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 »

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 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 »

Tell Organic Regulators: Protect Native Ecosystems and End Fraudulent Organic Imports

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

[This action alert is over.]

Comment to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) by April 4

Regulatory loopholes permit destruction of the environment in pursuit of profit, and lack of enforcement by the USDA allows fraudulent imports to pollute the organic marketplace.


Source: St. Paul Girl, Flickr

Although organic agriculture is intended to promote and enhance biodiversity, organic regulations do not explicitly protect sensitive native ecosystems from being converted to organic production—in fact, they incentivize it!

Unlike farmland which has to forgo agrichemicals for a minimum of three years before transitioning to organic production, investors can take wild forests, grasslands, and other native ecosystems and plow them up, turning them into agricultural land that then qualifies for organic certification immediately.

Now the NOSB is considering some additional regulatory language that will help stop organic producers from destroying valuable native ecosystems. This move is both needed and overdue; these additions to organic regulations are important to prevent more valuable wild ecosystems from being turned into agricultural lands. Read Full Article »

Tell the Trump Administration Not to Undermine the Democratic Governance of Organic Food and Farming

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

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USDA Should Enact the Proposed Rule Improving Enforcement of Organic Livestock and Poultry Living Conditions

Don’t Let Factory Livestock Interests Undermine the Organic Label

Screened-in Porch as “Outdoor Access”

The USDA recently announced its intent to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule (OLPP) from the National Organic Program. This move comes after successive delays by the agency and in spite of massive public comment in favor of implementing the rule.

Help protect the integrity of the public organic rulemaking process by submitting your comments decrying this unprecedented move by the USDA.

By the USDA’s own account, they received over 47,000 comments when the agency asked whether they should implement, delay, suspend, or withdraw the OLPP as submitted. Over 40,000 commenters supported the option to implement the OLPP as planned. In striking contrast, only 28 commenters supported the option to withdraw the rule (presumably representing corporate agribusiness interests).

What is at stake? The OLPP would require a set amount of outdoor space for poultry and improves some management practices for all livestock under the organic label. Most importantly, the OLPP would close a loophole allowing some factory farms to use small screened-in porches as “outdoor access” for laying hens. These industrial “organic” farms confine as many as 200,000 birds in a single building. Read Full Article »