Cornucopia’s Take: This article first appeared in the NODPA News, published by the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, and is written by its executive director Ed Maltby. His essay is a comprehensive overview of the current environment in organic agriculture. As Ed notes below, if we work together and educate ourselves, we can more effectively work within the regulatory process to preserve the integrity of the organic label.
Organics Under Attack
by Ed Maltby
The integrity of the USDA Organic program is currently in a precarious position. It is under attack from Congress, the NOP, and from organic advocates. The organic dairy pay price, and subsequently family farm income, is collapsing under the strain of a surplus brought on by poor supply management by milk buyers, poor implementation of existing regulation by the NOP and certifiers, and the failure of the NOP to pass regulations to uphold the integrity of the organic standards. The unique process of organic certification that has held consumer confidence and allowed organic products to stand out in the marketplace is also under attack and the results could well be more long-term and devastating than a drop in pay price.
The threats come from three distinct areas: the 2018 Farm Bill; from the bureaucratic inertia at the NOP; and by single-issue organic advocates who are looking to bypass the established process and change regulations through Congressional action. This article will explore how and why these areas of threat are so important because the defense of organic integrity and the changes to Federal regulations happen in many different ways and we all need to understand how an action in one area will affect a possible solution in another. Read Full Article »