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Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 18:03:43 -0600
From: "Douglas M. Hinds" <email@example.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Directory of Label Groups is being Compiled]
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0b -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
Another interchange regarding organic certification and the Organic Foods
Production Act, for those that are interested.
> A State program may contain more restrictive requirements governing the
> certification of organic farms and handling operations and the production
> and handling of agricultural products that are to be sold or labeled as
> produced than are contained in the National Organic Program established by
> the Secretary, Provided, That such additional requirements:
> What is this all about. I thought the new law was to define organic once
> and for all and now they say that the state may contain more restrictive
> requirements . What gives. I thought organic was organic now a state can
> be more organic than another or be stricter with we farmers than another
> state. Can someone explain this to me.
Sure Sal. It means that FEDERAL bureaucrats are willing to let STATE
bureaucrats do things they won't let YOU do. Because you Sal, are not a
bureaucrat. Get it?
> what farmer wants someone to get
> more restrictive with them than they do to farmers in another state. . I
> am a old man and I don't feel growing organic is doing anything wrong so
> drop the more restrictive BS. I don't need some one to be more restrictive
> with me like I'm some kind of school boy . I'm organic or not?
Maybe you WERE organic, but it's not up to you any more, unless you walk that
walk, talk that talk and dance that OFPA dance.
> that is all the people want to know and that is all I want to know .we don't
> any stinking more restrictive requirements. Ether you are organic or you
> are not. All this CCOF and QAI and USDA and etc. is bull . Am I organic
> or not ?
That all depends. You see, "organic" isn't your word any more. Not if OFPA
takes effect as it's now written.
> The more I hear about the extension agent certifying us the better
> it sounds. They are there to educate and be a go between us and education
> and research that should be going on and what better way to teach then
> talking with all the organic farmers on a one to one once a year and taking
> a walk around their farm.. They can use our colleges to run tests if
> needed. like in the old days when a farmer could go to a college for help
> and the college and University were glad to help. . . We can all learn
> from each other, get all the state and private certifiers out and
> inspectors out we don't need them . The USDA extension agents are out
> there, they are independent and can inspect and certify in one visit and
> educate the farmer on what is going on in the organic world at the same
> time. It would have to be cheaper and this will stop all the duplications
> . The extension agents are always at the SARE conferences and at the light
> house meetings out here in Ca. and our extension agent in Santa Barbara is
> a good Joe and honest guy and he knows how to use the colleges to test
> every once in a while. They are always giving grants for this and grants
> for that .
The problem is, OFPA doesn't contemplate that which you suggest. And OFPA is a
federal Act of Congress. I myself see nothing wrong with your suggestion
except - what happens if your extensionist ISN'T a good Joe like yours is now,
and what happens if Congress DOESN'T want the USDA to foot the bill? And what
if that suggestion never attracts enough support to be proposed by any
congressman? Another thing - do you or don't you want organic certification to
be obligatory? I certainly don't! There are many circumstances (CSA included)
that don't require it.
But OFPA says it must be done or it's not organic, regardless of how it was
cultivated, regardless of how much that drives up the cost of your products,
regardless of how many times you have to be inspected (at your own cost,
willing or not) in order to be certified, and regardless of what that means for
the competitive status (and therefore the future) of sustainable agriculture
and the environment. Maybe it isn't your destiny to be an organic farmer. Or
maybe it's better for your soul for you to suffer for what what you believe.
Or maybe OFPA needs a long hard reappraisal, before being amended. Or maybe the
time has come to use other words, and not "organic" any more, to describe the
healthy, nourishing, uncontaminated farm products you cultivate for public
> Why do we have to pay 5 groups of folks all trying to make a
> living bleeding us to see if we are organic. why can't we get the USDA
> extension agent as he is in the field anyway . This act was suppose to
> make thing easier not be more of a burden. Bring back the old home
> adviser and lets help make this organic thing work and be fair to every one
> in the country.. how can they charge a farmer in one state more than in
> another if you are organic you are organic. how can one certifier charge
> more than another if you are organic it should cost the same after all
> organic is organic . it should not cost more for me to be organic then
> for you to be organic . I should not have to jump through more hoops than
> you. Organic is organic and I thought that is what this law was going to
> do tell us what it is and take away all the confusion. .
Those are very good questions. Unfortunately none of them are contemplated in
the rules discussions, because you are raising issues that were addressed in
OFPA itself and OFPA is an act of congress, a body that consists of honorable
men, and so were they all honorable men, those who slew Caesar (oops - I mean)
those who drafted and approved this distinguished Act of Congress.
> The extension agent is one way I can see to level the playing field and this
> above text
> about anyone getting to be more restrictive is bull. I know a man that
> moved to Texas because they treat organic farmers better than they do in
> Ca. and there is not so much political bs there. . that is not right If I
> am organic I am organic I should not have to move to a different state to
> get a better deal. What gives.
What gives is that OFPA deserves a thorough reappraisal and light of these and
other thorny questions that have been raised since 1990. It needs to be
amended, and there are vested interests at stake that will oppose that.
Therefore - those elements of the public that are already best informed and
most interested will have to become BETTER informed, and take to heart what you
are laying down here. They are going to have to live, at least to a limited
degree, what you are going through, with your TWO obligatory inspections during
the same week (and on your birthday yet).
Douglas M. Hinds, Director General Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural A.C. (CeDeCoR) (Center for Community and Rural Development) - (non profit) Cd. Guzman, Jalisco 49000 MEXICO Tel. & Fax: 011 523 412 6308 (direct) e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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