> Who is going to pay for the USDA National Organic Program? Is that your
> question? The only people that pay for anything, the consumer. The
> could stop at the certifiers, but they only make their expenses and profits
> from the farmer and handler, and the farm and handling operation applicant
> only make money from the consumer. And the consumers only make money
> their jobs. The issue is not who pays, but the distribution of net
> If being certified organic does not work out to an increased net profit or
> benefit to an applicant in some way, they should exclude the use of the
> "organic" from their business plan.
How can you say something like this?
eak: I see nothing I have said that has not been validated by experience,
thus being to my understanding, a fact. I produce and sell "organic" to make
a living and encourage all that can do so to have their land certified
Sal is a farmer running a small operation, not a 1000 acre farm.
eak: Larry, neither you nor I have ever run a 1000 acre farm of any sort.
Let's get serious. We live in an economy. There is no reason for the
entire world to be held to mine, Sal's or your level of farming. Neither of
you nor I started organic farming or will be the final say on under what
conditions organic production takes place. If the State of California, CCOF
and Santa Barbara County Ag Commissioners office are in fact duplicating
certification and inspection process that never was the purpose any of them
set out to accomplish. If Sal really has a strong problem that should be
remedied, I still have not heard anything but generalizations. How much is
he charged for what performances by whom? I have challenged him to elucidate
the issues numerous of times and still here nothing but crying over wet
socks. Change them, explain why they are wet. Do something, but whine about
small farmers, double certification or inspections that are not clear what is
going on, and fees that we have no idea what they really are for, or how
much. It is a valuable thing for everyone to concentrate on Sal's problems
in California, if he provides pertinent, valid and timely information. One
thing is clear and Sal, you and others complaining seem to find it difficult
to agree with. The USDA/NOP has had no direct bearing on any of these
catastrophies. In fact none of you will take up the challenge to talk about
the USDA/NOP as a program, the possible ways to bring the Regulatory
Flexibility Act and the public comment period to bear on improving the
USDA/NOP and at the same time correcting the alleged problems in Santa
Barbara County, California. My parents life in Ventura County, next to SB,
and I will be there soon. If Sal has not set up a meeting with the Ag
Commissioner to air his complaints by then, I will. And I will have CDFA
from Sacramento, and invite the CCOF Chapter to join in. If Sal really wants
to talk business, we can get down to it. I can certainly inform the various
governmental offices, from a farmer's viewpoint, where they stand once the
USDA/NOP is final (though I predict they already know). Everyone goes back
to the starting point. Organic is being reinvented before our very eyes.
With our participation it will be better than it ever was, more trusted,
higher standards, expanded to cover fiber, quality standards for handling
operations and meat production, imports. The real problem is all the vested
interest who now feel they own '"organic". I found out a long time ago there
is only one vested interest that owns "organic". The customer, the consumer.
You seem to forget that. You're telling him that if he still
can't make a profit after paying all the excessive fees and doing
all the record keeping currently imposed on him he should abandon using
the organic label. This just doesn't fly.
eak: Brother, if you don't know how to eliminate being charged excessive fees
and to get around being mandated too much paper work, you do not know how to
operate in a democracy. I learned it a long time ago. Organize.
Individually, you are seen as a criminal, together you are a movement and
must be reckoned with.
> If one does not have a business plan,
> one probably should limit investing in businesses for which quality
> assurance to the consumer is not necessary or is very simple. Organic
> farming is not
A truly amazing statement. Quality control is what
Sal's organic farm is all about. Don't you remember?
eak: Quality control of product is not quality assurance to the customer.
Quality control of product can be decided on by the customer who chooses to
buy that particuliar product or not. Quality assurance is a system of
managing the farm, the handling operation and the certification of the system
utilized to produce the product so the customer knows the label is
trustworthy. From my information, Sal is big enough that he is selling to
many people he never meets or knows. They are not buying the product because
they know Sal's method of production, but are buying because they trust the
label "organic". Quality assurance relates to the term "organic", and the
integrity of the system that produces every product labled "organic" in the
he grows ORGANIC
fruit. Piles of fees paid and records kept are not an improvement on
the grower building a relationship with his customers based on trust,
an open relationship that allows the customer to learn enough about the
grower and his operation to make an informed decision to do or not
business with him. Now we have the 3rd party-county-state-federal agencies
telling the public that no grower can be trusted unless he has
_their_ label telling them that he grows organically.
eak: It is not the Federal, State or County government's label, it is the
customer's label and they are allowed under the US Constitution someone to
determine that in fact the product is produced to the standards implied by
the label "organic". We used to have private certifiers determine that for
the organic customer. Things have changed. Now USDA accredited organic
certifiers are going to do that job. Why? For the customers. How did all
this come about? You know. For the same reason they grade oranges, and have
grade AA butter. Someone was getting ripped off by some few organic,
certified or not, farmers. Being ripped off by a number of handlers that
deceive the public and by private organic certifying agents who did not run a
trustworthy quality assurance program. It happens everytime the remainder of
the folks, who are not ripping anyone off, can not or do not expunge the
ripoffs from the economic take. Now, none of this has to do with being
double charged or double paperworked for the same services. We know that is
incorrect also. Of the 1800 organic farmers registered in Sacramento with
CDFA, the only one I have ever heard from is Sal. We have withstood his
impoliteness, name calling and refusal to respond to reasonable questions.
Maybe there are no other organic farmers with the wherewithall or time to
read SANET in California. I don't know. Maybe CDFA and the Santa Barbara Ag
Commissioner are only after Sal. That is why I even bother to respond to
Sal's rampages. Maybe, he has a point. Please prove it and not with
exclamations, but calculated and valid presentation.
Certification is fine as long as it is made affordable by _all_ farmers,
small and large. Developing a plan for small growers that requires fees
and record keeping that fits the business plans and budgets of such
operations would help achieve this goal.
eak: Well I agree. That is what the Regulatory Flexibility Act mandates to
accomplish. That is what the public comment period is about. Are we now to
the point where we can actually discuss concrete proposals to achieve your,
stated above, objectives?
Lawrence F. London, Jr. - InterGarden - Venaura Farm
mailto:london@sunSITE.unc.edu - mailto:email@example.com
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