The US Constitution assures everyone that they can offer their opinion,
experiences and documentation in proposing and passage of an Act. And then
in the end, a judgement is made. Congress had the option of not passing
OFPA. With concerned interest by the organic community, with the support of
consumer, environmental, and public interest groups, hordes of consumers and
the opposition for a time of every conventional agricultural group in the US,
OFPA passed. In the end, Farm Bureau and many major conventional marketing
coops and other production advocacy groups backed OFPA as it is written now.
That was seven years ago. There is no turning back now. Our common
objective should be to make sure OFPA works for all the interested groups.
Nothing exactly like OFPA has ever been implemented by agencies of
government. OFPA is breaking new ground. We hope you join us in that effort
to make OFPA exemplary and successful.
And From Douglas Hinds:
In short: Commerce is by nature an event that is consumated between
consenting parties and if there's a willful act of misrepresentation
occurring, I can see a need for legal action to be taken and therefore
a need for a legal defination, structure and procedure surrounding it;
BUT what's happening is parasitic in nature and has nothing to due with
competence or loyal adherence to a natural, evolutionary principal.
There were abuses before certifcation but obligating third party
certification does lend to abuse itself, and state laws that don't
require this (i.e. California's, one of the first) provide a more
For some farmers and handlers it may make their business more easy and
lucrative if they do not have to submit to regulatory requirements. I am
well familiar with the legal language of OFPA and its implications. After
much thought, I can offer no advise on how any farmer, certifier or handler
can get around its regulatory influence. That was the purpose in the Act.
Personally, I think I can feel at ease with OFPA because I believe the
buying public owns the word "organic", the right to know they are getting
what they are paying for. In fact, to be consistent I think the buying
public owns all advertisements and identities. When someone does not meet
the public's perception for a word used in commerce, the public has a right
through their agencies to regulate the identity or advertisement. Such is
the Constitution of the US, the Commerce Clause. All the levels of US
government have the power in various situations, under the Constitution or
other laws, to control trade in the US. As I pointed out before, if
Constitutional government does not create checks and balances through
regulations, etc, the small entities of the US would be at a great
disadvantage. The buying public is included in the small entity category. So
are small to moderate size organic farmers and organic businesses. OFPA
protects them while protecting the public.
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