Certification

RDH rdhopkins at americanpasturage.com
Fri Jul 26 16:35:06 EDT 2002


John, Chris, and Others.

The bureaucracy behind the certification program is packed with producers,
organic associations, and consumers.  Even though there is some obvious
industry influence in the meat sector the produce growers have been offered
a golden opportunity with a standardized certification program.

We sat again yesterday finalizing the certification rules for Missouri.
There were agency people and growers present.  The agency people listened to
the growers and then offered assistance to make things more efficient, less
costly for both sectors, and provide as much incentive as possible for small
farm certification.  Many of the good ideas and many of the decisions were
made with the input from the producers present.

The markets and handlers seeking organic food products have a much worse
time of certifying than most of the growers.  The certification program is
one of the best things that have happened to small farm marketing in ages.
Most state agencies will offer to the public the names of the certified
growers so that consumers will better be able to locate producers in their
area.  The organic program will get more media attention in the next few
months forcing more research to support the needs/wishes of producers and
consumers alike.  The fact that there is now a good program on the books
will prevent so much slanted media coverage favoring industrial food
production.

Even though I agree with John that the industry has taken the word organic,
they will not be able to compete with the smaller produce growers.  Their
overhead will make their products too expensive comparatively to imports and
industrial produce.  The meat sector will find themselves a niche, but with
the recent beef issues and impending confinement poultry issues they need
all of the help they can get.

We have set measures in place to assist growers, certified or not with our
Homestead Foods Project http://www.homesteadfoods.com to help growers find
more customers.  After the NOP's are in effect we will then segregate the
certified, transitional, sustainable, and conventional growers.  Customers
love to have a choice.  We are going to offer that to them.

As President of the Missouri Organic Association,
http://agebb.missouri.edu/sustain/moa/index.htm I am thankful that we have
had many individuals, legislators, agency, and growers put forth great
efforts to make our certification program workable and fair.

Chris, I viewed your website.  You may find our Homestead Foods Program an
effective way to increase your traffic and to help identify yourself to more
buyers.

Regards,

Rick Hopkins
President
American Pasturage, Inc.
P.O. Box 190
Marionville, MO  65705
(417) 258-2394
http://www.americanpasturage.com/
For the American Homestead Foods Certification Program go to
http://www.homesteadfoods.com
Also check out the new Graziers Forum at: http://bbs.americanpasturage.com
For other information concerning grass fed beef see http://www.eatwild.com
and http://www.westonaprice.org
All E-mails are scanned with Norton Anti Virus 2002 prior to sending.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Sawyer [mailto:css at ioa.com]
Sent: Friday, July 26, 2002 2:55 PM
To: Market Farming
Subject: [market-farming] Re: Certification




John Buckley wrote:

> It is not important that the federal government, i.e. agribusiness,
> coopted the term "organic".

John writes further that he buys his food from farmers he knows... Great, I
wish I had more customers, and John I am just down the road from you in
Candler on the way to Asheville. My point is that my buyers require I be
certified. Wellspring and Whole Foods require it. I have to support my
machines, pay the propane bills in the winter, etc. I cannot move that
quantity of food at the local tailgates or through my CSA. Those incomes do
not support even growing one acre of food, much less seven. Our average take
at the wednesday pm market in west Asheville is 110 dollars, and Saturday at
Black Mountain we might break 300. Pitiful. Last time I filled up my five,
five gallon cans and the truck the bill was over 50 dollars. Two years ago I
went to the market in Waynesville and had to compete with people selling 25
lbs of tomatoes for 4 dollars. I charge 2/lb for my heirlooms. That is what
it takes to grow them, they don't yield much with the type of disease
pressure we have here in mountains. Blight is spread by rain and dew. Plants
can only be worked when dry, which is not real often around here lately.

Certification is a curse. It would not be nearly so bad if we small farmers
could be granted exceptions to the record keeping related to what plant is
in
what bed on the farm. I have 400 plus beds if I numbered them all, many get
three crops in one year plus cover cropping and no one bed is planted
entirely in the same crop. Can you imagine the nightmare. I need a full time
person to follow the planters just to keep it all the way the inspectors
want. I agree there should be some sort of uniform policy to protect
consumers, especially is one is going to be trusting the supermarket
varieties of produce to be safe. If we don't involve the government, then
who
is going to go to these farms and make sure the product came from the right
farms. How do we know the supermarket produce guys are not switching our
stuff out and just calling it organic? They are not required to be
certified.
Only the farmer gets stuck. Once my stuff leaves the field the trucks are
not
inspected, anything could happen in trucking to contaminate my product. Most
folks in the US don't have a farm nearby like the mountain area of NC does.
They have to believe someone however in order to have food security when
making the choice to eat uncontaminated foods.

Chris
www.jakesfarm.com


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