National Organic Program Deputy Administrator Dr. Jennifer Tucker provided an overview of organic compliance and enforcement during CCOF’s At-Large Chapter meeting on June 7. The meeting was held via Zoom and a recording may be viewed on CCOF’s YouTube channel.
Invited by meeting hosts—Andrea Davis-Cetina of Quarter Acre Farm, Maryland, and Joe Kroll of Oklahoma—Dr. Tucker characterized the global organic control systems that are in place worldwide to ensure organic integrity and gave an overview of NOP’s activities.
Dr. Tucker noted that a new goal area for the NOP, to grow and develop the organic sector, has been added to the NOP since the creation of USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative. This goal adds to NOP’s history of providing organic oversight and enforcement in the United States and internationally and of continually updating the federal organic standards.
Dr. Tucker fielded a question about whether a hat sold by Adidas as organic actually was organic and also commented on the reported disciplinary action against organic certification agencies who refused to certify organic hydroponic systems. Tucker clarified that NOP does not require certifiers who do not have administrative capacity to certify organic hydroponic systems to certify them.
Davis-Cetina, the At-Large Chapter’s representative to the CCOF, Inc. Board of Directors, provided a director update. CCOF Chief Certification Officer April Vasquez presented information on CCOF and on the new organic regulations brought forward by the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) rule, which will be fully implemented by March 19, 2024. CCOF will send information on complying with SOE to all members, so please keep an eye on your email inbox.
CCOF Member Services Advocate Jane Sooby provided updates on CCOF’s policy and the CCOF Foundation’s work and information on a number of current funding opportunities, including USDA’s Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program, Organic Market Development Grants, and the Organic Certification Cost Share program. She also noted that CCOF is still accepting responses to the policy team’s labor survey and offers a $25 stipend to participating organic farmers.
CCOF’s At-Large chapter was formed by the CCOF, Inc. Board of Directors in 2017 to represent certified organic farming and livestock operations located outside of California and Mexico (which have regional chapter representation on the board). Andrea Davis-Cetina is the chapter representative to the board.