I agree Dave, please do make an effort to work with the facts.
> I know that I do about $125,000 in sales from 45-50 acres of
> vegetables, herbs, and grains, all organic. My certification costs about
> $895 a year. I spend about 1/2 a day a year filling out paper work and
> another 1/2 a day showing an inspector around. The minimum ongoing
> certification cost by Oregon Tilth is $225, the scale slides up from
> there with the percentage cost in relation to gross sales continually
> diminishing as sales increase. Here in Oregon we do not need to be
> certified but can register with the State of Oregon for free.
I don't think the value or need to certify is in question in many if not
most cases. Nor is the need to provide a legal basis for a minimum
definition of "organic" under law at the national level, or that
certifiers be obligated to register with the USDA and commit themselves
to uphold those minimal standards. What IS in question is the
advisability of allowing a sadly flawed law to take effect, knowing full
well that there are circumstances under which obligatory certification
(the basis of the law's "appropriating" the words "organic" and
"natural"), is neither necessary nor recommendable, and the same can be
said for prohibiting certifiers from publicizing the fact that THEIR
standards may go BEYOND those of the OFPA. And it's going to hard for
you, Eric or anyone else to deny that. (Eric might give his best shot
but it certainly won't be good enough, and I say this because we've
discussed it at length face to face. He's kind of stubborn, but not that
> Three weeks ago I got a letter from my health insurance carrier
> demanding proof that my two daughters are in College, my word does not
> carry any weight with these organizations but I have had to get both
> colleges to send me official documents showing that my daughters are
> actually enrolled and taking classes. I find that just as irritating as the
> fact that the marketplace I need to sell into to make my farm survive
> economically wants third party confirmation that I am what I say I am.
Dave, that's between you and your insurance carrier. Obviously, you're
free to change carriers and / or attempt to convince your present one of
the value of your word. And there's no federal law about to take effect
that would obligate your carrier to demand those certificates from you.
Are you aware that there are a number of accredited universities that
will issue degrees on the basis of test scores one can arrange to take?
The point Dave, is that there are a lot of options, a lot of different
ways of doing things and in "the world we live in" (see below) those
societies that seem to do best and last longest, do not force myopic,
inflexible police measures on their population.
The whole point is that commerce is a contract between buyer and
seller. (Which is not to say that a seller has the right to
misrepresent his product), and either a buyer, governmental agency or
competitor can institute proceedings calling the seller to task on that.
> That seems to be the world we live in and try as much as I have
> I have made little progress changing that.
I promise you my full support if you'll just keep trying. (Don't quit
Dave, we're with you)!
> That there is a federal law in the USA called the Organic Foods
> Production Act (1990) needs to be recognized as a fact.
True, it was passed but not yet implemented. That's why we're taking
the time and trouble to go over this - now is the time to correct the
law's original inadequacies.
... > Several people
> deeply involved with the OG movement went to considerable expense of both
> time and money to gather together a coalition to rewrite the original
> proposal and created OFPA as we can currently read it. It has not been
> implemented yet until the final rules go thru varous processes including
> "public comment". ( I tend to agree with Sal that how those final rules
> come out seems more like the workings of a black box which does not care
> what I say) , but if I do not participate in the comment period when the
> rules come out then I will have given up one of my last opportunities for
When is that period over, Dave? (Please do respond)!
> Several comments have been made which suggests that the OFPA should
> be changed, thrown out or whatever. To do any of those things (whether they
> are right or wrong) requires political power which would be extremely
> difficult to gather.
Difficult's OK. Impossible's a little harder.
> In 1990 the Democrats were in power in Congress, the
> biotechnology companies did not have the political power they now seem to
> exercise and organizations like the AFBF did not take Organic seriously. I
> doubt that we could even get the changes to the OFPA considered, let alone
So the problem is a lack of confidence on your part. I'm glad your
posted this Dave, we can help you and we can all help each other.
> That leaves us with the law as it is written.
Hold your horses. (Let'em drink a little water before hooking'em up to
the plow again).
> If one reads the
> law it is not too bad as laws go,
No it's not. There's just a few, critical fundamental points that need
to be changed.
> if one assumes things without reading it,
> well one is just blowing hot air.
We sure don't want to do that.
> None of the circumstances we have seen
> yet in the Organic Industry come from the OFPA. They are the result of many
> different sets of decisions made all over the place. ... When OFPA's rules are
> finalized and implemented
> much will change...in what direction largely
> depends on how effective our input is during the comment period on the
> proposed rules.
> The Rules need to comply with the Act and with all other
> applicable acts, if our comments are directed at issues fixed in the Act we
> are wasting our time (or enjoying our rhetoric) but if they are directed at
> reforming the Rules in ways which we find wise maybe we can improve upon
> the situation.
You have raised here to most crucial and complicated aspect of the
problem, and indicates the need to go beyond the Rules Revisions and
involve legislators. Are you with us Dave?
> Free speech issues are wonderful, but do any or all of us
> have the power (political or judicial) to make a difference, I for one
> doubt it.
The Supreme Court Justices may not doubt that. Do you want this to have
to get all the way there for this issue to be examined fully? When that
happens, it will put even the positive aspects of the law in jeopardy.
> ... [Eric Kindberg ] His support of OFPA
> is not because he wanted it (neither he nor I wanted it seven years ago) ,
> but because it is the law and we do not see any way to change it.
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't see a way to change it. But if you're
interested, we can do more to that end together than separately.
> Once you
> are stuck with something find the best way to use it.
Who's stuck? The ball game's not over yet.
> Read the Act, read
> the Rules when they come out, try to make a positive difference.
I read it many years ago and didn't like some of what I saw then
either. I wasn't even going to get involved to the degree I already am
but events have a way of bring things out in people and I can assure you
that those of us who oppose certain aspects of the OFPA as presently
written are doing so based on a real, deep seated and sincere concern.
> I attended a conference in August during which Hal Ricker made a
> speech indicating that he did not think that "we" are ready for the rules.
> This past months discussion makes me think he is right.
Did he? That's good to know.
> If an organization
> such as Monsanto puts together a letter writing campaign during the public
> comment period in support of allowing GE organisms to be used in "Organic"
> production and the rest of us are off fighting over the $5000 exemption
> (this is part of the Act, and so unchangeable) or over the presumption of
> taking over the use of the word "organic", I for one will feel we have
> fallen into our own manure pile and deserve to suffer for it.
Don't suffer Dave, let's clean house. No one opposing the $5000
exemption, the obligatory nature of certification, the appropriation of
the words organic and natural or the prohibition of extending the OPFA's
standards are opposed to prohibiting GE organisms from being called
organic. So let's just join forces. I'm sure you don't mean to say
that your way the only way to see things. You raise valid points but
there's still more work to be done in order to get it right.
> One more thing about small farmers, I consider myself one although
> I am 6'5" 260#, they are small business people and 50% of all small
> businesses fold in the first two years of existence.
That just goes to show you Dave that having differences is natural. I'm
5'6 1/2'' and 62/K, but I'm not going to insist that you be cut down to
my scale. (But I'll bet you can't do 30 + pull-ups). And I can already
see that what we have in common is more important than our differences
> David DeCou
> 93780 River Road
> Junction City, OR
> 541 998-2110
> Education and Training should not be confused,
> Training makes good workers, Education makes good citizens.
Douglas M. Hinds, Director General Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR) (Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit) Petronilo Lopez No. 73 (Street Address) Apdo. Postal No. 61 (Mailing Address) Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO U.S. Voice Mailbox: 1 630 300 0550 (e-mail linked) U.S. Fax Mailbox: 1 630 300 0555 (e-mail linked) Tel. & Fax: 011 523 412 6308 (direct) e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, dhinds@.ucol.mx
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