> I feel you're being a little harsh on Larry. He has cause to adopt the
> position he does, since he was involved from the very beginning in the
> development of what became the NOP program, when he was asked by the
> Ozark Valley something or other (as I understand it, a group that
> received a $165,000 grant from the USDA to have other people (i.e.
> Larry, in N. Carolina)organize events for them (primarily at these other
> peoples own expense though), only to discover that when it got down to
> it, what they evidently wanted (judging by the perfunctory effort that
> was put into running the event itself), was the grant money and control
> of the movement. (There were people high up in the USDA involved, close
> to this group).
> The USDA itself is made up of all kinds and the great majority of the
> ones I've dealt with personally, have been very helpful. (They're just
> people, after all, doing their job the best they can). The problem is,
> like good people that do their jobs, they're subject to the official
> line and the official line in THIS case, just doen't have any business
> being involved in making ANY particular flavor of organic certification
> the law of the land. It's totally unnecessary and can ONLY lead to
> further abuse.
> There's nothing wrong with attempting to arrive at a consistent, minimum
> national standard of what is and what isn't organic, or making that a
> binding legal definition (if legitimate); but that's a far cry from
> requiring a complex and expensive burocratic procedure just to sell your
> product to people who may already know you and your growing methods, in
> order to be able to label it like it truely is.
> The problem isn't the sewage sludge or genetically engineered organisms
> - the problem is in the degree of control that OFPA pretends to achieve
> through the USDA, a degree of control that goes far beyond compliance
> with an organic standard. There are private interests at play and the
> USDA is being used to further a number of private agendas. (There are
> currents and cross currents under the water. It's a real political
> snake's nest, full of intrigue).
> However - there's a easy way of pulling the plug on all of that: By
> simply removing the obligatory nature of organic certification. Let it
> stand on it's own merit. If the NOP comes up with a good, legitimate
> standard, there'll be no shortage of those who'll find it useful, on
> both sides of the counter. But leave that to each buyer and seller and
> let's keep the politicians and their cronies with their hands out of the
> pie. The real issue is defining, what role is the proper one for
> government in the matter.
> And take note WHO tries to tell tell you that obligatory certification
> is a necessary feature of evolving a consistent natioanl standard, then
> think about what THEY stand to benefit by it, and at who's expense.
> OFPA as written - with obligatory certification - will drive a deeper
> wedge between the organic movement and food buyers, by needlessly
> raising costs for grower and consumer alike, without providing any value
> added! Let those who need it support it, without forcing it on the
> Douglas Hinds
> still down at the border
> Wilson, Dale wrote:
> > Lawrence,
> > > Well here is the official notification of USDA's flanking maneuver.
> > >
> > Why are you so sure the USDA has a hidden agenda, or that they are
> > negotiating in bad faith?
> > > Now would also be a good time to bring pressure to bear on
> > > Congressional Representatives and Senators to turn the screws on the
> > > agency. They should be told that their constituents demand a strong
> > > standard;
> > >
> > That is probably not true of all the constituents.
> > > they should also be urged to begin an investigation of how USDA could
> > > have spent so much
> > > time and money and come up with such an egregiously weak and illegal
> > > proposal.
> > >
> > The government wastes money on all sorts of things, I don't think they
> > singled out the organic standards issue!
> > > It is time for the heads to roll at USDA. I see no way that anyone
> > > involved with this process could still be employed after demonstrating
> > > such a mighty example of either incompetence or malfeasance.
> > >
> > For pete sake, they just wrote a proposal and put it out for comment!
> > You hard core organic people made your point. Now is a good time to be
> > gracious. This is an opportunity to have additional input in drafting
> > an acceptable proposal. Why waste this opportunity just to make
> > enemies?
> > > It is also important that those of us with legal experience, or access
> > > to legal experience, begin exploring ways to sue for redress of
> > > grievances.
> > >
> > That is ludicrous, there is no damage.
> > >
> > > Lastly, we should also be working hard on an independent industry
> > > standard to save the term.
> > >
> > It would seem that the political victory by groups in favor of very
> > restrictive standards has strengthened and clarified the meaning of
> > "organic." It looks like the system is working okay, and working in
> > your favor.
> > > I know that some have begun this process and I hope that we can all
> > > join in the fun.
> > >
> > It looks like you are more interested in rubbing the nose of the USDA
> > staff in it, than in constructive engagement.
> > > I think that these are the topics that I would like the listserve to
> > > focus
> > > on now that the comment period is closed. What do others think?
> > >
> > Why don't you (politely) approach the program staff and try to get them
> > to run ideas out on the Sanet for comments before incorporating them
> > into the next draft (Well, maybe I am naive, perhaps this environment is
> > too politically charged for something that friendly!)
> > Dale Wilson
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