Organic News: October 2018

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Organic News: October 2018

Program Manager: Brenda Book
Contact Information

Organic Inspection

Certification News

Last Chance to Apply for 2018 Cost Share

Have you applied for your organic certification cost share refund? Eligible operations may apply for cost share reimbursement until October 15th. Not sure if you are eligible? See the Hot Topics section of our home page for details or contact us.

NOP Announces Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rulemaking

In July, the National Organic Program (NOP) hosted an interactive webinar engaging the organic community about NOP's upcoming Strengthening Organic Enforcement rulemaking. The webinar provided an overview of the scope of the proposed rule and invited general feedback on these topics and NOP's data needs for this activity. It is our understanding that The National Organic Program (NOP) will be releasing a proposed rule in spring 2019 that sets out to strengthen the organic regulations in multiple areas where increased oversight and enforcement is needed.

The Town Hall Slides (pdf) and a link to the recording from July 2018 are available on the NOP website.

It is thought that this may be the largest piece of single rulemaking in the history of USDA's National Organic Program. The proposed rule will cover 10 major topic areas related to increased oversight and enforcement, including the use of one certificate template by all accredited certifiers, the potential requirement for certification of some currently excluded operations, and the required use and consistency of import certificates. The outcome of the revised rule will undoubtedly impact organic trade. Please take the time to review the Town Hall recording and/or slides through the links above. Once the proposed rule is developed and published, NOP will open a comment period. WSDA will provide updates as rulemaking proceeds.

WSDA Organic Program Awarded Specialty Crop Block Grants

We are pleased to share that two Specialty Crop Block Grants we submitted this Spring have been funded! Our two projects are:

Enhancing Organic Integrity at Farmers Markets

This project will enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops that are certified organic by ensuring that the USDA organic label is understood and valued by consumers in Washington State farmers markets. In partnership with 25 farmers markets and statewide industry leaders, WSDA Organic Program will provide timely and targeted training on organic certification standards, clarify signage requirements and market policies, and share best practices on organic income records at farmers markets.

Expanding Organic Access: Creating Resources for Spanish-Speaking Tree Fruit Growers

The WSDA Organic Program translation project will provide access and resources related to organic certification for Spanish-speaking operators, managers, and farmworkers in the tree fruit industry. The project will format and translate organic crop and handler applications, technical factsheets, and resources into Spanish. Further, the Organic Program will work with industry partners to clarify and distribute these resources, ensuring Spanish speakers have equitable access to organic certification technical assistance.

We look forward to sharing our progress and the project deliverables with you.

Industry News

OTA Requests Feedback from Growers on Organic Exports Affected by Tariffs

USDA has announced a new program to help mitigate damages caused by retaliatory tariffs resulting from Section 232 tariffs imposed by President Trump. Under the Agriculture Trade Promotion Program (ATP), USDA has authorized $200 million in funding for creative MAP/TASC-like programs to promote U.S. agriculture abroad. However, participants must be able to demonstrate damages as result of the 2018/2019 retaliatory tariffs. The Organic Trade Association is seeking your feedback to understand any damages caused to your organic exports due to retaliatory tariffs to determine whether the trade association has a strong case to apply for aid for organic.

Applications are due by Nov. 4, so we are looking for your comments as soon as possible. Contact Alexis Carey, OTA Manager of International Trade.

Washington Seed Organization Posts Resources on the Farm Bill

Organic Seed Alliance has posted a Farm Bill update with actions that you can take to support organic priorities in the Farm Bill. See their Farm Bill page for more information.

Spotted Lanternfly May Pose Big Threat to Washington's Tree Fruit and Grape Industry

WSDA's Plant Protection entomologists are gearing up to try to block the road for this insidious hitchhiker and prevent fast-spreading infestations like those seen in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Events and Resources

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Trainings

The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training Course satisfies the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in 112.22(c) that requires 'At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.

The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan.

Multiple workshops are available depending on location. Details and a complete list of locations and dates can be found on the WSU Food Safety Website.

Cost to attend is $35.

Biosecurity in Pastured and Organic Poultry Webinar and Tipsheet

National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) Poultry Specialist Kevin Ellis has produced new resources to help pastured and organic poultry producers address biosecurity, the development and implementation of practices to reduce the chance that a flock will come in contact with something that can cause disease.

Women In Agriculture Conference October 27th

Pump Up Your Financial Fitness

Saturday October 27th, locations throughout the Northwest, 8am-3pm

The Women in Agriculture conference is a one-day event held simultaneously at locations throughout Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. The day begins with learning how to use your "financial numbers" to establish a cash flow that includes your farm and personal living expenses and designed to strengthen your farm operation. The day continues with a panel of local women farmers who live in your area, and ends with an inspiring cap note speaker.

Tilth Conference

November 9-11, Spokane

Saturday October 27th, locations throughout the Northwest, 8am-3pm

The Tilth Conference brings together hundreds of farmers, producers, researchers and food system professionals for a weekend of learning, building relationships and sharing best practices.

Washington Organic Recycling Council Annual Conference

November 15, Tacoma

Join other compost enthusiasts for a day of discussions, sharing, and learning about the latest composting issues, operations, and marketing strategies.

Washington State Tree Fruit Association Annual Meeting

December 3-5, Yakima

The largest tree fruit educational gathering in the country, this three day event serves as a forum to discuss the latest trends and hot topics within the tree fruit industry.