Organic Farmers Marketing Association,
8364 S SR 39, Clayton, IN 46118
Further information at: www.iquest.net/ofma/
National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides,
701 E Street, Washington, DC 20003,
202-543-5450, (fax) 202-543-4791, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Eric Kindberg, OFMA
Jay Feldman, NCAMP
February 25, 1998
Testimony at the Ames Iowa USDA Hearing on the Proposed Organic Rule Calls for
Quoting Dale Cochran, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture made at the recent
Ames Iowa Hearings on the Proposed Organic Rule, February 18, 1998.
" The task of the National Organic Program is to set national standards for
the organic industry. Diluting the standards in use by many in the industry
undermines the integrity of the organic industry and places well-established
markets at risk.
I believe that national organic standards should explicitly differentiate
organic production and handling and be maintained at the level of existing
"....genetically engineered organisms, ionizing radiation, and the land
application of biosolids...are just the tip of the iceberg, and other less
publicized issues in relation to national standards could also have
devastating impacts on the organic industry...Definitions must be added,
clarified or, in some cases, deleted."
" The terms ' bio-diversify" and "ecological harmony," long accepted by the
industry have been removed from the definition of the " system of organic
farming and handling."
Over 80 consumers, organic farmers, an former NOSB Board Member, coops and
handlers unanimously testified that the USDA Proposed Organic Rule, if
implemented, would destroy the credibility of "organic" for consumers. 100%
of the statements made at the Hearing were against implementation of the
Proposed Rule as written.
Expressions at the hearing were explicit, extremely well thought out and
presented with gusto bordering on rebellion. Every speaker received a
clapping ovation. Organic farmers wanted to know who wrote the Proposed
Rules. The single USDA representative at the meeting, Eileen Stommes, refused
to answer the question. A consumer asked why the existing standards of
organic certifiers were not synthesized with the Organic Foods Production Act
to compose the Proposed Rule. Ms Stommes responded they had to follow the
Act. At that point people in the audience responding without recognition
asking "Than why didn't the USDA follow the Act in the Proposed Rule?" Joe
Vogelsberg from Kansas along with many others said when ever you use a
synthetic medicine on livestock, divert that livestock to the conventional
market after the FDA withdrawal time. Questions were raised how do you know
your not feeding organic livestock genetically modified feed products if 20%
not organically produced feed is allowed? A former USDA DC employee, now
organic dairyman, stated the reason USDA is holding these 4 public meetings is
so the USDA building doesn't get burned down. He further pointed out that
Eileen Stommes, in her position is personally responsible for the Proposed and
Final Rule. Many testifiers presented detailed listings of the contradictions
between the Proposed Rule and the Organic Foods Production Act. USDA stated
that the quantity and quality of the testimony was extremely helpful. And the
Greenpeace Fishberry costume symbolizing the genetically modified strawberry
was ever present.
Subj: Fwd (2): Austin hearing: 100% opposed USDA rules!
Date: 98-02-15 02:25:17 EST
From: Neil_Carman@greenbuilder.com (Neil Carman)
To: Erorganic@aol.com, email@example.com
Re: Information on Austin hearing
1. Extraordinary -- 100% of the speakers opposed the USDA's proposed national
Every single person who spoke was strongly opposed to the USDA's proposed
rules. In my 18 years dealing with state and federal regulatory agencies, I
have never witnessed such lopsided testimony --100%--by the public for or
against any proposed rules.
Only about 65 people got to speak during the hearing while more than 100
signed up. More people wanted to speak but were not allowed since it ended at
The people attending were strong organic food supporters since they clapped
loudly after every speaker finished to show support.
Who spoke? Mothers, farmers, retailers, consumers, wholesalers, health care
professionals, scientists, attorneys, persons with chemical sensitivity,
students and others. This is also highly unusual in my experience.
If 100% of the public oppose they rules at every single hearing, USDA will
look pretty bad.
2. News coverage of the USDA's hearing in Austin - Excellent!
We had live coverage by several TV stations during different times of the day,
and four TV stations attended the event mainly in the morning. The Associated
Press, Austin American- Statesman and local radio stations also covered the
hearing. We had several dozen signs made up the night before and it helped
make the 200-300 people look like a rally for organic foods.
A. Have enough copies of any handouts or testimony to give to the media and
put out on tables to share with others.
B. Talk to the media people about your concerns. The hearing did not get
going with testimony until after 9:30 am. The media needs educating on this
C. Try to coordinate getting the press out for the hearing. I have heard that
several organizations are planning press conf. on Feb 18th.
D. If people had time and energy; they might consider some kind of a Camp Out
at the site the night before to draw public attention to the hearing to help
dramatize the nature of the bad rules and importance of starting over to write
good ones. TV stations and reporters might cover a Camp Out the night before
and help get more publicity.
E. Signs--make 1 or 2 signs to bring and hold up at the hearing. They could
also be used outside. We had a big sign that said: Don't Nuke Organic
F. Networking--the hearing is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and share
information and concerns. Some people are still learning about how bad the
USDA officials wanted specific comments and most made general comments.
Wiggle words ("incidental additives," "non-active residues," "active or inert
ingredient in any input other than pesticide formulations," "commercially
available," etc.) are legal loopholes. These are another major reason why the
rules are poorly written if we want to protect the integrity of organic.
I think it is fine to make some general and specific comments.
Let me know if anyone has any questions.
Neil Carman, Ph.D.
Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command