May 2017

Upcoming Events

The Organic Confluences Summit: Making Research Count, organized by the Organic Center, is just around the corner on May 22-23, 2017. The conference, which will be held in Washington, DC, features speakers including farmers, policy makers, industry members, researchers, certifiers and more as they explore case studies of current and past research and communication pathways. They will also hold participant conversations to identify challenges and recommendations for research needs identification, research project design development, and results dissemination. Registration is still open here.

Market News Organic Reporting Webinar: The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) invites you to a live, interactive webinar on Organic Reporting within multiple Market News divisions. Join them to learn about how the Specialty Crops, Dairy, Livestock, Poultry & Seed, and Cotton & Tobacco Market News programs provide you with free access to market information about organic products. The webinar  takes place on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 2PM Eastern Time, and it will cover areas such as:

  • The scope of AMS’s Organic reporting capabilities
  • Our new Organic's landing page
  • The easy to use AMS Market News Portal for timely, accurate information
  • Highlighting the Organic Grain & Feedstuff report
  • How you can put Market News Organic reports to work for your business

Presenters are Kimberly Mercer, Assistant to the Director, Specialty Crops Market News Division; Eric Graf Senior Market News Reporter of the Dairy Program Market News Division; and Russell Avalos, Market News Reporter for the the Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News Division. Register here.

Oregon Tilth Webinar Series: Oregon Tilth is running a  webinar series this year in partnership with the NRCS. Upcoming topics in June include the results of an organic transition survey, Bee Better certification, and  innovative cover cropping techniques. Check out the entire series and register for the webinars here.

Comments Sought on the Organic Livestock and Poultry Rule

On January 19, 2017, the USDA published the final rule on animal welfare standards for organic livestock and poultry in the Federal Register. According to a press release, the rule would ensure consistent application of the USDA organic regulations for organic livestock and poultry operations and maintain confidence in organically labeled products. Based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board and stakeholder suggestions, the final rule:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens for their health and welfare
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

Implementation of the rule has been delayed until November, 14th 2017, and the USDA recently announced that it is asking for comments on whether to implement the rule on the planned date, suspend the rule indefinitely and possibly change or withdraw it, delay the implementation further, or withdraw it altogether. Comments are being accepted until June 9, 2017 here.

Organic Farming Shows Continued Growth

Last month the USDA announced new data showing that the organic industry continues to grow domestically and globally, with 24,650 certified organic operations in the United States, and 37,032 around the world. The 2016 count of U.S. certified organic farms and businesses reflects a 13 percent increase between the end of 2015 and 2016, continuing the trend of double digit growth in the organic sector. The number of certified operations has increased since the count began in 2002 and this is the highest growth rate since 2008. Find out more here.

Also, to be counted in this year's Census of Agriculture, you can sign up to receive a mailed form until the end of June, 2017 at this link, where you can also fill it out electronically by scrolling down and clicking on the yellow button that says "Make Sure You Are Counted". This census is done every 5 years, and the National Agriculture Statistics service considers farms to be places where $1,000 or more of fruits, vegetables and some animals are raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.

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Published July 24, 2017

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.