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
Organic Feed for Organic Livestock
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
campaign at sustainableagriculture.net
ACTION NEEDED TODAY!
ORGANIC INTEGRITY UNDER ATTACK
SECRETARY VENEMAN IS CONSIDERING SUSPENDING
100% ORGANIC FEED RULE FOR ORGANIC LIVESTOCK
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
an important market for organic farmers producing feed grains. The
is also looking at the option of suspending all livestock provisions in
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
The Message? Tell Secretary Veneman, Undersecretary Hawkes to....
1) Stand fast with 100 percent organic feed for poultry and other organic
2) Uphold current livestock rules. Dilution threatens the thriving organic
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
Mail: United States Department of Agriculture
14 th & Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20250
Contacting your Senators (you have 2) and
To call your Senators or Representative dial the
Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your member by name or
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
THANK YOU FOR TAKING ACTION! from....
The Organic Steering Committee of the National Campaign for Sustainable
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
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
had contacted them about supplying grain, but rejected the price offered
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
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
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.
Chair, National Organic Standards Board
More information about the Market-farming