Well folks, #3 is what we've been doing for years. (Or has USDA been ignoring us?) Why not just grab the bull by the tail and look the situation right in the eye. (Am I mixing metaphors here?)
What I've proposed from the outset is to not let the US government get their hands on certification. Elliot Coleman contends that, once the gov. has responsibility, special interests will buy favor and whittle away at the standards- no matter how high they're initially set.
All of the state and regional certifiers can come together under one certifying organization and become separate chapters. This will keep it in our hands.
The only problem with this is in avoiding the petty in-fighting and territorial battles that ensues when people try to work together. But that has to be a lot easier to overcome than dealing with governments and special interests.
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