ORGANIC INTEGRITY UNDER ATTACK

Jill Taylor Bussiere jdt at itol.com
Sat Jun 8 17:38:14 EDT 2002


"Natl. Campign For Sustainable Agriculture"
campaign at sustainableagriculture.net> wrote:
 From Natl. Campign For Sustainable Agriculture Fri
 Jun  7 08:12:13 2002
 Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2002 11:12:13 -0400
 To: (Recipient list suppressed)
 From: "Natl. Campign For Sustainable Agriculture"
 <campaign at sustainableagriculture.net>
 Subject: ACTION ALERT: Organic Integrity Under
 Attack--Support 100%
   Organic Feed for Organic Livestock


 NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
 campaign at sustainableagriculture.net

 Sent 6.7.02

 ACTION NEEDED TODAY!

 ORGANIC INTEGRITY UNDER ATTACK

 SECRETARY VENEMAN IS CONSIDERING SUSPENDING
 100% ORGANIC FEED RULE FOR ORGANIC LIVESTOCK

 At Issue:

 Fieldale Farms, a large poultry operation headquartered in Georgia, has
 been working with their congressional delegation to pressure Secretary of
 Agriculture, Ann Veneman, to grant an exemption to the requirement that
 organic livestock be fed organically-grown feeds.
 The basis for this  exemption would be the alleged lack of commercially
 available organic feed  at prices acceptable to Fieldale. Granting an
 exemption would severely  compromise the integrity of what organic means to
 the consumer, and it  would provide a disincentive for the continued
 increase in production of  organic feeds to keep up with increasing
demand --
 an important market for  organic farmers producing feed grains. The
Secretary
 is also looking at the  option of suspending all livestock provisions in
the
 national regulations,  or delaying the start of implementation, currently
 scheduled for October  21, 2002. The issue is not just about protecting
 organic integrity, but  reflects a pattern by USDA that puts into question
 their stewardship of national organic standards.

 A letter from the National Organic Standards Board to Secretary Veneman
 explains the issue in greater detail and is at theend of this e-mail.

 Taking Action is Easy!

 Fax or Call Secretary Veneman, Undersecretary Hawkes, and your
 Congressmembers TODAY!

 The Message? Tell Secretary Veneman, Undersecretary Hawkes to....

 1) Stand fast with 100 percent organic feed for poultry and other organic
livestock
 2) Uphold current livestock rules. Dilution threatens the thriving organic
feed industry
 3) Do Not bow to pressure that would undermine organic in the marketplace
 4) Keep the implementation date of October 21, 2002 for national organic
standards on schedule.

 ...and ask your Representative and Senators to put pressure on Secretary
Veneman to maintain stringent organic standards.

 Contact information for Secretary Veneman

 Ann M. Veneman, Secretary
 Fax: 202-720-2166;  Phone: 202-720-3631
 Bill Hawkes, Undersecretary
 Phone: 202-720-4256

 Mail: United States Department of Agriculture
 14 th & Independence Ave. SW
 Washington, DC 20250

 Contacting your Senators (you have 2) and
 Representative

 To call your Senators or Representative dial the
 Capitol Switchboard at  202-224-3121 and ask for your member by name or
tell
 them where you live  (the operator will probably ask for your zip code)
 and they'll connect you.
 You'll be making three calls, but it's worth it! You can leave a detailed
 message, or if you prefer you can ask for the fax number and fax them a
letter.

 THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION! from....
 The Organic Steering Committee of the National Campaign for Sustainable
 Agriculture
 Michael Sligh, RAFI-USA
 Elizabeth Henderson, Peacework Organic Farm and NOFA-NY
 Roger Blobaum, Organic Watch
 Joe Mendelson, Center for Food Safety
 Liana Hoodes, National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture

 Please let us know that you took action. Send a quick email, or copy of
 your letter to: action at sustainableagriculture.net

 For More Information:
 Want to know more about the issue? Below is a letter from the National
 Organic Standards Board to Secretary Veneman that
 goes into a bit more
 detail about the concerns over impact of weakening
 organic feed requirements.

 May 30, 2002

 The Honorable Ann Veneman
 Secretary of Agriculture
 U.S. Department of Agriculture
 14th & Independence Ave. SW
 Washington, D.C. 20250

 Dear Madam Secretary:

 I am contacting you on behalf of the National Organic Standards Board
regarding the importance of maintaining therequirements for using  certified
organic feed in all certified organic livestock production,  including
poultry.

 We understand that the Department is under mounting pressure from some
members of Congress to grant a waiver on the organic feed requirement
because of the alleged lack of commercially available supplies in Georgia.
However, representatives of the company requesting the waiver testified
publicly before the NOSB earlier this month that organic feedstocks are
available, but are much more expensive than conventional feed. Following
the NOSB meeting, I also had contact with two organic milling companies
stating their ability to supply organic feed into
 the Georgia market. One  of milling companies reported that the Georgia
firm
 had contacted them  about supplying grain, but rejected the price offered
for delivery.

 A market-based economy will respond to supply and demand. The growing
demand for organic poultry, and the price premiums on organic grain, will
create new opportunities for farmers to grow and market organic feedstocks.
 Granting a waiver will undermine these market forces and severely
compromise the honesty behind organic marketing.

 Madam Secretary, the response to this issue is larger than simply providing
a waiver in a regional production area. The Department's stance on this
issue is critical to the integrity of the organic seal. To put it simply,
we have one opportunity to make a good first impression with the American
consuming public. Let's make sure we get it right.

 The development of the organic industry is truly an example of a
market-based agricultural model. The organic sector supported passage of
the Organic Food Production Act in 1990 as a means to develop national
standards that would protect the integrity of the marketplace. The
difficult work of the past 12 years has been
 centered on the single issue  of defining the "story" behind the new USDA
organic
 seal. Organic producers  and consumers alike made it very clear with more
 than 270,000 public  comments in 1998, that the organic seal must represent
products that are  produced with the highest standards of inputs, management
and processing.

 The organic community is watching with concern the mounting pressure to
compromise on the organic feed provisions. Again, we urge you to uphold the
regulations carefully developed over the past 12 years.

 Sincerely,
 Dave Carter,
 Chair, National Organic Standards Board






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