USDA Terminates Organic Check-Off

USDA announced the termination of the rulemaking process for the national certified organic marketing order. The marketing order was commonly known as the organic check-off. USDA reported that the rulemaking process was terminated because of “uncertain industry support and outstanding substantive issues with the proposed program.”
 
The program was proposed by the Organic Trade Association in 2015 to strengthen the position of certified organic products in the marketplace, support research to benefit the organic industry, and improve access to information and data across the organic sector.
 
USDA released a proposed rule in January 2017 on the organic check-off and received almost 15,000 public comments on the proposed rule. USDA noted that commenters both in support and opposition of the program requested changes to the assessment methods for imports and a reduction in paperwork. Overall, comments were split between favor and opposition of the program. USDA terminated the check-off before a referendum vote of all organic producers subject to the program was held.
 
For questions on the termination of the program, please contact Heather Pichelman, division director of the Promotion and Economics Division, Specialty Crops Program at (202) 720-9915 or heather.pichelman@ams.usda.gov

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