59 pm ET October 4, 2018. Reservations for in-person and webinar comments close at the same time. Read Full Article »

The Farm Bill is Headed to Conference, Where Members of Congress Will Work to Combine the House and Senate Versions of the Bills

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

[This alert is over. President Trump signed the Farm Bill on December 20, 2018.]

With Two Very Different Bills Hitting the Editing Desk, Congress Needs Your Continuing Input

Update August 7, 2018

The House and Senate conference committee members have been appointed, and are now in recess.

This is a very good time to intensify contacting Members of Congress, particularly the conferees listed below. When they come back to the table, it’s important they support Farm Bill language that protects small farms and the integrity of the organic label.


Pat Roberts (KS)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
John Hoeven (ND)
Joni Ernst (IA)
John Boozman (AR)


Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Patrick Leahy (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Heidi Heitkamp (ND)


Chairman Mike Conaway (TX)
Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA)
Bob Goodlatte (VA)
Frank Lucas (OK)
Mike Rogers (AL)
Austin Scott (GA)
Rick Crawford (AR)
Vicky Hartzler (MO)
Rodney Davis (IL)
Ted Yoho (FL)
David Rouzer (NC)
Roger Marshall (KS)
Jodey Arrington (TX)

Education and Workforce:
Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC)
Rick Allen (GA)

Energy and Commerce:
John Shimkus (IL)
Kevin Cramer (ND)

Financial Services:
Chairman Jeb Hensarling (TX)
Sean Duffy (WI)

Foreign Affairs:
Chairman Ed Royce (CA)
Steve Chabot (OH)

Oversight and Government Reform:
Mark Walker (NC)
James Comer (KY)

Natural Resources:
Chairman Rob Bishop (UT)
Bruce Westerman (AR)

Science, Space, and Technology:
Ralph Abraham (LA)
Neal Dunn (FL)

Transportation and Infrastructure:
Jeff Denham (CA)
Bob Gibbs (OH)


Collin Peterson (MN)
David Scott (GA)
Jim Costa (CA)
Tim Walz (MN)
Marcia Fudge (OH)
Jim McGovern (MA)
Filemon Vela (TX)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM)
Ann Kuster (NH)
Tom O’Halleran (AZ)

Education and Workforce:
Alma Adams (NC)

Energy and Commerce:
Paul Tonko (NY)

Financial Services:
Maxine Waters (CA)

Foreign Affairs:
Eliot Engel (NY)

Natural Resources:
Raul Grijalva (AZ)

Oversight and Government Reform:
Stacey Plaskett (VI)

Science, Space, and Technology:
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX)

Transportation and Infrastructure:
Cheri Bustos (IL)

After the Independence Day recess, the two farm bill drafts produced and passed in the House and Senate have gone to a conference committee. A conference committee, appointed by leadership, is a smaller group of Senators and Representatives charged with combining two separate bills into one. The House and Senate will each vote on the legislation that comes out of the committee.

Call Your Representatives in Congress:
(202) 224-3121
Image source: RawPixel

It is important that members of the public continue to call their Senators and Representatives as the 2018 Farm Bill is debated in conference and eventually up to vote again. Supportive programs, mostly in the Senate version, for small organic farms, organic research programs, fraudulent organic imports tracking, and conservation programs could be on the chopping block as the conference tries to reach a compromise. Reciprocally, very damaging language in the House version that would undermine the authority of the National Organic Standards Board will be considered.

Members of the public have a chance to make a difference by staying on top of these issues and communicating their needs to their Congresspersons. The future of our agricultural system and particularly the administration of the organic label depends on support from the Farm Bill.

Keep the pressure on Representatives and Senators!

Call or email your Member(s) of Congress and tell them to support Farm Bill language that protects small farms and the integrity of the organic label. Click here to find your House and Senate Representatives. Read Full Article »

Let the USDA Hear That You Want Full Disclosure with GMO Food Labeling

Friday, June 29th, 2018

[This action alert is over.]

Comments must be received by July 3.

When the giant biotech companies were able to ram the DARK Act through Congress in 2016, eliminating the right of states to establish their own labeling standards for GMOs, the law required the USDA to come up with a federal GMO labeling scheme.

The USDA released a wholly unacceptable labeling proposal on May 3—smoke and mirrors on behalf of the biotechnology industry.

You have through July 3 to comment on the USDA draft proposal and advocate, instead, for clear labeling of GMOs on all food packaging. Read Full Article »

Tell Your Senators to Back a Farm Bill That Supports a Strong National Organic Standards Board—The Current House Bill Endangers Organic Oversight!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

[This alert is over. President Trump signed the Farm Bill on December 20, 2018.]

Support a Strong, Sustainable Food System and an Independent NOSB

Source: Andrew Stawarz

Congress has been working to pass the 2018 Farm Bill, which governs an array of agricultural and food programs. The first draft bill failed to pass the House, but a new draft was just pushed past the vote on Thursday, June 21.

Meanwhile, the Senate Agricultural Committee has produced a bipartisan Farm Bill. This Senate draft bill has some advances for the organic market, including boosts to organic research funding, some provisions to address fraudulent imports, some enhanced conservation programs, and maintaining certification cost-share programs.

However, there are some problems in the Committee bill as well. First, the Senate draft bill cuts funding from the primary working lands conservation programs (Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives program). Second, there are changes to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that are unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Those changes deal with how NOSB members vote on the inclusion and exclusion of synthetic (i.e. non-organic) materials on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (which dictates what farm inputs and food ingredients can be used in organic agriculture and food production). The change being proposed in the Senate Bill allows synthetic materials to stay on the list indefinitely unless voted off. This change has already been (in our opinion, illegally) enacted through order by former National Organic Program director, Miles McEvoy, and then rubber-stamped during the 2013 NOSB meeting. However, if immortalized in the Farm Bill, Cornucopia’s legal challenges to this policy will become moot.

It is vital that legislators know this change will make it easier for synthetic materials to continue being used by organic farmers – something neither consumers nor ethical organic farmers want from the marketplace.

Tell your Senators the materials on the National List should NOT stay on the list indefinitely. This move would only undermine the traditional powers of the NOSB and the integrity of the organic label.


  1. Call or email your Member(s) of Congress and tell them to support Farm Bill language that protects small farms and the integrity of the organic label. Click here to find your House and Senate Representatives.
  2. Call the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121.
  3. Ask for your Representative and/or Senator. Once they connect you, leave a message like this one:

Hello, my name is [____] and I am a constituent. Please support family farmers, a strong organic label, and robust conservation programs in the 2018 Farm Bill. We need a Bill that supports sustainable, local, small- to medium-scale businesses and disadvantaged farmers. It is important that the authority of the National Organic Standards Board is preserved to maintain trust in the organic marketplace. In particular, I am concerned that changes to how the National Organic Standards Board votes on substances in the National List will undermine the entire organic label. Thank you.

If you are an organic livestock farmer or rancher, or are involved in the industry, please be sure to mention that. Comments from organic consumers are vitally important too, especially if you tell your Congress member why you care. If you are a consumer, you can also let your Congress member know that this regulation is vital to your continued trust in the organic label.

Read Full Article »

Tell Your Representatives that the Draft 2018 Farm Bill Is No Good for Organic Farmers or Consumers

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Facilitates Lobbyist Control Organic Regulations, Guts Conservation Programs, Expands Subsidies for Factory Farms, and Hurts Local Food and Beginning Farmers

UPDATE: Farm Bill voted down in the U.S. House of Representatives

  • The House failed to pass a farm bill as some Republicans sought a vote on a separate immigration plan.
  • Thirty House Republicans voted against the legislation, while all Democrats opposed it.
  • Democrats objected to a provision that would require stricter work and job training requirements for food stamp recipients.

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to contact your Congressional representatives and defend the integrity of the collaborative organic governance process that is an integral part of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Undoubtedly, we will all have to remain on-guard when legislation comes back up in the House and Senate. There will be a farm bill but this is usually a painful process.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

On April 18, the House Ag Committee passed the 2018 “Farm Bill,” titled the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R.2) on a partisan 26-20 vote. The full House of Representatives will be voting on the 2018 Farm Bill as early as tomorrow (May 18).

Source: John Brighenti

There are many elements in the draft farm bill that are destructive in terms of environmental stewardship and undermine good governance and enforcement of the organic laws.

For organic agriculture the Bill refused to renew funding for programs that help family-scale farmers obtain organic certification, including the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Further, the federal crop insurance program favors factory farms, failing to address the needs of many producers including diversified and organic farmers, beginning farmers, and smaller-scale farm operations. Read Full Article »